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What The First Few Days After Birth In The Hospital Looks Like

Did you know I worked in the hospital as Postpartum Nurse for years? If you're pregnant, I'm going to pull back the curtain and give you a sneak peek into what those first few days in the hospital will look like. 

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Read the full transcript here: 


Welcome to the Breezy Babies podcast, where we talk about all things boobs, babies, and breastfeeding. This is episode 116, what the first few days in the hospital look like. I'm breath the IBCLC, and I made brisbabies with you in mind to help ease your transition into parenthood. Becoming a parent changes your life in every way imaginable. Bumps in the road are going to come up as you move into your new role, but my goal is to help smooth out those bumps and help you become the most confident parent you can be. With good education and support, I know you can meet your breastfeeding and parenting goals. Let's do this together. Hey there, friend. How are you? Welcome back for another podcast episode. So fun to have you here. Thank you for listening. And I thought this would be a great podcast topic to talk about today because as I was looking back at my downloads for all the different 115 episodes of this podcast, I noticed that one of my most downloaded episodes was what the first few days with a newborn look like. And so I thought, wouldn't it be smart to focus more on what it looks like more in the hospital? So that's what I wanted to talk about today. If you don't already know, I was a postpartum nurse for five years. So first off, I was a mom. Well, actually, that's not true. Very first I was a nurse, and then I was a mom, and then I was a lactation consultant. So that was kind of the progression of things. But all that to say, I worked for five years in the hospital, so I got to know pretty well of what the process looks like after a family gives birth. So I wanted to share what that looks like for you, especially if you are pregnant. Right now you're listening to this podcast episode. This is going to be perfect for you to help you get a good idea of what it's going to look like in those first few days when you are still in the hospital, if you're having a hospital birth. I know not everyone does. I'll talk a little bit more about that, but first I want to read a review from you. This one is actually a Google review. It's from Carolyn, and her review said this brian was a wealth of information and super helpful. She was ready to listen and came prepared. I'm feeling even more ready to meet and take care of our daughter here soon. After consulting with her, I'm excited to get my personalized pumping plan and learn more about infant massage. Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much, Carolyn, for leaving that review. Of course. Anytime you leave me a review, I would love to send you a freebie. You can always send me an email brie@breezybabies.com and I will send a freebie your way if I read your review. And if you don't already know, leaving a review is a great way to help out a small business. It takes little to no time, it's completely free to do, and it means the world to a small business. So leave me a review and then go leave another small business review, because we so appreciate it. Okay, let's get in today's topic. I want to teach you more about what the first days in the hospital look like. Before I tell you that, I do want to just remind you, in case you don't know, that I do have workshops that are available on my website, Breezybabies.com. So if you've already checked to see if your insurance covers free consults, or maybe you're not needing a consultation, but you just have some questions, like your baby is biting or your baby is having trouble with gas, then I have workshops that are available on that. Sometimes I do them live, but if not, they are always available to be purchased. The recorded version is always available on my website, Breathybabies.com, and I would love to share those with you. Those are so fun because with a workshop, you can actually see me as I'm teaching. They're all at least an hour long. I have live participants and answer questions, and they are some of my favorite ways to teach. I love podcasts like this as well. It's just kind of different. When you can't see me, you can only hear my voice. So we definitely can go a little bit deeper in a workshop. So check out those fun workshops. There's even Latch 101 and More Milk workshops, which are basically just like breastfeeding class, a breastfeeding class. I taught breastfeeding classes in the hospital for years, so I love teaching those. Those are certainly an area of expertise for me. But you know what? If you qualify for free consult through your insurance, we can do a prenatal visit, and I send you those workshops as part of your consultation. So just click the link in the show notes to see if your insurance covers consultations, and then you can get those for free. All right, back to today's topic. So let me share a little bit of my past life with you when I worked as a postpartum nurse. So let's press rewind. I have not worked in the hospital for, let's see, it's probably been four it's probably been about four years now. That's kind of crazy. I haven't done the math for a little bit, but I did work in the hospital for about ten years as not as a nurse, but I did work in the hospital for ten years, and five of those years were as a postpartum nurse. One of those years was a medical surgical nurse, which is a totally different story. But five of those years in the hospital was working as a postpartum nurse. So that means I took care of moms and babies after they had the baby. So I was not a labor and delivery nurse. Although at one time I did think that that was going to be my end goal, to be a labor and delivery nurse. Little did I know that postpartum would actually lead me to lactation and breastfeeding. And this is what I do now and I love it and I wouldn't have it any other way. But back when I worked in the hospital, my patients at the time, they were my patients, they would come to me after they labored and they gave birth. And so they'd come to me a couple of hours after giving birth. Now, if it was a C section, it would be like an hour after giving birth, maybe two. If it was a C section, it was still just few hours after giving birth that they would come and spend the rest of their time with me on the postpartum unit. So, needless to say, in those five years, I cared for hundreds of families after giving birth. Again, if you're listening to this and you're like, well, not everyone gives