For our patients who have just had a baby, we at Westchester Health want you to know that we will do everything we can to ensure that your precious little one is healthy, getting enough to eat and developing properly. Even before you leave the hospital, we’re here for you every step of the way.
In addition to checking your baby’s vital signs, weight and progress, we will give you guidance and some preliminary education on how best to take care of your newborn. So you know what to expect from this first hospital visit, we offer this blog by Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group (excerpted below). There is also of helpful information and advice for new parents on the WHP website which you can access here.
8 tests and evaluations we perform while your newborn is in the hospital
At Westchester Health, it’s very important to us to make sure your baby’s first few days are healthy ones. That’s why we check your baby’s progress every day you’re in the hospital—typically 2 days for a vaginal birth, 3 days for a Caesarean section.To ensure that your newborn is healthy and progressing well, we perform the following actions while you and your baby are in the hospital before discharge:
- We visit you and your baby every day you’re in the hospital
We want to make sure your baby’s first few days are healthy ones so we check his/her progress every day you’re in the hospital—typically 2 days for a vaginal birth, 3 days for a Caesarean section.
- We check your baby’s color, weight, length, temperature, breathing (lungs), heart rate and activity
An average full-term baby should weigh 6-9 pounds and measure 18-21 inches long. If we feel your baby is losing too much weight, we’ll monitor how much and how often you’re feeding your newborn to ensure he/she regains the weight properly.
- We check your baby’s hearing
There are two different tests we use to evaluate your baby’s hearing: otoacoustic emission (OAE) and auditory brainstem response (ABR). The OAE test involves placing a mini earphone and microphone in your baby’s ear to measure sound reflection in the ear canal. For the ABR test, electrodes are placed on your baby’s head to measure how the hearing nerve responds to sound. The purpose of both tests is to detect hearing abnormalities.
- We measure the shape and circumference of your baby’s head
Because of pressure during a vaginal birth, your baby’s head may be temporarily misshapen but don’t worry: normal head shape usually returns by the end of the first week. (Babies delivered by Caesarean section usually don’t have as much head flattening.) We also check the circumference and soft spots on your baby’s head (fontanels), which typically disappear within 12-18 months when the skull bones fuse together.
- We evaluate your baby’s food intake, whether breastfeeding or formula feeding
Whether feeding by breast or bottle, monitoring the number of wet and poopy diapers that your baby is producing (optimal: 4-5 per day) is also a good way to tell if he/she is getting enough nutrition. For many moms, breastfeeding is a real challenge and very emotional. To help, we have two certified lactation specialists who work with you and your baby so that breastfeeding becomes a positive, successful experience for both of you. For more information about our support of breastfeeding, click here.
- We make an appointment for your first office visit
To continue to make sure your baby is progressing well and thriving, we make an appointment for your newborn’s first well-baby visit in our office, which should take place within 48 hours of your being discharged from the hospital.
- We teach you how to recognize signs that your baby may be sick
Generally, if your newborn is active, feeding well and can be comforted when crying, small differences in activity level or crying are normal. But if your baby seems fussy, is crying more than usual, has low energy, is noticeably irritable and/or seems hot and feverish, call or come in to see us right away. It might be nothing, but then again, it might be the beginning of something serious. For more tips and guidelines, click here for a blog on the subject.
- We answer all your questions and address your concerns
As well as monitoring your baby’s vital signs and progress, the newborn hospital visit is also a great time for us to address any questions or concerns you may have. Now and throughout the years to come, we’re your committed partners in raising a healthy, thriving baby.
Important advice on best ways to take care of your baby
At Westchester Health, we’ve helped raise hundreds of babies and we can’t wait to help you with yours. For helpful tips and advice on the ins and outs of caring for your newborn, please refer to the New Parents page on our WHP website.
Some helpful articles you might like:
Want more information about caring for your newborn? Come see us.
Are you burping your baby properly? Is he/she getting enough to eat? Is that a fever or do you need to remove the sweater? If you have any questions relating to your baby’s well-being (and we really mean any questions), please come in and see one of our Westchester Health pediatricians. We have lots of advice and guidance to offer you, and if something is wrong, together we’ll choose the best course of action going forward. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.
To read Dr. Adler’s blog in full, click here.