In the spirit of awards season I thought I’d announce the winners for my awards show for things related to actually having a baby when you’re not actually the one having a baby. I’m talking about the stay at the hospital from arrival to going home, and the awards are called The Babbies. Competition was stiff as advice and baby items flowed aplenty in the weeks leading up to the birth of my first child.
So without further ado…
Best One Weird Tip
And the Babbie for Best One Weird Tip goes to…salt!
Hospital food is usually something to be endured, not enjoyed. But part of the reason for this is that they don’t salt anything. I guess there are enough medical reasons to not salt food that this is what hospital kitchens default to.
So pack a little plastic baggie of salt and let the flavor flow! My preferred meal ended up being the breakfast sandwich, and with a little salt it was downright tasty.
You never know how long you’ll be in the hospital, so at least the food should taste as good as possible.
Best Practical Item
And the Babbie for Best Practical Item goes to…sleep mask!
Sleep is notoriously difficult with a newborn, and doubly so when you’re at the hospital—there’s lots of lights, blinking, people coming and going, etc.
If you know a baby is in your future just start wearing a sleep mask now. Your brain will start associating wearing a sleep mask with sleeping, and that habit can turn wearing a sleep mask into a self fulfilling prophecy. And honestly, even if you don’t “sleep”, just closing your eyes in darkness is rejuvenating on some level.
Invest in a good mask—it will pay off. I use the MZOO one (horrible name, good sleep mask).
And the Babbie for Best App goes to…Nara Baby!
In the buildup to having a baby, many providers will recommend apps to you. These will uniformly be kinda crummy.
I think there’s an urge in every software developer who has a child to build their own baby app. I’ve seen multiple cases of this on Twitter, and I also felt the same urge.
Just download Nara Baby.
It’s got a pleasant design, is easy to use, and has a solid feature set. The important thing is having a serviceable app from the get-go so you’re not losing all your historical data every time you swap to a new app.
The only downside I’ve found is it doesn’t really track feeding end-time. Just write that down in a note on the session.
(Fascinatingly they seem to be planning on monetizing the app with co-branded baby formula. In the era of commoditized apps, I guess baby formula is where the margin is at?)
And the Babbie for Best Advice goes to…”let the nurses help you overnight at the hospital”!
Actually, I didn’t get this advice, but I am giving it to you.
During your stay in the hospital immediately following the birth, a nurse might offer to take care of your baby for a bit in the middle of the night. You might not know this is a thing, and it will freak you out for several reasons.
One, you will feel like you’re already failing to care for your child. But really, there are many reasons why caring for a baby in the hospital is harder than at home (you’re at a hospital, there’s a good chance there was a long and exhausting labor, meconium diapers twice as bad as regular diapers, etc.). It is fine, and not a personal failure to take them up on this offer.
Two, you will be freaked out to have your child leave your sight. When they watched our kid for a couple hours I was the neurotic weirdo who asked to follow the nurse to see the room where they’d keep him, and confirmed with the front desk that I could come and get him at any time. Feel free to copy that slightly embarrassing behavior if it’ll ease your anxiety.
In short, get some of that sweet sweet shut-eye. It’s worth it.
That’s all, folks
Thanks for joining us for the 2023 edition of the Babbies. Feel free to drop your nominations in the comments, and drive home safe!