1. You've got to ask for your painkillers. The nurses won't just bring them to you.
2. If you have an epidural, it's very likely you won't be allowed to sit up and since you're nine months pregnant, no laying on your back. Laying on your side is all you can do. I wish I'd have downloaded an audio book to listen to. I didn't sleep all night and reading a book on your side is difficult when you have an IV.
3. If you change your mind about something, speak up! I have always heard to send your baby to the nursery at night so you can sleep. So I did. The second James left I felt terrible. I honestly think it triggered my baby blues. I cried and cried but didn't say anything!!! I wish so badly I had told the nurses I wanted him back. Or at least kept him in with us the second night. But I didn't and I still feel bad for him that I just sent him away when I felt the way I did. I wish I could go back and change that.
4. Decide in advance if you want visitors at the hospital and let people know. But refer to number 3 if you change your mind. I wish we'd have made a no visitors policy-even though people told me it would be rude-because I really needed to nap at the hospital but I never could because people were there. Also, breastfeeding is a huge learning curve and it is not ideal to learn while people are watching you. Some women are great with visitors. I wish I'd have made everyone wait until we got home.
5. Ask questions! If you don't know something, ask.
6. People will be very opinionated about putting your baby on a schedule. I'd read Babywise a while back and the theory resonated with me. I reviewed it briefly the week before James was born and found a website (babywisemom.com) that has a ton of great tips. After the jaundice was out, I started him on a 3 hour schedule of eat, play, sleep. OF COURSE I feed him if he's hungry before, but the biggest points are not letting him nurse to sleep and waking him up to feed him during the day so that he doesn't need to eat as much at night. It has been great. He does really well with it (minus the daycare throwing him off, but what can you do?). It takes him about 30 minutes to eat and then we play and then about 1.5 hours after he woke up we swaddle him, give him his binky, put him in his swing and let him get himself to sleep. I know lots of people are anti-BW but it works really well for us. The kid would sleep for 4-5 hours if he could during the day and I'd rather him sleep that long at night. We don't do cry it out (CIO) because we haven't needed to. Really the only reason he cries is because he needs his binky (and I'm okay with that prop) or he's hungry. Or he needs a diaper change. But a schedule has NOT effected my milk supply because I feed him MORE than I would if I solely fed on demand. Contrary to what many think about a schedule, I never EVER ever make him wait to eat. That's not what BW promotes either.
7. There are a dang ton of judgmental women out there. It's so so sad. They tell you what you "should" do and act as if anything different than what they do is detrimental to them, you, and your child. There are lots of supportive women but there are lots of crazies too. I will never understand why someone would care how I choose to raise my child, but some women do. Just be aware of that.
8. I wish I would have known how I would seriously never want to leave my baby, even for a date night. Most of the time James can come along but I really want to see a few movies and I think he's too old now to go. I think I'm going to have to wait for Redbox. And maybe go get movie theatre popcorn before!!