Going home with your baby

Getting ready to go home with your baby

Congratulations on the birth of your baby!
 

This section aims to cover some information that you and your partner may find useful as you get ready to take your baby home from hospital. We understand it can feel like a lot to take in. If you have any questions, please don’t be afraid to ask, or look at the further information available on the site.

Going home with your baby and community care

Following the birth of your baby, the midwives and doctors will talk to you about your recovery and help decide the best time for you to go home. This can vary depending on how well you and your baby are.

You will find lots of useful information for new mothers on this site or you can ask your midwife any questions at your appointments.

Before you leave, make sure our staff have the right address and phone number for you so we can arrange your next appointment.

When you go home, you’ll be under the care of the community midwifery team. Your appointment may take place over the phone, in a community hub or at your home.

If you need further support, you can contact your midwife or the postnatal ward if it is outside of routine working hours on the phone numbers provided.

Your health visitor will contact you in the first two weeks to arrange an appointment. The health visiting team can support you and your family until your child reaches school age.

For babies born prematurely or with extra health needs you may also have follow- up appointments with the neonatal community service.

Click here for more information about your appointments and postnatal care


Your Health

Physical recovery

The physical recovery from pregnancy and birth is different for everyone. During the six weeks after birth, your body will slowly begin the process of getting back to its pre-pregnancy state. It’s important to remember that this happens at a different pace for everyone, and some women take longer to recover than others.

Click here for more information if you have concerns about your postnatal health


Post-natal bleeding

After birth you will experience vaginal bleeding, similar to that of a heavy period. You may have one or two quite large clots (the size of a tomato or satsuma) or several smaller ones (about the size of a grape) during the first two to three days. Over the following days and weeks your blood loss should reduce in quantity, it may even completely stop but then restart a few days later. This is normal, it is just your body getting itself ready to begin its menstrual cycle again.

If you are breastfeeding, you may find your blood loss is initially slightly heavier just after feeding your baby. You may also find that when your postnatal bleeding stops completely, your period may not return for many months.

If you have any worries please click here for further information.

After pains

You may experience pain, similar to mild labour pains after the birth. After pains following birth are normal and not a cause for concern. You may notice these are worse if you have had more than one child. Some women notice afterpains while breastfeeding. You should expect after pains to improve day by day as your womb (uterus) returns to its normal size. Taking regular paracetamol (1g every 4-6 hours - not exceeding 4g in 24hrs) and ibuprofen (200–400 mg 3–4 times a day) will help with the discomfort. Please avoid taking medication that contains codeine if breastfeeding.

If you have concerns about your afterpains please click here

For more information about pain relief and medications following birth please click here

If you have had stitches or experienced any tears

After birth, some women need stitches to their perineum which is the area between your vagina and bottom. The length of time it takes for these to heal is very individual and depends on the type of tear. Keeping your perineal area as clean and dry as possible, changing maternity pads frequently and washing your hands before and after going to the toilet will help to reduce the risk of infection.

If you experience an increase in pain from your stitches, notice an unpleasant smell or discharge then please let your midwife or GP know, so they can check them for you.

If you have had a 3rd or 4th degree tear, a follow-up appointment will be made for you so we can be sure it is healing well.

For more information please click here

Caesareans Section

For information about recovery after your caesarean section please click here

Pelvic floor

Your pelvic floor muscles are the group of muscles you would use to stop yourself passing wind or for holding in a wee. The pelvic floor are weakened by pregnancy and birth so we advise doing exercises to help strengthen them again to prevent future problems. Generally these exercises are tricky immediately following birth, but get easier in the coming weeks. Try and make them a part of your daily routine.

You may like to download the squeezy app for information and reminders. For more information, Click here

Blood clots and DVT (deep vein thrombosis)

Some women are advised by their midwife to wear special stockings after the birth to reduce the risk of blood clots in the legs. This advice will depend on the type of birth and any additional risk factors. You are at your highest risk of developing a blood clot just after having your baby so tell your midwife or another health professional if you experience pain in your lower leg, or redness, swelling or pain in your groin.

Symptoms to look out for

There are some signs that we ask you to look out for and report to a health professional. These include:

  • fainting
  • dizziness
  • palpitations (when your heart feels like its beating fast, or your notice your heart beat)
  • abdominal pain
  • fever
  • shivering
  • headaches with blurred vision
  • nausea and vomiting
  • flu like symptoms
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain.

If you feel unwell or experience pain after your baby is born please look at the information here, call your midwife or the postnatal ward if it is out of hours. In an emergency, call 999.

Emotional wellbeing

Pregnancy and birth can cause many strong emotions. It is important to talk about how you feel with your midwife and other health professionals and also with your partner, family and friends.

It is very normal to become very teary and emotional around day three – you may have heard of this period described as the ‘baby blues’. Your hormone levels are high, you’re likely to be very tired and the adjustment to new family life can feel overwhelming for many women. These are very normal feelings and they may fluctuate over the first 7-10 days.

