Giving birth is HARD. Let that be one of the most obvious statements ever written, but truly it is hard and sometimes giving birth in a hospital surrounded by people that you don’t know and don’t know you can make it harder. These 3 tips are things that I wish I would have known as a breastfeeding mom before I went into the hospital. Keep in mind that everyone at the hospital is there first and foremost to keep you and your newborn safe but they are also there to keep you comfortable and happy. A hospital is a business and although safety is always going to be the first priority, they also want you to be happy. So take advantage of this and make sure that you are taken care of.
Let your wishes be known
First off, come to the hospital with a plan. If you come into the hospital without a plan or not knowing exactly the outcome you want to have it will be easier to push you around. When it comes to breastfeeding I encourage you to take a stand and make it known that you are 100% committed to breastfeeding. I don’t want to make it sound like if your baby ends up needing formula that you failed somehow, that is always an option, but you don’t want it to be used too early because you weren’t firm on your stance. The reason for this is because the formula companies are very pushy and they want the hospital staff to push their products. So let it be known that you do not want to use formula unless it is medically necessary.
Using formula early when it is not needed can decrease rates of breastfeeding success. So instead of giving into formula because it is easier or because you want to get some good sleep, nurse that baby. If you are having troubles breastfeeding, ask for help and ask for help early and often. I had to ask many times for the lactation consultant to come to my room despite her saying that she would come back. I either felt like I needed someone sooner or she didn’t come back, so it is alright for people to know that you feel strongly about something and to ask for help. Even if a lactation consultant isn’t available right away I found the nursery nurses to be very helpful when it came to breastfeeding, so someone should be available to help you out.
Let People Take Care of You
You are going to pay a lot of money to have people take care of you and you just had a life changing experience, so let people take care of you. Unless you are one of those rare people who don’t experience pain with birth you are going to have some pain whether you had a natural birth or a c-section, so let those people take care of you, that is what they are getting paid to do. Of course they are there for safety, but as I mentioned previously they are also a business and keeping you happy is there business. That is why they make you fill out those surveys as you are leaving about your stay!
Some people will urge you to let the nurse’s take your baby overnight so that you can get some sleep, and if you feel comfortable with this, by all means go for it. All I am saying is that you are going to take this newborn baby home and you are going to wish that you had let someone take care of you because now no one is going to be and you have this tiny human to take care of. Take time to heal, ask for all of the things. Trust me you are not being a pain, it is their job, and if they act like you are putting them off by asking for help, first off they shouldn’t be on that floor and second of you can request for another nurse or nurse’s aid. Always remember that you are superwoman and you are just learning and becoming familiar with your superpower so you deserve to be taken care of!
Try to only listen to your pediatrician
When I was pregnant I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I knew the benefits of breastfeeding and it was very important to me. So much so that I had stress dreams about not being able to feed my baby. Thankfully none of that happened, but that doesn’t mean it was always easy.
I want to share with you my experience of nursing my baby in the hospital in hopes that it can give you encouragement that although it isn’t always easy it is worth it and I am now on month 11 of successfully nursing my baby.
The day my son was born I knew that I was supposed to get him to nurse within that first “golden hour” After he was born I had no idea how long it had been so I kept trying to get him to nurse and all of the medical professionals were telling me that I had time, but I felt like he needed to nurse. The latch was not easy for us, I spent at least a day if not a couple, of frustration getting my son to nurse for 5 minutes at a time when I was told he needed to nurse for at least 15 minutes on each side. I felt like a complete failure. Not only was I being told that I needed to nurse for at least 15 minutes on each side I was being told by every person I came into contact with something different. I had l&d nurses, nursery nurses, lactation consultants and the pediatrician all telling me something different. One would tell me that he needed to eat at least 15 minutes on each side otherwise he was going to need to supplement and then someone would come in right after and tell me that he was doing great and to not stress because he would eventually wake up more and be more eager to latch.
My main encouragement here is to listen to the pediatrician. Yes the nurse’s are great but if you are getting advice from 20 different people it can be very disheartening, the pediatrician is hopefully someone that you can trust and lean into for guidance. It honestly doesn’t have to be your pediatrician, it can be someone else you trust, but hopefully you did some research prior to giving birth and you are able to trust this person. I am totally for you getting information and advice from all of the wonderful personnel at the hospital but I also don’t want you to feel overwhelmed by all of the different opinions you will run into.
Honestly the staff come by their opinions honestly, they get their different life views on the different things they have seen. For instance one nurse had been a NICU nurse in a big hospital and had worked with very sick babies so her only thought was that my baby needed to eat so that it didn’t turn into a bad situation. Whereas another nurse who had been in my small town hospital for ages and rarely saw the bad end of things was a lot more laid back and more encouraging that everything was going well even though my baby wasn’t eating for very long periods at the time.
Giving birth is a completely life changing event that affects everyone differently. I hope these 3 tips will help you with your journey in the hospital. The main takeaway is to stand up for yourself and stand up for what you believe. This is your baby after all. If you have already given birth what is something you wish you would have known before you went into the hospital?