Some families leave the hospital comfortably only a few hours after their baby is born, while others need more than 24 hours. The decision depends on how physically ready you are to leave.
Families are urged to visit the baby’s doctor within the first few days of baby’s life; this can be the most reassuring event during the first week at home.
Plan Ahead for Baby’s Arrival
- Read books about recovery, baby care, and breastfeeding.
- Cook and freeze meals ahead of time.
- Have the nursery fully stocked.
- Install a newborn car seat before the birth.
- Decide about circumcision.
- Prepare your other children for the baby.
- Choose a family doctor or pediatrician and plan a visit within the first three to five days of your baby’s life.
- If possible, have someone stay with you the first couple of weeks to help.
- Discourage visitors unless they can help you.
- Book prenatal classes and meet other pregnant couples.
- Prepare a list of services in your community. This includes numbers for help lines, breastfeeding clinics, and other resources.
Above all, try not to expect too much of yourself and don’t turn down offers of help. Learning to care for your baby is an ongoing process.
While you are in the hospital, the staff will let you know what learning opportunities are provided by the hospital or within the community. Planning ahead and taking advantage of every chance for education will make life easier for you and for your new family.
Published in March 2007