Thursday, January 7, 2010
THE HOSPITAL STAY AFTER THE BABY IS BORN
So, you've survived the hospital admittance and you have gotten the delivery out of the way. Now you get to enjoy your wonderful stay in the hospital after the baby is born. Most hospitals now allow you to keep your baby with you in your room at all times if you're capable of caring for him or her. Meaning, as long as you are not feverish or high on painkillers. haha. Give yourself the option of keeping the baby with you or letting the nursery staff care for them while you attend to a quick bath or sleeping for a 45 minute nap. One of the most common fears of new mommies is about turning their babies over to the care of the nursery, in fear that the nurses ond duty secretly go against your insistence on breast-feeding and will disregard all orders and sneak some formula into the little one when the viewing room shades are drawn. It does happen I've been told but not all of the time. Some times babies are just given sterilized water from a bottle when they seem to need help quieting down because they understand the last thing they need is a baby not hungry when the mother is trying to get the hang of the whole nursing thing.
A good justification for rooming in is to get to know your baby and to practice your mothering skills with the safety of a medical setting. This is a very wise and pragmatic choice, especially if you allow yourself to send the baby back to the nursery fro a few hours if the responsibility is still too much for you. Just watching your baby sleep is a miracle, perfect and dumbfounding. You can watch her breathe or flutter her eyelashes with fascination. And don't forget the smell! The smell of a newborn is the most perfect smell that you can never get enough of. It is intoxicating.
Like a good hotel or a cruise, your hospital will probably offer other services or activities to make your stay more fulfilling. As soon as you are coherent, ask a nurse whether they offer any infant care classes and if they do, limp yourself down to one. At this point you probably don't even know what questions to ask but the professionals what answers to give you even if you don't know you need them. If daddy can come too, better yet still, especially if he is going to be there to carry out his weight in this parenting thing.
If you intend to breast-feed your baby, you might find the assistance of a Lactation Specialist very valuable. Don't be surprised if nursing is much more difficult than you imagined it would be. It can be as frustrating as learning how to ride a bike and much more painful. Thank goodness there are specialists that can help you. These people will also give you their number to call after you've gone home because some of the most exciting breast-feeding emergencies occur long after you've checked out of the hospital.
Another hospital service that you may enjoy is their photographer who takes those adorable newborn photos. They are wonderful to have because your newborn will never look that way again. The pointy head, the splotchy skin and swollen eyes will disappear. If you choose to not use this service that's okay too. Your newborn will much more adorable in a week! Before you leave the hospital be sure to ask them if they have a 'hot line' that you can call if you have questions or concerns after you get home. Most hospitals and birthing centers have advisers taking phone calls 24 hours a day to help new parents. Not every 'emergency' requires a trip to the pediatrician. Sometimes reassurance and a bit of advice is all you really need.
There is no way to predict how you will feel about having visitors after the baby is born. Some love having people come by and other women feel anxious, overwhelmed or disappointed about their birthing experience. The last thing they want at this moment is to have to put on a party face and amuse guests. There's a lot of expectation leading up to delivery and when it's over some women just feel exhausted. THIS IS YOUR TIME! IF YOU DON'T WANT VISITORS, DON'T ACCEPT THEM! They will get over it.
Before you check out, take some time to ask someone with authority which 'stuff' you are allowed to take home with you. Be assure that all the toiletries, will be billed to you whether you use them or not, so take them. Some of the most immediately valuable supplies that hospitals often provide a donut pillow to sit on, throw that sucker right into the suitcase without even asking permission (it's not the greatest thing to go and buy at the drugstore). Also ask if you can take home the little T-shirt and blanket that he wore in the hospital because they make good keepsakes. Diaper bags, etc are also common giveaways. The most important thing to take home with you, besides the baby is the nasal aspirator. That's the blue little rubber bulb that you use to suck mucous out of the baby's nose. It's a wonderful little thing since the baby can't blow his nose or sniff yet. You can buy one at the drugstore but the hospital one is usually better. You also may want to stock up on the obstetrical pads that nurseries use to clean the baby during a diaper change. You may or may not know that you don't use diaper wipes on newborns because the chemicals are too irritating to their skin. a clean washcloth that has been dipped in tepid water works great too. If your baby is a boy and has been circumcised, you will also need a good supply of gauze squares to protect him until he heals. You can easily get these at the drugstore but sometimes with a new baby it's tough to get to the store and if you didn't think of this before hand...it's just some thing you need.
There's also, of course a ton of paperwork to take care of before your bundle of joy can enter the real world. The delivery doctor will begin the process of registering your tiny human when he fills out the certificate of live birth. Then, later, when you are in your room, several papers will be given to you to fill out. Some of this can be taken home to do so if you want, just ask someone which papers NEED to be filled out while you're there. Don't forget you also need to get a Social Security number for your baby. Instead of going to the nearest federal building, sometimes the nurse can give you the forms you need. Next stop...home!