Hospital to Home

“Your current safe boundaries were once unknown frontiers.” –Anonymous

Bringing a new baby home is full of wonder and fear. This is an exciting and busy transition step for families involving many considerations; family roles will be redefined, the home environment rearranged, and everyone’s schedule adjusted. Being prepared and considering needs and resources before the event occurs is the best way to make this transition time as smooth and stress free as possible for all children and families (This website also includes information and resources for medically fragile children and children with disabilities.) Some issues to focus on may include: Equipment Needed, Parent Physical and Mental Health, Child’s Physical and Mental Health, Safety Considerations, Social Relationships, Recreation, and Support Services and Community Resources.

Family Involvement

Each family member will take on a unique caregiver role and face opportunities to participate in the transitioning of a child from hospital to home.  It is important at this time to allow siblings to set the role they are comfortable fulfilling and to help them understand that the family is growing and all members are equally valuable.  When the new baby is medically fragile or has a disability that all potential caregivers understand the child’s unique needs and how best they can provide support; including age appropriate information for siblings.

Individual Planning

New parents must not only prepare for the new family member, but also for their own individual needs and potential issues.  Self-awareness is a valuable and vital step in being able to support others.

Health and Development

There are many health issues for both new parent and child at this phase of the transition process. It is usually forefront to consider the child’s health but is equally important to consider the mother’s health as well as potential issues facing other family members. Bringing home a new baby is a stress and joy filled time which changes the normal pattern of daily routine. This can lead to potential health issues for all involved. The following links cover information for both family and child; including those children with special medical or developmental needs.

This phase is the very beginning of parent and child interaction. By understanding what to expect along the way the parent can prepare ahead and know what milestones to expect and how to identify red flags.

Medical Care

  • Locate good medical care from a pediatrician, family physician, nurse practitioner or health department
  • Keep recommended visits to doctor in first year of life for well-child checkups, screenings and immunizations: within first couple weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months
  • Get early identification of potential problems – slow growth or inappropriate weight for height, maltreatment, developmental delays, vision, hearing, language, acute and chronic diseases
  • Baby Brain Map
Promoting Healthy and Safe Habits
  • Back to Sleep – For healthy babies, back sleeping is preferred and reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Car Seats – Rear facing infant seat fastened securely in the back seat of the car
  • Car Seat Safety  – Kentucky  Office of Highway Safety
  • Crib Safety – Firm mattress that fits snugly into the crib. Crib slats no more than 2 3/8 inches apart; keep sides of crib raised
  • Help to Quit Smoking


Nutrition and Oral Health
Parent Health
  • Get adequate rest
  • Eat nutritious foods
  • Identify when you need some supports, ask, and be willing to accept help
  • Engage all family members with the baby in caregiving
  • Manage stress
  • Jenny’s Light Organization
Parent-Infant Interaction
  • Nurturing behaviors – holding, cuddling, rocking, talking, singing to your baby
  • Learning about baby and child temperament and how it affects the way the baby relates to the world; babies are unique right from birth!
  • Look for goodness of fit between infant temperament and parenting style or expectations
  • Relationships:  The Heart of Development and Learning, Zero to Three
  • Zero to Three:  Child Development
Be Involved in Community
  • Ask for help with financial resources if you need them
  • Maintain and expand ties to community through social, religious, cultural, and recreational programs
Additional Links
Interagency Collaboration

Collaboration at this transition point will require communication between the family and potential center based programs they are interested in prior to selection. If family selects more than one program (eg: Head Start and a Child Care Center), special attention should be given to making sure those agencies are aware of jointly serving the child and family. Communication between/ among the family and partnering agencies/ programs will assure transition success for all involved. If you would like to know more about regional and local resources or contact the local Family Resource Center with the local school district.

In Kentucky, interagency collaboration for early childhood includes state, regional, and community transition planning for children prenatal to age six and their families. Regions utilize the state agreement in decision making and local county teams use both to determine additional procedures unique to their community agencies, children, and families. This systems approach allows agencies and families at each level the opportunity to identify strengths and possible areas of improvement.


Discharge Planning: