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Your First Moments with Your Newborn

 

You've given birth and have had your first unforgettable snuggles. Before you can relax and enjoy some quiet time together, there are a few more steps to take for optimal baby health.

The Apgar Test

The Apgar score is designed to quickly assess baby health. The test is based on 10 criteria and offers your medical team information on whether your baby needs additional care and support.

newborn baby being checked by doctors

Breathing Support

Some infants have difficulty breathing at first. If your baby's lungs have fluid or mucous to be cleared, your medical support team will help. They can also administer oxygen as needed, and in a short while, you'll have your little one back in your arms to snuggle.

Vitamin K Supplements

It's routine for a newborn to be given Vitamin K to avoid developing a rare bleeding disorder. The supplement can be given orally over several doses or by one injection. The advantage of the injection is that you only have to think about it once. Only when Vitamin K is provided orally are repeat doses necessary.

Heel Prick Screenings

Some tests for baby health are done via blood testing. The dried blood spot test is done by taking a small sample of blood with a pin prick to your baby's heel. The pin prick takes just a second, and the test screens your baby for a number of diseases, including sickle cell diseases, cystic fibrosis, and others. How soon you receive results will vary depending on where you live.

Baby's Diapers

Your baby's first diapers will be filled with a sticky green-black substance called meconium. Meconium contains the amniotic fluid your baby swallowed before birth. In a few days, your baby's diapers will no longer appear greenish -- and from day one, your newborn's wet diapers will appear normal.

Learning To Focus

Newborn babies aren't able to focus on objects further than the length of your arm -- the perfect length to return your gaze as you snuggle her. Your baby will know your voice from her time in the womb and even turn toward you when you speak.

Some babies squint slightly until they can focus their eyes. Your newborn finds her new world (and you!) fascinating. Research shows that even newborns have a preference for stimulating color patterns. But what does your baby like to look at most? Your beautiful face.