Everything you need to know on the second day
with your newborn baby.
To see if your baby is adjusting well to life outside the womb, the nurse in the hospital, the midwife or the district nurse will pass by for a (daily) check.
A newborn baby is sometimes not yet able to regulate her own body temperature adequately. It can take her until about a week to do so. So to take her temperature twice a day during the first week is important. A temperature between 36.5 ‘C (97.7 ‘F) and 37.5 ‘C (100.5 ‘F) is normal.
Be on the watch-out for unusual behaviour in the baby. Is she less active? Is she crying more? Is she drinking less? Is she reacting to you? If her temperature drops below 36.5 ‘C (97.7 ‘F) or goes above 37.5 ‘C (100.5 ‘F) you can take the following actions:
If your baby's temperature is below 36.5 ‘C (97.7 ‘F) you can warm her up by putting her naked (only a diaper on would be handy!) on your or your partners naked chest for 1 hour. Most likely her temperature has rissen above 36.5 ‘C (97.7 ‘F) by then. Or give her an extra blanket and an extra hot-water bottle. Temperature her after 1 to 1 1/2 hour again and most likely her temperature has rissen above 36.5 ‘C (97.7 ‘F) by then.
If your baby's temperature is above 36.5 ‘C (97.7 ‘F) you can take out the hot-water bottle of her cradle or cot, you can remove some of her clothes, or you remove her hat. Temperature her after 1 to 1 1/2 hour again and most likely her temperature has fallen to between 36.5 ‘C (97.7 ‘F) and 37.5 ‘C (100.5 ‘F) by then.
If not: contact your midwife. Also contact her if you are not sure.
You can make a daily record of the number of wet diapers. This allows you to see if your baby is drinking enough and if the kidneys are functioning well. A two-day-old baby should have at least two wet diapers per 24 hours. Sometimes urate crystals may color the urine pink or red (see a picture of this on day 1). It is nothing to worry about and will disappear if your baby drinks enough. Girls may have some blood in their diapers in the first days. This phenomenon is called 'pseudo-menstruation' (or fake menstruation). It is caused by the reduced flow of female hormones from the mother to the baby girl. This too is harmless and will disappear after a few days.
Due to the same female hormones she can also release some transparent mucus from her vagina in the first week. It can also come out as a quite firm mucus string. It will not appear after the first week.
Today the defecation is most of the times still black or very dark green (as on the picture of this on day 1). It will change to dark brown when your baby starts to drink more. The nutrition will mix with the meconium and become lighter of color every day.
Weight and weighing
Whether or not to weigh daily is a decision that differs depending on the region and different midwife practices or Child Health Care Centre. Light, or relatively heavy babies, or babies having difficulty drinking, are usually weighed more often.
All babies lose some weight in the first four days after birth, generally between 5 and 7% of their weight at birth. The baby will need some time to settle into her own feeding rhythm. Adjusting to life outside the womb requires a lot of energy.
When your baby looses more then 7% of her birth weight she needs to get more breastfeeding or additional formula. When you breastfeed the advice is to pump with a professional electric breast pump after every feeding for about 10 minutes. You can give the extra milk to your baby. If your production is not yet enough, you have to give some additional formula for one or two days as extra milk, in order for your baby not to loose more weight, but gain some. By gaining weight your baby stays strong and is able to keep on drinking on the breast with a good technique. By doing so the breasts get stimulated well and the production will start to go up soon.
Note: In general it takes approximately ten days for a baby to reach her birth weight again.
If you are breastfeeding, it is advisable to have your baby weighed regularly for the first two months. This can be done at the Child Health Care Centre.
See here how to weigh your baby
How to supplement the breastfeeding by using a syringe
Extra information on how to supplement the breastfeeding by using a syringe
Newborn babies want to be fed every two to three hours. Your gynecologist, midwife or nurse in the hospital have explained you how often you need to give her a bottle. The usual frequency is 6 to 8 feedings per 24 hours. It is not necessary to do this at fixed intervals. You start with adding 10 ml per day per feeding.
So on day 2 most babies drink 20 ml per feeding.
When your baby is small and/or less hungry she might drink 10-15 ml per feeding and when your baby is big and/or more hungry she might drink 30 ml per feeding. That is all okay.
If your baby stops drinking at the end of the quantity offered, then she shows you she is finished for now.
Note: Alternate between your right and left arm when feeding your baby, or put her on your legs, straight in front of you to avoid her to develop a preference for one side of her head to sleep on. Babies always like to make contact, so if you alternate right and left she will have to change the position of her face to be able to look at you!
