After we deliver our beautiful babies and have had a chance to hold them in our arms, we wish the moment could last forever. So, we make it through the duration of our hospital stay and are overjoyed at the most wonderful commitment we have in our lives from here on out. As we begin to think about life at home with this new little one, the possibilities are endless, as are the million and one things we now need to do.
We envision what this little human being’s personality will be like, how they’ll respond during their first few weeks, and what the first six months and the first year of life will bring.
Many of us may think that when it’s time to leave the hospital or birth center with our new addition to the family, it will be a simple process. We may not realize all of the things that go into making sure that the transition from new mother and new baby to being released from the birthing facility with this tiny little human being is far more than just signing on the dotted line.
But, there is actually an entire list of things that we must complete before the doctor will sign our discharge papers. It may be surprising, but mom cannot leave the hospital with the newborn without these 20 bases being covered.
20 Sometimes Mom Will Need Meds
Of all of the ways you can describe the experience of labor once you have gone through it, the one thing most of us will agree upon unequivocally is that it is painful. It doesn’t matter if it’s our first, second, third or fifth child, there are very few women in the world who can say that they experienced a painless birth—although that does happen.
You may not realize exactly how much your body and organs have shifted once the baby is Earthside and you are basking in the glow of newborn happiness, but you will soon find out.
According to The Bump, those meds should help you out a whole lot during those first few days as a new mother. This is usually most important for moms recovering from a C-section, but sometimes moms who birthed vaginally need help, too.
19 A Pediatrician Is Usually State-Mandated
As you may notice while you are in the hospital, the doctors and nurses take care of your baby all day long and all throughout the night while you get your rest and recovery—if you so choose—from the miraculous journey that you have just endured.
You may find yourself getting comfortable with the great care that the baby may be receiving, except it doesn’t last forever. Once you’re getting ready to be released from the hospital, you’ll have to make your own decision about who you will entrust with your baby's care for the next 18 years.
According to Parents, most hospitals will give you a list of AMA certified physicians to help you out before you leave. Still, it’s a wise idea to interview pediatricians far in advance of the birth. That way you know the provider you are going to see is on the same page with your parenting choices.
18 Infant Car Seats Are Another Law We Can’t Escape
This may be the most important item on the list as far as being able to get released to go home. That’s because, in every single state in the country, it is the law that you must have an infant car seat attached to the base of your car.
You probably thought that the nurses or patient care technicians were just so nice that they wouldn’t dream of letting your other half wheel you across the entire hospital to the entrance to help you and baby make it to your car safe and sound.
According to All Nurses, they are bound by rules to not only make sure that you have the seat but to make sure you know how to use it and that it is correctly installed.
17 Baby Blankets Are A Personal Preference
When you went shopping for your baby supplies, you may have noticed the pricing on the little baby blankets that are labeled as burp clothes in the newborn department.
Depending on the brand that you prefer, you may note that they can end up costing you an arm and a leg to have enough to last you at least a full 30 days. What you may not know is that the hospital staff calls them receiving blankets and they put them inside your room for you to take as you please.
According to Buy Buy Baby, they can cost around $12.00 for a 4-pack. Truth be told, the hospital is allowed to bill you for them even if you leave them behind. So, take them. Someday, you’ll look back on that pink and blue blankie packed away in the attic very fondly.
16 Breastfeeding Consultants Are Your Best Friend
Over the past few decades, more and more women have taken to breastfeeding as their primary way to feed their baby. Although there are some women who can’t due to medical restrictions, for the mothers who can, you definitely want your baby to reap the benefits.
While the nurses in the hospital will show you how to get started, and many babies and mothers instinctually just “get it”, you or your baby may have some difficulty getting adjusted.
This is where having your own personal breastfeeding consultant will come in handy. According to Very Well Family, some insurance plans will cover the cost of your breastfeeding assistance under women's services. After you go home, an IBCLC can be a huge help, too. Remember though, most lactation consultants are not formally trained to assess for lip and tongue ties. A preferred provider will have to do that.
15 Pre-Made Baby Formula Is Yours For The Taking
As you may know, some women either can’t breastfeed their baby or it’s just too difficult for them to get started. So for those moms, there is baby formula. Fortunately, for the duration of your hospital stay, the nurses will make sure that your baby has more than enough of those little 2-oz ready-to-feed bottles to fill up on while you are in their care.
