We know every family is different — just like every baby — so it is worth considering what is important to you when preparing to bring your new baby home. There are helpful resources and information available to help you gain confidence in caring for your baby.
The following information outlines best evidence for baby care. It also introduces some of the health professionals who might visit you and identifies helplines you can call for extra support.
Safe sleeping for your baby
It is important you read the guidelines on how to keep your baby safe when sleeping.
The ideal place for a baby to sleep is in a safe cot, on a safe mattress, with safe bedding, in a safe sleeping place, both night and day.
Some babies are more unsettled than others. It can be challenging to care for an unsettled baby, so having support available can be a big help.
Some babies take longer to adjust to not being inside the comfort of their mother’s womb. Research shows that when a parent responds quickly to comfort a crying infant, the baby cries less often overall.
The Raising Children Network website has a very useful guide to figuring out why your baby might be crying.
One of our midwives will visit you within 48 hours of you going home from hospital. They may visit a second time, depending on your needs. The midwife will weigh your baby and check how your baby is feeding. They will also see how you are feeling and offer any advice you may need. If you want to speak to one of our midwives, call 03 8458 4466 and leave a message.
Your maternal and child health nurse will also visit you within two weeks of arriving home with your baby. It is important we have your correct address when you arrive at the birth suite, so we can notify your local Maternal and Child Health service soon after birth. The maternal and child health nurse will explain their role and how they support your child’s health and development from birth until school age.
We suggest you see your general practitioner (GP) for a six-week check for you and your baby. If you had a very complicated birth, we may request that you return to the hospital for a check-up after the birth.
The Maternal and Child Health Line is a statewide telephone service, available every day of the year for Victorian families with children from birth to school age. Maternal and child health nurses can provide information, support and guidance on a range of issues including child health, nutrition, breastfeeding, maternal and family health, and parenting. Call 13 22 29 at any time of day or night.
If you are concerned about your baby’s health you can call our Emergency Department on 03 8458 4000.
It is very common to experience the ‘baby blues’ (feeling weepy and down for a day or two) once you return home. If this does not change, or if you experience emotional changes that last longer than two weeks and stop you from doing things you need or want to do, please contact your GP.
Top tips to share with your loved ones and close friends after returning home as a new mother
- Don’t wait to ask if you can help.
- Gifts of food are always welcome. Drop something off and leave after a short visit, unless I really need company.
- Be direct when offering help, for example: “I would like to help with shopping, looking after your baby while you sleep, cooking or doing housework. What would be the most useful for you?”
- Don’t knock or ring the bell if there is a sign on the door that says ‘mum and baby sleeping’. You can send me a text in case I have forgotten to take the sign down.
- Keep visits short, especially if I look tired and the baby is asleep.
- If my baby is awake and fed, and I look tired, offer to look after the baby so I can have a nap if you have time.
- Do care for me if I don’t seem myself and appear sad (ask me how I am really feeling).
- Don’t be offended if I refuse your offers of help; I might be feeling really well and on top of things.
- Ask me to go for a walk or on a coffee date. I might want to get out of the house and have some company.
Last reviewed September 28, 2017.