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Midsection of parents with a newborn baby and small toddler son at home.

Bringing Your Baby Home – A Guide for Parents

By Dr. Candice Gabriel, PCD Pediatrics

The homecoming of your baby is something you have probably often imagined. This guide will help you prepare for the big day.

Newborn Tests

While still in the hospital, your baby should have all the appropriate newborn tests. These tests detect congenital conditions early to prevent disabilities, and save lives.

Choose a Pediatrician

If you haven’t already, choose a pediatrician before your baby goes home, and schedule the first checkup 3-5 days after being home.

Car Seat Safety

Make sure your vehicle has a properly installed, rear-facing child safety seat. It’s crucial that you follow the car seat manufacturer’s guidelines on proper installation, and if possible, have it checked by a certified child passenger safety technician. Never put a car seat in the front of your car or hold your baby in your arms while someone else drives. Learn more about car seat safety and CHKD’s car seat safety program here.

Have a Safe Place for Baby to Sleep

Be sure your baby has a safe place to sleep when they get home. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you share a room with your baby, but not the same sleeping surface, for the first year to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Always place your baby on their back to sleep, and make sure their crib or bassinet is free of bumper pads, stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, or anything else that may cause suffocation. Find additional safe sleeping tips from CHKD experts here.

Have a Digital Thermometer

Having a digital thermometer is also important. If your baby is acting sick, check their temperature rectally. If your baby has a temperature of 100.3F or higher, call your pediatrician.

Be Prepared with Support

It’s important for parents to have support nearby, such as family members or friends. As parents, we all need a little help from time to time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need a little extra support.

The Homecoming

When you first get home you may be feeling a little drained and sore, even more so if you had a cesarean section delivery. Don’t overschedule yourself. The added stress of other children and pets wandering about awaiting the arrival of your newest little one, and the expectations of family members and friends, can also be draining. Go with the flow, and take it one day at a time. You’ll find a groove that works for you and your family.

Expect Crying

Although parents expect their newborn to cry, many are not prepared for how much crying they hear in the first three months. It’s not uncommon for a healthy newborn to have fussy periods that last up to three hours a day. If you ever feel so frustrated that you fear you might hit or shake your baby, put the baby down in the crib and walk into another room. It’s OK to let baby cry for a few minutes while you pull yourself together. These tips can help you cope with crying.

Anxiety and Depression

As many as one in five mothers experience anxiety or depression after giving birth and within the first few days of bringing baby home. Symptoms include mood swings, irritability, insomnia, impatience, and crying or feeling weepy for no reason. If these symptoms persist and your sadness intensifies, know that you are not alone and you are not to blame. Talk to your doctor or make an appointment with a therapist or other mental health provider. There is help. Find additional information on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders here.


Before leaving the hospital, whether your baby is full-term or premature, make sure all of your questions have been answered. If new questions arise – from bathing to feeding to safe sleeping or anything else – your nurse, lactation consultant, or baby’s doctor can help.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.