4 questions to help prepare you + your partner for a peaceful birth

#1—How can we stay connected during the process?

4 questions to help prepare you + your partner for a peaceful birth

I was having coffee the other day with a girlfriend who is about to give birth for the first time. She was asking me specific questions about my labor experience: How did it start (induced), did I get an epidural (yes), did I have a birth plan (no), was the hubs supportive (yes) or freaked out (yes)?

We could have sat there all day chatting about the endless scenarios that could take place once she entered the hospital—or bedroom or tub or birthing center—but about halfway through I stopped her.

I put down my delicious vanilla breve and said this:


“I could tell you everything about the birth of my daughter—what the hospital smelled like, what my nurse said to me that made me snort laugh, why I chose to have one of my best friends stand on my left and my husband on my right, what it felt like the first time I felt my baby girl on my chest—but my labor story is just that to you: a story.”

The reality is you can only prepare so much before giving birth. When it comes right down to it, fate or God or the goddesses or Mother Nature might have a completely different idea in mind. I have friends who went in with very specific birth plans printed on scented paper, laminated all nice and shiny in their minds’ eyes. But as soon as labor began, those pretty plans instantly went out the proverbial window.

I also know some who had the exact birth they imagined, and it was not at all what they had expected. Every experience is unique. Preparation seems sexy—like a pair of sleek black stilettos—but when the time comes all you want are electric blue Crocs with memory foam insoles.

However, as a control freak, the idea of not doing any preparation prior to labor day made my lungs close up and my pits sweat. That’s where my loving and very patient partner came into play. We had already decided we did not want a detailed birth plan because it seemed like we would be setting ourselves up for disappointment, so we opted for a “go with the flow” attitude.

Looking back, there were a few things we did that actually helped—like talking about our feelings of what was to come.

Here are the 4 questions that helped prepare us for a peaceful labor day.

1. How can we stay connected during the process?

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If there is one thing that is consistent throughout most birth stories, it’s that you and your partner are in it together. Yes, there is a main player and a supporting role, but no one should feel alone during labor.

Talk to your partner about how to stay connected during the process. You can both find out your love language, which can help in these types of conversations and situations. Whether it’s a verbal check-in, a physical touch like a hand squeeze or shoulder rub, or a silent but knowing look, discuss how you two will stay connected so that both of you feel supported and loved.

2. What are you most worried or scared about?

There is nothing more comforting than knowing you are not the only one experiencing fears, doubts and concerns. Being as open and honest as I could with my partner was essential to squashing those dark thoughts looming just below the surface. It might seem that acting strong and stonewall-like is the best approach, but allowing yourself to be vulnerable is where true strength comes in. Letting my fears out in the open brought us closer together.

3. What are you willing + not willing to compromise on when it comes to birthing options?

This one is tricky. You can go in saying, “Absolutely no way, not ever, not me, mister” to a C-section, but when comes down to your and your baby’s health, it’s out of your hands. Maybe you planned on having an epidural all throughout your pregnancy but changed your mind while in labor. Or you had visions of a beautiful, candlelit water birth, free of drugs and curse words, but when the time comes, you beg for an epidural. (And maybe even used a few curse words...)

It’s important to be open with your partner about various scenarios and what you are willing and not willing to compromise on. Sometimes your baby will decide for you. But for those times where it could go either way, come up with a safe word that you can use with your partner so they know you mean business. That helped me communicate my needs very clearly.

4. What are the best things you + your partner can do for each other?

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This might change when everything is actually underway, but it is a good idea to talk about this beforehand.

My husband and I discussed at length what I would need from him—his signature calm attitude and verbal encouragement. We also talked about what he would need from me—open and honest communication, however ridiculous and far-fetched the words spewing from my mouth might be. And truthfully, this worked. He stayed calmed and focused and I told him to wipe when I needed wiping and to pipe down when I needed silence. Everyone wins.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

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Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


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Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


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Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

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Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

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If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

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Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

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When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

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Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

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Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

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This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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