Newborn Care

What's Happening to Baby

  • After birth, hospital staff dries baby and checks the baby's overall condition.
  • Baby gets an identification bracelet, security sensor and the first bath.
  • During every shift we check baby's vital signs, perform a head-to-toe examination, check on feedings and change diapers.

Tips for Baby's Health

  • Baby will be given antibiotic ointment for the eyes and an injection of vitamin K (essential for blood clotting). Your doctor may also order a first dose of hepatitis B vaccine to prevent a serious liver disease. Read more about these medications given after birth
  • Newborn screening tests use a few drops of blood from baby's heel to identify disorders that—if not detected and treated—can result in severe illness or mental retardation. If screening tests conflict with your religious beliefs or practices, please let us know.
  • Your physician will order a hearing screen for your baby at normal speech levels. Further testing can be arranged if needed.

How Valley Medical Center Can Help

  • Our hospital staff are trained and eager to help with any baby or parent care questions you have.
  • We encourage you to consider the benefits of breastfeeding. We help during baby's first 2 years through outpatient lactation consultants.
  • At Valley Medical Center, we test newborns' hearing.
  • If your baby is premature or has special needs, our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides special monitoring, treatment, technology (including breathing support), and staff. Valley doctors and nurse practitioners who specialize in newborn care are available around the clock.
  • Make sure you enroll your newborn for health insurance coverage. Many insurers have application deadlines. See Helpful Tips for Adding Your Newborn to Insurance Coverage flyer.
  • To file a record of your baby's birth, Valley Medical Center will give you a Birth Information Worksheet, which is submitted to the Washington State Vital Statistics office.
  • We'll also provide a birth certificate request form (King County issues birth certificates).
  • We want things to go well for you at home. Please see tips for preventing SIDS.

The majority of new moms today are choosing to breastfeed. Nationally, about 75 percent of babies leave the hospital breastfeeding; at Valley Medical Center, it's about 90 percent. Our nursing staff will help get you off to a good start during your hospital stay. Once you go home, we offer outpatient lactation consultants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Practice Physicians, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF all recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively until solid foods are started, at about 6 months of age. They also recommend that mothers continue breastfeeding until baby is at least 1 year old.

Breastfed babies have:

  • Less diarrhea, vomiting, ear infections, serious allergies, respiratory infections and urinary tract infections
  • Less risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Lower rates of juvenile diabetes and childhood cancers if breastfed longer than 6 months
  • Higher cognitive (IQ) scores

Parents who breastfeed have:

  • An easier time regaining their figures and maintaining their ideal weight
  • Lower rates of breast and ovarian cancer (the greatest protection is for parents who breastfeed for a total time of 2 years or more)
  • Fewer urinary tract infections while breastfeeding
  • Reduced risk of postpartum bleeding
  • Lower risk of osteoporosis

Learn more about Valley Medical Center's status as an accredited Baby-Friendly hospital. 

Hearing problems are among the most common with newborns, and early detection leads to early intervention. Hearing screenings can help with the development of proper language skills, which are essential to a child's social and intellectual growth. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all infants be screened for hearing loss and is working toward the goal of 100% of newborns being screened. In response to this recommendation, your doctor will order a hearing screen for your newborn.