15 Things You Didn't Know Can Happen During The Baby's First Night

Welcome to the world of parenthood. There are months of preparation, internet searches and stories from friends and family. Mothers may think they are ready, but there are certain things no one ever talks about.

Walking (or waddling) into the hospital to give birth for the first time is an experience like no other. The bags are packed, she has clothes and diapers ready to go for her newborn and is looking forward to getting her “body back”. The car seat is safely installed and the new baby’s room at home is painted in sweet pastel shades. There is the overwhelming joy of meeting a child for the first time, and no one can ever really explain what that feels like.

But, once the baby has entered the world and the first few blissful moments have worn off, there can be some unexpected occurrences. Parents are often left wondering what is normal and what isn’t. They can be left staring at this strange, helpless, yet beautiful creature and wondering if what is happening right now is actually supposed to.

This is the article which all parents need to read before that hospital visit, as it will help to put the new mother’s mind at ease. Here are 15 unusual things which can happen during the first night, regardless of the type of childbirth she has. Many of these are unexpected, but by reading on there will be no panicking in the middle of the night over completely common events:

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15 The Baby Might Be Yellow

If you notice your baby has yellow skin, it isn’t your eyes playing tricks on you but a simple case of jaundice. This is extremely common during the first few days after birth, with up to 60% of bubs who are born near their due date experiencing this. The percentage is even higher for those who are born prematurely.

Jaundice is caused by their liver having to adjust to processing a chemical called bilirubin. This is what causes the yellow hue to their skin, and it can even cause a change in color to the whites of their eyes. This should be monitored and if the levels of bilirubin do happen to become too high, they may need a treatment called phototherapy. For mild cases, some indirect sunlight can help.

If jaundice does occur, it is normal for a few days but should still be discussed with a doctor or midwife, particularly if the child appears to be feeling unwell.

14 The First Bowel Movement Will Be Black

Babies. They are cute, cuddly and innocent looking. New parents expect their little angels to be just that…angelic. However, for those who are unprepared, the first bowel movement can leave doubts as to whether the baby is in fact possessed. Be assured this is not the case as it is completely normal to see a thick black mess in their nappy for the first few days after birth.

The tar-like texture looks more threatening than it actually is, as it generally does not come with an overwhelming odour. Remember, until this point they have been fed inside the womb and have not yet had time to process any milk.

It may be black and green, and look like something they make roads out of…but there should be no cause for alarm. It even has a fancy name, it’s called Meconium and it is made up of all the goodies which the baby ingested while on the inside.

13 There Might Not Be Enough Milk

During baby's first night, many mothers have difficulty producing enough milk to keep them satisfied. They may be tiny, but until this moment they have had a constant food supply and will scream the house down just to fill their little belly.

Milk doesn’t always “come in” straight away but with a bit of patience, it will happen. The hospital may even bring out the breast pump or give medication to boost the milk supply. This isn’t always comfortable but should only be for a short period of time.

Remember, the more the baby sucks the more milk the body will create and they will still be getting the benefits from your colostrum. Don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids! If this does happen, try not to put too much pressure on yourself as before too long you will be leaking through your t-shirt and wondering what all the worry was about.

12 Swaddling Isn't Easy

One game which is a common feature at any baby shower involves swaddling a baby doll as quickly as possible. It seems easy until it is time to wrap up a fragile, yet wriggly real-life baby. From the moment a child is born, a mother realises she does, in fact, require at least three hands and she becomes a master at juggling.

Newborns like to be swaddled, it gives them comfort and a sense of security. When they are first born, their bodies aren’t experienced with regulating temperatures and being wrapped will keep them warm. In addition to this, when they sleep they have something called a startle reflex. This means hands start flying everywhere which essentially can wake them up.

Swaddling is something which will become second nature over time, but you can bypass the whole awkward experience by purchasing a zippable version which works similarly to a sleeping bag.

