So the idea for this post came about after a discussion with a colleague who’s expected due date is coming up. You see, there were a few things that, in hindsight, if I had known at the time of my daughter’s birth would have probably made life a little bit easier. And let’s face it, during the birth and post-birth stages in the hospital, anything that makes life easier is a huge plus!

That’s why, today, we’re going to be looking at some of the things I wish I knew after my wife have given birth. Shall we?

Visiting Hours

Okay, so the first thing to look at is what sparked the idea for this post. You see, I know a lot of Dads-to-be that are planning to stay by their partner’s side after birth. And quite rightly so! It’s the best thing you could do as a new Dad.

However… Did you know that visiting hours apply to parents too? I didn’t. So there I was, spending time with my wife and my newborn daughter, when the nurse walks in and tells me it is time to leave. Can you imagine my surprise? I just sort of stood there, confused… Thus, I replied by saying I was the father, and they explained that the rules still apply. I was only allowed to be there between 8am and 8pm…

Now, my wife and daughter were going to be in the hospital for at least a week, so during that time, I only got to spend 12 hours a day with them. That was not enough, I can tell you. Every time I left, it was like my heart broke… And I could see the sadness and despair in my wife’s eyes too. I had to leave her to look after our newborn all night, relatively alone…

I mean, I can understand the reasoning behind it; they don’t want the place to be too crowded. It’s a safety and secure thing. I get that.

However, it can be very helpful for the Dad (or partner) to be there when looking after your newborn. In fact, I would say it is almost necessary. After all, the mother has just been through birth… She will need all the help and rest she can get. But it won’t happen. The rules still apply.

So, make sure you are aware of this beforehand, so that you can do as much as possible to help whilst you are there!

Cheap Parking

Right, so you’re going to be paying for parking when visiting. That’s just something you’re going to have to accept. However, what I wasn’t told for the two days (by any of the staff there) was that if you got your ticket validated at reception, then you only pay for one hour.

Instead, for those first two days, I payed for 12 hours each day! It was so expensive… It wasn’t until I overheard another Dad asking the receptionist to validate his that I found out.

To get the ticket validated, I had to give the receptionist my wife and daughter’s name, the ward’s wing and the name of the doctor who was looking after them. Now, you may not need to remember all of that at the hospital you go to, but just in case, make a mental note. Because otherwise parking prices will be outrageous!

Incidentaly, did you know that staff have to pay for parking too? At least, they do at my hospital…

But anyway, make sure you get a note of those details and then take your ticket to reception when leaving. They’ll validate it and then you can go and pay. It’ll make your life and wallet much better off.

Bring Your Own Food

You’re going to be getting to the hospital bright and early, so both you and your partner are going to want some breakfast. That’s a given. Especially for your partner. So you may be tempted to go down to the foyer and buy some… I wouldn’t, if you can avoid it.

You see, the food at the hospital is far more expensive that you’d probably expect. And whilst the cost itself isn’t an issue, you’ll find that you won’t be able to buy much and that’ll mean your partner won’t be getting as much energy as they need! Plus, depending on the time, the shops in the hospital might not even be open yet!

For example, at our hospital the shop section opens at 9. So, when I was getting there at 8, the only place I could buy breakfast for my wife and I was Costa’s… And for 2 toasties I was paying about £15! Plus, after three days we were both sick of eating them… That’s why I would highly recommend preparing some food at home to take with you. Whether that means preparing it the night before, or getting up early to sort it out, it will be worth it. And I’m sure your partner will appreciate it!

Get Some Sleep

Whilst it is going to be hard when your partner and child are stuck in the hospital, you need to get your sleep! Go to bed earlier, and make sure you’re well rested!

The reason for this is, simply, you’re going to need all the energy you can get. Your partner won’t have any… And if the birth was anything like my daughter’s, your partner probably won’t be on their feet much anyway. So you are going to have to do a lot of helping out. And that is really tiring, believe me.

Thus, you need to make sure you are getting more than enough sleep. If you think you can function great on 6 hours sleep, then get 8. Do you normally sleep for 7 hours? Then sleep for 9. Sleep for however long it takes for your energy to be at 150%! You’re going to need it, and your partner is going to need you to be at full throttle.

And That’s All Folks

Those are four things I wish I’d have known before we went to the hospital. I learnet them over the course of my wife and daughter’s week in hospital, but had I known them from the start, things would have been far better! So, at the very least, you guys can learn from my mistakes.

Do you have any other tips that you think would help parents-to-be? Let me know in the comments below!