Newborn Care in Murfreesboro, TN
I’m Dr. Helton.
I started practicing medicine in the year 2000, and over the past 19 years have treated and served over 15,000 patients. I’m the current president of the Middle Tennessee chapter of Family Physicians, an Executive board member of the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians and Chairman of St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital Family Medicine Department.
A newborn brings a whirlwind of activity to your life. At first, newborn care might seem limited to round-the-clock feeding, bathing, diapering and soothing — but there’s more to ensuring newborn health than these basics. Other newborn health concerns might include caring for your newborn’s skin, decoding your newborn’s cries and promoting your newborn’s development.
Remember, part of taking good care of your newborn involves caring for yourself. Sneak in as much sleep as possible, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need a break.
Newborn care can turn your life upside down, and newborn health concerns can sometimes seem overwhelming. Appreciate the joy your newborn brings to your life — and cope with everything else one day at a time
There are many benefits to keeping babies close to their parents. We encourage you to hold your newborn baby naked (except for a diaper) on your own skin, with a blanket covering you both, during your awake and alert times. Babies who are frequently held skin-to-skin:
- Are more likely to latch onto the breast and to breastfeed easily
- Have more stable and normal skin temperatures, heart rates, and blood pressure
- Have better blood sugars
- Are less likely to cry
- Breastfeeding Support
- We encourage all mothers to breastfeed their infants. Part of ensuring success is to avoid giving formula, bottles or pacifiers to healthy newborns. If there is a medical reason to give the baby a supplement, we will discuss options with you.
Delayed First Bath
A creamy, protective substance called vernix is present on the skin of many newborn babies. We often give a first shampoo, but intentionally do not bathe babies in their first few days because leaving this substance to absorb into your baby’s skin helps protect against dryness and bacterial infections.
Vitamin K and Erythromycin Eye Ointment
Your baby will typically receive a Vitamin K injection and an antibiotic eye ointment shortly after birth. Vitamin K protects against rare but serious bleeding problems, and erythromycin prevents bacterial infections that can be present in the birth canal.
If you wish, you can delay these by an hour or so to keep your baby skin-to-skin. Because the Vitamin K protects the baby from bleeding problems in the first 24 hours, it’s best to give it as early as possible (within an hour after birth).
The first time you hold your newborn in the delivery room is a great time to start breastfeeding. At the beginning, your body will produce small amounts of a special milk called colostrum that will help protect your baby from infection. (Your baby’s tummy is very tiny, so she only needs these small amounts to fill up. As her tummy grows, your milk will change and you’ll produce more of it.)
Screening identifies most of the babies born with these disorders, so treatment can start right away. A heel prick is used to take a few drops of the baby’s blood and send it for testing.
Your baby will stay with you during these screenings. If your baby requires any additional testing in another area of the hospital, you or a family member are always welcome to accompany your baby.