It’s tough thinking back over eight years ago what life was like as a new mom. When I reflect on that time in my life, I realize just how far Scott and I have come – totally in a good way, of course.

The first 48 hours in the hospital is a bit of a blur. We were totally smug that our “perfect” first baby was sleeping 5 hour stretches at the hospital and I scoffed at those parents who were sleep deprived. Oh, I ate those words in the first 72 hours. Trust me. I’m pretty sure when we shared that overconfidence with our OB, he just chuckled and said, “Really? Let me know how the first week goes.”

There was lots to learn. Lots to soak in. If only I knew then, what I know now 🙂

TOP TEN: THE FIRST 48 HOURS

1. Toss your birth plan out the window. Don’t get me wrong, they’re nice to have. Nice goals, if you will. But, if we’ve learned anything about our four completely different birth experiences, nothing goes according to plan.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for the epidural – early. Some women go the natural route (planned or unplanned), but I’m a wus by nature…at least in the baby delivery department. At 2cm, I was in some serious pain – that and the fact that it was 2am in the morning. My sweet Dr. Teter sauntered into the room, sipping his coffee and says, “You’re welcome for the epidural early.” An hour later, we were pushing.

3. It ‘ain’t like TLC’s “A Baby Story.” I think I saw every episode and our experience was like none of ’em. I don’t watch that show anymore. It just annoys the heck out of me.

4. Call on the lactation consultant often and early. If there’s anything that helps predict early nursing success, it’s getting your baby to latch on the right way. That, and a little Lansinoh never hurts.

5. Ice packs are your friend. Those that have had babies know where I’m coming from on this one.

6. Clean out the baby cart – diapers, rash cream, wipes, vaseline, alcohol wipes – the whole shabang, before you check out. You’re paying for it anyway, you might as well take it all home with you.

7. Don’t stress about packing the overnight bag. Our first had everything but the dad gum kitchen sink. Now, we don’t even bother packing one. Scott just packs a few things for me when he comes home to shower. Those cute pajamas that I thought I’d be sporting never left the bag, neither did the underwear, scented candles, CD player and music, massage oil… I would, however, recommend bringing your driver’s license and an iPod if you have it. Forgot the former during the last delivery.

8. Tell people to bring the gifts to your house. We felt like pack mules when we left the hospital with Will. It’s not that we weren’t grateful, but we were stressed enough. It took Scott three trips to the car before he was ready for us!

9. Rooming in with your baby is like going on a romantic getaway to Hawaii with your kids. Trust me, you have the rest of your life to sleep with your kids just a stone’s throw away. The first 48 hours is the most sleep you’re going to get for about a year. Shoot, I’d even call it a mini-vacation these days. Someone else taking care of the baby when I’m too tired, someone else cooks and cleans and I don’t have to shower if I don’t want to.

10. Get the number of every girlfriend you know who’s had a baby recently and put her on your speed dial. When you get home, she will be the one you can ask any question. Moms are good, but you need someone who’s in the trenches with you.

And that, is the rest of the story.

6 Comments

  1. Molly on September 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    This is THE best advice in the world. i think new mom's (some), i work with one, who live in this ideallic world of the TLC's Baby Story and hate to hear that it's not all that! I shared this with her…I think she is coming to the reality of the situation in only 10 short weeks. I can still hear your chuckle underneath your breath while you are saying these things!

  2. amanda on September 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Good stuff!

  3. The Steinman Squad on September 9, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    TOTALLY agree! Especially the lactation consultant. I'll just say that to get Brooke to latch on properly, she had us use grape jelly. Worked like a charm and I was sobbing and ready to give up before they shared that little tidbit with me.

  4. Shannon on September 9, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Because I'm not afraid to go there: Get as many of those stretchy, mesh panties that they have at the hospital. For reals.

  5. Nicole on September 10, 2009 at 1:44 am

    What a great post K. I love how you are reflecting and writing about your precious baby and pregnancy – how quickly these coming days and weeks will go until your little one is here! I can SO relate to your top 10 as well. Thankfully, some wise siblings of mine had cued me in to a lot of this advice before I actually gave birth the first time around!!! 🙂 Hugs to you!

  6. Kristi on September 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks for the wisdom! I hope that I get to put it to good use in the near future. 🙂
    K

    (edited to correct a typo—can't handle those)

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