Looking ahead: Your Hospital Stay After Birth

newborn one minute oldAlong with caring for you and your baby after birth, the hospital staff can answer any questions you may have, help you and your partner get to know your newborn, and build your confidence as your baby's caregivers and parent.

Most hospitals also offer a variety of educational videos, classes, and consulting services during this time on topics such as postpartum exercises, breast feeding, parenting, infant bathing, safety, and overall care.

Rooming in is a popular option at many hospitals. Rather than your baby spending the majority of his/her time in the nursery, you spend extended periods of time together in your room, with your newborn staying in the nursery, only when/if you desire. You may wish to keep your baby with you overnight, or just during feeding times, the choice is yours. Hospital staff will help you work within their guidelines for you and your baby's time together and the visiting time for family and friends.

Sibling Participation

If you have other children, involving them with you postpartum stay at the hospital can both provide an exciting introduction to the new baby and reassure them about their separation from you. The following ideas may be helpful:

  • Greet, hug, and spend time talking to your older children and then go to the nursery together
  • Have a birthday party complete with singing and cake
  • Explain that this is the baby's birthday and the baby may receive gifts just like they do on their birthdays
  • Have the baby give a special present to each of his/her older siblings
  • Give your older children the bag of goodies (if appropriate) that you received when admitted to the hospital
  • While you and your baby are in the hospital, have your partner take your older children out to dinner or a movie for a special time together
  • Give your other children your hospital phone number so they can call you, or be sure to call them every day

When You're Discharged From the Hospital

Your length of hospitalization will vary depending on your method of delivery, Cesarean section of vaginal, and your medical benefits plan. Whether you spend a few days with the knowledgeable staff at your hospital, go through an early discharge education session, or utilize a visiting nurse program through your medical benefits plan, ask for specific information on the following topics.