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Newborn Care

Newborn Assessments and Screenings

Moments after you give birth – and over the course of the next several hours – there are a number of standard assessments and screenings that are performed on your newborn at Alton Memorial Hospital, including:

  • A physical exam, which includes obtaining weight, length, head size, chest circumference, temperature and performing a hearing test
  • Vitamin K injection to help blood-clotting mechanisms remain normal
  • Hepatitis B vaccination
  • Administering an antibiotic ointment in your baby’s eyes to prevent bacterial infections
  • Performing a heel stick for a blood test of more than 20 inherited conditions such as sickle cell disease, thyroid conditions and phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Performing an Apgar test at one minute and five minutes after birth, evaluating your baby’s heart rate, breathing, activity, muscle tone, reflexes and skin color


If you have a full-term baby boy and choose to have him circumcised, that will often be done by your provider within the first 48 hours after delivery. You’ll be instructed how to change the bandages and keep the area clean so it can properly heal. 

Mother-Baby Care and Bonding

Bonding with your newborn is one of the key initial interactions you’ll experience as a new mom. It’s an intensive process that provides your baby with a strong sense of love and security, and ultimately fosters your baby’s social and cognitive development.

We support the bonding process through our mother-baby care approach, beginning shortly after birth with skin-to-skin contact, where your baby (clothed in a diaper and maybe a cap) is placed on your bare chest with a blanket draped over both of you for one to two hours. In addition to boosting the mother-baby bond, skin-to-skin contact offers numerous benefits for your newborn, including:

  • Improvement in heart and lung function
  • Stabilization of body temperature
  • Initiation of breastfeeding
  • Reduced crying
  • Pain relief from screenings like the heel prick

You and your baby will then room-in together throughout the remainder of your stay, even during the overnight hours. Of course, our nurses are always available if you need a break or are unable to care for your baby, for whatever reason. While away, if they baby displays feeding cues, the baby will be brought back to the mother.

Couplet Care

We also provide you and your baby with the same nurse – known as couplet care – throughout your stay to help you feel more comfortable and ensure that both your needs and your baby’s needs are promptly addressed. Your nurse will provide daily care and monitoring throughout your stay, including:

  • Tracking breastfeeding and diaper changes
  • Checking vital signs and weight
  • Keeping your baby’s umbilical cord stump clean and dry
  • Monitoring how your baby boy’s circumcision is healing

NICU Support

If your baby experiences any complications that require more intensive care or further evaluation, the neonatologists (newborn specialists) at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, one of our partner hospitals through BJC HealthCare, are only a phone call away through telehealth technology. If more advanced critical care is needed, your baby may be transferred to the Level 4 NICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Through this partnership, we can transfer patients for more advanced care as needed. This is just one more way we’re delivering quality medical care and peace of mind for our expectant moms at Alton Memorial Hospital.

Choosing the Right Pediatrician for You

A pediatrician plays an important role in your baby’s physical, behavioral and mental care from birth until the age of 18. When choosing a pediatrician, it’s important to choose someone you are confident in and comfortable with, especially since you’ll be making several visits throughout baby’s first year and over the course of their childhood. You may also want to consider the pediatrician’s training and experience, as well as the office location, hours, and routines.

Once you’ve chosen your pediatrician, we recommend that you meet with him or her prior to your baby’s birth, so you can ask any questions and become more familiar with the practice and staff. Some of our pediatric providers will even attend more complicated births as requested by the obstetrician or family practice physician, so this initial meeting can be very valuable as you prepare for your baby’s upcoming delivery.

Car Seats

Before you leave the hospital, you will need a car seat and have it properly installed, so your baby can leave safely. Learn more about car seats and car seat safety.

Safe Sleep

Understanding safe sleep best practices will greatly reduce your baby’s risk of suffering a sleep-related infant death, like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) which is the leading cause of death among babies 1 month to 1 year of age. Alton Memorial Hospital is a Gold level Safe Sleep Hospital. Learn more about safe sleep.

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 618.463.7220 or 800.392.0936
General Information: 618.463.7311
Alton Memorial Hospital
One Memorial Drive
Alton, Illinois 62002

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