But, guess what? You can actually take all of those extra packages home with you, too. Since your health insurance plan is being charged for everything you get anyway, why not even request a few extra sets just to make things a breeze before you have to start spending out of your own pocket?
According to Enfamil, those little 24-packs can cost upwards of $40.00 and will surely go quickly.
14 Diapers Are A No-Brainer
Diapers are one of the major things that your little precious newborn can’t live without. As a newborn, they will go thru about 10 – 12 diapers per day while they are a fresh new baby. Diapers only get more expensive as baby ages, which may be why many more moms are opting to use cloth these days.
The companies who make disposable diapers figured this out a long time ago and came up with a system whereas your baby grows, the lesser amount of diapers your baby will receive in their package.
According to Babble most moms go ahead and help themselves to the extras from the hospital, whether they serve as a backup or just to fill up that new diaper bag.
13 Most Of Us Will Be Too Happy To Say No To Birth Announcements
Every time you do something wonderful in life or achieve a great accomplishment, you—like everyone else—want to shout it from the rooftops. Delivering a baby is surely one of those occasions.
Not only do they serve as your baby’s first official introduction to the world—especially for friends and relatives who were anxiously awaiting the news or keep up with the family genealogy calendars—they are one of those precious mementos that are added to the baby book that he or she can look over when they get older.
According to My Angel Baby, you can get them in all forms and fashions. So, when the hospital photographer rolls in saying a set of newborn photos is only $100, most of us seem to forget that we will be paying a more skilled photog to snap some pics soon, in addition to all of our Snaps and Insta posts. Whoops!
12 That Birthday Suit Isn’t Going To Cut It
Once your baby is born, the hospital will provide you with some very basic clothing essentials for your little one, but they are far from any type of fashion items that will have them rocking the runway. Basics such as a onesie, diapers, a little cap, and a pair of booties are going to be your baby's main clothing accessories during their stay.
So, while it’s great that they have something on at all, you certainly won't be carting your baby home in this. According to Popsugar, going home outfits are a sort of new parent tradition, and this is even truer if you live in one of those states that gets their fair share of inclement weather.
11 Discharge Papers Are Kind Of Necessary
Discharge papers are one of those that you want to ensure that you have for you and your baby for a variety of reasons. You want to have some type of tangible proof to provide your employer to make sure they properly document your maternity leave. In case there are any medical issues that arise during your hospital stay or for your newborn, you want to safeguard that you fully understand of what type of care you should provide for your baby and yourself.
According to Huggies, most moms don’t fully understand what the papers are trying to tell them during a hospital stay. In which case, it’s always an option to consult a patient liaison or even your attorney. This goes for all documents you are asked to sign during the hospital or given by a provider.
10 Baby’s Footprints Are A Timeless Keepsake
Speaking of precious mementos, one thing you may surely be happy about is the fact that—for medical purposesؙ—the hospital takes a moment to ink your baby’s footprints, which are signed by the delivering physician and the nurse.
Out of all of the little things that you will take with you when you leave the hospital, this one by far will be one of the most precious.
Some mothers even go so far as to frame the prints and place them next to their baby’s first set of handprints as they begin preschool. According to Popsugar, "moms cherish these the most”. Who wouldn’t?
9 Baby’s Crib Card Will Appear Smaller As She Grows
A long time ago, babies didn’t really have any type of guaranteed identification to make sure that they were properly labeled as to which set of parents they belonged to.
Nowadays, not only do babies get to a have a cute little name card attached to their makeshift bassinet, they also come with the protection of state-of-the-art security systems with touch-sensitive motion detectors and matching id bracelets.
According to All Nurses, hospitals have specific guidelines on how these little mementos can be put together. Most mothers save them as an extra addition to their baby’s yearbook, right alongside the little matching mom and baby bracelets.
8 And If You Want To Keep It Official
In the United States, one of the primary identifiers of newborns and all citizens who are born here is the Social Security Number. Not only does it give you an identity and the legal ability to obtain a job—which you will appreciate once your child is a teen and is able to help out a little instead of relying on you for all of those expensive gadgets—but it helps your child get their head start in life.
