We want parents and baby to begin life as a new family as soon as possible after delivery. That is why we keep you and your baby together in the same room throughout your hospital stay and assign one nurse to care for you both. Our concern for you and your baby’s health doesn’t end after delivery. To make sure your family stays healthy, we offer important health screenings and vaccines to babies and their mothers.
The first hour of your baby’s life is golden. No matter how much you plan for your baby’s arrival, nothing can prepare you for the momentous transitions birth brings. The BirthPlace, Santa Monica helps make these transitions as gentle as possible by giving you, your partner and your newborn a “Golden Hour” to come together for the first time as a family. If you cannot have bonding time with your baby immediately after birth for medical reasons, you can start your Golden Hour whenever you and your baby are ready.
We also provide quiet time, known as “Nesting Time,” in Postpartum to help parents bond with their new arrivals and make gentle transitions to parenthood. Nesting Time occurs from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm and 2:30 am to 4:30 am daily or whenever you want some alone time with your infant.
We encourage you to enjoy skin-to-skin bonding time with your baby during these special hours. The nursery will be closed during Nesting Time hours unless there is a specific need for the nurse to be there.
Mother’s chest is the best place for baby to adjust to life in the outside world. When their skin touches, mother and child are flooded with brain chemicals that promote a feeling of well-being. Research indicates that newborns who have skin-to-skin contact with their mothers cry less, sleep more and are less irritable than babies who are swaddled.
Skin contact not only soothes babies and helps regulate their heartbeat and breath, but also helps mothers by reducing stress and stimulating milk production. Because it is such an important part of the mother-child bonding process, skin contact should continue through the first few weeks of your baby’s life.
Your blood pressure will be monitored throughout your delivery. Once you have delivered, you may receive a uterine massage to help control blood loss. Once you are stable, you may initiate baby’s first breastfeeding. When you are ready, you will be moved to our Postpartum Unit, which features private rooms with showers.
Because a baby’s urge to seek the breast is strongest immediately following birth, the Golden Hour is an ideal time for your baby’s first breastfeeding. While some women may choose to bottle-feed instead, The BirthPlace, Santa Monica strongly encourages new mothers to try breastfeeding. Studies show that colostrum, the fluid that precedes breast milk, conveys significant protective factors to your baby, even if you choose to bottle-feed later.
Every baby born in California must be registered with a birth certificate under state law. A certified copy of a birth certificate is a legal record of your baby’s birth, which is recognized in any court. Although we also provide souvenir birth certificates, they are not certified and may not be used as a legal record. Our Birth Certificate Coordinator will provide you with the form. Please be sure to fill it out fully and correctly and return it as soon as possible to the coordinator or your nurse.
Unmarried fathers who want their names to appear on the birth certificate must sign a Declaration of Paternity under California law. The form can be obtained from our Birth Certificate Coordinator and should be signed and submitted while your baby is in the hospital. The Birth Certificate office is in our Postpartum Unit.
The BirthPlace supports alternative birthing styles by striving to meet the special needs of surrogacy, same-gender parenting and adoptions. If you have any special birthing arrangements, please make an appointment with our BirthPlace office to go over relevant paperwork and procedures.
Social Security Number
The easiest time to obtain a Social Security number for your baby is when you give information on your worksheet for your child’s birth certificate. Getting your baby a Social Security number is voluntary, but highly recommended, especially if you plan to claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return. If you wait to apply at a Social Security office, you may encounter significant delays.
Most new parents are anxious to get home as soon as possible, but we want to make sure you and your baby have achieved certain milestones before you leave the hospital. Mother needs to be eating and eliminating, and must be able to walk around with manageable pain before being cleared to leave. Your baby should be able to eat, urinate and defecate, and needs to be able to maintain his or her body temperature. Most women who deliver vaginally are cleared to go home after one or two nights, while women who deliver through Cesarean section usually stay in the hospital three to four nights.
Discharge time is 11:00 am each day. You will need an infant car seat installed in the back seat of your car to transport your baby home. You may take all the disposable items in your baby’s crib, except for the linens. A wheelchair and a cart for your personal belongings will be provided to assist in transporting you and your belongings to your car.
Newborn General Instructions
This is an exciting time for you and baby! Please see our Newborn General Instructions for tips, general safety instructions, and things to watch out for while you care for your newborn. Spanish Version Here.
Postpartum Discharge Information
There will be an adjustment period during your first couple of weeks home with baby, and if you've had a cesarean delivery there are certain danger signals to watch out for in the first two weeks. Please look through our Postpartum Discharge Information to prepare for this transition time. Spanish Version Here.
Postpartum Depression Self Assessment
While this is an exciting and happy time for most women, it is not unusual for new mothers to experience mood swings , anxiety, or sadness. Our Postpartum Depression Self Assessment will help you to differentiate between the 'baby blues' that most mothers experience and postpartum depression that only about 10% of new mothers experience. Spanish Version Here.