|Not newborns but one of my favs|
I went in to my first one thinking "Oh my, I simply must stick to my birthing plan and have no drugs unless absolutely medically necessary" And that worked out smashingly until I'd been in labor for 12 solid hours. Long story short, trial and error... epidural. I'm a huge fan. Yes, they do have to put it in the spine. Yes you have to stay completely still (with the help of your hubs because you can't just stay still in contractions). Totally worth it. Do a leave in. They set it up just like a PICC line in your arm but if the labor drags on you do NOT want to have to try to stay still for a second epi. It didn't make me crazy, it let me focus on pushing but without the intense pains. I could still feel pressure and enjoy (if you want to call it that) the birthing process. It doesn't make you weak that you take pain meds. It does not make you a bad person that you can't hack it. We have those medications there for a reason. You have a headache, you take tylenol. You have a baby, you epidural. If you can go natural, all for it. If you can't, don't sweat it. I hated myself for ages because "Native women use to squat by trees and push out their babies...I can do this" No, no they didn't.
1) It's gross in there. I kid you not. See the baby's head or whatever but know that afterbirth is like a whole other child. My hubs wishes he'd never even seen that part. LOL Poor thing. Freaked him out.
2) Your wife may say and do things in there that she would not ordinarily do. Pretend it never happened. There is enormous pressure down and ... well ... poop. There may or may not be poop. The room will be 80+ degrees for when baby is born and it will be hot, and smelly.
3) If you do video and pictures, do a during labor and "aw they're cleaning the baby" but she will want to look beautiful for first pics. Mine are scary.
Mom...you may poop. Don't be embarrassed, you just push. Doc, nurses, there is NOTHING they have not seen. I promise you. If you need oxygen, ask for it. If something feels wrong, tell them. If you have questions, ask them. It's their job. OH but if they ask you if you mind nursing students coming in or shift change nurses...just say no. It's your vagina, not a side show. You think "it'll help some nursing student" maybe, but before you know it you have 15 people in there ooing and awing your vajay and you don't want to look back on that and say ugh.
Whether you are for or against vaccinations, let them do the K Vitamin and all of that. SO many parents are against vaccinating these days and that's fine for you but there are thousands of babies who die because their parents choose not to do the initial stuff. Do you feel bad when baby gets a little stick? Absolutely, but tears that dry vs. losing the lil thing or blindness/death from infections it couldn't fight is much worse.
What do you really need at the hospital?
Honestly, not as much as you think. One change of clothes for you. Yes, you'll still need all your maternity stuff after the baby's born. I know you think "oh thank God, I can put on regular clothes again", think again. You'll need to wear them a while longer. But not long. You'll still be swollen so stretchy pants are best. Keep using lotion. Bring something to sleep in, you'll want out of the gown pretty quick. Music, of course. Camera for tons of pics. Extra batteries. Tablet, laptop or something for when baby is sleeping and one or two outfits for baby. Have your baby bag ready. Always have 10 or so diapers in there, more wipes than you think you'd ever need (the first week's poos are sticky), baby lotion and burp cloths. I took way too much for the first one. Remember, your husband can go get more if you need it.
Sleep when baby sleeps. I can't stress this enough. The first week will be a blur. If dad or grandma can keep the baby while you sneak in a few z's here and there, do it. I felt so guilty with my first because I wanted to be there for every moment. Don't. You know who is there with you every two hours when baby wants boobie? Dad. And news flash but baby don't want those boobs. You won't have enough milk to use the pump the first week so you may have to supplement with formula. It's not bad parenting. You can use breast milk with formula if you need to. The important thing is that baby eats, sleeps and poops. You've got this.
Breast pain sucks. LaLeche has tons of tips and they say "During the first two to four days after birth, the mother's nipples may feel tender". Tender isn't the word I'd have used for mine. I cried and muffled yelps. I didn't want to try creams and wanted to be a big girl. Lanolin based creams are a blessing. I used Lansinoh but there are lots of new things. Once they learn latching on it won't hurt. When you want them to unlatch and switch boobs they will either have fallen asleep and come off anyway or you'll need to put your finger in there to loosen suction.
Double breast pumps will help the milk drop. If you use single the other boob may start leaking.
Buy breast pads. I used Lansinoh again but if you choose fabric, keep lots on hand to change out of. RELAX. Take deep breaths, envision the milk flowing if that helps. It did for me.
Nursing bra's are amazing. You'll want at least 2 if not 3. Milk goes everywhere and the last thing you want is to feel gross, uncomfortable or to smell like old breast milk. I nursed each child for 1 full year. My kids were huge and were so ready to get off of there. So they will get their uses and it's not a waste of money, I promise.
Swelling. Oh the engorgement. I sure don't miss that. Cabbage leaves. Keep a head of cabbage in the fridge and slap a leaf of that in your bra cups. Sounds bonkers. It really helps.
Things I couldn't live without:
Carseat/stroller combo. My aunt bought our first and it was like the Cadillac of strollers. So for the 2nd kid I had to have one. I walked around malls and let him sleep while I tightened up the mommy weight and had a nice cold drink and "outside" time. (It was July in Savannah, GA so a hot day in the park wasn't happening.)
Infantino convertible carriers are amazing. You can't take a stroller everywhere. You say "well between me and the hubby or family, someone will have the baby". Yes but family reunions, etc there won't be a good spot for mom and baby to go when baby wants a nap. You may not have a playpen or bassinet yet. Your arms will get tired for a while. Your family takes the baby to "show uncle Leo" and you're spinning your wheels asking everyone "have you seen the baby?" And believe it or not, it makes breastfeeding in public easier too. You go to the shops, stop to feed, just toss a light blanket over your shoulder and bam, privacy.
We didn't buy a crib for the second baby. Nope. Sure didn't. We didn't have room anywhere and we traveled a lot so we got something like this... Graco Pack'n Play was amazing. Had it's own bassinet and baby was too small to get out. On that one the swing is amazing and you'll want one anyway.
I think they each had one toy they cared about. The others were just in the way. Mine loved to squish those micro bead toys during nap times. Gotta be there with them though or they'll have it over their face.
That's all I can think of for now. If I can think of anything else I'll add it to the comments and you should too! It's been almost 10 years since I've had a baby in the house so things have changed but one thing stays the same, it's the most wonderful experience anyone can have. You are truly blessed. Times will be hard but you're not the only parents to experience them and we're here to listen and offer help. :)