Umbilical cord stump
The stump remaining after the umbilical cord is cut, dries up slowly, turns black and will fall off around 5 to 10 days after birth. Generally, you can leave the umbilical stump alone. A bit of blood may ooze out. If more then a bit of blood oozes out in the first four days, you have to contact the midwife about this.
Leaving the hospital: transport your baby safely
When you will be discharged from the hospital and go home, your baby may only be transported by car in an approved car seat, not on your lap or in a carrycot. That could be extremely dangerous in the event of the car making an unexpected maneuver or braking suddenly.
In the event that you have to drive somewhere with your baby unexpectedly, both parents must know how the car seat works and how
to mount it in the car. Make sure to practice before your baby arrives.
There are cotton diapers, diaper pads and disposable diapers in all types, brands and sizes. You can choose what you prefer to use of course.
During the day, a newborn baby should be changed every 3-4 hours. Immediately after feeding or after the first breast if you are breastfeeding. When you bottle feed your baby and the baby falls asleep or stops drinking, you can also change her diaper. The baby is usually wide awake when her diaper is being changed. A perfect moment for you to establish eye contact and talk to your child. You can tell her what you are about to do and react on her reactions. This makes the messing about with her body more pleasant, or at least acceptable. Almost all babies do show signs of discomfort while being changed diapers or clothes.
Telling her what you do will help; even though she is unable to show that she understands what you are telling her she wil most probably get more relaxed.
Make sure you have everything you need close at hand. Never leave your baby alone on the dressing table once you have put her there. Always hold at least one hand to your baby's tummy. If you really must go, put the baby back in the cradle or cot.
In the womb the baby's skin is covered with a fatty, white layer. This is called vernix. Vernix waterproofs the baby's skin to prevent it from being weakened by the amniotic fluid. After birth vernix can remain visible. It does not have to be washed away. After a day or two the skin will have absorbed it.
Where the skin is folded (like behind the ear, in the neck, the groin, knees and elbows, armpits, between the buttocks and below the chin), it does not dry so easily. This can lead to skin blemishes caused by perspiration, saliva or laundry moisture. Intensely red spots will appear, which may be moist or slightly swollen. Keep the skin clean and dry. A thin layer of zinc ointment may be helpful when a problem occurs.
Diaper rash is unpleasant and painful, but unfortunately quite common. A baby's skin is irritated and damaged more quickly then that of an adult. If your baby has a sensitive skin, it will help to Iet her lie bare-bottomed (without her diaper) so she will be less exposed to urine and defecation and the air is good for her skin. If you are using oil of lotion wipes to clean your baby's buttocks stop doing so for a while. Use cotton wool and water and dab the skin gently with a hydrophilic diaper. What is good to use is pure coconut oil. It is 100% natural and anti-fungal. If the skin is damaged you can put cornstarch powder on the cleaned and dried buttocks for a few times and you will be surprised that the damaged skin is healed already in half a day!
Changing a diaper, taking temperature and how to apply ointment
(when the skin is red) or cornstarch (when the skin is open)
Your baby probably sees very little when she first enters the world. Her eyes must learn to work together. That is why nearly all babies are cross-eyed now and then. Your baby will manage to focus on you for one or two seconds, especially when she briefly stops moving her arms or legs. These are moments to cherish. Babies can see sharp untill about 20-30 cm. This distance is nicely figured out by nature, because it is exactly the distance at which you hold and feed your baby.
Babies born to white parents all have blue eyes at birth. Babies born to colored parents have dark, blue-ringed eyes. The true color of your baby's eyes will only appear in the course of the first year.
Your baby's eyes may produce a yellowish discharge. You can wipe it off carefully, using cotton wool dampened with running tap water. Always wipe from the outside to the inside of the eye (towards the nose) and use a clean cotton wool for each wipe.
Note: If the eye is red or irritated drip in some breastfeeding!
Clean the eye with wet cotton wool and dry it before putting in new breastfeeding. Most probably the irritation will dissapear within a few days.
If not go to your home doctor (GP).
Both boys and girls can have slightly swollen breasts in the first weeks after birth. They may even excrete a drop of milk. It is caused by the hormones produced during the mother's pregnancy to aid her preparation for breastfeeding. There is absolutely nothing wrong here and it will disappear by itself. Pressing or squeezing the breasts is seriously discouraged as it may harm the underlying tissue.
Immediately after birth, boys are examined to see if the testicles have descended. Sometimes they are still in the groin. So special attention is given in the first months to verify if the testicles have descended right to the bottom of the scrotum. From the age of six months, a reflex retracts the testicles when it is cold.
In the first weeks a girl's labia may be somewhat swollen and tucked together.
A baby boy's foreskin is usually stuck. Do not try to loosen it and only clean the places you can reach.
