What You Need to Take Your Baby Home from the Hospital
Pay attention to what you'll need when you leave the hospital and take your baby home. It's very important!
When a woman is pregnant, she tends to think about everything she and the baby will need when they are in the hospital. In fact, most women pack for the beautiful moment days beforehand. But what do you need to take your baby home from the hospital? Just as it’s important to be aware of what your baby is going to need in the hospital, you also need to know what they’re going to need at home.
If a baby is born healthy, they can go home with their parents 24 to 48 hours after birth. Some late preterm infants (born 34 to 36 weeks of gestation) may also be healthy enough to go home after 48 hours in the hospital.
However, babies born via cesarean section (and their mothers) or babies who have health complications may need to stay in the hospital a little longer. Also, infants born before 34 weeks of gestation need longer hospital care. If your little one is born prematurely, you may feel nervous about going home, but your doctor will always give you advice for your peace of mind.
Many new parents take prenatal classes before the birth of their first baby. These classes help prepare for labor and provide information on basic newborn care.
While each class is different, they generally include tips on feeding, common illnesses, daily care, breastfeeding, and car seat safety. Before your baby is born, you can decide who will give them regular and ongoing medical care, but before you leave the hospital, you should know about a few things your child will need:
- A bedroom. You’ll need to have everything ready to care for your baby, such as a dresser, a crib with a suitable mattress, and video baby monitors.
- A stroller. This should be suitable for your little one, comfortable, and safe.
- Newborn clothes. You don’t need a ton of clothes because your baby will grow quickly and change size soon.
- Diapers. Think about whether you want organic, cloth, or normal diapers.
- Hygiene products for newborns. You’ll need lotion and shampoo for babies, a brush for their hair, and saline for their nose.
- A car seat approved for newborns. You can buy a seat that changes as they grow so it lasts longer.
- The baby card they give you at the hospital. In this booklet, you’ll see your baby’s information from birth, such as weight, height, and any abnormalities.
- Pacifiers. If you plan to use pacifiers with your baby, it’s best to have some!
- Formula and everything else for feeding. If you’re not planning on breastfeeding your baby, you’ll need things, such as bottles (better if they’re anti-colic), bottle sterilizer, and bottle cleaner.
It’s normal to feel nervous the first time you bring your baby home. Therefore, try to keep this moment just for yourself and your family so that you can adapt to all the changes. And remember the following:
- New babies can get sick easily. Try to keep your little one away from anyone with cold or flu symptoms, especially in the winter months.
- Wash your hands often to help protect your child. Ask others to do the same.
A healthcare provider should check on your baby within the first 48-72 hours after leaving the hospital or any time if you feel like your baby isn’t well.
If your baby was born premature, you’ll develop a follow-up care plan with your healthcare team before your little one leaves the hospital. They’ll also make sure you recognize the first signs or symptoms of any problem.
At the first visit, the doctor will:
- Weigh your baby, measure their length and the circumference of their head, if this wasn’t done in the hospital.
- Check for signs of jaundice.
- Verify the type of feeding.
- Give them a physical health exam.
- Ask how you’re all adapting.
A doctor at the hospital where you gave birth, your midwife, or a public health nurse can perform this exam. This can be at home, in an outpatient clinic, or in a hospital clinic.
With all this in mind, you can be ready so that you’re not missing anything when you take your baby home from the hospital. This transition can be scary, but it’s easier than you might think! What matters is that you’re all okay.