Newborn Care

Newborn Care

Becoming a parent and adjusting to life with a newborn can be overwhelming. Knowing what to expect and how to accomplish the basics, like feeding, diapering, and health & safety information, for a newborn will help you be more confident whether you're a first time parent or just need a refresher. Covenant offers helpful resources for the care of your newborn.

Your Baby's Birth at Covenant

At Covenant, we support and encourage rooming in. We attempt to avoid separation by performing caregiving activities such as exams, labs, and testing in your room. We encourage family participation in caring for your baby and yourself. We believe in involving you and your support person(s) in the learning process. Our staff is available to assist you during the times when you need rest. We encourage you to take advantage of the daily scheduled quiet time from 2:00pm-4:00pm.

Medicine & Testing For Baby

After your baby’s birth, there are some medicines they need to be given and tests they need to take before leaving the hospital. These medicines and tests are given to your baby to keep him/her healthy. Some tests are done to detect rare problems that need early treatment to prevent severe disabilities or even death.


Your baby will have his/her eyes treated once with erythromycin ointment (an antibiotic). The ointment will protect your baby’s eyes from any infection they come in contact with during delivery. It may cause minor irritation or may blur your baby’s vision for a short time. This procedure to treat your baby’s eyes is required by state law.

Vitamin K

Newborn babies are at risk for bleeding during the first few days of life. They lack vitamin K, which helps blood to clot. To decrease the risk of bleeding, one shot of vitamin K is given to newborn babies in the outer thigh of the leg. This will be done shortly after birth when the first bath is given. Within a few days the baby will make its own. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your OB provider or nurse.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Hepatitis B is a serious disease that can be prevented. It is a disease of the liver caused by a viral infection. It often has no symptoms. Most people who get the virus get better in a few months, but some people carry the virus in their blood all their lives (they are called carriers). In the United States, more than 300,000 people get hepatitis B infection every year and there are about 1 million carriers.

If they are not protected by vaccine, babies and young children can get hepatitis B through contact with blood or body fluids of infected people. Those infected in infancy or childhood are more likely to become “carriers” and this may lead to serious liver disease later in life.

You can protect your baby before he or she has contact with the virus. Following your baby’s birth, you will be offered the first hepatitis B shot for your baby. This will be given with your consent before discharge to go home. You will receive additional information about the vaccine at this time. The second shot will be given between 2-4 months of age and the third shot will be given between 6-18 months of age. For information about hepatitis B vaccine for older children, contact your child’s doctor, your local health department, or visit

Newborn Screening

All hospitals are required by the State of Michigan to test every baby born at their hospital for rare metabolic diseases. This is done by a simple heel poke. The tests can help doctors detect serious illnesses early which can minimize or eliminate serious medical conditions. Visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website to learn more about the Michigan Newborn Screening Program. For a complete list of disorders the screening may detect, visit Newborn Screening - List of Disorders.

Hearing Screening

A hearing problem in infants is difficult to identify because it is invisible, and infants and toddlers cannot tell us that they are unable to hear. Hearing loss is treatable. Because babies learn to speak by listening, the child who is unable to hear normally will not develop speech and language normally. The most critical time for your child to learn to speak is from birth to three years of age. Early identification of hearing problems helps give your child the special attention needed to help them learn to communicate. For more information about hearing screen, visit Michigan’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program

Congenital Heart Disease Screening

Approximately 1 in 100 babies is born with congenital heart disease, making heart defects the most common of all birth defects. Family history, genetic conditions and maternal risk factors can increase the risk. Over 1,700 Michigan babies are born with heart disease each year. Congenital heart disease occurs when a baby’s heart or major blood vessels do not form properly. There are many types of heart defects, ranging from mild to severe. Critical heart defects need urgent treatment to have the best outcome for the baby. Treatment can include medical and/or surgical procedures. To learn more about screening, visit Michigan Department of Health and Human Services


To make sure your baby’s first week is safe and healthy, it is important that your baby is checked for jaundice in the hospital. To learn more about Jaundice, visit


