What to Expect

Importance of Breastfeeding

Your early milk, called Colostrum, comes in small amounts to match your infant’s tummy size. It is rich in nutrients and antibodies.

By the third to fifth day the colostrum changes to mature milk. This milk changes to meet the growing needs of the baby. It has just the right amounts of fat, sugar, water and protein. Since human breast milk is made for human babies, it is much easier to digest than formula which is made from cow’s milk.

The cells, hormones and antibodies in breast milk help to fight disease. Infants who are breastfed have lower rates of gastrointestinal infections, respiratory infections, asthma, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Some research also shows a lower rate of type 1 diabetes, childhood leukemia, SIDS, and certain skin rashes in breastfed infants.

Breastfeeding has advantages for mothers as well. For example, there are no formulas to buy or prepare and no bottles to wash. Breastfeeding can save quite a bit of money as formula is very expensive. Mothers benefit from the closeness of the baby and have a release of oxytocin. This hormone helps milk flow and calms the mother. Breastfeeding is linked to lower rates of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression in women.

We encourage and support exclusive breastfeeding. Our nurses are trained to provide breastfeeding assistance during your stay. At the same time, we commit to supporting individual parent’s feeding decisions for their babies. We do not offer or recommend pacifiers, except during painful procedures, and for our babies in the NICU. We do encourage skin-to-skin contact for all mothers and babies.

New Parent Resource Center

Your resource for all your pregnancy and new parent educational needs offered in a warm supportive atmosphere.


We have a variety of classes to help you prepare for your special day along with ongoing education and support once your baby has arrived. Taught by RNs with experience in maternity, they are also certified childbirth or post-natal educators. We strongly encourage women and their partners to take Prepared Childbirth classes and any of the following classes to meet your needs:

  • Prepared Childbirth
  • Natural Childbirth
  • Prenatal Yoga
  • Sibling Class
  • Baby & Me
  • Babysitting 101
  • CPR
  • Breastfeeding Support Groups
  • Community Speaker Forum

For class information please call 805/948-BABY or view our classes here ▶

Lactation Consultation & Supplies

We offer free private consultations by appointment for those who deliver at CMH. We have International Board Certified Lactation Consultants on staff. We also offer the following:

  • Breast pumps for sale or rent
  • Breast pump replacement parts
  • Breastfeeding supplies
  • Breastfeeding bras

Please call 805/948-BABY for more information or to make an appointment.

Birth Certificate

Birth certificate registration and attainment of a social security number for your baby is done while you are in the hospital. Please be prepared by filling out the birth certificate worksheet and the newborn automatic number assignment form as soon as possible after delivery. The necessary forms will be provided to you at the hospital.

Paternity Papers

When the mother and father of the baby are not legally married to each other, paternity papers can be filled out and signed by both parents. A government issued photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.) is required to sign the papers. The paternity forms are available through the birth clerk in the hospital.

When paternity papers are signed, the father may add his name to the birth certificate as the father of the baby. This does not affect the baby’s last name – the baby could have the father’s last name, regardless of whether or not the father has signed the paternity papers.

Choosing Your Baby’s Doctor

It is extremely important to select a pediatrician or family practice physician early on in your pregnancy to care for your baby after delivery. You will need to identify your pediatrician choice upon admission to the hospital.

What to Expect in the Hospital

Community Memorial Hospital is renowned for the excellent services we provide for mothers and infants. We recognize that each woman’s delivery choices may differ; therefore, every effort is made to accommodate your individual needs and desires.

Labor & Delivery

If you think you are in labor, call your doctor or midwife and follow his/her instructions. If you are instructed to come to the hospital, please stop at the Admitting Department on the first floor to check in and receive your conditions of admission between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and also Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. At all other times please stop by the ER Admitting Department to check in. After checking in, please come to the Labor and Delivery Unit on the second floor.

A nurse will examine you and utilize the external electronic fetal monitor to evaluate your baby’s heart rate and status of your labor. The nurse will consult with your physician to determine whether or not you will be admitted. Please do not be disappointed if you are not admitted; it is very common for women to experience symptoms of labor, yet not be ready to deliver.

The staff’s focus in Labor and Delivery is to ensure safe care for you and your baby during labor, birth, and the immediate recovery period.