11 The Baby Head

Entering the world is not without a little danger, and your baby's head may pay the price by being a bit out of shape. This is referred to as head molding, and it is can be caused by the pressure that occurs during childbirth

It is nothing to be concerned with as their bones are made to be flexible, and should settle on its own within a few days. This is most common during natural labour, and most C-section babies won’t experience anything like it.

For women who face difficulty during labour, suction may be used to help the baby out. This can leave a temporary red mark on their head.

If you notice your baby begins to get a bald patch on the back of their head, this is caused by sleeping in the same position. It will eventually grow back when they are able to move more freely.

10 Expect The Tests

On the first night after childbirth, there will be a few rare moments where the baby sleeps and you find yourself drifting off to peaceful bliss…but it will be short lived.

Before long there is a knock at the door and a well-meaning nurse is staring you in the face. What could possibly be more important than sleep at this point? Blood pressure tests, pain killers, temperature checks for Mom, and tests for the baby too.

With what appears to be every few hours of a bit of this and a bit of that, do not expect to get any sleep in the hospital. At all. When the morning hits, the lights are on and there is a food cart waiting to serve you breakfast. Food often comes with a side of whistling as they blissfully embrace the morning sun. Hospitals do a great job of looking after us, but from the word “Go” you will be a walking zombie.

9 And The Baby's First Shots

Compared to the pain of natural childbirth, or the recovery of a C-section, needles are really nothing. But, for many people, the phobia of needles is real and the new mother can expect a needle or two depending on how she is fairing. These are generally in the upper thigh, but a blood test may also be required.

A newborn baby is given shots, expect to see Vitamin K, a hepatitis B vaccination and antibiotic ointment for their eyes. They are also likely to be given a blood test, which is normally a small prick in their heel.

It may feel daunting allowing such a delicate baby to experience any type of pain, but they won’t remember it. A few seconds of tears is worth the extra protection these types of shots provide. It is all about giving them the best start and preparing them to go out into the world.

8 Not All Babies Want The Binkie

For many new parents, a pacifier is a staple item in the hospital bag. Just in case you get a baby who cannot self-soothe, a pacifier could be a sanity saver. Not all pacifiers are designed the same, and often babies will have a style they prefer.

There are babies who may be allergic to latex which can lead to serious side effects, so always try to choose a version which is made from silicone.

Then, there are those little bubs who simply do not want a pacifier. They might not need it, as parents stand there wondering whether to encourage it or not. Or, they might not like it and spit it out in favor of their mother.

You may have a first born who adored their pacifier and relied on it for daily use, while your second child just looks up at you blankly as you try to offer it to them. Every child is unique, and that is what makes parenting so rewarding!

7 Nursing Doesn't Always Come Naturally

For many women, breastfeeding isn’t as simple as placing the baby on the breast and letting them work it out for themselves. The baby may have difficulty latching on and it may even feel uncomfortable for the new mom.

There are women who enjoy breastfeeding and the connection it provides to their child, and there are women who find it just doesn’t work. Try not to be alarmed if it doesn’t come naturally, ask your midwife to help find the correct position and technique.

Sore nipples, thrush and blocked milk ducts (which can lead to a painful condition called mastitis) are common but rarely discussed prior to childbirth. With hormones running rampant, it can be easy to feel guilty about struggling with breastfeeding but this does not mean you love your child any less. Try to relax, take your time and never be afraid to ask for help.

6 There Will Be Conflicting Advice

When you have a baby, everyone has an opinion. But, every baby is different and what worked for your cousin’s, sister’s, friend may not work for you. The conflicting advice comes at you from every angle, and this starts from the hospital bed.

In the space of one night, you may be advised never to give your baby a pacifier, just to be handed one from the next nurse on duty. From the moment your child is born, the advice will be given whether you ask for it or not.

The best strategy is to listen to the medical experts while working out how to care for your baby in your “own” way. As far as the health of your baby is concerned, this is the only advice which truly matters. Whether you use disposable or reusable diapers, or a bassinet or cot, really just comes down to personal preference.

