The baby is ready to go and has obtained nutrients and antibodies via the placenta in order to face that first period outside of the womb. Contrary to what we often hear, newborns don’t have poor immune systems; rather, they can develop immunity to most kinds of infections. But that little body has never had to face an infection before, which is necessary for developing immunity. That’s why babies start life with mum’s antibodies and then develop their own immunity as they undergo various infections. When the baby is brand new, it’s wise to put off colds and other sicknesses until later. So let them become familiar with you, the parents, for a while before you head out into the city or a café. Being alone in your baby bubble and simply arriving is also beneficial in terms of avoiding infection. Friends and family will surely want to welcome your little one to the world, and they can as long as they’re nice and healthy. But there’s no rule saying that everyone has to hold the baby when they’re brand new. If it doesn’t feel okay for you as a parent, then others can be happy to just look and marvel at the little life from a distance.
If you have a scheduled C-section, then you know the date and time at which you will meet your baby – an incomprehensible feeling after months of carrying them inside of you. But if – like most others – you are giving birth vaginally, then how will you know when it’s time? If this is your first baby, you don’t have anything for comparison. Lots of people watch for their water to break as a sign of childbirth beginning. But in fact, only 10-15% of births start that way; it’s more common for that to happen during labour. And you shouldn’t expect that big Hollywood splash – sure, sometimes it looks just like it does in the movies (apart from the baby coming quickly thereafter). But usually, a smaller quantity of fluid slowly drips or trickles out. However, you should always contact your clinic if you know or suspect that your water has broken, because they will tell you what to do. Sitting and waiting for your water to break isn’t something you should do; instead, keep track of your contractions. If they’re coming regularly – three to four contractions within ten minutes – and about a minute long, it’s time to call the clinic. If you’re unsure, better to just call an extra time – no one will think you’re calling too often. If you are worried or don’t know how to interpret your body’s signals, it is better to call one too many times. It’s also very important to contact the clinic if you notice anything unusual, such as fewer foetal movements or bloody discharge.
It won’t be long now until you get to hold your baby in your arms. That is a fairly abstract feeling that’s impossible to understand before you’ve felt it yourself. We hope you have the chance to have lots of time with one another and with your baby in the beginning. It may sound like a cliche, but you won’t ever get to relive that first period of time with your baby – the opportunity to marvel at the life you’ve created is worth treasuring. This early period is incredibly emotional for many people, and the majority of people who have had a baby feel a bit low in the beginning. Known as the baby blues, this is totally normal and is due to exhaustion after childbirth, to hormones going bananas, and of course – to the enormous life adjustment entailed by taking care of a new family member. But there won’t only be tears. Usually, these feelings will be like a roller coaster: you might feel unbelievably happy in one moment only to be sobbing the next, apathetic and powerless for a second and then back to joyful. Even if you weren’t the one who carried the baby, it’s also common for partners to feel low. And that isn’t surprising, because of course we impact one another’s moods. If that low mood just won’t let up, and you can see that your partner isn’t doing well, it could be postpartum depression, which is something you will need help to recover from. Doctors tend to be good at getting a sense of how new parents are feeling – including the partner – but you can also contact your clinic if either of you needs help.