Male circumcision is discouraged in the Netherlands because of the risk of infections and complications.
Female circumcision is forbidden in the Netherlands and punishable by law.
The head of a newborn baby is usually not perfectly round. Passing through the birth canal may have caused dents or swelling. This looks more frightening than it is: no need to worry, the dents or swelling will disappear after a while. The birth canal is extremely narrow. To facilitate the passage, the bony parts of the baby's skull are still loose, which makes it possible to overlap during delivery. It takes between twelve and eighteen months for the bony parts of the head to come together. The soft parts of the head, the so-called fontanels, are clearly visible, especially in the first few months. You can also feel them.
The baby's position in the cradle or cot
The recommended position for the baby in a cradle or cot is on her back halfway, with her head turned on one cheek. The baby should not sleep on her stomach. It is better not to let your baby sleep in the playpen if the floor of the playpen is too hard, which most of the time is the case, although nowadays it is also possible to buy thick matrasses with the exact size of the playpen. Having your baby sleep on the couch or on the dressing table is dangerous because there is the danger of rolling off.
There is a tremendous amount of research backing up the benefits of skin to skin contact. Most research has been done on premature hospitalized babies, but increasingly also on babies born on time. The list is impressive. A small selection:
Your body in fact regulates all kinds of bodily functions of your baby. You should perhaps phrase it the other way around: babies separated from their parents have a less well-regulated body.
The American Institute for Kangaroo Care even has an official recipe for new parents: take your baby with you for two hours three times a week, at least until she is three months old. More is always allowed! The recipe for dads is slightly different from breastfeeding moms.
Fathers and other caregivers are very good at raising the baby's temperature. After an hour and a half they both get too hot and sometimes prefer to stop.
A breastfeeding mother has something special: she can regulate her baby's temperature in both directions. If the baby is too warm, her own temperature will drop until the baby is comfortable again. The best recipe for her is: at least two hours. Enough time for the baby to wake up on its own, sniff the breast, take a feed and then go back to sleep.
But my baby doesn't want to
Sometimes it happens that a baby does not immediately calm down from skin to skin contact. You were so looking forward to this wonderful quiet moment together and she is only getting restless. In that case, there is one golden tip: hang on for a while. It takes about twenty minutes for your body to produce oxytocin. The temperature regulation also needs some time.
If you feel uncomfortable with this, your baby may feel it and react with anxiety. Then see if you can adjust something so that it is comfortable for you too. Maybe you are not completely comfortable yet? Can you support yourself better with pillows? Maybe you are worried about your baby falling? You can then tie your sling or use a special pouch cloth. Or maybe you don't like being completely naked, and would you prefer to wear clothes, for example a t-shirt with a bare neck where your baby can nestle her cheek.
The second night after de delivery the fatigue sets in. The adrenaline has gone down by now and you (or your partner) will fall soundly asleep. You will need the rest and the energy, as you will bear a lot of responsibility in the near future.
As partner make sure to accompany the new mother every time she goes to the toilet, as she may feel dizzy or she may not be very mobile yet.
Note: Most babies start drinking more after the first 12-24 hours after the delivery. Especially at nighttime. This is something nature has not arranged very well ;-)
When you give your baby formula the advice is to increase the amount already during the last feeding of the day (usually between 22.00-23.00 hours). So around this time of the evening you offer your baby 30 ml and you will keep on doing that during the whole night and next day.
Pregnancy and delivery have a severe impact on the mother's body. Delivering a baby is, quite rightly, often compared to running a marathon! Your body needs time to recover from it. Below is a list of common inconveniences that you may have to deal with. The list looks more serious than it is. Not every condition affects every new mother, and not every new mother is affected by every condition. First of all, giving birth and the subsequent period after are special and beautiful moments for most people. Getting to know your baby is your primary activity in this period. It is also important though to know what is going on inside your body. You can read all about that here, and/or discuss it with your midwife.
Position of the uterus
After delivery, the womb contracts back to its original size. Immediately after delivery the uterus is still stretched right up to the navel. It is important that the womb contracts well so that you do not lose more blood than necessary. The nurse in the hospital will check the position of the uterus by carefully pressing your belly with her hand. To help contraction it is important to urinate every three hours so that your bladder is well emptied, especially before you start a feeding. Breastfeeding your baby makes the uterus contract. You will feel cramps in your lower abdomen (afterpains).
Loss of (blood) clots
The contraction of the uterus rapidly reduces the size of the wound left there by the placenta. The blood you lose from this wound is called lochia. It contains mucus remains from the uterus, clots and white blood cells. Lochia has a sweetish smell, just like menstrual blood. If the secretion odor starts to smell badly, contact your midwife or home doctor (GP).
