What To Expect In Baby's First 24 Hours
Welcoming a new baby into your life can be somewhat overwhelming. You will have important decisions to make at every turn. Your familiar routines are now changed, and your biggest concern is now focused around your baby's health and safety.
I am here to hopefully make things a little less overwhelming, as I go through what to expect in baby's first 24 hours! So let's get started!
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What To Expect In Baby's First 24 Hours
The apgar score is a quick and easy test that evaluates your baby's well being at 1 minute and then again at 5 minutes after birth. Below is a chart showing the 5 areas that your baby is scored in.
Newborn Appearance After Birth
As your baby is born you may notice that he/she is slippery, wet, and may possibly be covered in a white substance, known as vernix caseosa. Vernix helps protect the baby's skin from infection and wrinkling while in the amniotic fluid. Most of the vernix will have disappeared by the time they are born. Although the earlier your baby is born, such as premature or late-preterm, the more vernix you will see covering your baby's body.
Your OB will cut the cord or give the option of cutting the cord to your support person. Your baby will then be immediately placed on your chest for skin-to-skin contact or handed off to the nurse to be assessed and given oxygen if need be.
When born, the plates of your baby's skill bones are not fused together. This is to allow a baby's head to move through the narrow birth canal. They also conform to your baby's rapidly growing brain during infancy. Don't freak out, if at birth, your baby's head appears to look out of shape. This is referred to as molding.
Your baby will also have two soft spots on their head, known as fontanelles. These are areas where the skull bones have not yet grown together. There is one at the top of the skull, along with one at the back.
Your baby's nose may appear flattened, with white pimple looking bumps. These are completely normal, and are known as milia. They are clogged pores that will eventually go away.
Lanugo, is fine, soft hair that appears all of your baby's body. It helps in protecting the baby's skin while developing inside your uterus. You may notice that premature infants are typically born with more lanugo than full term babies.
When born, all babies eyes tend to be bluish-gray in color. You will not actually know the true color until around 6-9 months of age. At birth, they can also see up to around 12 inches.
Boys typically have swollen scrotums, due to the pressure that is placed on them as they maneuver their way down the birth canal.
Girls tend to have swollen labia, along with mucous discharge. This is due to the hormones that are passed from her mother. Around the fifth day, after birth, girls may have blood-tinged mucous. This is completely normal, and again caused from hormones, from mom.
The baby may have "stork bites," or little pink spots. They are typically found on the forehead, chin, eyelids, and the back of the neck. These are not birthmarks and most will fade with time. Although, the ones on the back of the neck may not completely go away.
When born, the baby's hands and feet may appear blue in color. This is normal and known as acrocyanosis. They may remain blue in color for sometimes up to 24 hours. All the oxygenated blood will rush to the heart, lungs, brain, and all other vital organs first. The hands and feet are the furthest from the heart and can wait until all the vital organs are nourished.
Your baby's umbilical cord will be clamped and cut close to your baby's body, leaving an umbilical stump. This stump will typically dry up and fall off anywhere from around 1-3 weeks.
Before you are discharged, your healthcare provider will review with you the care of the umbilical stump.
Although, it is important to keep you baby's umbilical stump dry and clean. Parents were once instructed to swab the stump with rubbing alcohol, although this is not the case anymore. Instead take a cotton ball and dip in warm water, squeezing out the excess water. Dab the cotton ball around the stump, to clean.
Expose the stump to air to help dry out the base. Until the baby's stump falls off, it may be easiest to give your baby sponge baths, as it makes it easier to keep the stump dry. And of course, do not pull on the stump! Let the stump fall off on its own! I also folded down the front of my daughter's diaper some, so it was not rubbing on her stump.
It is required by law, in most states, that the babies receive treatment to their eyes to protect them from the infection, gonorrhea. It is as easy as placing eye drops or ointment containing an antibiotic medication on the baby's eyes, after birth.
Gonorrhea was once the leading cause of blindness in newborns. So in order to protect infants, The United States found it easier to treat newborns prophylactically, instead of testing every single mother.
This antibiotic medication is applied to the newborn's eyes immediately after birth. It may cause the baby's eyes to become swollen or inflamed, although it will clear up in a day!
At birth, the production of Vitamin K is low. Vitamin K helps with blood coagulation, so your newborn will receive a single shot of Vitamin K at birth in order to decrease the risk of your baby bleeding.
Oaklynn had a deficiency of Vitamin K when she was an infant, and studies actually show that most infants and children do. So knowing this, I purchased these Vitamin K drops, and both her and I loved them! They were odorloss, tasteless, and easy to administer. Highly recommend!
Vitamin K2 plays important roles in the health of children, including support for coagulation, promoting cardiovascular health, and bone mineralization.
Metabolic screening tests for genetic, developmental, and metabolic disorders in the newborn. Some of these conditions may not be visible right at birth, so screening is able to identify disorders early. Resulting in several of these rare conditions, being able to be treated before they cause severe health problems in your child.
This screening is performed by taking a few drops of blood from your baby's heel and sending to lab for analysis.
The most common congenital disorder in newborns is hearing loss. That is why hearing screening is becoming more and more of a common practice before your newborn leaves the hospital. If hearing loss is not caught early on, it can result in a absence of stimulation of the brain's hearing center. Which will in turn setback speech development along with other developments in your baby.
Pulse Oximetry Screening
Federal health officials are advocating that all newborns undergo this screening, with several hospitals accommodating this practice. Pulse oximetry screening is a screening done to measure how much oxygen is in your baby's blood. As this procedure has been found effective in screening for congenital heart diseases in newborns.
This procedure is simple and non-invasive. The device is typically placed on your baby's hand or foot, with the device being hooked up to a monitor. The measurement of the blood oxygen level can be read in approximately sixty seconds, with absolutely no puncture to the baby's skin.
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