As a new parent, the very beginning of your child’s life can be especially overwhelming. There is so much to consider and worry about. One important component of early care for your infant that cannot be overlooked is vaccination.
Your child’s immune system is brand new and undeveloped. These vaccinations will help boost their system and provide much needed protection for your baby. Your newborn will get a few tests and immunizations — some of them required by the state of California- following birth.
Newborn Screening Test
All infants receive a screening just after birth to check for possibly serious conditions, some of which may cause health problems, or even death, if gone unnoticed.
Finding these conditions quickly after birth can help save an infant’s life or counteract some severe issues. Obviously, as the parent, you may decline any of these tests for your child.
However, if you decide to refuse the Newborn Screening Test, many hospitals will require you to sign a waiver. This acknowledges that you are aware of the dangers of not screening your baby.
Tests for Your Baby
California Newborn Screening Test
This is a blood test to check infants for various metabolic variations, such as phenylketonuria (PKU), low thyroid function, and cystic fibrosis.
The nurse will obtain a blood sample through a heel prick, which won’t hurt your baby too badly. The sample will then be sent to an infant screening lab for analysis.
Infant Hearing Test
The state also requires a hearing test for newborns, to check your child’s response to auditory stimuli. For this test, a sensor is gently placed on your child’s head to measure brain activity while your little one hears a progression of delicate tones through earphones. This quick and easy test can even be performed while your child is fast asleep.
This non-invasive and simple test looks for different types of heart defects which occur in about 1 in every 100 newborns. Like other medical conditions, early detection is SO important, and can significantly increase your child’s chances for leading a healthy life.
The test can likewise uncover other treatable conditions, for example, pneumonia. The test measures the oxygen level in your infant’s blood using a sensor that is delicately folded over the hand and foot for a few minutes.
Bilirubin is a product made by the bodies normal process of breaking down red blood cells. Most infant’s have livers that are still developing and are unable to help clear bilirubin fast enough from the blood. If bilirubin levels get excessively high, children will develop a yellow-orange tinge to their skin, also known as jaundice.
This is not uncommon and does not bring about any serious issues in many children and typically goes away after a few weeks. Some infants require blue-light therapy, which requires them to lay under this colored light for several treatments specified by your doctor.
Immunizations for Baby and Mother
Newborn children are especially defenseless against contagious and infectious diseases. Protecting yourself and your infant against these illnesses is an important step before leaving the hospital.
Hospitals, pediatricians, and medical clinics offer all children, and their mothers, various immunizations to safeguard them against diseases.
1. Hepatitis B Vaccine (HepB)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that all newborn children get a Hepatitis B vaccine before leaving the hospital. Additionally, children need to continue to get booster shots to receive full protection.
Beginning the vaccination process immediately after birth will help the infant reach full immunity sooner, and gives an additional edge of wellbeing for your little one.
2. Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (HBIG)
If a mother is a carrier of Hepatitis B (tests positive for Hepatitis B), her baby will receive the Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (HBIG) vaccination. For these children, HBIG and the HepB immunizations will be provided within 12 hours of birth.
These two vaccinations, administered together, are very effective in blocking transmission of Hepatitis B from mother to child.
1. TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussus)
Pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, can be lethal to children. Since babies don’t receive this vaccine until they are two months old, it is usually given to mothers while pregnant, or as soon as possible after the baby is born.
The goal is to shield mothers from catching and passing whooping cough on to their child. Many doctors recommend that fathers, relatives, and anyone who will have contact with an infant, receive this vaccination.
2. Influenza Vaccine
Expectant mothers who are in their second and third trimesters of pregnancy are at elevated danger of being hospitalized from the flu. Doctors recommend routine flu shots for all women who are or will be pregnant during flu season.
Traditionally, the flu season falls between early October and late March. However, this past year was especially bad and flu season extended through May!
Moms who did not get the flu shot before becoming pregnant should receive one during their doctor’s visits. This helps safeguard themselves from getting sick and reduce the chances of spreading it to their children.
Again, fathers and all other relatives and friends who will have contact with the newborn should also follow suit.
3. Pneumococcal Vaccine
This immunization can give powerful resistance to Streptococcus pneumonia, a kind of microorganism that can cause serious lung and blood disease, and even meningitis.
The CDC prescribes the immunization for individuals above the age of 65, and individuals under 65 who smoke or experience chronic diseases such as asthma or have a compromised immune system.
With limited research on in-pregnancy pneumococcal vaccinations, many doctors recommend women with asthma or immune disorders to receive this after childbirth.
Protecting Your Precious Cargo
Having a newborn, and keeping them healthy is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. These vaccines are crucial, so make sure that you keep your baby protected by checking these off your to-do-list.
Additionally, be sure to keep your baby’s immunization records in a safe place and always consult with your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions.