Without a doubt, welcoming a baby into your world can be an overwhelming undertaking especially for first time parents. The act alone of giving birth makes more women and men anxious than anything else. Will I go into labor early? What do I do when my water breaks? Are these really contractions?
So, on the heels of this month’s Lowcountry Parent Baby Guide I wanted to help first time parents prepare for their delivery day…
1. Speak up! Remember that this is your day and you can’t get it back. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for all the options if an issue arises.
2. When you arrive at the hospital, tell your nurse anything that you would like in particular. For me it was to hold my son against my chest immediately and not to be taken away to be cleaned, weighed, etc
3. If you have to have an IV and you’re squeamish with needles and tubes ask for them to cover it up. My nurse made a makeshift arm wrap for me out of one of the newborn hats to slip onto my wrist.
4. If the nurse would like to give your child a bath in the nursery before you are ready to get out of bed, either because you had an epidural or you are just still too tender, ask them to wait or ask for a wheel chair to go with them if you’d like to stay close to you baby. Hold them while they clean her or let that sweet little hand of theirs wrap around your finger and talk to your baby. Remember that they can already recognize your voice, Moms. Even better, pass on the bath. I didn’t have my daughter bathed while at the hospital because the vernix (the white stuff on their body when they are delivered) is healthy and immune boosting if left on their skin.
5. Keep your baby close. Don’t feel pressured to send your baby to the nursery. No nurse should ever expect you to leave or not hold your baby while they need to do something. Remember this is your child, not theirs.
6. Skin to skin. Having your baby skin to skin soothes them, comforts them, promotes breastfeeding and so much more. Remember they are in a whole new world out of the womb. Keep them as close to what they are used to as often as you can. Laying on your chest your baby can hear your heartbeat and the same swooshing of your body that they did before. It’s what they know. It’s comforting. When you want to roll over and snooze, have Dad take his shirt off and do it. This is truly my #1 advice to all parents. Skin to skin makes a HUGE difference!
7. Keep those hospital bags light. Don’t go overboard. Hospitals (and birthing centers too, I’m sure) have everything you need. Diapers, wipes, blankets, shirts for baby in a never ending supply. Remember to take all those left overs home with you when you leave. You paid for them! They also have everything you’ll need hygienically for your tender bottom half as well. I suggest bringing a bathrobe to wear. It’s easy to lay in and easy to open for skin to skin and breastfeeding.
8. Don’t lug that car seat up to the room. You are required by most hospitals to be wheeled out holding your baby in your arms to your car.
9. Expect to be interrupted consistently. Just about every hour or so there is either a nurse for you or your baby checking up on you. You will get no sleep and you will not be left alone. No advice for that.. It kind of stinks but hey, they’re just doing their job! Be prepared.
10. Bring Your Baby Book – If you have a baby book and you want the nurse to put their newborn print in it for you when they do their copy they will! Just remind yourself or the nurse by telling them ahead of time.
I hope this better prepares you for your birth! Always remember to remain calm, everything will be just fine! This is the moment you’ve been waiting for, make it your own!