Wherever you are on Day 3 post birth, it is normal to have lots of questions. Here at My BabyManual, we’ve answered them for you.
Who will look after me and my baby?
Many mothers will be at home by this stage after delivery, although those who have had some level of complication during the birth may still be in hospital – for example, women are usually required to stay in hospital for at least three or four days following a C-section. And if your newborn has suffered a complication or medics want to carry out further checks, then you may still be on the maternity ward.
Although it may be frustrating being unable to return home with your baby, it can be reassuring to still be in the hospital knowing that you have medical care on-hand if you or your baby needs it.
Wherever you are during the 48 to 72 hour postpartum period, friends and family now have an important role to play in helping to look after you and your baby. However, this should only be on terms you feel comfortable with. Your midwife will visit you the day after you leave hospital.
If at all possible, try to have someone at home with you at all times in these very early days as you will still be bleeding and getting used to feeding.
How will I feel?
It’s very likely that you will feel tired and emotional. You have just been through pregnancy and childbirth so this is completely normal. It is important that you make the most of every opportunity to sleep and/or rest, as this will help you find energy and equilibrium in the long run.
It is also important to remember that just as the immediate postpartum period is crucial to a baby’s development, you are becoming a mother, so don’t underestimate this transition. Women experiencing the postpartum period need just as much support as those in labour. Don’t try to bounce back too fast and it would be helpful if your partner and family understand this reality.
Who can I turn to if I am concerned about mine or my baby’s health?
If you have any concerns about your baby’s health you can:
- call your midwife
- call 111 in the case of non-emergency situations
- call 999 if you have an emergency or serious concern
Also, you should look to register your baby with your GP surgery at the earliest possible time, you can do this either in person or by post, but you will need the pink card given to you when your baby’s birth is registered at the register office. Once you have registered the baby with your GP, you can receive help either with a face-to-face consultation or, if the service is provided, over the telephone. Many surgeries also run specialist child health clinics.
There are number of national and local projects and service providers offering help and support to new parents and their children; your midwife, health visitor or GP will be able to let you know what is available in your area.
Is it normal to have concerns about my baby’s health?
Yes, in fact, you would be in a distinct minority if you had no concerns about your newborn’s health. For a start, you are likely to be worried about your baby’s feed intake and feeding patterns (this is true whether you are breast or bottle feeding). While you’ll also almost certainly be closely monitoring sleep, crying, pooing and you might also be wondering about vomiting and mild skin rashes on your baby.
For the most part, these feelings are normal and are nothing to worry about. However, any of the following should be taken as possible red flags for your baby’s health and should prompt you to seek immediate medical help:
- Severe dehydration – no wet nappies
- No bowel movements
- High or low temperature
- Respiratory difficulty
- Signs of possible infection
- Signs of jaundice
- Baby is unable to wake for three to four hours following a feed
What are the Day 3 baby milestones?
Your baby can see you as you feed her and she is best at focusing on people and objects that are around 20 inches (50cm) away. She will probably be drawn to your most noticeable features – for example your mouth, your eyebrows and your hair.
She will be developing her muscles as she moves her head and eyes to look at you.
Baby will have around 10 bowel movements a day, and these will begin to change from the dark green meconium poo to yellower and runnier poo – these stools will be particularly soft if you are breastfeeding your baby.
What about my baby’s feeding?
Your baby has evolved to be a super-efficient feeding machine. However, the practical reality is not always so straightforward and feeding often feels stressful. At around Day 3, your milk will “come in” and you may notice your breasts feel fuller or warmer. Your baby will let you know when she is hungry and you should try to feed her as often as she wants. It is not possible to over breastfeed a newborn. Breastfeeding at night is important as this is when the hormone prolactin (known as the breastfeeding hormone) is produced. Prolactin aids lactation (the production and secretion of milk).
Feeding may take place in clusters of four or five closely-spaced feeds around Day 3. While all babies’ needs will differ, on average a newborn at Day 3 should be feeding around eight times or more every 24 hours. This kind of feeding pattern helps stimulate the production of more milk.
What about my health?
You will continue to bleed lochia from your vagina for another month to a month and a half. Lochia might contain clots. These are normal, but if any are larger than a 50 pence coin you should contact your midwife or doctor. You should also seek help if you notice an unpleasant smell, as this might be a sign of infection.
You may also feel pain from postpartum uterine contractions. This pain can be increased by breastfeeding. This is because breastfeeding promotes the production of hormones that shrink your uterus.
Seek medical assistance if you experience heavy bleeding, severe headaches, difficulties with your vision, fever or any other acute pain.
How can I get help?
As always, if you are concerned about your, or your baby’s, health, then speak to your midwife or GP. Alternatively, if you just want to find out more about looking after your baby, why not spend some time browsing through the articles and information on the My BabyManual website – it’s available 24/7 and is at the end of your fingertips.