During the first few days after birth, your baby is adjusting to life outside your womb. Breathing, eating, and changes in temperature are all new. The hospital staff makes sure that all goes well for the baby.


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a. Immediate Care

Right after birth, your baby will be given an Apgar test. This test looks at the baby's heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, reflexes, and colour. A health care provider will give the baby a complete examination.

The law requires that ointment be put in your baby's eyes to protect against infection. This will be done soon after birth. This ointment can sometimes make your baby's eyes look puffy. Your baby will also be given an injection of vitamin K to prevent blood clots.

In most cases, your baby can remain skin-to-skin on your chest while these procedures are performed. Discuss these options with your health care provider.

b. Other Care

Childhood immunizations help prevent certain diseases. You will find more information about immunization in Module 8 entitled "Healthy Family".

In New Brunswick your baby will be pricked on the heel and a blood sample will be taken to be tested for rare disorders that can cause health problems in babies and children. If these conditions are detected early enough, damage to your baby's development can be prevented.

If you go home early or leave the hospital before 48 hours after childbirth, your baby will still need to be tested. Before leaving the hospital, make arrangements to have the baby's blood test done.


c. How Your Baby Looks

New parents are often surprised by the way their baby looks. During your pregnancy, you have been thinking and dreaming about your baby.

Love does not turn on and off but grows over time. As you spend time with your baby, touching, stroking, cuddling, feeding, and just looking at the tiny hands and feet, you will slowly and surely find a lot to love.

The following exercise will help you become familiar with your baby's appearance.

d. What Your Baby Needs

Newborn babies need to eat and to sleep. They need warmth and comfort. They need to be clean and safe. Babies learn about the world by having their needs met.

These first few days are a time when you, your baby, and your family get to know each other. The following exercise will help you discover your baby's needs and how to meet them. they are met.

You will have to learn new skills to take care of your baby. Some of these skills include: bathing, dressing, diapering, and feeding.

During your stay in the hospital the nurses are there to answer your questions and help you learn to care for your baby.

e. Registering Your Baby's Birth

Before leaving the hospital, you will be asked to fill in forms to register your baby's birth. You will also be given a form to complete in order to get a Social Insurance Number for your baby.

After completing these forms, you can return them to the maternity unit at the hospital. The baby's birth certificate and Medicare card will be mailed to you.

For questions about the birth certificates or Medicare numbers, you can receive more information by contacting your local Services New Brunswick Office or call 1-888-762-8600.