With the third trimester progressing and labor and delivery coming soon, it’s important to know what to expect when bringing baby home after birth.
Well, I’m going to share it all with you–the good, the bad and the ugly.
We just recently welcomed our second son into the world. By “just recently” I mean less than two weeks ago. Can I tell you that leaving the hospital became one of the most stressful ordeals of the entire birth experience?
No joke. It was so gnarly that I took notes on the way home from the hospital to spare you the same stress when bringing baby home from the hospital after labor and delivery.
The crazy part is that we’d been through this before!
I do not remember our “going home” experience being this stressful with our first son. It was actually really smooth and we were even able to take some really sweet photos of the whole experience.
With Baby 2? Didn’t happen.
I managed to snap one, crying photo of Baby 2 in his car seat before my highly frustrated husband whisked us out of the hospital while I fought exhausted tears and Baby wailed miserably.
Here are some valuable tips I took away from this experience when bringing baby home from the hospital.
10 Tips on Bringing Baby Home After Labor and Delivery
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1: Pack Lightly (You’ll Have More Stuff when Bringing Baby Home After Birth)
When packing your overnight bags for Mom, Dad and Baby, there are some essentials that make life so much easier.
It’s super easy, however, to get carried away.
Don’t do this.
Remember: what you bring with you, you have to lug back to the car. And this time you’ll have a baby in a carrier with you. Taking things home from the hospital is more complicated than arriving–even considering labor.
2: People Bring Presents!
It’s wonderful when your guests arrive and they have little gifts for you to open. It makes the experience that much more fun.
Just remember: you have to also pack those things in the car on the way home.
You will most certainly leave the hospital with considerably more than what you arrived with. That’s the name of the game, so be prepared.
Maybe have Dad run the gifts down to the car once they’re opened, or send them home with a trusted friend or relative. You don’t want to lose those treasures!
3: The Hospital Gives You Stuff!
So you have your own bags that you’ve brought, then you have the gifts of your sweet guests, and now you have the hospital loading you up with stuff.
The hospital’s goodies aren’t nearly as fun but they still take up room and require someone to pack them away.
Most of the stuff they’ll send you home with is paperwork, so bring a folder or binder to hold everything. It contains a lot of your postnatal information and care, baby’s records, and other important things you need on hand.
Every hospital is different, but they’ll also probably provide you with some sort of goodies, too. Ours gave us a little tote and a muslin swaddle (which was so cool since I love muslin blankets!).
4: Have A Friend or Relative Available To Help You When Bringing Baby Home
I cannot stress this enough. When our first son was born, we had a family member who stayed and helped us carry our belongings out of the hospital. When our second baby was born, it was just my husband and me.
And it got interesting.
We had to ask for a cart to put our belongings in. As a new mom, you’ll have to leave in wheelchair. That means someone needs to push you. Now you have a baby in a carrier.
And all of your belongings.
Our hospital was apparently short-staffed and we got tired of waiting for someone to come help us. My husband ended up setting the baby carrier on my lap and pushing me in the wheelchair.
I forgot to mention that we also had our 19-month-old with us. Adam instructed him to “help Daddy push the luggage cart” and that was how we managed to keep him from running off down the hall.
A nurse eventually came to our rescue, but not before we were exhausted and frustrated.
Lesson learned. A friend or family member to help you get home is a must.
5: Make Sure Your Vehicle is Prepped and Ready Beforehand
Labor can start any time. Rest assured, it will happen at the most inconvenient time of your day or night. It’s just the name of the game.
Before labor even starts, it’s a good idea to make sure the car is already prepped for the trip to the hospital–and for bringing baby home after birth.
You’ll need space cleared for the bags and whatever you brought with you, and extra space as well for all the extra things you’ll be taking home with you.
6: Bring A Notepad or Something To Write On
You’re going to be absolutely exhausted. After labor, delivery, and the first night with Baby, your brain will be a mushy, sleep-deprived mess. And that’s okay.
The nurses and the doctor, however, still have a lot of important instructions for you. Some of the information may be included in the pile of paperwork they give you, but there will be extra tidbits they tell you that you’ll need to remember.
Having a notepad or something to take notes will spare you serious frustration once you’re home.
Don’t expect to remember much of what is said to you at the hospital. It disappears into this weird, hazy abyss. Just be good to yourself and take notes.
7: Be Totally Familiar with Baby’s Car Seat
This was our nightmare, and it wasn’t for lack of preparation!
We took time to learn our baby’s car seat and how it worked before he arrived. That’s even considering it was the same carrier our first son used.
Being careful parents, we still (my husband in particular) refreshed ourselves on how to use the baby carrier for our new son.
When it came time for bringing baby home, however, we were so exhausted and apparently not as prepared as we should have been.
Getting Baby strapped into the carrier turned into quite the ordeal. It didn’t help that he screamed during most of it.
In our sleepy delirium we forgot the most basic details.
When we finally got Baby strapped into the carrier, the carrier in the car, and the car pulled out of the parking lot, I had a good cry just to release the stress and my poor husband couldn’t get us home soon enough.
Just take our advice. Over-prepare. Know that carrier forwards and backwards and everything in between.
8: Ask About The Diapers And Wipes
I didn’t know this and when I discovered it I was super excited about it.
The hospital provides you with diapers and wipes. While I can’t speak for every hospital, ours provided Huggies Little Snugglers (which are my favorite brand!) and Pampers wipes.
As we were packing to leave, a nurse popped in and told us to take whatever diapers and wipes we didn’t use. The hospital can’t use the extra diapers on a different patient, so those diapers end up getting thrown away.
We ended up with a nice amount of Huggies diapers and a fresh pack of wipes, which was nice.
Ask your hospital what their policy is. Chances are that they can’t keep the unused diapers. Take them home and save some cash!
9: Have A Feeding/Diaper Log At The Hospital and Take It Home
There are a lot of apps you can download for this if you prefer to keep it paperless.
The important thing is to have something where you record your baby’s feedings and diapers. Baby will be monitored while at the hospital, and you’ll need to know how long the baby ate and how often.
You’ll also need to know how often baby is wetting/pooping their diapers.
When you get home, it’s best to continue the log. Your baby’s pediatrician will also want to know how they’re eating, wetting and pooping.
10: Make Sure Your Going Home Outfit Is Nursing Friendly!
I made the mistake of packing a going-home outfit that was not nursing friendly, which meant I couldn’t change out of my gown until it was just about time to leave the hospital in case Baby 2 needed to eat.
While I love my Gownies nursing gown and robe, it was stressful to not be able to change earlier on and feel prepared.
If you plan on breastfeeding your baby, make sure everything you bring is nursing friendly. It seems obvious but it’s obviously easy to forget.
Bringing Baby Home After Birth Can Be Fun!
Going home from the hospital should be a relatively smooth transition–goodness knows you have a enough transition down the road! Being prepared will help you eliminate unnecessary stress.
Oh, and don’t forget to capture at least one photo for memories–even if it is your wailing child in their carrier!
Is this your first pregnancy? Find out what to expect postpartum here!