It’s been nine long months. Mom has been on pins and needles waiting for the magical day when baby, her baby, would be born. Now the day has arrived, and with it, lots of excitement, anticipation, and exhaustion, as well as uncertainties. What can she expect to happen with baby? What are some of the things that can become worrisome, or that she should speak up about? It’s hard to know sometimes, and when it is her first baby, it can all be a little overwhelming. So, what is Mom’s best option? She could ask family or friends who’ve given birth. There are also great articles and resources out there for her to read. The most important thing though, is for her to never be afraid to ask questions to those around her who have more experience and can put her mind at ease.
How many times a day should baby eat? What does the first bowel movement look like? How often and long should baby sleep? What is considered healthy and normal in baby? These are all good questions, and a new Mom should never hesitate to ask if she needs clarification. There are other important things that occur as well on baby’s first day in the world that she may not be aware of. Some are funny and cute things. Some are more serious, and it’s good she has heads up on them in order to raise her concerns or understand how she can best handle them. Here are 15 more things to expect during baby’s first day in the world.
15 Baby Gets Antibiotic Eye Ointment
The first hour after baby’s birth is definitely something memorable for everyone, especially if it is Mom and Dad’s first baby. One of the first things that happens after baby’s birth, after skin to skin with Mom or Dad, is that a special ointment is put on baby’s eyes. This antibiotic ointment is put in eyes to avoid infections that are common in newborns when they pass through the birth canal. This will happen after about an hour of delivery. Before then baby is washed, and everyone makes sure that baby is doing well. Mom is also being taken care of, either stitched up, or else she is able to see all the incredible things that go into taking care of baby now that he/she is in the world. If Mom and baby are both comfortable, the nurse will let them rest and will be available should Mom have nursing or other baby questions.
14 Agpar Score Is Taken
The Agpar score is something that is measured pretty much right after baby is born. It basically measures baby's responsiveness and vital signs. It checks five factors which are heart rate, breathing, color, activity and muscle tone, and grimace reflex response. It can range anywhere from a 0 to a 10, though most babies score an 8 or 9. This means that there are no major issues in brain development and all is fine. Anything over a 7 is considered fine. Parents should not worry though, as even the babies that score lower usually end up developing normally. It’s only a way to help the babies who had difficult entries into the world and get them the help and support they need to thrive. This is the hospital’s way of giving baby every advantage to starting out in the world. Nurses will perform a lot of other tests to make sure that baby is developing just fine, and will of course keep parents up to speed on what is happening.
13 Baby Is Cleaned And Placed In Warmer
After Agpar scores are taken and baby is seen to be breathing normally, babies are normally wiped clean and put in a baby warmer until the nurse sees that baby can regulate her own body temperature and is breathing fine. When this is occurring, it means that baby’s first foray into the world has been successful and that he/she is adjusting well to the world as we know it. Many healthy babies will experience some minor problems. This is nothing to be too alarmed about. As long as baby is being monitored closely by parents and health care providers, anything that will make family feel concerned can be addressed right off the bat.
Usually, however, baby will adjust right off the bat and will continue to thrive and do well with lots of attention. As soon as it is feasible and baby is breathing well, the nurse will place him/her with Mom for skin to skin, since parenting bonding is of utmost importance for baby’s healthy development.
12 Baby Is Weighed And Measured
Baby’s weight and height are important indicators to see that all is developing normally in the hours after birth. If there are any issues, baby will be tested for other things and closely monitored. They will be returned to the parents to bond with Mom and Dad, when more is known about how to help if there are indeed challenges to undertake. Nurses will know what to look for and be concerned about and will explain to parents what additional tests or work needs to be done. As long as baby seems alert and is comfortable in general, he/she will be able to stay with Mom and Dad and bond in the hospital room. If Mom had a vaginal delivery, it will be for 1 to 2 day. If she had a C-Section, then 3 to 4 days. In most cases though, baby is fine and all goes well with bonding, development and eating. Parents will have only very mundane questions to ask.
