Immediate Newborn Care

Following is a list of basic immediate newborn care:

  • Wiping, drying, warming (ideally skin-to-skin contact) and wrapping, and providing skin-to-skin contact
  • Evaluating breathing
  • Using a sterile method to cut the cord
  • To prevent infant anemia, delaying cord clamping for 1–3 minutes after birth or until pulsations cease
  • Initiating exclusive breastfeeding in the first hour
  • Using chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care
  • Caring for the eyes, including prophylaxis[1] according to national policy guidelines
  • Resuscitating a baby that is not breathing at birth

After the baby is delivered and before the cord is cut, the baby should be wiped, dried, and placed directly on the mother’s abdomen in skin-to-skin contact while the birth attendant evaluates respiration and waits 1–3 minutes before clamping the cord. The mother should be encouraged to breastfeed within the first hour, with skin-to-skin contact with the baby on her chest. If the baby is not breathing at birth, steps should be taken within one minute after birth to resuscitate the infant (aspiration of airways, stimulation, bag and mask ventilation).

[1] Eye care prophylaxis: 1% silver nitrate eye drops, or preferably a tetracycline or erythromycin eye ointment, should be applied to newborns’ eyes within 1 hour of delivery to prevent infection caused by gonorrhea and chlamydia. Delay in applying the ointment is a key reason for failure of eye prophylaxis. Untreated infections can result in blindness.