1. Everyone is different and everyones labor is different and everyones baby is different. What works for one may not work for another so listen to the advice people give you and put it in your back pocket because you may or may not need it. :-)
2. I wish I had hired a professional photographer to take newborn pictures of Annabelle. Being a photographer I thought I could do it myself but I got sick after her birth (really sick) and I was so sleep deprived I just couldn't manage to get a beautiful picture of her as a very tiny baby. So if pictures are important to you then make the investment with a photographer that will come to your home in those first few days/weeks.
3. Take lots of pictures at the hospital. I didn't take my good camera to the hospital because I didn't want my Doula to have to try to figure out how to use it but I really wish I had it to take pictures during my down time during recovery.
4. ENJOY!!!!!! your time in the hospital. If you don't feel good and you think something is wrong be vocal about it so you can get to feeling better so you can enjoy your time. Just think you have a whole staff of people there to get you anything you want so take advantage. Also try to get some sleep and if this means you need to send the baby to the nursery for a few hours because you can't take your eyes of him/her then don't feel bad about that.
4. Bring some comfy PJ's and flip flops to the hospital. Ones you can nurse in and that you don't mind if they get some blood on them (you bleed heavy after). Those hospital robes are not so attractive for visiting with guests or pictures during recovery. Also, next time I am bring a hair dryer and come makeup for afterwards, I always feel better when I am all showered up and my hair is dried and I have some makeup on.
5. Have colace on hand at home for when you get home. You will need a stool softener.
6. Rent a breast pump from the hospital if you can. That way if you don't need it then you can bring it back vs. buying one that you can't return. Thankfully mine was not expensive.
7. Buy comfy lounge cloths (you will live in them for a while). You know how they say you will change a baby onsie a few times a day, well let me tell you it isn't just the baby who gets spit up on so plan to change your shirt and some time pants a couple times a day also.
8. Take any help you can get at home. Don't be like me trying to clean, nurse, learn how to be a Mom all at the same time. Make a plan with your partner and in the plan expect that you will be not helpful for 6 weeks. So who will grocery shop, cook, clean, laundry, wash/make bottles (if not nursing), get up at night. You will be feeding every 2 hrs. and the baby at first will sleep a lot so between feeding the baby and yourself, showering and changing diapers that doesn't leave much extra time. I happened to leave out the sleeping part to fit in laundry and cleaning and eventually painting my house (NOT GOOD I was a nut). So if possible make easy frozen dinners, stock up on delivery menus, and/or buy freezer meals.
9. Your hormones are going to be doing crazy. So expect to cry but if you feel like you are way down in the dumps talk to your doctor.
10. If you have family that wants to help see if they will setup a schedule so not everyone is over at the same time and make sure they know they are their to help and not be a guest. You don't have time for guests now they need to take care of you.
11. ENJOY all the firsts!!! Capture the memories because they grow so fast.
12. When your baby is very little and when you are feeling up to it go out to eat! They will sleep right through it. Because there will be a point of a few months that it will be very hard to take them out to a restaurant because they can't sit up but they won't sleep through it and they are annoyed that they can't get out of their car seat. :)
13. When the baby starts getting around more on the floor find a big blanket that you can throw in the washer and put it on your carpet like an area rug to catch the spit up. It's much easier to put a blanket in the washer than it is to get your rugs cleaned. Annabelle was like a puppy with her spit up.. LOL
I think that's enough advice for now. The biggest one is to force yourself to sleep when you can and except help and most importantly cherish every minute of your newborns life.
Take care everyone!
P.S. We are going on a vacation after Annabelle turns one to celebrate our making it through a year and our up coming anniversary. So excited to be at an all inclusive resort in FL with child care.