Labor is over. Your baby is healthy and perfect. But what about you? We’ve answered common breastfeeding questions and provided helpful information every new mom needs to know about what comes next.

What happens after childbirth?

Right after birth, you'll be moved to a recovery room, where your vitals signs will be monitored until you're in stable condition. A little shivering at this point is normal.

If you've had a C-section, your recovery time will be longer and you may not feel strong enough to keep your baby with you full-time at first.

 

When can I start breastfeeding?

The sooner you two can get used to each other, the better. Right after delivery, you're good to start. If you're unfamiliar with positions, ask the nurse to help you get comfortable.

When can I eat? What should I have?

You won't be eating more than ice chips for the first 24 hours. You'll also need an IV to keep you hydrated. As for food, you need to wait for your digestive system to get going again. Once you pass gas, you're ready to eat a small meal of something mild.

As you're choosing what to have, know that your baby has been taking your nutrients, and will continue to if you're breastfeeding. In particular, you'll need iron. You can find it in lean meat, leafy dark green vegetables, enriched or whole grains, and dried beans.

What about weight gain during pregnancy?

Giving birth is the easiest 10 lbs you'll ever lose. That's about how much the baby, the placenta and its fluids weigh. As for the rest of it? You'll lose more in the first week as you pass more fluids. Breastfeeding helps too. After that, be patient. Remember that it took you nine months to put on the weight. Sensible eating and exercise that is approved by your doctor can help take it off.

Speaking of exercise, when can I start?

This depends on your doctor and the type of delivery you've had. It may be okay to take a brief walk around the maternity ward as soon as six hours after birth, to help get your digestive system going. When you do get the green light, know that exercise can help you fight fatigue, increase your circulation, lift your mood and drop that baby weight.

Why am I so emotional?

Your body has just been through a major ordeal. Your hormones are fluctuating dramatically. And you've just made a huge change in your life. Is it any wonder that you're a bundle of emotions?

For a lot of women, hormonal changes can cause mood swings. Mild depression is common at this point. So are feelings of stress. Things are wonderful and new, but they're also chaotic and sleep-deprived.

Whether you're weeping for joy, crying from exhaustion or both, it's important to know that you're not alone. Many, many women go through it. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your partner, your family and friends, your doctor, and from other moms who've been there too.