The time in hospital after you have your baby is exhausting, exhilarating and emotional. After months of anticipation you are finally holding your beautiful bubba in your arms and you don’t want to let go. I had done so much reading on what to pack in my hospital bag, how to manage the flow of guests, what to expect from the midwives, preparing to return home and the first days of newborn life. I just wish someone had told me to do these four things…

1. Every day when I showered I was so exhausted that I didn’t have the energy required to lift my arms above my head and wash my hair. I look back on the photos of my first few days with my daughter and my first thought is “I didn’t feel as bad as I looked”. If I had packed some dry shampoo I could have quickly freshened up my hair without having to wash and dry. I know I had just had a baby and people didn’t expect me to look glamorous but it would have made me feel a bit better.

2. This one might be controversial as it is something that a lot of people recommend but I wish I hadn’t gone on a “date night” with my husband before we came home from the hospital. Our hospital offered the option of leaving baby in the nursery for a couple of hours so we could go for dinner at a local restaurant. After our dinner (at which I ate enough sushi to make up for 9 months without) I was more exhausted than after my labour. If you are feeling good, go for the date night option but if you need the rest, take that option instead.

3. I had so much emotion in the hours and days after Olivia was born. I was cuddling her in the middle of the night on her second night after a feed and was flooded with tears of happiness at how I could be so lucky to have such a beautiful baby. I wish I had taken a few minutes during that time in hospital to write my thoughts in a letter to Olivia. I attempted to do this in the weeks after coming home but I know I didn’t capture the emotion in the same way. Whether you write to your future self or to your child to read when they are older, take the time to write down your thoughts. Having a baby is one of the biggest, most amazing changes in your life so document it. Within a few months your little baby will be rolling, eating, crawling, talking, walking and the moments of holding a sleeping newborn will be distant memories.

4. As a new mum I was given so much information in hospital by the midwives. It wasn’t always consistent but I wish I had questioned it more. I just went along with what I was told by the “experts” and didn’t think about what would happen when we got home and needed to look after this tiny person by ourselves. I should have used the word “why” more so that I knew the reason for things rather than just accepting them as they were.

Is there something you wish you had done (or not done) while in hospital after having your baby?


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