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Know-how: Leaving Hospital

What do you need to make that amazing first journey home with your new baby?

Posted: 16 November 2009
by Sarah Lawson

Unless you have had a home birth, the journey home with your new baby is an exciting but nonetheless daunting experience. You can read up all about what happens next when you have left the hospital and are going through those first few days at home, but how about the actual journey home?

Being discharged from hospital
When you get discharged will depend on your hospital's policy for keeping you and your baby in under observation (hospitals vary a little on factors like it being your first baby, did you have a caesarian etc and that will determine how long they want you to remain there after the birth).
Additionally, before you leave the hospital the midwife team or ward nurse will want to make sure you have all the necessary information and relevant prescriptions to leave with. In many cases women may have iron tablets or pain killers on prescription, plus you will be advised regarding new baby documents like where you need to go to register the birth .

The journey home
If you are going home by public transport, it is a good idea to have your partner or a friend meet you at the hospital with your new pram or pushchair. Don't forget that new babies need a buggy which fully reclines. For more about the basics of what kinds of suitable pushchair or pram you can buy, click here.
Most parents usually make this journey by car, in which case the hospital is unlikely to let you go without checking that you have a car seat that is suitable from birth. These first-stage car seats are called Infant Carriers.
With an infant carrier, make sure you have worked out how to safely fit it into your car seat before you actually need it. When you buy it, any good retailer will be happy to come outside to your car and check that the model you buy suits your particular car. Make sure that you do not fit the seat in the front or in any seat in your car that has an airbag as this can be very dangerous. If all your seats have airbags, make sure the relevant position has had the airbag deactivated before using this space for your child's seat.
If you do have a carrier, you can use this to carry your new baby from the ward to the car - this can be a daunting first walk for parents scared of dropping their amazing new bundle, but dont worry, just take it slowly and enjoy this rite of passage!

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