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10 things your labor and delivery nurse truly wants you to know

7. Your nurse isn’t afraid to be the bad guy

10 things your labor and delivery nurse truly wants you to know

The day you give birth will always be memorable. But before that day comes, your labor nurse has some advice for you.



1. Prepare in whatever way you need, but don’t let it stress you out

Yes, it’s great to have a birth plan. One that ideally answers some of these questions: :

  • Who should be in the delivery room?
  • Do you want to save your placenta?
  • What’s your plan for pain management?
  • How will you be feeding your baby?

Consider taking a childbirth class, even if you are planning an epidural, to understand the stages of labor and what you can expect as a patient. If you go to a class, it will help you relax a little. But leave medical and other technical talks to us—we’ve got you.

2. Let nature take its course

We know you’re anxious to have your baby, but it’s unlikely that we’ll start labor before your due date. No magic formula exists for your brain and placenta to start your labor process. Let nature take its course. We understand you are uncomfortable, many of us are mothers, we've been there. But really, it’s better to wait until it starts on its own.

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3. If you’re unsure about pain control, that’s okay

It's okay to be unsure and wait to see. Your labor nurse wants to know what your plan is, but the plan can always change. We are here to support you no matter what you decide.

4. Breathe

Breathing is so important during your birth. Your baby needs that oxygen, as does your uterus. And it will help alleviate fears and anxieties.

5. We will communicate with you, we promise

At some point of your labor, you may have more than one nurse in your room—but that doesn’t mean anything is wrong. If your nurse is concerned, she will tell you. Your doctor will tell you. Leave the trust in your labor team to tell you if something is wrong. If your baby does not tolerate labor, stay calm and focus in on what the nurses and doctor are telling you.

6. Labor is a journey, not a race

Some patients come laboring and have their baby in minutes, while for others it takes days. Make sure you have a support team that doesn't treat your labor like a race.

The number one question I receive as a labor nurse is, "When do you think the baby will come?"It's like predicting the lottery numbers, though generally, after the cervical change starts for a first time mother, the cervix will dilate a centimeter an hour, and maybe faster for a repeat mom.

In general though, just try to be in the experience. Your baby will come.

7. Your nurse isn't afraid to be the bad guy

Is your sister-in law, mother-in-law and friend wanting in on your delivery, but you’re feeling like you want it to be a bit more private? Ask your nurse when you are alone with her to make up a “visitor rule” for delivery. I have had many experiences when I've had to ask everyone but the partner to leave the room. This is your birth, not theirs.

The waiting area is an okay place to be. We give frequent updates and will keep everyone updated on the progress.

Don't be ashamed to want the delivery to include only you and the father. Ask yourself, "Were they there when you made the baby?" If the answer is no (and we hope it is), they do not have to be there for the birth.

8. We don't care about body hair or bodily functions while pushing

We are so incredibly happy that today is (finally) your day! We could care less if you washed your hair, shaved your bikini zone, or got a pedicure. We do not care if you poop on the delivery bed, especially if it results in a having a baby. We are not grossed out by anything.

9.Skin-to-skin rules

Have you heard of skin-to-skin, also known as kangaroo care? The benefits are incredible. Nurses have had to change our practice a bit to allow the change, but it's paid off.

Family members are also accommodating by waiting to hold and waiting for the infant's weight. Our mothers and babies are reaping the benefits of kangaroo care, during the Golden Hour after birth. And it’s just so lovely.

10. Breastfeeding isn't always natural

Planning to breastfeed your baby? The benefits are incredibly amazing, but be ready for some challenges.

You and your baby are learning a new skill. It takes a great commitment and patience. It is a learning process that many women do not understand. Your milk will not "come in" right away, the process takes a few days. Don't worry, your baby will not starve, we will tell you if your baby is losing too much weight, or medically requires formula because of jaundice or low blood sugar.

And if you choose to bottle feed, we are not judgmental. We support you.

Remember to relax and know that your labor team's ultimate goal is a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Every delivery to your labor nurse is special to us, every day is a birth day.

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.

$79

Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.

$30

Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.

$32

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.

$37

The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!

$1295

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.

$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

$259.00

Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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