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Immediate Newborn Care: What To Do and Things To Avoid

Immediate Newborn Care: What To Do and Things To Avoid

One of life’s most wondrous experiences is the birth of a child. What happens to the baby after labor can vary significantly based on the delivery method, how the baby is delivered, and how easily the baby adapts to life outside the womb. Here’s what all parents need to know about immediate newborn care.

Immediate Newborn Care: The Do’s and Don’ts

The newborn’s condition should be monitored immediately after birth. Here are some immediate newborn care tips to ensure the baby’s health and safety during the first hours of their life.

What To Do

1. Skin-to-Skin Connection

After a standard delivery, you should position the baby naked, skin to skin, on your chest or belly directly after birth. Skin-to-skin contact keeps the baby in a warm temperature and allows you both to bond immediately. It also helps maintain the baby’s cardiac pace and breathing.

This simple act helps reduce newborn crying, trigger breastfeeding, and maintain the baby’s body temperature.

After this first touch, the baby will be weighed, tested, and then measured again to make sure they are healthy and safe.

2. Feeding the Newborn

Breastfeeding is one of the most important things you can for immediate newborn care. When an infant is breastfed within the first hour of their birth, they have the best chance of survival, and developing their full potential.

Experts believe that mothers should breastfeed babies for the first six months or longer, as soon as possible after delivery.

Exclusively breastfeeding right after birth has beneficial effects on a baby’s sensory and cognitive growth, as well as lowering the risk of both infectious and chronic illnesses.

3. Apgar Score

The Apgar Score is a very simple test that is conducted on a newborn in the first to five minutes after being born. The doctor, midwife, or nurse examines the baby’s breathing effort, heart rate, skin color, and reflexes.

The 1-minute scoring is calculated to evaluate the birthing operation. The 5-minute score reveals the baby’s well-being outside the mother’s womb.

But sometimes, the test will be performed within 10 minutes of birth, depending on the case.

immediate newborn care

What To Avoid

1. Avoid touching the baby with dirty hands

Immediate newborn care involves good hand hygiene for anyone touching the baby. To reduce infections, they must wash their hands first with soap and water.

Around 28% of the 3 million newborn deaths every year are due to infections.

Most of these infections can be prevented by good handwashing behavior of those around them during the vulnerable neonatal phase.

2. Keep sick people away from the newborn

Babies have undeveloped immune systems, so they are more vulnerable to becoming sick from infectious diseases.

As part of immediate newborn care, people with fever, a cough, sore throat, or a runny nose should avoid visiting the baby in the meantime. Keep in mind that people who had contagious symptoms days earlier may still transmit viruses.

The baby’s well-being is the most important thing, so it is understandable to decline or say no to visitors.

3. Avoid too cool or warm temperatures

Babies cannot regulate their own body temperature. If the baby feels cool, keep his body and head covered and keep him close to the mother’s body skin.

If the baby feels warm, put the baby in the coolest part of the house, loosen the baby’s clothes and wraps, and bathe the baby in lukewarm water. Dry well.

When To Seek Medical Attention

If the baby is weak, not breathing properly after delivery, or has a heart rate of below 100 beats per minute, healthcare professionals should move the baby to the warming station. The doctor or nurse will decide what kind of action to take.

During normal labor, the doctor or midwife will blow air into the baby’s lungs to help the baby breathe.

The face mask could stay on the baby’s face until they can breathe independently. If the baby’s breathing and heart rate do not improve, they might need an oxygen mask or breathing tube.

For further evaluation and close observation, the baby should be moved to the special care nursery if he still requires assistance to breathe.

Key Takeaways

Every baby should receive immediate newborn care, especially within 24 hours after birth. This includes thorough drying, skin-to-skin contact with the mother, early breastfeeding initiation, and exclusive breastfeeding.

Giving immediate newborn care also determines whether the baby is in a normal state or if the baby has a condition that needs immediate and rapid treatment. So if medical assistance is needed, the baby would be transferred to a better facility or service right away.

Learn more about baby care, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Baby’s first 24 hours


Accessed March 22, 2021

Breastfeeding from the first hour of birth: What works and what hurts


Accessed March 22, 2021

Apgar score


Accessed March 22, 2021

Taking Care of a Baby at Home After Birth: What Families Need to Do


Accessed March 23, 2021

Washing hands to save newborn lives


Accessed March 23, 2021


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Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos Updated Oct 14
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel