The baby’s first interaction with the pediatrician is not when he has to have a vaccine or when he falls ill. The pediatrician is usually present at the hospital when you are to deliver your baby. The pediatrician has a large role to play. He or she will be the first to have e good look at the baby, and the first one to lay a gentle hand on it.
When the baby is born, he is covered in a white wax like coating called the vernix. This is very special for the baby since it is what protects him in the fluidy atmosphere in the mother’s womb. Once the baby is born, it is cleaned thoroughly to ensure that the vernix is cleaned up as much as possible. There is bound to be a little residue in the scalp and other parts, but it will come off with time. The vernix also helps the baby settle down after birth.
The baby is then examined thoroughly. An APGAR score is calcuated, where the baby is checked for reflexes, colour, it’s heart rate, respiratory rate, and also muscle tone. This score is calculated once as soon as the baby is born, and then again after five minutes. An average score is then taken.
To prevent any undue bleeding in the baby, a Vitamin K injection is given at birth. This is since the baby’s blood clotting mechanism does not function to a complex degree at birth.
The pediatrician then administers any ointments or eye drops that may be necessary for the child.
Once these procedures are carried out, the baby is brought to the mother, who is encouraged to feed, no matter how tired she may be after the delivery. This is important in getting the baby used to feeding, and the pediatrician is normally around to help.
You will see a lot of the pediatrician until you are ready to leave the hospital and return home. She will come in regularly to check on the baby’s progress and make sure the baby does not develop problems like jaundice or fevers. She will also help you with any vaccines that need to be given at the hospital.