INSTRUCTIONS FOR NEWBORN CARE
During the next few days, most of your time will be spent resting and regaining your strength. You can put this time to good use by getting to know some of the simple things which will help to make life with your baby easy and fuss-free.
Parenthood is one of the most exciting experiences you will ever have, but is it also a bit frightening, especially if you are a parent for the first time. We will assist you in gaining confidence in your parenting skills here in the hospital and also during the first weeks and months at home. We encourage you to read this booklet and discuss any questions you have at our daily hospital visits. We also encourage you to remember to nurture your family relationships as this is also important to the health and happiness of your baby.
You will quickly discover that your baby has a unique personality just as every adult does. Some babies are quiet, docile and even tempered. Others are irritable, always hungry and poor sleepers. Most are between these extremes.
We view our main job as that of educating you in the science and art of parenting. In our well baby visits, the doctor and nurses will cover aspects of feeding, discipline, safety and disease prevention as they apply at different ages.
Your baby should have the first office check-up at 3 or 5 days of age. You will be seen in the hospital by the doctor assigned for hospital rounds. You should schedule your first office visit as directed by that doctor. It may be the next day following discharge or up to 5 days later depending on the length of your hospital stay and presence of jaundice or feeding problems. After discussion with the doctor in the hospital, please call the office for an appointment.
Along with the check-up examination we will want to discuss your baby's growth, development and the many interesting things that you can expect your baby to do within the next few months.
Be sure to bring along extra diapers and a bottle of formula (if bottle feeding) when you come to the office.
Jaundice is a condition that commonly occurs in newborn infants. Jaundice is a French word that means "yellow" and it describes the yellow color of the skin. There may also be yellowing to the whites of the eyes. Jaundice usually appears on the second or third day of life and often disappears in about a week. As many as two-thirds of infants may have jaundice because jaundice occurs when the liver is not fully mature. The liver ordinarily rids the blood of a substance called bilirubin. When new red blood cells are created, the old blood cells release bilirubin which is removed from the body by the liver. When the liver is not fully mature, it does not function properly and the bilirubin tends to build up in the baby's blood. Because bilirubin is yellow, it causes the skin to become yellow as well. This condition is known as jaundice. More serious types of jaundice can occur when the baby's blood type is different from the mothers. If jaundice is more severe or if the level of bilirubin gets too high, treatment will probably be necessary. A technique called phototherapy is used. Phototherapy is a treatment using special light therapy. These lights cause a chemical reaction to occur that hastens the removal of bilirubin from the body. These high intensity lights are placed over the baby. the baby is kept warm and has protection from the lights over his/her eyes. This is done either in the hospital or by special arrangement with a home health nurse. Sunlight or the lights you have at home DO NOT HAVE enough of the correct intensity to help lower the bilirubin level. The phototherapy is continued until the bilirubin drops to a safe level. The level is checked by testing a sample of blood. For reasons that are unclear, excessive jaundice sometimes occurs in breastfed babies. If your baby is even slightly jaundiced at the time of discharge, we require you to come back to the office in a day or two to have a bilirubin level checked. If the level has risen significantly, this may mean that the baby may need to receive phototherapy.