The wail of a baby’s first cry brings a sigh of relief to most new mothers. After being confined in the uterus for approximately 280 days, life on the outside finally begins. The first four to six hours of life is called the transitional period and represents the time that most babies are examined every 30 to 60 minutes to make certain that they’re doing well. Things necessary to ensure a healthy baby include:
- A normal heart rate of 120 to 160 beats per minute. The heart rate of a sleeping newborn is between 85 to 90 bpm
- A breathing rate of 40 to 60 breaths per minute. A fast breathing rate could indicate heart problems
- Good muscle tone. Poor muscle tone could indicate possible Down Syndrome or a nerve condition
- A temperature o between 97.7 to 99.5°F. Temperatures too high or too low could indicate a serious infection
- Appropriate color. Blue lips, tongue or chest could indicate a heart condition
- Spontaneous urination and passage of one stool
- Two successful feedings and is able to swallow, breathe and suck while feeding
- A normal hearing screen
- Normal glucose (sugar) level if baby was premature, mother was a diabetic
- Normal bilirubin level
In addition, it is recommended that breastfeeding begin very soon after the delivery and that the newborns are breastfed 8 to 10 times per day. Non-breastfed infants are given one-half to one ounce of formula every four hours. All infants are treated with an eye antibiotic gel to prevent an infection from gonorrhea. The hepatitis B vaccine is also given to the newborn and as well as Vitamin K to protect against bleeding disorders. All babies must be seen by medical professionals within 72-hours of its hospital discharge.
The first 24-hours of a newborn’s life is critical and helps set the stage for the rest of its life.