Newborn Care in the Hospital

After the birth of your new baby, doctors and nurses will help you navigate the many steps that need to happen before you all can go home. The overall goal is to help your newborn transition to life after birth, monitor for medical problems and treat them if necessary, and provide a healthy start to life.

What Happens to My Baby Right After Birth?

Immediately after birth, skin-to-skin contact with your baby is encouraged to start the bonding process. Research shows this contact also improves breastfeeding for mother and baby. The first hour of birth is often referred to as “the golden hour” and your doctors and nurses will do their best to limit their interactions with you during this time. If your baby has trouble transitioning to life outside of the womb, we have a pediatric team as well as a neonatal ICU immediately available. Your doctors and nurses will return your baby to you after treatment or take you to your baby as soon as possible. 

What Shots Will My Baby Receive?

After birth, your baby will receive a vitamin K shot and the first hepatitis B vaccine. Babies are born with low levels of vitamin K, which is necessary to stop bleeding. Because of this, all babies are at risk for vitamin K deficiency bleeding, a serious, life-threatening condition that may lead to severe brain injury. Vitamin K deficiency bleeding can occur up to age 4–6 months and, in most cases, there are no warning signs. Giving newborns a vitamin K shot has been proven to eliminate the risk of vitamin K deficiency bleeding and studies have confirmed this is a very safe shot.

Hepatitis B is a severe liver infection that affects people from all walks of life. Many people with Hepatitis B do not know they have it. Giving your baby a dose of the hepatitis B vaccine at birth is the best way to protect you and him or her from accidental exposure to this virus. All doctors caring for your baby recommend the routine immunization schedule from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control. Please ask your baby's doctor if you have questions about either of these shots.

Why Does My Baby Need Erythromycin Eye Ointment?

Erythromycin eye ointment protects your baby's eyes from a bacterial infection that could be passed to the baby during the birthing process.

What Is the Newborn Screen?

By Michigan law, all new babies have several medical tests to find the small number of babies who look healthy but have a rare medical condition. There are three parts to the newborn screen:

  1. Blood spots: a few drops of blood are drawn from the baby’s heel and sent to the state’s lab. This blood will be tested for more than 50 disorders that can cause serious illness or death but are easy to treat if caught early. Typically, the results are sent to your baby's doctor after you leave the hospital.
  2. The hearing screening looks for signs of hearing loss. This is a painless test that is done while your baby is sleeping.
  3. The critical congenital heart disease screening is a painless test in which your baby's oxygen level is checked in the hand and foot.

While the hearing screening can be done at any time, the blood spots and critical congenital heart disease screening are done after your baby is at least 24 hours old.

What Is Jaundice?

Jaundice is yellowing of the skin that many babies have to some extent. Your baby's doctors and nurses will be monitoring for jaundice by both a visual inspection and a special meter that tests the jaundice level through the skin. If your baby appears to be too jaundiced, they may need a blood test. The blood is obtained from a heel poke. Your baby's doctor or nurse will explain to you if this is necessary and can answer any additional questions you may have.

Does My Baby Stay With Me or in a Nursery?

While we do have a nursery available, your baby will stay at bedside with you in order to encourage bonding and ease in feeding.

What Breastfeeding Support Do You Have?

We highly encourage breastfeeding and, in addition to your bedside nurse, we have nurses who specialize in breastfeeding as well as lactation consultants available to help. Breastfeeding is natural but it often takes some work to learn how to do it. Be sure to take advantage of the inpatient breastfeeding support that we have in the hospital and our outpatient breastfeeding clinics once you go home.

Can My Older Children Stay With Us in the Hospital?

Your older children are welcome to come visit the new addition to your family but they cannot stay overnight. We ask that a second adult be present to help care for older brothers and sisters when they are visiting.

How Do I Get My Baby’s Birth Certificate?

While you are in the hospital, a member of your care team will give you the form to fill out for your baby’s birth certificate. Once you have completed and signed it, return it to your care team, who will then send it to the Washtenaw County Clerk’s Office. About four weeks after the birth of your child, you can call the clerk’s office at 734.222.6720 to obtain a copy of the birth certificate.

Can You Help Me With My Car Seat?

Our Mott Buckle Up! program is available to help you install your car seat correctly. Our staff recommend setting up an appointment in your third trimester. Please call 734.763.2251 for more information or to set up an appointment.

Do You Offer Paternity Testing?

We do not offer paternity testing.

Should I Get a Breathing Monitor for My Baby When I Get Home?

Home breathing monitors or apnea monitors have not been proven to prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). We do not recommend them. If you have concerns about your baby's breathing, please talk to your baby's doctor.