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!
I’ve had 4 in the hospital and 3 at home… I much prefer home except for one thing. The nurses were more than happy to be “the bad guy” when it came to visitors-including in laws. They asked if I wanted visitors at all, wanted to know before I decided (they were discreet to the visitors and always told them I was sleeping or something important like that), only wanted certain people-and took names! Even came in after an agreed on time limit and kicked people out. LOL Oh it was the best. We didn’t have to be the bad guys and kick the in laws out when I was done. Check with your hospital and see what the nurses will do when it comes to visitors, you never know.
I agree with sending baby to the nursery! My husband and I were adamant with our first 2 about not letting them out of our sight, but by my third I realized my husband is completely useless when it comes to helping with the kids at night (he’s wonderful at so many other things but this is one he just won’t do!) so I sent our third to the nursery every night of our stay and it was wonderful! My husband complained about it and I just told him I was getting some sleep and if he wanted to take care of the baby he was welcome to go get here. He didn’t haha. I’m now expecting my fourth and my hospital stay is high on my list of things I’m looking forward to!
I’m glad you agree! Sounds like when you already have kids at home, the hospital stay is more like a vacation (haha!). Thank you for sharing!
Great Tips! A lot of these things are things I wish I had been prepared for after the birth of our first daughter. And I had no idea hospitals even had photographers available! I will be checking into that before the soon to come birth of our second.
Thank you! It’s funny how we’re so worried about what will be in our hospital bag, we forget about figuring out how to utilize the hospital itself. I loved our newborn photos. Saved the stress of having to do it later on and made it easier to get the announcements made. Thanks for sharing your comment with us!
Thank you for your information about post delivery hospital stay, we adopted our son in the summer of 2016. The only thing I would add to your list is menus of takeout restaurants so you or your birthing partner can pick them up prior to your stay. In our situation our son was the only patient so patient meals were not available for my husband & I.
This is such great information a perfect perspective from adoptive parents. Congratulations!
Unfortunately in certain areas
There’s no longer a nursery. I went home from The hospital exhausted and actually almost dropped
My baby in the hospital
Because I fell asleep breastfeeding I was so exhausted.
That is good to know! I have edited my post to reflect this new information. There are so many opinions on this specific topic, and I personally think an exhausted mom is not healthy for anyone! It’s also bringing me back to the joys of falling asleep while breastfeeding.
I don’t think taking diapers, ointments, etc from the hospital is stealing. After all your insurance is paying for it… and I heard they can’t use the same ointment or pack of diaper for another baby 🙂 my husband always made me feel like a clepto but it was nice to have the extra swaddles and diapers
So funny! I’m in total aggreance with you! Thank you for sharing.
The patient care tech who got us ready for discharge told us to take everything not nailed down since our insurance was paying for it and it would get thrown away once we left. This is exclusive to hospital stays for delivery, don’t do this in the ER or anywhere else though!
Thanks for sharing! That was really nice of her to help you. I’m so happy we left with so many newborn goodies. I use the swaddle blankets to clean my glasses now. Haha
We definitely took advantage of the nursery at the hospital and got some sleep. HOWEVER! We were not aware how much it actually cost for the baby to spend time back there until we got our hospital bill. We just assumed it was included. Knowing that for our second one will definitely influence our decision to utilize them on our second delivery. Not trying to discourage you from using the nursery, because you sleep is nice, but I don’t want anyone to blindsided like we were. Nurses are there to help and will suggest whatever they think you need, but they aren’t trained to tell you about the $550 per night that it costs. So just be aware.
Wow! Thank you for letting me know. We did not have this experience, but I will change my post to reflect this new information. Sounds like the most expensive sleep of your life! So sorry!
This is a really great post, one thing i wish i did was sleep more lol. I remember after she was born at 12am, i had been in labor for 28hours before she came. They cleaned her up and all that for 2 hours and the next thing, i was prepping to sleep and they brought her back, i was like whattttttttt! Gosh i was so exhausted and now i had her with me and she was crying and i was so clueless.
Thank you! Our newborn NEVER slept, so that quick time he was in the nursery, I got some shut eye, but that’s about it. I’m still in search of more sleep 1.5 years later!