Between baby gear, nurseries and names, there’s a lot to think about and do to prepare for the arrival of your baby. And the decision making is not over once you head to the hospital to give birth.
Earlier this week we reviewed some crucial decisions you have to make on your baby’s birth day, such as breastfeeding, cord clamping, circumcision and more. Today we’re continuing our list of decisions you have to make on your baby’s birth day to help you feel prepared to make informed choices for the best health of your baby.
Some parents go into the hospital knowing that their child has a medical condition but most do not. And in the case of some diseases, symptoms may not show for many years. Newborn screenings use a few drops of your baby’s blood to determine with pretty good accuracy whether or not your baby has a host of rare diseases. The results are usually available within a few weeks after birth and if your baby tests positive for anything, further testing may be recommended.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
This crucial vaccine is the first of many recommended for infants and children. Hepatitis B affects the liver and can lead to liver disease and live cancer. The vaccine against it is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics within 12 hours of birth.
Vitamin K Shot
Newborns often lack Vitamin K, an essential nutrient that helps blood clot. If an infant develops internal bleeding and lacks enough Vitamin K, she may face serious and potentially life-threatening consequences. Providing the Vitamin K shot shortly after birth helps prevent such issues.
The Vitamin K shot is highly recommended for babies who may have been injured during birth, such as those born via c-section, using forceps or who had a traumatic birth. Also, babies born preterm or with low birth weight should receive Vitamin K, according to experts. The good news for breastfeeding moms is that colostrum, the earliest breast milk you produce, is rich in Vitamin K so you can further boost your baby’s blood clotting factor.
Antibiotic Eye Ointment
Babies can get bacteria in their eyes during the birthing process. This ointment helps prevent any infection that may cause blindness.
Babies have a natural sucking instinct. That’s why they are usually really good at breastfeeding! But when they aren’t feeding and need to suck on something, many moms rely on pacifiers. There is some controversy over whether or not pacifiers cause nipple confusion and make babies not want to breastfeed. And then there is the consideration of having to eventually wean your baby from the pacifier, which is often painful for everyone.
Your first slumber party with your newborn baby sounds exciting and can be a wonderful way to bond and breastfeed on demand. Some mothers love being close to their babies, listening to their coos and cries and feeling the miracle of birth 24/7. Other moms may be in desperate need of sleep or might need some peace and quiet while they heal from a difficult birth and opt to send their babies to the nursery for a much-needed break.
You may only have a few short days to be taken care of in the hospital and chances are you’re going to be exhausted from the experience of giving birth. Consider carefully who you want to visit you in the hospital and how much time you want them to stay. Feeling like you have to entertain is probably not a great use of your energy when you’re tired and are trying to bond with your baby.
You will be asked at the hospital who your child’s pediatrician will be. Hopefully you’ve had time to meet with a few and make a selection prior to your baby’s birth day. If your pediatrician makes rounds at the hospital where you gave birth, he will visit your baby several times during your stay. Otherwise a hospital pediatrician or a pediatrician who has reciprocity with yours will see your baby.
Sources: Fit Pregnancy, ChildrensMD, Baby Gaga and CDC
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