Before I had my first baby, I felt as prepared as I could possibly be. The espresso crib had been assembled. The diapers had been organized neatly into a caddy. The clothes had been washed in Dreft and folded inside his new dresser. And – I had read all the books.
Indeed, I was as ready as I could be, and yet there were a few things that came up during my hospital stay that I hadn’t prepared for. So I’d like to share a few things to help you think and plan ahead on what your decision will be.
Decide on your nursing schedule – Most moms decide to nurse their baby for their first few weeks, if not months and years, of life. With that being (likely) a given, the decision you will face in the hospital is how to handle the overnight hours when you have at your disposal a fabulous nursing staff who is able to nurture and feed your newborn with bottles – either from your pumped milk or with formula. Many moms are “all in” and request to be woken every time their baby is ready to eat. Some, however, choose to utilize that time to get caught up on a little sleep while they still can. You will definitely want to nurse as much as possible in order for your milk to come in, but do keep in mind that it’s a possibility to skip a feeding in order to get some much needed – and deserved – rest. I actually chose the latter. I skipped one feeding in the middle of the night, got a little extra sleep and nursing still went great with my son.
Decide on your pacifier approach – This is a matter where a non-decision becomes a decision. It happened with our daughter. Up until that point, we had been a no-pacifier household. We weren’t necessarily against it. It’s just that we’d gotten along fine without it. Which is why I was shocked on that Friday morning when they wheeled her into my room with an aqua pacifier in her mouth that seemed as big as her head. I did a double take. I hadn’t asked for this, why was this here? Then I realized, I hadn’t NOT asked for it. And so, in the wee morning hours when she started to cry, the nurses soothed her with a pacifier. As it turned out, it really did help, and we did end up using one with her and were grateful for that comfort item. If you’re unsure what your pacifier approach will be, this article is helpful: https://www.babycenter.com/0_pacifiers-pros-cons-and-smart-ways-to-use-them_128.bc .
Decide on your attitude about your birth plan – Your labor and delivery may go exactly as you expect it to go. You may type out that birth plan, make a copy for your husband, the nurse, the doctor – heck, the cafeteria staff – and head right into that hospital and have that baby precisely according to your 5 point outlined plan. Or it may turn out to be an entirely different experience than you ever anticipated. If the latter occurs, you will be faced with the choice to either bemoan that fact or accept it. I share this because I have met moms who, 10 months after their beautiful baby graced their lives, are still talking about their “bad” labor and delivery experience and are so upset that “this-and-that” and “the other thing” happened. All while holding their amazing, healthy baby in their arms. If you love and trust your OBGYN, then also trust that you’re in good hands and they are going to make the right call to bring your baby into this world in the safest way. It may mean that water birth doesn’t happen….or that C-section did happen…or that playlist ended and nobody was there to push play again. Be open to the fact that all may not go according to plan and that is ok. So, if I bump into you at a park in one year, please don’t be that mom that is still talking about how her birth plan went awry, ok? Just let me get a gooooood look at your baby and pretty please let me gently squeeze her cheeks.