Personalized comfort measures are available to help you cope with the pain and discomfort of labor and contractions: Breathing techniques, relaxation, visualization, use of a focal point, therapeutic heat, therapeutic cold, position changes, walking, use of a birth ball, rocking chair, low lighting, music, and hydrotherapy (shower or tub) can all be quite helpful. Family members are encouraged to support the laboring mother with therapeutic touch and massage if she desires.

Continuous labor support is extremely beneficial, and we encourage you to bring a support person, and consider bringing a doula with you to the hospital. If they would like, mothers can view the birth with a mirror and can bring in aromatherapy from home (no smoking or flames, please.)

Intravenous pain medications and epidural anesthesia are also available, according to your physician’s or midwife’s recommendations.

Throughout the labor and delivery period, and for the first couple of hours after your baby’s birth, you will be in a Labor and Delivery room. You will not be separated from your baby after delivery unless you or your baby need specialized care. Infants who remain with their mothers after birth make an easier transition to life both physically and emotionally. Some of the benefits to the mother include distraction from discomfort, more confidence in caring for her baby, less anxiety and strengthened attachment to her baby which is believed to decrease the incidence of postpartum depression. Some of the benefits to the baby include improved ability to maintain temperature, decreased incidence of low blood sugar, less crying and increased success with breastfeeding which can decrease the chance of the baby developing jaundice. Based on this information, the staff will assist you with the following after your baby is delivered:

  • Your baby will be placed on your chest with a clean blanket, dried off and then remain skin-to-skin on your chest/abdomen until the first feeding is complete.
  • We ask that any visitors present in the delivery room view the “new addition” for just a few minutes after delivery and then excuse themselves from the room so that the new mother and her husband/partner can have some privacy, bond with their new baby, and provide skin-to-skin contact.
  • After this time period, the baby will be weighed and measured and the new family will be transferred to the postpartum room together. Visitors can reunite with the family at this time.
  • For patients having a cesarean section, skin-to-skin contact will be initiated as soon as possible after delivery.

Per hospital policy videotaping and devices that shoot motion video are not allowed during the delivery.

Mother-Baby Unit

About two hours after delivery, you and your baby will be moved to the Mother-Baby Unit and begin your postpartum stay. Throughout your hospitalization the Mother-Baby staff will assist you in learning how to take care of yourself and your newborn.

All of our Maternity nurses are trained to provide breastfeeding support and education to breastfeeding mothers. We also have RN Certified Lactation Counselors who can provide individualized assistance with any specific breastfeeding issues or needs.

Special memories of your baby’s entrance into the world can be captured by taking pictures or videos while you are in the Mother-Baby Unit, and by purchasing a newborn photo or souvenir birth certificate.

Check out time is 11:00 a.m. In preparation for leaving the hospital, please arrange for family or friends to take you and your baby home. You may experience a wide range of emotions, mood swings, or physical discomforts, which are completely normal. To help you during this transition period, please arrange for extra help when you get home. It’s important to give yourself some recuperation time and to rely on your loved ones for help and support. If you are feeling increasingly sad or “blue” please call your physician.

Packing for the Hospital

The following list includes suggested items for you to pack for your hospital stay. It is a good idea to pack your suitcase early (36 weeks).

  • Bathrobe, clothes to go home in and a nursing bra if desired
  • Slippers or flip-flops that can be easily washed
  • Shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush
  • Baby items (clothes, blanket) for going home
  • Camera – Per hospital policy videotaping and devices that shoot motion video are not allowed during the delivery.
  • Infant car seat – It is important to get an infant car seat properly installed in your vehicle before baby’s arrival. We recommend that you call the California Highway Patrol Office at 805/477-4100 to have your car seat installation checked thoroughly.

Hospital staff are unable to place infants in car seats or install the car seat in your vehicle.

What Not to Bring to the Hospital

Please do not bring valuables or credit cards to the hospital. You might want a few dollars for the gift shop or to purchase a souvenir birth certificate from the Auxiliary. We cannot assume responsibility for loss or damage to personal property.


We encourage your birth support person to be with you throughout your stay. Our visiting hours for other friends and family are noon to 8:00 p.m. We ask that children under 14 do not visit unless they are the baby’s sibling.


Pre-Registration (English) ▶
Pre-Registration (Spanish) ▶
My Birth Plan (English) ▶
My Birth Plan (Spanish) ▶
Plan for Your Birth/Labor Pain Management Choices (English) ▶
Plan for Your Birth/Labor Pain Management Choices (Spanish) ▶