One or two orange-sized blood clots are nothing to be afraid of.
Today the color will also be bright red.
Perineum and stitches
The skin between your vagina and the anus is called the perineum.
After delivery, it is often swollen and painful.
When stitched, it may be painful, as may be the case for stitches to the labia or the vaginal wall. It can help to sit up straight on a hard surface now and then. The counter-pressure may help to reduce the swelling.
To remove the waste products from the traumatized tissue more quickly, you can take Arnica D-6 drops 3 times a day, 10 drops with some water.
Some stitches dissolve naturally; others have to be removed after a number of days.
When urinating, the urine can sting the wounda and stitches. It helps to urinate in the shower or to pour lukewarm water between your labia when urinating on the toilet. This dilutes the urine and helps to reduce the pricking. Most practical is to use a sports-bottle with a pull cap to squeese the water in the right direction.
It is also strongly recommended to lie down without your underwear on a cellulose pad once or twice daily for about 1 to 2 hours to allow the stitches to heal in the air.
Stool urge will generally start up again a couple of days after delivery. Your stool may be a bit harder. It helps if you drink a lot and eat fibre-rich food.
Recovery after a Cesarean section
A cesarean section is abdominal surgery and therefore recovery requires more time than a vaginal delivery. You should take even more care of yourself. For example: do not lift more weight then the weight of your baby and do not vacuum clean for 6 weeks! Some extra help for household work would be welcome. After a while, you'll be able to take full care of your baby and yourself.
Note: Check your insurance about being insured if you drive a car after a cesarean section.
Giving birth may be followed by headaches. Sufficient rest (no visitors!), good food and enough fluids may help prevent or reduce the headaches.
Whether or not you are breastfeeding, it is important to examine your breasts daily on red spots, indicating an breast infection. The chance for a breast infection is not big, but if you see a red spot on one of your breasts which feels warm and painful if you touch it, contact your midwife or home doctor (GP).
The tissue of your breasts changes during pregnancy and the lactation period and therefore an underwired bra is not recommended, as it may damage the milk ducts and the tissue, which could lead to an infection.
When you give formula feeding you wear a tight bra or sport bra from day one on, day and night. Even while taking a shower. Don’t put the water jet directly on the breasts, because that way you get more stimulation. Quickly change your wet bra for a dry one after you have dried your body.
Not latching on properly is the biggest cause of nipple fissures (sore nipples), so it is important that you learn to latch on properly in the post-natal period. The nurse in the hospital, the midwife or the district nurse can help you here. They can also inform you about how to prevent nipple fissures.
It is not uncommon that learning to latch on without difficulties takes longer than one week. In that case, you can consult a lactation expert. Even after three weeks, you can still learn to latch on properly.
It is quite normal for your pubic bone to be sensitive and your pelvis to feel wobbly after you have given birth. Here too, the right combination of exercise and rest will help you recover. What you can do is lie on your side with a pillow between your legs so that they are exactly parallel to each other. If the symptoms persist, contact your family doctor (GP) or a pelvic therapist.
The pushing phase of delivery involves a great deal of pressure, not just on the birth canal but also on the anus. This can cause hemorrhoids: swollen blood vessels which can be on the inside as well as the outside of the anus. They may be painful when you move around or go to the toilet. If you have hemorrhoids, make sure to keep the area around them (as well as your anus) clean. If you are in serious pain, you should contact the midwife or your family doctor (GP). There are ointments to treat the hemorrhoids.
Giving birth requires enormous effort. This is the reason for the aching muscles you may have afterwards. You have just used muscles you probably did not even know you have. Have your partner massage you can give some relieve. The musclespains usually start at day 2 or 3 and remain for 1 or 2 days.
Note: it is perfectly okay (also when breastfeeding) to take paracetamol (not more than 3000 milligrams in 24 hours; preferably every 8 hours 1000 milligrams) for all the above mentioned inconveniences.
Try to get sufficient rest. This is really one of the most important things!
Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. Switch off your doorbell when you sleep, turn off your phone and ignore the social media. Do not underestimate the amount of rest you will need for some time!
My advice is to sleep every afternoon as long as you give night-feedings.
You cannot force sleep, but you can rest; at least 1 1/2 hour low-stimulus time to recover and to be able to emotionally process everything you experience.
Another tip is to go to bed early and already have 1 or 2 hours sleep before the last feeding of the day which usually takes place between 22.00-23.00 hours.
