You’re almost to the finish line! The swollen feet, shortness of breath and frequent trips to empty your bladder are nearly in your rear-view. The last few weeks feel like an eternity with so much to do and so little time before baby arrives. Postpartum recovery is often an afterthought, but your body and its recovery is one of the most important postnatal care aspects so you can give your best to your baby.
Before jumping into the details of what to expect afterbirth, here’s a to-do list before the big day:
Before Birth Checklist
- Select a pediatrician if this is your first child.
- Wash some of babe’s clothes using a gentle, pH balanced detergent.
- Invest in a nursing bra if you’re planning on nursing and pack Premama Lactation Support in your hospital bag.
- For packing your hospital bag, check out @TheBirthBoss’s Iist of essentials here.
- Check to see if your insurance covers a breast pump and get that ordered.
- Stock your fridge with frozen meals, attend those free classes at the hospital (or at least know exactly where you need to go), and practice installing the car seat.
The first few days home are a whirlwind. Your emotions are flowing, so it helps to be prepared and already have what you need. While you’re finishing up those last few tasks around the house, let’s dive in to the first few days of expectations after giving birth. Without sugarcoating, it’s an unsexy time that’s also so magnificent. Whether you gave birth vaginally or by c-section, you’re going to be swollen and sore-- it’s totally normal.
Post-Birth: The Magic Hour
The first hour after birth is often called the ‘magic hour’ because of it’s amazing benefits to both mom and baby. After nine months of waiting, your baby will be placed on your chest for skin-to-skin time. You’ll get to count their tiny fingers and toes and gaze into the eyes of your newborn, while some pretty incredible hormonal magic is fast at work:
- Skin-to-skin allows baby’s temperature, breathing rate, heart rate and blood sugar to stabilize.
- It accelerates your baby’s brain development
- It also benefits you… skin-to-skin time causes the release of hormones to reduces your stress, fight postpartum and promote healing.
- Sometimes doctors and nurses whisk the baby away to clean them and take vitals. If possible, ask them to let you do skin-to-skin right away while those things are being done. If you’re unable (physically) to do it, dad is the next best candidate!
Breastfeeding Tips while still in the hospital:
- Day 2 post-delivery is the best day to evaluate your baby’s ability to latch
- Begin to look for feeding cues in your baby with regular feedings every few hours
- It’s a good idea to meet with a lactation consultant (most hospitals have one on staff!). It’s better to start off on the right foot instead of trying to correct things later down the road. Knowledge is power and tips from an expert will ensure your success.
- Take care of yourself! Eat well, drink LOTS of water, rest when baby rests, and continue taking your vitamins.
Hospital stays vary depending on the type of birth:
- If you have a c-section, expect a 4-5 day stay
- If you give birth vaginally, expect a 2-3 day stay.
Every delivery is different-- causing lengths of stays to vary. On occasion if you are medically capable you can leave sooner. If you have other babes at home, we recommend staying for the duration your hospital staff recommends, you earned it. Trust your gut, speak up for yourself and say no if you need to. You’re going to be sore, and your hormones will be changing, but it’s so important to treat yourself gently - a mother was just born, too. <3