Newborn Care

We provide newborn baby care for babies born at Sunshine Coast Private Hospital

Attending the birth

A Paediatrician is not required to attend the majority of births, but occasionally a birth might be more complex, or a baby may be at risk of becoming unwell. In this case, your obstetrician may request that the Paediatrician be present when your baby is born.

The Paediatrician will perform a baby check

Generally only 2 baby checks are needed – one within 24 hours of birth and one prior to discharge however more may be required if your baby is unwell or has feeding difficulties.

The Paediatrician will also enquire about your pregnancy, health and family history to check that your baby is not at increased risk of any health problems.

A further check at 6 weeks of age is also recommended to confirm that baby is growing and developing normally. Some heart conditions and other medical problems cannot be detected until a few weeks after your baby is born.

A hearing check will be performed

Hearing loss is very difficult to diagnose in a newborn. One to two babies per 1000 babies will be born with a permanent hearing loss. It has been proven that early detection and treatment of a hearing loss improves language and learning outcomes. Therefore your baby will routinely have their hearing checked with special equipment by a trained midwife before discharge.

A Heel Prick Blood test will be done

Some uncommon but treatable medical conditions in the newborn cannot be detected with a routine examination. For example, some babies are born with an underactive thyroid gland. This problem is simply treated if picked up early; if diagnosis is delayed permanent and severe developmental and intellectual problems can result. It will also detect Cystic Fibrosis and Metabolic diseases. If problems with the test are detected the Paediatrician will be informed and will contact you.

Oximetry (blood oxygen levels)

This procedure is performed to rule out uncommon breathing and heart problems, occasionally difficult to detect with a routine physical examination. This test has been initiated by our Paediatricians and is not performed at most public hospitals. A small probe will be attached to your baby’s arm measuring the oxygen level in baby’s bloodstream. The procedure is completely painless and non-invasive. With modern technology oxygen levels can be detected by shining light through the skin.

Vitamin K injection

It is recommended that your baby receives an injection of Vitamin K soon after birth to prevent Haemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn. This condition is uncommon but puts babies at risk of major bleeding, especially bleeding into the brain and other vital internal organs. Haemorrhagic disease of newborn is not related to the type of delivery and breast feeding does not protect against it.

The treatment is completely safe, simply a dose of a vitamin. If you are unhappy with baby receiving an injection, the treatment can be given as a series of 3 doses given by mouth.

If your baby becomes unwell

Sunshine Coast Private Hospital has a Special Care Nursery where most newborn baby health problems can be treated effectively. Occasionally extremely unwell babies require transfer to neonatal intensive care units in Brisbane. Our Paediatricians have strong professional connections with the services and can organise them promptly if required.

All babies admitted to the Special Care Nursery in the hospital have their care supervised by a Paediatrician. We work closely as a team with our excellent nursing and midwifery staff.

Common baby health problems requiring Paediatric care


It is common for babies to be born a little too early.

Babies born extremely early, <32 weeks, are likely to require care in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Those who are more mildly premature can be managed in our Special Care Nursery. Generally, we are able to look after babies born after 32 to 34 weeks gestation and estimated to be >1500 grams in weight. If your baby is likely to be delivered early, your obstetrician will discuss your circumstances with the Paediatrician and a decision will be made in consultation with you, as to the best and safest place for your baby to be born.

Common health issues which can affect these babies include breathing difficulties, feeding problems, low blood sugar, difficulty maintaining body temperature, and jaundice.

Many small babies need to be nursed in incubator cots, so they can be kept warm. Babies with breathing difficulty may need to be given some extra oxygen, and occasionally oxygen prongs are placed in the nose [CPAP] to make babies breathing easier.

Some babies are born too early to suck well, and need to be fed through a fine plastic tube [a nasogastric tube] which is inserted through the nose and into the stomach. Occasionally babies also need to be given fluid through an intravenous drip in the first days. If there is a risk of baby suffering infection, antibiotic treatment may need to be given through the IV line.

Hip dislocation [developmental dysplasia of the hip or DDH]

This is a reasonably common problem affecting 6 to 12 out of 1,000 babies. In DDH, the hip joint has not formed normally, and the “ball” part of the hip joint is at risk of moving in and out of the socket. This problem is generally detected with a physical examination. Some babies are at high risk of this problem, including breech babies, baby girls, and children with a direct family history of hip dislocation. These babies may require a hip ultrasound examination. Occasionally the hip problem is not able to be detected at the initial examination, so a six-week check is particularly important.


Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin. It is common in newborn babies between days 3 -5 of life. If this problem becomes more severe than usual, babies are treated under special phototherapy lights.

Tongue tie

Most people have a band of tissue under the tongue, called the frenulum. Occasionally, this band is short, and attaches towards the tip of the tongue. In this circumstance breast-feeding can be difficult. Your Paediatrician will be able to discuss this issue with you if required.


It has become increasingly common for babies to develop sensitivities to certain foods, especially cow’s milk. Occasionally these problems can have an impact on feeding practice in the newborn period. The Paediatrician will be happy to discuss this issue with you if you are concerned.


We are fortunate to live in a country where vaccination is free and there is no doubt that childhood vaccination has led to huge improvements in childhood health. Sunshine Coast Paediatrics highly recommend that children follow the standard vaccination schedule outlined in your child health record.

Post discharge

It is recommended that your baby is weighed within 7-10 days of discharge to make sure that it is feeding and growing well. Your baby should regain his or her birth weight by 2 weeks of age at the latest. In most babies, weight gain should be at least 150 gm per week. If this is not happening then your baby should be seen by a doctor. Any jaundice should resolve by 2-4 weeks of age.

6 weeks check

This happens around the same time as the mother’s check with her Obstetrician. It is a good time to check your baby’s growth, vision and general, to be confident that everything is heading in the right direction. It is also a time to detect any late cardiac defects. Occasionally heart problems cannot be detected by examination in the first days of life.