Newborn and After Birth Care
Holding your infant skin-to-skin with you, is promoted at St B. This means that the baby is wearing only a diaper and is placed on parent’s bare chest and both of you are covered with a blanket. Skin-to-skin care can also be done with the partner as well. Holding your infant skin to skin has many benefits for the baby, which include less crying, better breathing, better blood sugar levels, less stress, and breast/chestfeeding sooner, longer and better. It also promotes bonding between the infant and the parent. This practice can also be continued at home.
Learn more about kangaroo care in our video below:
Length of Stay and Discharge
- 24 to 48 hours or sooner after vaginal birth, with no complications for parent or baby
- 48 to 72 hours or sooner after a cesarean birth, with no complications for parent and baby
- Night births are discharged right after breakfast following 48 hours or 72 hours
- Please make plans for your ride home to be here at your time of discharge
You will be encouraged to breast/chest feed as soon as possible after birth. Most newborns will be interested in breast/chestfeeding within one hour of being born. Your baby will typically feed every 3 to 4 hours in the first day then more often at least every 2 to 3 hours including overnight. This is normal behavior, but it can be tiring for the new parent. Please try to rest when your baby is sleeping.
Help with breast/chestfeeding is provided from all of the nursing staff involved with newborns. Extra support is also available from our lactation support nurses, who see new parents in the hospital if there are breast/chestfeeding issues.
Pain Management After Birth
After your baby is born, you may have some discomfort or pain from “after pains” (cramps), stitches in your perineum or your breasts (chest)/nipples may feel sore. Your nurses will be asking about any discomfort or pain often and helping you with comfort measures if necessary. You may wish to have medication for pain and bowel movements at your bedside and take them when you feel the need rather than calling a nurse and asking for them. We refer to this as self-administered medication or the SAM Program. If you wish to participate, you will need to:
- Learn about the medications from a nurse or pharmacist
- Follow the directions for taking the medications
- Keep your medications safely at your bedside
- Use only the medications provided by the hospital
- Keep a record of the medications you take
Care of Yourself After Birth
See the booklet called Caring for Yourself and Baby After Giving Birth.
Care of Your New Baby
- See the booklet called Caring for Yourself and Baby After Giving Birth
- Baby’s doctor – your baby will need to be examined before they go home. It may be your family doctor, a pediatrician you already know, or one of our pediatricians or your midwife who will examine your baby before you leave the hospital. It is important to have regular care for your baby after discharge from hospital. Most babies should be seen by a health care provider by 1 to 2 weeks of age. You will need to make this appointment.
- Newborn metabolic screening – All new babies in Manitoba are screened for rare metabolic diseases before they go home from hospital. This test is done with a simple blood test. Your baby’s health care provider will follow up with you if there are any concerns. Want to learn more? Visit the Newborn Screening website of Manitoba Health or call the Cadham Provincial Laboratory at 204-945-7458.
If you have had a cesarean birth, the following information will answer some of the questions you may have after this type of birthing experience.
What happens right after my surgery?
You will be in the Recovery Room for about 2 to 3 hours. You will have an intravenous (IV) in your arm for fluids and a small tube in your bladder to remove urine; both will be removed in 12 to 24 hours after surgery if there are no problems. Sometimes the drugs from the surgery may make you itchy or sick to your stomach . Your nurse can give you other drugs to help with these problems.
While in the Recovery Room the nurse will check you often, provide pain drugs and check to see how well you are moving your legs. You will be asked to:
- Hold your baby skin-to-skin as soon as possible
- Breast/Chest Feed if you and your baby are well
- Take deep breaths and cough
- Move your legs; some people need special stockings to prevent complications, we will supply these
- Drink and or eat small amounts when you are ready
How will I manage my pain?
If you do not have allergies to acetaminophen (Tylenol ™) and naproxen (Aleve™), you will be given these pain drugs every six hours for the first 48 hours. After this time these same drugs can be left at your bedside, and you can take them yourself when needed. Let your nurse know if you still have pain after taking these drugs and they will help you. All the drugs we use for pain are safe for breast/chestfeeding parents. Before you go home, talk to your doctor or nurse about how to manage your pain at home.
When can I breast/chest feed my baby?
You can start breast/chestfeeding as soon as you are able. You can use a pillow to protect your incision when feeding; you can also hold the baby like a or lie on your side.
When can I get out of bed?
You should get out of bed and move around as soon as you are able (often the same day of your surgery). Make sure you have feeling in your legs before trying to get out of bed; have someone there to help you. Begin by walking slowly in your room and then down the hallway.
