This past Labor Day we asked you all to give us your personal “Labor Day” advice. We were inundated with great responses and it took a while to figure out the best way to compile it all. Eventually, we decided to organize the tips by the three stages of labor – before, during and after.
- What to pack: iPod loaded with great music. A notebook and pen to write down memories, contraction times or instructions from the doctors or nurses. A cheap night shirt to wear after you deliver (some moms don’t like the open-back hospital johnnies, but others couldn’t see creating their own laundry when the hospital was happy to handle it). Your own towel (hospital towels might not be up to par, and that first shower after birth deserves a nice, soft towel). Hard candy (especially if your hospital won’t allow you to eat anything but ice chips during labor – these policies vary). Flip flops for the shower. Chap-stick. Cell phone charger. “Going home” outfits for you (yoga pants or something else that’s stretchy) and the baby. A list of people to call/email once the baby arrives. Food for midnight snacking. Nursing pillow. A camera and extra memory cards.
- Before the baby comes, interview some potential babysitters and/or house cleaners. A little help can go a long way in those first months.
- Preparing before the birth takes a lot of the anxiety away from the process. Childbirth classes help you learn how to breathe and relax your body. Strengthening your core through pre-natal yoga or Pilates can help your endurance.
- Figure out how to work the car seat and get it inspected!
- Tour the hospital ahead of time so you know the lay of the land.
- When your water breaks it’s nice to take a shower (you probably wont get a great one once you’re at the hospital) and change the sheets on the guest bed (your in-laws/parents will really appreciate it).
- Jury’s out on whether or not to take the epidural – the majority of you said to have a birth plan, but to be prepared to let yourself go with the flow once you’re at the hospital.
- Focus on yourself and how you’re feeling, everyone else is taken care of. Make sure to speak up and let people know what feels best. Relax and enjoy the moment, staying positive sets the tone for the birth. Having another woman or a doula can help keep you calm.
- Drink lots of water.
- If they offer you a mirror during delivery take it. You may feel a little squeamish, but one mom said it helped focus her pushing, plus you’ll get to see your baby’s head emerge.
- At the hospital, the doctors/nurses will take your baby’s foot print. Buy hard stock paper and have the doctors stamp your baby’s feet on the copies since they will already be inked. You can frame them later!
- Get the names of everyone who attended to you as you go along for “thank-you” gifts. They cannot easily find that information afterwards.
- Don’t feel badly about putting your baby in the nursery, you should recuperate physically so you can be the best mother you can be once you get home.
- Place your food order the second they move you from labor and delivery room to hospital room — you’ll be starving.
- If you’re going to breastfeed, remember that it’s normal for your baby to lose weight during the first couple of days. Don’t get nervous and don’t hesitate to call a lactation consultant if a nurse or doctor is suggesting you start supplementing.
Thanks so much for participating in our contest and especially to Kacie L. of Brookline, MA, the winner of the Skip Hop Prize Pack! Here’s Kacie’s prize-winning entry:
The best advice I can give is to go with the flow. Your little baby is going to be deciding how your labor goes, so you have to be ready for whatever might happen. It is always good to be prepared, but you do not want to have the feeling of disappointment because your birth was different from your plan. Wherever or however you decide to bring your beautiful child into the world, just make sure that in the back of your mind you know that things can change… and as long as you and your baby are healthy, that is the only thing that matters.
A donation will also be made to Project Just Because in Carolyn Dowd Fitzpatrick’s honor for her entry, which was voted the FUNNIEST by our judging panel.
After receiving two rounds of inducement drugs, I returned home annoyed and blistered. Annoyed – because I was still pregnant and blistered? Yes, blistered because 1) I wanted to look fabulous and had worn heels to the hospital to deliver, and 2) they made me walk around the streets of Boston for HOURS in an attempt to “get the party started” that I had blisters all over my feet. By this time, it was late and my husband annouced he was going to bed, convincing me to join him. I couldn’t sleep and decided to reorganize my bathroom cabients (because people who came to see the new baby would CERTAINLY inspect my bathroom cabinets) and found a box of hair dye. Ignoring the expiration date, I decided to go for it and turned my blonde hair a delicate shade of pumpkin. Labor Schmabor, I had a c-section the next morning because even though they left me with crazy orange hair and blisters, the inducement meds didn’t work. So for advice, I would say: be you, be fabulous and you’ll end up with a great story.
Do you have any great advice we missed? Post it in the comments below.