Newborn Care

The first 24 hours after birth are filled with important moments for both you and your baby. In this section, we'll guide you through what to expect at Sierra View Medical Center during this time, covering everything from feeding and bathing to​ essential screenings and care procedures.


Breastfeeding is encouraged and is started soon after your baby is born. Our International Board Certified Lactation Consultant can help you with breastfeeding before, during, and after your hospital stay through our Breastfeeding Resource Center. Our nurses are also trained to assist with latching and provide education for successful feeding.

If needed, alternatives such as human donor milk or formula are available.


Your baby will be bathed after twelve hours of birth to avoid interrupting the skin to skin bonding time between you and your baby.

Umbilical Cord Care

Keep the umbilical cord clean and dry. Do not clean with rubbing alcohol unless your healthcare provider instructs you to do so. When bathing the baby at home, be sure to not place the umbilical area underwater until the cord has fallen off. The umbilical cord typically falls off 1-3 weeks after birth.

Newborn Screenings

Several screenings are done shortly after birth to check for various health issues:

  • Metabolic Screening: After 24 hours, a blood test is done to detect possible genetic or metabolic disorders. The blood sample will be taken from your baby's heel.
  • Hearing Screening: A hearing screening will be done before leaving the hospital. If your newborn does not pass the screening after two attempts, you will be scheduled to return to the hospital for a third exam.
  • Blood Sugar Checks: If determined necessary by the pediatrician’s assessment, your newborn will have their blood sugar checked.
  • Phototherapy treatment for newborns with jaundice
    Jaundice Screening: Newborns are routinely screened for jaundice, a condition where the skin turns yellow due to high bilirubin levels in the blood. The screening is done by holding a light meter over your baby's skin. If the light meter is elevated, further testing may be necessary, like taking a blood sample from your baby and repeating the light meter every 6-12 hours. To lower the bilirubin levels, your baby might need phototherapy. During phototherapy, the baby is placed under a special light, with only a diaper and eye protection, to bring the bilirubin levels down to a safer range.

Newborn Medications

Shortly after birth, three medications are given:

  • Erythromycin: An antibiotic ointment to prevent eye infections.
  • Vitamin K: Babies are typically born with low levels of Vitamin K, which helps the blood clot. An injection is given in your baby's thigh to help prevent bleeding.
  • Hepatitis B Vaccine: An injection is given in your baby’s thigh to help prevent hepatitis B, a liver infection.