Caring for your baby doesn’t stop at the formative months while in your womb. There is much more to do when it comes to postnatal baby care. Even before you can think of feeding and bathing your newborn to diapering and bathing, there are many more things you shouldn’t overlook. Here’s all you should know about what would happen to your baby after birth and how it must be responded to:
1. Keeping your baby warm:
You need to simulate the warm atmosphere your baby was exposed to when growing inside you. Keep the baby swaddled and close to your bossom when you hold it, to make it feel warm and secure. Should you put the baby in the bassinet, make sure it is still swaddled. Your young one is too small to monitor its body temperature. Babies are also given cap to keep the head warm. If you have had a vaginal delivery, your baby is likely to be placed on your abdomen to be dried off and covered
2. Skin-to-skin contact:
It not only promotes bonding but also keeps your baby warm and feel secure. For several women holding the baby in the right position does not happen instantly, especially if they are first-time moms. But they get that right eventually. Ask your nurse for the necessary help.
3. Collecting the cord blood:
Once your doctor cuts the umbilical cord, she would collect a tube of cord blood to check your baby’s blood type and save the sample for other tests. However, recent studies have suggested that the cord must not be cut right after birth and that it could wait for a few minutes to allow extra blood flow from the placenta to baby and thereby reduce any risk of anemia or iron deficiency in the baby.
If your baby has been suctioned on mouth and nose before delivering it by its shoulders, then it might still have much fluid inside its mouth or nose. So don’t be surprised if your doctor does further suctioning.
5. Apgar assessment:
Your baby’s breathing pattern, the heart rate, reflexes, color and muscle tone are evaluated by applying the Apgar assessment. Ideally, your baby can get through these tests even while it is resting on you.
Breastfeeding must happen with the first skin-to-skin contact. If your baby is not able to feed, it might take a little time. So don’t panic. Some first-time mothers also find breastfeeding daunting even if they are willing to nurse. Seek counseling with your midwife, nurse or a lactation consultant who is most likely to visit you in the ward.
If your baby has had problems at birth, it will have to go through resuscitation and might require extra observation. Your baby might also be placed in a radiant warmer in the birthing room while not being swaddled. His body might need to adjust to the transition between life inside the womb and that of the external world.
8. C-section baby:
If you have delivered through a C-section, your baby might not have an immediate rooming-in with you. Once your baby is through mouth and nasal suctions, Apgar assessment and other medical metrics such as measuring the length or the circumference of the head, it might be bottle-fed on formula milk instead of you feeding it. It’s quite likely that a C-section mom does not lactate at once after delivery. Also, consider the pain medication and antibiotics that you will be on post C-section. So rooming-in is not to be expected in every C-section.
9. Footprints and ID bands:
The medical crew will take copies of footprints, one for their records and one for you to keep. The ID bands are mandatorily put on the newborn’s wrists for identification. You and your partner might also have ID bands soon after your baby is delivered.
10. Antibiotic in baby’s eyes:
Antibiotic drops or ointment might be administered in your baby’s eyes soon after birth. It’s recommended to ward off any eye infections caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea that your baby might have been exposed to while exiting the birth canal and which might even lead to blindness. It could, however, be administered after you have been through the first skin-to-skin and breastfeeding session with your baby.
11. Vitamin K shots:
Don’t be surprised if your baby is administered vitamin K shot to promote its blood clot.
12. Your baby is given its first bath:
Once your baby’s body temperature has stabilized, a nurse might give him a sponge bath and wash his hair as well. After the bath, it also has its pediatric examination. Bathing and the exam can either be performed in the nursery or your room.
13. Screening tests:
Once your baby is two days old, a few drops of blood might be drawn to test for hypothyroidism, phenylketonuria (PKU) or other metabolic or genetic disorders or HIV virus. Usually, it is recommended that you wait for 48 hours after the baby’s birth because most signs don’t show up until your baby is two days old.
Your child is vaccinated within 12 hours of birth. Hepatitis B vaccine is known to provide short-term protection, i.e. within 12 hours of birth. If the mother is hepatitis B positive, it is necessary that your baby is given a dose of HBIG as once.