Top Tips from my previous NCT groups
Enjoy your lie-ins and be impulsive. Life as you know it isn’t over when the little one arrives, but it’ll definitely be different!
Stocking the freezer can be a lifesaver. You’ll appreciate not having to think about what to eat next and being able to just bung something in the microwave.
Nursing bras, buy the cheapest you can, in a size bigger than you think you will need to start with – you will change size and it’s hard to predict what you will end up as.
Get your partner to pack the labour and birth and baby bag(s) so that he knows where everything is.
Compartmentalise: stuff for pre-birth in one place, stuff for after in another place.
Ice cream is an excellent early labour food
Don’t expect the hospital to provide: towels, nappies, extra pillows, cotton wool.
Take a sport-top water bottle not only for sipping water or energy drinks in labour but also for helping dilute stinging sensation when passing urine for the first time after birth.
Pack enough food and drinks for at least 24 hours for both of you. Most of you will be out of hospital in 24 hours but pack bags as though you were expecting to be there for three days, just in case.
Take layers – it can be hot but for partners sitting waiting can be chilly work.
A plastic margarine tub/yoghurt pot is useful for warm water for the first nappy changes.
A bedjacket may be more useful than a dressing gown as there may be postnatal bloodstaining!
Your own birthing ball may be more comfortable than the hospital issue one.
When you phone the hospital in labour the midwife may try to guess how far along mum is by what she sounds like on the phone. This is not an accurate assessment!
Before setting off ask the labour ward midwife about parking and entry at that time of day.
If you get to hospital and are advised to go home, listen to the advice… most women do progress faster at home and triage/antenatal ward is not always best place to be.
But also TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. I’ve taught many women who just “knew” they were progressing faster than the midwives thought – and were right.
In one of my NCT groups, not one couple remembered seeing anyone read their birth plan. This does not mean the birth plans/preferences were not read – but I strongly suggest dads press a list of simple requests into hands of the midwife saying “She wants me to ask you to read this please”
Most hospital staff you meet will be lovely. Sometimes however you might encounter a negative comment about your progress, how you are coping etc that makes you feel like giving up there and then. Try to filter out these negative comments – focus on the positive ones.