The Transition from Hospital to Home with the Baby
Can you believe it? You finally get to go home! I don’t know about you, but for many, the 1-4 days in the hospital post partum can be very stressful. Whether it be any discomfort or complications after delivery, the stress of breastfeeding and getting that perfect latch, or even just not feeling totally at ease in a hospital room, there’s no doubt that getting the green light for discharge home is a happy feeling!
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 to feel rushed or hurried as you’re preparing to leave the hospital, so you can ensure all your questions are answered by your pediatrician. 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. Keep in mind that you will also likely schedule your baby’s first check-up with the pediatrician before being discharged. Depending on if the office is open on the weekends for scheduling, sometimes you may need to call the first week day the office is open to schedule for a same day or next day appointment for the baby.
Having a proper infant safety seat securely installed in your car before leaving the hospital isn’t just crucial from a safety perspective– it’s the law in every U.S. state! In some hospitals, a nurse director or coordinator will have to check the car for a car seat before your baby is even allowed to leave the hospital. If you purchase and install a car seat prior to arriving at the hospital for delivery, as most do, make sure you get an installation inspection to make sure your seat is in properly. (Seatcheck.org is a wonderful resource to find safe installation tips along with inspection centers.) 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 a rear-facing infant car seat or a rear-facing convertible car seat installed in the backseat ahead of time to ensure a seamless safe drive back. Don’t skimp on these important safety measures! And don’t distress if the baby begins to cry in the car seat. This is very normal! It takes time for them to get used to it. After all, they did just come from a totally different environment a few day(s) prior! Often, the gentle hum of the car once it’s driving calms them down.