What to expect when bringing your newborn baby home from the hospital

Bringing your newborn baby home from the hospital is an exciting time, and parents should ensure they have everything they need before making that first trip home.

Bringing your newborn baby home from the hospital is an exciting time, and parents should ensure they have everything they need before making that first trip home.

How to dress the baby

When leaving the hospital, a good rule of thumb is to dress the baby in what you would be comfortable in, or one more layer of clothing than you are wearing to be comfortable in the same environment, according to Matthew D. Kinney, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group.

Driving the baby home from the hospital

The most important item for the trip home is a proper car seat. Every state requires parents to have one before leaving the hospital, because it’s one of the best ways to protect your baby.

Infant-only seats are designed for rear-facing use only and fit infants better than convertible seats. Some infant-only seats also can attach to a stroller for easier traveling between locations. Never put a rear-facing infant or convertible seat in the front seat of your car — always use the rear seat. When it’s cold, snugly strap your baby in first, then put blankets over the baby.

“The clip should be up at the level of their nipples, and tight enough that only a caregiver’s finger can fit between the clip and the baby,” said Dr. Kinney. “Norton’s staff should be able to assist with ensuring a good fit prior to leaving the hospital.”

Buy the type of car seat that fits and can be correctly installed in your vehicle. Also, be sure to register your new seat so you can be notified of any problems or recalls.

The AAP recommends that all infants and toddlers ride in a rear-facing seat as long as possible, until they are at least 2 years old or until they have reached the maximum size limits recommended by the seat’s manufacturer.

Norton Children’s Medical Group

Newbie Nights, hosted by Norton Children’s Medical Group pediatrician offices, allow soon-to-be parents, those new to the area or those in need of a pediatrician to visit an office and get to know our providers.

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Navigating adult feelings

Bringing a baby home from the hospital can be nerve-wracking, especially for first-time parents. Introducing a new member of the family potentially can be stressful for existing children or pets. After childbirth, mothers may be exhausted, sore and feel hormonally imbalanced.

It’s important for parents to be patient with themselves and keep an open schedule to adjust to the child’s needs and a different lifestyle. A new baby’s crying episodes can be difficult to endure; babies typically cry for one to five hours within a 24-hour period, and can’t always be calmed easily. Crying usually decreases gradually after the first several weeks.

Just because you’ve left the hospital and brought your baby home doesn’t mean that as new parents you’re isolated from help or support. If you have questions about parenting hurdles or seek advice on infant care, reach out to your pediatrician.

If you haven’t already made the arrangements with your baby’s health care provider, make sure to ask when the baby’s first checkup should be scheduled before you leave the hospital.