Baby: Following Birth
Congratulations on the birth of your baby/babies and the beginning of a wonderful journey. The following information aims to assist you to understand the emotional and physical changes that can occur in your new role as a parent. It is, however, only a guide as each woman and her family may require different information and care depending on their circumstances. If you think that something may be wrong at any-time, trust your own judgement and get in touch with your doctor or midwife straight away.
If your labour and birth have progressed without any problems and you and your baby are well, you may choose to go home when your baby is 6 hours old; alternatively you and your baby will be transferred to the maternity ward.
We know that mums like to have their partners and support people close by, with this in mind we try to be flexible with our visiting hours. However we ask that you take into consideration your new mum's need for rest and sleep and that of the other mum's in the unit as we all know that babies like to be awake through the day and night! Routine visiting hours commence at 10 am with a dedicated rest period from 1-3 pm, where we encourage the women to rest. Visiting hours end at 8 pm.
Approximate meal times
- Breakfast 7.30am
- Lunch 12.30pm
- Dinner 5.30pm
Lots of changes occur in a very short space of time when you become a new parent and it is important to ensure you have as much support as you need. This will be different for everyone but may entail having someone to help you when you get home: to cook a meal, do a load of washing or help out with the other children. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Normal vaginal blood loss
Immediately after childbirth, your vaginal blood loss may be quite heavy and bright red. This bleeding will decrease over the next few days and gradually lighten in colour, changing from red to pink to brownish in colour. However, some vaginal discharge / spotting may be present for up to 4 - 6 weeks after birth.
It is important to note that blood loss and period like cramping may increase during breast feeds due to the release of hormones, which cause your uterus to contract. This will settle down in a few days. If this occurs, Paracetamol, 20 minutes before a breastfeed is safe to take.
You should tell your Midwife or GP if:
- You start to lose clots
- You have to change your pads more than hourly
- Your blood loss becomes bright red and heavy again
- The blood loss has an offensive smell
- You are worried for any reason
Babies are born with built in reflexes and mechanisms to assist them to have all their needs met. Fussing, crying and showing certain reflexes is how they communicate what they want. Being with your baby as much as possible helps you to learn your baby's cues and respond to their needs.
Your baby remains with you throughout your stay in hospital unless there is a need for admission to our Special Care Nursery
To keep baby safe and secure in hospital, we suggest the following:
- Wash your hands before touching or cuddling baby
- Wheel baby in their cot (not carried in your arms) should you need to move around the unit for bathing etc.
- Safe infant sleeping practices
Your baby will have 2 identification bands attached at all times.
Safe Infant Sleeping
- Sleep baby on their back at all times
- Head and face uncovered
- Smoke free environment
- Safe sleeping environment: Safe cot, firm mattress, safe bedding
- Sleep baby in the same room as their parents for first 6-12 months in their own cot
- Safe sleeping place: day and night
- Safe settling strategies - infant wrapping
- Tummy time when awake
Hepatitis B vaccination
The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia recommend that all Australian babies are vaccinated against Hepatitis B. The first vaccination is offered before you leave hospital with your baby. A further three doses are given from two months of age onward, using combination vaccines when other vaccines are due. The four doses are recommended to provide long term protection against this disease. You will be given an information sheet about Hepatitis B and if you would like your baby to have this vaccination, you will need to sign a consent form. Please ask your midwife or doctor if you have any questions or for further information.
Vitamin K for your Baby
Vitamin K deficiency bleeding in infancy is a condition that occurs due to immaturity in the baby's blood clotting mechanisms. In untreated babies, bleeding occurs in approximately 1 in every 200 births. If this bleeding occurs within the brain it can be life threatening.
Should you feel that an injection of vitamin K is inappropriate for your child, vitamin K may be administered by mouth. The oral route should consist of many doses of vitamin K from birth, and continues weekly while the baby is breastfed. If you feel that either form of prophylaxis is inappropriate for your child we would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further.
Universal Newborn Hearing Screening
The Healthy Hearing Program aims to detect permanent hearing impairment (PHI) by providing free screening to babies, ideally prior to the baby's discharge from hospital.
For further information, visit the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening website.
Newborn Screening Test
Some rare medical disorders in apparently healthy babies can be detected by blood tests before the babies become ill. Early diagnosis means that treatment can be started immediately and serious mental and/or physical disability prevented. After 48 hours of age, a few drops of blood are taken from the heel, collected on treated blotting paper, and sent to the Queensland Health Laboratory in Brisbane. Parents are not notified of normal test results. All babies in Australia are screened for: Phenylketonuria; Hypothyroidism; Cystic Fibrosis and Galactosaemia.
After your baby’s birth, you will be given the Birth Registration form. Your baby’s birth must be registered within 60 days. There is no fee to register your baby’s birth, however, if you would like a birth certificate (there are many commemorative designs to choose from), there is an order form in your Birth Registration paperwork. The costs are listed on the order form.
After the birth of your baby, you will also receive a Centrelink form 'Newborn Child Declaration’ f’. Complete this form and take it to Centrelink. Centrelink will assess it and make any payment you are eligible to receive. It also registers your baby with Medicare.