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Commentary | June 25, 2012

New Parent Support Secrets Revealed!

By Julie Couture Family Advocacy Program

Pregnant women often receive much advice, some unsolicited, while pregnant. Although some of this information can be quite useful, there is other information that can be useful. Here is our list of new parent support secrets that can help you prepare for your child:

· Take a tour of the hospital where you will deliver. The tour is free, and it can help ease anxiety of being in an unfamiliar location. The Joint Base Langley-Eustis Hospital has childbirth orientation classes during the 3rd trimester where families can tour the unit. Your Ob/Gyn can provide more information.

· Get the car seat installed before the baby arrives. The JBLE fire station can also check for proper installation either before or after the birth. However, if Junior decides to arrive before schedule, take the car seat and the instructions with you to the hospital.

· Pack loose fitting clothing in your overnight bag. After giving birth, women lose weight, but usually not enough to wear their pre-pregnancy clothes.

· Don't over pack. When you leave the hospital you'll be carrying the baby, in addition to all of your items. Your stay in the hospital won't be long, and you can wear the hospital gowns and disposable underwear that are provided. It may be difficult to believe, but people have been known to steal the disposable underwear from hospitals because they are so convenient.

· Don't pack cute, tight fitting shoes. You may retain fluid, or your swelling may continue even after giving birth. Also, many women notice their feet change in size after having a baby. Pack shoes that are loose and open, such as flip flops.

· Women who want to breast feed their babies should bring a nursing bra with them. The hospital staff will help you breast feed your baby during your stay, and a nursing bra makes this process easier.

· Take advantage of the breastfeeding consultants on staff. Ask as many questions as possible before you leave.

· If you experience sore nipples due to breastfeeding, it can help to use Lansinoh cream. For mothers who choose not to breastfeed, use ice-packs in order to alleviate the pain.

· If you opt to not breast feed, consider wearing a sports bra or other tight fitting bra. Mothers who do not want to breast feed will still lactate. Restriction will help decrease the production of milk.

· Having visitors can be fun, but it might help if you ask them to send any flowers or gifts to your house instead of bringing them to the hospital. They mean well, but flowers and presents for baby add to the pile of things that have to be brought home.

· Although being home is good, it is also the time that hormones shift. It is very common for women who have just delivered to suffer from the "baby blues". For most, the symptoms subside within two weeks. Even though hormones usually balance themselves out, if you are concerned or notice that your depressive symptoms have worsened, call your doctor.

Active duty military and their spouses who are expecting, a child or who have children up to age three, are eligible for home and office visits through the New Parent Support Program. The program is voluntary, and is designed to assist new and expectant parents by providing education and information on a variety of topics. For more information, call the New Parent Support Program at 764-2427 (Langley) or 878-0807 (Ft Eustis).