3 Things They Don’t Tell You About Giving Birth at Home
If you're planning a home birth, you're probably a walking encyclopedia on the stages of labor and different birthing positions, but here are three things they don't put in the childbirth books.
You're going to need someone to cook.
Labor is hard work. You're going to work up an appetite, and your birth attendees will also be hungry after spending the last few hours focusing on you and your baby. Except there's no cafeteria and you can't just tell the nurse what you want off the menu. Someone actually has to go grocery shopping, cook the meal, and clean up afterward — not an easy task when the parents are recovering from the birth, bonding with the baby, and trying to catch some sleep whenever possible. Stocking up on quick meals and ready-to-go breastfeeding-friendly snacks can help, but you may want to pad your budget for a few days of take-out or delivery. If you're hiring a postpartum doula, get one that includes cooking as part of her services.
There's going to be a LOT of laundry.
The amount of laundry that goes into a birth is shocking. There's towels, washcloths, sheets, pillowcases, your clothes, the baby's clothes, and burp cloths. Throw in some cloth diapers, and your hamper will be overflowing before the baby gets her first bath. When you're in a hospital, everything is in seemingly limitless supply, and as soon as something's soiled, it's immediately replaced and whisked off to the industrial washers and dryers in the hospital laundry service. At home, you may end up with six or seven loads of laundry just from the birth alone that have to be washed, dried, folded, and put away by either a recovering mother or an exhausted and sleep-deprived partner. While your midwife will likely have some in the birth kit, you can never have too many washcloths, towels, or chux pads. Once you think you've got enough, double that, and then double that again.
It lacks certain hospital conveniences.
While getting to rest in your own bed with your own stuff around you is definitely one of the perks of home birth, it also has its downside. In a hospital or birth center, there are nurses and housekeeping staff to keep everything neat and tidy, and anything you could want or need is just a push of a call button away. Your bed at home is probably lacking this convenience, but you can adapt a bit with a large bedside stand complete with phone and charger so you can ask you partner for a glass of water without waking the baby. You'll also need to think about your house's layout. How far away is the bathroom from the bedroom? Are you going to have to go up and down stairs? It may take a week or two before you feel even close to normal again, and having everything on one floor can make your recovery easier.
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