As a soon to be, first-time mom, are you fully prepared for your entire hospital stay after birth? Not the actual trip there or the delivery, but are you also ready to make the most of your hospital visit after your baby is born?
In modern mom fashion, you’ve probably created and completed baby registry checklists (if not, mine’s free and really awesome!), packed bags, made plans with family, toured the labor & delivery ward, but still have boundless loose ends left to ponder. In fact, you’re not even sure exactly what to question anymore!
I was that future mom who felt prepared to go to the hospital, but, had not envisioned much past the actual act of having the baby.
To save you the gory details, ish gets real, super-fast. All of a sudden, you’re a mom and life becomes a whirlwind!
So, during this time, when you’re heading into the unknown, how can you keep part of the hospital experience within your control?
This question is extremely important if you wish to take full advantage of your visit, because, this may be the last time anything in your life is “in your control” so make it count.
Obviously, every woman’s post-delivery wants and needs are different, but these are the five things I am happy I did during my hospital stay after birth:
1. Kept to My Visitation Policies
Who do you want at the hospital with you? Is it okay if family and friends are in the room right after you give birth? Do you want visitors to wait until the next day? Would you prefer home visits instead?
Many questions arise after baby is here, but one thing is for sure, people are going to want to see that baby!
So, what will your visitation plans be?
I was lucky enough to be in a hospital room shortly after the delivery of a family member’s baby, and the whole gang was there! Although that may be what some people want, I felt like this situation would make me pretty overwhelmed, especially since I didn’t know how I would feel post-delivery.
I decided early on that I did not want to worry about visitors, other than our parents, at the hospital. We communicated this wish with our family, so they were aware.
I was slightly nervous our choice would offend people, but really, this was my first step into mom world, and I know, that as a mom, I will need to take charge and do what I think is best for my family from time to time.
In the end, I was happy with our decision due to the many issues I had with breastfeeding my newborn. That alone time at the hospital, allowed me to breastfeed on demand, further bond with my baby, and reach out for help from the lactation consultant without having to shoo people away.
I also didn’t have to worry that I looked like I hadn’t showered in a few days, either.
Whatever your visitation wishes post-delivery, stick with what you want and openly share these feelings with others. Yes, you may be worried about what others think, but that’s their problem, and, in the end, it’s about you and your new family!
2. Used the Lactation Consultant… A LOT
Maybe you’ve already read some books and taken some courses on breastfeeding? Maybe people have told you it’s tough, but nursing is something you still want to do.
That was me! I was adamant about wanting to be a breastfeeding mama. Unfortunately, nothing prepared me for how difficult breastfeeding actually was!
One of the best pieces of advice I received from a friend while preparing for my hospital stay was to make sure I fully utilized the lactation consulting services made available.
And did I ever… I swear that woman was in our room at least five times or more before our departure.
But seriously, if breastfeeding is important to you and your journey through motherhood, take full advantage of this opportunity to receive support from an expert, before heading home.
The lactation consultants want you to feel successful and confident, can provide you with resources for further support, and can hopefully make your hospital stay after birth more comfortable.
If you are planning on breastfeeding, and want to further prepare yourself for success, check out this list of must-have accessories!
Make sure you’re ready for that first week at home by using this informational guide on tips for breastfeeding your newborn, from my friends over at Mom Smart Not Hard.
3. Had Baby Taken to the Nursery, So I Could Sleep
After the initial adrenaline has worn off, you’ll be freaking tired. I definitely was. My baby was eating nonstop and did not sleep as much as everyone says newborns do!
I knew something was wrong when one of the nurses came into the room to bring me water and told me I looked absolutely exhausted.
Not the best thing to hear from a woman who sees new moms day in and day out. It wasn’t just the way she said it, it was the look on her face when she did.
I knew I needed sleep if I planned on surviving the day.
Although your baby will be with you in the room most of the time, the nurses may take them out once to complete some shots. It’s during this time they gave me a choice to keep him in the nursery for a bit, while I got some rest.
At our tour of the hospital, I had heard about this option and saw the nursery, so I knew he wouldn’t be too far; I decided to take them up on the offer.
After saying goodbye to my baby, and, I swear, a second went by, and they were wheeling him back in the room. It must be a mistake! I told the nurse that they were supposed to be keeping him in the nursery so I could sleep. She slyly responded, “He has been in the nursery, and now he’s back.”
I’m still LOLing about it.
I don’t know how long I was asleep, but Lord knows I needed it and you may too. If you feel comfortable with this option, TAKE IT! It could be the last time you get a break from your newborn for a while.
Disclaimer: Some hospitals may charge for a nursery visit or may not have a nursery available. Please check with your provider if you have concerns.
Looking for more information on baby sleep? Take it from the person with the non-sleeping baby and check out some of this article on baby sleep products we live by and gear up with these awesome tricks we used to help our baby get some shut-eye!
4. Took Tons of Hospital Items Home With Me
Is this stealing? I’m not exactly sure, but you’ll probably be paying a ton of money to deliver this baby, so get as much out of it as you can.
We took as many swaddle blankets, cloth diapers, regular diapers, Vaseline, and lady part recovery items as we could. We even pretended we needed more, so we could stash it for later.
Sounds a bit hoardish, but do it! You’ll be paying for it anyways and those swaddle blankets make the best burp rags EVER.
If you don’t get some, it’s alright! You can purchase these hospital grade receiving blankets to be prepared for the messes you’re about to face!
5. Brought a White Noise Machine
Your baby has been in your belly rocking out to loud sounds for 9 months, then they enter the world. What a nice way to transition your newborn to life outside the womb, by having a sound machine in the hospital room with you. I didn’t do this until my second child, and the overall experience of the hospital stay after birth was so much better because of it.
Since I had a Hatch Baby, I had access to light and sound from an app on my phone. It was so nice to drown out the noise of the hospital and the bright lights of the room. I’m sure my baby boy appreciated it too!
Planning Out Your Hospital Stay After Birth
No matter how planned out you may be for your hospital stay after birth, you never know what is going to happen on that life-changing day. With the crazy mix of emotions and the new responsibility of being a mom, it’s easy to let the experience carry you away.
If you want to have some control of those ensuing days after delivery, use this list of things I am happy I did while I was at the hospital as a starting point to make the most of your visit!
If you are a soon-to-be mom, what other things do you plan on during your hospital stay? Comment below to help others make their hospital visit an awesome experience, and don’t forget to share!