After Your Baby Arrives
What happens immediately after your baby arrives depends on how you gave birth and your particular needs. Below are some things to expect between the time your baby is born and the time you are brought to your postpartum room.
Getting to Know Your Baby
At Yale-New Haven Hospital, we encourage "rooming-in" for well babies. This means the baby stays in the mother's room until both are ready to go home. Mother and baby are cared for together by a primary nurse. Our nurses are trained to meet the unique needs of each family. Our rooms include couches, which give fathers or partners the opportunity to be a part of the bonding process during the entire hospital stay.
Benefits of caring for mom and baby together include:
- Personalized care
- Improved confidence through better education for parents
- Improved mother-baby bonding
- Family-centered atmosphere
- More successful breastfeeding
- Improved patient satisfaction
Right after you've given birth, your labor nurse will help you put your baby skin-to-skin to begin the bonding process. If you have chosen to breastfeed, your nurse will also help you with the first feeding. This is a time to rest and bond with your newborn.
Hormones that cause your uterus to contract will stimulate "mothering" feelings after birth. As you touch, hold and gaze at your baby, they are released. They help you and your baby feel calm, responsive and warm.
You and your baby will be given matching identification bands that should be checked every time you are given your baby.
All of our nursing staff members are specially trained to assist with the needs of the breastfeeding mother. Moms and family members should ask their nurse for assistance if needed. For more complicated breastfeeding needs, we have certified lactation consultants and lactation counselors on staff who can help. In addition, we offer breastfeeding classes.
In addition to Yale-New Haven Hospital resources, other services such as the U.S. government's source for women's health information, WomensHealth.gov, and its National Breastfeeding Helpline (800-994-9662, M-F, 9 am - 6 pm, Eastern) may be helpful.
Newborn Screenings and Procedures
We provide comprehensive screening for jaundice (yellow pigment). Identifying babies early and reliably provides a high level of safety for newborns. In the procedure, a monitor is placed on your baby's forehead for a few seconds. The procedure is accurate, safe, quick and painless. This gives a reading, and if high, a blood test for bilirubin is done. Some jaundice is normal but a high level can be harmful.
Vitamin K Injection
The Vitamin K injection is administered in your baby's thigh muscle in the first 4 hours after birth. It protects against a bleeding disorder in the first weeks of life until your baby can make his/her own vitamin K.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
The first injection of the Hepatitis B vaccine is administered in your baby's thigh muscle in the first 4 hours after birth. The vaccine protects your baby right from birth against a serious viral infection of the liver. Hepatitis B can be fatal or result in your baby becoming a carrier for life.
In addition, the state of Connecticut mandates certain tests and procedures be performed on all newborns before discharge from the hospital. For more information, visit the State of Connecticut's Department of Public Health.
This is a non-invasive test for early detection of hearing loss. It takes about 5 minutes. If your baby does not pass the test, a referral will be made for further testing after discharge.
Within 24 hours after birth a small amount of blood is taken from your baby's heel. It is sent to the State Laboratory to screen for multiple rare metabolic disorders. Your baby's provider will be notified of an abnormal result.
Erythromycin Eye Ointment Application
An ointment is applied to both baby's eyes in the first hour after birth and protects against a serious eye infection.
Cystic Fibrosis Screening
Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disease affecting a child's mucus and sweat glands. Early diagnosis can improve care and quality of life. A small amount of blood is tested for a protein (IRT) that is increased in cystic fibrosis. A DNA test is also done on the same blood. If this is abnormal, your provider will be notified and will refer your baby for a sweat test.
Between 2 to 6 hours after birth, and periodically thereafter, your nurse will check your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, respiration, uterine firmness and vaginal bleeding.
You will also be encouraged to walk as soon as you can. Let your nurse help you out of bed the first time you get up.
What to Expect After a Cesarean Birth
Whether planned or not, your recovery after a cesarean section will be slower than normal delivery. Take your time and be patient with your body.
Learning to Care for Your Newborn