Welcome to the club! I love being a mother and you will too!
Here are some tips and I am not gonna sugar coat things for you!
1. Vaginal delivery by induction or going into labor naturally:
First, let me tell you the vaginal by induction SUCKS. The Servadil insertion is the most uncomfortable experience I have ever gone through. As the dilation begins and the nurses monitor you, I can tell you the dilation checks sent me over the edge in pain. Once the Pitocin kicks in get ready for the waves of labor pains! The beginning is ok, but as they kick in things get more intense!
2. Epidural vs. No Meds:
If you decide to get an epidural make sure your husband can handle helping you through it. I told my husband to leave as they inserted into my back. I think the epidural is brilliant and I recommend it. However, here is your “Caution” statement: you are likely to have chills and your teeth will chatter and you might have a reaction causing your skin will itch. But have no fear- there are medications to relieve the itching that does not harm your baby or you. For the chills, you just have to pile on the blankets and deal with it.
3. C-Section vs. Natural Birth
The C-Section was the best way to go for me (I have diabetes) even though I felt like a Mack truck hit my gut! From what I’ve heard from other moms who had vaginal births, a C-section avoids you feeling like your vagina has doubled in size due to all the pushing, you will not get hemorrhoids, and you will not have to deal with stitches from ripping while giving birth (this does not happen to everyone). Every woman delivers differently, however in either case, the doctors have the best drugs available to keep you comfortable, should you choose to use them.
When I started to breastfeed, I felt like I was about to pass out, but the doctors and nurses assured me that this was natural and should only last 3-4 days. Also, it might take you some time to produce milk…do not stress yourself or your milk will not come in as fast. If you are going to pump for milk production get and rent the pumps from the hospital, as they are stronger and better than the other ones on the market. Several of my friends used double electric pumps that are commercially available, and they had good experiences with these. Utilize the lactation consultant while you are at the hospital- they are there to answer your breastfeeding questions and help you get started on the right foot.
5. Hospital Sanity
- Have the nurse keep the baby in the nursery for the first night while you are recovering; they will bring the baby to you every 2-3 hours for nursing. This will enable you to sleep and you will need to sleep, because once you leave the hospital it’s no joke! The baby will be up every three 3 hours to nurse… YOU WILL BE SLEEP DEPRIVED for the first few months of being a new mom!
- The hospital will provide you with these lovely disposable panties that you will need to wear due to your uterus purging all the remaining pregnancy “gunk”. (Warning: these panties are not sexy, so Justin Timberlake”s “Brining Sexy Back” should not be on your playlist!) Ask your nurse to give you an extra supply and more pads to bring home with you so you don’t ruin your own underwear. You paid for it!
If your milk has not come in yet and the hospital is supplementing with formula, give the baby the level 1 nipples (you can register for these or buy them yourself to have with you at the hospital). The nipples the hospital provides allow the liquid to come out too quickly and can cause nipple confusion for the baby with nursing.
6. Breast Care
Yes, your nipples will get chapped and they will burn as you nurse for the first 3-4 weeks, but then it won’t hurt any more. Use nipple cream: Lansinoh, Medela, MotherLove and Earth Mama Angle Baby all make great products.
7. Night Nurse
If you can afford it, get a baby nurse or have your mother stay with you. You have no idea how hard this is and you will need the extra help with cooking, bathing, laundry and other house hold stuff. Having an extra set of hands will make your first few weeks at home with your new baby much easier. Plus, if someone is there to watch the baby during the day, you can catch an hour or two of sleep!
8. Adjustment Period Coming Home
Give yourself, hubby and baby 1-2 nights to adjust before extended family or friends comes in, comes over and/or stays with you.
9. Food Preparation
Have food prepared beforehand and frozen, you and hubby will not have time or energy to cook.
10. TAKE A SHOWER EVERY DAY… this will keep you sane and feeling normal.
11. Must-Haves before baby comes home:
- Before you get home, buy a car seat and install it. I recommend a convertible car seat (this will save you money in the end and not having to buy another car seat once your little one grows out of the infant carrier). If you are unsure of whether or not you installed the car seat correctly, drive your car over to your local fire department. They will check the installation for you. (They will not perform the installation, but they can give you peace of mind that you have put the car seat in properly!)
- Buy a 5-in-1 crib, so that as you little one grows you can change the crib into a toddler bed then into a full bed. The only thing you’ll need to replace is the mattress by age 18 months or two years when you convert to the bed.
- Buy a co-sleeper to attach to the side of your bed, especially if you are breastfeeding so all you have to do is slide baby to the boob, than slide back. Also this is good to bring with you when you go on trips. It’s easy, quick and compact. (If you live in the Atlanta area, ask for Kelly or Tara at the store New Baby Products) http://www.newbabyproducts.net/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=co-sleeper&osCsid=4b960629e80764ff6adf1c9cc690a682&x=0&y=0
- Strollers: This depends on how much $$ you really want to fork over…. buy a snap-and-go with infant carrier http://www.amazon.com/Snap-Go-Infant-Seat-Carrier/sim/B00008XL2W/2... and if you are planning to have 2 kids….but if you are an outdoorsy person, buy a BOB or Bumbleride so you can exercise with baby.
- Purchase a pack in play or ask for it on your registry
- Get a monitor that has video and night vision settings:
(www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_19?url=search-alias%3Dbaby-products&field-keywords=summer+baby+monitor+video&sprefix=summer+baby+monitor%2Cbaby-products%2C219) Either number 1 or 3.
- Buy/register for swaddling blankets with Velcro; I like the ones made by Summer Infant. Other moms I know have recommended Aden + Anais muslin swaddling blankets.
- Use one brand of baby soap… Johnson and Johnson or Aveeno, whatever you choose. I used Aveeno because J & J felt too dry for Alex.
- The same thing applies to diapers, either use Huggies or Pampers– Huggies were better for Alex because he is a boy, but now I use Costco brand diapers, as they are cheaper and work just the same as Huggies. You will quickly figure out which brand works best for your little one. (Note: if you get diapers as gifts, do not open all of the packages until you are sure which brand you like. That way if you have packages of a brand that isn’t working for your baby, you can return them.)
- Register for oneies and blanket or outfits that zip up and cover the baby’s feet like a dress. This is much easier when trying to change diapers than wrestling with squirmy baby legs, especially when you’re changing diapers in the middle of the night!
12. Cloth Diapering
In the Atlanta area, I recommend two places:
Sara Darby (404-919-4114) with Diaperparties.com can help with all your cloth diapering needs.
13. Walk everyday- this helps with the healing process (once you’ve been cleared by your doctor.)
14. Find playgroups (meetup.com) so that you have other moms to interact with. Motherhood, although joyful, can also be isolating…. playgroups help combat against post-partum blues and everyone gets them. ASK FOR HELP if you feel overwhelmed.