29 July 2014

Twenty-Five Tips for New Moms/Things I've Learned in Two Months: Part 1

I just sent one of my besties the last preggo care package before she has her baby boy in August. It got me thinking through some things I've learned these past two months. In the spirit of solidarity and paying it forward (and probably for a laugh later), here's part 1 of the 25 tips I picked up along the way.

Before the Hospital:
1.  Make a coconut oil based booty cream. I had some sweet friends gift me a portion of their batch they made with essential oils. I use it every time I change Eli. He's never had diaper rash and his dirty diapers are easier to clean off his skin. If you want to pack some for the diaper bag, make sure that the travel container seals tightly since the oil melts when warm.
2.  Make a bathroom basket** with all essential items. I initially stocked both the upstairs and downstairs bathroom, but found it so much easier to put one portable supply basket right next to the toilet and have the hubs relocate it as needed (downstairs during the day and upstairs at night). 
3.  Make a nursing basket** for easy access during feedings. I kept mine on a side table by the recliner I basically lived in for the first two weeks home.
**see below for item suggestions

For the Hospital:
4.  Make a birth plan. Then, accept it as an ideal itinerary for a completely uncontrollable event. Making a birth plan is great. It helps you become educated about your options and helps the hospital staff get to know you quickly. However, do not attach yourself or your idea of success to this birth plan. Whatever is best for your baby at that time should be the ultimate plan. 
5.  Make a plan with your husband before the birth about contacting family and friends when you go into labor and when baby is born. Our plan? We picked point people (our sisters) to distribute the happy news. That way, Hubs only had to make sure two people were informed so he could spend his time with me and Eli instead of answering texts or calls until the next morning. I know others who change their voicemail message to all birth info and apologize in advance if it takes a while to return the call. It took me a good 2-3 weeks to begin contacting anyone outside immediate family and close friends.
6.  Pack your hubs a lunch. The hospital food will be gross or he won't have change for the vending machine or he will forget to eat until it gets too close to time to push. If he's anything like my hubs, he NEEDS food to function appropriately on a normal day, let alone, such a stressful, overwhelming one!
7.  Have your hubs take pictures right after your baby is born. You will be feeling all the feelings and floating above everything in the room. Just give him a list of essential pics like the first little cry, weight & length, first bath, first swaddled, and when you first hold him. You can worry about getting Pinterest-worthy pics later that night or the next day.

I joke about my hubs having that whole deer-in-headlights vibe for two days after labor and delivery. But we wouldn't have any of these pictures if he hadn't had the smarts to take them (because I sure didn't!)

8.  Be in the pictures. This is no time for image issues. You will probably look terrible, but you'll regret it if you aren't in any.

Am I proud of how I look? Nope. Am I proud of these pictures? Heck yes I am. 
In the top one, I'M TRYING TO HAVE OUR BABY. Bottom left is the first picture I ever took with my sweet tiny man. Bottom right I am DYING over that head of hair! You might take prettier pictures in your life, but being a momma looks good on ya, trust me. There's nothing more lovely. These are all keepers!

9.  If your nurse is kind at all and with you for the majority of your labor, take a picture of them or with them or of them with your baby or whatever. Just document that precious angel that attended to you. I didn’t do this and wish I had. I will never ever EVER forget Alan. And I will never ever EVER forget Jennifer. I shared a certain intimacy with them that I will probably never come even remotely close to sharing with anyone else ever. Unless there's a next birth.
10.  Whenever that thing that will go wrong goes wrong, just remember what went right. More went wrong with me than we would have liked, but there has never been one issue with my son's well-being. I'd choose that again in a heartbeat.

**Bathroom Basket
Extra undies-prep before showers
Peri bottle- they will give you one at the hospital
Pads- variety of sizes (length & thickness), no wings is way easier
Tucks pads
Ice packs
Epsom salt for sitz baths
Cottonelle wipes
Possibly other hemorrhoid meds
Hand mirror- ok this is weird, but my dr told me I had to look once a day to watch
for signs of infection (especially if you have stitches).

**Nursing Basket
Whatever you want to make life easier! Here are some suggestions:
Phone/iPad and chargers
Bible/Book/Journal and Pen
Water, straws, and snacks
Chapstick, Hand lotion
Hair ties and clips
Warm socks
Nail clippers and file
Nursing pads, Lanolin
Burp cloth
Pain meds, tums, cough drops
Thank you cards

Stay tuned for what I learned after the hospital and the first weeks after in Part Two!

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