Newborn Care

Health Screenings & Documentation

Before your baby leaves the hospital, they will undergo several tests to check for various conditions and diseases that cannot be seen on observation but may cause health problems. If identified and treated early, serious problems can often be prevented. In New York State, all babies are required to be tested for more than 40 metabolic and genetic disorders, even if the baby seems healthy and has no symptoms or health problems. A tiny amount of blood is taken from the baby’s heel, collected on special paper, and sent to the Department of Health for analysis. The baby’s heel may have some redness at the puncture site and may have some bruising that usually goes away in a few days.

Hearing Screening

In New York State, all babies are required to have their hearing checked before going home. The purpose of this screening is to check your newborn’s ability to hear and to help identify babies who might require further testing. Since good hearing is so essential for the development of speech and language skills, the identification and management of hearing impairment must be done as early as possible. A hearing screening is non-invasive and painless. The testing methods used are otoacoustic emissions and auditory brainstem responses. Both procedures take only a few minutes and can be performed while the infant is resting. A trained specialist measures your baby’s hearing while soft sounds are played.

Vaccinations & Immunizations

Vaccines are the safest way to protect you and your child from potentially life-threatening illnesses. Vaccines teach the immune system to recognize infections so it can fight them off in the future.

The New York State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend you keep your child up-to-date with the recommended vaccination schedule.

Vaccine Birth 1  month 2  months 4  months 6  months 9  months 12  months 15  months
Hepatitis B Dose 1 Dose 2   Dose 3
Rotavirus     Dose 1 Dose 2        
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and
acellular Pertussis (DTaP)
    Dose 1 Dose 2 Dose 3     Dose 4
Haemophilus influenza
type b
    Dose 1 Dose 2     Dose 3 and 4
Pneumococcal conjugate     Dose 1 Dose 2 Dose 3   Dose 4
Inactive poliovirus     Dose 1 Dose 2 Dose 3
Influenza         Annually 1 or 2 doses
Measles, Mumps,
and Rubella (MMR)
            Dose 1
Varicella (chicken pox)             Dose 1
Hepatitis A             2 Doses

Birth Certificate

Following delivery, you will be given a form that needs to be completed to issue your child a birth certificate and Social Security number. If you are naming a co-parent on your baby’s birth certificate, they must be present. You will also need to provide a copy of a marriage certificate or complete a paternity acknowledgment form.

You should receive your child’s birth certificate and Social Security card approximately four to six weeks following delivery.

Paternity Acknowledgement Form

Unmarried parents will be given an acknowledgment of paternity form. This document establishes the child’s legal father. Both parents must sign it voluntarily. You cannot sign the form if:

  • the mother was married at any time during the pregnancy or when the child was born;
  • the mother is unmarried, but more than one man could be the child’s father; or
  • the child has not been born.

NEWYORK-PRESBYTERIAN/COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IRVING MEDICAL CENTER

NEWYORK-PRESBYTERIAN ALEXANDRA COHEN HOSPITAL FOR WOMEN AND NEWBORNS