Getting up and moving around
In the first days after delivery your body needs a lot of rest, so that it can recover. But you should move around a little as well, to avoid/reduce the risk of thrombosis. Things you could do include taking a shower or going to the toilet by yourself. And try dangling your legs out of bed and move your toes several times per day. Generally speaking, you will be able to take on the care for your baby completely after around one week.
When lifting something, pay attention to how you stand. The best way is to place your feet apart, to bend your knees and to keep your back straight. It is best not to turn your body and lift at the same time.
Smoking, drugs and alcohol
Smoking is not good for anyone and certainly not for you, now that your body is recovering. For your baby, breathing in cigarette or cigar smoke is extremely harmful. The same is true (and to a much greater degree of course) for all types of drugs. It is extremely important that you and your partner make sure nobody smokes anywhere near the baby. Preferably, there should be no smoking in the house at all. This applies not only to the home but also to the car, or if you are visiting somewhere else.
If not smoking at all is not an option, do so in the garden or on the balcony. It is quite normal to ask your family and visitors to go outside if they want to smoke.
When there is a child in the home, at least one older person should remain sober. So be careful with alcohol and drugs. If you are breastfeeding, do not drink alcohol. Alcohol gets into breast milk quickly and so your baby will drink it too, which will do her development no good at all.
Note: There is an increased risk of cot death (SIDS - sudden infant death syndrome) if your baby is exposed to smoke or second-hand (passive) smoke!
How to get stains of blood or breastfeeding out of cotton materials
Happy and proud parents that you are, you want to show your baby to the world. But you also need rest. So you could decide that in the first weeks you only want those family members and friends to visit you who will be able to support you. It is a good idea to spread out the visits: mention the resting hours on the announcement card, with a telephone number and a request to make an appointment for the visit.
Lip blisters (herpes labialis)
Carers with blisters follow a strict hygiene protocol. Never kiss or cuddle the baby and wash your hands even more often.
Make absolutely sure that visitors with a lip blister do not kiss or cuddle your baby. I would say: let them not touch your baby at all.
The baby may catch a serious herpes infection that could even be life-threatening if parents and visitors kiss or cuddle the baby.
Anyone coming into contact with your baby, including brothers and sisters wash their hands first. At school and while playing, hands have touched all sorts of things.
Pets too will have to get used to the new situation. During the introduction to your baby, you are the one who will be in charge of introducing the baby. Before your dog meets the baby, you can take him for a nice long walk so that he can lose his energy. When you return home, do not let your dog in, or into the room where the baby is, until he is calm and quiet. The person holding the baby should have a calm energy and be confident. These leadership qualities ensure that you radiate that you feel good. This way you show your dog that he can trust the situation. It is very good and logical for your dog to want to sniff the baby. That's how dogs get their information and their way of greeting. But it is important that this is done with respect and if necessary remotely. Depending on the dog, you choose not to let the baby and your dog get too close to each other immediately. There are dogs that find it exciting, are anxious, stressed, become insecure or are dominant. Only let your dog come around when he is calm and has a calm frame of mind. When you notice that your dog is starting to show different behaviors such as: anxious, stressed, irritated, dominating, insecure or whatever, stop the proposal and try again later. Be careful: a pet's behavior may change as a result of the changing pecking order in the household. The pet may start to feel jealous of the newcomer who is suddenly getting so much more attention. Even if your cat or dog appears to accept the baby, do not let them lick the child. And certainly do not ever allow them in the babies cot, bed or playpen.
Pets must not be allowed near the babies bed and they should not be in the room where the baby sleeps. Loose hairs and skin flakes, shed by your pet, may cause irritation. Make sure you check your pets carefully for worms, ticks and fleas.
Note: Never, under any circumstances. leave your pet alone with your baby.
Registering your baby
You are legally obliged (in the Netherlands) to register your baby within three days after birth. Any later registration will require authorisation from the Public Prosecutor's Office. Registration takes place at the Civil Registry in the municipality of birth. The registration can be done by the father or by any other person present at the birth.
Look into the rools of your country on all details, for example: are you free to choose your first child's surname: either the father's or the mother's surname. And will this choice apply to all subsequent children born into this family. If it is to be the mother's surname, must both parents register that with the civil registry? In the absence of a joint statement to that effect, will your child be given the father's surname? May unmarried parents choose their child's surname? If you want the baby to have your partner's surname, must he/she then acknowledge the baby either before or after birth? Do you have to deposit a joint personal statement at the civil registry for that? Without such a statement, will your baby have the mother's surname (and her nationality)?
Don't forget to inform your health insurance company. If you haven't done this within four months, you will be responsible for all medical expenses (in the Netherlands). Your baby must be to your liability insurance. And take a good look at the insurance of your house/apartment and its contents: the sum insured may need to be increased.