After you have your baby you stay in in the hospital up to 4 more days with the couplet care nurses. How can you get the most out of this stay and get the information you need from them. Also, what can you bring or prep ahead of time for that part of your hospital stay?
Today’s guest is my friend Julie. She’s worked in nursery, couplet care and gynecology for over 24 years and has a TON of experience. I’m excited to share it with you!
This episode was inspired by my post on postpartum recovery tips.
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. Couples LOVE the entire chapter on what to expect during the postpartum stay at the hospital. That’s something entirely missed by other classes, and I’m so glad to share that good info with you!
Preparing for your Postpartum Hospital Stay
In this episode
What is most surprising to parents after they have the baby.
How much pain they will be in, especially on subsequent babies.
What moms can do in advance to prepare for their hospital stay (and not over-prepare).
Tips for dads during the hospital stay
Julie mentions Healthy Children.org — the AAP website for parents.
Talking about getting on a schedule and how you can take turns sleeping when baby comes.
Other things that might interest you
How to have a comfortable postpartum period
My episode on what to expect postpartum.
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
[00:00:00.175] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on Episode 78, we are talking about unicorns and rainbows and happiness. I mean, that’s pretty much what most prenatal classes say about after you have your baby, but it’s not. Let’s untangle it.
[00:00:24.165] – Hilary Erickson
Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast, I’m Hilary, your curly headed host on the podcast, where we untangle everything from pregnancy, parenting and home routines. I want you to know that there are no right answers for every family. And I find that simplifying my priorities is almost always the answer. It’s tangled just like my hair.
[00:00:49.085] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, while you’re here, could you just make sure that you subscribe? A lot of people listen to this while they are on my website when they could really subscribe in their favorite podcast player and get every episode and not miss a beat. I’d love to have you with us.
[00:01:02.765] – Hilary Erickson
OK, so after you have your baby, you’re going to have your baby on a labor and delivery unit. And then usually you get transferred to another unit that’s either called couple care or mother baby or postpartum. Some places you have your baby and then you recover in the same room. But I’m finding that that isn’t as frequent. Most often you move to a room and honestly, I like it better because you’re able to get a fresh, clean room.
[00:01:23.165] – Hilary Erickson
Your labor room isn’t so fresh and clean at the end of a delivery. So it’s kind of nice. And then on that unit, mother, baby, postpartum couple of care, whatever they call it, after baby, you can stay sometimes up to four days if you’ve had a C-section. Most moms stay twenty four to forty eight to thirty six hours with a C-section, but some of them stay the whole 48. So you really are on that unit for quite some time.
[00:01:42.515] – Hilary Erickson
And a lot of times people have no idea what to expect because a lot of prenatal classes don’t talk about it at all. So I think one of the most important things to realize is what you can get from that day. And I’m not talking about diapers and tucks and all the things that they mention on tick talk that you can steal from that room. What I’m talking about is the expertise of these postpartum nurses. They are amazing. They know all about you, all about your baby.
[00:02:03.125] – Hilary Erickson
And I think a lot of times we kind of just brush that off. But we could be getting a whole lot more from them if we know how to use them while we’re there first day. And they want to be used especially for this kind of stuff. They want to be used. So I want to introduce today’s guest. She has been working couple care and nursery and some gynecology for the last twenty four years. So she has tons of experience.
[00:02:23.105] – Hilary Erickson
I want to introduce my friend. We used to work together, Julie.
[00:02:27.725] – Hilary Erickson
This episode of the Pulling Curls Podcast is sponsored by the online prenatal class. For couples, it simplifies understanding labor so you can have a more relaxed pregnancy and birth taught by a highly experienced labor and delivery nurse and can be done wherever you are, whenever you want. No more arranging busy schedules to fit in a prenatal class, save 15 percent with the coupon code untangled, you can find out more at pullingcurls.com in the menu under courses or in this episode’s show notes.
[00:02:55.055] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, Julie, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:02:57.365] – Julie
[00:02:58.205] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, Julie and I were co-workers, it’s so fun.
[00:03:01.685] – Julie
[00:03:02.615] – Hilary Erickson
All right. So let’s jump right in post-partum. What is the biggest surprise you think people find when they come to the postpartum floor?
[00:03:09.935] – Julie
The biggest surprise. I mean, I think it makes a difference if it’s the first baby or second baby or third or fourth. I think the first baby, the biggest surprise the parents have is they don’t realize how strong their newborn is. They can lift up their heads. They can they have really strong legs. They are some strong little things.
[00:03:35.165] – Julie
So I think that’s the first thing that parents are the big surprise they get.
