You should get as much rest as you can in the hospital because time to sleep will be rare after bringing baby home. Even if you don't choose rooming in -- where your baby stays in your room during your entire hospital stay -- you still won't get a lot of uninterrupted rest. The time you spend in the hospital is a preliminary look at the way things will be at home...without all of the lights, beeping machines, and nurses, of course. Because it will be a time of drastic change, you should make sure that you and the family are prepared to bring your baby home.
Going Home with Baby
The hospital where you gave birth will give you a few supplies to take home with you. Many of these products were used on your baby during his hospital stay. You may or may not get to take home any of the t-shirts he wore, but many hospitals give new shirts with the hospital's logo on them. Many hospitals also give diaper bags that are loaded with money saving coupons and samples. If you didn't get one, ask one of the nursing staff if they have any freebies to give away.
Items that you will need for your baby may include the following:
- Bulb syringe
- Receiving blanket
- Vaseline-covered gauze for your little boy's circumcision, if he had one
- Any diapers that were left over from the pack they opened to use on your baby
You will have to have a baby care supply of these items at home as well. When you leave the hospital, there are often items that you used for yourself and can keep, including breast ointment, peri-care ointment, squeeze bottle, and maybe an inner tube pillow.
What clothes will your baby wear home? You may be tempted to put a frilly dress on your newborn daughter. While there certainly isn't anything wrong with that, it may not be the most comfortable outfit she could wear.
You probably packed several changes of clothing. Don't be surprised if you have to change your newborn at least once before you are actually out of the hospital doors and in your car. Comfort may be the way to go, however, and there are so many adorable newborn outfits that are comfy, too. Remember, even if you feel fine at the moment, just getting home and settled in can be exhausting. You probably won't want to change your baby when you get home, so why not dress her in something sweet and comfortable? Be sure you consider the weather. If it is cold outside, have a snuggly blanket to wrap her in, as noted on KidsHealth.
You should also pack loose clothing for yourself as well. Even though you have just given birth, you probably won't fit into your pre-pregnancy outfits yet.
Scheduling Follow Up Appointments
You should schedule your baby's first follow up appointment before you leave the hospital. Typically you need to bring your newborn in two to four days after birth for a well-baby check-up, according to Pregnancy.org.
Baby Car Safety
Today, most hospitals will not release a newborn until they see a properly installed infant car seat in your car. This means you should have already placed the car seat in your car a few weeks in advance of the due date, and you should be familiar with how it works. You can find places in your area to help you get the car seat installed properly by using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. You may have to adjust the straps so that they fit snuggly against your baby once he is in the seat. If you have any problems, don't hesitate to ask for assistance from one of the hospital staff.
At Home with Baby
Hopefully, you and your partner have already discussed how you want to handle visitors in the first few days after bringing baby home. Some new mothers are perfectly happy having a few visitors immediately, while others prefer for people to wait a few days until the visiting begins. It is strictly up to you, and you shouldn't let anyone make you feel guilty for wanting a little time with just your baby, your partner, and any other children you might have.
When you do get ready to allow visitors, you will need to set some guidelines and limitations. You might want to set up visitation hours and suggest that friends and family come during that time period. If some people have overstayed their welcome, and you are nursing, you have a wonderful reason to excuse yourself and baby to lie down for a rest and breastfeeding session. Above all, don't overdo it. You also have the right to veto anyone who appears to be sick even if they claim it is just allergies.
Your baby's meals are already decided, but the parents have to eat as well. You may have relatives and friends bring food over or you can place take-out orders from restaurants, delis, and grocery stores. Just remember that you won't be cooking much when baby first comes home so plan for other ways to feed the family.
Time to Adjust
Finally, give yourself and your new baby time to adjust to being home. Remember, bringing baby home was probably quite traumatic, and he needs time to adjust to his new surroundings outside of the warmth of your womb. You need time, too -- relax, rest, and enjoy your new little bundle of joy.