The newborn, this unknown: tricks for new mothers and new fathers to discover a new role, that of parents. Fabrizio Ciralli, head of the Operational Unit of Neonatology and Neonatal Pathology Humanitas San Pio X in Milan, answers.
Every newborn, however expected, is a gift unpredictable. Literally. The appearance of her features just hinted at in the images of the ultrasound scans that describe her first growth in her womb only suggest a physiognomy that becomes clear and surprising after delivery. Like on a first date.
In the attention of mom and dad it is easy for the eye to fall on the amount of hair, on the fingers and toes that are tapered and energetic, for example. But what is important to observe of one’s own newborn baby, in his first days of life? What is important to consider about the newborn immediately after birth and then home in this new relationship?
He answers Fabrizio Ciralli, Head of the Operational Unit of Neonatology and Neonatal Pathology Humanitas San Pio X of Milan.
In this article
What a newborn baby looks like
“We are talking about full-term newborns – the neonatologist explains – who, if in good condition, will present themselves as tonic, reactive babies who cry with a cry, cry, a lively crying.
Dad and mom need to know that there are management differences depending on whether the baby is born from a spontaneous or cesarean birth:
If it arises from spontaneous birth, the baby is evaluated and left in the womb immediately to do so skin to skin, the skin contact with the mother, which is scientifically proven to help the relationship between the mother and child dyad and to promote the mother’s milk supply earlier. The visit is postponed after about 2 hours from the skin to skin.
If born from a caesarean section, once born a clinical objectivity exam is done at birth and after that if the baby is lively and toned, also in this case you opt for the skin to skin if the mother feels it or, vice versa, this transition can also be made initially by the father.
In Humanitas Pius X the father can also be present at the birth in the Covid era undergoing the nasopharyngeal swab 48 hours before delivery and / or – if the delivery is postponed – with tests to be repeated. The father participates by adopting all the safety devices.
On theheight and the weight at birth in a situation of normality we refer to the tables of growth percentiles: weight, height and head circumference. If the conditions are physiological, the child will fall within the normal percentiles of these parameters. Slightly different figures may be found because you may be smaller or larger while still remaining normal. Furthermore, these values are not predictive of how the child will develop “.
Mom and dad: attention to have after childbirth
“Skin to skin is essential – continues Ciralli -: it is done in the first 2 hours after birth while the baby is monitored according to vital signs such as temperature measurement and is monitored by obstetricians or pediatric nurses. rooming in, that is the hospitalization of the child in the room with the mother H24 during the hospital stay. Studies show that having the baby in the room favors the mother-baby and dad relationship (when his presence is admitted, which in the era of Covid19 has become more difficult) and favors the milk supply. This is not an absolute rule and if the mother wants to rest a little, the baby can absolutely stay in the nursery area. Mom is expecting a daily clinical check-up which is carried out by the neonatologist with the pediatric nurse during the hospital stay which normally lasts 2-3 days. During the day, if the mother wants to ask for information and explanations on breastfeeding, she can address any doubts with qualified personnel “.
Examinations of the newborn after childbirth
“In the first few days of a baby’s life there are some tests that allow him to be monitored before being discharged from the hospital. All newborns undergo:
First level hearing test
Control of the retina through the fundus red reflex test
Withdrawal from the heel after 48 hours of life to do it neonatal metabolic screening, which evaluates 48 pathologies
Let’s check the bilirubin because, if high, it gives that yellowish color to the skin of children (neonatal jaundice) and in these cases we intervene with lamp phototherapy.
After discharge, at 4 or 5 days, another evaluation is carried out by the neonatologist. Here, too, the weight of the child is assessed and parental requirements, especially maternal ones, emerged upon returning home. Everything that is reported online and on social networks must be evaluated with critical analysis and that is why the comparison with the specialist is important to mitigate doubts “.
At home with the baby, what to do
“At home, first of all, you have to try to live the relationship with the baby or girl with serenity – the specialist explains -. If the mother opts for breastfeeding, she must respect the child’s schedule, so prefer thepower supply on demand. The baby sleep it must be guaranteed by some precautions such as the ambient temperature at 20, 21 degrees in winter; the baby must not be excessively covered and must sleep on his back, belly up. Do not think about giving other food besides milk such as chamomile or other, because the milk comes out of the breast and that is what the baby needs, nothing else. The umbilical cord falls by itself and parents do not have to do anything in this regard while the bath, once the cord has fallen off, can be done completely. During the hospital stay the staff usually manage and explain how to take the first bath. The important thing is to understand that expert support serves to help make things simple and natural. “
Baby, how can dad help
“It is necessary to live each aspect of a newborn’s life serenely according to one’s role – concludes Ciralli -: that the father becomes a father. The father must leave space for the mother while respecting the different biological role.