The most exciting, yet stressful, day is the day mum & baby are discharged home from the hospital after the birth of the new baby. That is when reality hits home. Life is about to change forever & mostly for the better.
However the first 6 weeks can be a blur of exhaustion, dirty nappies & feeding. It is good to have a plan. Please ensure that you follow the doctors & midwife’s discharge instructions carefully. If you are not sure about something, please clarify with the medical or nursing staff. They are there to help. Please make sure that you have a discharge summary & that appropriate follow up plans are place for both mum & the new baby. Don’t forget the “Blue Book”. This is an essential document for mums & dads to bring with them to all medical & nursing consultations. It contains important information about immunisations, milestones, medical records & helpful information for new parents. Also ensure that your baby has been weighed at discharge & that appropriate immunisations have been administered. Don’t forget any discharge medications that may have been prescribed.
The day before discharge, confirm with the team what time discharge will occur & ensure that dad or the appropriate family member or friend is available for pick up. For parents that have a car please ensure that your baby car seat has been correctly fitted by an approved bay seat installer. Get this done the day before discharge so as not to cause unnecessary delays.
It is important to have the new arrival’s room set up prior to discharge. This can be a lot of fun. It can be also very expensive. There is so much to buy. Cots, change tables, a pram & nappies are just some of the essential items.
In terms of the more expensive items please shop around, ask your friends for advice & go online to look for specials. Not everything has to be colour coded & many parents don’t know the gender of the new baby before the birth anyway. Don’t forget to register the new baby with the relevant state authorities.
Not everyone will share in the delight in the new arrival - well not initially. For older siblings the new arrival may prove to be a concern. It is not uncommon to see poor behaviour & even regression in older siblings. The trick is to give ample warning to prepare them for their new sibling. They may feel that they are not part of the family anymore. I recommend giving some responsibility for the new baby. Let them be responsible for the nappies/toys/blanket for the new baby. It does not really matter. It will give them a sense of responsibility & help them to feel included.
Most importantly if you get home and something does not feel right with you or the baby please make an appointment to see your midwife or doctor as soon as possible.