Postnatal appointment

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

Yay! You have your baby in your arms! Huge congratulations on your new arrival. Hopefully you are all snuggled up at home enjoying cuddles with your baby. However, you may be staying in hospital a little longer until you are both well enough to go home.

Either way, getting to know your baby is a really special time and making time to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby is really beneficial for everyone. Partners can enjoy this special time knowing it is giving Mum some time to have a shower and grab a two handed snack, and for Mums, these precious moments will really help with bonding and feeding. Babies also love it as it helps to keep them toasty warm. So, basically, it is a WIN WIN for everyone!

Changing those first few nappies can come as a bit of a shock, especially if you haven’t been forewarned that a baby’s first poop looks like treacle. This black, sticky substance, known as Meconium is made up of all the products that baby ingested whilst still inside Mum. After a few days the colour and consistency of baby’s poo will change from black to dark green and then finally settle with an orange /yellowy colour. All very lovely!

In the first few days it is important that your baby is monitored to ensure that they are continuing to thrive, now that they are earth-side. Routinely, babies are weighed on day three where some weight loss will be expected. Don’t worry though because nature has been very clever and given your baby a healthy layer of brown fat which sustains them until larger volumes of milk arrive to satisfy your little ones appetite. In general babies that are formula fed will lose less weight. Your midwife will advise you if the level of weight loss is any cause for concern and, if so, help you with a plan to support you with feeding.

Following on from the day 3 weigh in you will be given an appointment for your baby to have their heel prick test on day 5. This is part of the National Newborn Screening Programme and will pick up if you baby has any rare, but potentially serious, health conditions, including sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis. Very few babies will test positive for the conditions but for those that do the benefits of treatment are vast. To undertake the test, four droplets of blood are taken from your baby’s heel and pressed onto a test card. Results will be provided by letter within 6-8 weeks. However, in the unlikely event that your baby does test positive you would be notified sooner.

If you have your baby in hospital most babies are offered the Newborn Hearing Screening Test before being discharged home. If you have your baby at home the test will be offered in the first few weeks. Your baby is played gentle clicking noises via a soft earpiece and their responses are recorded. This test often needs to be repeated as clear responses are not always detected. This happens quite often but doesn't mean your baby does have a hearing problem. It could be that baby was a little unsettled or had a blockage so try not to worry too much.

Prior to leaving hospital, or your home birth team leaving, a plan of visits or appointments should be discussed with you. However, make sure you have the correct contact number for your midwifery team so that if at any point you are worried about your baby or are struggling with feeding you are able to ask for support.

Finally, don’t forget that our Resident Midwife runs a FREE Virtual Coffee Morning every Tuesday at 10am via Zoom. This is a great opportunity for you to be able to touch base with a Midwife to ask all your questions but also to connect with other new parents too! Sign up here