[00:03:40.865] – Julie
And then I think they also are surprised that now after labor delivery, all of a sudden they just have one nurse they were used to and maybe a couple nurses in labor delivery. So we take care of them both upstairs. Yeah.
[00:03:54.785] – Hilary Erickson
And right before we transform, do you guys I mean, there being like sabotage by nurses and then you guys are the calm.
[00:04:00.735] – Julie
[00:04:01.985] – Hilary Erickson
So there’s other words for the floor. There’s postpartum. There’s couple that there’s mother, baby. Is there any other words hospitals use. Wow.
[00:04:09.635] – Julie
I think that that covers it. Yeah.
[00:04:12.605] – Hilary Erickson
Because everywhere I’ve worked it’s had a new name.
[00:04:14.645] – Julie
Yeah. I think those are the three main ones. Yeah. So I think when it’s the second baby or the third baby, a lot of parents are moms. Their biggest surprise is how much more cramping they have.
[00:04:27.335] – Julie
I think a lot of moms are afraid to ask for pain medicine because they feel like, gosh, it wasn’t like this the last time, but I’m in a lot of pain and sometimes it gets to the point where they need to have stronger pain medications. And that’s OK. So it’s a muscle. It has to work harder each time to have a baby. And I think that’s the big suprise for moms.
[00:04:46.775] – Hilary Erickson
Yes. Yeah, there were times that I was like, OK, I’ll take the epidural now.
[00:04:51.245] – Julie
Yeah. You have to take the Motrin and take the stronger stuff too, if you need it. That’s going to help you get through.
[00:04:57.425] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, because you still need to take care of your baby. And a lot of times I get those pains when they start to breastfeed and we don’t want you to not breastfeed because you’re having cramping because.
[00:05:05.175] – Julie
[00:05:06.245] – Hilary Erickson
It’s also keeping you alive. So that’s really important to you. Happy Mommy. Yeah. OK, so how can moms best prepare for their time in the hospital after babies born, like in advance? What could they do to prepare for it?
[00:05:18.815] – Julie
Wow, there’s so many things. So many things. Sometimes you prepare too much. So I think a big thing that parents can do is just be open, be open to the possibilities. You may have your plan and your idea and this is how it’s going to go.
[00:05:33.185] – Julie
And that all can change very, very quickly and at the last minute. So just kind of be open and go with the flow. And I think that’s going to help the process a lot better.
[00:05:44.045] – Hilary Erickson
And then I think that’s one hundred percent too, for labor and delivery. But I think a lot of people think postpartum is going to be pretty routine. But it’s the same thing. You just have to go with the flow of what ends up happening, how how the baby’s doing, how breastfeeding is doing, cramping all those kind of things. So that’s such good advice.
[00:06:00.275] – Julie
Yeah. I mean, also these babies, sometimes they they get jaundice. We don’t expect that maybe parents don’t know what it is or you’re not even thinking about that.
[00:06:10.025] – Julie
Sometimes those kiddos need a little extra fluids. So then we start to have the formula conversation, which is not a bad thing. They need that. They need extra fluids sometimes. So just to be open to that, it’s not going to necessarily change their life going home. But in that little short interim, sometimes it’s a little extra.
[00:06:28.265] – Julie
So that’s OK.
[00:06:29.525] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, it’s just like having a new car. Sometimes you just want everything to be perfect. It’s not going to stay perfect long, especially if you have kids. Oh yeah. OK, what about dads?
[00:06:42.185] – Hilary Erickson
What can dads do while mom’s in the hospital, especially if they’re with them if they stay.
[00:06:47.075] – Julie
Yeah. I think there’s so much they can do. I think a lot of dads don’t realize what they can do or they don’t know what to do. So I think they can. And this may seem silly to you guys, but seriously, it’s going to feel amazing to the moms like mom, bring your best lotion, the good smelling stuff, the oils that you can sit there and be foot massages, leg massages, back rubs, even the hands, all that stuff feels amazing after mom has been through what she’s been through, what her body’s been through, to get tired, all that stuff and just feel really good.
[00:07:20.915] – Julie
And it smells good. I mean, you can you guys can hang out in the same bed together. Don’t think you have to be separated and share a bed that’s across the room and be comfortable.
[00:07:30.665] – Hilary Erickson
That’s such a good idea, Julie, because especially Mom’s feet get so swollen in labor and delivery. And so that can feel really, really good.
[00:07:40.115] – Julie
And the smell and yes, except for dad to do I mean, because I know I walk in the rooms all the time and it and they’re sitting there like they don’t know what to do. I walk in there, my dad just jump up at attention like they feel like they have to be doing something or they’re. To be shunned, I mean, no, just enjoy your baby, enjoy your wife or girlfriend, but, yeah, you can be massaging, you guys can be holding the baby in the skin with a baby.
