I should add a subtitle to this post saying, “What We Did.” Because, as we all know with most choices in parenting, there is no wrong or right way. But, I recently had a dear friend ask about our choices so I’m sharing them. (So here you go, Heidi. I love you!) I know not all hospitals/states have the same requirements so I’ll just share what my hospital considers routine and then what we chose to deny or accept.
Routine Baby care after delivery
We delayed, but agreed to these procedures. Immediately after delivering our babies they were placed on my chest for skin-to-skin contact and nursing. The baby is wiped down with towels — trust me, your baby is not a slimy, gross mess to you in that moment. You just want to be close and so do they! We slightly delayed the cord cutting until it was no longer pulsing. After allowing the baby to nurse, we allowed the doctor to weigh, measure, take their temperature, and give a brief examination. Of course, if anything had been obviously wrong at delivery the baby would have headed straight to the NICU rather than delaying these procedures. After moving to our room, the baby was taken for a quick bath and for taking footprints. The whole thing lasts maybe an hour and then the baby stayed in our room for the remainder of the time in the hospital.
Hep B Vaccine
We passed on this one. I knew without a doubt there was no chance of me having a STD. So it just made sense to say no to this one for a newborn, perfectly healthy baby with no chance of encountering the Heb B virus.
Antibiotic Eye Ointment
We passed on this also. I try to avoid antibiotics as much as possible in my own life, so any time one is suggested I think really hard about using it. The ONLY reason the eye ointment is used is to prevent an infection from spreading if the mother unknowingly has gonorrhea. Since I don’t have it and there was no possible way of me getting it, we said no. Interestingly, my hospital’s website says it is required by law but they let me refuse it. For most of these procedures you just have to sign a document saying you are refusing service.
Vitamin K Shot
We passed on this. There are two major reasons for the Vitamin K shot: if you are going to be circumcising a baby boy or if there is a lot of trauma at delivery. The Vitamin K helps the baby’s blood clot, since that ability doesn’t develop until about 8 days after delivery. If there had been a lot of bruising or cuts during delivery, we probably would have gone with the shot. Since that wasn’t the case and we weren’t circumcising (see below), we said no to the shot. There have been some negative reports about the shot because the dose of the vitamin is so incredibly high. There is an alternative of doing a low dose of oral vitamins instead of getting the shot. That might be worth looking in to.
We passed on this also. This is obviously an incredibly personal decision for each family as there is not a whole lot of evidence on either side of the arguments. For us, this just made sense. If you want more info on our decision making, talk to me or e-mail me in person.
Newborn Screening Tests
Otherwise known as the PKU tests. This was required by our state, and I had no problem complying. It’s a basic heel prick to test the newborn for a variety of rare illnesses. They do the heel prick within 24 hours and let you know only if something turns out to be a problem.
Again, this is required in Illinois (and 25 other states), and we had no problem doing it. They check for hearing problems while the baby sleeps, so I’m fairly sure it’s painless.
Blood Sugar/Jaundice Tests
We didn’t have to worry about these tests with Parker. But I had Gestational Diabetes with Nolan and blood type incompatibility, so we had to deal with these blood tests. He had his heel pricked every time he ate to check his blood sugar for the first 24 hours. Since I had been doing it myself for the previous 3 months, I had no problem with them doing the same thing on my newborn. He slept through most of them anyway. The Jaundice blood test is a bit sad to watch. They have to get a lot of blood, so they have to “milk” the spot where the prick. We had to go back to the doctor a couple of times for the first two weeks to make sure that jaundice still wasn’t a problem. It never was for him, they were just being extra careful.
And that about covers it!
We chose to room-in with both babies and refused any sugar water or formula they offered.
They were with us, fed by us, and cared for by us since Day 1!
(Oh, and for those of you who are wondering about cloth diapers, we used the hospital given disposables during their first days/weeks. Those first diapers can be doozies, and it can be hard to get the cloth cleaned up from them. Plus, you just had a baby, why are you thinking about adding one more thing to your schedule? ;-))
Let me know if you have any questions–I’d be happy to help!