Bringing Baby Home: Tips for the Transition

The OB/GYNs and midwives at Gainesville's All About Women discuss little ways to help ease the big transition to motherhood

After months of anticipation, you finally have your baby in your arms. You've enjoyed your time together in the hospital and appreciated the help of your doctors and nurses, but you know that it's soon time to go home.

If you've delivered vaginally and your baby is healthy, you can expect your doctor to release you from the hospital one to two days after delivery. If you've delivered by cesarean, you may have a longer stay of three to four days before you go home. If you're anxious about embarking out on your own, here are some tips to help with a smooth transition:

The last thing you want as a new mom is to have to battle an infection because you didn't care for your stitches properly or because you weren't taking care of yourself as a nursing mother.

Getting Home

Your ride home will be your baby's first car trip. Some babies sleep like angels in the car and some babies will make a fuss about it for months. To increase your odds of a peaceful ride, take your time getting ready to leave the hospital.

  • Stick to easy outfits that are comfortable for baby. While homecoming outfits are cute, some are overcomplicated and the prolonged dressing process could put baby in a bad mood.

  • Make Sure Baby's Needs are Met. Make sure your baby is well fed and has a dry diaper before leaving –and that baby has been burped. The angle of the baby's rear-facing car seat can make baby uncomfortable if extra air is left in his or her tummy.

  • If your baby cries in the car, know that you'll be able to comfort them as soon as you get home. If the crying upsets you, you can always pull over the car and take baby out for a few minutes– there is no rush to get home. Know, though, that baby might resume crying when put back in the car seat.

Once You're Home

  • Make a portable diaper station: If you plan to spend the day on the couch and your changing table is upstairs or across the house, make a bin filled with your baby care essentials such as diapers, wipes, creams, burp clothes and extra outfits so that you don't have to get up every time your baby has a need.

  • Make Mom a Priority. While your baby will take all of your energy and then some, it is important for you to remember to take care of yourself:

    1) Rest. It speeds your body's healing process.

    2) Know how to care for yourself postpartum, and take the time to do it. The last thing you want as a new mom is to have to battle an infection because you didn't care for your stitches properly or because you weren't taking care of yourself as a nursing mother. Each mother comes away from birth with a particular set of personal care issues. Make sure that you know your issues and the signs of any arising problems that might require your OB/GYN's attention.

    3) Monitor your mood. All mothers experience some "baby blues," but if you're sad or overwhelmed for prolonged periods, you may have post-partum depression, which requires immediate medical attention.
  • Avoid Overstimulation: Babies will often have a crying-filled evening if they've had too much stimulation during the day. Keeping the lighting low can help your newborn relax, as can limiting the number of visitors they see each day. To help avoid burning out, let visitors know ahead of time that you would appreciate if they could help you out a little while there– by holding baby so you can take a shower, washing a few dishes, or helping tidy up.

  • Dress for Ease: Dress baby in clothes that will be comfy for his or her healing umbilical cord and that will make diaper changes easier for you. Sack sleepers or side-buttoning wrap shirts are good choices. You'll also probably want to dress yourself in comfortable clothes to help you remember that you need to rest too.

  • Plan for nights: Night is often the most difficult time for new parents. If you're married or partnered, make a tentative game plan for nights. You may take baby duty from 11 till 3 and your partner take it from 3 till 7. If you're a nursing mom, you may ask your partner to change the diapers or help settle the baby back to sleep. Whatever your arrangement, making a nighttime plan ahead of time can lower resentment and lessen the need for communicating when you're both half asleep.

A healthy baby depends on a healthy mother. The doctors and midwives at All About Women, M.D. are here not only to deliver your baby but to make sure you transition well to motherhood. If you have any questions about your health – including your emotional well-being– don't hesitate to call our Gainesville or Lake City office.