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Giving birth is exciting and exhausting, but nothing quite compares to the moment you get to hold your baby for the first time. Congratulations!
Your first few hours and days may be a blur. We’ll help you ease right into the role of mom and dad.
Infant identification and safety
Once your little one arrives, you, your baby and one other person you choose will receive ID bands with numbers that match. Numbers are matched again when you leave the hospital. For safety reasons, additional bands won’t be issued to anyone else.
Remember, you must have a car seat before you leave the hospital. Many of our hospitals offer car seat safety classes and can check your seat for correct installation. You just need to call and request additional information on dates and times. However, if your local facility doesn't have a member of staff able to perform the car seat safety check, you can use one of the United States Department of Transportation's Car Seat Inspection Stations.
At SCL Health, our hospitals are either designated as Baby-Friendly or follow Baby-Friendly practices. This means you’ll be encouraged to bond skin-to-skin, breastfeed and care for your baby at your bedside.
Baby-Friendly practices promote breastfeeding, which can give your baby all the nutrients necessary for the next six months and antibodies for protection from allergies and illnesses.
If you’re new to breastfeeding or experience any difficulties, lactation specialists are available to offer support and resources after you leave the hospital.
See the benefits of breastfeeding.
Your baby’s birth certificate
A hospital staff member can help you fill out your baby’s information to order an official copy of the birth certificate. You also can order one online, by mail, by fax or in person. (Additional fees may apply for online orders.) Please wait at least one week after your baby is born to order.
You’ll receive the official copy of the birth certificate from your health department about three to four weeks after you place the order. If you order in person, you’ll receive the birth certificate immediately.
Newborn health screenings and procedures
All babies are screened for health issues that can be treated if they’re found very early in life. These may include:
- Newborn screening tests – The U.S. has a national program with a core set of newborn screening tests. A small blood sample is taken from a baby’s heel and sent to a state lab to be tested for rare diseases, such as:
- Phenylketonuria (PKU)
- Congenital hypothyroidism
- Sickle cell disease
- Maple syrup urine disease
- Newborn hearing screening – We screen all babies’ hearing before they leave the hospital. The screening uses non-invasive probes on the skin. This is usually done in your room, and you’re welcome to be there with your baby.
- Congenital cardiac heart disease screening – This screening detects low oxygen levels and is done by placing non-invasive pulse oximetry probes on your baby’s foot and hand.
Most newborns have normal results for blood tests and other screenings. If we detect any health or hearing issues, we’ll refer you and your baby to a specialist for follow-up care.
Learn more about the core screening tests.
Other considerations include:
- Hepatitis B immunization – Your baby will receive the first of three hepatitis B vaccinations shortly after birth, with your consent. The other two will be administered by your baby’s doctor in the coming months.
Learn more about hepatitis B immunization.
- Circumcision – If you choose to have your son circumcised, you’ll be required to complete and sign an authorization form allowing your baby’s doctor to do the procedure.
Consider your personal, religious and family traditions while you weigh the pros and cons of the surgery. We encourage you to consult your doctor and your baby’s doctor. But remember, it's your decision.
More than the baby blues
You’ve spent the past few months anticipating the birth of your baby. Now that you’re home with your little one, adjusting to your new role as a mom can start to wear on you, especially when your hormones are surging and you seem to cry at the drop of a hat.
Most of the time, this is a normal case of the “baby blues,” which will pass as your hormones stabilize and you get the hang of caring for your newborn. For one in five moms, however, that cloud sticks around longer than it should and may be a sign of postpartum depression.
Learn more about the signs of postpartum depression.