By the time you hold your new baby in your arms for the first time, chances are you've already chosen one of the most important people in your little one's early life — a doctor. You and your baby will probably visit the doctor more often during the first year than at any other time.
You may have had a prenatal visit with your baby's doctor-to-be to discuss some specifics, such as when he or she will see your newborn for the first time, office hours and on-call hours, who fills in when your doctor is out of the office, and how the office handles after-hours emergencies. You may have also learned the doctor's views on certain issues.
In this way, you've begun to forge a relationship with your baby's doctor that should last through the bumps, bruises, and midnight fevers to come.
Depending on your desires and the rules of the hospital or birth center where your baby is delivered, the first exam will either take place in the nursery or at your side:
Your baby will be given a first bath, and the umbilical cord stump will be cleaned. Most hospitals and birthing centers provide personal instructions (and sometimes videos) to new parents that cover feeding, bathing, and other important aspects of newborn care.
The hospital or birth center where you deliver will notify your child's doctor of the birth. If you have had any medical problems during pregnancy, if any medical problems for your baby are suspected, or if you are having a C-section, a pediatrician or your baby's doctor will be alerted of the impending birth and be standing by to take care of the baby.
The doctor you have chosen for your newborn will probably give your baby a full physical examination within 24 hours of birth. This is a good time to ask questions about your baby's care.
A sample of your baby's blood (usually done by pricking the baby's heel) will be taken to screen for a number of diseases that are important to diagnose at birth so effective treatment can be started promptly. In some cases, a repeat sample to confirm the results will be taken by the baby's doctor soon after going home.
Every newborn should be seen and examined at the doctor's office within 3 to 5 days after birth and within 72 hours after discharge from hospital. But if your baby is sent home less than 48 hours after delivery, your doctor will want your baby to be brought to the office for a check within 48 hours after discharge.
During the first office visit, your doctor will assess your baby in a variety of ways. The first office visit will differ from doctor to doctor, but you can probably expect:
Also, if the results of screening tests performed on your newborn after birth are available, they may be discussed with you. Bring any questions or concerns to the doctor at this time. Jot down any specific instructions given regarding special baby care. Keep a permanent medical record for your baby that includes information about growth, immunizations, medications, and any problems or illnesses.
Babies are born with some natural immunity against infectious diseases because their mothers' infection-preventing antibodies are passed to them through the umbilical cord. This immunity is only temporary, but babies will develop their own immunity against many infectious diseases.
Breastfed babies receive antibodies and enzymes in breast milk that help protect them from some infections and even some allergic conditions.
Infants should get the first shot of the hepatitis B vaccine before they leave the hospital. Since your baby will receive more immunizations over the coming months, you may want to familiarize yourself with the standard immunization schedule.
Don't hesitate to call your doctor if you have concerns about your newborn. Some common difficulties to be aware of during this first month:
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2015
|Neonatal Jaundice This Web site contains information about jaundice, treatment options, and links.|
|Maternal and Child Health Bureau This U.S. government agency is charged with promoting and improving the health of mothers and children.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|Zero to Three Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the health and development of infants and toddlers.|
|Immunization Action Coalition This organization is a source of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization information as well as hepatitis B educational materials.|
|Baby's First Test This site offers comprehensive information and resources about newborn screening at the local, state, and national levels.|
|Movement, Coordination, and Your Newborn It may seem like all babies do is sleep, eat, and cry, but their little bodies are making many movements, some of which are reflexes.|
|Medical Care and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old You probably have lots of questions about your baby's health. When should you call the doctor, and what medical care should you expect for your baby at this age?|
|Medical Care and Your 4- to 7-Month-Old Because your baby begins to show his or her personality during these months, your questions may move from simple sleeping and eating concerns to those about physical and social development.|
|Medical Care and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old As your baby becomes more independent, you may have questions about how to prevent bumps and bruises. Here are some other topics you'll cover with your doctor.|
|Your Newborn's Growth A newborn's growth and development is measured from the moment of birth. Find out if your baby's size is normal, and what to expect as your baby grows.|
|Your Newborn's Hearing, Vision, and Other Senses Your newborn is taking in first sights, sounds, and smells while learning to explore the world through the senses. What are your baby's responses to light, noise, and touch?|
|Learning, Play, and Your Newborn Play is the primary way that infants learn how to move, communicate, socialize, and understand their surroundings. And during the first month of life, your baby will learn by interacting with you.|
|Pregnancy & Newborn Center Advice and information for expectant and new parents.|
|Choosing Safe Baby Products Choosing baby products can be confusing, but one consideration must never be compromised: your little one's safety.|
|Bringing Your Baby Home Whether your baby comes home from the hospital right away, arrives later, or comes through an adoption agency, homecoming is a major event.|
|Feeding Your Newborn How you feed your newborn is the first nutrition decision you will make for your child. Take a closer look at these guidelines for breastfeeding and bottle-feeding so you can make an informed choice.|
|Sleep and Newborns Newborn babies may wake up often at night. Their internal time clocks are not yet set, and their small stomachs are often hungry for milk.|
|Communication and Your Newborn From birth, your newborn has been communicating with you. Crying may seem like a foreign language, but soon you'll know what your baby needs - a diaper change, a feeding, or your touch.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.