What a whirlwind two weeks it has been! In case you haven’t seen over on Instagram, we welcomed our bundle of joy, Mariana Beatrice, just over two weeks ago. While I know there is a lifetime of learning ahead with this little girl, I’ve learned a few things over the past few weeks that I wanted to share with new/upcoming moms as you approach labor, delivery, and those first few weeks at home as a new parent.
- Go ahead and get your pump. I know not everyone produces breast milk, but if you find yourself in a situation like mine, you’ll be grateful to already have a pump on hand. Once the milk came in, it was downright painful how full they kept getting! Rather than wake baby in between feedings, I could easily pump & freeze milk – an immediate benefit for my boobs & also a benefit for my freezer stock when I return to work in a month. A win-win! Just remember not to drain completely, in case baby wakes up and wants to eat. We had a very comical evening where I was pumping one painfully full boob while my husband held the baby to my other boob to eat – I 100% felt like a dairy cow, but it was a hilarious moment that we shared as a new family trying to learn our new dynamic. Talk to your insurance company & see what online stores are covered by your plan, so you get a pump for free! Mine came from YummyMummy.com. Don’t forget the storage bags & nursing pads!
- If your water breaks, it will keep on flowing. I woke up to my water breaking and it didn’t stop – it basically feels like your peeing your pants uncontrollably. Walking through the hospital parking lot was a comical experience. You can’t do much but laugh & go with the flow (literally). Pack towels for the car ride.
- You can’t eat or drink all day, but have a stash ready for post-delivery. You can have ice chips, but the epidural made me nauseous so any time I had ice chips I threw up. It was not fun and I was so thirsty all day long. I was in labor for a long time (almost 24 hours) and I was RAVENOUS once the baby was born. I sent my husband out for a milkshake, Gatorade, Sprite, Ginger Ale, and water. I think I chugged everything in a matter of 30 minutes. This also benefits you because before you can move to a recovery room, you have to pee. If you can’t pee, you get a catheter put back in… do yourself a favor and chug liquids to help your bladder get it together.
- Pack a no-nonsense hospital bag. I packed clothes for baby, but also a really comfortable kimono style robe for me. Every nurse commented on how cute it was & it made me feel instantly more put together to get out of the generic cloth robe that everyone is given at hospital check-in. I also packed fuzzy socks, sheet masks for my face, chapstick, and a camera. Everything else the hospital will be able to provide! I did have my brother bring my body wash & a loofah for the shower… that first shower after birth (once you’re cleared to take one) is the best shower you will ever take in your life. I forgot an outfit for leaving the hospital, so I had to send my husband to the mall across the street. I’d recommend a loose maxi dress. I also had my mom bring big fluffy pillows & a cozy blanket.
- Breastfeeding? Stock up on nipple cream. And toss it into your hospital bag just in case your baby is like mine. Our daughter was born with an insatiable appetite, and since breast milk doesn’t come in right away, she spent hours trying to eat – doing a number on me in the process. I’m talking bleeding and cracking and full blown discomfort. Things instantly changed when I sent my husband to the store to buy nipple cream. I literally used it 15 times a day. Do yourself a favor and go ahead and pick up a bottle or two!
- Breastfed baby diapers are not pretty. I mean, I didn’t expect a dirty diaper to be a pretty scene – but I also didn’t expect them to be so… orange. I joke that the diapers are of the pumpkin spice variety. You may never look at anything pumpkin spice the same way again. Hah! On the plus side, they are unscented. So that helps.
- Prepare for growth spurts. You’ll get the hang of breastfeeding and then your baby will go crazy and want to eat every hour again. It’s a phase (thank heavens), so just have a Netflix show on queue and relax on the couch while your little pig gets their fill. You will also be extra hungry and thirsty during this time – making milk is hard work! Remember to eat balanced meals and drink a lot of water every day, but even more so during these all-you-can-eat times.
- Going to the bathroom in the beginning is scary. There’s no other way to explain it. You’ll have your medications from the hospital if you choose to take them, including a stool softener (glamorous I know), but still… going to the bathroom will remind you of being in labor, and it will be slightly traumatizing. Try to relax as much as you can. Use your peri bottle & steal a few of your baby’s Water Wipes. Labor and delivery is likely the hardest thing you will do in your life – you’ll survive this, too.
- You will get pooped on, peed on, and spit up on. Don’t wear your cute pajamas, and use all those extra baby blankets as burp cloths (I took all of the hospital ones for this purpose). In a few short weeks I’ve been pooped on a handful of times. She pees on our hands while we change her diapers, and she spits up lovely puddles of milk after eating. Breastmilk stains your clothes. So does nipple cream, in fact. Dress accordingly.
- Remember to breathe. Having a newborn baby at home (alone!) is no small feat. I call mine a tiny dictator. She screams when she’s hungry, when her diaper is dirty, when she has gas, when she’s tired, and when she wants attention. It’s easy to lose your cool – but more important to keep in mind that this is a fleeting moment in time. Soon she will be bigger, more independent, talking… walking. Cherish these moments in your tired & milk-crusted haze and know that she’s crying for a reason – you just have to be patient and figure out what that reason is.
…And just like that, baby is crying. More experiential insight to come soon.
Mamas, what do you think? Anything I left out? Share your tips in the comments below!