You've been waiting in excitement for the day when you can actually meet the baby you've been carrying for nine months - and the day has finally arrived. You are the proud parents of a new baby! What happens now?
Immediately After Birth
Your baby's nurse will check your baby and perform the following procedures immediately after birth. These are done quickly at the mother's bedside and should not interfere with a mom bonding with her new baby after birth.
- Your baby will be weighed and measured.
- Bar-coded identity bands will be filled out with baby's information. At Edward Hospital, we use an identical four band system: one band is placed on mom, one on dad or the designated support person, and two bands on the baby.
- An injection of Vitamin K is given to your newborn to help prevent bleeding, as a newborn typically has low levels of Vitamin K in their body-a substance needed for the blood to properly clot.
- Your baby will also receive prophylactic antibiotic eye ointment, as required by law, to prevent infection from bacteria the baby would be exposed to in the birth canal.
Each newborn will undergo certain routine tests and procedures during his hospital stay.
- Throughout his hospital stay, your baby's bilirubin levels will be screened routinely when his vital signs are taken, using a Transcutaneous Jaundice Meter. This is a non-invasive procedure which uses light to determine if your baby is jaundiced.
- A hearing screening test will be done prior to discharge, using the AABR technology, which screens the entire hearing pathway from the outer ear to the brainstem.
- At 24 hours of age a newborn metabolic screening test will be done, according to state law. This test checks for phenylketonuria (PKU) and congenital hypothyroidism, as well as many other congenital diseases or conditions. Results of this test will be sent to your baby's doctor.
Your baby's first bath will be given in our Newborn Nursery. Dad (or support person wearing the bar-coded band) may come into the nursery to watch (and videotape) the bath. Immediately after the bath a security band will be applied to your baby's ankle. We have an electronic security system in place and our Maternity Unit is a "locked unit" for safety.
To encourage family bonding after birth, mother and baby will both be cared for in the mother's room throughout her hospital stay. This allows you to begin to recognize and respond to your baby's first signs of hunger--arousal, bringing his fist to his mouth, sucking or licking movements of his tongue, or rapid eye movement in a sleepy baby. We encourage you to spend as much time as possible bonding with your baby skin-to-skin, which has been shown by research to have important health benefits for your newborn, as well as promoting better breastfeeding. We also have a well-baby nursery on our Mother/Baby unit for newborns requiring extra observation or treatment.
Your nurse will instruct you in caring for your newborn. This is a good time for dad to practice changing a diaper, too! We also have an in-hospital Newborn Channel with instructional programs for baby care, parenting issues, and topics related to mom's health. See the Program Guide at your bedside and plan to view as many of these programs as possible while you are on our Mother/Baby unit.
Your Baby's First Day
For more information about your newborn's appearance and behavior, see Baby's First Day in our pregnancy health center.