If a mother has opted to breastfeed her child, she may choose to nurse at this time; however, some women just want to cuddle their babies, waiting for a more tranquil time or until they're better rested to begin feeding.
Though her milk supply hasn't yet come in (this normally takes three days), and her child may be too sleepy to eat, the mother's breasts are filled with colostrum. This yellowish fluid contains important immunizing substances and has a mild laxative effect that helps clear fetal waste. It also has the proteins and fats for the baby's early feedings.
Your baby will most likely be weighed and measured within a half hour of delivery; some hospitals do this in the delivery room, while others take the baby to the nursery. Baby is put under a warmer and a nurse will take her temperature. Since infants are prone to getting cold, keeping them warm is often the staff's main concern.
Next, a nurse will give your baby her first bath, followed by a thorough physical exam. The infant's pulse, blood pressure, reflexes, eyes, head, genitals, skin, and limbs will be examined. When checking the eyes, for example, the nurse will note any discharge, blinking or tearing problems, pupil abnormality, hemorrhaging, redness, and eyelid puffiness.
Even if the baby will be rooming-in, he may be observed closely for the first four to six hours before he is brought to your room.
You may be surprised to know that during the first hour of life, babies can be amazingly alert and eager to socialize. Immediately after birth, for example, a newborn may gaze into your eyes for up to an hour. Researchers have proven that infants can see, hear, taste and smell better than they've been given credit for. Though some of their senses still need a lot of fine tuning (their vision is blurry, for example), and they need more time and experience to make sense of the world around them, babies respond to the sight and touch of their parents.
Your baby will especially enjoy being held on your chest where she can hear and feel your heartbeat. This close position will be relaxing for both of you, right from the start. Babies stay small for such a short time, and the first days after birth are especially precious. Be sure you take care to hold and enjoy your special, new little child.