This is the moment you've been waiting for. Nine months have finally passed and a precious new life is lying in your arms.
Make these first moments as special as they can be by being prepared.
If this is your first baby and you are breastfeeding, you will find that it is not always as easy as it's made out to be.
There are a few things you can pack in your maternity hospital bag to smooth the path.
A comfortable nightshirt with buttons at the front. This will make it easier to nurse baby without worrying about revealing all to the world.
A nursing pillow. If baby is properly supported by the pillow, there will be less strain on your arms and you will be able to concentrate on helping baby to latch. Read more about nursing pillows here...
A nursing bra. Wear this even when you sleep in the beginning. Your breasts will become tender as your milk comes in. The support of a nursing bra will ease the discomfort.
Disposable breast pads. It's unlikely that you will need these in the first couple of days after the birth. Your hind milk normally doesn't come in until around day three. But it's best to take a few along just in case.
Nipple Cream. Use it - right from the beginning. You won't believe the damage that tiny little rosebud of a mouth can do to a nipple unaccustomed to being fed from.
If you are bottle-feeding, you will need to pack bottles with nipples, formula and a sterilizing kit in your maternity hospital bag.
Obviously, if baby is going to be rooming in with you, earplugs are not a good idea. However, if you can possibly get the nursery to care for your baby on the first night, it can be a lifesaver.
You will have plenty of time to be sleep deprived later. Right now what your body needs is rest. Wear earplugs to block out the unfamiliar sounds and ask for a sleeping tablet.
Most hospitals provide these, but some birthing centers don't. Heavy bleeding is one of the unfortunate side effects of giving birth. A few maxi pads per day will help you out.