When Duchess Kate stepped out of St. Mary’s Hospital in London Saturday - 10 hours after giving birth to her 8 pound, 3 ounce daughter, Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana - in a Jenny Packham dress, three-inch high heels and flawless hair, the crowd outside the hospital was stunned.
ABC News’ senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton confirms the U.K. model of labor and delivery is different from what most moms experience in the United States.
“In the U.K., it’s not as unusual,” Ashton said of Kate’s quick hospital discharge. “Here [in the United States], it’s pretty much a land-speed record. Most women stay in the hospital two nights because that’s what most insurance plans cover.
“And they want every minute of that time,” Ashton said of U.S. moms. “They need the rest, especially if they have babies or children at home and, let’s face it, not everyone has a full staff to help her when they get home so for moms that don’t, they need that time, the support nurses can give the baby.”
Kate, 33, is at home now in Kensington Palace with her husband, Prince William, and their older child, nearly 2-year-old Prince George. The family has one nanny, Maria Borrallo, who cares for Prince George and will also help with the new baby.
The pair of midwives who helped see the duchess through her healthy labor was photographed in U.K.’s The Daily Mail. Kate’s medical team, said to be led by Dr. Guy Thorpe Easton, gave her the all-clear to leave the hospital the same day as the princess was born.
“British practice for second and subsequent births, I think so long as there are no medical complications, mothers are encouraged to take their children home,” ABC News royal contributor Patrick Jephson said. “It enables the family to start bonding together straight away.”
The family bonding for the new princess, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, started Sunday when her grandparents, Michael and Carole Middleton, and Prince Charles, the father of her father, Prince William, and his wife, Camilla, came by Kensington Palace for visits.
Up next is the first meeting with the baby’s great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, who was announced today as part of the baby's namesake.
Royal watchers said that the British had been pulling for Diana, the name of Williams’ late mother, to be included in the name of William and Kate's first daughter.
“Polls in this country today suggest that Diana is the people’s favorite, the sentimental favorite,” ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy said prior to the baby's name announcement. “We do know that William likes to involve Diana in his family life, however, I think that the smart money is on a traditional royal name for one of the first names and on Diana being somewhere in there, possibly in the middle name.”