If after two weeks you feel that you are still feeling down, depressed or hopeless and have little interest in doing things then please speak to your health visitor or see your GP. Your GP can give you ongoing emotional support and signpost you to other health professionals if needed.

Please listen to your family and friends if they have any concerns regarding your emotional wellbeing as it is often loved ones who notice you may need extra support.

Click here for more information

Contraception

There are no rules about when to start having sex again after you have given birth, but it is important that you are aware that you are fertile and could conceive again from approximately 21 days following birth.

Exclusively breastfeeding is not a reliable form of contraception and other methods such as condoms, pills, injections, implants or the coil are recommended to avoid becoming pregnant again too soon. Many of these can be started immediately after birth. If you are breastfeeding and you would like to use a hormonal contraception then you will be advised to have a progesterone-only option.

Click here for more information

Smoking

If you, or your partner are a smoker and would like help with quitting please let your midwife or GP know. They will be more than happy to help with this, or you can self refer to your local quit smoking service. There is a range of free help available including nicotine replacement therapies. Smoking around your baby increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome also known as SIDS or cot death. If you plan to continue then please smoke outside, away from your baby then wash your hands and change your clothes (where possible) before going near your baby.

Medical conditions

If you have a background medical condition or a new medical condition diagnosed in pregnancy your healthcare team will outline the future plan with you before you go home. It may be important for you to see your GP for on-going tests and further treatments.

Smear

You may have delayed your screening for cervical cancer while you were pregnant, please remember to re book this once your baby is over 12 weeks old.

Information for partners

As a new Dad or partner you will feel excited, but you may also feel left out, unsure or overwhelmed. The regional “Dad Pad” is a resource available to ALL partners to give you the knowledge and practical skills that you need.

Click here for more information

Your new baby’s health

Please look here to help understand what's normal and what's not for a new born baby.

If you are concerned your baby is unwell find more information here

Please download the Healthier Together Urgent Care app which will be there for you if you are worried your baby is unwell and assist you with accessing help.

Your baby’s weight

Your midwife or maternity support worker will offer to weigh your baby at intervals once you are at home. It is normal for most babies to lose some weight in the first few days but the staff will check that this is in the normal range and will offer support with feeding if needed.

Click here to learn more about your postnatal care and appointments

Tests your baby may have

Your midwife or maternity support worker will offer to weigh your baby at intervals once you are at home. It is normal for most babies to lose some weight in the first few days but the staff will check that this is in the normal range and will offer support with feeding if needed.

Click here to learn more about your postnatal care and appointments

Your baby’s cord

Your baby’s umbilical cord will dry and eventually fall off between 3-10 days old. Please keep the cord area clean by wiping around it with cotton wool and water daily. You do not need to wait until the cord and clamp have fallen off before bathing your baby but make sure its dry before dressing your baby.

You can fold over the top of your baby’s nappy to expose the cord to air to encourage drying sooner if you prefer. If you notice the cord area is bleeding, oozing or developing a nasty smell then please let your midwife know. Once the cord and clamp have fallen off carry on cleaning the umbilical area until it has healed.

Feeding your baby

All babies have a strong desire to be close to their parents as this helps them feel more secure and loved. Having your baby close to you will help you to learn their cues that they are hungry or need a cuddle.

Breastmilk is tailor made for your baby to provide all the nutrients, comfort and protection that they need. You may find that in the early days of establishing breastfeeding, it may take a while to feel confident. The most common challenges can be resolved quickly and easily with the right support. There is lots of help in your local area so please reach out if you have any questions or concerns. Babies cannot be overfed at the breast so you can use breastfeeding to soothe your baby as well as a way to spend time together or having a rest when you both want to.

If you are using a bottle to feed your baby, please ensure you follow the guidance to make up and give the milk as safely as possible. Enjoy holding your baby close during the feeds with lots of eye contact. Learn how to do paced bottle feeding to notice their cues of when they want to be fed and when they have had enough.

Click here for more information on feeding your baby

Click here for information if you have breastfeeding concerns

What to expect in your baby’s nappy

Babies who are drinking well will be regularly passing urine, stools and waking frequently on their own to feed. You can keep a close eye on their nappies and behaviour to know if they are feeding well.

Click here of more information

Neonatal jaundice

Around half of newborn babies will develop a condition called neonatal jaundice. This is where their skin appears yellow.Jaundice doesn’t usually cause your baby any problems however if you notice your baby’s skin, eyes or gums are yellow or if your baby becomes reluctant to feed, sleepy and difficult to wake call your midwife as your baby will need to be checked over by a health professional that day. Regular feeding will help to naturally reduce the bilirubin levels causing your baby’s skin to look yellow.

Click here if you are concerned your baby has neonatal jaundice

Crying and settling

The amount a baby cries varies hugely. A baby’s cry is designed to get your attention and it is OK to find that frustrating when you don’t know what it is that your baby wants.

From the age of two weeks infant crying generally increases, reaching a peak at around 6-8 weeks, before starting to reduce.

