You’ll probably have mixed feelings about going home. It’s normal to be both excited and nervous. Remember you will have support from your midwife and your health visitor.
How long you’ll stay in hospital
Hospitals in different parts of the country have different policies. However, if mum and baby are both doing well, you’ll usually be getting ready to go home somewhere between 6 and 24 hours after giving birth, depending on how you are feeling. If you’ve had a Caesarean section, or if you or your baby need extra care, you might need to stay in hospital for a bit longer.
Confidentiality and your notes
In Scotland, mums look after their own medical notes. You’ll take these notes home from hospital with you. After that they’ll be used by your midwife and then your health visitor to ensure that you and your baby get the best possible support.
Although your notes are completely confidential, if there is any aspect of your health – or your baby’s – which would benefit from the input of another specialist, your GP, midwife or health visitor is allowed to share that information.
You may want to arrange some support for the first few days at home. It may sound obvious, but partners, friends or family can help by making sure there’s a clean and tidy house to come home to, rather than a sink full of dishes and a washing machine waiting to be emptied.
Also that there’s food in the fridge and the toilet is clean! You will want your home to be a safe and welcoming place for the newest member of the family. That includes making sure there’s a safe place to change your baby, where she can’t fall.
Support from healthcare professionals after the birth
In the first ten days after you’ve given birth, you’ll be looked after by a midwife both in hospital and at home. After this you’ll be transferred into the care of a health visitor. You’ll also need to register your baby with a GP.
Your midwife and health visitor will be able to give you help and support to breastfeed.
The role of the health visitor
Health visitors have a great deal of experience in looking after families with babies and young children. That means as your health visitor gets to know you and your family, they can be a real source of information and help to you in looking after your baby’s wellbeing. Your health visitor will see you at home most of the time and will give you support with early parenting, asking about how you feel and how things are going.
They will also help you with feeding your baby, including support with breastfeeding, and will be happy to discuss anything that concerns you. You should also be given a Personal Child Health Record (the RedBook) where you can write down information about your baby’s growth, development, tests and immunisations. You should keep this safe and take it to any appointments with healthcare professionals.
Having got to know you and your family before your baby was born, and especially during the first 15 months of you baby’s life, your health visitor will always be on hand to offer the support you need as your confidence as a new parent grows. As part of their support they will give you a number to call if you ever need their advice in between your planned visits with them.
Remember, you are not alone. A healthcare professional will always be on hand to help and you’ll get numbers to contact them in normal working hours and at night, call NHS 24 on 111 (freephone), if you need help or advice.
The Child Health Programme
The Child Health Programme is the series of health checks, visits and immunisations that are offered to every child in Scotland from birth. They are carried out by healthcare professionals – usually doctors, midwives, health visitors and school nurses. Other specialists may be involved in hearing and sight checks.
The Child Health Programme is there to help you give your child the best start in life. It includes immunisations and routine checks for any health problems that your child may have, so that care or treatment can be arranged as soon as possible. It also provides important opportunities for you to talk to a healthcare professional about your child’s and family’s health.