birth in a hospital, you're totally right. In fact, I had my fourth baby at home in my room. I had my first three in the hospital, but my fourth was a home birth. So I know that this exact scenario does not apply to everyone, but I also know that at least at the time of this recording, that the majority of families, at least in the United States, have their baby in a hospital. So if you are pregnant, then most likely this podcast is going to very specifically apply to you. So let me just paint a picture of what this looks like. Okay? So when I worked in the hospital, first off, I worked the majority of my shift as night shift, night shift. So imagine this all in the middle of the night, pitch black, outside, the moon shining. In fact, the hospital that I worked in was downtown, downtown Salt Lake City, and we overlooked the state capital building. It's a bit of an older hospital, but it had been updated and it could still hold its own. And I really did like working there. I was very good at my job, if I may say so. Although I will also say that I was not good at staying up all night. That was really hard, especially during those years that I was pregnant. Oh, man. I could not stay up the entire night when I was pregnant, no matter how great of a nap I got the day before. If you have ever worked night shift, you know what I'm talking about. And you probably already know that 03:00 A.m. To 05:00 A.m. Is the hardest part. I would work 07:00 P.m. To 07:00 A.m., but I'm telling you, the hardest stretch to get through was always three to 05:00 A.m.. If you made it through that, then you were good. You could go home, collapse into bed. In fact, sometimes I still think about all the nurses who drive home going the opposite way of traffic, holding on by a thread, just trying to get home to go to bed. Anyway, to finish up the thought, I would doze off with my head on the desk for a couple of short minutes until someone needed me pretty much every single time I worked night shift pregnant. Now that you have that visual, I want to now walk you through an example of what a hospital stay might look like. So you come in, maybe you're already in labor or maybe you are walking in calmly and slowly because you're just coming in to induce labor or maybe for a scheduled C section. So that will look a little bit different depending on the situation. But you will be taken to a labor room, given a fancy gown with the snaps on the sleeve and a back that likes to open up. But I'm not really going to focus on the labor and delivery process too much. So we're going to fast forward a little bit. So let's say that you have just given birth. Now that starts the clock on your hospital stay. At the time of this recording and based on the knowledge of when I worked in the hospital in the United States, your insurance had to cover at least 24 hours of your stay in the hospital after a vaginal birth, after a vaginal birthday, would even cover up to 48 hours. Now for a C section, you usually would stay longer and that looks more like a three to four day hospital stay. Now, these are not absolutes. In fact, I know that many were being discharged much sooner than that through COVID. So you may want to check with your own local hospital to see what their own policies and procedures are because things like this are always changing. But chances are that you'll spend at least a day or two in the hospital after giving birth. Okay, so you give birth and now you go over to postpartum. Your nurse is going to want to keep a close eye on a few things, but especially keep a close eye on your postpartum bleeding. She is really going to want to make sure that it's not too much. Now that bleeding is probably going to look like a lot to you, but remember, you do have a lot of blood to lose after being pregnant that you no longer need now that your baby is on the outside. So one way that your nurse is going to control your bleeding is by pushing on your fundis. Now you might be thinking, what is my fungus? What is that? Well, that's just a fancy word for the top of your uterus. That's all it means. Your uterus is the organ that houses your baby. It's your womb. It's the home for your baby. Now, it doesn't feel great when your nurse presses on your fungus. In fact, it's a bit uncomfortable and even kind of annoying when she comes to wake you up and wants to push on your uterus and check out your bleeding and make sure you can get up and pee. And well, that's just kind of how it goes. You're also going to have to expect to have your vital signs taken often, especially in those first hours after giving birth. You'll likely be given some medications. For example, probably something like ibuprofen for pain and inflammation or cholase, which is a stool softener, which is very commonly given after birth as well. And honestly, when I worked on the postpartum unit, I gave out lots of ibuprofen and lots of stool softeners. Your nurse is also going to assess your baby, keep a close eye on your baby, take lots of vital signs and do tests. Check things like bilirubin on your baby and do hearing screenings. All of those are going to be done during your stay. Now, I know this is kind of a quick, very comprehensive list, but you may want to dive deeper into this, but I just want to at least paint a picture of what it's going to look like. So when it comes to all those tests and screenings, you can decide what you want to do with all of that. Of course, when it comes to even things like Circumcision, that is not the point. That's not the focus of this specific podcast episode. But of course, I'm going to tell you that you do have options and you can make decisions with screens and anything. You're in the driver's seat with your hospital stay. That is number one. In fact, I have an entire podcast episode that's dedicated towards you being in the driver's seat of your hospital experience and advocating for yourself because you truly are in charge. Okay, so that's a sneak peek into what a hospital stay looks like. Now I want to move into my top three tips. I know it kind of took me a little bit of time to get here, but I just wanted to be really clear and painting that picture of what a hospital stay actually looks like. So tip number one for you before you come to the hospital, don't overpack. I can't tell you how many families I have seen come into labor and delivery, and the dad is holding what looks like a hilariously tall stack of stuff as the mom waddles in clutching her belly. I found that most of those things that families just pile on and stuff in extra stuff to pack for the hospital, a lot of those things are just not necessary and honestly can be such a pain to transport in and out