Transitioning from Hospital to Home with Your Baby
It can be intimidating to transition from the hospital to your home with your newborn. Here is what to expect and prepare for to make it easier.
Preparing to Leave and Bringing Baby Home from the Hospital
It’s time, Mama! After a whirlwind few days of going into labor, giving birth to your newborn, and bonding together, it’s finally the day that you’ll leave the hospital and settle in at home with your baby. As you get ready for discharge and the transition from hospital to home, you may understandably have a lot of questions – especially if you’re a first-time parent! Don’t allow yourself feel rushed or hurried as you’re preparing to leave the hospital, so you can ensure all your questions are answered by a healthcare professional. If it helps, write down a list of questions before or while you are at the hospital so you don’t forget to ask anything important between packing, feeding and changing your little one, and readying you both for the return home. Keep in mind that you will also likely schedule your baby’s first check-up before being discharged. Talk to your doctor or a nurse on your way out if that first postnatal visit hasn’t been scheduled yet, so you can make sure your newborn’s growth, wellness, and development is carefully monitored from the very beginning.
Having a proper infant safety seat securely installed in your car before leaving the hospital isn’t just crucial from a safety standpoint – it’s the law in every U.S. state! Whether you purchase and install a car seat prior to arriving at the hospital for delivery or you borrow a car seat from a friend or family member in the meantime, safe transport is one of the most important things to remember when bringing baby home from the hospital. Under no circumstances should you consider holding your baby during the drive home, even if the hospital is just a few minutes away. Instead, be sure that you have either an infant car seat or a convertible car seat installed in the backseat ahead of time to ensure a seamless, legal drive back – don’t be surprised if the hospital asks to check the car seat too. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time to cuddle and continue bonding once you introduce your new baby to his or her home!
Settling In After the Transition from Hospital to Home
It’s okay to be nervous when bringing baby home from the hospital, especially if this is your first child. It’s also completely normal to feel uncertain or even overwhelmed as you and your newborn discover sleeping and feeding routines that work best. However, if overwhelmed feelings worsen or develop into feelings of depression, hopelessness, or despair, contact your healthcare provider right away. There’s no shame in doing so – this is a major life change and yours and your baby’s wellness are incredibly important right now. Many moms don’t realize that their hormones are likely to continue shifting for months after giving birth, which can also contribute to what may feel like a roller-coaster of emotions.
As you transition from hospital to home, decide how and when you’d like family, friends, and other visitors to stop by. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask anyone who was recently under the weather to wait until they’re feeling 100% well before coming over to visit you or the baby. You may also consider asking visitors to wash their hands before helping with or holding your little one, since his or her immune system is still very immature and continues to develop after birth before being at full strength. Most importantly, it’s essential to remember to go with the flow during your newborn’s first few weeks and months at home – whether you are experiencing motherhood for the first time or you have other children. Your family just got bigger and it may take some time to get back into routines (or even get a full night of sleep!), but these are precious moments that won’t last forever and should ultimately be enjoyed.
If you need breastfeeding support or simply have some nursing and/or pumping questions, 24/7 LC™ provides real-time lactation support when you need it most. With live lactation consultants available for you day or night, this great resource can help you adjust to breastfeeding and/or pumping as you transition from hospital to home. If you haven’t already, follow Medela on Facebook or Instagram to connect with other new moms and discover tips and tricks that may help after bringing baby home from the hospital!