From the very moment labor is over, you are officially a parent! It’s amazing, wonderful, unbelievable… and also frightening. At least the very first time.
Even if you’ve read every book imaginable from cover to cover, reading about taking care of baby and actually holding that life in your hands are two very different things. All of a sudden you are 100% responsible for a whole new human. Not to be dramatic. =) But it can feel overwhelming.
So here is a great piece of advice- while you’re in the hospital, soak up all the great knowledge that is there! There is so much to learn about newborn care in the hospital. Take advantage of all the people who can answer each and every one of your questions. Nurses, doctors, lactation consultants, pediatricians… all with experience and education. It can be tempting to rush through the many people coming in to your hospital room to check on you, so you can get back to loving on that sweet babe- but any question you have, you should ask. Surrounded by monitors, vital checks, and scheduled feedings- taking care of baby can seem easy. But I can tell you then once you snap that infant carseat into your car, once you’re without any medical professionals, it’s going to feel a little different.
Things to Ask About
The nurses will go over so many things with you. Be sure to pay attention, and even take notes if you want! Also it can help if you know ahead of time what you’ll want to know before you take baby home. (And don’t stress- the hospital will send you home with all the contact information you’ll need. But being as prepared as possible never hurts, and might save you a few dozen phone calls).
- Baby’s schedule
- Umbilical cord care
- Circumcision care
- Lactation advice
- Bottle feeding info (even if you’re breastfeeding, you might want to introduce a bottle at some point and this can be difficult if baby loves breastfeeding)
- Taking baby’s temperature
- Bathing baby (hint: sponge baths are needed at first!)
- SIDS info
- Bowel movements
- First doctor visits
Taking Care of Mom
In addition to caring for baby, you will also have a few special instructions for yourself. Whether you had a vaginal birth or cesarean, you’ll need some TLC as well. Be sure to ask questions about your own care too, including what to do if you feel as if you might have any postpartum mood disorders.