Milestones: Preparing for Your Newborn
Kelli Shidler, M.D. Boys Town Pediatrics
Congratulations! You're having a baby.
Hi, I'm Dr. Kelli Shidler—pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics. We have put together a short video to help you prepare for your newborn with information on choosing the right pediatrician, what to expect at the hospital and surviving the first few weeks at home.
We hope this video answers some of your questions and creates new questions for you to ask your pediatrician. Congratulations on your new arrival and welcome to parenthood.
You have already taken one of the most important steps in your child's health—choosing a pediatrician.
Pediatricians are medical physicians who spend three additional years of specialized training devoted to the care of infants, children and adolescents. They are trained in child development and behavior, preventive medicine and the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic illnesses in children.
A great place to start when choosing your child's doctor is to schedule a prenatal interview with a pediatrician to make sure he or she is the right fit for your family.
Some of your questions may include:
Is the physician board certified in pediatrics?
What is the physician's philosophy regarding breast feeding, antibiotics and non-traditional medicine?
What are the office hours?
What happens if I have questions after hours?
What is appointment availability like for sick visits?
It is important to find a pediatrician you feel comfortable with caring for your child and someone who will listen to your concerns and involve you in your child's treatment plan.
For nine months you have been preparing for the arrival of your newborn. With all the preparations you may not have given much thought to what will happen in the hospital during the first few days of your baby's life. Within a minute or so after birth, your baby's condition will be evaluated using an Apgar score. This assessment helps doctors and nurses quickly evaluate your newborn's physical condition and detect any problems that may require extra medical or emergency care.
Your baby's heart rate, breathing, activity and muscle tone, grimace response and color will be individually scored with zero being the lowest score possible, and two being the highest score. Each of the scores are added together to give the total Apgar score. All babies are scored routinely at one minute of age and again at five minutes of age. A perfect score of 10 is rare. If the score is less than 7, further intervention is given by the medical team.
Doctors and nurses will measure your baby's weight, length and head circumference and will monitor his or her heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature and blood sugar levels. Your baby will receive special eye ointment to prevent infection, a vitamin K shot to prevent excessive bleeding and a hepatitis B vaccine.
Your baby will be encouraged to start breast feeding shortly after delivery. During your hospital stay a lactation nurse, who has extra training in breast feeding, will meet with you to guide and help you with breast feeding. Formula fed babies will usually get their first bottle during the first few hours after birth.
Your newborn will also have his or her hearing tested before leaving the hospital and will have a small sample of blood taken for the state newborn screen. The tests are simple, take only a few minutes, and most likely, the tests can be conducted at your bedside.
Throughout your hospital stay, the medical staff will be teaching you important safety information about your newborn. You will be able to attend a bath class, receive information on car seats and learn to position your baby on his or her back to sleep—avoiding additional blankets, pillows, bumper pads or heavy quilts to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
While you are at the hospital there will be plenty of help on hand to answer your questions and assist in the care of your newborn. Once you arrive home, if you have any questions or concerns regarding the health or well-being of your baby, contact your child's pediatric clinic. Boys Town Pediatrics offers a 24-hour nurse helpline, so we are always a phone call away.
For many mothers and fathers, the first few weeks at home with a new baby can be tiring, stressful and overwhelming. The best thing you can do is ask for help from family, friends and loved ones who would be more than happy to cuddle your infant baby while you catch up on your much needed rest.
A newborn baby cannot be spoiled. Your baby will thrive on all of the love, hugs, kisses and cuddles he or she will get from mom, dad, grandparents and all of your family and friends.
We hope this video answers many of your newborn questions. Remember, each baby grows and develops differently. Please contact your pediatrician if you have any questions about your baby's growth and development.
Congratulations to you and your family from Boys Town Pediatrics.