When can I begin to eat and drink?
Unless your doctor has given special instructions, you can drink and eat when you feel ready. Everyone is different so drink and or eat what you like.
How do I care for my incision?
Your nurse will remove your wound dressing the day after your surgery and then you can shower. If you can’t see your stitches, they are under the skin and will dissolve on their own; if you can see them or you have staples, they will need to be removed in about 5 to 7 days. Contact your doctor’s office when you get home to make an appointment for the stitches or staples to be removed.
When in the shower let the water run over your incision. Gently pat the incision dry using a clean towel. Wear loose clothing to avoid pressure on your incision.
Wash your hands before and after touching your incision.
Do not take a tub bath, go in a hot tub or swim until the incision has healed and vaginal discharge has stopped.
Will I be bleeding from my vagina?
Yes. For the first 3 to 5 days your vaginal bleeding will be bright red and may have small clots. The colour changes slowly to pink then light brown and to white over the next 3 to 6 weeks. Clean your perineum (area between your vagina and anal opening) each time you use the toilet using a squirt bottle filled with warm tap water. Change your pad every time you go to the bathroom or every 3 to 4 hours.
What can I do to help get some rest?
Have your partner or support person stay in the room with you as much as possible to help care for your baby.
Limit your visitors. Suggest friends visit when you get home.
How long is my stay in hospital?
Most parents and babies are ready to go home on the 2nd or 3rd day after birth. If you want to go home earlier, please discuss this with your nurse. If there are any concerns about your health or the health of your baby, you or your baby may need to stay longer.
Neonatal Intensive Care
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, St. Boniface Hospital is taking appropriate measures to protect our patients, visitors and staff.
Please note that effective 6 p.m. March 17, 2020, all visitors are restricted from the Hospital except on a compassionate basis and will be screened accordingly.
In exceptional circumstances, an escort may be allowed to accompany a patient. For example, the partner of a labouring person and the parents/caregivers of an infant in NICU would fall in this category.
We appreciate your patience as we work through any issues and adjust accordingly.
After your baby’s birth, you will be given an envelope which contains a Registration of Birth form. This form asks for your baby’s name, as well as information about the parents. Once completed, it will be a legal document, and must be handed in to our staff prior to the person’s discharge from hospital. If you have any questions about this form, you can call the Vital Statistics Agency at 204-945-3701 or toll-free at 1-866-949-9296. As well, social workers and nursing staff can assist with answering your questions.
You will also be able to apply for Canada Child Benefits and a social insurance number for your baby on the back side of this form. The parent’s social insurance number will need to be added at this time. As well, there is an application for a birth certificate for your new infant, which can be sent to Vital Statistics after discharge from hospital.
Infant Car Seats
Manitoba law requires all infants travel in car seats. It is up to you to learn how to use the car seat before you go home. Safety inspections of infants in their car seats are done by some fire departments and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI).
For further information, go to the MPI web site. Click on “Road Safety”, then “Car Seats” to find out general information on inspections and different types of infant car seats.
We also offer classes to teach parents on how to safely use their infant car seat. Classes are every Tuesday and Friday at 11:00 a.m. in Room B3005. If you and or your partner would like to attend this class, ask your nurse how you can arrange to attend.
One in eight new parents will experience postpartum depression. Information on postpartum depression is available at the following web site, or ask your doctor, nurse, midwife, hospital social worker or public health nurse:
For help lines call:
- Mobile Crisis Service (24 hours): 204-940-1781
- Klinic Community Health Crisis Line: 204-786-8686
- Health Links – Info Sante (24 hours): 204-788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257
Safe Sleeping Environments for Your Baby
Sleeping with your baby in bed is not allowed while in hospital. For information on creating a safe sleep environment for your baby, the Public Health Agency of Canada has developed a helpful resource called Safe Sleep for Your Baby.
Additional information and resources on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and safe sleep practices can also be found at
For information on immunization, contact your health care provider, Public Health Nurse or visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Immunization: The Safest Way to Protect Your Baby’s Health.
Questions and Help
Even after all the preparations you have made for the birth of your new baby, you may still have questions and need help. Please ask your nurse, doctor or midwife.
Sources of information include:
- Brochures and patient education material
- Birth Centre for information on health education programs on parenting and newborn care – contact [email protected]
- Public Health Office / Nurse
- Parent’s Health Clinic – Parent’s Program (204-947-2422 extension 113)
Sources of information on parenthood, breast/chestfeeding concerns and postpartum health care are listed in your booklet Caring for Yourself and Baby After Giving Birth.