and store in your room. And you probably are even going to have to change rooms at some point in your hospital stay. And then when your hospital stay is over, you're going to have to transport everything back down to your car and you just don't want to deal with all that. Plus, hospital rooms are not always super big depending on where you deliver. But even if you do have a bigger hospital room, you just don't want it clogged up with a bunch of stuff from home. Okay, so a lot of things you can leave home. And overall, your hospital stay is a relatively short blip on the whole grand scheme of things. The majority of your time you're going to be home with your own stuff, in your own space, and it's going to be just fine. Now, you do want some basics to pack. For example, you may want to have some clothes to labor in or some clothes to wear afterwards, especially if you don't want to be rocking the stylish hospital. Youn if nothing else, you for sure want to make sure that you have a going home outfit for both you and your baby. For you, I'd suggest something loose fitting and comfy. You won't know exactly what size you are anyway right after giving birth. And if you're like me, you're probably so sick of wearing maternity clothes. Honestly, I wanted to burn all my maternity clothes, so I was sure to not pack any of those for postpartum. Also, your baby is going to need an outfit to wear home. Plus a blanket too. If it's warm out, maybe it's summer. A light blanket will do. If it's cold in winter, then maybe you want a thicker blanket to get your baby home with. Most likely your baby will need a newborn sized outfit may be premium, but your best bet may be a newborn size. You will also want to make sure you pack things for comfort, like personal hygiene items like your favorite shampoo and conditioner, your favorite lotion, or even just your toothpaste. Your toothbrush. You're going to want to have all of those things. I would also suggest some hair ties, chapstick. Those two things, hair ties and chapstick, are the most requested, most forgotten items that your hospital likely will not have on hand to help you out if you do forget. Unless maybe you can hit up the gift shop or something. Maybe there's a store close by. And then maybe you also want something like a robe, some slippers, flip flops to wear in and out of the bathroom, or to take a shower or to go walk in the hallway. Okay, those would all be good things to pack. Some things that you don't need. Hear me out on this, but you may want to think twice before you pack your big items like your big nursing pillow and your breast pump. Some might swear by those, but I just never saw them come in handy in the hospital. I worked there for five years and I just really never saw those two things come in handy. We have pillows. You can use your body to position your baby, and we have breast pumps if you need it. But guess what? Most people don't need their breast pump in those first few days. Plus, your nurse is probably too busy to show you how to set it up anyway. That's what lactation consultants are for. Your nurse has so many other tasks and things to do that it's a little tricky. And sometimes they don't even know how to set up all the breast pumps that are out there. So sorry. Nothing against nurses, of course. I used to be one in case you forgot. But they probably are going to be too busy to really help you with your breast pump from home. Okay, let's move on to tip number two. I want you to really focus on resting and nourishing and not visitors. Your priority in those first days. Even being in the hospital, you just want to feed you and feed your baby. During COVID, I noticed that visitors weren't really allowed and I remember thinking, man, I wish I still worked in the hospital during this time. Why is that? Well, I can't tell you how many times a patient just got their baby latched on and then in watch grandma asking to hold the baby. Those first few days, man, they are glorious. You are no longer pregnant. Your baby is finally here. You get to meet them. Your stomach no longer feels stretched to the max and all your internal organs squished. It's a bit of a relief to say the least. Along with that, though, you do have this new baby that is used to chuck around a buffet 24/7 after the umbilical cord is cut. Your baby still wants and needs pretty constant nourishment. Your baby's stomach is still very small. Babies are designed to feed frequently. Your baby is going to be feeding very frequently in those first days especially. You also are going to be going to the bathroom frequently and changing your pad frequently. The fun part about postpartum is that you get to wear a diaper just like your baby fun twinners, right? I know it's not very funny, but it kind of is funny. Really though, feeding you, feeding your baby, giving you both some rest is going to be your full time job. Go for a gentle walk, sure. Do something fun like take a warm shower maybe. That's not a great example, but for sure, don't stress about things like cleaning and cooking. That of course, would all be taken care of at the hospital. But you do want to think about having some help with those things when you go home as well. Tip number three for you is ask questions. Ask your nurse what test they plan to do on your baby before they go home. Ask exactly what happens during the hearing screening. Ask exactly what happens during the newborn screening test. Ask what happens during the Billy Rubin check. Ask what your baby's weight is. I can't tell you how many clients I met with who knew their baby's birth weight but were never told their baby's weights afterwards. I would argue that the weights taken after birth are way more important than the birth weight. Yes, it's important to have a starting place, but did you know that a baby's weight right after birth can be largely inflated if you received a lot of IV fluids while you're laboring? So ask all the questions. Don't be afraid to ask. All right, those top three tips, let me review them one more time for navigating those first days after giving birth in the hospital. Tip number one don't overpack. Tip number two focus on resting and nourishing, not visitors. And then tip number three was ask questions. Ask all the questions. I hope you're feeling a little bit more confident. You have a better picture of what life looks like if you are giving birth in the hospital. And I hope to have you back next week so we can talk about more fun topics. A new podcast drops every Tuesday. Of course, I'm going to leave you with you are strong, you are smart, you are beautiful, you're a good friend. All bye.

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