Caring for Your Baby Immediately After Delivery

After the birth of your baby, the baby is placed on your abdomen and/or under a warmer. The nurse or provider will assess the baby and assign Apgar scores at one and five minutes of age. The Apgar score helps assess the baby's condition. This is your baby - please let us know when you are ready to hold him/her. Some mothers want to hold their baby as soon as possible and some prefer to wait until the provider has finished with delivery of the placenta and any stitching that may be needed. Please feel free to continue to take pictures and/or videotape your new baby.

Following the delivery of your baby, identification bands will be placed on the baby and mom. These bands have a unique matching number that will be used to make sure you have the correct baby. A band will also be available for dad (or other family member) to wear. The identification bands will be checked each time you and your baby are brought together after separation. Please be our partner in providing the safest care possible for you and your family. If we forget to check the identification bands, please remind us to do so. Baby vital signs (temperature, pulse and respiratory rate) will be done shortly after birth and every one to four hours for the first 24 hours. Babies are then weighed, and their length, head and chest are measured. Two medications are given to all babies; a vitamin K injection is given into the thigh muscle to aid in blood clotting and an antibiotic eye ointment is placed in the baby's eyes to prevent eye infections. When the baby has a stable temperature, a bath can be given to your baby. Some providers order a blood sugar screen to be done at one hour of age. This involves a small poke to obtain a blood droplet from the baby's heel. Your baby's provider will generally see your baby the morning after your delivery unless your delivering provider is also your baby's provider or your baby has needs that require immediate medical attention.

Mothers who choose to breast-feed their babies are encouraged to nurse as soon as possible. Mothers who choose to bottle feed their babies will be assisted with the first feeding two - four hours after birth.

Two copies of your baby's footprints will be done, one for the hospital medical record and one for you to keep as a souvenir birth certificate. The official birth certificate paperwork will be initiated after you have delivered.

Nurses will continue to check your baby's vital signs, well-being and feeding patterns throughout your baby's stay. Please share any concerns or questions with your nurse or members of your health care team. Your baby will have a hearing screen before discharge. If you choose to have your baby boy circumcised, this is usually done in the nursery on the first or second day. Circumcision care instructions will be given to you.