5 Expect A Lot Of Diapers

Everyone knows babies and diapers go hand in hand, but no one really understands just how many they really need until they have a child of their own.

Check in with the hospital to find out whether they supply the diapers, or if you need to bring in your own. It is likely you will need a minimum of ten per day, that is a lot of diaper changing! Even if you do decide to go down the cloth nappy route, during the hospital stay it may be more convenient to have a few disposables handy.

With all this changing, your baby may get nappy rash so having some nappy rash cream and baby wipes in your hospital bag is essential.

It doesn’t take long to be an expert nappy changer, and if you aren’t prepared you will be surprised at just how quickly the dirty nappies pile up!

4 Two Sets Of Tired Eyes

Whoever came up with the saying “slept like a baby” has never had a baby. Regardless of the type of birth, the process of having a baby can be exhausting. Even when both Mom and Bub are tired, there is very little chance of sleep.

Imagine being born into the big wide world, it is a pretty big deal. There are those hunger pains to deal with, and a baby’s tummy is only small so any food they eat really doesn’t last long. There is missing the comfort of the womb and all those human inconveniences such as wind and burps to deal with!

Crying is the only way they have to communicate, and sleep will feel like a long-lost friend. Mothers may feel uncomfortable and sore from the miracle of childbirth, and many people can’t truly relax until they are back in their own home. The first night will probably feel like a blur, it truly is a mixture of pure bliss and exhaustion!

Crying is the only way they have to communicate, and sleep will feel like a long-lost friend. Mothers may feel uncomfortable and sore from the miracle of childbirth, and many people can’t truly relax until they are back in their own home. The first night will probably feel like a blur, it truly is a mixture of pure bliss and exhaustion!

3 It Can Be Surprisingly Lonely

The first night after having a baby can be surprisingly lonely. Often new mothers are left alone with their baby, and if the hospital is particularly busy they may feel as though they are doing it all on their own. Feeding a baby in the middle of the night and realising how completely dependent they are, is a surreal experience.

For many women when they are finally allowed to go home with their newborn, the comfortable, supportive environment is enough to make them feel a little brighter.

However, these feelings of loneliness mixed with post childbirth hormones can quickly lead to postnatal depression or the “baby blues”. For those who still feel lonely after a few weeks make sure you are open about your feelings and seek help. Childbirth can cause anxiety and is a huge life change. It is understandable it may take some time to adjust, but there are a variety of services available to put your mind at ease.

2 You Might Not Want Visitors

Before going to the hospital, there may be the idea of the walls being lined with flowers as visitors come streaming in to greet the new addition to your family. This idea can quickly change to a feeling of dread, particularly after a long labour. It is perfectly acceptable to say “no” to visitors, and choose for them to wait until everyone is settled in at home.

During the first few days, there is a lot going on, and a whole new person to get used to. Just having a shower can be a big accomplishment and trying to be upbeat and sociable when you are sleep deprived can be more than you can handle.

If you do not feel like visitors, wait before announcing the news on social media, and be honest about how you feel. Friends and family will understand, there is plenty of time for them to interact with your new bundle of joy.

1 The Connection Might Not Happen Right Away

There is a strong bond between mother and child which is not like anything else in the world. This familiarity and connection does not always kick in straight away, it can take some time.

Yes, they have been kicking inside of your stomach for the past nine months as they shared every meal and danced directly on top of your bladder. This does not always mean holding them in your arms is going to feel like a natural experience.

Once they are on the outside, they are their own person and it can take time to get to know them and understand what they are trying to say to you when they cry.

There is a feeling of protectiveness but they can also seem like a stranger. Until this moment, you didn’t even know what they looked like or heard the sound of their voice. If you don’t bond with your baby straight away, it might come as a shock, but give yourself a chance to build the connection as it is not abnormal to feel this way.

Sources: essentialbaby.com.au, cyh.com

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