Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Bringing your baby home from hospital

8-minute read

When you and your baby (or babies) arrive home from hospital or the birth centre it’s a happy and exciting time, but you may also feel tired and overwhelmed.

You may have already started to prepare for life with a newborn, by setting up the nursery.

If you are first-time parents, it can be a big challenge at first. It can also be a big change if you have other children in your family. But there is support and services available to help you during this special time.

It’s important to be kind to yourself as you recover from birth and get to know your baby. This article will provide you with advice and resources to help you.

You can also ask for help from your family and friends.

How will we survive without round-the-clock care?

Many people spend a couple of days in hospital where the midwives and hospital staff can help you with feeding, settling, bathing and nappy changing. This may also give you a chance to get some sleep and help in your recovery.

Sometimes you may be discharged from hospital early. In some cases on the same day that you have your baby. You will need some time to recover from giving birth, and you may feel sore and tired. Make sure you rest as much as you can.

If you are on your own, ask a close relative or friend to spend a few days with you to help out while you find your feet.

If you have a partner, make sure you support each other as much as possible. Partners can help by doing nappy changes, settling baby and preparing meals.

Some people like lots of family and friends around in the first few days others prefer to limit visits until they feel comfortable. Remember that your needs and your baby’s needs are the priority. Don’t worry if the house is a mess!

Your baby will also be adapting to their new environment and this is sometimes referred to as the ‘fourth trimester‘.

Remember that you and your baby are in this together and will learn along the way. It’s ok to take it one day at a time.

Newborn babies mainly just want to be fed, kept warm, have their nappy changed and spend lots of time close to you. This will help them adjust and feel secure.

From birth your baby needs to be breastfed or formula fed regularly to have good weight gains. Most newborns feed every 2 to 4 hours (8 to 12 times in a 24-hour period). Newborns have little tummies, so they need to wake often including during the night to feed. Read more about breastfeeding and feeding with formula.

If you are having trouble breastfeeding, get support early. Talk to your midwife and child health nurse. You may like to organise a visit with a lactation consultant if you’d like extra support.

What is an at-home visit?

Before you leave the hospital, your midwife may organise a time to come and visit you to provide care for you and your baby, including breastfeeding advice.

The hospital will then hand you over to community care, such as your child health nurse. You will have your first appointment with your local child health nurse at home after about a week. They will check on the health and wellbeing of both you and your baby. You should use this time to ask lots of questions.

Your baby’s weight and other measurements will be recorded in their baby’s health record book. This helps check your baby’s health, growth and development against what is expected.

Listen to Dianne Zalitis, midwife, on the podcast Feed Play Love with Shevonne Hunt about what to expect when you bring your baby home.

How do I look after myself?

As hard as it may sound, you need to make sure to look after your own health and mental wellbeing when you get home from the hospital with your baby.

Getting some sleep, healthy eating and gentle exercise will help your body and mind recover from birth.

Your diet is important to help you stay healthy and keep up with the demands of caring for a newborn. You should try to eat a nutritious diet and drink enough water to satisfy your thirst.

The best time for you to try to catch up on sleep is when your baby is sleeping. Ask your partner, a close family member or a friend to look after your baby for a couple of hours if you need some rest. It’s ok to ask for help.

Some parents prepare and freeze a few meals before their baby is due. This helps you to have some quick meals ready to go. Or ask a friend to make some freezer-friendly meals for you.

It’s a good idea to set up your home so you have easy access to spare clothes, nappies, wipes and feeding equipment.

How emotional should I feel?

Emotional ups and down can be normal after giving birth. However, if you have feelings of being down, inadequate, anxious, have trouble sleeping, or find yourself worrying excessively about your baby, you may have postnatal depression. There is plenty of help available from these trusted resources:

  • PANDA — 1300 726 306
  • Beyond Blue — 1300 224 636
  • Pregnancy, Birth and Baby — 1800 882 436

By speaking to a medical professional early, it can help prevent things from becoming more serious.

Where can I read more information?

Remember, you can always ask your doctor, midwife or child health nurse for advice.

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby has lots of other articles to support you in this transition.

Where can I go for help?

If you find yourself home from hospital and not sure what to do, there are online and phone services to give you advice and support.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2022

Back To Top

Need more information?

For All New Parents - MumSpace

MumSpace is Australias new one-stop website supporting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of pregnant women, new mums and for All New Parents.

Read more on MumSpace website

New mums and dads: healthy lifestyle choices

When you’re a new parent, healthy lifestyle choices like healthy eating and physical activity will keep you in good shape to care for your baby. Get tips.

Read more on website

Tips for Tired New Parents

Read more on Parent-Infant Research Institute website

New parents | Jean Hailes

You may have read the books, been to the classes and talked to dozens of people about parenting... but now you know it's not really possible to understand…

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Work life balance for new parents

Work and family life can get in the way of each other and new parents can find it challenging to achieve a healthy work life balance. They want to spend as much time as possible with their baby but also have financial obligations. Sometimes balancing work and family life requires a bit of creative thinking. Find out how other Australian mums and dads managed to balance spending time with their new baby and time at work.

Read more on Parenthub website

Bonding, talking & listening: young babies | Raising Children Network

This video shows a new mum bonding, connecting and communicating with her baby. It explains how talking to babies in everyday activities helps learning.

Read more on website

Babies and solids- introducing solids before 6 months old?

When to start solids can be a difficult decision for new parents. As a general rule follow the Australian baby feeding guidelines and breastfeed exclusively for six months. However, be aware there are exceptions to the guidelines.

Read more on Parenthub website

About PNDA

Pregnancy and the first year of parenthood (the perinatal period) is a unique time and involves major changes in a person’s life. The challenges of this adjustment to parenthood are often underestimated within our society and cultures. All expectant and new parents, including both mums and dads or partners, will have some good days and bad days. Ups and downs are expected and common. But when bad days become the norm, a parent may be experiencing perinatal depression or anxiety.

Read more on Gidget Foundation Australia website

Intimacy and sex after baby and birth | Raising Children Network

Sex after baby – when is it OK? Are there other ways to have physical intimacy after childbirth? Get answers to these questions and more.

Read more on website

Perinatal depression

Becoming a parent brings a wide range of emotions, ranging from joy and excitement to stress and apprehension. But depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health.

Read more on Beyond Blue website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.