During your postnatal stay

We understand you have your own unique expectations, past experience and preparation as you welcome your new baby into your life. We are here to support you to recuperate from your birth and support you to care for your newborn.

We appreciate being cared for by midwives you know is important to you, and increases the consistency and your confidence in the information you receive.

If you are not experiencing any major health problems, you will stay in hospital between six hours and two nights after a vaginal birth, and three nights after a caesarean birth.

Getting to know your baby

Each baby is its own little person and after a short period of time you will know your baby’s character better than anyone. We are here to support you in your transition into parenthood.
Your baby will stay with you in your room and we recommend your partner and or support person spends time helping you. This time is important, as your baby has been with you constantly during your pregnancy and will be reassured by your touch, smell and voice now that he or she is out of the stable environment of your womb.

Baby care

Our midwives are here to help you and your partner or support person with bathing, changing nappies, settling, and feeding your baby.

Baby checks

Your baby is checked in the birth suite to make sure he or she is adapting to ‘life on the outside’.
When you arrive on the ward—with your baby, if all is well—the midwife taking over you care will check again to make sure your baby is pink, breathing normally, has a cord clamp in place and has two name bands on (usually wrist and ankle).

Each shift your midwife will check your baby with you, to ensure:

  • your baby has had a poo (the first bowel action is called meconium. It’s black and very sticky)
  • your baby has had a wee (at least 1-2 wet nappies per day before feeding is established)
    • expect 6 + wet nappies once feeding is established
  • the cord is drying out and separating
  • your baby’s skin colour
  • your baby can become a yellow colour we call jaundice. This is common and usually passes without any need for treatment.
  • your baby is alert (when not asleep)
  • you can discuss any concerns you may have at all with your baby
  • your baby still has both name bands on (usually wrist and ankle)

Feeding baby

Your midwife will assist you with learning how to breastfeed. For example:

  • good positioning and attachment
  • early breast milk (called colostrum) and your changing lactation
  • how to tell if your baby is getting enough milk when you get home
  • how to access lactation support
  • how to get to the breast feeding class

If you are not planning on breastfeeding, or think that you may try a combination of feeding types, please provide all your own bottles and formula. Please discuss any queries or concerns with your midwife before you come to hospital, so you come best prepared.

Newborn Screening, ‘vit K’ and ‘hep B’ vaccination

During your pregnancy, we will give you information on newborn screening, giving your baby Vitamin K and the Hepatitis B vaccination. This is to ensure you have time to read the information and make an informed decision about why we recommend these.

Your midwife will always check with you before giving the injections and doing the newborn screening test.

Your baby’s Health and Development Record (Green Book)

You will receive your Health and Development Record after your baby is born. It includes child health information for parents and is a record of your child’s health, growth, development and immunisations, from birth to six years of age.

We write your baby’s birth details in here as well as birth weight, length and head circumference. The Green Book is also a record of any tests we perform, such as the newborn screening tests, baby’s top to toe physical check and the Vitamin K and Hepatitis B vaccine.

Caring for you

Your midwife is there for you to ensure you recover well from your pregnancy, labour and birth. Your midwife will regularly check:

  • your blood pressure and pulse
  • your blood loss, as well as making sure your uterus is well contracted (we will show you how to do this too)
  • your stitches (if you have them) or any swelling or bruising to your perineum
    • your midwife will also give you ice for bruising to help yout feel more comfortable
  • your caesarean wound (if you have had one) to make sure it is healing
  • what pain relief you need and how often
  • how you are feeling, both physically and emotionally
  • how your baby’s feeding is going
  • how you are feeling about caring for your baby
  • what you may need that we haven’t anticipated.

Your midwife will talk to you about normal changes to your body following birth, and the importance of:

  • being able to wee regularly and in pre-pregnancy amounts
  • knowing what is not normal blood loss
  • caring for your breasts and nipples
  • eating and drinking well
  • post natal exercises.

Understanding your emotions

  • Excitement and joy can sometimes make it difficult to rest for a few hours after your birth
  • Tiredness can then be overwhelming (see the importance of rest time)
  • ‘Baby blues’ can occur (feeling weepy and down for a day or two; it is very common and due to hormonal changes)

Rest time and visiting time

Whilst you are in the hospital, we encourage bonding time with your baby, rest, and sleep.

From 3:30–5pm we have quiet time. Lights are dimmed and we encourage partners to assist with settling at this time. Staff will ensure there are minimal disruptions to you and your baby also during quiet time.

Learn more about visitor restrictions

Going home

Discharge time to leave the hospital is at 10am. Please arrange for your partner or family to be at the hospital by 9am. If there is a delay, because you or your baby needs a check by one of the doctors, your discharge may be later. Your midwife will let you know if there is an expected delay, and how long it may be.

Getting you and baby ready for home

  • Your baby will be given a head-to-toe check by your midwife or sometimes one of the doctors. This will be written up in your baby’s green book, as well as in our notes
  • Your midwife will perform a final check on you to make sure your body is healing
  • We will give you information you will need on:
    • home visit by our domiciliary midwives
    • breastfeeding support
    • self care
    • exercises to help you recover from your pregnancy and birth
    • the maternal and child health nurse visits
    • where to get help or support, if you need it
    • when to see your GP
    • contraception.

Your preparation for the journey home

  • make sure you have your baby car seat fitted properly
  • if you think of something you want to ask your midwife, write it down so you remember to ask before you go home
  • now your baby is here, you may need things you hadn’t anticipated for home
  • ask your friend or family member to help you get what you need.

Top tips to share with your loved ones and close friends as a new mother

  • Don’t wait to ask if you can help me in any way;
    • gifts of food are always welcome. Drop some off and leave soon, after a short visit, unless I really need company
    • be direct if you are offering to help. For example: “I would like to help with shopping, looking after baby while you sleep, cooking, any house work etc. What would be the most useful for you?”
  • Don’t knock or ring the house bell if there is a sign on the door saying “mum and baby sleeping”: please send me a text instead, in case I have forgotten to take the sign off
  • Keep visits short, especially if I look tired and baby is asleep
  • If baby is awake and fed, and I look tired, offer to look after baby so I can have a nap if you have time
  • Do care for me if I don’t seem myself and appear sad (ask me how I am really feeling)
  • Don’t be offended if I refuse your offers of help: I might be feeling really well and on top of things
  • Ask me to go for a walk or on a coffee date: I might want to get out of the house and have some company for a short while

Last reviewed September 28, 2017.

Your labour and birth

Your labour and birth is one of the most amazing experiences you will have. It is our privilege to help you prepare for labour, and to provide care and support for you and your loved ones in our birth suite at the Mercy Hospital for Women.

Your labour and birth

When your baby may need additional care

Some babies are born too early (prematurely) or with an illness. At Mercy Hospital for Women, these babies are cared for in our combined Neonatal Intensive Care and Special Care Nurseries.

When your baby may need additional care