Discharge from the Hospital
Your physician or nurse will inform you of your discharge time. We strive to discharge all patients who are medically ready for discharge by 11 a.m. We will not rush a discharge - the goal is a safe, timely discharge for all patients.
Your doctor and nurse will give you instructions about post-hospital care. If you have questions about your diet, medication, activities or other matters, please be sure to ask.
Don't Forget Car Seats & Clothing
Make sure you and your baby have a comfortable, seasonally-appropriate outfit to wear home. Also, your baby must ride home in an approved infant car seat. You can learn more about child safety awareness here.
For patients who need parking on the day of discharge, complementary parking is available in the circular driveway in front of Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital for up to 45 minutes. For patients who need additional time, the standard daily fee of $10 will be charged. Please see the valet captain for more information.
Get Some Rest
When you first come home, you may wish to just be alone with your new family. Accept offers of help, but leave enough time to rest. "Sleep when the baby sleeps" is also a good rule to follow.
Know What's Normal…
Many women have normal discomfort after giving birth. Below are common things you may experience:
- After pains: These slightly crampy pains in your uterus last a few days. Women who breastfeed may notice these pains coincide with feedings.
- Episiotomy: If you had an episiotomy, this area will be very sensitive when you first come home. Your doctor or midwife may recommend a cream or medication.
- Hemorrhoids: Because of pushing during labor, hemorrhoids may now be a problem. Drink lots of fluids and eat enough fruits to keep your stools soft.
- Breast discomfort: Whether you are breastfeeding or not, your breasts will become tender and enlarged as your milk comes in a few days after delivery. Breastfeeding frequently will relieve the discomfort. Even for women who are not breastfeeding, wearing a supportive bra—even when you sleep—will help.
Below are common things that are normal for newborns in the first days home:
- Sleep: Newborns sleep a lot... 16 or more hours in a day. You may wish for your baby to start sleeping through the night right away, but he/she needs to eat frequently and will likely want to sleep more during the day rather than at night.
- Feedings: Breastfeeding babies will need to feed 8 or more times in a 24-hour period. They naturally will want to feed more frequently between 3 pm and 3 am than at any other times. Formula-feeding babies usually eat at least 6 times in 24 hours.
- Diaper changes: Your baby's urination will increase each day, to the point when he/she will have 6-8 wet diapers per day. His or her stool will change color, from black/green meconium to brown or yellow stools. Especially in the first weeks of life, your baby's diaper will frequently contain stool.
…And What's Not
Call your healthcare provider, physician's office or midwife immediately if you experience:
- Increase in vaginal discharge
- Increase in vaginal bleeding
- Intense pain or cramping
- Feelings of depression
- Damaged nipples from breastfeeding
- Engorged/hard breasts that do not soften when breastfeeding
- Red parts of your breasts that are warm to the touch or painful
Call your baby's pediatrician or healthcare provider if you see:
- Sleepiness that leads to fewer than 8 feedings in 24 hours (if breastfeeding); or fewer than 6 feedings in 24 hours (if formula feeding)
- Fussiness or crying that lasts for long periods of time
- Frequent spitting up
- Less frequent urination or defecation than during the hospital stay
- Yellow or orange color to the baby's skin or whites of the eyes
Schedule a Postpartum Visit for Yourself
You will need to see your health care provider about six weeks after the delivery of your baby or sooner if you had a cesarean section. During this visit, your doctor or midwife will check your weight, blood pressure, size of the uterus, any stitches or discharge you may have and your general health. It's a good time to ask questions and discuss contraception and birth control options with your health care provider too.
Schedule a Pediatric Visit for Your Baby
Your baby will need to be seen by a healthcare provider within days of going home. During this visit, your baby's healthcare provider will check the baby's weight and talk with you about your baby's feedings. This is a great time to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have.