I haven’t posted in a while because I’m in full baby prep mode. We’re on the count down at our house, 2.5 weeks (at the most) before baby #4 arrives. As I have been trying to fit patients in at work before maternity leave, prep for Christmas, and get everything together for a new baby, I realized that having done this before (and at this crazy time of year) really helps. If it’s your first time (or it’s been a while), here are a few tips:
What to buy?
After you deliver, you may want to have these products at home to help in healing during the recovery process.
- Maxi pads (not tampons). There is a lot more bleeding post baby than many woman realize.
- Hemorrhoid pads or cream. Even if you don’t have hemorrhoids, the cream can help with all the swelling and vascular congestion that surrounds the vulva.
- Comfortable/stretchy underwear. Think grandma briefs (much more comfortable during the initial healing stages) than your cute thongs.
- Stool softeners or laxatives. All the pain meds will make stooling difficult (and no one wants to push against tender, torn, or stitched tissue).
- Nursing pads
- Nursing bra
- Lanolin cream. Your nipples will likely get sore and it doesn’t have to be removed to feed the baby.
- Breast pump (strongly consider). A good double electric pump can be a lactating woman’s best friend.
IF NOT BREASTFEEDING
- Ace bandage or tight sports style bra. This will help bind your breasts when/if milk starts to come in.
- Medication, like Pseudoephedrine (strongly consider). Medications like pseudoephedrine (a.k.a., Sudafed) can help dry up milk.
These are the items you are going to need to take care of your baby.
- Diapers. You’ll get a few from the hospital, but not enough to last. Just so you have an idea, the average infant goes through 8-12 diapers a day. Be cautious about buying too many of the tiny sizes (like “newborns”). If your baby is big, you may end up straight at a size 1.
- I like sensitive or hypoallergenic wipes (like Water Wipes). Babies stool a ton in the beginning and their butts are very prone to diaper rashes.
- Crib (possibly a bassinet). You will need somewhere for your baby to sleep (and in your bed is not a good option).
- Car seat (5-point harness, infant style is best). This is required at the hospital to take your infant home.
- Clothes (including onesies and comfortable sleepers).
- Blankets (and burp cloths). You may want a few lightweight blankets because babies often spit up and soil blankets. You’ll need a few back up blankets if you don’t want to be doing laundry multiple times a day.
- Feeding support materials (breast care items or bottles and formula).
- Digital thermometer (rectal). If your child has a fever in the first 2 months of life (anything greater than 100.4 F), you need to know as it constitutes an “emergency.”
- Skin care products (diaper cream and hypoallergenic soaps and lotions).
- Nail file. You’ll be surprised at how long a baby’s nails can be and how much scratching he/she can do to his/her beautiful face. Typically, filing in the first couple of months is safer than clipping.
- Infant vitamin D drops (if breastfeeding).
- Petroleum jelly (if planning circumcision).
- Pacifiers. Most hospitals use a “soothie” style brand (these are the blue/green ones that you can stick your finger into to aid in the infant sucking). Long term, these aren’t great binkies because they don’t come in different sizes and can’t grow with your infant, which can create dental problems as the child’s teeth come in.
- Monitor. While a video monitor is much more expensive than a simple audio one, they are really nice to have. A video monitor wasn’t economically feasible for our first couple of kids, but having one for subsequent children has been nice (especially for things like watching the child when they are older and you’re sleeping training/crying it out).
- Diaper bag. There are really fancy, beautiful bags out there with all the bells and whistles (changing pad covers, wipe holders, etc.). However, if your budget is tight, any old bag can hold some diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes.
- Stroller. When we lived in New York City, a stroller would have been classified as a “necessity.” Depending on where and how you live, this purchase can swing hundreds of dollars depending on what you need the stroller to be able to do for you.
- Play pen. These are as nice to keep older children out as much as they are to keep baby in. They are nice, but not necessary. They do make for great portable cribs though (especially if you travel or go to grandma’s house).
- Bouncer. These come in all sorts of varieties. If you plan on using one with your very young infant (younger than 3 months), make sure that it is pretty reclined (some sit up too much for a young infant to be able to support his/her body).
- Swing. Some parents swear by these. I borrowed one for my first kid, hated it and never bothered with subsequent children.
- Breast pump (if applicable).
What Happens The Day I Deliver?
- Go to the hospital when your water breaks or contractions are 5 minutes apart, or less.
- When you arrive, the staff will contact your OB/GYN.
- If any problems are anticipated with the baby, or if things don’t go well, the NICU or your pediatrician will attend the delivery to assist your baby. Otherwise, your pediatrician will come the following day.
- Your OB/GYN and pediatrician will see you and your baby each day you are in the hospital.
- If you have a C-section, plan on needing more help.
- The average hospital stay (counting the day of delivery) is 3 days for a vaginal delivery and 4 days for a C-section.
Relax, You’re Prepared.
Planning ahead takes the worry out of what can be an otherwise stressful situation. Ask yourself:
- Do I have all the products I’ll need for me and my baby?
- Have I packed a bag for the hospital (both for mom and baby)?
- Do I have the help of family or friends arranged for the first few days home post-delivery?
- Have I chosen a pediatrician? If not, start looking. Most pediatrician’s offices will do some version of a complimentary “meet and greet,” which allows you to meet the doc and ask questions before the baby comes. It is a good opportunity to make sure you feel comfortable with the pediatrician because everyone’s style is a little different.
Good luck! Don’t’ worry. At the hospital you’ll be surrounded by experienced people who are ready and waiting to help you.
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