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Things I wish I had done/known and tips about birth and just after... - Page 2

post #21 of 61
Oh, I just remembered, the nurses at the hospital made a pad into an ice pack by cutting a slit in the back of the pad and adding crushed ice then taping the slit closed. It worked great!
post #22 of 61
Another ice pack tip... take a newborn dipe (disposable, of course) and fill it with ice. Fold it over on itself and tape. You can keep it in the freezer until your ready and then just pop it in.

As for tips, mmmm... I guess my tip would be not to stress too much. Prepare the best you can and if need something you've forgotten your DP/parents/friends will pitch in and get it done.

And really, resting and getting to know your baby is most important thing you'll do. Good luck to all of the mamas who have babes on the way!
post #23 of 61
* Make a list those last few weeks of small jobs people can do to help you out around the house: fill dishwasher, start a load of towels, sweep kitchen, etc.

* if you're doing a baby book, keep it near a place you think you'll breastfeed most often.

* get a cheap foot stool to keep near the couch or wherever you nurse, it helps to be able to prop up your feet. Also, keep lots of various-sized pillows nearby until you figure out which ones work best.

* when people ask if they can get you anything, say yes! yogurt, frozen burritos, fruit, sliced cheese, anything that you can eat with one hand and just grab and go. I can remember not even being able to microwave food to eat. Now, of course, I don't know why it was so hard, but that's how it goes, I guess.

* I always sleep on the couch for the first month or 2. I can semi-lounge, with the baby on my chest, tummy to tummy. They sleep really well that way and I KNOW everything's good with them. Plus, I can lean my body against the back of the couch, which is really good support.

* keep a baby seat in the bathroom so you'll be able to pee and shower.

* drink lots of water.

* if you're doing herbal baths following birth, put some of the good water in your peri bottle before getting in.

that's all for now....so fun to think about all this again!
post #24 of 61
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
"Helpful" visitors are sometimes the most exhausting kind. People who come over to do things for you often need instruction and guidance: where do the plates go? how do you sort your silverware? People who bring meals may leave you with a sink full of dishes. Even people who you'd think should know better are sometimes so blitzed by the presence of the baby that they wind up being demanding guests. There is no need to stand for this. Feel free to begin explaining to people that what you need - what you really, really need - is to watch a silly movie and have a margarita, and that the best way for them to enable that is to hold down the other end of your sofa and make sure the spare margarita glass doesn't get lonely. Promise not to quiz them on the movie, so that they can stare at the baby if they like.
Yes, yes, yes!

People really do WANT to be helpful, but sometimes telling them how to help is more work than just doing it yourself. It is a huge help to, while still pregnant, jot down instructions for how you do laundry, use your dishwasher, feed your pets, etc. Either keep it all in one place or at the site (post on the D/W, near the pet food bowls, etc.). My dogs have a complicated food/medication schedule, so I printed that all up along with a chart of when they'd been fed so they didn't get over or underfed. I meant to do that for other things like laundry but didn't get around to it.

Also, keep a dry erase board with chores that need to be done. If anyone asks if you need anything, just point to the board. That way, the guest can choose which chore to do. Some people might be okay with walking your dog or doing your dishes, others would prefer to take out the trash. This also makes it less awkward to ask for help.

And, DEPENDS! I know it sounds horrible, but trust me! I was totally against this idea but grabbed a package the day I went into labor, and boy was I glad to have them. I actually wore them during labor (homebirth) because I leaked a steady leak the whole time and was going through pads way too fast. They were wonderful for PP bleeding as well for that first few days. Once you get past the ick factor of wearing adult diapers, you will LOVE them!
post #25 of 61
-I second the olive oil or some other greasy ointment on the baby's butt and really the entire area. That meconium is really sticky.

-Learn to use your slow cooker now because you will never have time to cook big meals for the next year.

-For the baby book, I use shutterfly and do it all electronically. Saves time, is more efficient, and creates a photo backup in case your pc crashes.

-Get strong! You know why women have a permanent view of their navels by the time they're eighty? It's from craning their necks to get a looky-loo at the baby for hours on end. At least by the time we're stuck in that position, it doesn't hurt anymore.

So mommas and mommas-to-be, listen up. Motherhood is not ergonomic. Your neck will hurt. Your back will hurt. Your arms will burn and shake from fatigue. Lift weights and get in shape before the baby comes or stock up on Tylenol and massage gift certificates.

-Practice employing the law of concurrent work because being super efficient is the only way you will get anything done.

