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Inside the Well-baby Nursery

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Ever wonder what goes on in the newborn nursery?

Well, you've come to the right place. Here are the events that occur from the time your new baby leaves you in the delivery room until the time you are reunited in the mother-baby unit. 

After your baby is born and you have had time to bond and nurse your baby, your little angel will be taken to the well-baby nursery. Once in the nursery, your baby will stay there until he/she is warm enough (and stable enough) to get a bath, warm up after the bath, and then maintain a normal temperature when placed into an open crib. This process is very individualized and the length of time in the nursery varies greatly from baby to baby.

Rest assured that the nurses do what they can to expedite this process without compromising your newborn. Our main concern is the health of your newborn.

If you are breastfeeding, every attempt is made to get your little one back to you for feeding. There are circumstances, however, that may require a feeding in the nursery with formula to prevent an admission into to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The main reason a baby is ever given formula in the nursery is for low blood sugars. A feeding of formula usually prevents admission into the NICU for IV and IV fluids and prevents separation of baby and mommy.

Some babies may require some blood work when in the nursery. Babies born to mothers with diabetes

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(gestational, type I, or type II), babies that weigh over 9 pounds, or babies who weigh less than 6 pounds may require 24 hours of blood sugar monitoring. If maternal infection is suspected or if you are positive for group B strep (a common bacteria found in the vagina) and have not been given adequate IV antibiotic coverage during labor, a complete-blood-count (CBC), blood culture, and possibly c-reactive protein (CRP) may be drawn on your baby to rule out the possibility of infection.

Once your baby has maintained his/her temperature in an open crib, your baby will be brought to your room. Your baby will be taken to the nursery for assessments, lab work, tests (if applicable), hepatitis B vaccine (if requested), baths and weights (which are usually done on the night shift), and circumcisions (if requested). If you are a first day c-section and there is no one with you, your baby will be taken to the nursery after feedings. This is done for safety reasons since you cannot get out of bed easily that first day. Otherwise, rooming-in is encouraged to promote bonding and breastfeeding. If you need a rest, be sure to let your nurses know and they will take your baby to the nursery until you have finished resting and/or it's time to feed your baby.

Your nurses are available to assist you with breastfeeding, bottle feeding, diaper changes, and anything else you may need during your stay. If you are unclear of anything, be sure to ask. There is much to learn before you leave the hospital!

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