With the arrival of my first son on the not-so-distant horizon, I often daydreamed about those precious first days in the hospital. I pictured the vibe as gentle and calm, with lots of cooing on his end and plenty of happy tears on mine. I imagined we'd spend time getting to know one another as co-inhabitants of Earth, rather than co-inhabitants of my body. He'd gaze up at me dreamily, and curl his tiny hand around a single finger — while simultaneously stealing my heart, naturally. It would be nothing short of a dream come true.
Sounds nice, right? And ultimately, it was. When that moment finally arrived, it was more than nice — it was life-changing. But it wasn't anything like I imagined, that's for darn sure.
When my little man finally arrived, we spent an exhausting several hours in recovery, where we caught whatever bonding time we could in the form of first feedings in between blood pressure checks and heel pricks. We were escorted to our room, at which point our loved ones trickled through in the hours to come, as did nurses and doctors — both for me, and for him. There were visits from lactation specialists, food services, flower deliveries, and more. There were middle-of-the-night diaper changes into the tiniest Pampers Swaddlers I've ever seen, and wee-hours-of-the-morning first baths. There was me learning to get up and around after my C-section, and there was him adjusting to life outside the womb. Oh, and tears. There were tears of all kinds.
Between everything, we experienced those quiet moments I dreamt of. And the fact that they were precious and few made them even more special. Take it from me: Your time in the hospital as new mom and newborn baby are going to fly by, and to help you make the absolute most of these moments, Romper teamed up with Pampers Swaddlers to map out a few things you might want to do before leaving the hospital with your baby.
And videos. And then take more of both. Though it might not seem like it in the moment, you won't believe how fleeting those first few hours and days together are. Or how quickly time passes when you're getting the hang of becoming a new family at home. You'll want to look back on them a time or 100.
Say "Yes" To Downtime
In fact, build it in any chance you can! It's tempting to invite everyone to come visit your newly extended family in the hospital. How can you blame them for wanting to (Seriously, that face!). But don't feel bad about designating visiting hours and reserving some bonding time specifically for you and your baby.
Stock Up On Supplies
Everyone knows that hospitals provide the best of the best for you and your little bundle, and the supplies in your room are often yours to keep. So grab that stack of Pampers Swaddlers (and Pampers Sensitive wipes, if they have them) and rest easy that their newborn bottom is as well-protected as it gets. Even if you aren't actually convinced that you've got this whole diaper-changing thing down, trust the Pampers experts for ultra-absorbency and the most comfortable fit out there.
Savor That First Bath
After all, it only happens once! Not only is it an incredible experience to witness a first for this tiny being you co-created, but it is a great opportunity to learn the best bath time tips and techniques from the nurses.
Master The Swaddle
Your baby has been all bundled up for the last nine months — it's what they're used to, and most comfortable with. Find the swaddling technique that works best for the both of you, and master it while you've got expert coaches nearby.
Hold Them Close
This sounds obvious, but holding them close (especially skin-to-skin) is one of the best and most enjoyable forms of bonding there is. You're not spoiling them. You're getting to know them, and this is a formative and super special experience for you both.
Play Dress Up
Swap the hospital gown for something comfortable against your recovering body, and dress them in that "coming home from the hospital" outfit you've been excited about since you found out you were pregnant. You'll both feel better, and ready to face the world.
Embrace The Cries
It won't seem like long before your little one can talk to you, telling you exactly what they need. But for now, crying is communicating. By listening to their cues and noticing when they happen, you'll soon be pro level in understanding their needs.
This post is sponsored by Pampers Swaddlers.