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Snuggle time: 9 things to do in the hospital after your baby’s birth

Ask questions.

Remember that the people around you are part of your team, and they want you to do well, so really take advantage and ask questions. Lots of them! No question is silly (and it's okay if you need to ask it a few times because you keep forgetting the answer). I promise, you are not “bothering" anyone—they want to help you.

If you have a lot of questions about the postpartum period now, we've included an entire segment on it in our birth class.

We spend a lot of time thinking about birth: We take classes, read books and listen to everyone's birth stories. Then the baby comes (go you, awesome lady), and there is this moment of “Um, now what?" Now love on your little one, mama!

Here are 9 important things to do on your first day of motherhood.

See a lactation consultant.

Ask if there is a lactation consultant you can see before you go home from the hospital or birth center.

There may also be one who can visit you at home.

Even if breastfeeding is going really well, it never hurts to get a few extra pointers to set you up for success long-term.

See visitors... or don't.

If you've been with Motherly for a little while, you know we are big on reminding you that this is YOUR BIRTH. That carries on into the postpartum period.

You are under no obligation to entertain people after you have a baby, so please don't feel like you have to accept visitors.

If you want to, lovely! Go for it (especially if they bring food). But if you feel like you want to spend the time hunkered down and bonding with your baby, that's totally okay.

Pro tip: If you are leaning more towards not having visitors in the hospital, feel free to copy and paste this as your Facebook status or text message update—“Our baby is here and we couldn't be more delighted! Thank you so much for all the warm wishes. We are spending a few days resting, falling in love and adjusting to being a new little family, but we can't wait to introduce her to you soon!"

Take (at least) one mental snapshot of your baby.

I have had three babies, and I'll be honest—while I can recall some things, those first days are kind of a whirlwind, and I don't remember each and every moment.

But I made a point of permanently remembering one moment with each of them after they were born.

With each of them it was a moment that just the two of us shared, during a rare quiet minute alone together. I'll share my moment with my firstborn, my daughter: My postpartum room was shared, so my husband couldn't stay overnight with us. We were alone in the room that first night (except my roommate on the other side of the curtain), sleeping, and she woke up crying (as babies do, of course). I JUMPED out of bed, went to her little plastic bassinet and remember being overwhelmed with emotion and pride. This was the first of countless times in her life she would be calling for me to comfort her, and it was breathtakingly beautiful to bear witness to.

(For tips on taking actual photos, check out this article.)

Sleep.

We know, this one seems pretty obvious. But it's just so essential.

You'll have a lot of adrenaline coursing through your veins after you give birth. You may want to call everyone, post a bunch of pictures on Instagram and just dive into your new role as mama.

But the more sleep you can get, the better off you will be, both short and long term. Study after study after study show just how important sleep is to a new mom's emotional and physical health. Your baby may be pretty sleepy those first days too, so take advantage, and sleep when she does.

Pro tip: Don't be afraid to ask your partner or support person to snuggle the baby for a while so you can close your eyes.

Handle some business.

There are a few action items you'll have to take when your baby is born. These include:


1. Putting him/her on your insurance: They won't do it automatically, so you have to call. You usually have 30 days to do this, but we suggest doing it right away so you can cross it off the list.

2. Make their first pediatrician appointment: The hospital pediatrician will let you know when that first appointment should be, based on how everything is going. Then you'll just place a quick call to your pediatrician's office to let them know the baby has been born (yay), and to get on their calendar.

3. Fill out the birth certificate. This is usually done before you get discharged from the hospital. You'll probably have at least a day, though, so if you're waiting to see him before you officially name him, you've got time.




Start skin-to-skin contact.

Thinking about doing skin-to-skin with my babies still gives me all the feels. It's just one of the most lovely experiences we get to have.

Skin-to-skin is when you put your naked (except for a diaper) baby against your bare chest, and then a blanket over both of you, and then just cuddle and breathe in that new-baby smell. In addition to being delightful, skin-to-skin helps regulate your baby's temperature, breathing and heart rate, and it helps promote milk supply and breastfeeding.

So get naked, and get cuddling!

Pro tip: If you aren't able to do skin-to-skin right away, your partner or another family member can do it!

Eat. All. The. Food.

You know, the foods you couldn't eat when you were pregnant. The ones you have been CRAVING for nine months. Eat 'em up real good. (I may or may not have, but definitely did, have the local sushi place's number programmed into my husband's contact list weeks before I actually gave birth....)

You'll probably find that you are ravenously hungry shortly after you give birth.

I mean, you basically just ran a marathon, right? Fueling yourself with delicious and powerful foods will help so much as you enter this next phase—you'll need the energy to take care of your baby, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF and also to make breastmilk.

Eating food with fiber (like fruits and veggies—inspiration here), and drinking a lot of water will help make post-birth bathroom trips easier. And people love bringing new moms food! So bon appetit, mama!

Write down some things.

Birth is the most intense natural experience we have as humans. It's exhilarating and exhausting and then you get a baby! So it's not uncommon to forget something about your experience. When you have a quiet moment, jot down a few quick memories, notes or questions you have as you reflect on your birth. You can add the note to your baby book and look back on it as you celebrate your little one's birthday each year (sniff). And while we're on the subject...

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

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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Pop culture might lead us to believe that single people are having all the good sex and us married folks are lucky to get anything at all. But, for a lot of couples, sex gets better after a walk down the aisle.

I'll put it like this: The escapades I had before my husband were a lot like fast food—quick and unsatisfying. On the other hand, married sex is like having a five-star, live-in chef. So, why is it so hard to sell the idea married people are having the best sex of their lives?

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