One of the things I completely didn’t think about while pregnant is the extreme change that MY body was going to go through when I gave birth. I was more then ready, willing, able, and capable to care for a newborn baby – but what about me. One of the hardest things I discovered post baby is that I really needed someone to take care of ME too. Thankfully I had a wonderful husband, mother and tons of other friends and family to help. I was stubborn though, I tried to do too much, too soon. I wanted to be the best mom possible (who doesn’t?!) and didn’t want to need someone, but I quickly discovered that I did. I have a few friends who are expecting babies soon so I want them and all soon-to-be moms realize that the phrase “it takes a village” is very true, and that you should trust in your village! Here are a bunch of random things that I learned from experience, hope they are helpful!
What to bring to the hospital (there are plenty of amazing lists and I won’t begin to attempt to copy but here are a few things I think are most important):
- Slippers/warm fuzzy socks/flip flops – hospital floors = yuck! and cold!
- Notebook and pen (or be prepared with an app on your phone to use to keep track of everything like feedings and diapers and medication for yourself, there are a lot of things that are based on a schedule and it’s very hard to keep track of!)
- An old but big and fluffy towel from home; your own shampoo & conditioner & bodywash – the hospital grade is usually terrible (Thanks Emily)
- Your own pillow!!! (bright/patterned pillow case so they don’t try to clean it and it will be lost forever) I brought an airplane/neck pillow too because you’re doing a lot of upright sitting during labor and recovery. I also brought the boppy pillow which I found very helpful for breastfeeding but also for tentative/nervous guests (and Dads!) visiting you and holding the baby for the first time. (Thanks Emily)
- You don’t necessarily need to bring this with you but perhaps prepare a pile of your favorite maternity clothes for you to wear the first few days post partum. If you have a c-section someone can bring them into you – since you are there for 3-4 days after a c-section you will have more visitors and more photos taken in the hospital – call me vain but I wanted to be in normal clothes asap. I understand if you are only in the hospital for 2 days then you don’t need it and can wear the hospital gown, but by day 3 or 4 I wanted to appear somewhat normal.
What to buy from the drugstore so you don’t have to send your husband out searching to CVS at midnight after you get home from the hospital and there isn’t a plethora of items at your disposal (didn’t happen to me, but did happen to my poor brother, he is still traumatized I think).
- PADS. Big, huge, large, with wings. And smaller thinner ones and then panty liners too. It goes on for weeks. Literally. Yuck.
- Tucks pads*
- Witch hazel*
- Colace – it’s a stool softener – gross but so needed – you can take before delivery too to get your body ready
- Nursing Pads**
- Lanolin – nipple cream**
*Due to my c-section I didnt really need to use these things and therefore can’t explain too much, but they are to help if there is tearing/irritation “down there” – eek. If you don’t have a friend to talk to about it – ask me! Or ask a nurse after delivery – they are there to help!!
**If you plan to breastfeed you’ll want these things to help your body adjust.
Things to steal/take from the hospital
- Everything that isn’t tied down – as stated above – you/your insurance paid for everything so TAKE it. diapers, wipes, formula, pads, swaddle blankets, hats, disposable underwear, bring an extra bag for it all!
- You will also get a spray bottle thing from the hospital – to spray instead of wipe! oh yeah I went there – ask for two if you have two bathrooms!
Other things to buy for you:
- at least one size up (two if you know you are going to have a c-section) yoga pants from old navy – you will still look / feel pregnant in the stomach area for a few weeks – accept it, wear the yoga pants and move on
- at least one size up (two if you know you are going to have a c-section) (just make sure they are big and loose and comfortable!) – hanes cotton underwear – go to Target and buy a 10 pack – it’s all you will want to wear for a few weeks – then you will want to toss them!
With all that said – try to remember that you really have been through a traumatic experience. If it is an eight hour or 48 hour experience your body deserves a rest. Take the first two weeks and seriously recover. Make sure you have someone to help you pretty much 24/7. Your husband, your mother, sister, friend – ask for help and ask now. Two full weeks. If you do that – you will feel SO much better. Sleep. Eat a lot and eat whatever you want. (Speaking of eating – if people say that they want to bring you food, say thank you and request a specific day so that people don’t bring it all at once!! We had so much food for the first week, then week two we had nothing!) I did NOT do this. When my husband went back to work at day 9 I thought I could and wanted to do it on my own. I regret it. I never felt too terribly overwhelmed because many people stopped by often (my mom especially) but looking back I wish I had relaxed and let people help me. I had many people who wanted to be there for me but I was being too prideful. Let it go. You just had a baby. You brought life into this world (go YOU!) – now give yourself some time to rest and recover so you can be the best mom to your beautiful baby.
Do you have anything to add?