Pro Tips from an Amateur Baby Pusher

I know at least half a dozen pregnant women currently. This post really is for those folks…partly because it is and partly because they may wish to stay away from the next couple of posts about Baby W’s birth…not that terrible things happened but because I know I tried to stay away from birth stories the closer I got to the end. Then again, you may wish to read about how things don’t always go as you plan for or envision and it turns out just fine.

But let’s be real, you people are going to do what you will and I’m going to be over here keeping it real like I always do.

Can’t say I didn’t warn you.

In the mean time, here’s my Top 10 Pro Tips.

  1. Food and drink during labor: If they let you have something, load up. BUT…consume things that are soft-ish and you don’t mind seeing again. Because chances are, you will. Maybe don’t pick your favorite flavor of Gatorade or a food that you absolutely LOVE. These things may be ruined for you in this process.
  2. Speaking of food, bake treats for your caregivers. I swear the Sarahs (midwife and day shift nurse) loved me more after we handed over a loaf of homemade banana bread.
  3. Clothes. Wear whatever the hell you want. If the hospital gown is your jam, go for it. I opted for a sports bra and yoga pants (because I didn’t want to feel like a patient). And then my water broke. After that it was the bra and those sexy fishnet underroos they give you until the main event. Before all that, though, I went on the futile hunt for long pajama bottoms. Well, futile unless you’re willing to cough up some change. But I decided it was worth it to have comfy bottoms to wear once I was home. I splurged on some victory pants that I kept in the closet until we got home…then I lived in those jokers for three solid days.
  4. If your mode of birth does not require a C-section, steal plenty of ice packs. And if your partner happens to walk by a cart in the hallway that has a big bag of them and offers to steal the whole lot, seriously consider this offer. The same applies to anything else they leave in your room…including the diapers. Seriously. Once that pack of diapers is opened, they can’t do anything else with it and they’ll chuck it. Might as well have extra at your house.
  5. Stop on the way home for Colace and Motrin. And probably Tucks pads.
  6. Take advantage of the sitz bath…or at least a really long shower with water running over the parts that hurt the most.
  7. Feeding your baby: stay away from Dr. Google. Period. Pick one or two trusted sites about feeding and just go there. If you are planning to breastfeed your baby, have the number to a really good (I mean REALLY good) lactation consultant programmed into your phone and call them as early and often as you need to. Seriously. I cannot emphasize this enough. Because getting started with–and even maintaining–breastfeeding can be tough. Also stock up on some type of nipple butter (or coconut oil). Trust me on this one especially. You may not need much of it, but chances are, you’ll need at least a little in the early days. If you’re planning to use formula right out of the gate, know that that mess smells awful. However, if you have an absurd addiction to Cheetos that you’d like to kick, let me recommend the Enfamil Nutramigen. Also, stock up on burp cloths. At least 45. In the short term, they’ll serve their purpose AND bulk up your laundry so you feel like you’re doing a full load. In the long term, they’ll make great rags for dusting or washing cars. And speaking of feeding, invest in The Blessed Nest pillow…screw the Boppy. This one is worth every penny.
  8. Whatever emotions you feel or however crazy you might think you are or whatever you thought you’d never do but now find yourself doing, just roll with it. And try to get some sleep. It gets better. Promise.
  9. In case no one has told you yet, the second night is hell. You just have to get through it. And high five your partner when dawn breaks because you did it. The same is true for any growth spurt (look for the first round of fun at the 2 week mark).
  10. Be ready for your plans to be 86’ed in a heartbeat. Things may not go as you envisioned or planned, but then, that’s parenting for you. This whole process requires courage–from pregnancy to emptying the nest and beyond. You can do it. You’re already doing it.

Honorable mentions:

You may want a doula. I did not use one as I felt supported throughout my pregnancy in terms of my medical care–and even more so in the birthing process. But there are women who love having that kind of support during labor and birth, and wouldn’t do it without.

Drugs. My plan was to go without. Whatever your plan, consider your options and do what works for you.