Your postnatal care
After you’ve given birth your doctor or midwife will talk to you about your postnatal care and what this means for you and your baby. This should include contact details for the labour ward where you gave birth, in case you have any concerns or worries about yourself or your baby.
If you gave birth in hospital
Some women leave after 24 hours and others may stay a few days before they can take their baby home. You may have to stay longer if you had a caesarean section or if you had a complicated labour, for example if your baby was premature.
Who will care for me when I am at home with my baby
Once you are at home, the midwife should visit you on the first day after you've been discharged from the hospital to check on you and your baby. Call the hospital if this doesn’t happen.
There is no set number of visits you will have from your midwife. They will visit you for as long as they think you need their support. However, you will usually have a minimum of 3 visits in the first couple of weeks.
Your child’s health record
Shortly before or after your baby is born, you'll be given a personal child health record. This is known as the ‘red book’. It is used to record your childs height and weight, vaccinations and other important information.
You may find it helpful to keep this book with any other information you’ve been given about your pregnancy and labour, so you find it easier to refer to during any postnatal appointments.
Meeting your health visitor
You’ll start seeing your health visitor around 10 days after your baby is born. A health visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife who is there to help you, your family and your new baby stay healthy.
They can visit you at home or you can see them at your local child health clinic, GP surgery or health centre. You’ll be given their contact details in case you need any support outside appointment times.
You should be asked about your baby’s health and your own at every postnatal check. Your health visitor will chat to you about:
- your general health
- how much bleeding you have and if you’ve had any headaches
- how your wound is healing if you had a tear or cut during labour or a caesarean section
- your mental health and how you are feeling
- your baby’s health and how to know if something is wrong
- how your baby is sleeping and how you are coping
- how your relationship with your baby is developing
- what support you have from family and friends
- how you’re getting on with feeding, whether you’re breast, combine or formula feeding.
You should also be given details about local information and support networks, such as local child health clinics, parent and baby groups and local family information services.
“It helps to have someone to speak to who understands that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and need a little bit of time to adjust.”
Don’t be afraid to ask any questions during this time, even if you think you’ve asked it before. You’ll be given a lot of information after giving birth, and the first few days and weeks can be overwhelming. It’s very easy to forget things. Your midwife and health visitor will understand this and do what they can to support you.
Expressing milk means squeezing milk from your breast so you can store it and feed it to your baby later.
Every baby is different, but most new parents will have some sleepless nights. Here are some tips on how to cope.
Some parents bond with their baby immediately, while others find it takes more time. Here are some ideas for how to spend quality time with the newest member of your family.
We’ve answered your questions about formula feeding.
Formula is man-made milk that is designed for babies and can be used in combination with, or instead of, breastfeeding. Formula feeding is perfectly safe, just make sure you take care every time you make a bottle.
Here are some answers to common questions about breastfeeding.
Breast milk is a fantastic first food for your baby because it protects them from illness. Breastfeeding has lots of benefits for you, too.
Feeding can be a lovely time to get to know your baby and to bond. At the start you’re going to be doing a lot of feeding.
You’ll probably feel quite emotional for a while after you give birth. Try to look after yourself as well as your new baby and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed.
Your body has just been through an incredible experience, and you’ll probably feel sore and bruised. It may take a while to recover, so look after yourself and talk to your midwife or health visitor if anything worries you.
The first few weeks and months after having a baby can be very emotional. You may feel a huge mix of emotions from joy, love and pride to worry, sadness and frustration.
ℹLast reviewed on May 8th, 2019. Next review date May 8th, 2022.