Your Baby's First Day Of Life
Congratulations! Finally your new baby has arrived after months of waiting and anticipation. You get to meet your new baby. The first day of your new baby will be very exciting. Here is what to expect on the first day of your new baby’s life.
What Your Newborn Baby Looks Like
The doctor will place your new baby on your chest for skin-to-skin contact and bonding. If you had a vaginal delivery, you might be surprised by the shape of your new baby. Your new baby may be born bluish, bruised, with a misshapen head, a folded ear. This is because your new baby entered this world through a narrow and boney passage. You need not worry, as it is common for newborns to look like that. Your baby also will have a thick, pasty, whitish coating, which protected the skin in the womb. This will wash away during the first bathing. Your baby may have a complete head of hair or be bald.
How your baby looks will change on a daily basis and many of the early marks of childbirth go away with time. After a week or two, your newborn will look more and more like the baby you imagined in your dreams.
Medical Care For Your Newborn Baby
After your new baby is born, doctors perform certain important tests, shots, and procedures to ensure their health. Although you may want to spend some time and bond with your new baby, it is important to let doctors perform all the necessary and appropriate tests, procedures, and shots in a timely manner.
The doctor or nurse will perform the following tests and procedures on the first day:
Apgar Evaluation Of Your Newborn Baby
Apgar stands for "Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration." The Apgar test is designed to help doctors to assess your newborn baby’s health. It helps doctors evaluate whether your new baby needs any immediate medical care. Apgar evaluation is usually done twice: one minute after birth and again five minutes after birth. Doctors and nurses measure the following five signs of the baby's condition:
- Heart rate
- Activity and muscle tone
- Skin color
Apgar scores range from zero to 10. A baby who scores seven or more is considered very healthy. But a lower score doesn't always mean there is something wrong. Perfectly healthy babies often have low Apgar scores in the first minute of life. The Apgar score usually reaches seven after five minutes of life. When it does not, you baby needs medical care and close monitoring.
Soon after Apgar test, doctors or nurses will also:
- Give the baby a bath and clean the umbilical cord stump.
- Measure the newborn's weight, length, and head.
- Take the baby's temperature.
- Measure that baby's breathing and heart rate.
Vitamin K Shot
Generally, doctors give a shot of vitamin K in the upper leg of the newborn baby. All newborn babies usually have low levels of vitamin K in their bodies. This vitamin is needed for the blood to clot. Low levels of vitamin K can cause a rare but serious bleeding problem. Vitamin K shots prevent dangerous bleeding in newborns.
Your newborn baby may feel some pain when the shot is given, but after some time, the baby may not have any discomfort.
Newborn Metabolic Screening
Doctors or nurses prick your new baby's heel to take a tiny sample of blood. They use this blood to test for many diseases. All babies should be tested because a few babies may look healthy but have a rare health problem. A blood test is the only way to find out about these problems. If found right away, serious problems like developmental disabilities, organ damage, blindness, and even death might be prevented.
Newborn Hearing Screening
Doctors will perform a hearing screening of your newborn baby. This is usually done before the baby leaves the hospital. Tiny earphones or microphones are used to see how the baby reacts to sounds. All newborns are given a hearing screening to detect any hearing problems. If any problem is found early, the bay can get the treatment he/she needs at an early age. This will help prevent delays in speech, language, and thinking.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Doctors will give your new baby first shot of hepatitis B vaccine (hepatitis B virus or HBV) before leaving the hospital. This is done to protect the baby against HPV. If the mother has hepatitis B, her baby should be given hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth. Exposure to HBV can cause a lifelong infection, serious liver damage, and even death.
The hepatitis B vaccine is a series of three different shots. The second hepatitis B shot should be given one to two months after birth. The third hepatitis B shot should be given no earlier than 24 weeks of age, but before 18 months of age.
What Your Baby Does on the First Day
You may be surprised to see how alert your newborn baby really is right after birth. Your newborn baby may respond by turning or reacting to the sound of your voice. Your newborn baby uses his/her senses, such as smell and touch, to further identify and become attached to you. Your newborn baby will open his/her eyes. Although vision may be blurry, your newborn baby can see objects about 15 inches away. He/she may look at your face. Your newborn baby will cry, sleep, or look directly into your eyes.
As you get to stay with your newborn baby, you can bond and respond easily to his/her needs. Your newborn baby may be alert and awake initially, he/she may feed and sleep for better part of the first day in the world.
Feeding Your Baby
You newborn baby may show signs of wanting to feed soon after birth and may try to latch on and suck at the breast about one hour after birth. They newborn baby may breastfeed for an hour or more. If you plan to breastfeed, put your newborn baby against your chest and help the baby latch on. Sometimes, the bay will find your breast, latch on, and start feeding on its own. If you have any problem, you can ask your doctor, nurse, midwife or a lactation consultant for help.
If you bottle-feed your newborn baby, you can usually begin feeding within the first few hours of life.