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New Parents : He Looks Like a Pixie Is my baby ok (part 2) - The bonding process Getting to know your newborn baby

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The bonding process Getting to know your newborn baby

You may fall in love with your baby the moment you set eyes on him, or find that your emotions are initially mixed. Whichever your response, there are ways to help you and your baby “bond.”

  • Some quiet time with your partner and baby after the birth is precious as it helps you relax and get to know your new arrival.

  • Try not to feel perturbed if you don't experience an instant rush of love for your baby. Bonding can be a slower process, which doesn't mean that your relationship will be less special. Nurturing and caring for your baby daily is equally important.

Apgar score

These tests are performed at 1 minute, 5 minutes, and sometimes 10 minutes after the birth. Your baby's skin color, heart rate, responses, muscle tone, and breathing are assessed. In black and Asian babies, the color of the mouth, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet are checked. Each is given a score of 0, 1, or 2; a total of 7 or more at 1 minute is normal. Below 7 means that some additional help may be needed.

Table
Apgar score210
Skin color Pink all overBody pink, extremities bluePale/blue all over
Breathing Regular, strong cryIrregular, weak cryAbsent
Pulse/heart rate Greater than 100 bpmLess than 100 bpmAbsent
Movements/muscle tone ActiveModerate activityLimp
Response after certain stimuli Crying or grimacing stronglyModerate reaction or grimaceNo response

Your newborn's appearance

Your baby's appearance immediately after the birth may not be what you expected. Right after the birth, the skin can look dark red or purple, but quickly changes to a lighter color as he begins to breathe air through his lungs for the first time. His hands and feet may look a little blue for the first 24–48 hours; this is normal, but blue-tinged skin elsewhere at this time isn't normal and should be assessed. A baby's head shape sometimes concerns parents; as the baby passes through the birth canal, the bones of the skull are designed to overlap, which means that after the birth the head can looked quite pointed. However, this resolves within 24 hours. Sometimes there is bruising on the scalp due to the baby's position in labor that tends to disappear in the first week.

How your baby looks:

A newborn's appearance immediately after the birth is quite different than how he will look in a day or two. Your baby may be covered in the thick, waxy substance called vernix and may have marks and bruises from the birth process, which usually disappear within a few days.

Vitamin K An essential vitamin for your baby

After the birth, although you may decline, your baby will be given an injection of vitamin K. This is an essential vitamin for helping the blood to clot, and since babies have little vitamin k at birth and receive very little of it from their milk diet there is a small risk that they could suffer internal bleeding. Sources of bleeding may include:

  • Circumcision

  • GI tract mucus membranes

  • Hematoma on skull

  • Umbilicus

Newborn reflexes

Babies have several reflexes that are present from the moment of birth and are part of their survival skills.

If your baby feels unsupported she will fling out her arms and legs.

Your baby instinctively “roots” for food when you touch her face.

A baby's grip is surprisingly tight.

Your baby steps up and down automatically on a surface.

  • Startle (moro) reflex. If a baby's head is not supported, this produces a falling sensation and she will fling out her limbs. It's important that you always support your baby's head.

  • Rooting reflex. If you touch your baby's cheek, she will turn her head in search of food.

  • Grasp reflex. If you put a finger in your baby's palm, she will grip it tightly with her fingers.

  • Stepping reflex. If you hold your baby upright on a surface, she will make stepping actions.

NOTE

Don't worry if you grimace when you see your baby—it's normal to see a wrinkly face covered in blood, but this is a fleeting moment

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