After your Baby is Born
Preparing for Baby
Newborn Screening Tests
Shortly after birth, your baby will have screening tests to detect a variety of congenital conditions. These tests are designed to detect problems early in order to treat them promptly, prevent disabilities, and save lives.
After your baby is born (barring any medical complications that require immediate attention), he or she will be placed on your chest for skin-to-skin contact – also known as kangaroo care. This close contact provides numerous benefits for both you and your baby, including regulating your baby’s temperature and helping him feel calmer and more comfortable, and giving you a chance to bond with your new baby and attempt breastfeeding. Partners can participate in skin-to-skin time as well.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to feed and bond with your baby and can provide many benefits. Research shows that breast milk contains the perfect balance of vitamins, protein and fat that your baby needs to grow. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby's immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria. Being breastfed decreases the risk of common and life-threatening infections, asthma and allergies in the first year, and can also reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, followed by continued breastfeeding as solid foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for one year or longer as desired by mom and baby.
Our certified lactation consultants are available to help you with breastfeeding your baby during your hospital stay, and our postpartum nurses are also trained to assist with breastfeeding. You will be able to learn what a proper latch looks and feels like, how to position your baby, and troubleshoot any problems you are having.
You may find you need additional support after you return home. The lactation consultants at our outpatient lactation centers provide both in-person and phone consultations to answer your questions and work with you and your infant to ensure a successful breastfeeding experience.
After you come home from the hospital, you will, of course, be focused on your new baby. But you also need to make sure to take care of yourself. Whatever your birth experience, your body needs time to heal and recover. Make sure to get as much rest as you can, get adequate food and hydration, and resume regular activities slowly. Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first two weeks and enlist family and friends to help with day-to-day tasks such as cleaning and cooking.
Things to Watch
Be on the lookout for concerning symptoms and contact your provider if you experience things such as fever over 100.4 F, severe headache, blurry vison, increased pain at incision/tear site, or difficulty breathing. Also be on the lookout for symptoms such as anxiety, sadness, inability to cope, lack of interest in baby, insomnia, or crying – these can be signs of postpartum depression.
When you have your postpartum appointment with your provider – usually around 6 weeks after your baby is born – your provider will check to see how you are healing and, if she is happy with your progress, may clear you to resume regular activities.