Newborn Procedures You Need to Know About

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I’m all about people being informed when they make decisions. My goal is to help you to gain knowledge on what kind of procedures happen to your newborn during your hospital stay.

I had no idea about any of these procedures besides the checking of weight, length, and a bath.

Disclaimer: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post at no extra charge to you. For any health advice I give on nutrition and weight loss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and some experience.Read the full disclosure here.

Which frankly is no knowledge. So read up and get informed mammas!

Bulb Suctioning

Bulb suctioning is a standard practice performed where they grab a bulb syringe and suction fluid from the mouth and nose.

If your baby is breathing on their own after birth suctioning doesn’t need to be performed.

According to The Journal of Family Medicine “Although it is still standard practice to perform oronasopharyngeal suctioning with a bulb syringe immediately after delivery, multiple studies have found no benefit to routine suctioning.”

What you could ask the doctors to do instead is wipe the baby’s nose and mouth to clear excess secretions after birth.

If you do choose to have bulb suctioning done on your baby make sure they don’t suction too deep or too long.

Please feel comfortable though with opening up to your doctor and nurses about your desires for your baby.

APGAR Testing

APGAR stands for activity (muscle tone), pulse rate, grimace (reflex irritability), appearance (skin color), and respiration.

This is usually done 1-5 minutes after birth.

Luckily the APGAR tests can be done while you are doing skin to skin with your baby.

I believe that skin to skin for momma and baby is helpful to get started with growing your bond with your baby.

Most women call this the “golden hour” after birth because it’s a great time for the baby to connect with you and daddy if he does skin to skin during this “golden hour”

At the hospital where we had our little boy he wasn’t put on me right away, his vitals were dropping while he was inside me so they had to make sure his vitals were good after they took him out.

We did a lot of skin to skin while I was recovering in the hospital and it was so wonderful for us. This is me shortly after surgery getting all of my baby snuggles in!

My husband also did some skin to skin and it was so tender to look over at him holding our little boy!

Immediate Cord Clamping

It’s still a fairly common practice to clamp the cord right after birth, but more and more hospitals are switching to clamping the cord till at least a minute later.

There are significant benefits to delayed cord clamping for the baby such as a return of up to 50% of the baby’s iron rich blood cells and leads to more myelin.

According to Medline Plus myelin is “an insulating layer, or sheath that forms around nerves, including those in the brain and spinal cord. It is made up of protein and fatty substances.

This myelin sheath allows electrical impulses to transmit quickly and efficiently along the nerve cells. If myelin is damaged, these impulses slow down. This can cause diseases such as multiple sclerosis.”

If you plan on doing delayed cord clamping 1-3 minutes is sufficient, but 5 is ideal or until the cord stops pulsing.

Make sure to mention delayed cord clamping and how long you want it done to your doctor if it’s something you plan on doing.

If you want to read more about delayed cord clamping the ACOC did an in depth article on it.

Injection of Vitamin K

The injection of vitamin K is to help your babies blood clot since babies are born with low levels of vitamin K.

This procedure is usually done after birth.

You can let them know if you would prefer it done orally or with an injection.

Hepatitis Vaccine

They give this vaccine usually within the first 24 hours after birth.

You could pass this disease onto your baby. They do it because you may not know that you have this disease in your blood.

It’s just a safety precaution for your baby.

PKU Testing

According to WebMD PKU is a rare genetic condition that affects your baby’s metabolism and can harm your baby’s growing brain.

This condition isn’t curable, but it is treatable.

This procedure is done through testing your babies blood. They prick your baby’s heal and you will get the test back in a couple of days.

Physical Exam

Your baby will also receive a physical exam in the next few minutes or hours after birth.

With the physical exam they measure your baby’s temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, weight, length, and head circumference.

You can ask them to wait on taking the baby’s weight, length, and head circumference.

At my hospital they waited till I did some skin to skin and practiced latching. They got his weight, length, and head circumference a couple hours after he was born.

They can measure your baby’s temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate while your baby is doing skin to skin with you.

They will also teach you cord care, how to bathe your baby, and do your baby’s footprints.

Antibiotic Eye Drops

According to Evidence Based Birth “Care providers in some countries try to prevent ON by giving all newborns eye ointment (such as erythromycin). The eye ointment is intended to kill or weaken bacteria in the eye–particularly gonorrhea–to protect the infant from getting pink eye, since pink eye from gonorrhea can cause serious eye damage and blindness if left untreated.”

Passing the Baby

Now this is not a procedure that is done by the doctors.

It’s something very common for moms to do.

Right after my mom was done giving birth to me everyone was in the room instantly and passing me around to each family member.

Of course this is your decision.

If you decide to have people hold the baby right away make sure they wash their hands.

Other options is to wait a few hours so you can have your golden hour of skin to skin, have all of the procedures done, practice breastfeeding, and maybe get a nap in!

My husband and I decided to wait till we were home from the hospital before we allowed visitors. We just wanted time to figure things out and recover from labor and delivery.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t let anyone pressure you into something you don’t want. It’s your family and your decision not theirs.

You possibly could make someone upset, but don’t let it get to you. Be strong and stick with what makes you comfortable!

I hope y’all feel more informed with this list.

If there are any other things that you would like other mommas to know comment below!

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16 thoughts on “Newborn Procedures You Need to Know About”

  1. Some of your advice is valid and others are not sound advice. As a L&D nurse I can tell you that in the state of NY you cannot refuse the vitamin K or the erythromycin eye ointment as they are state mandates and workers are mandated to report refusal to CPS. It is also not a good idea to refuse an assessment more than a few hours after birth as this is when serious issues may be found and delaying the assessment only delays treatment if needed. This assessment can be made at the bedside that is a better suggestion to make. Additionally, delayed cord clamping is commonly performed unless there is necessity not too (ex: right cord around the neck)

    1. I appreciate the feedback. I suggest doing most tests skin to skin and that you can wait after the golden hour to check weight, length, and head circumference. I definitely feel it’s important to discuss with your doctor about your decisions for your baby.

      1. It is so daunting keeping up with procedures that are constantly changing and updating! I appreciate you sharing this informative list!

    2. Wow interesting, I definitely refused the eye treatment with my first as it is a very outdated practice… I would have loved for a Cfs caseworker to try and argue that with me.

  2. The idea that you can only bond with your new baby during the “golden hour” is ridiculous and offensive. Stop scaring new moms in thinking they only have an hour to bond with baby. They have years to bond with baby. A good loving bond takes years. You ought to be ashamed and I hope you have no children.

    1. I’m sorry if I hurt you in any way. I most definitely did not mean that the golden hour is the only time to bond with the baby. I didn’t get to experience this due to being in surgery and I was able to gain a strong bond with my baby by doing lots of skin to skin when I was able to.

      Some moms have just stated that the golden hour is a great time to practice breastfeeding and start your bonding experience. But it most definitely is not the only time to bond and become a pro at breastfeeding.

      Again I’m sorry if I hurt you that was not my intent at all.

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