After Your Baby is Born
When it's time to leave the hospital and bring your baby home, we'll provide you with information to help answer many of the questions you'll have in the first two weeks. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you go home too.
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 am. We will not rush a discharge - the goal is a safe, timely discharge for all patients.
You will receive 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 and 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. It is often helpful to have the car seat installed prior to coming to the hospital. Yale New Haven Hospital will install your car seat at no charge, courtesy of our Injury and Prevention Program. Call today at 203-200-KIDS (5437) to make an appointment.
For patients who need parking on the day of discharge, valet parking is available in the circular driveway in front of Yale New Haven Children's Hospital for up to 45 minutes. For questions about parking, current parking garage or valet parking rates at the York Street Campus, call Parking and Transportation at 203-688-2623, weekdays 7:30 am - 4 pm.
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 or tear: If you had an episiotomy or tear, 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 and fiber 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 total 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 complications. 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 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.