Monday, March 31, 2014

I've probably done this before, but . . . .

I have a friend who is expecting a first baby and I offered him any advice/tips he may want. But I figured a generic link to a list might appeal more to him. Kind of like a childbirth class.

  1. Pack earplugs and one of those airplane sleep masks in your bag. It's hard to sleep in a hospital at night, and harder still if you're up all night giving birth and then try to sleep in the day. A new mother could hear her baby stir through cinder blocks and earmuffs; the earplugs won't keep her from waking up to nurse.
  2. Pack nipple shields, and ignore ANYONE who tells you they're for flat nipples only. I can list off so many people who were ONLY able to nurse because of a shield (poor latch, tiny baby mouth, engorgement, pain, etc) and it literally cannot hurt to try the shield when you hit the wall. They sell them at Target.
  3. Depends.  Yes, adult diapers. All dignity screams NOOOOO, but after giving birth you bleed like a popped water balloon and the hospital issues those quarter inch mini pads. For cleanliness and peace of mind, sleep in the elastic waist underwear style Depends for as long as you need to.  They are NO more embarrassing or less stylish than the fishnet disposable panties the hospital gives you.
  4. Pharmacies sell this stuff that's basically ambesol for hemmorhoids. It's just lidocaine cream in a toothpaste tube. Hemmorhoids or not, you may end up with an episiotomy and any kind of painkiller helps with that. Also request epifoam, Tucks pads, and giant maxi pads you squeeze to activate the chemical ice back within. And a squirty bottle of warm water. If they won't give you one, use contact lense saline. I'ts sterile and keeps stitches from drying. Oh, and pat dry, don't wipe.
  5. Bring a swaddling blanket (my fave is the woombie  but Walmart sells one with velcro tabs that doesn't suck either) and use it from the first. They are wonderful and help the baby sleep so well. Added bonus: it holds too-big newborn diapers on a little tighter, gives a baby thrust into an alien world a new familiar constant if she wears it for every nap, and eliminates the need for most pajamas, so midnight diaper changes are easier.
  6. SPECIFICALLY ask for a post-birth IV of pitocin. Put this in your birth plan, make several copies, give one to your ob/gyn before your due date, and hand the rest out to hospital staff when you get there. Nurses are vigilant to the point of paranoia about getting the blood out of your uterus. Pitocin will cause cramping and accomplish this. The ONE time I didn't know to ask for it, they gave me the usual treatment which is to pull down your sheets and underclothes and grind their balled up fist into your already tender uterus until tears gush from your face and blood gushes from elsewhere. Just, trust me. Ask for the pitocin instead.
  7. Bring a purse full of sugar-free chocolate bars with you. The last thing you want to do after having a baby is push and sugar-free chocolate has the gentlest laxative/softening effect I've found. Better than stool softener pills, better than prunes or prune juice, better than drinking gallons of water (although you may want to do that one anyway, to help with milk supply.)
  8. If you plan to nurse, cut anyone who offers to help you supplement. Don't let them bottle feed the baby while you sleep or give sugar water if the baby's blood sugar drops (if you ask, they'll bring you the sugar water and a straw. Remember holding the top of the straw to keep it full until dripping liquid on the smooshed straw wrapper to make "worms"? Same basic idea, and it doesn't cause nipple confusion.  And neither will a shield if you have to use one.
  9. A well-controlled gag reflex and a bar of hand soap (I use Irish Spring) will clean just about anything out of clothes. Baby poop, spit-up, milk leakage, blood, even  the most disgusting- baby food.
  10. Homemade baby wipes are the best. A roll of Bounty (you need something strong when it's wet), and a weak baby wash and water solution. Cut the roll in half with a serrated knife, remove the center tube, put it in any plastic lidded canister the right size, and pour the soapy water in and let it soak. You can pull the towels right up through the middle like our moms used to.
  11. Gentian Violet. I don't know what it is but it works for thrush. And if you're nursing, you get thrush when the baby gets thrush. So you take this purple stuff and you paint your nipples purple, multiple times a day. And when the baby nurses, she gets some, too. The main issue with RX thrush meds for babies is that so much sugar is added to make the babies swallow it that it kind of feeds the yeast itself. Most definitely ask your doctors about all of this I'm saying, but I've never heard a pediatrician say anything negative about it.
  12. Another nursing thing. Everyone will recommend Lansinoh lanolin cream for sore or cracked nippled.  I tried it and it was just a goopy mess.  So the next time I gave birth I tried another product, one I would use again no matter how many kids I ever have.  The Gerber Breast Therapy Stick. Imagine a big chap stick you just rub on and leave. No gooey fingers trying to close up the bra, no muss at all.
  13. A nursing cami is just amazing. A good one comes with enough bra built in that you can undo and do it with one hand and no accidental flashes, plus you NEVER have to lift your shirt to nurse.

1 comment:

Lua Morris said...

My advice is to 1.) always clean the neck; 2.) baby wipes clean EVERYTHING; and 3.) the baby has gas if he/she is still upset after you've tried everything else.