11 Baby's Ballard Score Is Taken
Nurses will also take baby’s measurements pretty much right after birth. Things like weight, height and head circumference will be of utmost importance. This will indicate that baby is developing just fine and that his/her gestational age is correct. Correct development is very important so that everyone knows baby is where they are supposed to be. The thing is, the hospital and Mom and Dad need to know that baby is where they are supposed to be developmentally. Otherwise, this is when they need to see what medical help they could give baby to help them catch up.
The Ballard score is just such a test that measures baby’s overall physical development. Physical development that is on schedule and typical, is a good example that all is well in baby’s world. Again, medical personnel will alert Mom and Dad to anything they may feel is disturbing.
10 Baby's Pulse And Breathing Is Checked
Baby’s pulse and breathing are obviously also very important to make sure that development is going well. This means mental and physical development. There are other things like making sure baby has all their fingers and toes. These are more related to typical physical development. This too is very important to making sure that baby is developing the way he or she is supposed to. Nurses will perform many functions like this to make sure baby is doing well overall, functioning well, and that Mom and Dad are aware of what areas they need to support baby in - should that be an issue.
Most of the time there is no problem. When there is, if it is seen early enough, things can be done to help and support baby and their family. The hospital team are Mom and Dad’s first set of go-to people if they have any questions. It is important that Moms and Dads feel comfortable and trust the hospital staff that are helping them and their child.
9 Baby's Color Changes
This is something that is scary for sure, but again it is very normal. Sometimes right after birth, baby is blue for a bit. They are still learning to breathe on their own after coming out of the birth canal. They will usually turn pink within a few seconds, but sometimes outer extremities will stay blue for a bit before turning pink. As long as parents are monitoring this and seeing that baby’s color eventually changes, they should tell the nurse right away and medical attention will be given.
In most cases though, it is not necessary as everything works out. Babies will be adjusting to a lot during those first few hours to that first day. Mom and Dad have to be comfortable going with flow of it all. They will soon learn to read their baby’ cues and know what it is that bay does and doesn't want or need.
8 Baby Will Fall Asleep After Lots Of Crying
As much as baby will be up in that first day and ensuing days, it is always true that baby will be up and most likely crying. This does not mean that Mom or Dad are doing a bad job. It is simply baby adjusting to the chaotic world they have entered where people may not know who to help them or what their cues are. This is where paying close attention to baby’s sounds and other movements will be able to give parents some sort of comparison. Babies will cry for many normal reasons. Mainly, it is due to the fact that this is the way they get their needs met by their caregivers. Mom and Dad will learn about the different kinds of cries as well: hunger cry, tired cry, changing cry, etc. Each cry really does sound different and this is where the parents will soon see that they know their child really well.
7 Parents Are Asked For Consent
Another thing parents will have to decide on is whether to agree to two injections for baby: Vitamin K and Hepatitis B. These are given to prevent clotting problems (Vitamin K), and Hepatitis B will be offered to make sure that no infections from the birth canal have been passed to baby. Problems from Hepatitis B can lead to lifelong health issues, and often the baby can either pick up something unintentionally from its mother or later on among other children. This is why medical staff will recommend parents give baby this injection at birth.
It is of course up to the parents’ discretion if they agree. Any kind of injection or later vaccination, is done to keep baby as safe and healthy as possible and to give them the greatest possibility of fighting off diseases and infections. While in hospital, baby is closely monitored to make sure all their vital signs are strong and that they are doing well on their first day in the world.
6 Baby Gets Heel Prick Test
This is another test where parents are asked for their consent. The heel prick tests for many genetic diseases. The doctors test for 50 different types, including things like sickle cell anemia and phenylketonuria (PKU). The test can only be performed after baby is born, as it is only after baby has consumed breast milk or formula for at least 24 hours that medical staff could determine if there are health issues. If something is wrong or the results lead them to further testing, the good news is that medical staff are aware and can get in to help baby have the best possible chance to get better. It can be scary for parents, but as with everything that will happen to baby, the sooner things are detected, the greater the chance to get in and do one’s best to help. Baby is in a hospital setting where lots of help and support will be given.