According to SSA, it generally takes about two weeks for your baby to receive their first bit of mail, their social security card. That said, it’s not actually a legal requirement and some parents do choose to forego this option.
7 Verification Of Birth Is An Ideal Way To Prove Parenthood
While you are all wrapped up in the excitement of being a new parent, you may forget about something that is just as important to your baby’s life as their arrival itself.
According to BT, parents have to actually go through a process to order the baby's birth certificate. This includes signing the verification of birth that the hospital provides so that they can forward this information over to the county registrar.
While you have to wait about two weeks for the process to be completed, you still need a copy from the hospital to add the baby to your health insurance plan.
6 Baby Booties Will Come In Handy On The Way Home
Babies come with so many cute little accessories from hats to gloves, outfits to rattles and everything else you can think of. When relatives visit you and your little bundle in the hospital, they may bring gift baskets as well. One thing hospitals do along with those cute hats is dress the baby in those adorable little booties—also known as crocheted baby shoes.
They not only make for a great way to keep baby's feet feeling as warm as a toasted almond, but they serve as your little one’s first pair of slippers or house shoes. According to Etsy, they are so popular that there is a big business out of having them custom made.
5 Get That Home Visit 411 If You Need It
The nurses and doctors take just as good of care of you as they do your baby for the duration of your stay. You may get accustomed to this and if there are any complications that you or the baby may have faced, then you will definitely want to have some assistance.
Some hospitals offer nurses for home visits depending on the severity of your issues and the type of insurance policy you have. According to Kids Health, many hospitals have a program just for postpartum moms. There is even a directory of doulas if you deem it necessary.
4 Grabbing Emergency Line Numbers Is Just Smart
Most people have a list of emergency numbers as backups to call if the main people they need can’t be reached for any reason. But when it comes to new moms freshly discharged from the hospital, they most likely won’t have their first pediatrician's appointment until their little one is about a week old.
In between the day that you are released to go home and the day when the baby sees their pediatrician for the first time, anything is bound to happen and sometimes can.
So, who do you call? Well, you certainly don’t want to run to the emergency department each time. According to Vital Health, the hospital should provide you with a list before you go.
3 Medical Records Should Always Be On Hand
Before you make your baby's first doctors appointment, there are a few things that you will need to have put together to present an accurate picture of their birth and first few days of life.
That would include a set of the medical records from the birth, which will detail things about your pregnancy, the delivery, and baby’s vital information as well as health history for both of you. The same thing goes for you when you have your six-week follow-up with your midwife or obstetrician.
In the case of having a C-section, it is suggested you take about 12 weeks to recover. According to Very Well Health, there are several ways to get a copy of your records. But don’t leave the hospital without them. No one wants to go back there after they’ve gone home and settled in with the baby.
2 Ask For All The Inserts
After birth, some parents choose to have baby receive certain medical interventions, such as the Hepatitis B vaccine, erythromycin eye ointment, and the vitamin K injection. Most parents become familiar with the worksheets doctors dish out detailed information about these.
What many don’t understand is that those 2-page worksheets are not complete. Asking for the full manufacturer inserts before opting for these interventions and heading home is a smart course of action since they can be roughly 30-60 pages long and include the full list of precautions and risk factors.
Parents who do choose to opt for these interventions ought to be fully aware of what signs they should be looking for that baby is having a negative reaction. Reactions can be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, according to VAERS.
At the end of the day, one of the things new parents worry about the most is how much all of this going to cost them? While many insurance plans pay a great percentage of the fees from the labor and postpartum hospital stay, there aren’t too many plans out there that will cover the entire cost of everything.
So, before you go home, get a statement of charges from the hospital so that you know what to expect or at least have something ahead of time to compare it to your insurance bill. According to Very Well Health, your explanation of benefits from your healthcare provider almost never matches the bill you get from your physician. Moral of the story? Be overly prepared.
References: The Bump, Parents, All Nurses, Buy Buy Baby, Very Well Family, Enfamil, Babble, My Angel Baby, Popsugar, Huggies, All Nurses, SSA, BT, Etsy, Kids Health, Vital Health, Very Well Health, Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, Very Well Health