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It seems like there is so much to do and so much to learn before having a baby. I remember the overwhelm well. And while it does get easier with your next baby, it seems like there is always more to learn.
Some of the items on this list are very controversial, but instead of just going along and doing or not doing something, make sure you read up on the issues and figure out what you are going to do based on research.
These are all thing you should research before you have your baby. These are mostly issues that you will want to know about right after your baby is born. There is still more to know/learn, but if you know your answers to these question it will help you be able to know the answers to several questions you will need answers to if you have a hospital birth as well as the first pediatric visit.
Please make sure to do some research and make an informed decision. Even if you think you know for sure you do or do not want your baby to have them, do some research. In the hospital, they give the baby the hep B vaccine, so this is the vaccine to research first.
Look into why they are giving your baby this vaccine, how hep B is transmitted, ingredients in the vaccine, possible side effects, how long the vaccine is effective for, etc.
A really good book is The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears. I found this book to be very unbiased.
Another great book on this subject is The Vaccine-Friendly Plan, by Dr. Paul Thomas & Jennifer Margulis. Dr. Thomas is an AMAZING doctor and a pediatrician who truly puts his patients first.
No matter which way you decide, just make sure to do your research first. If you haven’t done your research and you want to make sure to read up on this before having your child receive a vaccine, it is always OK to say that you are delaying the vaccine, until after you have done the research.
Eye Ointment and Vitamin K Shot
Both erythromycin (an eye ointment) and a vitamin K shot are given to your infant at birth. Look into each of these procedures and again look into the pros and cons, risks and benefits.
Another controversial issue. If you don’t know what gender you are having or if you know you are going to have a boy, then I strongly suggest you look into the pros and cons of circumcising. Once your little one is circ’d there isn’t an undo button.
Here is a great article about circumcision and is a great place to start your research.
Bath After Birth
If you are having a hospital birth, in the past it was customary to bathe your newborn fairly quickly after birth. There is a lot of research out there now to support that delaying baths after birth has a lot of benefits for your baby. While many hospitals have changed to delay the first bath, this isn’t true for every hospital, so make sure your desires are known.
Look into doing a delayed cord cutting – which means you don’t cut the cord until the cord stops pulsating. Also, look into a lotus birth.
A lotus birth is where you birth the baby and placenta without cutting the cord. There are many benefits to your baby and this article goes into detail on some of these benefits.
Also, if you want someone specific to cut the cord, make sure your midwife/OBGYN knows this beforehand.
Skin to Skin
After your baby’s birth do you want to have skin to skin contact with the baby right away?
There is a lot of research to support so many good benefits of having skin to skin time with your baby, not only with Mom, but with Dad as well. Here are 7 great reasons to have skin to skin contact with your baby.
Inductions as well as the Epidural and Pitocin Spiral
Look into birth interventions. I know in our society epidurals are no big deal. You don’t hear about the side effects from them and it is somewhat expected that getting one is what you do when you are labor.
It also seems like being induced isn’t a big deal either.
I know several people who scheduled inductions, thinking it was no big deal. Especially, if they were slightly overdue and their OB or midwife suggested it. In my circle of friends and family, there is definitely a lot higher chance of having a c-section if you are induced than if you aren’t.
If you are planning on getting an epidural, research them. If you are planning on having a natural birth, make sure you have a plan to carry you through labor and delivery. You can read about ways to have a natural birth here.
When researching the epidural, look into the side effects.
Pitocin is the same way. Look into the side effects of Pitocin.
This article talks about inductions, epidurals, and Pitocin. And times you wouldn’t want to use any of these.
If you haven’t been around a lot of babies, then make sure to take a class about baby care or if you have any friends with babies, try and spend some time with them.
It would be better to have some experience diapering/feeding/etc a baby (even with a doll) before you have one in the hospital.
The nurses can help you with some of the info you would learn in a baby class, but you will be tired after giving birth and I found being at the hospital I didn’t get the best sleep. So, if you are learning from the nurse, you won’t necessarily remember everything they said later.
If you plan to breastfeed, make sure to figure out a support system. Some options for forming this is through your local LLL (LaLechaLeague), good friends who have experience breastfeeding, Moms in a play group, etc.
My older sister gave me the book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding“, which I skimmed and read through parts of before the birth of my kiddo. I brought the book to the hospital with me and was very glad I did. My nurse at the hospital was also amazing and made sure I had my little guy latched correctly, gave me suggestions on positioning him and was overall very supporting and great for asking questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your nurse or midwife/OB for help with breastfeeding right after birth.
Make sure you do some research and decide who you are going to have as your pediatrician when your baby arrives. I know at the hospital I delivered in, the midwife/OB cleared Mom for discharge and the pediatrician clears the baby.
If you don’t have a pediatrician picked out, then it is whichever pediatrician is on-call for the hospital that is assigned to your baby for discharge and potentially for follow-up appointments.
I know I didn’t do the best job picking our pediatrician when my first son was born. We were not on the same page for a LOT of stuff. It turned into me not trusting her with any of the advice/info she gave me. She clearly thought I was nuts whenever I would question anything or ask for clarification for stuff.
We changed pediatricians after talking to my midwife about some advice our pediatrician had given me and how wrong it was. My midwife recommended an amazing pediatrician that we changed to and I am forever grateful to her for this.
When picking your pediatrician, it is best to make sure they are on the same page as you and that you can trust them. After changing our pediatrician, I had my third guy a couple years later. He ended up having a birth defect and I asked him his advice/opinion on procedures the specialist wanted done. Our new pediatrician not only told me what his opinion was, but made sure I understood why he thought that way.
Find someone you can work with and that treats you like a partner in your child’s care.
This list is not 100% complete, but this gives you a great place to start.
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