Having a Baby in the Hospital: What to Expect During Your Stay After Birth

57442157_22.jpgIn learning about and preparing for the birth of your baby, you'll undoubtedly read and hear lots about going into labor and giving birth -- probably too much! It's unlikely, however, that you'll see much on what it's like during your hospital stay after baby is born. What happens after you give birth and you've been admitted to a mother-baby room (which is what many hospitals refer to the rooms you stay in after birth)? Find out below some of the more typical after-birth routines (hospital policies vary, and depending on your birth, you may experience different procedures). 

Quiet time with your baby. Once your settled in a mother-baby room after birth, you'll be left for a little while to admire, bond with, and enjoy your new baby. But don't worry, nurses are just a buzzer away if you need anything. 

Meals! Depending on the time of day (and if the hospital cafeteria is open), you can order food to your room. If it's not open, nurses can usually give you information for ordering food locally, or sometimes, they keep a ready-made sandwich meal in their fridge on the floor for moms who give birth in the middle of the night. 

Sleep! Well, sort of. Yes, you can finally rest (no more contractions! no more pushing!), but it will likely be broken sleep with interruptions from nurses to check on you and a new baby who needs you. 

Visitors. Depending on when you give birth and when you let family and friends know about your child's arrival, you can expect to have visitors (if you're up for them -- remember, you can say "no" until you're ready!).

Shower! Most moms report feeling amazing after their first shower after birth. Generally, you can shower as soon as you are ready to.

Pediatrician visit. At some point in the first 24 hours of your baby's life, he will see the on-call pediatrician for a well-check. This is either done in your room or in the hospital's nursery -- you can accompany your child if it is done out of the room.  

Nurse checks. After you give birth and up until you are discharged, your nurse will continue to take your vitals, palpate your uterus, and check your bleeding -- even throughout the night. 

Feeding consultations. If you are breastfeeding, you will likely be visited by a lactation consultant to check on your progress and answer questions. Don't hesitate to speak up and ask to see a lactation consultant if she has not yet visited. Your nurse will also want to know the last time baby ate and for how long (breastfeeding) / how much (formula). 

Hearing test for baby. Prior to your departure, your baby will receive a hearing test. This can be done while baby is sleeping and is non-invasive. 

New parent education. Many hospitals offer and some require that you either attend in person or watch a video that provides general new parent education. 

Discharge routine. Upon preparing to leave the hospital, you may have several papers to sign, prescriptions to take with you, and lists to check off. If the nurse gives you a 10am discharge time, add on an hour or two. Discharge from a hospital is usually not known to be timely.  

Wheelchair ride to your car. Hospital policy is to wheel you to the curb while your partner/friend/family member meets you there to drive you home. 


What would you add to this list to help inform expectant parents?


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