Sarah Musselman, RN, BSN, IBCLC, OB nurse liaison at OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington is a tremendous resource for expectant and new moms. Sarah offers the following advice on what to do during your pregnancy and following the birth of your newborn:
1. Celebrate what is to come!
Get away with your partner, your friends, or just yourself to celebrate and reflect on how your life will be changing with the arrival of this baby. Savor the time during your pregnancy – it goes by so fast. Cherish the times you feel the baby move, look on in amazement as your belly grows. You’re excited to meet your son or daughter, it’s a special time, but take every opportunity to soak it in.
2. Build your support team.
Find family, friends, a new mom group like MOBB (Mom of Beautiful Babies, an in-person support group with connections to several OSF HealthCare hospitals), La Leche League, whatever works for you! Make a point to stay engaged, ask questions and meet new moms. Having the support as you go through pregnancy and beyond is invaluable.
3. Get ready for the big day — get the Circle by OSF app.
Circle by OSF can help
Find the right care provider for you. Just because you’ve been going to the same OB for the last 10 years doesn’t mean they are a good fit for you and your baby. Explore your options and don’t feel guilty about it. Take a childbirth class. The more you know, the better off you and your baby are during birthing and beyond. Decide what type of birth experience you want to have, learn everything you can about what is available where you’re going to be giving birth. Also, get the nursery ready, finish projects around the house and tie up loose ends before the final months of exhaustion set in.
There’s no greater joy than becoming a mother. But motherhood also brings a lot of questions. That’s why OSF HealthCare offers Circle by OSF – a free mobile app that supports women through pregnancy, motherhood and beyond. You’ll find the most current and trusted health information, helpful trackers and to-do lists and updates about OSF HealthCare classes, groups, tours and programs – all through one app.
4. Take in every moment.
Slow down and embrace it all. Take in every moment. It goes by too quickly!
5. Know that uncertainty and mixed feelings are normal.
The weeks and days leading up to the birth and the first few days and weeks after giving birth can be overwhelming. At OSF HealthCare, we will continue to provide support and encourage you to call your OB Nurse Navigator, Birthing Center or care provider. There are numerous resources available to help meet your physical and emotional needs. Never hesitate to reach out.
6. After giving birth, spend lots of skin-to-skin time with your baby.
The Golden Hour is commonly known as the period of time after you give birth to your baby.
After you deliver, your baby will immediately be placed on your chest for skin-to-skin contact. Skin-to-skin contact will help with the baby’s breathing, body temperature and heart rhythm.
Skin-to-skin is a special time for bonding and introductions – this is the first time you are meeting your new son or daughter! We want you to have a quiet and peaceful moment to bond with your new baby.
After this time alone, we welcome you to invite family and friends to meet your new bundle of joy.
7. Fatigue will be the biggest thing you fight. Rest, Rest, REST.
When baby sleeps, you sleep. The housework can wait. The laundry can wait. Take a nap every chance you get, and don’t feel guilty about having pizza delivered for dinner.
8. Take all the help you can get. It’s normal to struggle.
Don’t be afraid to take someone up on their offer to walk the dog, throw in a load of laundry, or even pick up a few things from the store. Make to-do lists for those times when someone offers to help. And don’t be afraid to ask someone for help.
9. Be practical and plan ahead.
In the weeks leading up to the birth during those times when you have the energy, stock up on necessities you’re not going to be up to running to the store for in the weeks following the baby’s birth – diapers, wipes, baby shampoo, paper towels, dish soap, paper plates, napkins, toilet paper, shampoo, soap, feminine hygiene items, etc.
Also, make some easy-to-freeze meals divided into single servings so you can grab something and warm it in the microwave with very little fuss. Think comfort food – lasagna, meatloaf, chicken and rice, soups, chili – the menu is up to you.
10. Fall in love each and every day.
Enjoy every minute of your pregnancy – the easy days and the hard ones. Pregnancy is just the beginning of a fantastic journey so keep a journal, take pictures and savor it. After the birth, take time to jot down the milestones your baby will begin to experience. Keep a notebook near your favorite chair so when you do have the time, you can easily transfer the information into their keepsake baby book.
Marvel at every new thing your baby experiences and does and feel the wonder as your heart fills with love.