At Day 5 post birth you will be still be feeling tired, emotional, anxious and, conversely, elated. Hopefully by now, you will be adjusting to life as a new parent and may now be beginning to enjoy some level of cosy familiarity with your little one.
How are my breasts likely to feel on Day 5?
Your breasts will still feel heavy and full before you feed but will feel significantly less so once your baby feeds. You are likely to experience quite a bit of leaking and may want to use breast pads to stop you from constantly needing a costume change. Often it will be your non-feeding breast that leaks while you use the other to feed. If your breasts feel overly full you might want to express a small amount of milk before baby latches on as this may help make the process easier for both of you.
And lastly, be aware that if you venture away from your baby for any length of time, leakage could happen at any moment (particularly if you here other babies crying), so it’s a good idea to carry spare breast pads and even a change of clothes if you are out and about.
How often will baby be feeding on Day 5?
During Day 5 your baby should be having at least six feeds every 24 hours and maybe as many as 12. There can be a lot of variation child-to-child in how these feeds will be enjoyed; some babies are seemingly very organised and space their feeds evenly, whereas others might be a bit more chaotic and will have theirs in clusters.
Many newborn specialists suggest you should feed whenever your baby takes an interest in taking milk and you should end a feed when she starts to reject the nipple or bottle teat – don’t try to force a baby to take more milk than they are happy to.
Bottle feeding on Day 5
Much as with breastfeeding, if you are bottle feeding your baby on Day 5, you will take your cues from baby. In fact, when she is hungry, she may nestle towards your chest, making sucking sounds and sucking motions. If you respond promptly and get a bottle ready quickly, you can hopefully pre-empt any crying and the possibility of baby becoming too upset to feed.
Your baby will be quite good at letting you know when she’s finished. If her feeding begins to slow or she falls to sleep, it probably means she’s had enough. Let her take breaks from her feeding at these moments as otherwise you might unwittingly give her too much.
In terms of how much bottle milk a baby should be having, remember that each day babies generally need between 150ml and 200ml of formula per kg of their body weight. However, these amounts are not an unbreakable rule; there will be variation from baby to baby.
Your baby in the world on Day 5
Your baby is slowly beginning to adjust to life outside of the womb and she should now begin to seem a little more at ease with her surroundings. She may seem very content and happy after feeding, but will also probably have some periods when she seems a little uncomfortable or unsettled – yes, it is perfectly normal for a baby to cry.
A screaming baby is normal and so too is your desire to pick her up, hold her, comfort her and cuddle her. We recognise that we are mammals and that our young thrive from face-to-face, body-to-body and skin-to-skin contact with parents. By responding to your baby’s needs you will be reassuring her and helping to form a strong attachment. You will also be going some way to recreating the warmth, the dark and the security of the womb.
While she is still more or less immobile, your baby will be exploring her new world with her eyes and ears. She will almost certainly be able to recognise your voice and hearing both parents’ voices regularly will go a long way to comfort and soothe her. She will be able to see you best at around ten inches or 25 cms away, so when you’re feeding and cuddling it’s a great idea to look into your baby’s eyes as you talk and sing to her.
Newborns can vary greatly in their likes and dislikes, especially when it comes to being soothed. Some babies love to be swaddled (wrapped snugly in a blanket with arms and legs tucked inside) while others will settle best in a bouncy chair. Try as many different variants as possible and you will soon discover how your baby reacts best and how she likes to be handled.
What can you expect from baby’s bottom?
Don’t expect much in the way of structure. Baby’s bowel movements will remain regular, mostly loose and yellowish in colour in the early days: try to picture a couple of spoonfuls of korma sauce on a nappy and you pretty much have it! It’s important to check regularly for dirty and wet nappies, and to change them frequently. Continued contact with faeces and urine can be a strong irritant and will lead to ‘nappy rash’. A crying baby may be a sign that they need changing.
How will I feel on Day 5?
You are likely to still experience some vaginal bleeding during Day 5 postpartum. However, the lochia will be becoming darker, unlike the bright red blood typical to the first couple of days after childbirth.
You will also still feel pretty weary, especially as you are getting used to broken sleep through night feeds and nappy changes. If at all possible, this is the time to ensure you have as much help and support as possible. Yes, you are becoming used to the notion of being a mum, but if you overstretch yourself, it could leave you fatigued, emotional and possibly experiencing an increase in lochia and other health issues.
You may still be experiencing some abdominal cramps and uterine contractions. This is completely normal; it is likely to be around six weeks before your uterus shrinks back to its usual size. You may wish to speak to your doctor or midwife about what you can take for pain relief at this time.
It is also likely that you will still be experiencing some perineal discomfort as a result of tears or episiotomy. You can try to manage this as much as possible by using a cold pack, cooled witch hazel pads, salt baths or any other cream or spray that might be recommended by your doctor or midwife. Be sure to keep the area clean, wear loose fitting clothing and, when you are ready, start Kegel exercises to aid recovery of your pelvic floor.
It’s important to remember that just as your baby’s developmental journey will vary slightly to other new babies, so too will your journey into motherhood. Try as far as you can to be easy on yourself. It’s normal to want reassurance if you are worried about your baby’s or your own health and your GP, midwife and the NHS 111 helpline are all in place to give you advice when you need it. What’s more, you might just find that the information on the My BabyManual website can answer your questions and offer helpful tips and advice – it’s on hand 24 hours a day.