There are various things you can try in order to soothe your baby. Holding them, gently rocking, walking them around, taking them for a walk in the pram or sling are all methods you may find useful.

It is never OK to shake your baby but it is OK to leave your baby in a safe place and walk away momentarily. Providing your baby is in a safe place give yourself a chance to regroup for a few minutes then return to the baby when you feel calmer.

Remember it is very normal for babies to cry sometimes. It is normal to find it hard at times and its worth having the support of family and friends. If you are ever concerned about the level of your baby’s crying please read the further information here or seek advice from a health professional.

Vitamins

From birth, all breastfed babies should be given a daily supplement of vitamin D (8.5 to 10mcg). But if your baby is having more than 500ml (about a pint) of first infant formula a day, they do not need a supplement because formula is already fortified with vitamin D. Breastfeeding mothers are also encouraged to take a supplement of 10 micorgrams a day.

Safe sleep

Ensuring your baby is safely settled for sleep is important to help prevent Sudden Infant Death also known as (SIDS) or cot death.You can reduce the risk of SIDS by adopting some safe sleeping advice. The key points to remember are:

  • Keep your baby smoke free – don’t let anyone smoke near them or hold them after smoking
  • Don’t fall asleep with a baby on the sofa or chair
  • The safest place for you baby to sleep is in your bedroom in their own cot/moses basket/bedside crib for the first 6 months
  • Put your baby to sleep on their back with their feet to the end of the cot.
  • Breastfeed if you can
  • Don’t let your baby get too hot.
  • Keep a clear cot, free from toys. No loose blankets, pillows or cot bumpers should be used.

•Co-sleeping (sleeping in the same bed as your baby) can be dangerous if either you or your partner smoke, have been drinking, or taken any drugs (including medication that can make you feel drowsy), or if your baby was born at a low birth weight or prematurely.

It is important to keep pillows, sheets and blankets away from the baby.

If you have any questions about safe sleeping, you can speak to your midwife or health visitor or read more information here

Registering your baby’s birth

Legally you must register your baby within 42 days of their birth. You can use the www.gov.uk/register-offices website to find your closest registry office, and follow the links to their website for contact details and how to book an appointment. If you are married or in a civil partnership then only one parent needs to attend. If you are unmarried and want both parents to be on the birth certificate you will need to attend together.

GP

Your GP would like to see you once your baby is 6-8weeks old. This is for a final postnatal check on you, and a repeat of the newborn and infant examination- that your baby would have had soon after they were born. Some GP practices prefer you to register your baby at the surgery before the appointment and this can be done once you have registered your baby’s birth and have a birth certificate.

Car seat

Babies should travel in the right car seat for their age and weight, facing backwards, ideally secured by Isofix or the car seatbelt on the rear seats.

If you travel with your baby on the front seat of your car, make sure that the passenger air bag has been switched off and the baby is rear facing in the car seat. It is unsafe for your baby to wear coats and snowsuits whilst in their car seat travelling in a car, so tuck a blanket around them if it is cold. If it is too warm in your car to wear a coat yourself then your baby is likely to get too warm in a coat. Try not to let your baby spend too long in a car seat. There is no published evidence of how long a baby should stay in a car seat but car seat manufacturers recommend that this is for no longer than 2 hours. Taking your baby out and laying them flat at regular intervals is advised.

Click here for more information.

Introducing your new baby to pets at home

Pets may find it unsettling once you arrive home with your new baby. Give your pet time to get used to the new smells and noises and don’t force them if they want to hide temporarily. We recommend not leaving your pet alone with a baby or toddler and keeping toys separate.

Safe in the Sun

You baby’s skin has never seen any sun and is very sensitive. It’s a good idea to keep your baby out of direct sunlight and cool in the shade, wearing suncream (higher than 30SPF) when needed. It can be dangerous to place a muslin or cover over your baby’s pram for shade as this increase the temperature around your baby and can lead to over heating.

Thank you for watching this video. We hope you find it helpful. If you have any questions about anything we’ve mentioned, or anything else at all please don’t be afraid to ask.

Feedback

Please give us your feedback on your care and help us improve the service we offer by completing the friends and family questionnaire. You can do this via your Badger notes.

You may feel the need to talk to a midwife about your birth experience if you have specific questions you would like answered, things you can’t remember or are unsure of. Your midwife can give you details about the service within your hospital to support you with this.

If you would like to be part of a group to help improve maternity services, you can get in touch with your local Maternity Voices Partnership via Facebook.

Now, please download the Healthier Together Urgent Care app which will be there for you if you are worried your baby is unwell and assist you with accessing help.

Please don’t forget there is loads of information held on the Healthier Together website to support you with your new baby. This includes the following sections:

  • Postnatal information section which is full of advice literature
  • Concerns about your own health as a new mum
  • Mental health topics
  • Concerns about my baby’s health
  • Infant feeding
  • Worried my child is unwell (over 3 months)

And much more.

Please discuss any questions you may have with your midwife.

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