After your baby is born, a complete physical assessment of you and your child will be performed. Throughout your stay, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers will continually assess you and your baby for changes in health. You will be moved from your birthing suite to a post-partum room where family and friends may visit from 2 p.m.– 8 p.m. Fathers or your support person may stay overnight, and your baby’s siblings and grandparents may visit at any time (non-sibling children under the age of 12 are not permitted to visit.) All visitors should be in good health and properly immunized before visiting.
Caring for Your Newborn
Our nurses and breastfeeding experts will coach you on bathing, diaper changes, umbilical cord care, breast or bottle feeding and caring for your newborn. Make sure you tune into the hospital’s newborn education channel (Channel 23 for English, Channel 33 for Spanish) for more tips on caring for your baby. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask.
Celebrating the Birth
New parents have a few options for celebrating the birth. You can press a “lullaby button” in the Birthplace to play a lullaby on the overhead speakers throughout the hospital. We also offer a professional photographer who will take pictures of your newborn. The photos, which you can share with family and friends, are uploaded to the Web Nursery on nsmc.partners.org and password protected for your safety. You may also purchase photo print packages.
Every birth experience is different and requires different lengths of stay. Typically, mothers who have vaginal deliveries go home in about 48 hours. Cesarean deliveries typically require a 72- to 96-hour stay. We ask that you prepare to be discharged by 11 a.m. Your infant car seat should be installed and you should know how to operate it prior to leaving the hospital with your child.
Newborn Screenings and Vaccinations
Massachusetts law requires that all newborns be screened to identify certain disorders that may not be apparent at birth. Here is an overview of screenings and vaccinations your baby will receive soon after birth:
A few drops of blood from a small prick in your baby’s heel will be sent to a state laboratory. Your baby will be discharged before the results are available. If the results are normal, you will not be notified. Any abnormal values will be reported to your baby’s doctor within five days. If you would like more information, ask your baby’s doctor or call the Newborn Screening Program at 617.983.6300.
In addition, Massachusetts requires that all newborns have a hearing test before they leave the hospital. The hearing test only takes 10 minutes and is best done when your baby is asleep. A newborn who does not pass the screening will be referred to our audiology department. Not passing does not mean your baby can’t hear, but it does mean your baby needs to be retested. An appointment with an audiology specialist will be scheduled before you leave the hospital. Follow up with your baby’s doctor and the audiologist is very important.
Vaccines protect newborns against disease and are very safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all newborns receive the first of three hepatitis B vaccinations within a few days of birth. Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can lead to serious illness, cancer and possibly death. Once you have signed permission for the vaccination to be administered, a nurse will give your baby a shot in his/her thigh. If your baby is born prematurely, he/she may be eligible for an injection called Synagis, which is protective against a common but severe cold virus called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Ask your baby’s doctor for more information about these vaccines. In addition, erythromycin, an eye ointment, will be given to your baby to prevent infection and Vitamin K will be given to help your baby’s blood to clot. If you have any questions about these exams or treatments, please talk to your nurse or baby’s doctor.