While you have paid so much attention on how your post-delivery hospital stay will unfold, you might not realize that your newborn will be twice as busy as you will be. Within five minutes after the little one arrives into this world, he is pricked, poked, tested, measured, cleaned, and swaddled. Most hospitals have their own delivery procedures and this is how your baby’s first day will start from the minute he is born.
After the tiny, wet little baby emerges with a slightly pointed head as a result of passing through the birth canal, the feelings in the delivery room are very emotional and overwhelming. The head shape is only temporary and they will take a well-rounded shape in a few days. The head might be bigger than the body.
The scrunched up look of your baby is because of the legs and arms bent while in the womb. This is quite normal as well and their limbs will straighten as they grow. Your baby will have tiny fingers and toes and sometimes – long nails.
The baby’s skin may look pink,
Any rashes, blotches, or tiny patches are also common when they are born. Doctors usually examine the baby and make sure these rashes or blotches are normal. The shape and appearance of your baby will change drastically over the next weeks as your little one grows.
First Five Minutes After Birth – Apgar Scores
As soon as you deliver the baby, the doctor will do suction in the baby’s mouth and nose with a suction bulb to clear away any mucus and amniotic fluid. Then the clamping and cutting of the umbilical cord are done. The remaining stump will shrivel and fall off within the next 7-10 days.
Your baby will then be evaluated through Apgar scores
- Heart rate
- Reflexes, response, activity
- Muscle tone
Apgar scores could range from zero to ten. If it is above seven, then it is generally considered healthy. Most of the newborn babies score eight or nine, but if your baby’s score is low – the reason will be addressed and the testing will continue at five-minutes interval until the time the issue gets resolved. There is nothing to panic or worry as most babies who score less, do become a happy and healthy baby later.
While you are delivering the placenta, your newborn will be going through other procedures which include:
- Measurement of weight
- Measurement of height
- Measurement of head circumference
- Eye Drops to prevent infections
- Blood sample from umbilical cord
After the measuring and weighing, typically, the baby will be swabbed clean. You may be able to watch everything while getting stitches, if necessary. Your nurse will place the baby on your chest, with a blanket to maintain body temperature.
Most babies are alert and interested in breastfeeding
This is how the first hour of the baby after birth goes by.
After The First Hour
After the first few hours, the newborn will be given a bath and vitamin K injection if needed. Most likely, the baby will also get a hepatitis shot. The other tests done within 48 hours after birth for some rare diseases are for PKU (phenylketonuria) and congenital hypothyroidism. The blood is taken from the heel of the baby. A general assessment is done by the nurse.
After all the procedures and tests, finally, you get to spend some time with your baby by just gazing at each other. You can work out with the hospital about the sleeping arrangement for your baby at night.
You will also spend time while you are in the hospital by learning how to care for your newborn. The nurse will help you know how to swaddle, hold, breastfeed, changing diapers, and giving a bath.
If you have had a vaginal delivery, it’s 24 to 48 hours stay at the hospital. But if it’s a C-section, you will generally stay for three to four days. Your baby’s test is not over yet, right before you leave, the baby will receive a hearing test by an audiologist to monitor the brain waves response to sound.
Once everything is done, you are ready to take your little one home. After you get discharged, the hospital staff will confirm that you have a car seat, which is a rule in all 50 states. Once that’s done, you are all set to go home. You will definitely feel overwhelmed, don’t panic. No one goes back home well-prepared. Relax and enjoy parenting.