When is the best time to leave hospital after having a baby?

One hour post birth? One day? One week?

Leaving hospital after having a baby

The Duchess of Cambridge has come under fire for leaving hospital just seven hours after giving birth to baby number three, begging the question: when is the right time to leave hospital after having a baby?

With the eyes of the world on her and the Daily Mail’s royal baby watch cam live outside her window (such a thing did indeed exist) I expect she wanted to hot foot it back behind palace walls as soon as possible – tie her hair back, put her big pants on and get back to the business of recovering from the small matter of having just pushed a human being out of her foof.

But as a result of leaving hospital so soon after giving birth I can’t help but think she must surely have sacrificed some of those magic first hours having her hair and make-up done in preparation for slipping into a Jenny Packham and heels and posing on the steps of the hospital, instead of being snuggled in bed with her newborn.

Should she have stayed in hospital longer and presented the new prince to the world the next day? Or even the day after that?

I stayed in hospital overnight after baby number one, mainly because I was victim of the one-size-fits all NHS system and couldn’t be discharged until BB had had her newborn check, which owing to the time of day she was born couldn’t happen until the following morning. But after baby number two and baby number three, like the Duchess, I was also home within hours. And frankly I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Leaving hospital after having a baby

But how soon is too soon to leave hospital after having a baby? I asked some fellow mums and dads to share their experiences, which range from one week to just 40 minutes!

Leaving hospital after having a baby: how soon is too soon?

“With my fifth son, I gave birth at 8.30pm and was in a McDonalds tucking into a Big Mac by 11pm. Everyone is different,” says Kate at Modern Mum.

“I left within 40 mins with my third. I literally arrived at the hospital, gave birth within half an hour – quick shower, dressed and on my way home 40 mins later to be with my family in my own home!” says Elaine at Layney Loves.

“I hate hospitals and managed a six hour turnaround with my first. In fact, she was born at 7am and at 2pm we were walking around town looking for clothes for her as the newborn ones were too big!” says Tracey at Pack the PJs.

“With my first I was there four days in total and it was hell on earth. With my second I was out the next day (it would have been the same day if she was born earlier) and it was much, much better for me. I hated being in hospital and recovered much quicker once I was out,” says Georgina at Gee Gardner.

Leaving hospital after having a baby

“With my first I gave birth at 5.35am and I left about 6pm the same day. I’m now 39 weeks pregnant and plan on leaving soon after giving birth this time around – hopefully I’ll only be there for a few hours after. I honestly don’t think Kate left too soon. She completed her bit of ‘royal duties’ showing the baby to the world but then she was going back to the comfort of her own home and not being on show to the world (for a few weeks at least!)” says Naomi at Not A Perfect Parent.

“I don’t think she came out of hospital too soon but I do think she appeared in the media limelight too soon after giving birth. It gives the impression that any woman could or should be able to walk out of a hospital immaculately dressed hours after giving birth when most of us don’t,” says Polly at Our Seaside Baby.

“I couldn’t wait to get home, I stayed over night with my first and was home about eight hours after my second which was brilliant. I just wanted to be in my own environment and in my own bed, I think if you feel ok and have had a minimally risky birth I don’t see the problem,” says Helen at Blogging Beautifully.

“I was home within three hours of giving birth to my second child. It was a very straightforward birth and I was happy to be back in my own home enjoying my baby,” says Emma-Louise at Even Angels Fall.

Leaving hospital after having a baby

“I gave birth to my second at lunch time and was out by about 8pm and that was only because we had a delay waiting for doctors. Honestly, if mum feels fine to go and baby has been checked, then I see no issue,” says Jade at Mummies Waiting.

“I went home the next day with all three of mine. Poppy was premature and in special care so they offered me a bed on a ward but I said I’d rather have my own bed. It’s not like Kate’s going home to have to cook the dinner and hoover up is it?!” says Fran at Back With A Bump.

“I went home the next day as there were complications in birth. But I was desperate to leave immediately. I didn’t want to stay in there a minute longer than absolutely necessary,” says Clare at Freddies Mummy UK.

“I stayed in seven days after having my twin daughters – but that was my only choice as my son had chicken pox! Everybody is different but most don’t have the luxury of going home to an army of people to do everything for them, so I don’t blame Kate going straight home!” says Beth at Twinderelmo.

Leaving hospital after having a baby

“In Ireland you have to stay three days if not even three nights. On my second though I negotiated with them and left the evening after the second night. Couldn’t hack it in there anymore. I think 24 hours is fair enough if nothing is wrong,” says Janine at Janine’s Little World.

“I left 24 hours after my caesarian which was far too soon! It’s was also 11.30pm which is madness. I was turfed out 13 hours after my second baby and I was gutted. I was quite comfortable where I was!” says Georgina at Georgina Clarke Blog.

“I left within 24 hours. At the time I couldn’t wait to get home but looking back I think it was way too soon. I was struggling to breastfeed and the first couple of days were so difficult, that said if we did it again perhaps I’d feel more confident the second-time round,” says Becky at Mommy and Rory.

“I was sent home within two hours, I was literally sat in the same position I had given birth in when they told me they needed the bed. I did feel rushed but I was so pleased to be home in my own bed so quickly. I did the school run the same day but in hindsight wish I had milked it and stayed home in bed smelling that newborn scent,” says Danielle at Blog By Baby.

Leaving hospital after having a baby

Have you had a baby in hospital? How long did you stay in for and would you have liked to go home sooner or stay longer? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you liked this you might also enjoy reading:

The only 10 things you need in your hospital bag

Why I was right not to write a birth plan

Funny things they don’t tell you about childbirth

Linking up with these fabulous blogs!