Maine Medical Center supports The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Once solid foods are introduced, breastfeeding is recommended until your baby is 12 months old and may continue for as long as both mother and baby desire. Any time you spend breastfeeding is beneficial to both you and your baby. Whichever method you choose to feed your baby, it should be a decision that makes you feel comfortable.
Our nurses are all trained in helping with breastfeeding and will help you throughout your stay. We also have an experienced team of Lactation Consultants available 7 days a week. If you will be formula feeding your infant, the nurses will teach you about feeding techniques. They will discuss formula selection and feeding patterns of newborns.
What to Expect After Your Baby is Born
Your baby will be brought right to your chest after he or she is born, as long as you are both feeling well. Research has shown that babies who are kept skin to skin will stay warmer, feel more secure, cry less, breastfeed better, AND their blood sugar, heart rate, and respiration stabilize easier when placed and kept skin-to-skin with Mom. You can expect the staff at the Family Birth Center to help you keep your baby skin-to-skin right after birth and throughout your stay.
Since all newborns are born without enough Vitamin K or the ability to use it well, your baby will receive a Vitamin K injection within a couple of hours after birth, as recommended by the AAP. This will help your baby with blood clotting. Learn more about Vitamin K here.
Antibiotic Eye Ointment (Erythromycin)
The AAP also recommends every baby is given an antibiotic ointment for their eyes to prevent an infection from developing if they were exposed to an undetected sexually transmitted infection (chlamydia and gonorrhea) during birth. Learn more about eye ointment here.
Hepatitis B Vaccination
If you are planning on being a vaccinating family, your baby will receive the first of three Hepatitis B vaccines while in the hospital. It is important to vaccinate your baby at birth so he or she will be protected as early as possible from any potential exposure to the Hepatitis B virus. Questions about this and other vaccinations? You can find more information here. Consider taking the "All About Vaccines" class through the Childbirth Education Program.
If you have a baby boy, you have an important decision to make: whether you will have him circumcised or leave his penis natural. For some families, the choice is simple because it's based on cultural or religious beliefs. But for others, the right option isn't as clear. There are many things to consider when making this decision.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) do not endorse circumcision as a way to prevent medical conditions. The AAP also does not find sufficient evidence to medically recommend circumcision or argue against it. You can learn more here.
Many insurance companies do not cover the cost of this procedure. Your provider may require you to pay a portion of the amount up front or may bill you afterwards. In most cases, an obstetrician or a pediatrician will perform the circumcision in the hospital before your baby is discharged but there are some situations that require this procedure to be done in an outpatient visit. Talk with your partner and your physician about the benefits and risks, costs, and scheduling before making a decision.
By law, all newborns are tested for several rare but serious medical conditions. Babies with these conditions may look healthy at birth. If not treated, these conditions can cause health problems such as mental retardation, slow growth, and even death. With treatment, these problems may be prevented. More information can be found at Baby First Test website.
Maine requires newborns’ hearing to be screened before they are discharged from the hospital. A child develops critical speaking and language skills in the first few years of life, and if a hearing loss is caught early, doctors can treat it so that it doesn’t interfere with that development.
Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) Screening
CCHD is a birth defect in the structure of the heart or how blood flows through the heart. This painless screening measures how much oxygen is in your baby's blood. Click here for a video to learn more about this screening.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Screening
In accordance with State of Maine recommendations, all infants born in Maine are screened at birth for CF if the family agree. Genetic counseling is available to parents of infants who screen positive for CF or who are carriers of the CF gene. Learn more about CF.
Soon after the birth your nurse will apply identical ID bracelets to you, your baby, and your birth partner. Those bands will be checked each time your baby has testing or procedures done, leaves the Newborn Observation and Procedure Area (NOPA), and at the time of discharge. Leave your matching identification bracelets on you, your partner, and your baby until after your baby has been discharged. We also have an electronic system that will help us be sure of the baby’s safety in our unit. This electronic tag is also attached to an ID band that will be removed only at discharge. This electronic tag alarms if your baby is removed from the unit.
You are the most important person in keeping your baby safe. Please never leave your baby alone at any time. All of our hospital staff must wear a photo ID badge. Staff caring for infants have a special pink band across the bottom of their ID badge. Only staff with the pink stripe should transport your baby. Immediately tell our staff of anyone you think is suspicious. Since staff will approach anyone carrying a newborn in their arms in the halls, place him or her in the bassinet if you leave your room.
Please fill in the birth certificate worksheet that you will receive from Health Information Management so it can be sent to the Department of Human Services Vital Records Unit in Augusta. It is best to get this paperwork done here where your baby is born, otherwise you will need to go to Portland City Hall or your town/city hall and pay $60 to file this information. In 4-5 weeks, your baby’s birth certificate will be available at your town or city hall. The Social Security card will be mailed to you in 6 weeks. More information can be found in the brochure in your welcome packet.
If you are not married and need to fill in paternity papers, both parents must sign the paternity form in front of a notary public. You may get the papers notarized at the Family Birth Center. These forms are sent to the Portland City Clerk’s office and the Department of Human Services Vital Records Unit in Augusta.
Harold Alfond College Challenge
Maine babies can start a college investing account with a $500 grant from the Alfond Scholarship Foundation. Learn more about the $500 Harold Alfond College Challenge.