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Mother and newborn care

We encourage well babies to remain in the new mother’s room (rooming-in). The postpartum/maternity staff cares for new mothers and their new babies as a couple (couplet care). There are many advantages of limiting the separation mother and newborn during the hospital stay. It's very helpful to begin the bonding process with a baby in the hospital with the staff around for support and education. Taking care and understanding the baby’s uniqueness can be overwhelming at first, so new parents benefit from the emotional support provided by our staff.

Bonding (the intense attachment that develops between parent and baby) is a process, not something that takes place within minutes after birth or within a specific period of time. Bonding is the result of everyday observation and care giving. By keeping mother and baby together, parents will begin to learn such things as the responsiveness of their baby, the alert and sleep periods of the day and the meaning of different facial expressions and cries. Other benefits of room-in and couplet care include more successful breastfeeding and a greater opportunity to learn and improve parenting skills through shared responsibility for the baby’s care.

The newborn nursery is staffed 24 hours a day, and at any time, the parent may request to have her newborn returned to the nursery, or she may bring her baby to and from the nursery as she wishes. Regular evaluations and care of babies will take place in both the nursery and patient room.

Recovery after childbirth—The mother/baby nursing staff is specially trained to care for and assist the mother’s recovery after childbirth. They will enter each room frequently to check on mother and baby. Periodically they will assess the mother’s uterus, episiotomy (incision) and breasts. They will also ask about bleeding and bowel movements. This information will tell them whether the mother is healing and progressing well.

Newborn safety—While a baby is in the room with the mother, it is important to maintain safety as top priority. Mothers, partners and visitors should wash their hands prior to handling the newborn. For safety reasons, never leave the baby alone in the room. Always position a newborn on his or her back or side. When walking a baby in the halls, use the portable bassinet.

Each time a baby is brought to his or her mother, the mom’s identification bracelet and the baby's will be checked. As an added security measure, each baby will have an electronic infant security tag on his or her ankle. This will help the staff to care for mother and baby in a safe and secure environment.

Circumcision—If a mother delivers a male infant, she should notify her obstetrician as soon as possible if she wishes to have her baby circumcised. After her obstetrician discusses the procedure, she will be asked to sign a consent form. If she should choose to have the circumcision done by her obstetrician, it will be performed only with her written permission.

A nurse will show the parents how to care for the newborn after the circumcision.

Breastfeeding consultation—A lactation consultant is available for new mothers and their infants. Because of the many benefits of breastfeeding, Northwell Health does suggest that a mother breastfeeds her newborn on demand, usually every two to three hours for the first two weeks after birth.

Social work—Social workers provide:

  • Psychosocial counseling to new mothers who are experiencing stressful situations before or after the birth of a child
  • Psychosocial counseling for patients and families who have suffered a loss of a pregnancy or newborn
  • Guidance for families who are having financial problems
  • Referrals to resources within the hospital, Northwell Health, and those based in the community

All Northwell Health social workers are licensed clinical social workers.

Home care—If a mother experiences any complications during delivery, her baby has any health problems that make it difficult for her to care for the baby after discharge, or the mother elects to leave the hospital early, she may be eligible for home care services. The mother’s care manager will visit her during her hospital stay to discuss available home care options.

Home care services are also available to patients before they deliver (during the antepartum period), if there is a need.

The OB/GYN case manager is responsible for utilization review and discharge planning. Case management staff communicates with the mother’s insurance company on a regular basis in order to notify them of admission, update them on status and obtain home care or specialized services or equipment for the mother upon her discharge.

Post-counseling and guidance
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Safeguarding newborns

Northwell Health believes in family-centered care, so we encourage parents to keep their baby with them as much as possible. Take advantage of this time in the hospital to get to know each other. The baby will come to the nursery for special procedures, or at either your doctor's or parent’s request.

The following is important information all parents should know for their babies' safety.

Electronic security

After a baby's first bath, a transmitter tag will be placed on the infant's ankle. This tag allows the staff to monitor the whereabouts of the baby. Please do not tamper with the transmitter tag and be aware that when anyone approaches exit doors with a newborn they will set off alarms. When mother and baby are discharged from the hospital, a nurse will deactivate the alarm system so that only the mother or an authorized designee can exit with the baby.

Car seat safety

New York state law dictates that all children 8 years of age and younger be restrained in moving vehicles with an approved safety restraint system. Infants under the age of 1 year and less than 20 pounds need to be in an approved rear-facing infant seat in the back seat away from the passenger air bags.

Parents are responsible for the proper installation and positioning of their newborns in the seat. Previously used seats need to be checked to see if they have been recalled. lists all seats that have been recalled.

Certified car seat technicians can assist parents to use your infant's car seat safely. To find the nearest certified car seat technician, call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Auto Safety Hotline at (888) DASH-2-DOT [(888) 327-4236], 8am - 10pm EST, Monday- Friday or by visiting their Child Passenger Safety Program website .

With the mother’s permission, in the delivery room, fathers or the mother’s approved designee are provided with an identification band similar to the one placed on mother and baby. This band must remain on throughout the baby's hospital stay. The band will not be accepted as identification if it is cut off. When the staff brings the baby to the mother, they will ask to read the name and number printed on the ID band to ensure that they match the name and number of your baby's band. If the mother, father or designee goes to the nursery to get their baby, the same procedure will be followed.

