Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tips for New Moms

The past week or so I've been trying to jot down thoughts/ideas/tips that have worked for me to share with a dear friend of mine that is due in June. I decided to share these tips, because I know some of the ladies from BOTB check out my blog occasionally. If I can make someone else's transition into motherhood ever so slightly easier then it's worth the typing! Take what works for you and forget about the rest. Here goes:
  • Personally, for me it was more important to have help at home when we left the hospital than during labor and delivery and the hospital stay. L&D nurses are extremely supportive and perform most of the tasks of a doula and you have your husband also there for you. Postpartum nurses are angels, they will do everything to take care of you and make you as comfortable as possible. The environment you'll experience at the hospital will be so supportive and loving, so rest assured on that.
  • Take advantage of the nurses at the hospital and let them take the baby often to the nursery, you'll need your rest, don't feel guilty because you'll have the rest of your life to be with that baby- you need to take care of you right now. Back to my original point, if you can have a family member or even a nurse come to stay with you for at least a few days, do it. You'll need someone to make sure you are nourished, having time to heal and rest.
  • Have night lights and clocks in every room if you can, you will be up often at night and want to keep everything soothing and low key, and not have to turn on bright lights to change a diaper or go to the bathroom yourself. You'll need the clocks to monitor feeding times and diaper changes.
  • Joe created a log for me to stay organized on feedings and diaper changes- your pediatrician will want to know all this information each time you go for check-ups and it will help for you to know for your own sanity that you are on track with progress. The worksheet he set up had the day's date at the top and 6 columns with the following headings- Feedings: Start Time, Breast/Formula/Pump, Total Mins; & Diapers: Pee, Poo; and then an Other column just to jot any other notes/observations you may want. I use the other column to jot down how much I pump per breast, how much formula I gave him (since I've had to supplement).
  • Don't focus on buying onesies as much, in the beginning you'll want to use the side snap kimono tees and pants to give the umbilical cord less ‘trauma'/chafing. Also, it may freak you out to have to pull shirts over the baby's head at first.
  • Halo sleep sacks are the best thing since sliced bread, buy at least 5 of them in the newborn size. I only had one and had to wash it every day. I didn't feel comfortable swaddling Charlie in a blanket without a fastener/Velcro because I worried it would un-do and get near his face/nose and he would suffocate while I was sleeping. Yes my neuroses continue! But, honestly it will give you peace. And babies love being tightly wrapped despite the fuss they may give you initially when your pinning their arms down (gently).
  • Wake that baby up during the day every two to three hours and try to keep him awake for stretches of time during the afternoon and early evening. My little Charlie had his days and nights totally mixed initially and I did not get one wink of sleep the first two nights- I was a walking zombie. Making sure he is awake during the day I've been able to manage only three feedings/diaper changes in the middle of the night and clock in between 4 ½- 6 hours of sleep. Lots better than zero sleep. Ways to keep baby up- night time baths, taking his clothes off (just a diaper on) tickling his chest with a soft dry washcloth, tummy time (he'll need 30 mins off his back a day -good thing for Daddy to do to bond)- bear in mind he will cry, but crying in the day means he's awake and you will get sleep at night!
  • Crying will make you tense up and cringe initially- you won't want to hear your baby upset. It's actually good for them- their only way to communicate, so don't feel like you have to hurry/rush to calm the baby (I did). After a few days the crying won't make you want to cry!
  • Speaking of crying, feel free to do so at will- I have several mini melt-downs a day, it's to be expected, like tea kettle releasing a little pressure here and there-let your husband know it's totally normal and that he just needs to be super supportive and understanding and loving to you in those first days. The hormones will do it in addition to just feeling overwhelmed with the newness of everything. I was bawling my eyes out when we left the hospital, so don't feel like your crazy if the same happens for you. It will get better- that's been my mantra and it has proven true.
  • Have a bassinet or Pack-n-Play in your bedroom so the baby is beside your bed and you can check on him often. You won't feel comfortable being away from your little one in the beginning and have a low light flashlight beside your bed so you can check on him whenever you feel the need.
  • Stock up on Fougera brand A&D ointment- it is amazing and I use it copiously on the circumcision and Charlie's bum. The "Original" Brand A&D ointment (darker red and yellow logo) is yellow in color and will make it extremely difficult for you to determine if it's pee in the diaper or just extra ointment. Made it hard for me. Speaking of pee and poo: a poo counts as a ½ dollar sized stain in the diaper to a full blow-out (those are fun Ha!) so make sure you count those little poos too.
  • If you're planning on breastfeeding make sure you bring your Boppy or breastfeeding support pillow with you to the hospital. The hospital pillows suck and don't provide enough support for your neck let alone breastfeeding (so bring a pillow you sleeping too.
