The uterus will shrink back down to its normal size after delivery. The contractions are called postpartum pains, or simply afterpains, and are similar to period pain.
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Contractions are completely normal and help the scar where the placenta was attached to the wall of the uterus to heal. This is often more uncomfortable after a second or third delivery. Breastfeeding can bring on afterpains because the baby’s sucking triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which in turn causes contractions. You can take non-prescription medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease the pain and it may be soothing to have a heat pack on the tummy.
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Breastfeeding the very first time
Straight after birth, the newborn baby tends to be awake and alert for about two hours, which is when the baby breastfeeds for the first time.
Getting the baby to latch on to the breast
It is important that the baby can latch on to the breast properly as this will reduce the risk of sore nipples, uncomfortable breastfeeding, engorgement, insufficient amounts of milk and slow weight gain in the baby.
The first days of breastfeeding
The breastfeeding pattern differs from child to child. Some babies sleep almost the entire first day after birth, while others want to feed straight away and often. Although your priority is not on yourself, make sure to sleep when the opportunity presents itself, eat well, and ensure that you get enough fluids.
Bleeding and discharge after giving birth
After giving birth, it’s normal for the mother to bleed, for up to eight weeks. Most of the bleeding is from where the placenta comes away from the wall of the uterus. This happens to all women, whether the birth was vaginal or by cesarean section.
It’s not over yet when the baby’s out – don’t forget the third stage!
Just when you think everything is done and dusted, the afterbirth comes. Get ready for the final push!