If you give birth in a hospital, your newborn baby will be subject to various interventions and medical procedures, many of which are viewed by new parents with awe, as though they were instilled by an infallible authority and therefore are unquestionable. That's how the hospital staff will try to present it, too, since they are officially representing the health care system and are supposed to promote its guidelines. However, after doing a bit of research, you will often be surprised to find what stands behind the routine practices of hospitals.
Let's take as an example the Hep B vaccine, which is routinely performed in all hospitals around here. Hepatitis B is a disease transmitted through blood or bodily fluids, and therefore can be passed from mother to child during birth. Many mothers are unaware carriers of the Hep B virus, which is why all newborn babies are vaccinated. Now, what interests me is why they don't check during pregnancy whether the mother is a carrier or not. Perhaps it's cheaper to just vaccinate, or perhaps the vaccine makers do all they can to perpetuate the recommendation for all-vaccination policy? I don't know.
There are many claims of adverse effects associated with the Hep B vaccine, most of which are shrugged off as mere coincidences not meriting serious research. It isn't in my power to check whether there is truth to said claims, but I don't believe it is healthful to bombard a new immune system with vaccination immediately following birth. It also happens that I was vaccinated against Hep B a few months before my first pregnancy, which was why we decided that in our case vaccinating our newborn would be largely pointless, and opted against it.
Please note I'm not making a blanket statement against all vaccinations/routine hospital practices. I simply believe parents would be wise to make informed choices, and deserve the opportunity to do so without pressure from the hospital staff. I also believe that when dealing with any anti-physiological interventions, our first question should be "Why?" as opposed to "Why not?"
Another common practice is giving a Vitamin K shot (which contains a mega dose of the vitamin) to all newborns, in order to prevent a rare and unpredictable condition that leads to problems with blood clotting and may cause permanent brain injury in babies. We didn't think much about the Vitamin K shot before Shira was born and allowed it to be administered, but now we are inclined to refuse that as well, because we learned that there are gentler, more physiological ways to reinforce a baby with Vitamin K, such as a Vitamin K-rich nutrition for the nursing mother, or a supplement taken by the mother or drops given to baby orally. Again, the risks associated with the shot are questionable, but there is another way – though no doubt, it's more hassle for the health care system to pursue reinforcing the nutrition of nursing mothers than to just give a shot and be done with it.
Around here, Hep B vaccination and Vitamin K shot are routine practices which will be performed without your knowledge or consent unless you explicitly state – and insist - that you are against them. To do that, it's important to make a decision before birth, and have at least one parent present at all neonatal check-ups. In our case it was my husband who accompanied our daughter to her initial check-ups after we all spent some time together in the delivery room.
I think it's very important, if at all possible, that your child is within sight of at least one parent at all times. Remember, the baby is your child, not hospital property. Hospital protocols are a very powerful thing; the whole business functions like a machine, and even if they aren't opposed to respecting your wishes, this notion might simply get lost in the process. Your best bet is to hover in the background and remind them which procedures you are interested or not interested in.