Postpartum

After you’ve given birth, we want to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. You will be transferred to a postpartum room from Labor & Delivery when you are stable, where you can rest and start bonding with your baby.

At Natividad, we strive for excellence in your postpartum care and preparation, so your family can leave with the education, knowledge and confidence to give your infant the best care possible.

Breastfeeding Support

Natividad is a Baby-Friendly Hospital, which means we value and support breastfeeding. We offer education and support services to all breastfeeding women.

The Golden Hour

The first hour of your baby’s life is golden. The golden hour is the time mommy, daddy and baby first spend together as a family. It is the time for introductions, first “oohs and aahs,” the counting of fingers and toes, and trying to figure out hair and eye color. It is a bonding time for you and your baby that is a once in a lifetime event and deserves to be celebrated.

We want to give you and your baby that first hour together, uninterrupted, so you can get to know each other. We know you want to introduce your family and friends to your baby and we encourage you to welcome them after you have had this time alone.

Why it is important to bond with your baby in the first hour:

  • Studies show that the mother-child bond is critical for your baby’s on-going growth and development
  • We promote skin-to-skin in the first hours and days of your baby’s life to help the two of you get to know each other
  • This closeness is one of the best ways for you to learn about your baby and begin the important process of bonding and connecting with your new baby

Newborn Screening

At Natividad, all infants receive laboratory and hearing screening prior to discharge. Our team of nurses and physicians are highly trained to perform infant screening tests and are available to educate parents on results and courses of action when needed.

If an infant does not pass the hearing test, a follow-up appointment will be made with audiology.

Learn more about newborn blood screening >

Birth Records

Birth Certificates

Your child’s birth certificate should be available at the Monterey County Health Department in Salinas, four weeks after the birth of your child. Please be sure to send your child’s complete name and date of birth to:

Monterey County Health Department (Vital Records)
1270 Natividad Road
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 755-4504

You may go to the Monterey County Health Department to get a copy of your child’s birth certificate. If you want it to be mailed to you, you will need to send a notarized application including the $14 fee for the birth certificate.

Social Security Cards

A birth certificate representative will apply for your child’s social security number for you. You will not need to go to the Social Security office. The information on your child’s birth certificate will automatically be sent from the vital statistics office to the Social Security office. The process takes four to eight weeks. If you have not received your child’s card by that time, please call 1 (800) 772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office at (877) 600-2857.

Social Security Administration
24 B. Alvin Dr.
Salinas, CA 93906
928 Blanco Rd. Suite 155
Salinas, CA 93906

Infant Care & Safety

Bathing Your Baby

  • Sponge or tub-bathe your baby 2-3 times a week. Do not submerge your baby in a tub until after the umbilical cord falls off. Gently use soft cloths and towels on your new baby. Wash your baby’s face, neck, behind ears as needed. Use only warm water and mild soap. Before a bath, make sure the room temperature is warm.
  • Immediately following the bath, pat your baby dry, diaper and wrap in warm blankets. Make sure you have all supplies, towels and baby clothes close by before your baby’s bath. It is important to support your baby’s head and neck during the bath.
  • The umbilical cord will gradually dry and fall off in about 10 to 14 days after birth. After a bath and each diaper change, fold the diaper away from the umbilical cord to allow it to dry.
  • Gently wash the buttocks and genital area after each diaper change, wiping from front to back. This is important, especially for girl babies, to decrease the risk of infection.
  • A boy’s uncircumcised penis should be washed and rinsed every day. Do not push back the foreskin. Pushing back the skin may cause pain and bleeding. For more information on the care of your baby’s uncircumcised penis, talk to your baby’s doctor.
  • You should not use powders, lotions or baby oils on your baby’s skin.

Bowel Movements

  • At first, your baby’s stools will be dark greenish black and sticky. The stool will change to green, then yellow after several days.
  • Breastfed babies may have 6-10 loose, runny, yellow stools each day.
  • Bottle-fed babies may have 1-4 pasty, yellow stools each day.
  • Diarrhea stools are green, watery, smelly and frequent (12 or more per day)
  • Constipation refers to hard, dry stools passed with extreme difficulty.
  • All babies may grunt and appear to strain during a bowel movement.

Infant Safety

  • Before letting anyone touch your baby, have them wash their hands.
  • Anyone who is sick should not hold your baby.
  • Keep your baby’s crib free of pillows, heavy blankets, or stuffed toys.
  • There should be no more than 2 inches (size of a soda can) between the slats of your crib. If a soda can fits through the crib slats of your baby’s crib, it is not safe.
  • When bathing your baby, never leave him/her alone in the water.
  • Place your baby on his/her back to sleep.
  • Use a firm mattress.
  • Keep the crib mattress at the lowest level to prevent falls.
  • Place child-proof covers on all electrical outlets.
  • No smoking around baby at any time.
  • Keep hot drinks away from your baby.
  • Do not place pacifiers on a string around your baby’s neck.
  • Do not use honey; it can make your baby sick.
  • Do not feed your baby tea or anything not approved by your doctor.
  • Never shake your baby.

