First few days

What to expect during the first few days …

You will quickly realize that you are out of control and your baby will teach you how to care for her. This is part of a natural process which entails common sense and is driven by your baby. You will get loads of conflicting advice from  varied group of well meaning people. Your baby knows best and will teach you accordingly… listen to your little one.

Crying is the most wonderful way your little baby will teach you what to do. Always cuddle first, check nappy does not need changing, check there is no wind by simply holding upright and the wind will naturally find its way out, and feed when none of the above are relevant. If a newborn baby is crying, and you are in doubt what to do, always offer a feed.

Baby will be a lazy feeder in the beginning, and will fall asleep often during feeding, this is the colostrum phase.  This phase is followed by ravenously hungry phase, often in the middle of the night. This hunger demands feeding which stimulates the breastmilk to come in. This is then followed by a more settled phase with less frequent feeds.

Weight Loss

Your baby will lose weight in the first few days and this is a loss of water, it is not a reflection of how you are feeding. Baby can lose up to 10% of his birthweight initially and is usually back to his birthweight at the end of the first week.

Umbilical Cord

Treat umbilical cord vigorously with cotton bud and spirits until it has fallen off and the base is dry. A small umbilical hernia is common and of no concern and will eventually go inward.


This is common, mild and rarely needs testing or treatment. It is usually obvious by the third day and the medical staff will monitor and advise you. Fluorescent lighting makes jaundice look worse. If your baby needs treatment the appropriate lights will be arranged, however it is not acceptable to expose your little one to sunlight as a treatment.

Skin Rashes

Babies are often appear very red in the first few days.This is due to high hemoglobin at birth and as this breaks down it may cause jaundice.  They may also develop a rash which comes and goes and which looks like mosquito bites. This is a harmless rash called erythema toxicum. They often have a white bumpy rash on the nose called milia.

Blue Hand and Feet

Blue hand and feet are normal in the first few day, this is called acrocyanosis. Your baby is not cold as long as you dress your baby a layer warmer than you.


Meconium is usually passed within the first 24 hours. An orange powdery discharge is sometimes seen in the nappy and this is urate crystals in the urine and is harmless.

Screening Tests:

1) Thyroid

Thyroid testing is done in the hospital on cord blood at birth to screen for low thyroid hormone levels.

2) Hearing

Hearing tests are also done in the hospital on about the third day. The audiologist will meet you in the ward.

3) Extended metabolic screen

This is available to test for over 20 rare inherited conditions. It is done via a blood spot/heel prick. There is an additional cost for this screening.