You and your baby will be able to return home:
- After your doctor or midwife determines that you are in good condition
- After a pediatrician checks that your baby is generally healthy and eating well
By the time you're ready to go home, you should have a car seat already installed in your car, and you should know how to operate it. If you have problems with your car seat, please let us know.
Use a rear-facing car seat until the child is at least one year old and weighs at least 20 pounds. Facing backwards helps the child absorb the impact of an accident much better than if they were facing forwards.
Never put a rear-facing car seat in a front seat, especially seats with passenger air bags.
Have your car seat inspected by a certified passenger safety technician.
We strongly recommend that you know how to use your baby's car seat before you arrive at the hospital. If you have any questions about the car seat, please ask us for advice before you leave for home.
More information about car seat safety
- DHMC Injury Prevention Center, where you can go to make sure your seat is installed correctly
- Frequently Asked Questions about child seat safety, from the Injury Prevention Center
- Safe Kids Buckle Up program
- Car Safety Seat Guide from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Things to Have at Home
It's easy to get the impression from books and magazines that you need dozens of different things for your newborn, but most are not necessary. These are the essential items that you should have on hand when you bring your baby home from the hospital.
For the baby
- A sturdy crib or bassinet with a firm mattress
- Baby blankets
- Disposable or cloth diapers and wipes
- Clean baby clothes
- A digital baby thermometer
- Sanitary napkins
- Oral thermometer
- For breastfeeding, nursing bras and pads, and a breast pump
- Pain reliever and/or stool softener, if recommended by your provider
- Babies usually see their own pediatrician about 2-3 days after discharge. It is helpful if you have a pediatrician picked out before you come to the hospital.
- Most women have a follow-up visit with their doctors or midwives six weeks after leaving the hospital. In some cases, mothers are asked to return sooner than that.