(1) If possible, go to a hospital that allows your partner to stay overnight with you. You don’t want to chance it that you will get good midwives to look after you. Especially if you have had a long labour, a rough or traumatic birth, a C-section, you are so knackered but you also want to be able to close to your baby with the help of your partner. You’d want your partner there to help you through the night when the newborn needs to be fed every 2 or so hours. If it is not possible for your partner to be there, have someone else who is close to you stay overnight or hire a doula who would do so.
(2) Do not let the midwives take your newborn away with you no matter what. Even if they have to take the newborn away for their daily observations (taking temperature etc …), go with them or have your partner go with them. DO NOT let them take your newborn away on their own. Be firm and say you want to be or have your partner or a family member with your newborn at all times.
(3) Should it be necessary for the hospital to take your newborn away to the nursery, make sure they tell you exactly why it is necessary. DO NOT simply let them do so.
(4) If you choose to breastfeed, be prepared that you may have difficulties. Not all women breastfeed easily as they would like you to believe. If you can afford it, look for a qualified lactation consultant prior to your due date to see if they would attend to you while you’re in the hospital. Not all hospitals provide you with a lactation consultant or help you with breastfeeding. REMEMBER, NOT ALL MIDWIVES HAVE ANY TRAINING IN THIS AREA!
(5) Have as much skin to skin as you can with your newborn!
(6) Take as many photos as you can!
(7) If you end up having a C-section, be prepared that you may not be able to hold your newborn immediately after they cut it out of you. And be prepared to shake involuntarily A LOT! If you want skin to skin with your newborn, make sure they know this is what you want. Remember, these moments are lost forever if you don’t seize them!
I missed out on holding my newborn and have skin to skin with him when he was born as the hospital had administered too much anaesthetic to me and I was shaking a lot and drifting in and out of consciousness. The midwife wrote on his medical record that I refused skin to skin when in fact I was passed out and was not able to respond. I did not even know when it was asked.
(8) Do not let the hospital and midwives bully you into feeding your newborn formula if this isn’t your plan. Read up on how much newborns need to be be fed and have your partner there to stand firm with your decision.
The nursery midwives not only fed my newborn with formula, they also refused to let me feed him colostrum that I’d expressed. Newborns don’t need to be fed a lot as they only have tiny stomach when they are born. 50 ml of formula (about 1.6 oz) is way too much for a 1 day old baby. The midwives pretty much force-fed him 50ml of formula and wouldn’t allow me to take him home. Rather than helping me with breastfeeding and expressing milk for him, they made me feed him 50ml of formula.
Most newborns lose weight in the first few days of their life. As long as it’s not more than 10% of their birthweight, don’t let the hospital bully you into force-feeding your newborn to make it put on weight.
This is what happened to me. My new born lost less than 5% within the first 4 days. Bear in mind, they took him away from me while I was sleeping and fasted him, so he didn’t get fed for 24 hours so they could ‘observe him’. His weight loss was normal as a newborn and yet they felt they need to make me responsible for it and refused to let him go home. It was frightening how they could hold you and your newborn prisoners.