[00:08:05.375] – Julie
You can be doing all kinds of things to help mom. Just help mom relax and help someone to. And she sees you bonding with the baby, holding baby changing clothes. That makes her feel better, too. So. Yeah, yeah.
[00:08:16.805] – Hilary Erickson
Because then she doesn’t feel like the whole weight is going to be on her once. I think a lot of dads feel really sheepish about skin to skin.
[00:08:23.765] – Julie
Yeah. Yeah. Some do.
[00:08:25.565] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And I almost feel so awkward because they are feeling so awkward. Yeah. Tips I’ve seen is to wear like a button down shirt so then you can just unbutton that. You don’t have to like completely disrobe. But I think it’s really such a good idea to skin, to skin and don’t feel like it’s weird until you start to make it feel weird that it’s not weird for me.
[00:08:45.065] – Julie
Right. I mean you’re just holding your baby, that’s all. Yeah. Really, if you’re holding your baby. So. Yeah, yeah. Good things. Good ideas. Yeah.
[00:08:53.765] – Hilary Erickson
And I think it’s really important the dads feel involved pre covid we would let them get snacks and all that kind of stuff, but now they are kind of shunned to the room. But anything you can do in the room, you can start the shower for mom, you can get all the towels ready. Yeah. I mean we’ll just come in and drop off linens, but you guys can really do so much. Don’t ever feel like you’re useless because I think a lot do.
[00:09:14.315] – Julie
Yeah. There’s so much. And even like our section guys when we get them up, I’m always asking dads to go ahead and get out the toothbrush and do things for mom. Go find that robe if she packed it. And while we’re getting up and preparing to go to the bathroom, you can be getting all that stuff out and make everything smoother. Yeah.
[00:09:31.205] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And it gets them in a zone where they’re helping because some of them, I feel, worry that they go home and then they’re also sitting on the sideline at home when when hopefully they’ve been helping all along and then they go home and they’re still helping, right.
[00:09:42.485] – Julie
[00:09:43.715] – Hilary Erickson
OK, Julie, what do you think people should bring? A lot of people I see coming in with these giant luggage sets and I think there are some things that are super, super important. What are they?
[00:09:51.465] – Julie
Well, I think a lot of people as far as breastfeeding, I’ll ask parents if they have a breast pump at home. Yes, I do. They’ll say, yes, I do have one at home for just in case. I guess what you’re just in cases right now.
[00:10:07.925] – Julie
So it would be great if you would just pack it because you don’t know. You might be on the postpartum unit three hours in and all of a sudden and then now here you are. And it would be a great I guess so bring the breast pump and all the perks that go with it. Bring your car seat in so you can start to play with it. Because I tell you what, those car seats, I think that’s the one big hang up at the search time is parents that are playing with the car seat and figuring it out.
[00:10:35.405] – Julie
So you’re in a hurry to go home right now. You’ve got all the paperwork done and you know everything about your baby and how to take care of yourself. And now there’s the car seat. So now we spend another thirty minutes just trying to figure out how does this thing work. So I would definitely bring that into the hospital and start playing with it under the straps and do the adjustments and put your baby in there when you’re hanging out in the room and and just be ready to go home.
[00:11:01.115] – Hilary Erickson
So yeah, car seats are so confusing, it seems like it’s not that hard.
[00:11:06.815] – Julie
Yeah. I’ve seen moms ask for earplugs also. That’s that’s nor. Oh interesting. Maybe bring some earplugs.
[00:11:15.935] – Hilary Erickson
We don’t have those. I was going to say did we stop those.
[00:11:18.755] – Julie
We don’t stop those. Pack a bunch of snacks because nowadays with covid you guys your, your sadly your prisoners to your room. So pack your favorite snacks and then Mommy’s for you’re the bathroom.
[00:11:33.275] – Julie
Boy, our little pads, we get all variations of different pads from time to time. And I’ve seen many girls bring in the pens or whatever brand that is. Those are amazing. I think those are wonderful. So pack your own underwear, your own pads, whatever you’re going to feel comfortable in. And then lastly, sleep sacks for babies. So we teach that you don’t want to swaddle your baby when you go home. So sleep sacks are approved and if you like them, you have them.
[00:12:01.145] – Julie
Bring them in and start using those right away with your with your newborn.
[00:12:04.655] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, that’s such a good idea. And also, sometimes all that stuff is a little more confusing than you think it could be. So having somebody around you to be like, oh no, you just stick them in like this really helps. What about like those other swaddles? We say no Swadling. We say Swadling under the armpits, right? Yeah.
