8 Thoughts Every Mom Has When Bringing Baby Home From the Hospital

newborn baby in car seat

After several months of pregnancy and anticipation, the day finally came. You birthed your baby -- now what?


I'm just weeks into the experience. After 25 grueling hours of labor (with three hours of active pushing that felt like a lifetime), little Lucy was born. She was five pounds and 10 ounces of perfection, and although she was two weeks early (which many did not predict because she's my first), I was thrilled to have gotten the "rough part" over with ... But wait -- was that really the "rough part"? I wondered while Lucy was being discharged from the hospital.

There are many thoughts that plague the new parent's mind shortly after delivery. From happy to worried, from confusion to sheer terror, here are the feelings my mommy friends and I agree we had while driving our babies home from the hospital.

"I'm invincible!"

There's something about giving birth that still amazes me. I realize it's the miracle of life, nature at work and all that, but I recall thinking during the 30-minute drive home, I still can't believe a small human came out of my vagina. It truly is unbelievable that your body knows to transform like magic to bring a life into the world. For months leading up to the big day, I was so anxious. Thoughts like: How is this going to happen? It's going to hurt like a b**ch. Can I physically and mentally handle this? But once you've accomplished the amazing feat, you suddenly feel invincible. After this experience, you may feel like you can do anything! I know I did.

"Is this really happening?"

For mom Hannah's firstborn, she thought, I can't believe she's really here! I can't believe I have a really small and really fragile baby behind me in the car.

Strap on your seat belts, mom. It's going to be a bumpy (yet rewarding) ride.

"Can't we just stay?"

One thing I hadn't realized prior to delivery was how amazing the nurses would be at the hospital. They taught my husband and me so much during our three-day stay that we almost didn't want to go home (despite how uncomfortable that hospital bed and the chair my husband slept in were).

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My friend, Jennifer, echoes the sentiment. "I remember not wanting to leave," she said. "I had so much help at the hospital and very little at home, so I remember wishing I could take a nurse, the lactation consultant, and my doula with me."

My friend, Vivienne, also recalled saying to herself, "Crap, I don't have a nurse to ask to make sure if baby is okay! Is that color poop normal? Is she getting enough to eat?"

"Is this car seat in here right?"

Aside from thinking how instantly in love she was with baby Aubrey, mom Vivienne recalls worrying about the car seat Aubrey was in for the drive home. "Did I put the car seat in properly?" she asked herself. I felt the same way. In addition to installing the apparatus, I fixated on whether or not Lucy was comfortable in the seat itself. Is she too snug? Is the belt too loose? Is she safe? Did I buy the right kind?

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If you want to be super sure about your baby's safety and comfort for the drive home and beyond, Vivienne suggests visiting your local police facility to have an officer check out the seat's installation. You can also do extra research online and with the car seat manufacturer to ensure baby is placed and secured in the seat properly. Before leaving the hospital, your discharge nurse may also be able to confirm that baby is safe in her carrier.

"Hey, slow down!"

Car seat woes aside, be forewarned: That first ride with baby will be anxiety-ridden and you will probably drive your driver crazy. With such precious cargo, I couldn't help but remind my husband, who was behind the wheel, to go slower than usual, obey every road rule as if he needed to get a perfect score on a driving test, and stay calm (even though I was far from it). Whether it's your husband or an Uber driver, it's important to be relaxed because the last thing you need in your vehicle during baby's first car ride is anxious energy.

"Where's the nearest drug store?"

Sorry to get so personal here, but one of my biggest fears -- you know, when I was no longer on the painkillers the nurses were giving me -- was peeing or, worse, pooping.

Bringing a baby home is all new to you, but so is going numbers one and two with birthing wounds. And no matter how much witch hazel they give you at the hospital, you know going to the bathroom won't be pleasant for up to six weeks.

To make "the go" more bearable, stop off for some stool softener and Dermoplast on the drive home.

"What's for dinner?"

I know I couldn't help but rejoice at the fact I could finally eat after hours of labor -- and eat almost anything I want after months of pregnancy. You can have raw sushi again, cold cuts, a medium rare steak ... What will your first meal be upon getting home? Granted, they do serve food during your hospital stay, but that's no match for your favorite restaurant, takeout joint, or home-cooked meal.

When driving home, Vivienne said to herself, "Yay, I can eat sushi and drink wine again!"

For Hannah's second baby, she remembers saying, "I'm so happy my baby is here ... But I wonder what we're going to eat for dinner."

So yeah, even with the excitement of baby coming home, you will obsess over food -- at least your first awesome meal -- until you realize you have very little time to eat when baby is feeding around the clock. Get ready!

"Are we really prepared for this?"

I'm a planner. That's how I'm wired. I made shopping and to-do lists throughout my pregnancy to prep for the baby. I wanted to make sure all my bases were covered and I had a solution or action for every baby need and scenario. But even after all that planning, during that drive home with baby, I still wondered, are my husband and I prepared? Are we ready to take care of an infant? Are we ready to raise a child?

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The truth is, there is no way to prepare. You might have bought every "must have" item, read every baby book, googled all of your questions about caring for a newborn, but until it happens, until you're home with your wee one, you just can't know everything you need to know, have everything you need to have, and be ready for every situation that comes your way.

In the past few weeks, I learned I have to take being a mom day by day, hour by hour, even minute by minute. The moment you think you've got things "down," baby will throw you for a loop -- from peeing while you're changing her diaper, to spitting up when there's no burp cloth in sight, to changing up her feeding and sleeping schedule when you finally feel like you're in a rhythm.

And that's okay.

All of a sudden -- from the minute you pull out of the hospital parking lot -- you'll become the best problem solver around. You'll be more efficient than ever before. You'll be the most patient and flexible person you know. You'll be a mom.


Photo via Ysolt Usigan

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