10 Pieces of Advice to Prepare for Labor & Delivery

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Hillary Frost Photography‘s blog, to extend advice to a new mom and friend of the authors.

1.  Pick a good nail paint color. Hillary told me when I went to get my nails done before having Lo, “You better pick a good color, you’re going to be staring at it for a long time.” And she was right. Bonus points if you have that color (or close) at home so you can do a second touch up if you actually have to leave the house and go somewhere. Let’s be honest, there will be no time for manicures or pedicures once baby arrives for a long, long time! – Amy

2. Buy some breast pads and use them. Honestly. Otherwise there is 100 percent chance you will be in Wal-Mart with a baby for just that one thing you need and you’ll hear another baby crying and like magic it will cue the letdown. You’ll be soaked in the middle of the frozen food section. Can you say “Hello People of Walmart?” – Amy

3. Be thankful for the Target Burp Rag Lady. When my daughter Austen was only 2 months old, my husband convinced me it would be good to get out of the house, even just to run to Target for a few necessities. So, I happily went! And, as I was browsing the toothpaste aisle mentally wondering if I had brushed my teeth that day (because I honestly wasn’t even sure what day it was), a very kind lady walked up to me and tapped my shoulder, handing me the dirty burp rag that was hanging over it. Instantly, tears started to well up in my eyes and she said, “Babe, it’s okay, we’ve all been there. This too shall pass and one day you’ll miss it, I promise.” She then handed me a tube of Crest and walked away. She was 100 percent right. So be thankful for the mom tribe that surrounds you because, yes, we’ve all been there and we’ve all got your back. Even if it has baby spit-up running down it. – Hillary

4. Buy yourself from gift cards from restaurants you like, bonus points for ones that deliver. There will be lots of nights you don’t feel like cooking. Or, enlist your sisters/moms/aunts/friends to make you frozen dinners two weeks prior to your due date. You’ll be starving and and infants are awful cooks. – Amy

5. Don’t over-pack your hospital bag. I think I took enough for us all to leave the country for two or three weeks. Seriously. The brand new diaper bag was bursting at the seams. I think it took four people three separate trips to get everything in the car to leave. Items you can leave at home include: entire boxes of granola bars, 47 of 48 receiving blankets, multiple tubes of lanolin (one will suffice) and finally, any expectation of getting sleep for the first 48 hours — just leave that thought at home with your regular underwear. Trust us on that one. – Amy

6. AppleTV, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, whatever just make sure you have them all. Find a series with lots of seasons that you really want to see and wait for the baby to get here to start watching it. I watched House of Cards — I wasn’t even mad I sat in the recliner for five consecutive hours nursing and holding the baby because my problems were nothing compared to Frank Underwood’s. Amy watched Dexter; However that’s really up to your parental discretion if you are comfortable with your newborn watching a serial killer that makes you question your moral compass. This is when you will need the entire box of granola bars… Enter the feeding station… – Hillary

7. The best thing I did was set up an area in my living room and that was the only area I used to feed the baby. It had a basket of snacks, a water bottle, remotes, a phone charger, a pillow, spit rags, etc. It also had a book but let’s be honest, I never opened it. This made nursing so much easier, well maybe not easier but there was a lot less complaining (depending on who you asked). Bonus: enlist someone to keep your station stocked and ready for the next feeding. You won’t have time to do it if you ever want to shower again. – Hillary

8. The biggest myth of pregnancy: maternity clothes are only for pregnant people. Wrong. Very few women leave the hospital in their regular jeans (unless their jeans have a belly band over them). You can rock those maternity pants/dresses/leggings as long as you need to because let’s be honest, you aren’t really going to be leaving the house much anyway. Count it as good day if you were able to even wear a shirt. I finally caved four months later when Brad asked if I was ever going to wear real pants again. That lasted a whole three months. Then I got pregnant. I wasted no time reuniting with those glorious stretchy waist bands. – Amy

9. The best answer to any question is to follow you own intuition. Try not to question your instincts because somehow they already know the answer. Mommy groups can be a great resource, but don’t get too wrapped up because there is no such thing as one-method-fits-all. Parenting styles differ and it’s important to know that as long as you are being safe, the right way for you and your baby is your way. – Amy

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s okay to not know all the answers, but I can also tell you Google doesn’t always have them either. So ask your friends and family for help. There are no awards for the most tired, overwhelmed mom so don’t even try for it. Taking the help, or asking for it when you need it will be the absolute best thing you can do for yourself and for your baby. Take advantage of help offered by moms, grandma, aunts, etc. They have all been there, love you and the little one and you’ll welcome the much-needed break. Maybe it’s been a while since they’ve had their own babies, but babies don’t change much. And if you’re lucky, with their help, you might be able to change that nail color before it turns into a french tip. – Hillary

— Hillary Frost is the owner and lead photographer at Hillary Frost Photography. She resides in Aviston, Illinois, with her husband, two daughters, and another baby on the way.

— Amy Rehkemper is the manager and creative director at Hillary Frost Photography and longtime friend of Hillary. She is also expecting and enjoys binge-watching Netflix with her toddler, husband, and two dogs.