5 Baby Lets Out Strange Stool
Most parents have heard about strange stool color being normal, but it can still be very disturbing the first time one sees meconium, a greenish black tar-like stool, that is baby’s first stool sample produced. This is normal however, as baby’s intestine are clearing out things from the birth. Meconium is a combination of a lot of what baby ingested when in utero, like skin cells, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile, (yes, all those lovely things), but on the plus side, it does not smell at all. It only looks disgusting. It is also temporary and generally will happen after baby is in the world about twenty four hours. They will pass a few of these movements followed by other poops that are more greenish-brown then moving on to yellowy mustard like consistency, which does unfortunately smell. Thank goodness babies are so cute! This is all part of their bowel systems regulating.
4 Baby Learns The Pincer Grasp
The pincer grasp and other tight finger reflexes are pretty much instantaneous. Just like the sucking reflex while nursing, babies will instinctively know what to do and what to grab. It’s amazing to watch them grasp a mother or father’s finger and hold on while trying to focus on the face. They will not see far for a while and will generally see blurry, but will be intently focusing on the parents’ faces and voices over the next little while. They are studying faces as well, and getting to know their parents and caregivers. If all is well and they are healthy, newborn babies are very strong. They will start to learn quickly what to do as they take in their surroundings around them. They may sleep a lot, and their means of communicating is restricted to crying only at the beginning, but they are taking in everything around them and learning how to bond and communicate with caregivers.
3 Mom And Baby Bonding Time
As previously mentioned, though newborns do sleep a lot (as much 18 hours plus a day), it is in small stretches day and night. As a result, there is lots of time with bonding, observing and following the cues of their parents, primarily their mother who is generally the main caregiver. During feeding and other awake times, babies are very observant trying to pick up on different cues in their environment. They are attentive and using their eyes and ears to pick up on what is happening. They are listening to their mother’s voice, and in a very short while will recognize her by her face and voice. Bonding during the first day and on wards is very important for cementing that mother/child bond further. Babies are picking up on so much. They respond immediately to touch, voice and eye contact at close range. If parents speak in a low voice, baby will eventually start to try and imitate and coo back.
2 Baby Gets First Bath
A nurse will usually show parents if it's the first baby (or even if not and they need a reminder), how to do baby’s first bath. Depending on Mom’s situation and mobility, (that is, how her labor went), Dad may do most of the work or Mom and Dad will together bathe baby in a tiny bassinet as instructed. They will help the nurse. The newborn’s head and neck must be supported as they are placed in the bassinet, and gentle washing of body and hair is done with a mild shampoo/bath soap. The process should not take too long. Baby may cry as they often do not like the feeling of being naked and exposed. They enjoy being swaddled and warm, particularly at the beginning of life. After gentle washing, and gentle swaddling, then baby is ready for cuddling and possibly eating before sleeping. The general rule of thumb is for parents to move slowly and be gentle. Then they can't go wrong.
1 Baby Will Be Evaluated By Pediatrician
This is generally one of the last things done on the first day. A pediatrician will come to see how baby is doing. The pediatrician will check baby’s physical and psychological health by looking for any malformations and ruling out any infections the baby may have. They will also make sure baby is eating and sleeping well. Any kinds of questions parents may have can be asked at this time. The pediatrician would be glad to help answer any of them, as well as clear up some concerns. Doctors will also check for jaundice, which happens when babies are born with a yellowish tint to their skin. This is caused by bilirubin not being broken down properly in the liver. The pediatrician will possibly encourage a special light therapy to break down the bilirubin, and will definitely encourage the mother to nurse as frequently as she can so that the bilirubin can come out in baby’s stool.
All in all, this is basically a snap shot of baby’s first day in the world. There are so many things happening on this first day for everyone. But the most important thing for new parents to remember is to enjoy their new baby, and take their time getting to know and love them. It is the beginning of one of the most beautiful love stories ever: that of parent and child.