Discharge Instructions

Postpartum Discharge Instructions for the Mother

New mothers should follow these instructions for themselves after discharge from the hospital:


  • Ibuprofen: Take 600 mg of ibuprofen by mouth every 6 to 8 hours as needed for discomfort. Remember: Ibuprofen is preferable to Percocet, as it does not cause constipation, is nonaddictive, and has no sedative effect on the baby. Percocet side effects may include headache, nausea or vomiting.
  • Percocet: Take 1 to 2 tablets by mouth every 3 to 4 hours as needed for moderate to severe pain.
  • Prenatal vitamins: Take 1 tablet by mouth daily.
  • Stool softener: Take as needed as directed.

Warning Signs

If any of the following warning signs occur, call doctor:

  • Excessive vaginal bleeding (saturating the peripad such that it needs to be changed more than every 2 to 3 hours, or if you are passing large clots). Remember: It is normal for there to be increased bleeding while breast-feeding and with increased activity.
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • A red or swollen abdominal incision that is draining or causing increasing discomfort
  • Increased discomfort or unusual discharge in the area of an episiotomy, or the opening up of the stitches
  • Fever (temperature greater than 100.6º F for 24 hours or longer)
  • Burning or difficulty urinating, or if you are not completely emptying your bladder
  • Pain, redness or increased warmth in the thigh, calf or breast
  • Prolonged, overwhelming feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, or an inability to cope
  • Blurry vision or dizziness, with or without a headache

Discharge Instructions for the Baby


Breast-feed on demand every 2 to 4 hours. Bottle-feed on demand every 3 to 4 hours.


Bowel movements vary—some infants have a bowel movement with each feeding, and others every few days. Stools may be runny, seedy, mushy, pasty, green, yellow or brown. Babies should be having at least 6 wet diapers in a 24-hour period by day 4 of life.

Cord Care

No special care is required.


Routine temperature taking is not necessary. Check your baby’s temperature if he or she feels warm, cold or seems sick. Taking the temperature under the baby’s arm may be inaccurate, so obtain a rectal temperature.


Check your baby’s skin from head to toe for a yellow color twice a day under the same lighting conditions.


Place your infant on his or her back to sleep. Most newborns sleep a lot, usually waking up every 2 to 4 hours for feeding. Letting the baby spend a certain amount of time on his or her tummy while awake and observed is recommended.


Most newborns will have a few fussy periods. Call your pediatrician if your baby shows any of the following warning signs:

  • Temperature is less than 97°F or greater than 100.4°F rectally. Do not give acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fevers during the first 6 to 8 weeks of life.
  • Breathing is labored or distressed, or the baby is struggling to breathe
  • Difficulty waking up or refusing to eat for 2 to 3 feedings in a row
  • Excessive crying, irritability or lethargy
  • Skin is more yellow than at the time of discharge from the hospital, or a blue or gray color
  • Vomiting for several feedings in a row, or bloody or green vomit
  • Baby produces fewer than 6 wet diapers in a 24-hour period by 4 days of age
  • Bloody, black or dark purple stools; large, frequent and watery stools
  • Redness, bleeding, foul odor or discharge around the umbilical cord
  • Bleeding or increasing redness of the penis