-Babyproof before the kiddo comes. You do not have time to research, debate options, shop, and install all the safety dewdads after the baby comes. Yes, bending over when you're eight months pregnant is hard, but it's much more dangerous to bend over and attempt to install plug protectors with a wobbly infant perched on your shoulder.

-You will forget something, so build fail safes into your life. A few diapers and travel wipes in the backseat pocket for when you forget the diaper bag. Some gladware containers in your office for the days you forget to bring milk storage bags or the lids to the milk containers. A few dollars tucked into the sun visor for parking fees or quick drive-thru lunches. A spare house key at a trusted neighbor's. Make sure your fail safes provide essentials for the baby, emergency money, and ensure you can get back into your house/car.

-Panic is normal. Feeling overwhelmed is normal. Think about it, every single aspect of your life has changed. You don't pee when you want to, shower when you want to, or eat when you want to, your entire life has been subverted by a newborn's schedule. Expectations of 'me time' are lowered to just five minutes alone in the shower or on the toilet. If you don't get a little freaked out by it all, there's something wrong with you.I tell people my daughter ripped out all my roots and planted new ones. Some days, their growing pains bring me to my knees.

Just because your child is the best thing that ever happened to you and just because your feel like your heart is eight times too big with love doesn't mean this parenting gig is easy.

post #26 of 61
Oh, the things I wish I'd known!!!!!

-in the hospital... the final decision is ALWAYS yours, not the doctor/nurse's. Except with a court ordered c/s anyway. Don't let them bully you into something you don't need/want because not doing it could "hurt the baby"... it's a guilt trip, and it's very often a lie.

-bring more than 1 outfit for baby in the hospital. Bring more than one outfit for YOU, too.

-I wish I had known co-sleeping was okay. even great. Instead I didn't sleep at all the first night, thinking DS would stop breathing in the plastic box for no reason. So I actually had him taken to the nursery for awhile once I got delusional, because I never thought to just put him in the bed WITH ME. And that's when he got FORMULA.

V said it best though. I can't top that!
post #27 of 61
Good thread! I've done this before but need a refresher, lol! And there's good stuff...subbing to read later...
post #28 of 61
Thanks SunnyMW!

Lemme see. I think I have some more.

1.Newborn sleep isn't too bad IF you buy the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (Dvd is fun and more time efficient than the book, plus you can watch it with your spouse). However, sleep is NOT a positive progression so I will warn you that the 4 month sleep regression is tough and if you've gone back to work, it might seem like it's all crashing down on you. Maybe plan to take some vacation time during this period and have your spouse take some 1/2 days so you get a few hours of sleep.

My DD kept me up for 3 days during her 4 month sleep regression. I actually ended up quitting my job after that.

Once you're out of the newborn period, sleep can be a little trickier. Swaddling may or may not work. Co-sleeping may or may not work. It's time for a new bag of tricks. Read up on sleep. The No Cry Sleep Solution is a decent option.

2. FYI once you're in the 12 month size you're into outfits. No more cute sleepers. I know it sounds like such a looong time and such a biiig size but my DD hit 12 month size at 4 months due to her height. Sizes last for 2" in length and about a 4-5 pound spread. Which means one size lasts for 4 to 6 weeks. Or less. My Dd outgrew the 9 month size in 3 weeks flat.

3.After the 3 month newborn period things change, but don't necessarily become easier. If you like your parents/family/friends, maybe invite them back to coddle you for a week after the first 3 months. Also look into a mother's helper or establish a relationship with a sitter you trust so you can give yourself a break when you want one.

4.After the first 8 weeks (which are sort of insane and the baby really does need you 24/7)take breaks. Take 'me' time.

5.Make sure your partner knows they will be doing laundry, housework, cooking, and diaper changes. If either of you think momma is going to do it all, you are setting yourself up for a hard, long road. Start working to change that dynamic now before sleep deprivation makes you homicidal. Parenting is a team effort and the job is bigger than either of you alone.

6.Stock up on meds and first aid for you and the baby. Maybe even some chicken soup in the freezer. FYI Daycare germs are evil. You will ALL get sick, even if you breastfeed and you will be too sick to be running errands to the drugstore. Daycare sick was the first time in our lives that we called people for help b/c we couldn't care for ourselves let alone the baby.

Also, if you are taking FMLA and returning to work, consider going back early to save a week or two for the sick time. My DD was sick 5 weeks out of the 10 weeks she was in daycare. I'm told that's unusually bad, so maybe you will get lucky, but knowing what I know now, I would've saved some FMLA for the daycare germs.

It might be a good idea to check with HR re: how much 'disability' time you have left. I found out I had no paid sick time left due to my maternity leave. I had to use all vacation days when I was sick or not get paid.