Authorized personnel

The only personnel who should be taking a baby from the mother’s room are Northwell employees who introduce themselves, explain the reason they need to interact with or take your baby from the bedside, and are wearing the proper identification. Report any suspicious persons to a nurse immediately. If unsure, ring the call bell for assistance.

Mothers should feel free to ask questions when the infant is taken from the room. If the mother is keeping the baby with her throughout the night, the nursing staff will check on the mother and baby frequently through the night hours.

Transporting newborns

The only way babies are transported is in their cribs. For safety reasons, staff asks that mothers do not walk through the halls with the baby in their arms. Mothers should utilize the cribs if they want to take the baby for a walk. It is important not to leave the baby unattended in the room. If the mother leaves the room to take a shower, she should bring her baby to the nursery to ensure that her baby is cared for by the staff.

National cord blood program

After a baby is born and the umbilical cord is cut, some blood remains in the blood vessels of the placenta and the portion of the umbilical cord that remains attached to it. After birth, the baby no longer needs this extra blood. This blood is called placental blood or umbilical cord blood: "cord blood" for short.

Cord blood contains all the normal elements of blood — red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. But it is also rich in hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells, similar to those found in bone marrow. This is why cord blood can be used for transplantation instead of bone marrow.

Benefits of cord blood

Cord blood is being used increasingly on an experimental basis as a source of stem cells, an alternative to bone marrow. Most cord blood transplants have been done to treat diseases of the blood and immune system. It has also been used to restore the functional deficiencies of several genetic metabolic diseases. To date, more than 70 different diseases have been treated with cord blood transplants.

Scientists are investigating the possibility that stem cells in cord blood may be able to replace cells of other tissues such as nerve or heart cells. Whether cord blood can be used to treat other kinds of diseases will be learned from this research.

Cord blood donations

Cord blood donated to a public cord blood bank provides another source of hope for patients who have no matching donor in their own family, no unrelated donor in bone marrow donor registries that is a suitable match, or no time to find a donor. In those cases, some other source of stem cells must be found.

Bone marrow for unrelated donors has helped solve this problem for several thousand patients. The largest registry in the United States is the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which lists more than 5 million volunteers.

Many patients who need a bone marrow transplant, however, cannot find a suitable donor - no relative that matches and no match among volunteer bone marrow donors. According to a report from the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) released in October 2002, 10,000-15,000 people in the U.S. each year have a disease that could be treated with a transplant, but have no HLA-matched related donor. About one-third of these patients try to find an unrelated marrow donor through the NMDP but only 25 percent of them (9 percent of the total who might benefit) actually get a transplant. The odds are even worse for African-Americans and other ethnic minority groups.

Fortunately, a cord blood transplant does not have to be a perfect match to the patient. Adult bone marrow frequently causes a condition called graft vs. host disease (GvHD), in which the donated cells start to attack the patient’s own cells. This can be a severe and even lethal condition.

However, the cells in cord blood do not appear to be as "immunologically mature" as those in bone marrow. As a result, cord blood transplants are less likely than bone marrow to cause GvHD and, when it does occur, is often less severe.

Because cord blood transplants cause less GvHD, the match to the patient does not need to be perfect. This means that patients who cannot find a perfectly matched bone marrow donor may have a chance to find a suitable cord blood transplant. Patients with rare HLA types, African-Americans and members of other minority groups, therefore, benefit especially from this stem cell resource.

For more information, visit the National Cord Blood Program website.

Birth certificate and Social Security number

Please note that the procedure for obtaining a birth certificate and social security number may be different depending upon which hospital is used for delivery.

During a stay on the postpartum unit, the mother will be visited by a member of the hospital's clerical staff who will explain the procedures for obtaining the newborn's birth certificate and Social Security number. The mother will receive a birth certificate information form, which she must complete.

If a mother would like to have the hospital assist in applying for a Social Security number for her newborn, she will be asked to sign her name on the appropriate form so that the necessary information can be forwarded to the Social Security Administration. The newborn's Social Security card will be mailed to her home in approximately six weeks. However, if she has not named her newborn by the time she is discharged from the hospital or if she will need a Social Security number issued for her newborn in less than six weeks, she must contact her local Social Security Office for assistance. To locate the nearest Social Security Office, call (800) 772-1213.

New York state law requires birth certificate and Social Security numbers for all newborns.

If the mother is not married, acknowledgement papers may be done at the hospital after the child's birth with both parents present. The mother will be required to present government-issued identification. If the mother is divorced or widowed, the law requires that the mother be legally divorced in order to complete acknowledgement papers with the biological father. Acknowledgment papers may be completed only when proof of divorce/widowhood has been submitted to the hospital with the birth certificate worksheet. A signed, government-issued picture ID is required of the father of the child. If the mother is using her maiden name, and she is legally married, she must present a copy of her marriage certificate.

Any questions regarding the birth certificate, Social Security or acknowledgement papers can be directed to the Birth Certificate Office at: (718) 470-5139. The team will be happy to answer all questions..

All inquiries regarding a lost or duplicate birth certificate should be directed to the Department of Vital Records at

Items for purchase/rent

Information about available purchase and rental equipment, including breast pumps, will be provided by the individual hospital after delivery.

Newborn pictures/videos

After a baby is born, the mother will be contacted by a health system-approved vendor to ask if she wishes to have professional pictures taken of the newborn. No pictures will be taken of the baby without the mother’s permission.

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