Following the birth of your baby, you and your baby may be required to stay in the hospital’s postnatal ward for continuing care. Alternatively, you may choose to go home under the care of the Home Maternity Service if this is available.
For most women pregnancy and birth is a healthy experience which does not necessitate a hospital stay. The usual length of stay in hospital after a normal birth is two days; women who have had a Caesarean section will often stay between three and four days.
The Home Maternity Service will allow you to enjoy your early postnatal days in the comfort of your own home with the support of midwives offering daily visits and providing midwifery care. If this is something you might be interested in please discuss this with your midwife or doctor.
It is important not to separate mothers from their babies, so mothers are encouraged to keep their baby at the bedside with them 24-hours a day. The midwives will assist and support you with all aspects of your baby’s care. Please ask for assistance if and when you need.
New mothers need plenty of rest. To promote this, there is a rest period for mothers between 1pm to 3pm. We ask that you minimise
the amount of visitors during this time to ensure that mothers and babies have
the opportunity to rest.
Feeding your baby
Hunter New England Health maternity care providers endorse World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations about infant feeding. The WHO states:
Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large.
Colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy, is recommended by WHO as the perfect food for the newborn, and feeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth.
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond (World Health Organization 2013).
The midwives caring for you provide assistance, support and advice with breastfeeding. Lactation consultants are also available in many of our hospitals if additional help is required, the midwife caring for you will make arrangements for you to meet the lactation consultant midwife.
Women who choose to bottle-feed their baby will also be supported.
If you are intending on bottle-feeding your baby you will need to bring a tin of the formula you have chosen to give your baby. Some hospitals may provide sterile bottles and teats but others may not. Ensure that you discuss his with your midwife during your antenatal care to make sure you have everything you need during your stay in hospital.
Support for breastfeeding your baby when you go home
Many women need ongoing support as they learn the art and skills of breastfeeding.
Home Maternity Service midwives will provide assistance during the first few days
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) provides breastfeeding support in the community. 24-hour phone number: 1800 686 268 (Mum2Mum) or www.breastfeeding.asn.au
Your Child and Family Health Nurse provides long-term ongoing feeding and parenting support
Your midwife will advise you of other services available in your local area.
Exercise after you have had your baby
A midwife or physiotherapist will provide you individual advice and exercise instruction following the birth of your baby, whilst in hospital or as an outpatient.
Information about infant circumcision is available via the Kaleidoscope website.
Routine screening for your baby
As well as all of the routine screening as outlined in the NSW Health Having a Baby book, an experienced health professional will examine your baby’s hips to check for any hip problems.
NSW State-wide Infant Screening Hearing
Your baby will be offerred a free SWISH hearing screen as soon as possible after birth. One to two babies out of every 1000 will have a significant hearing loss. The screening program is available in the postnatal ward. If discharged without the SWISH screen being completed an outpatient appointment will be organised locally.
Planning to go home begins in the antenatal period, it is essential that you have everything ready for your baby prior to birth.
We request that arrangements are made for you to leave the hospital by 10am on the day of your discharge. It is essential that you discuss your desires to go home with your doctor or midwife the day before to ensure that all necessary scripts, follow-up and paperwork is planned and ready for you prior to the day and time of discharge.
Please plan for your babies transport home.
Check that you have an RTA-approved Child Restraint fitted in your car by the time that you are 34 to 36 weeks pregnant.