7.And if you can afford a nanny, get one. At least for the first year. Babies, imo, need a lot of one-on-one care and group daycare isn't the ideal environment until they're a bit older. Yes, it's expensive, but guess what? You no longer work for money, you work to pay for childcare--the sooner you accept this, the better. It's been a hard lesson for me and I've had a hard time wrapping my mind around it.

If you go the group care route, get a back up lined up so you only stay home the days your LO is truly sick and not just too sick for daycare (which is a different type of sick).

That's all for now. I know this isn't immediate postpartum stuff, but there is so much emphasis on the first 3 months, some of these bigger, longer term issues get short shrift. Your life has to assimilate an entirely new set of tasks and needs and you have to create an infrastructure to handle it from scratch.
post #29 of 61
My babies never fit in newborn and barely in 0-3 month size.
post #30 of 61
These are all fabulous tips--thanks so much! I was just thinking in the car on the way to work that Depends might be a good thing to have on hand--the next time my mom buys them for my grandma I'll ask her to take some out of the box for me. I also love the frozen maxi trick--wish I has thought of that when I've had bad UTIs!!

My sister has always written all of the important dates right on her calendar and then transferred them to the baby book later--I have one friend who had a calendar on her fridge just for the purpose of writing little notes about the baby's firsts etc.

Love the idea of writing the envelopes for the announcement ahead of time. I plan to pick out a boy announcement and a girl announcement and get them all laid out on the computer ahead of time so my DH can just add the actual date, weight, etc., print them out, and mail them.
post #31 of 61
While I know Qestia's advice usually applies--I wish I had known that my intuition (that my baby was hungry--really hungry--even after the first week had gone by) was not wrong. After LC after LC had told me, on the phone, that she was probably just fine and that "babies cry," the LC who saw us right before I started supplementing confirmed that she was getting almost no milk. I let her go hungry for much longer than I am comfortable with thinking about. I know it doesn't happen often, but we were seeing LCs every day or two and doing EVERYthing anyone suggested, and she was losing weight steadily and getting more and more sleepy.

I wish someone had told me:
a) Listen to your intuition. You know your baby. Even as a new mom, if you think something is wrong, make your healthcare providers listen to you.
b) Breastfeeding is NOT all or nothing. I don't encourage supplementation unless it's totally clear that it's medically necessary, but it would have been nice, once it WAS clear, if so many of my family members weren't saying things like, "Oh, well, just switch to formula," instead of the more supportive, "Keep trying! She's getting the food she needs now and the milk you CAN give her is valuable!"

Other things I would have liked to know:
* Your baby does not have to be asleep for you to nap. If you have a newborn, and he or she is fed, clean, and happy, you can take a nap with the baby. You don't have to entertain her! She's happy enough to lay with you and take in the sights, if all of her needs are met. Half an hour of sleep like this can make all the difference to you and your baby will not mind.
* The best thing for our nursing relationship (which was really rocky, as I mentioned) was having a lot of short movies to pop in and watch. My husband would start the movie, bring me drinks or snacks, and rub my feet or the baby's back, and I would just nurse the baby. This time I am going to get the new season of "Dr. Who" for postpartum.
* If people want to come help you, think about your personality. I treasured nothing in those first weeks as much as privacy.
* Definitely freeze meals ahead if you can! The other thing--not healthy, but fantastic for a new mama--that we did last time was that my husband ran into Popeye's Chicken on our way home from the hospital and bought a family-size box of fried chicken. I could eat it one-handed while nursing and it has a lot of protein (although also a lot of salt and fat...but I was craving all of those things postpartum!). Of course you could make it yourself but the point is, having something to eat cold whenever you want it from the fridge is great.
* Drink, drink, drink. Water is great, of course, but I go through gallons of decaf iced tea. Whatever gets the fluids in is good! I also tried Gatorade (blech) and that was one of the few things that helped my milk supply. If you're worried about milk supply, eat oatmeal, drink a lot (try Gatorade), and--if you're comfortable with it, which I was--split a beer with your partner every night. I would nurse the baby, pump, and then have my half of a Guinness. The darker the beer, the better, I'm told, and Guinness worked for me better than any of the herbs that the LC suggested.
* Get out if you want to. A lot of people don't want to, and that's fine, but I was CRAZY after three days in the house. Taking the baby for a walk (if weather permits, of course) is great. We went to the deli and had a sandwich. It was almost a religious experience to see that our lives, while forever changed, still included other people and "normal" life! Don't overdo it, but if you really want out, go out.
post #32 of 61
Take all of the Formula Samples that you get in the mail and donate it to a food bank the week before your due date. The first few days nursing are tough and you don't want to be tempted/pressured into using it.

