10 Postpartum Hospital Stay Survival Tips Every Mom-to-Be Should Know
Giving birth is the hardest part of a hospital stay, right? Not always. After delivering my son recently, I found the postpartum period before I was released to be even more challenging than pushing him out! Between fending off overeager visitors and struggling to get more than a few consecutive hours of sleep, I was in misery in the days after the birth.
The good news is that after some fails, I figured out a few tips and tricks to make my postpartum hospital stay more bearable. So if you're about to welcome a little one, keep reading to see how you can get through the recovery time post-birth with fewer bumps along the way.
Download a White Noise App
Hospitals are loud, and I found it almost impossible to sleep through other babies crying, doors shutting, and people talking out in the hallway. On my second night on the recovery floor, I downloaded a white noise app on my phone. Dozing off to the sound of waves crashing on the beach literally saved my sanity!
Set Boundaries With Family
My parents showed up AS SOON AS I DELIVERED. I felt exhausted, I was sweaty, and I still had blood and baby poop on me. So I told them to wait outside until I showered. Yes, even though they were SUPER excited. I needed that time to feel human again before I welcomed any visitors.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help
I went without any water for an entire night because I felt timid about bugging my nurse. I was woozy by morning after trying to breastfeed while dehydrated. Later I thought, "Why the heck did I do that to myself?" The nurses are there to help! The takeaway: don't be afraid to ask for assistance from staff in the hospital. You are paying for your stay, after all.
Stand Up For Yourself
At one point, a nurse tried to take my baby to the nursery for tests, but I didn't feel comfortable letting him out of my sight. I asked if I could accompany my son and watch from outside the nursery, a request she happily accommodated. Another time, a new nurse-in-training couldn't successfully draw my blood. I ended up asking for someone else before she pricked me for a second time. The next nurse did a better job of making me more comfortable and getting the task done.
Listen to Your Instincts
When I had my second daughter, I wanted to formula feed. I'd had a bad experience with breastfeeding the first time and knew how stressful attempting to nurse would be. Still, I let nurses pressure me into breastfeed instead of shutting it down, which predictably ended with me in tears, feeling depressed and inadequate. My advice: do you and don't let hospital staff bully you into going against your motherly instincts.
Take Time For You
Newborns require a lot of care, but don't forget about you — you know, the you who just gave birth! Listen to your body and tell your doctor if something doesn't feel right. Even small things help, like taking a few minutes to shower or brush your hair so you can feel more like you. A couple of conscious breaths can mean the difference between a little peace of mind and feeling majorly overwhelmed.
Socially Share on Your Terms
While I was in the hospital, I decided not to post anything about the birth on social media. I wanted to enjoy the first few days of my son's life without letting anyone in, other than close friends and family. Even though it's trendy to share birth announcements right away via Facebook and Instagram, if you'd rather wait until you're home and settled before you tell the world about your new arrival, guess what? That's totally OK.
After my other kids were born, I put a ton of pressure on myself to lose baby weight right away. No carbs! Smaller portions! But I've learned that while you're in the hospital and your body is still recovering from birth, it's important to properly fuel your body. A diet can wait a few days, or even weeks or months, postpartum. The day after you pop out a baby is hardly the right time to limit yourself.
Get Out . . . For a Minute
A hospital room can start to feel like a prison cell after about 24 hours, since you can't really leave. I finally asked my husband to sit with the baby so I could walk around the hospital floor for a few minutes. Even a brief change of scenery helped me feel rejuvenated and ready to take on my next breastfeeding session, staring at the same four walls.
Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself
My husband was the person who reminded me of this one. The day we were getting released from the hospital, I felt hormonal and exhausted and lashed out at one of my older kids for being too loud. "What's wrong with me?" I asked him. "Um, you just had a baby, you've been in the hospital, and you just want to go home," he replied. He made a lot of sense. I'd urge other moms to allow themselves to feel whatever they feel without judgment. And to remember that it gets better!