Preparing for your hospital stay after the baby arrives can be a little daunting. To be honest, it’s all a blur during those first few days with a newborn. You’re running on very little sleep, you’re exhausted from just giving birth, and you now have a new baby to take care of.
I promise you though, it’s one of the most magical times of your life.
Preparing beforehand is key to making your stay as comfortable as possible. Here are some of my top tips for preparing for your postpartum hospital stay with a little help from Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital.
1. Tour Your Hospital and Ask Questions
First things first, you should take a tour of the labor and delivery room as well as the mother-baby room. You’ll want to make note of the space so that you can plan accordingly. Will you have a private room? What about visiting policies? Are there any limits on how many visitors can be in your room? Find out how they handle lactation services too. Does a lactation consultant make regular patient rounds or simply lead a daily breastfeeding support group?
2. Talk About Your First Hour
The first hour after giving birth is vital. Make sure you and your partner discuss how you want ti to go. Typically, right after giving birth, the nurses will place the baby right in your arms as long as there are no complications with delivery. You’ll have time for skin-to-skin cuddling and your heart will probably feel like it’s melting out of your body.
Once you’re ready, the baby is then given to the nurses who will make sure to clean, weigh and measure your new little bundle of joy. When writing your birth plan or discussing the delivery with your doctor, specify how you want that first hour to go.
3. Learn About Your Mother/Baby Room
Every hospital is different so make sure to ask what happens once you move to your postpartum room. At Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital, once you’re moved to your private room their team will assess your baby at your bedside.
All newborn care including bathing will be done in your suite throughout your stay. During your stay after your baby’s birth, you can expect:
- A daily examination by your nurse and doctor
- Education on feeding and caring for your new infant
- Detailed discharge education to help and support you when you go home
- Time to care for your baby, who will be rooming with you, with support from your nurse to assist or answer any questions you may have
4. Think about How You Want to Handle Visitors
I didn’t want to offend anyone who wanted to come see our new little one. People wanted to see the brand new family member and who wouldn’t?! Telling people I wanted space for at least a week felt super selfish but actually…I wish I had done just that.
Family got to see me wheeled into the bathroom directly after labor, door open and the nurse awkwardly trying to put me on the toilet. They were also all gathered there as I attempted to breastfeed, pulling the sheet over my head for some privacy, too exhausted and shy to tell them all to leave.
It really is my fault. I wish I’d known to just trust my gut and ask for some space. I love our family more than anything else, I just know now that alone time is what’s needed in my case during those first few hours after birth.
Plan accordingly for your situation. Write in your labor plan who you’d like in the delivery room and when you’d like to see people afterward.
5. Ask About Going Home
At Winnie Palmer Hospital, new babies and birth mothers are usually discharged 24-48 hours after a vaginal delivery and 48-72 hours after a cesarean delivery. Before you leave, a nurse will go over your discharge instructions. You’ll receive information about follow-up care for you and your baby, along with resources or help you may need or questions you may have when you’re home.
You’ll also talk with a clerk from the birth certificate office before you leave the hospital. Before heading home, you will need to have:
- An infant car seat with you at the hospital
- An appointment scheduled with a pediatric doctor to check your baby within two days of discharge
6. Pack Your Postpartum Recovery Room Bag
Packing your postpartum recovery bag can be a little different than your actual hospital bag. I definitely recommend using the Winnie Palmer Hello Baby! pregnancy app as your guide when it comes to packing for delivery. Learn More.
From packing your favorite pillow to an infant car seat, the app has all the information you will need to feel prepared for your stay at the hospital. Download Hello Baby! on your Apple or Android device.
7. Prepare a Postpartum Recovery Kit
The first few minutes after you arrive at home from the hospital will be weird. There will be ZERO nurses or doctors to help you and you’re going to feel so lost and overwhelmed. I highly recommend packing a postpartum recovery kit in your third trimester so you’ll be ready to go once you and baby are home.
Here’s the essentials:
- Giant Pads: If you had a vaginal birth, then you’ll want to stock up on those GIANT pads. You’re going to bleed for like the first week and it will be so much more relaxing to have a pad on hand whenever you need it.
- Disposable underwear: Like I noted above, you’ll be bleeding a lot so go ahead and invest in some of those ugly disposable underwear. Then you won’t have to worry about ruining your favorite panties.
- Sitz Baths: They are SUPER healing and fantastic for postpartum recovery.
- TUCKS wipes: This is a little embarrassing but you may come out of delivery with a hemorrhoid or two. (It’s from all that pushing) Be prepared with TUCKS wipes to releive the pain.
There it is: the postpartum hospital stay revealed in all its naked glory.. Now you have the truth and that means you will be MUCH more prepared. Plus, you’ll have that beautiful new baby to make ALL that craziness, worth it.
If you think I missed something, please leave your feedback in the comments below to help other expecting mamas!
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