A few of my friends are getting ready to welcome their first child into their homes and join the elite club that is otherwise known as Motherhood. It's made me think about what kind of advice I can give them, so I've compiled a list of things I wish I had known. Some of this stuff you can find in books (but if you're anything like me, you didn't know what to take to heart and what to ignore).
1. Things to bring to the hospital (besides the obvious change of clothing): nursing pads, nursing bra, feminine napkins, comfortable panties (especially if you're having a c-section, you don't want anything resting on your incision), and socks. Some things like feminine napkins and funny looking underwear will be provided to you by the hospital, take advantage of these and don't be afraid to ask for extra ones to take home with you.
2. Speaking of things to bring home with you: ask for extra diapers, changing pads, pacifiers, shirts for baby.
3. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself in the hospital: if you're in pain ask for medicine, if you're hungry ask for food. Most nurses try to make sure you're well taken care of, but they are human and can't read your mind.
4. Wear your nursing bra at ALL TIMES! At night, at home, at the store, you get the point. Only take it off during showers, obviously. In fact, buy multiple nursing bras because the engorgement period can really make you run through them.
5. Set up a nursing station as well as a diaper changing station. Keep extra nursing pads, Lanolin, a bottle of water (you get really dehydrated while nursing), and crackers close at hand. You might even need washcloths and an extra bra.
6. Diaper changing station should include diapers, wipes, diaper cream (like Desitin or Butt Paste), and an absorbent changing pad. It's amazing what little babies can do.
7. Those first few weeks I would keep a basket for nursing and a basket for changing by my bedside for the midnight feedings. I kept an extra change of clothing for baby too, so I wouldn't have to rummage around trying to find some pajamas while bleary-eyed.
8. It's perfectly normal to not have a clue how to nurse - talk to the Lactation consultant before you leave the hospital to make sure the baby is attaching correctly. (Warning: they (lactation consultants) are very in your business and touchy, just to give you a heads-up in case you are a more private person).
9. Newborn babies make lots of funny, almost scary noises. Especially as they are trying to clear out their lungs of fluids. Remember if your baby is coughing and making NOISE then that means they are getting air, it's when they go all silent and purply-blue on you that it's time to panic.
10. Remember you're not alone. There are plenty of forums, blogs (like this one), and friends who are doing this too. Don't ever feel dumb asking a question or calling your pediatrician. OH and that's one more thing - if your baby is acting funny, and it's obviously not an emergency, and you're not sure if it warrants a doctor's appointment, just call the pediatrician and ask to speak to a nurse. A lot of times they can answer your questions over the phone and let you know if it is even worth coming in to the office.
So, those are just a few things I came up with. Let's hear it ladies - what kind of advice can you pass on to all those first time Moms.