Car Safety

  • All children under 8, regardless of weight, must travel in a child restraint or car seat. It must be the right size car seat for their age and weight.
  • A child under 1 year old or weighing less than 20 lbs. may not ride in the front seat of a car with an active air bag system.
  • Never leave a child in a car unattended.
  • Protect the ears of your child by keeping the music level low.

Life After Delivery

The First Weeks

  • Bonding with your baby is important and satisfying. Make time for yourself every day, even for a few minutes. You may experience emotional ups and downs for the first six weeks. Talk to someone about your feelings and concerns.
  • Try not to take on too much. Just be a mother for a few weeks.
  • Ask for help, and accept it when offered. Don’t worry about trying to keep the home clean. Ask a friend or family member to help.
  • Make simple meals. Use foods from the freezer or have friends or family bring meals over.

Sexual Activity/Family Planning

  • No tampons, douching or sexual intercourse for at least 6 weeks.
  • Talk to your doctor about family planning. You can get pregnant as soon as 4 weeks after delivery.
  • Breastfeeding is not a method of birth control. Pregnancy may occur before normal periods start.
  • Due to hormones released during breastfeeding, vaginal dryness is common.
  • The use of water-based, “over-the-counter” vaginal lubricant may be needed during intercourse.
  • Do not use oils or Vaseline, as they do not wash away well and can damage condoms.
  • Bleeding, healing stitches, fatigue, and hormonal changes all affect a woman’s comfort and interest in sexual activity.
  • Only you can decide when you’re ready.

Activity

  • Try to nap when your baby is napping.
  • You may go outdoors as soon as you like after delivery. (If bleeding increases with activity, you may need to rest.)
  • Fresh air and sunshine are good for you and your baby.
  • Kegel exercises can be started at anytime.
  • Exercise may begin 2 weeks after delivery. Leg lifts, sit-ups and walking are good exercises to start with.
  • Other types of exercise can be resumed 6 weeks after delivery or as directed by your doctor.
  • Sitz or tub baths are safe following delivery, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
  • You should not lift anything heavier than your baby for the first 4 weeks.

C-Section

You may increase your activity as soon as the first week after surgery. Only you know how much you are able to do. Your incision is still fresh and you need to rest to recover and heal.

It is important to keep the incision clean and dry. It is unsafe to drive a car for the first 2 to 3 weeks after a cesarean delivery. Take pain medication when needed.

Diet

  • Fluids (about 8 glasses or more per day) are important to replace blood lost during childbirth and to avoid constipation.
  • Eat healthy. Be sure to include bran/whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, vitamin C (helps with healing), and calcium. If diabetic, follow the diet as instructed.
  • Continue to take your prenatal vitamins as directed by your doctor.

Your Body & Healing

Vaginal Bleeding/Perineal Care

  • Your vaginal discharge after delivery will be red in color. It will change from red to pink to white, and could last 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Vaginal bleeding may increase with breastfeeding or heavy physical activity.
  • Your menstrual period may not begin for several months, especially if you are breastfeeding. Your first period after delivery may be heavier than your normal flow.
  • Sanitary pads should be used for the first 6 weeks after delivery.
  • Do not douche or use tampons for 6 weeks after delivery, or as instructed by your doctor.
  • Your uterus will be firm and can be felt in the abdomen (size of grapefruit) for 10 to 14 days after delivery and returns to pre-pregnancy size at 4 to 6 weeks.

Care of Your Stitches or Episiotomy

  • Your stitches, episiotomy site or hemorrhoids may take several weeks to heal. It is normal to feel soreness for the first few days after delivery.
  • A tugging or pulling sensation is normal 2 to 3 days after delivery.
  • Stitches do not need to be removed. They dissolve on their own.
  • It is normal for a small stitch to be passed in the course of bathing or taking a sitz bath.
  • Rinse off the perineal area after urinating or having a bowel movement. For 1 to 2 weeks, use the “Peri” squirt bottle that was given to you in the hospital. Fill with warm water.
  • Always wipe yourself from front to back.
  • Change your sanitary pad at least every 4 to 6 hours.

Suggested Comfort Measures

  • Take a warm bath 2 to 4 times a day.
  • Use a topical ointment if suggested by your doctor.
  • Use pre-moistened witch hazel-soaked pads.
  • Use stool softeners, as suggested by your doctor.
  • Use a soft cushion.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. This will put a strain on your stitches or episiotomy.
  • Shift your position frequently while nursing or feeding your baby.

Care of Your Incision After C-section

  • Your incision may take 4-6 weeks to heal.
  • Sutures or staples may be removed prior to discharge or your doctor may have you return for removal during the first week after delivery.
  • You may shower and get your incision wet. Use only warm water and mild soap on your incision.
  • Avoid tub baths, hot tubs or swimming for the first 4 weeks after delivery.
  • Dry your incision gently.
  • It is normal for your incision to feel numb and may itch as the healing process begins.
  • DO NOT apply any lotions or creams to your incision to soften the scar.