Going home with your baby
If you’ve had your baby in a community maternity unit or hospital, you’ll probably have mixed feelings about going home.
It’s normal to be excited about taking your baby home, and nervous about what'll happen and how you’ll manage.
Remember you’ll have support from your midwife, health visitor or family nurse at home.
How long you’ll stay in
Some mums enjoy their time in hospital. Others find it stressful and can’t wait to get home.
If you’re both doing well, you’ll usually be ready to go home somewhere between 6 and 24 hours after birth. You may need to stay a bit longer if:
- you’ve had an emergency caesarean section
- you or your baby need extra care
How quickly you go home will depend on how you’re feeling. Your hospital or maternity unit will have its own policy.
Preparing to go home
By the time you go home you'll have been shown the basics of baby care, including:
Remember this is baby's first time outside, so make sure they're dressed for the weather. Have a hat and blankets ready and ask your midwife to help you decide if they're needed.
If you’re travelling by car, you’ll also need a car seat.
Friends and family may offer to help get the house ready for you and your new baby coming home. They'll probably be pleased to be asked. It’s a great idea to sort out some support for your first few days at home.
Your maternity notes
After you’ve had your baby, your maternity and neonatal notes will be put into your medical records. This allows your midwife, health visitor or family nurse to use them to help you and your baby get the best possible support.
Notes are used by health professionals who care for you and are always kept private and confidential.
If you or your baby need help or advice from other specialists or health professionals, your GP, midwife, health visitor or family nurse will ask you to agree to information sharing.
More about confidentiality when using the NHS in Scotland
You want home to be a safe and welcoming place for your baby, so:
- make sure you follow the advice about making your home safe
- have a safe place to change your baby's nappy where they can’t fall
Once you get home, you’ll be given contact details for the health professionals who'll help if you have any problems or you’re worried. You and your baby are never completely on your own.
More about making your home safe for your baby
Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.
25 January 2023
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