COVID-19 update: We know that our patients and their families have questions related to care during this time. Please see
Maternity Care and COVID-19 FAQs for the latest updates.
In most cases, newborn babies stay with their mothers during the entire hospital stay.
Your baby will be seen every day by a newborn hospitalist, a pediatrician or pediatric nurse practitioner who specializes in the care of healthy newborns in the hospital setting. They will examine your baby and talk to you about all the things you and your baby are learning to do.
We encourage all mothers to keep their babies close to them, especially if they're breastfeeding. We actively encourage every mother to breastfeed her baby and are nationally known for our
breastfeeding support. Both of our hospitals are designated
If your baby is premature or needs specialized care, both of our hospitals offer NICU care.
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
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. For more information about breastfeeding support, see
You can also download our MothersMilk App from Google Play or the App store to learn more about breastfeeding resources.
Delayed First Bath
A creamy, protective substance called vernix is present on the skin of all 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 two hours after birth).
California state law requires that all babies have a blood sample drawn to test for some rare disorders that are not immediately apparent after delivery. 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.
California also offers a newborn hearing screening to help identify hearing loss in babies and get them earlier services. The screening takes only a few minutes while the baby sleeps. We play soft sounds through earphones made specifically for babies, and measure their response to the sounds.
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.
Discharge and Follow-Up Care
The average hospital stay is one to two days for a vaginal delivery and three days for cesarean delivery. With arrangements for follow-up care and good support at home, you may be discharged 24 hours after birth, but usually no sooner. Before you leave, we'll ask your support person to bring your baby's car seat to your room.
The newborn health team will communicate with your baby’s medical provider and help you arrange for infant care after discharge. On the day you go home, you'll receive written discharge instructions for making follow-up appointments for you and your baby. Most babies are seen within 48 hours of discharge.
We prefer to discharge patients by 11 a.m. when possible.
Safe Sleep Environment
Your baby’s safety when sleeping is important. Once you're home, we encourage you to follow these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to create a safe sleep environment for your newborn, and especially to reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths.
- Share your bedroom – but not your bed – with your baby until he or she turns 1, but at least for the first six months.
- Put your infant to sleep on his or her back on a firm surface, such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet. Don’t use a couch, armchair or a soft surface.
- Keep the crib bare. Don’t use soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys that could obstruct your infant’s breathing or cause overheating.
- Try giving your baby a pacifier during bedtime and naptime.
- Avoid exposing your child to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.