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 early from hospital

4-minute read

If you and your baby are released early from hospital, when you get home you are bound to be excited, but also tired, overwhelmed and probably wondering ‘what do I do now’? But advice and information is available.

The reality of bringing a baby home from the hospital or birth centre, especially if you are first-time parents, can be an overwhelming experience. You have probably done your best to prepare for life with a newborn – going antenatal classes and setting up the nursery, for example – but nothing can really prepare you for what it’s actually like when you first get home.

Surviving without round-the-clock care

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

But if you are discharged early from the hospital – in some cases on the same day you have your baby – you will find yourself at home having to do all these things yourselves.

If you have a partner, make sure to rely on and support each other as much as possible. Mum will need some time to recover from giving birth, and will be sore and tired. Partners can help out as much as possible by doing nappy changes and preparing meals.

Don’t worry if the house is a mess! It’s best in the first few days that you limit the amount of family and friends that come over to meet the new addition to the family.

If you don’t have a partner, ask a close relative or friend to spend a few days with you to help out while you find your feet.

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.

Your baby will eventually start to develop a routine. Newborn babies mostly sleep, eat, cry and poo and you’ll probably soon learn the difference between an "I’m hungry" cry and "I need my nappy changed" cry.

At-home visits

Before you leave the hospital, your midwife may organise a time to come and visit you at home to check on how you and your baby are going. You will also have your first appointment with your local child health nurse at home after about a week. They will also check on the health and wellbeing of you and your baby and you should use this time to ask lots of questions.

Listen to Dianne Zalitis, midwife and Clinical Lead for Pregnancy, Birth and Baby, on the podcast Feed Play Love with Shevonne Hunt about what to expect when you bring your baby home.

Looking after yourself

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, eating healthily and, when you are ready, doing some gentle exercise, will all help your body and mind recover from giving birth.

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 a break or some rest.

Some parents prepare and freeze a few meals in advance before the baby is due, so you have some quick meals ready to go – or ask a friend to make some freezer-friendly meals for you.


More information

Where can I go for help?

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

You can find more phone and online support here, including the Parenting Line in your state or territory.

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

Last reviewed: April 2020


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 parents

New parents can often feel fatigued and overwhelmed. Here are tips to help you navigate your way through parenthood and become the best parent you can be.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Support for new parents - NT.GOV.AU

Support groups, useful websites, health services for new parents and general information for mothers-to-be

Read more on NT Health 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

Pregnancy and new parents

Check out our information for new and expectant parents, covering everything from bonding with your baby to spotting the signs of anxiety and depression.

Read more on Beyond Blue website

New mums guide: first weeks of parenting | Raising Children Network

There’s a lot to learn when you’re a new mum. Find your way with our new mums guide to looking after yourself and caring for baby in the first weeks.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Tips for New Parents | Tresillian

Your health and happiness are important for your baby’s health and wellbeing. Read our top tips to help care for yourself and your partner while looking after baby!

Read more on Tresillian 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

New parents - COPE

COPE's purpose is to prevent and improve the quality of life of those living with emotional and mental health problems that occur prior to and within the perinatal period.

Read more on COPE - Centre of Perinatal Excellence 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?

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.