Baby Love, Health & Happiness

7 Things Nurses Taught Me After Giving Birth That Made Me a Better Mom (& 1 Thing not to Do!)

When I gave birth to my daughter, something really surprised me about my hospital experience. You spend a lot of time during your pregnancy getting to know your doctor & seeing them at so many visits. But there are other people that are going to play a huge part in your delivery if you deliver in a hospital, amazing nurses.

Some nurses I was with for 12 hours, some I only saw for a few minutes, but they were all there to ensure the success of my delivery, my health and my baby’s health. Some were a little cold (probably very tired), some sang to my baby, some gave me amazing advice that has stuck with me through two babies.

Here is what I learned from these amazing women.

Trust your motherly instinct. While we were being discharged from the hospital after giving birth to my daughter, she was only a little over 24 hours old, and I was pretty much not ready to leave. I didn’t speak up as much as I should have. The nurse discharging me could tell I was scared, for lack of a better word. She wrote her cell phone number on my folder and said, “Call me with anything you need. I would rather you call me a dozen times throughout the night and we can talk through your concerns, rather than you guessing, struggling and worrying. You need to trust your motherly instinct. If something’s wrong, call me.” I still use that folder because her care was so sincere.

Take the Ibuprofen, you need to be a mom now. After you give birth, the nurses come in at timed intervals to give you Tylenol & Ibuprofen to ease the pain from uterine contractions that happen when you nurse your baby, and if you have stitches from giving birth. I rarely take Tylenol or Ibuprofen in day to day life, so I chose to only take the Tylenol, and I seemed ok.

It was painful to stand up & walk to the bathroom, so I spent a lot of the first 24 hours in the hospital in bed. The same nurse that gave me her phone number as mentioned before, asked about my pain level and I told her. She looked at me in the eyes & said “Take the Ibuprofen, you need to be a mom now. That baby needs you, and you have to be able to walk around.” Well okay then. Done. What a game changer that was, and she was right. I needed to be the best mom I could for my daughter.

The red chord in the bathroom is only for emergencies. When I was moved from the delivery room to my hospital room, the nurse came in and went over her checklist of asking me questions and telling me what she was there for. “If you need me, press the red button on your bed or there is a red chord in the bathroom.” Simple enough.

In the middle of the night I needed to use the restroom, and hobbled in there with my giant grandma underwear & pad and I had a question. So I pulled the red chord. Here’s a fun visual, I was ON THE TOILET. Ok. Four nurses sprinted into the bathroom because I had just told them there was an emergency. And all I had was a simple question. My nurse saw my scared little face and she laughed as she bent over with her hands on her knees, “GIRL. That chord is for emergencies.” I proceeded to tell her she needed to say that she needs to say that in the beginning from now on. There it is, my most embarrassing and comical moment of my life.

Skin to skin contact with your baby is crucial for their development until they are 18 months old. Skin to skin contact with your baby regulates the baby’s blood pressure, blood sugar, body temperature, improves motor activity for nursing, & it helps your baby’s brain develop. If your baby or even if YOU are sick, you help each other get better quicker by skin-to-skin contact. Amazing. We have an amazing creator God that designed all of these benefits.

“Allan Schore, PhD, a neurobiologist from UCLA, and others have been exploring the roll of attachment and brain development for many years and explain that the amygdala is in a critical period of maturation in the first 2 months after birth. The amygdala is located deep in the center of the brain and is part of the limbic system involved in emotional learning, memory modulation, and activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Skin-to-skin contact activates the amygdala via the prefronto-orbital pathway and thus contributes to the maturation of this vital brain structure.” Source, 

Feedings are timed from the beginning of the last feeding. If you fed your baby at 6 am, even if the feeding lasted an hour, the next feeding should be at 8 am (if your baby is a newborn).

Ask your nurses and pediatrician questions early and often. After the first 24 hours, our pediatrician checked our baby in the hospital. I had been waking her every 2 hours to nurse through out her first night since she needed the nutrients right away. Since she passed her checkups and tests, she said it was good to wake her every 2 hours during the day, and 4 hours at night. Don’t be afraid to wake your baby intentionally! This is one my parenting secrets to success. At her 1 week checkup, my pediatrician said it was ok to not wake her at night, but still do it during the day.

Hold your baby upright for 15-30 minutes after each feeding to help them digest (every time, even when you’re exhausted at 3 am). Game changer of all game changers. I was told this after having my daughter, and she was spitting up a lot when I laid her down after a feeding. This helped her immensely (along with placing her in a Rock & Play after feedings if I was unable to hold her. Because I was going to pee my pants or possibly poop them).

I somehow had forgotten this when I had my son. We went through FOUR NIGHTS of 10 minute increments of sleep. I would nurse him (7-15 minutes each side, he was a fast eater), burp him, lay him down, swaddle him. He would sleep for 20-30 minutes while I got water, went to the bathroom, took medicine, finally laid down for 10 minutes of sleep. Scream again, nothing but nursing would console him. I frantically researched online & saw the “holding upright” tip & a million light bulbs went off in my zombie brain. As soon as I did this, he slept 3 hours. Then 6. And then we were on the road to survival.

Nurses & doctors are working their butts off, and encouragement goes a long way. I thanked my nurses profusely each time and told them how grateful I was for their care. Many of them were shocked to hear this. They hear a lot of complaints, a lot of whining, a lot of demands. Birth is difficult, and so is post-partum, but I believe it is still necessary and required to be kind and gracious to everyone I meet, especially ones who care for myself and my baby after delivery.

I hope this helps you Momma!


7 Things Nurses Taught Me