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How to Plan for a Successful Hospital Stay After Birth

During pregnancy, there are plenty of things that you need to do to prepare for your newborn. You need to buy the right accessories, stay healthy, and make sure you’re prepared for the big day. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure you’re ready for your hospital stay. Here is how to plan for a successful stay in the hospital after birth. If you’re planning for a homebirth, talk to your doula or nurse about what you need to do to be ready.

1. Tour the Facility Beforehand

Hospitals allow expecting mothers to take a tour of the labor and delivery areas before moving forward in creating their birthing plan. Take advantage of this. The tour should usually include the triage area for pre-delivery time, family waiting rooms, a labor or delivery suite, and a postpartum room. Some hospitals offer beautiful delivery rooms, but their postpartum rooms are cramped or made for double occupancy. You might also consider getting some food from the cafeteria and inquiring about the hospital’s snacks and drinks—some facilities give them to patients for free while others require trips to the vending machine.

If you know where you’re going to have your baby, regardless of the amenities, a good time to schedule your tour is sometime between week 30 and week 34 of your pregnancy. If you’re not quite sure about which hospital you’re going to choose, try to schedule the tours a little bit earlier so you have enough time without adding any extra stress to your schedule.

2. Learn About Roommate Potential

Some hospitals have double occupancy rooms, others offer private suites. Figure out whether or not there’s a chance that you’ll wind up with a roommate ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than realizing this right after delivery when all you want to do is spend some alone time with your baby. Unfortunately, some roommates are just too much to handle and can ruin your experience. If you’d prefer a 0% chance of a roommate, make sure you find the right facility ahead of time.

3. Know Details About the Maternity Ward

Even if you’ve already delivered a baby at the same hospital, double check about anything that’s changed in the maternity ward. Depending on how long it’s been, you might find that there have been some changes made. It’s always better to know what these changes are than to wait until you arrive and be surprised or disappointed. You want to make sure that you have a successful hospital stay so it’s worth it to take the time and learn about the maternity ward. See if they have private rooms, WiFi, temperature regulation or any policy changes. Familiarize yourself with everything in advance so you don’t have to spend time learning about them while you’re there.

You should also ask whether or not they have any lactation services available. This will allow you to have a little peace of mind if you find yourself unable to get a good latch or struggling with those first initial nursing sessions.   

4. Pack a Hospital Bag

Packing a hospital bag ahead of time is important to making sure that you’re ready to go to the hospital at the first sign of labor. It’s simply too hectic to try and gather up your things just moments after your water breaks or you start going into contractions and unless you want to risk having your baby at home, or in the car, pack a hospital bag ahead of time. Here’s a great resource to use when packing your bag.

5. Then Pack a Back-Up Bag

After successfully packing your primary hospital bag, take some time to put together a back-up bag. This isn’t going to be filled with everything that’s in your first bag, but rather things that you might want as an added bonus. Think about adding your own pillow, towels, or even a small DVD player and your favorite show. Leave these things in the car until after you’ve given birth and if you want some luxury, send your partner out to get them.

6. Communicate Visitor Information

Handling visitors after delivery can be overwhelming. Some new parents happily welcome friends and family while others just want alone time. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to communicate your wishes with everyone standing together in the waiting room. Instead, make sure that you set your visitor rules beforehand. Set specific time limits, make sure everyone knows the importance of hand hygiene, and set few hours where you don’t want to be disturbed. It’s also important to talk to your hospital about COVID-19 visitor restrictions as many places are only allowing one support person right now.

7. Prepare for the First Hour

Regardless of your decision about visitors, the first hour after delivery might seem a little hectic. During this time, the hospital staff are working to make sure that your newborn is healthy and that you yourself are doing good. You’ll be cleaned up and your vitals will be taken while your newborn’s weight, length, stable heartbeat and health check-ups are done. Be ready for this and just go with the flow—it’s all done for the health and safety of you and your new baby. 

8. Learn Breastfeeding 101

Try to learn a little about breastfeeding newborns before you head to the hospital. Do some research on latching, positions, and preparation. Find a breast pump that works for you and order it pre-delivery, so you have time to learn about it and practice the controls. If you need any help with breastfeeding at the hospital, learn about your options for a lactation consultant.

9. Plan Out Sibling Introductions

Bringing home your second baby can cause a minor disruption to your family dynamic—especially if your first born is a toddler. Make sure you plan out sibling introductions and be prepared for a little unrest at first. While your newborn will require lots of attention, don’t forget to spend some one-on-one time with your first born.

10. Get Up and Move

Recovering after labor can be a tumultuous road. Regardless of if you’ve had vaginal delivery or gotten a cesarean section, it’s important to get up and move. Your body needs to start the healing process and a little movement does wonders. This helps your body’s internal system start moving again so that your digestive system gets up and running.

11. Expect the Paperwork

During the first 48 hours after delivery, you and your partner are going to have to fill out a lot of paperwork. You’ll need to fill out the birth certificate, schedule your first pediatrician appointment, and learn how to navigate the hospital’s feeding and changing log. Just be patient and do your best. We know that paperwork is never fun, especially after giving birth, but it’s an essential part of bringing home your baby and making sure that all of your bases are covered.

12. Understand Potential Tests and Procedures

Before you and your baby are discharged, there are a few tests and procedures that may be done. They’re all part of the process of ensuring a healthy baby, so don’t worry. However, you should still prepare yourself as it can be difficult watching your newborn undergo medical tests, especially if they show any signs of discomfort or infection.

A common test performed is a hearing test. Luckily, this is not invasive, and many babies actually sleep through it. Your doctor or nurse will put headphones on your baby and watch their reactions. If you want to learn more about how the hearing test is performed, talk to the medicall staff and delivery nurses ahead of time.

Blood tests are also required by most hospitals. This is simply to check iron levels, blood sugar, and your newborn’s overall health. This is important to do while you’re in the hospital so if there are any signs of complications, you will stay longer so they can be handled before you take your baby home. Blood tests are usually difficult for most parents because they require a small stick that can cause your baby to cry.

If you have a boy and you choose to circumcise him, it will be done in those first few days while you’re at the hospital. Most hospitals perform the circumcision in another room, but you can request to be there if you want. Make sure that you know how to care for the wound after circumcision and check with your insurance provider beforehand to see if it’s covered.

Welcoming your newborn into the world is an exciting journey. When you’re prepared for your hospital stay, you’ll be able to focus on what’s important: rest and bonding with your new family. To make sure you’re prepared for motherhood, order your insurance covered breast pump from Byram Healthcare today.