With the flurry of activity leading up to and surrounding the delivery of your new baby, it can be easy to lose track of all the tiny details. If you were to ask me what I did with my birth plans or who remembered to pack the cellphone charger while I was in the hospital, I would have absolutely no clue. So if you're curious, forgetful, or somewhere in between, you might want to know about some of the things that happen before you get discharged from the hospital after having your baby. In fact, it might help put your mind at ease if you know what to expect.
Of course, no two hospitals — or labor and delivery experiences, for that matter —are alike, and there might be some slight variations in procedure. But, in general, there are a few standard practices that seem to be fairly universal when it comes to getting you and your newborn ready to head home. If you're at all nervous or uncomfortable when the time comes, remember that you can always talk to your doctor of the medical staff about any concerns you have. Check out these things that happen before you get discharged after delivery.
1. Your Baby Is Checked
You entered as one person, but you'll be leaving with an addition. That means both you and your newborn will need to be checked out prior to getting discharged. As director of clinical services at the Center for Breastfeeding at Jersey Shore University Medical Center Joyce McKeever told Fit Pregnancy, your baby will be examined before being discharged and may even have additional tests done if there were any prior medical issues. The hospital needs to make sure your baby is all clear before sending you home.
2. You Have To Walk
This is especially true if you've had a C-section, but applies to most new mothers. As hospital midwife Emma Dufficy told Baby Center, "your midwife will want to be sure you can walk." If you have too much difficulty with this task, they may prolong your stay to make sure you're healthy and stable enough to be discharged.
3. You'll Get Schooled
No, I'm talking about a battle in a movie about high school crews. "Before you go home, your health care provider will teach you how to care for yourself and your newborn," according to the official site for the Cleveland Clinic. From swaddling and nursing to monitoring your stitches, the medical staff will cover all the bases with you before you're discharged.
4. Seats Are Secured
Though this might be the last thought on your mind after giving birth to your bundle of joy, it's still important. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, most hospitals require your baby's car seat is properly installed before you and your little one are permitted to leave. At the hospital where I gave birth, they physically checked the safety and installation of the car seat before giving us the all-clear.
5. You Have To Pee
In order to make sure everything is working correctly (including the "plumbing"), Dufficy told Baby Center that a nurse or physician will want to make sure you can urinate before being discharged. Though it might feel weird, slightly painful, or different, going to the bathroom is still something that needs to be marked off on the checklist.
6. You'll Make An Appointment
According to the website for the Cleveland Clinic, "before you leave the hospital, make an appointment for baby’s first checkup, as instructed by the hospital pediatrician." Your mind may be all over the place, but getting this squared away now means you won't have to worry about it later.
7. Feeding Is Discussed
Whether you opt for the breast, bottle, or a combination, a member of the medical staff or a lactation consultant will discuss feeding guidelines with you, the website for the Seton Medical Center noted. Again, don't hesitate to ask questions or voice any concerns you might have.