Monday, February 1, 2010

My Top Must-Haves for L&D and the First Week at Home

Last week I posted what we packed for the hospital. Even though we only live a half mile away, we packed in a way that wouldn't require anyone to dash home to get one last thing. I also wasn't 100% whether or not I'd end up with a c-section and a four to five night stay or just be there for two nights recovering from a vaginal delivery. Therefore I did over pack in the clothing department. Everything else we actually used. My top five must-haves for labor and delivery (besides a supportive husband and mother and our awesome doula) are:

1. Birthing/Yoga Ball

2. Alternative attire to the hospital gown ( I wore a sarong and bra top for L&D and my own button front PJ's for post partum)

3. Mellow/soothing music

4. Sleep Mask (I had one from an international flight amenities kit)...kept out the light from the fluorescent overhead lights and also helped me stay "in the zone" when nurses/staff would come in and check the monitor, IV, etc.

5. Massage (I was extra lucky...not only did I have the doula working her magic, but also my mother, who is a certified Rolfer.) I had two massages the week before my delivery (one was the night before). Then, while in labor, there was someone constantly massaging at least one part of me (back, shoulders, legs, feet, hands, etc.) It really helped me work through the pain of labor and relax both physically and mentally.

Aside from diapers and wipes, the car seat to get home from the hospital and of course, my
husband home from work this week and half of next, these are my Top 5 Gotta-have-'em when the baby comes home items:

1. Nursing Pillow (Boppy or My Brest Friend...I have both and use the Boppy in my rocking chair and the Brest Friend for nursing in bed or the living room)

2. Moby Wrap or similar (we DIY's our own for $21 which gave us to wash, one to wear. Or in our case, one for me and one for Daddy).

3. Breastfeeding friendly tops and tanks (I only had two nursing tops and wish I had more before coming home from the hospital.)

4. Rocker/Recliner...mine swivels which is an added bonus!

5. Swaddling blankets, burp clothes and baby blankets

I am also going to add nightlights. We've installed them in our room, the baby's room, bathroom and kitchen. That way I can navigate through our home with our LO in the middle of the night without switching on overhead lights. It helps me to stay safe and also feel more "rested" despite not really getting a long stretch of sleep.

We are also glad we decided to use disposable diapers and wipes until the baby passed all of her meconium. It's just been easier to transition from the hospital to home. Especially since Mr. Divasaur just learned how to diaper a baby from the nursery staff at the hospital. We've been using Pamper's Swaddlers in NB (the hospital sent us home with Size 1 but we already had the NB size on hand and are preferring its fit to the Size 1's on our 8 lb. baby). We were using natural bamboo, unscented disposable wipes from Walgreen's in a Lionsheart Wipes Warmer. Genius! Our LO is not a huge fan of being changed and the warm wipes help calm her down. After her meconium passed on day 6, we transitioned to our cloth diaper and wipe stash. We're using cloth wipes with water in our wipes warmer and it's working beautifully. It seems that our LO is actually preferring cloth...she fusses a lot less now that we're not using disposables any more.

Things I have tried to use this week but am realizing are not for us:

1. Miracle Blanket (my baby likes her hands by her face when she's swaddled since that's how she was positioned in uetero). Also other "pre-formed" swaddlers...we're sticking with big, thin flannel and stretch cotton blankets.

2. Speaking of which, the cute flannel "receiving blankets" that you typically can get are TOO small to successfully swaddle a newborn. At least in our case. So we've been using them to "line" the bigger ones we got from the hospital and make the swaddling warmer. Other than that, I guess I'll be using them for changing diapers and mopping up spit-up.

3. Newborn clothing that goes over the head is not convenient with a brand new baby. Especially one that needs to be naked to nurse (she's too cozy otherwise and just dozes I strip her down to her diaper, get her latched on and then cover her up with a blanket or wrap/carrier).

I got several gowns that are like a t-shirt on top and a long with elastic on the bottom because I was advised that these are great for a new baby. Same with onesies...the kind that go over the head and snap in the crotch. But before her belly button was in the clear, it was a pain to use those gowns and onesies. For the first week....I was loving the few kimono-style wrap and snap styled t-shirts that we have. They stayed off her belly button perfectly and it was easy to open them up, lay her on top and dress her. Way more easy than jostling her around to get something over her head, across her belly button and down.

Also, my DH has large hands and is having a hard time with little buttons and snaps. Again, in time I'm sure he'll feel more confident with them...but he is most comfortable with a sleeper we have that has a zipper up the front. I don't like it as well because the metal pull ends up right under our LO's chin and I feel it might dig into her or something.

Other than that, all I can say is for the first week home really plan on staying flexible and adjusting all expectations. I have had to give myself little pep talks all week that there's no one way to do this...despite all the advice available from friends, family, books and web sites. For me, it's about staying in the moment and tuning into my LO's cues. I am lucky because she is a really easy baby. She only fusses when she's hungry or has a wet/dirty diaper. So I am learning as I go. And always remembering that the first three months is basically the "fourth trimester" for her. So my days and nights are filled with lots of snuggles, kisses, breastfeeding and diaper changing. I know that this time will flash in a blink of the eye so I plan to embrace every moment of it, even though it means my eyes are blinking less than they used to before she arrived. I am now grateful for those sleepless nights of the third trimester. It's as if they helped "reset" my body clock for what's an acceptable amount of sleep/rest with which to function.


  1. Congrats Divasaur - those first few months are amazing (and difficult). Our little guy like his hands up by his face too and we found even with the pre-formed swaddlers, we could swaddle him w/ his hands up around his chin/mouth or just out. And I agree the bigger receiving blankets work the best!

  2. Oh, and I'm so jealous of your bra top and sarong for labor - what a great idea!!

  3. Nice to see the "must haves". It's always interesting to see what you used and what you didn't. I found I took a lot of things that I didn't use!!!
    How did you make your own Moby wrap? I'm pregnant with my 2nd and wanted one so badly for my first but they r so expensive!!!! What kind of material did you buy? And how is it working?
    Hope u have time to answer these questions---but I understand if u don't! I know what it's like with a nb.