Maine Medical Center
Woman with newborn baby

Postpartum Care

After your baby is born, you will be moved to the postpartum care unit for the rest of your recovery and stay. This unit offers private rooms and bathrooms in a comfortable home-like environment where you can bond with your new baby. Our expert care team will be there to answer your questions and guide you on baby care, self care, breast/bottle-feeding and more.

We want you to have as much contact with your baby as possible, which is why we practice “rooming-in”, when parents and baby stay together in the same room. Rooming-in has many physical and emotional benefits. You will grow more comfortable with your baby’s needs by the time you go home together and will be more confident in your ability to care for your baby.

We offer in-room private consultations with lactation specialists to all interested patients as well as various services before and after your stay. Learn more. 

Some babies need special monitoring or procedures that require a stay in the newborn nursery under the continuous care of a nurse. Our newborn observation area staffed by a newborn care nurse is where tests and procedures such as circumcision, newborn hearing screening and metabolic screening take place. 

This area can also be used while mothers are sleeping, showering or at any other time you need someone to watch your baby. You and the person you choose to wear the newborn identification ID band are allowed in the newborn nursery at anytime. Other visitors must be accompanied by you or your partner.

MaineHealth doctors recommend skin-to-skin contact immediately after your baby is born and as often as possible throughout the post-partum period. Also known as Kangaroo Care, skin-to-skin contact is simple, free and has lasting benefits.

Skin-to-skin contact (typically the infant lying prone on the parent’s chest) is encouraged by the World Health Organization, American Association of Pediatrics, and Centers for Disease Control as it has many benefits including improved cardio-respiratory stability, breastfeeding rates, glucose stabilization, temperature regulation and parent-infant bonding.

Breastfeeding or not, skin to skin is the very best start you could give your baby in life! Your nurse will encourage skin-to-skin time during the first hour after birth and continued skin-to-skin throughout your stay at the hospital and at home.

What is skin-to-skin?

Skin-to-skin simply means placing your undressed baby belly-down on your bare chest so that your baby can feel your skin, hear your heartbeat, and breathe in your familiar smell. Skin-to-skin helps babies:

  • Adjust to life outside the womb by helping to maintain breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. It also elevates low blood sugar which can result from a stressful or long delivery.
  • Stay warmer because birth hormones help the birth parent’s body adjust to baby’s body temperature perfectly.
  • Establish and maintain successful breastfeeding by allowing you to recognize and respond to early feeding cues. Nursing in the first hour of life is proven to help long-term breastfeeding.
  • Stay healthy by providing immunity against allergies and infections. It also reduces feeding problems.
  • Stay happy by helping your baby feel more secure and cry less. What a gift of peace and comfort for your baby!

Partners can do skin-to-skin, too

Babies love to be cuddled skin-to-skin with either parent. Studies show babies held close to their parent’s bare chest cry less and calm easier. Your nurse will help you and your partner initiate this special time. It can be life-changing! 

Skin-to-skin is an evidence-based practice. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that healthy infants should be placed and remain in direct skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately after delivery until the first feeding is accomplished.

Many other services are available to support babies and parents during their stay. Additional fees may apply and some services may be billed separately.

  • Nutrition Support
  • Manipulative Therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy (OMT)
  • Pastoral Care
  • Physical Therapy
  • Social Work

We contract with Bella Baby to capture baby's first photograph with a natural, artistic style. They will visit you during your stay and you can have them take photos of baby. All photos in the online nursery are password protected. You can log in to view the pictures or share your login with friends and family. Log in to Bella Baby Photography online nursery.

The most important item for the trip home is a proper child safety seat (car seat). If you don’t have access to a car seat, contact the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety at 207-626-3848 or visit the State of Maine website. If you think you might be eligible based on income, you should contact them within one month of your due date.

Ensure that your car seat is a safe ride for your baby by installing your car seat early and having it inspected (FOR FREE!) at a car seat inspection station. To find a station near you, visit the Buckle Up Maine web site.

We advise that you bring your infant car seat into the hospital as soon as you are transferred to the postpartum care unit so that the nursing staff can teach you how to correctly secure your infant. If special health concerns rule out a standard restraint, a Child Passenger Safety Technician will do an assessment and may recommend a different seat, such as a car bed, to meet your baby’s needs. Call 207-662-1572 to contact the Child Passenger Safety Program at MaineHealth Maine Medical Center Portland.

The usual length of stay is one-two days after a vaginal delivery and two-three days after a Cesarean birth. If there is a medical need, some insurance companies will allow an extra day depending on your policy. Check with your insurance company before your admission/delivery to ask what your policy covers.

On your last day, we aim to have you ready to go home 11:00 AM. Please make plans for your ride home before you come to the hospital. We ask that your infant car seat is brought into the hospital as soon as you and your baby are brought to postpartum care unit so that your nurse can teach you how to correctly use it.

Preparation for going home is done throughout your stay. Your partner and other people that will be helping to care for you and your baby are encouraged to be a part of this ongoing education. Keep a list of questions for your nurse or doctor so you are sure all of your questions are answered before you go home. We’ll work with you to schedule follow-up appointments with your pediatrician, a lactation consultant, or visiting nurse.

Visiting Nurse Home Visits

The State of Maine has a grant that funds home visits to all mothers and babies. If you are interested in receiving a visit, your postpartum nurse can send in a referral for you. MaineFamilies provides free visits to all first time parents regardless of age or income. They are experienced educators, trained in the latest positive parenting techniques. They can help you:

  • Assess your child's growth and social, emotional and intellectual development
  • Learn more about age-appropriate skills and activities
  • Establish a loving relationship with your child
  • Make your home a baby-safe environment
  • Cope with common challenges, like teething, sleep and discipline

If you are interested in a visit, ask your postpartum nurse to send a referral in for you or visit the MaineFamilies website

Postpartum and Infant Check-ups

Your doctor or midwife will talk to you about having a check-up within a few weeks after the baby’s birth. Your baby will see the doctor after discharge for a check-up and weight check.  You will be given an immunization schedule based on American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.

Postpartum Support Groups and Classes

We offers a variety of support groups and classes to help parents thrive in their new role as parents.