If you just gave birth and are wondering when your baby will be discharged from the hospital, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has guidelines for health care providers to use to decide when your baby can go home.
Careful consideration is given to the following factors:
- The mother’s health and readiness to care for her child – Is she healthy? Does she have support at home?
- The baby’s health – Has the baby successfully had at least two feedings in the hospital (either by breast or bottle)? Is the baby healthy?
- The car seat – Do the parents have an appropriate one and do they know how to use it properly?
- Life at home – Is the home safe for a baby? Are there illicit drugs, alcohol, a history of abuse, neglect or domestic violence in the home? Is there a history of mental illness in a parent?
- Access to care – Does the mother have access to follow-up care for herself and her baby? Does she have transportation? Does she currently use or know of a clinic or doctor’s office where she and her baby can go for care?
The answers to these questions will help providers determine when a baby can be discharged from the hospital. The goal is to ensure that both mother and baby are cared for appropriately so that neither one will have issues that require going back into the hospital. By double checking on mom, baby, and home life ahead of time, the transition to home will be as safe and smooth as possible.
Preemies? Health problems?
Keep in mind that if your baby was born prematurely or with a medical condition, there will be additional considerations to review before your baby will be ready for discharge. Read our article on Leaving the NICU to learn more.
Questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.
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Updated June 2017.