[00:12:19.295] – Julie
So those are like just blanket blankets. And I heard people say the swaddles when I hear swaddle, a swaddle is a blanket. That’s all it is.
[00:12:26.765] – Julie
So the American Academy of Pediatrics does not approve of our blankets, period, when you go home. So even though they may be big and you can wrap your baby and they don’t approve those. So we do it here in the hospital and that’s just a temperature thing to help them stay warm. But the facts or the little whatever band or name you want to call the units have like Velcro on them.
[00:12:50.375] – Julie
Those are approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics. So bring those. I’ve seen no footage at the bottom, but those are the same the same swaddles, I guess you can use when the baby’s in the crib, otherwise you don’t notice anything, but they’re not necessary, but they’re approved. So if you’ve got them, bring them in. You can start using them to use them. So, yeah.
[00:13:10.895] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And I was thinking also with breast pumps, a lot of times people are like, do you know what your flanges are at home?
[00:13:15.645] – Hilary Erickson
So just even bringing them in, even if you don’t end up using it in the hospital, having it there so that lactation can give you any tips with that specific top pump or making sure you have the right parts for your breast size can save you time down the road. Yeah, definitely. Use us. Yes.
[00:13:30.335] – Julie
Yeah, just use us. We’re here to help you. So don’t feel like you can’t ask us anything.
[00:13:35.135] – Julie
We’re there 24/7 for you. Just the first two days, right?
[00:13:39.035] – Hilary Erickson
Right. And we’re not going home with you, thank goodness. No, no. You don’t want us there and we don’t want to be there. Hey, Julie, do you have a spot where parents can go for more information?
[00:13:49.385] – Julie
Yes, I think that on a website called Healthy Children.org is a great website where parents can go to see where their babies should be developmentally. It’s a great resource for them. Lots of questions or things that they might need to know about their baby, go to help each other. Network website.
[00:14:09.875] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, nice. Because I think that probably wouldn’t have all the bias that they find other places. Right. So just information. Yeah. By the American Academy of Pediatrics. So those are the pediatric gods that we go to. So there’s lots of websites out there. But this this is these are the pediatric gods. So they refer then to the parents for healthy children or it’s really good. Yeah. OK, awesome. OK, any other tips for moms and dads after babies born.
[00:14:39.065] – Julie
Oh gosh. We just take turns napping. I think that’s a big one too. So get on the schedule. Maybe start talking about that before you come to hospitals. It’s, it’s exhausting. Exhausting, but fun. So yeah. Get a plan, take turns napping. So yeah.
[00:14:55.055] – Hilary Erickson
That’s such good advice. And moms could pump moms, dads can feed. I think dads get a lot of joy from feeding a bottle and it can be whatever you decide to put in it. There’s lots of options. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Such good advice for dads today. Julie, I really appreciate you coming on. I think people are going to be a lot more prepared for after baby because I think we talk a lot about what will happen right up until baby’s born.
[00:15:16.985] – Hilary Erickson
And then I feel like every postpartum or every prenatal class I ever went to was just like and then it’s just sunshine and rainbows. Yeah.
[00:15:23.375] – Julie
Right now it’s all reality check now.
[00:15:27.605] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. All right. Thanks for coming on, Julie.
[00:15:30.065] – Julie
[00:15:31.505] – Hilary Erickson
OK, I love this episode and I just want you guys to know that it really is something that you can prepare for. And I do have a whole chapter on what to expect on your postpartum stay in my class. And surprisingly to me, because I kind of thought, I don’t know if people will be that interested or it will be that helpful. But people who have had the class and then are giving a review for my class, they say that that was so helpful because they knew what to expect their duration of the hospital stay from when they get admitted.
[00:15:56.975] – Hilary Erickson
Until then, they leave. And of course, we have a chapter even after this about what to expect when you go home. So I know when I had my baby again, unicorns and rainbows, everything is going to be great. You’ll have your baby and then it’ll just be even better. And sometimes it’s not. Sometimes there’s complications. There’s things that you might want to expect. So I was so glad that Julie came on to tell us kind of how to prepare for that second part of your hospital.
[00:16:15.455] – Hilary Erickson
Stay and remember to use those nurses. Guys don’t think that they’re just there to check you out, ask the questions, write them on your whiteboard so you’re not backing them all the time, but ask the questions they want to answer. Really? That’s like postpartum nurses. Favorite thing is to answer questions and educate people. That’s why they do that job. So there’s some questions. Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope we help smooth out a few of the smiles in your life.
We drop an episode every Monday and we always appreciate it when you guys share and review until next time. We hope you have a tangle free day.