After speaking to all of my friends with babies, searching the web, and reading every pregnancy book, there are still some things that no one told me about to prepare for the day when my baby was born.
Here are 10 tips I wish someone had told me.
- Take the two weeks off before your due date. Legally, this is an optional part of maternity leave (if you have it). Disability starts paying you during this time. You can never have that time back again. You are tired, worried, and annoyed at your partner and working doesn't help.
- Beautify. Mani, pedi, wax, and cut your hair. You will not have time for this after you give birth for a while. You think you will, but you won't and you won't want to.
- Plan ahead for your first meal after labor. Hospital food is not what you want after hours of labor. Some say labor works out your body the same way running a marathon does. People who finish marathons don't go to the hospital cafeteria for their reward.
- Don't let anyone take photos while you're still in your hospital gown. There's a photo of me in my mother-in-law's foyer showcasing my huge, braless boobs while I'm hanging on to my newborn baby for dear life. Yes, I know it's about the baby, but when there's a photo involved, it's about me, too. What's the point of bringing that new, cute, black leisure suit to the hospital if you're caught on camera in that hideous gown?
- Make firm visiting hours. One of my uncles showed up to our hospital room at around 10 p.m. the first night we had our daughter. My husband and I were awkwardly trying to change her first poopy diaper. The extra eyes turned what could have been a cute memory into an uncomfortable situation. (Sidebar: Don't be alarmed that the first poop looks like tar.)
- Forget stool softener. Go for the laxative. If you are still stopped up by day four, just take one. Softener is gentle and that first poop after baby isn't. You need full power.
- Put the baby in the car seat while you're still in the privacy of your hospital room. We waited until we were downstairs at the hospital valet. People were waiting behind us to get out. It made a high-stress situation worse. The baby was screaming, people were staring, and we didn't even know if we were doing it right. This is, after all, the first time you are bringing your baby outside.
- BYOB -- bring your own blanket. Of course the hospital blankets are clean, but they aren't comfortable like the ones that you own. You'll be holding and feeding your baby on this blanket and you should make yourself and your baby as comfortable as possible.
- BYOB -- in the traditional sense. Bring a bottle of booze -- go for champagne. The hospital staff may even chill it for you. Share a toast with your partner and your best friends. Obviously you aren't in the mood to get drunk, but a few sips will taste oh so good.
- Have sex regularly before your due date. You may feel like a cow, but it will be at least 6 weeks after you give birth until you can have it again, so moo your way through it.
Imaga via © iStock.com/Reptile8488