Where Every Family Matters

Newborn Basics with Old Harding Pediatrics

The newborn phase can be overwhelming even for the most experienced of parents. Even if this isn’t your first pregnancy, you may find that you can’t quite remember what happens in the delivery room or what those first few days entail. Whether you are expecting your first or your fifth, the physicians at Old Harding Pediatrics want you to feel prepared to welcome your little one. Here are a few things you can anticipate when the big day comes. 

If you are interested in learning more newborn basics, Old Harding Pediatrics offers free monthly newborn classes. Visit our website at ohpa.com to register.

 The Delivery Room

  • An OB or midwife will suction the baby’s nose and mouth to clear the airway.
  • Umbilical cord clamped and cut (by dad if desired!)
  • The baby will be dried and stimulated under an in-room warmer.
  • The baby will be allowed to breastfeed and snuggle if the medical staff determines that all is well. 
  • We know that not everyone chooses to have their baby in a traditional delivery room, but the above can be expected in a birthing center or during a home birth as well. 

The Newborn Nursery 

  • Measurements including length, weight, and head circumference will be taken.
  • A Vitamin K injection will be given with the parent’s consent. This prevents the newborn from experiencing hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, a bleeding disorder caused from inadequate stores of vitamin K. This is recommended by all physicians at OHPA. 
  • Erythromycin eye ointment will be placed on the baby’s eyes. This prevents blindness from possible bacterial infection contracted during delivery. 
  • If needed, the baby will have their blood sugar tested. This is done for infants of diabetic mothers or babies who are either small or large for gestational age.
  • The first Hepatitis B Vaccine will be given with the parent’s consent. 
  • It’s finally bath time! The nurses or midwives will handle this first rinse. 

Umbilical Cord Care

  • The umbilical cord is clamped at birth.
  • It will usually fall off around 2 weeks of age.
  • The area may ooze for 1-2 days after the cord comes off. This is normal.
  • Call your pediatrician if the area around the cord becomes red or irritated.


  • Jaundice is the yellow discoloration of the skin that results from increased levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream.
  • Jaundice is very common, affecting more than 50% of all healthy newborns.
  • It generally progresses head to toe and starts on day 2 or 3 of life, peaking around day 4 or 5 of life.
  • Jaundice usually resolves on its own, but may require monitoring via blood tests. If the levels remain high, phototherapy is used for treatment.


  • Circumcision is personal decision for each family.
  • There are no significant medical benefits associated with circumcision. (There is a very small decreased risk of UTIs and penile cancer.)
  • The procedure can be performed by a pediatrician or an OB.
  • This procedure is generally done after at least 12 hours of life and after the baby has urinated, as long as the penis anatomy is normal and there is no family history of bleeding issues. 
  • Risks are very minimal and include bleeding, infection, and local tissue damage.
  • Sugar water and local nerve block are used for pain control during the procedure.
  • Care after procedure simply involves keeping penis covered with Vaseline for the first five days.

The ABC’s of Safe Sleep

  • ALL babies should sleep ALONE
  • Not with adults, other children, or pets
  • Not with toys, stuffed animals, blankets
  • On their BACK
  • Not on their side
  • Not on their stomach
  • In a CRIB or bassinette
  • Not in the parent’s bed or a sibling’s bed
  • Not in a couch or chair
  • Not in a car seat or carrier

Standard Pediatrician Visits 

The first office visit is usually 2-3 days after you leave the hospital. Check-up schedule during the first year includes visits at the following ages: 

  • 2 weeks
  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 9 months
  • 12 months

When to Call Your Pediatrician

  • Rectal temperature of LESS THAN 97 degrees or GREATER THAN 100.4 degrees during the first 2 months
  • Persistent fussiness, lethargy, or poor feeding
  • Worsening jaundice
  • Less than 4 wet diapers per day
  • Respiratory difficulty 
  • Any other concerns you may have. It’s ok to ask questions! 

If you are interested in choosing Old Harding Pediatrics for your child’s care, give them a call at 615-352-2990 with any questions. For more information about Old Harding Pediatric Associates, visit their website here.


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