Circumcision is the removal of a double layer of skin that normally covers the glans of the penis. This fold is known as the foreskin and contains nerves, blood vessels, glands and makes up 25-50% of the skin of the penis. After circumcision, the head of the penis has an open wound. Many parents learn more to prepare themselves so they will be able to share in the decisions and responsibilities of the birth process. If your baby is a boy, one decision you will make is whether or not to have your son circumcised. In the first few hours or days of his life, we will ask you if you have made your choice. To learn more about circumcision, contact your OB provider or visit

Basic Infant Care

Learn how to best take care of your newborn in their first weeks at home by visiting the following resources:

Safe Sleep

Infant Sleep Related Deaths are the leading cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age. Infant sleep related death falls under SUID and becomes defined after investigation. Sleep related deaths are those that are likely caused by the sleep environment which includes accidental strangulation, suffocation, and entrapment.

Strangulation means when something tight, like a cord or string, wraps around a baby's neck and stops them from breathing. Suffocation happens when an object, like a blanket or soft toy, blocks a baby's airway and they can't get enough air. Entrapment occurs when a baby gets stuck between things, like the bars of a crib or between couch cushions, which can make it hard for them to move and breathe properly.

ABC's of Safe Sleep

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to provide a safe sleep environment for your baby for EVERY SLEEP - both at night and for daytime naps - which will reduce their risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID).

Michigan Statistics

  • In the state of Michigan, a baby dies every 2-3 days due to sleep-related causes.
  • An average of 143 Michigan infants dies due to sleep-related causes each year.

Saginaw Statistics

  • Saginaw County is the 5th highest compared to the surrounding counties with the overall rate of 1.8 sleep related deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • There were 47 sleep related infant deaths between 2010-2020 in Saginaw.

Additional things to consider to reduce the risk of SUID/Sleep Related Deaths:

  • Don’t let your baby sleep in a swing, car seat, or stroller without supervision.
  • Introduce a pacifier once breastfeeding has been established.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months to 1 year reduces the risk of SUID/Sleep Related Deaths.
  • Stop swaddling at 2 months of age.
  • Do not overheat baby. Dress baby in what you are wearing plus 1 more layer. (For example: If you have shorts and a tank top on, put baby in long sleeves and pants).
  • Talk to grandparents and caregivers about safe sleep and safe sleep environment.
  • Keep your baby up to date on all vaccinations and well-baby visits.

What Does a Safe Sleep Environment Look Like?

Safe Sleep Room Setup

Safe sleep practices for infants include:

  • Placing the baby on their back to sleep, as it reduces the risk of suffocation.
  • Providing a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a crib or bassinet, with a fitted sheet.
  • Avoiding loose bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, and bumper pads in the sleeping area to prevent suffocation or strangulation hazards.
  • Keeping the baby's sleep area free from hazards such as cords, curtains, and soft toys.
  • Using sleep sacks, wearable blankets or one-piece sleepers instead of traditional blankets and quilts to keep the baby warm.
  • Room-sharing, where the baby sleeps in the same room but not in the same bed as the parents, is recommended for the first six to twelve months.
  • Avoiding exposure to smoke, as it increases the risk of SUID. This includes cigarettes, vaping and marijuana. Do not let anyone care for your baby if they have taken illicit drugs such as Cocaine, Heroin, Opiods, Methamphetamines, etc.
  • Never place baby on couch, sofa or armchair to sleep alone, with you or with anyone else.
  • Educating caregivers, including family members and childcare providers, about safe sleep practices to ensure consistency and awareness.

By following these safe sleep guidelines, parents and caregivers can create a secure sleep environment that promotes infant safety and reduces the risk of SUID.

Additional Safe Sleep Resources

Contact Us

If you have any questions or want more information, please call one of the following areas in the Birth Center:

Labor, Delivery & Recovery - 989.583.4496

Breastfeeding Warmline/Lactation Consultant - 989.583.4429 or toll-free 1.888.848.2229

Register for childbirth education classes - 989.583.4135 or 989.583.4503

Financial assistance for hospital bill - 989.583.6024

Customer Service/Patient Advocate - 989.583.4311

OB Managers - 989.583.7201

email: childbirtheducation@chs-mi