Consider Cloth Menstrual Pads after the first couple of days. I found the pads with the blue gel tuff seriously irritating. I am not doing to do that again. I am going for bamboo velour this time!
post #33 of 61
Originally Posted by alexsam View Post

Also, for the hospital birth, make your spouse/partner pack themselves a meal and snacks. THEY will be hungry and you don't want them dissapearing because they are starving and need to go to the cafeteria. .
Yes! This is so true. DH got so hungry during my 14+ hours of active labor but he didn't want to leave. So he decided to order a pizza, but felt bad having a pizza delivered for just himself so he ended up ordering pizza for the whole L&D staff! He ordered, like, 30 pizzas, and doctors and nurses started wandering in from other departments
post #34 of 61
This is a great thread! I copied many items to a google doc to keep on hand.
post #35 of 61
Give away all your "dry clean only" clothes to Goodwill. If you're like me you'll never be wearing them again!
post #36 of 61
All babies lose weight in the time between birth and your milk coming in. Normal weight loss is NOT an appropriate reason to supplement with formula in that time, nor do you need to pump during that time after a normal birth.

Can you tell who had the totally BF-ignorant nurse? Ugh.
post #37 of 61
Great advice! This will be my second, and I've learned a few new things from y'all.

What I learned the first time around:

- Doulas are awesome.

- Get yourself one brand-new comfortable postpartum outfit. (In my case, it was a pink sweatsuit.) You will be sick of maternity clothes and it will be nice to have one decent outfit you can wear in public and feel presentable.

- A Bella Band or girdle (or even belly binding if you know how) is great for holding in the saggy tummy and making clothes fit more comfortably.

- You can buy lots of fancy schmancy baby clothes on eBay, cheap.

- Put your dresses in storage. Unless they button down the front, you won't be able to wear them while nursing, unless you want to undress completely!

And my most important piece of advice:

- If you find that you are crying a lot, easily angered, having odd thoughts about harming yourself or the baby, or just in a total funk and feeling detached from or unable to bond with your baby, TELL SOMEONE!
Tell your doctor, midwife, postpartum doula, partner, sister, or mom. Take the Edinburgh PPD test. Do not let postpartum depression go undiagnosed or untreated.
OK, sermon over.
post #38 of 61
Lots of good advice in this thread.

I would just add, if you're doing a hospital birth, upack the camera as soon as you arrive and don't let dh/dp lose track of it. I ended up with an emergency c-section and my dh forgot the camera in all of the chaos of leaving the delivery room. He was unable to retrieve it for quite a while and so we missed out on delivery pictures. Oh...also...wake up your dh if the nurses are calling the doctor and everyone is consulting on what to do. It's a lot harder for him to process when he wakes up as you're signing the c-section forms and getting wheeled to the or.
post #39 of 61
I didn't read all of these but for me, when my milk comes in I engorge so badly that I am crying. It's the most awful part of the pp period for me (worse than the uterus contractions when the baby nurses). I think it gets worse with each pg and last time I seriously wanted to cut my boobs off it was sooooo bad. So...

* Have cabbage leaves already in your fridge so that you can use them as soon as you need them instead of dh having to run to the store (my engorgement decided to start in the middle of the night!)

* A month or two before your due date, start doubling and tripling your recipes and freeze complete meals. You will be so thankful you did! Also ask family members to bring over frozen meals when/if they ask how they can help you!

* Make sure your fridge, freezer and cabinets are well stocked.

* Have a list made ahead of time of grocery needs for your family so that if someone runs to the store for you, you'll have a list already ready for them!

(Can you tell I have a big family? Food is a major deal around here! )

* The week or two around your due date, reserve a bunch of your favorite movies from the library so that by the time you have the baby, you can either already have them at the house or someone can run and pick the ones up that are on hold.

* Keep a basket next to the place where you will most frequently nurse (for me, the couch) of things you may need (ie. lansinoh cream, remote control, movies, toddler and pre-schooler books for your other little ones who you can read to while you nurse, a book or two for you, a journal, snacks, telephone, breast pads, and whatever else you'd want within your reach...laptop? ).

* Purchase plenty of maxi pads before the birth so they are already at the house and a trip to the store won't be necessary.

* Figure out how to use your infant carrier or sling *before* the baby comes! Practice with a baby doll. Ask me how I know this!

That's all I can think of right now!
post #40 of 61
I felt so relieved when I logged in and saw this forum today! Thank you mamas! I love it!
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