Bringing Your Baby Home
Your first few days at home with your baby are precious, and you want to get off to a good start. Your UnityPoint Health – Methodist care team will help you prepare to go home and learn what to do if you run into problems – whether it's trouble breastfeeding or questions about your baby's care.
Before You Leave the Hospital
During your hospital stay, our lactation consultants and mom-and-baby nurses will work with you to get you ready to bring your baby home. We'll help when you have questions like:
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What should I do to make my house safe and healthy for the baby?
- Is there anything I need to know about privacy and security?
- What if I have trouble breastfeeding or other problems after I bring my baby home?
How Long Will I Stay?
We understand that you're probably eager to get home and get your baby settled. Once your baby is born, you should only be in the hospital for a short while, if there were no complications. Your mom-and-baby nurse checks on you and your baby to make sure you're ready to bring your baby home.
We calculate your discharge from the time of the baby's birth. Your provider and nurses will take complications into account and monitor how you and baby are doing. Generally, you'll go home after:
- 24 to 48 hours for routine vaginal delivery
- 48 to 72 hours for Cesarean (C-section) birth (up to 96 hours)
We want you and your baby to be healthy and safe when you go home. In the hospital, we'll check in several times a day to make sure you are both ready. This means you:
- Are healthy and stable (decided by your provider)
- Understand how to take care of yourself for a healthy "fourth trimester"
- Complete birth certificate paperwork
- Receive discharge instructions in writing
- Have read and understand the discharge instructions for you and baby
- Know about your follow-up appointments
- Have had a final provider's exam
Before you go, your mom-and-baby nurse will ask you to show you are comfortable with baby care, including:
- How you care for your baby's basic needs
- What you need to do to care for yourself
- How you are progressing with feeding your baby
Health and Safety When You Bring Your Baby Home
Your baby depends on you to make their environment healthy and safe. Things to keep in mind when you bring your baby home are:
Infection and illness
When you get home, many people will want to visit, hold and touch the baby. Everyone needs to wash their hands before they handle the baby. Anyone with signs of infection should wait to visit until they are healthy.
Smoking should only take place in a part of the house that is closed to babies and children. If this place is outdoors, make sure it is not at a main entrance or somewhere children play. Babies and children who are around cigarette smoke have increased health risks, including:
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Upper respiratory infections
- Allergies and lung problems
Baby care basics
Besides calling for your unending love and attention, your baby is going to need a few things. You may find these items helpful to have on hand:
- Diapers (newborn size)
- Sleep sack
- Safe sleep environment such as crib, bassinet or playpen that is free from toys and loose blankets
Toiletries and supplies:
- Baby wipes — unscented and alcohol-free
- Ultra-mild baby wash
- Baby shampoo
- Diaper rash ointment
- Digital thermometer
- Infant safety manicure scissors or clippers
- Cotton balls
- Nasal aspirator bulb syringe for cleaning out a stuffy nose
- Cotton-tipped applicators
You can help keep your baby secure by maintaining your privacy. Don't announce the baby's arrival publicly, including:
- A birth announcement in the local newspapers or even a church bulletin
- Storks or other signs in the yard
- Banners on the front or garage door
- Balloons on home mailboxes
What If Things Don't Go Smoothly?
Sometimes things don't go as you thought they would. Here are some resources if you need support after you get home with your baby:
- Breastfeeding help: We offer support if you have trouble breastfeeding. Find out about our breastfeeding services.
- Care for new mothers: As a new mom, you need to have a support system and make sure you take care of yourself. It's important to be aware of a few health conditions. Learn about your "fourth trimester," or the first 12 weeks at home.
- Support from your provider: Please reach out to your baby's doctor or your provider if you have an urgent problem. Seek help if you notice that you're struggling with your emotional or mental health, too.
Contact the Birthing Center
Call 309-672-4852 to schedule a tour of the Birthing Center.
For information about childbirth preparation classes, see our Classes and Events page or call 309-671-2522.
Preregister now to reserve your space.