By: Heather Somaini
I think having babies is by far the most stressful time and anything you can do to make it better is a plus. Here are my Top 10 things you should know before your baby is born –from a non-birth mother’s point of view:
1. Take everything you can from the hospital. It’s all great and you can’t find anything like it in the real world. Blankets, diapers, bottles, thermometers – but most especially, the little blue suction thing that they use on the baby’s nose/mouth. You’ll never find another one like it.
2. No visitors at the hospital. Although we loved having visitors, it’s the one thing I sort of regret. Take the time at the hospital for yourselves. It’s a busy time and you’re a bit overwhelmed with the newness of everything. Let everyone come see the new baby after you’ve gotten home. It gives you a great excuse to let them hold the baby while you take a long, hot shower.
3. Put that baby on a schedule. If you can, put the baby on a 3-hour schedule as soon as possible – every 3 hours the baby is changed, fed, burped and then put back to sleep. Even if they’re sleeping…wake them up. Free went on this schedule immediately because of his “residency” in the NICU. It’s like baby boot camp up there. They don’t mess around.
4. Handle the car seat. Bring the car seat up to the room or nursery and adjust the straps for the baby the day BEFORE you leave the hospital. Ask one of the nurses to help. Depending on the size of the baby, you may need to use one of their rolled-up blankets to fill in the space between the baby and the head guard thingy.
5. Prep the house. If you thought saving any baby projects until after their return home was a good idea, don’t. Assemble everything. Build everything. Wash all the baby clothes. Stock the refrigerator. Clean the house. Make sure your home is in great shape before they return.
6. Read/watch the following ASAP:
- RAISING BABY GREEN by Dr. Alan Greene
HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK by Dr. Harvey Karp
THE SLEEP EASY SOLUTION by Jill Spivack & Jennifer Waldburger (for sleep training starting around five months)
THE DUNSTAN BABY LANGUAGE DVD by Priscilla Dunstan 2-3 weeks after the baby is born. It sounds crazy I know, but I was shocked when I heard the same cry our twins had been making and it was clear we weren’t burping them enough. It’s seriously real and spooky that some chick actually figured this out.
7. Order everything online. It’s cheaper, usually sales tax free, and best of all – it’s delivered to your house. We NEVER bought a diaper in a store. Really, we didn’t. Diapers, wipes, lotion, BPA- free bottles, shampoo/body wash, ointments (Aquaphor is a must – don’t mess around with any other diaper rash ointment). If you’re doing formula, we found the cheapest at Costco but they have a very limited selection.
8. Go out with baby. The first 3 months are pretty much the only time the baby will have no interest in the outside world and sleeps constantly. You can take her to dinner, to the movies, to the mall. Do it. It will help ease you into the next phase of baby alertness. We saw at least three movies and countless dinners with the twins. People thought we were nuts but it works.
9. Date Night. You MUST have date night at least once every two weeks. Please, I beg of you – take your wife out to eat in a restaurant. Make a reservation. Put on some clean clothes. Act like you wouldn’t pay $1,000 for sleep. If you want to stay married for a long time, take her out. Remind her that she’s still the one you fell in love with and would marry all over again.
10. Don’t listen to a word she says. I know you’ve experienced a hormonal mom-to-be, but you have no understanding of what a new hormonal nursing mom is. Don’t let anything she says get into your head. None of it will make sense. It’s completely illogical. This won’t stop until at least a month or two after she stops breastfeeding. Hopefully yours won’t decide to nurse forever and you’ll find your wife again one day soon. Or better yet, she’s decided formula is the way to go.