Frequently Asked Questions

Hospital Discharge Information

Congratulations on the Birth of your new baby! This section describes some important items about newborns with which we would like you to be familiar. Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have about these items or any other concerns.

Feeding: Newborns tend to feed every 2-3 hours. It is very difficult to schedule your baby's feedings the first few weeks of life, and so "demand" feeding is the rule. Babies sleeping for more than four hours at a time should be awakened for a feeding since they do not have the ability to store energy for longer periods of time. There is usually no need to do this once an infant is more than two months old.

Elimination: Most newborns urinate at least 8-10 times and have one to ten bowel movements in a 24 hour period. If your infant's elimination patterns do not fall within this range in the first few days of life, you should phone our office.

Umbilical Cord Care: The umbilical stump usually falls off at approximately two weeks of age (but a few days or 6 weeks can be normal). Until the stump has fallen off, it is recommended that you avoid bathing the baby by immersing in a bath: sponge-bathe gently with a washcloth and warm water. Each time you change your baby's diaper, the umbilical area may ooze a small amount of blood when it separates. This is not of concern unless it persists or is excessive; then make an appointment with one of our pediatricians.

Jaundice: Jaundice, a yellowish discoloration of the skin, is very common in the newborn period. It will usually begin within the first few days of life usually in the first 3-4 days of age. If you notice that your baby's skin appears yellow or orange or your baby appears lethargic, call our office immediately.

Sleep Position and Prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: In October 2005, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a recommendation that infants be placed to sleep on their backs as a measure to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Since 1992 when prone (on the stomach) sleeping started to decrease, the rate of SIDS in the U.S. has decreased by 50%. The back position has the lowest risk and is preferred. Parents and caregivers should also never smoke near the baby.

Hepatitis B Immunization: The Centers for Disease Control as well as the AAP recommend all newborns receive their first Hepatitis B vaccination in the hospital prior to discharge. You should have received a Hepatitis B information sheet and consent form from the hospital. Please read this, fill out the consent form, and return it to the hospital nurses so that your child can receive this important vaccine. Please bring the documentation from the hospital regarding the immunization.

Circumcision Care: For male infants who are circumcised, your obstetrician or Mohel should give you instructions on caring for the circumcision site. These instructions are meant to supplement but not replace them. If you notice bleeding from the site which does not stop with some pressure using sterile, dry gauze given to you in the hospital, please call our office right away. To wash the genital area, simply squeeze warm water from a washcloth over the area and let it run off. During the first 5-7 days, keep the area especially clean and apply some petroleum jelly, A & D ointment, or Neosporin to the diaper or circumcision site during each diaper change. If you notice any pus, foul odor, expanding redness or swelling of the site please call our office. Once the area is fully healed (up to 5-7 days), you may wash this area just as you do the rest of your son's body

Follow-up appointment: When you get home from the hospital, please call our office to schedule your baby's first check-up with one of our pediatricians, in the office location closest to you. We schedule these appointments when the baby is 3-5 days old.

Temperature: Your newborn's temperature was monitored closely while in the hospital. While it is not necessary to routinely check this at home, you should check a rectal temperature if your infant feels warm. Call our office right away if the rectal temperature is 100.5F or higher when your baby is less than 8 weeks of age since fevers in this age group need careful evaluation. Call us at any time, regardless of the temperature, if the baby is not acting right, appears lethargic or if you are worried.

Crying: You cannot "spoil" a newborn. Babies thrive on contact with their parents so hold your baby as much as you want, and attend to their cries immediately. Newborns cry because something is wrong - they may be wet, tired, hot, cold, hurting, scared, lonely, hungry, uncomfortable, overfed, gassy, constipated, tangled, or in some other way bothered. Crying is their only means of communicating. If you are unable to console your infant, there may be something worse going on, like a medical condition - have your baby evaluated immediately.

Diaper Rash: Diaper rashes are common, and can be avoided by changing the diaper soon after it is soiled, wiping gently to avoid abrading the skin, allowing the skin to dry thoroughly before donning the diaper, and applying over the counter diaper rash creams. Some rashes require medicated cream, so consult our pediatricians if rashes persist.

Car Seats: Car seats are required by law, and you must have a car seat to take your baby home from the hospital. The best car seats have a 5-point restraint system. The safest place is the middle of your back seat. Newborns need to be in the rear facing position. If you are stopped by the police without your children buckled in properly, you will likely receive a ticket, and may be reported to the Department of Human Services. You may also take your car seat to your local police station, and they will ensure that it is installed properly.

As Soon As Possible: Please notify your health insurance company and your employer so that your baby can be added to your policy. This is very important and must be done within 30 days after birth so that your insurance company does not reject any bills for health care provided.