Your Baby’s First 24 Hours of Life

Nine months and hours of labour later, you finally get to hold your little one in your arms. Ideally, since you got the news that you were expectant, you have probably 

thought about the labour pains, pushing and even the possibility of a C-section. However, it is important to find out what to expect from your child for the first day of their life too. Read on to see what to typically expect of the first 24 hours of life outside your womb.

First Five Minutes After Birth

Immediately after your baby is born, the doctor will suction their nose and mouth using a bulb syringe to help eliminate any amniotic fluid or mucus in the breathing passageway. Your baby is then placed on your chest, and the Apgar test is done. Apgar test is a test done for the first five minutes of life to help determine how your baby is doing in the outside world and how they have tolerated the birthing process. During this time, the doctor evaluates areas such as

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing effort
  • Skin color
  • Muscle tone
  • Reflex irritability and grimace response

Read more about the Apgar scoring here.

First Hour to The Third Hour of Life

The first hour after birth is commonly known as the golden hour and is the time that your baby stays on your chest for skin-to-skin bonding and for some, breastfeeding. During this time, the nurses check on the baby’s vitals every fifteen minutes. Weighing and measuring are also done at this time. Your baby may have an eye ointment administered to them to help prevent possible eye infections. Vitamin K is also administered to help prevent clotting problems.

Four Hours to Twenty-Four Hours

Ideally, you will spend this time in your postpartum room learning how to take care of your baby. This is especially so if you are new at it. Your nurse will help with things such as changing their first poo, known as meconium. You will then continue feeding your baby every two to three hours to help eliminate the bilirubin through the stool.

After birth, your baby will be able to recognize your voice as they are used to hearing it in the womb. Their vision will be blurred but they can focus on your face from about 30 cm.


#Please note that development differs from one child to another

#Information intended for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Last reviewed January 2018

Sources: baby-chick, goodtoknow, verywellfamily, pregnancybirthbaby

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