desiresgrasp - congrats! I'm so glad she came back to have her kitties.
I don't know if you've posted in the Health forum or not, but just in case... very little care is required by you during the first few weeks after birth. Natural instinct causes the mother to provide for most needs of the offspring. The best advice is to leave the new family alone as much as possible and simply watch for anything you feel might be abnormal. Don't touch the kitties yet!
It's really important that the kittens nurse within the first 2-6 hours following birth. This provides the antibodies which fight disease in the kitten for the first 6-8 weeks of life. These antibodies are ONLY absorbed during the first few hours of birth.
They MUST be kept in a warm environment. Room temperature should be maintained at a minimum of 72 degrees F. Remember - itâ€™s about 10 degrees colder on the floor (since heat rises) than at eye level. It's important to make sure they're not in any drafts and kept warm. Dampness and chilling can be FATAL to young kittens.
My understanding is that a properly nourished kitten will sleep most of the time, stays quiet when fed properly, and has a full stomach. Kittens should sleep, wake up, cry, feed, and go back to sleep. Extended crying is not normal and may be a sign of problems: such as no milk available in the breasts, infected milk (mastitis), the mother cat not letting the kittens nurse, or a problem with the kitten being able to nurse properly. If one or more of the kittens cries a lot, you have to try to figure out what the problem is, and you may need to supplementally feed the kitten or kittens - and the family may need to go to the vet if the problem is with the mother.
Their eyes usually open at 10-14 days of age. Swollen eyes or discharges mean an immediate call to the vet!
Kittens should be brought to the hospital at 3 weeks of age for routine deworming of intestinal parasites, which they probably have since mom lived outside. She'll need to be treated too.
Begin weaning the kittens at 3-4 weeks of age. It is recommended to mix kitten food with warm water and milk replacer to achieve a watery gruel, although you'll get better advice in the health forum. As the kittens begin eating this better, you can slowly make the consistency of the gruel thicker and thicker. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that the kittens be able to nurse the mother cat until they are eating solid food readily. And if mom isn't cleaning them up when they eat, you'll have to do it. Each time they eat - or the food will get caked on and mat the fur - and it becomes a real problem.
They should be allowed to nurse their mum until 6-8 weeks of age.
You should monitor every day the size and weight of the kittens. All of them should gain approximately the same amount of weight daily. If one or two kittens are much smaller than the others, or are not growing as rapidly, the mother may be pushing them away and refusing to nurse them. You will have to supplement the feedings of these kittens with kitten milk replacer (from a bottle). DO NOT use human or baby milk. You'll have to contact your vet for these supplies.
Vaccinations have to be given at 6-8 weeks of age. The kittens do have some protective antibodies from the mother, but this may not be a strong enough protection against diseases like Feline Leukemia and some upper respiratory diseases.
Observe the mother cat and kittens for the presence of fleas. On very small kittens, even 5-6 fleas can cause serious blood loss. If the mom still had fleas, this could be a real problem for the kittens. But you'll have to have a vet take care of it as a flea bath will kill the kittens or make the mum so ill she can't feed or care for the kittens.
Be sure that the bedding and nesting area are cleaned daily to help prevent infection. I've never raised kittens, so I don't know how to do this. Hopefully someone here will, and if not, you can ask in the Health forum.
The kittens should stay with their mom and not be adopted out until they're 12 weeks old. She feeds them, cleans them, and teaches them everything they need to know to be cats without behavior problems during this time.
Good luck and keep us posted!!!!!!!