Hubby and I are expecting and we are getting all sorts of tips from different quarters. We got this list from Rabbi Brian and his wife. Rabbi Brian officially gave Jewish representation and a blessing at our Catholic wedding back in May. He had everyone in stitches despite the seriousness of his blessing. It was definitely one of the highlights of the day.
Bits of advice for the dad:
1. Watching your partner be in so much agony for so long is emotionally and physically painful. (Take breaks every so often.)
2. Nurses change every 12 hours. Some are good, some aren’t as good. The shift can be jarring.
3. The whole “cone-head” thing is real, but the cone goes backwards like a shark, not up like a Saturday Night Live conehead. (I didn’t know this and thought when he came out that Emmett had special needs.)
4. The vagina that your child comes out of looks more like a blue twinky/muppet character than what you remember it looking like.
5. Everyone should get to sleep within an hour or so of delivery. Call the rest of the people later. Newborns sleep for a while after delivery and you will want to take advantage of this. Really. I'm not kidding. Do it. You'll thank me later.
6. The first night in the hospital is like being in a Twilight Zone episode, except, as one of the characters in the episode, you don’t know that it’s a fun-house ride/alternate reality — it feels really weird and real.
7. Bring an extra bag to the hospital for gifts that people will bring.
8. Bring your own pillows to the hospital in colored pillowcases so that you will be more comfortable and so the hospital staff won’t think they are theirs.
9. Bring a bathing-suit so you can take a bath/shower with your partner at the hospital. (Bring two so the second time your suit isn't cold!)
10. The first 2 weeks are the most intense. Just get through them one day at a time. It’ll even out (some) after that.
11. Sometimes, getting through an hour at a time is all you can do. Really. Think about all the things that you pre-baby used to do to comfort and soothe yourself. For me things included: cooking, surfing the web, crafting, the gym, chatting on the phone. With one stroke, your child will single-handily keep you from doing those things. (It's not intentional, of course, but, still, not having things to self-soothe can drive you batty... especially when you aren't sleeping and you realize that you have to care for a child for a long, long while.)
12. You (and Mom) will be emotional. (I know you knew this.) In weeks 2-3, we couldn’t seem to help but to get on each other’s nerves by 9pm.
13. As mentioned, you child has robbed each of your ability to self-soothe... that might be part of why you are so tense.
14. Your brain will atrophy and you won't remember things that you used to be able to remember — like if you talked to someone or showered in the last two days — or, when you are in the shower if you have washed your hair.
15. By four weeks you will all feel like you know some of what you are doing.
16. By eight you'll like your child a lot. By 12 weeks you will really have a handle on it.
17. At 4 months you will look at parents of newborns with compassion thinking, "oh, the poor dears, they have no idea what they are in for.
Advice from a mom for Moms:
1. Get a sitz bath from the hospital to take home and use.
2. Maxi pads!
3. Take lots of Colace stool softener after.
4. Breastfeeding, while it would seem the most natural thing in the world, isn’t.
5. Don’t look down there for 6 weeks at least.
6. When you get to shower (use friend’s visits for this too!) take a clean washcloth, get it warm/hot and fold it and put in in between your legs…I swear this helped with healing the stitches…
7. You will smell and you will sweat a lot.
8. You will be sore from pushing or from healing from a c-section for awhile. I began to feel better at day 9. Those were long days.
9. Get a hemorrhoid pillow from the drugstore to sit on…really helps take pressure off.
10. Avent breast pads are the best.
11. Don’t judge yourself for the way in which your feelings about your baby grow and change…it is a relationship that takes time to blossom…