  • Take acidophilus if you are BFing to help prevent Thrush and to help your digestive system recover from the L&D.
  • A simple calculation to determine how much food baby needs- 2 ½ x current weight=total oz feeding (either formula or breast milk per feeding) Divide that number by ten (for ten feedings in 24 hours) and that is how many ounces per feeding baby will need.
  • If you want to breastfeed I would recommend buying (Medela Pump in Style is fantastic)/renting a pump to have as soon as you return home. Everyone told me not to buy one, that it was unnecessary in the first month. The problems I ran into made it necessary for me to have one almost immediately so I was very happy I hadn't listened to others on that.
  • The Nursing Mother's Companion is a fantastic reference book. I've been using it daily.
  • Should you bottle feed baby, you may see him spit up a lot more, and even get a little mucousy spit up after a feeding. It's normal you may just need to burp him more often during the feeding.
  • Dr.Brown's are the best bottle/nipple combo if you need to do breast and bottle feeding to supplement- it has the slowest release that mimicks the breast more than any other brand-we found this out by trial and error.
  • It's also amazing how many bottles/burp cloths/side snap tops/wipes and diapers you need-buy in big quantities because you'll go through them fast.
  • Bring a nursing tank and comfy maternity yoga pants to the hospital. Since I had a longer stay with the c-section, it was a huge morale booster to be out of the awful hospital gown.
  • Speaking of the hospital, the pads are humongous! I brought my own maxis because they were more comfortable. And the panties they provide are a yucky mesh- very sexy ha! I brought my own black underwear, but I'm crazy particular about things like that.
  • Try to bring some of your favorite non-perishable snacks with you and pack in your hospital bag. It's easier to just have things handy in your room (I went to Costco and bought a pkgs of cookies, individual serving sizes of fruit leather, Combos cheese pretzels etc- you will need the calories-at least I did). It's also important to have the food on hand because you'll need to have something in your stomach to take your pain medication otherwise you'll be nauseous. If your pain meds are not in line with the scheduled delivery of your three main meals, then that could be a problem.
  • Speaking of pain medication, my hospital's Maternity Ward informed me that all medications were by request only, meaning they won't bring them to you every 4-6 hours etc- you must ask for them. I wasn't aware of this the day after my c-section and ended up getting behind the ball with the pain medication and it really threw me for a loop, was a very difficult day and night. You may want to check what your hospital does as a protocol.
  • Also know and inform your nurses immediately of what pain meds work and don't work for you. They wanted to give me percoset and that makes me vomit so we had to try out a few other alternatives before finding the right one (for me it was Toradol).
  • A few other things not to be concerned about-my doctor decided to break my water to move the labor along, it did not hurt at all- was a bit shocking to me ha, but I didn't feel a bit of pain. The contractions after your water breaks are much more intense and I will say painful, so make sure you have that anesthesiologist on the way. Just breath and know your getting closer and it will be over soon and you'll get to meet your baby :o)
  • The epidural was completely painless for me, so do not have any concerns about that. You can even jump (I did as a reflex in anticipation- not pain) and be ok. Once the epidural is set up it will take about 7 minutes to fully take effect, you may feel hot cold or tingly- all totally normal. I only felt a tightening or pressure with my contractions after it took effect, absolutely no pain whatsoever. All I have to say is thank God for epidurals -and women who choose to go without are amazing.
  • Not sure if you've had to have internal exam yet or not at your OB, but those were totally painless also, I spotted a little after some of the later ones, but they were pain free.
  • Let the house go to crap initially -I didn't let go and should have because it hampered my recovery. Let that helper or your husband attend to the crazy amounts of laundry and giving the pets extra attention, you will need to focus only on you and the baby initially.
  • It's totally normal to feel overwhelmed at first, each day you will build a little more confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Pet Tips
  • Know in your heart that your pets will be ok with a little less attention. My Malc is adjusting fine. He's plumped up a bit from all the treats I've given him out of guilt ha, but I have found some time each day to be with him and pet him (and that's with having to make doctor appointments and pump 8 times a day- which is extremely time consuming) Remember you're home all day and that is a lot more time with him even if it's not "face time." That will provide him comfort.
  • Speaking of pets, make sure you have a tent/canopy/cover for the baby's crib and bassinet, I was na├»ve thinking we could hold off on that and we had to lock Malc out of the bedroom for five days which gave me more guilt that I didn't need.
I had fears about not bonding with the baby while I was pregnant- When we were in the OR and the doctor told us "It's a boy!" and I saw him in Joe's arms I fell totally in love with him. In the days that followed that love grew even more, so don't be fearful of that. Know that even if you do feel a little less connected that it grows in time. Just know you're stronger and more capable than you think :o)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the informative information - I enjoyed reading it! I always enjoy this blog. :) Cheers, what does childbirth look like


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