If you have had an uncomplicated birth, you will usually be okay to go home with your baby after 24 hours in hospital. If you had a Caesarean sections, you will usually need to stay in hospital for two or three days to recover. Some women may be able to stay longer, or go home earlier, depending on their needs and individual care plan. We will meet with you and your baby regularly to assess your well-being, needs and requirements for any support after you go home. Before you are discharged from the hospital, we will review your discharge planning checklist with you to ensure that all of your questions have been answered and follow-up care is in place before you leave the hospital.
If your baby requires special care, you be discharged before your baby. In these cases your baby will stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) which is located on Kidd 5. You and your partner are welcome to visit the unit at anytime and participate in your baby's care. A member of your health care team will talk about this possibility. Before you go home a social worker may be involved in arranging support for you depending on your individual needs.
Here are some other items to be considered or completed before you and your baby leave the hospital:
Infant Car Seats
Before you leave the hospital, you must have an approved car seat in place for your baby. It's the law. Before you are discharged we will check to make sure you have an approved car seat. The Ontario Ministry Transportation has step-by-step tips on installing car seats. If you are still unsure how to install your seat, contact your Seats for Kids which is a non-profit organization that offers clinics and inspections.
Registering your baby
We will give you the forms that you will need to complete to register your baby's birth. If you have a computer or tablet with you in the hospital many of these forms can also be completed online. The forms include:
- Health Registration
- Statement of Live Birth
- Child Tax Benefit Forms
A small sample of blood will be collected from your newborn 24 hours after they have been born. This blood is collected on a special paper card and sent to the Newborn Screening Program for testing. This will screen your baby for several rare disorders that can cause future health problems. This screening is done on all babies born in Ontario. Early detection of these childhood illnesses will lead to early treatment and cam reduce the chance of serious health problems later in life. To learn more about newborn screening, watch the video below. To see the video in French, click here.
Infant Hearing Program Screening
We will offer a hearing screening test for your baby. This is usually done before you leave the hospital, however it can be carried out in a clinic afterwards. This test will allow babies who have a hearing loss to be identified early and early detection is important for their future development. This is a non-invasive test that will be carried out by a specially trained member of our team. It is usually done while your baby is asleep or settled and you can stay with your baby while the test is done.
We realize that being a new parent includes a huge learning curve. You and your partner may feel completely unprepared once you have your new infant in your arms. It's completely natural to feel this way and in fact, most new parents feel the same thing. That's why KGH, in collaboration with the KFL&A Public Health Unit, provides education sessions which will help you learn about the basics of newborn care and feeding. We hope these sessions will help prepare you for your discharge home. Please check with your care team to see when these sessions are available.
This procedure is not performed on newborns at KGH. Circumcisions that are performed for religious, social or cultural reasons are also not covered by OHIP. For more information about circumcision, speak with your primary caregiver.
Your baby should be seen by your family doctor, midwife, or pediatrician during your first week back at home to make sure that all is well. You should also arrange an appointment for yourself with your caregiver for six weeks after delivery. A Public Health Nurse may visit to help you with breastfeeding and teach you to care for yourself and your baby. Home and Community Care will also provide support and resources to you if your baby has any special needs.
If you are a new and/or expectant parent, you can learn more about bathing your baby, jaundice in newborns, post partum recovery, diaper changing, post partum mental health and newborn behaviours by watching a series of videos from Ottawa Public Health.
Bathing your baby
Diapering your baby
Postpartum mental health
If you have obstetric-related concerns, you can:
- Call your primary care provider
- Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000
- Go to Labour and Delivery on Connell 5 if you have had your baby within the past 7 days
- Go to the Emergency Department if you have had your baby more than 7 days ago