Next week we celebrate the national holiday of Labor Day, honoring the social and economic achievements of America’s workforce.  But when you google “Labor Day” right after the US DOL and Wikipedia, pops up the hit show “A Baby Story”.  That’s because Labor Day is something mothers-to-be anticipate every month of the year.

Whether you plan to give birth early next week or early next year, here are your six must-haves to make your very first Labor Day a good one:

1.  Birth plan.  Birth plans are mocked by most moms who have already experienced labor.  The truth is, my first born did not come according to any version of a birth plan I had in mind.  I can’t say they are particularly useful on your labor day, however they can help you organize your thoughts and preferences and articulate what methods you support and which ones concern you.  Treat them as a starting point to begin discussions with your OB and the hospital nurses.

2.  An open mind.  The other side to the birth plan, as I alluded above, is an open mind.  Mommies, we can be so hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up for not accomplishing every single goal or plan we had set for the delivery of our precious children.  So I beg you to pack your open mind.  If things go off course, resolve to let it go right then and there, without judgment or reproach.  You have never been in a situation as intense as labor and we all need to be cut a little slack – especially the first time around.

3.  Music.  I love music and planned for it to be a big part of my labor day.  As mentioned in points 1 and 2 – let’s just say that wasn’t the case for either of my children.  It was still fun to pick out music that I wanted to be listening to in the delivery room.  I had party playlists, relaxation music and the tunes that pulled on my heartstrings (Paperweight by Joshua Radin and Schuyler Fisk was a favorite).  Whether you use them or not, you are creating memories around that day that will last well into your baby’s first year.

4.  The highlights of hospital-wear:

  • Socks and slippers for padding around the hallways and shared spaces.  Who doesn’t care about cozy comfy feet?
  • If you plan to nurse, bring loose tops that open in the front.  You will be doing a lot of inspecting those first few days: checking the baby’s latch and sucking reflexes and it’s not easy to do with your shirt on his/her face.
  • If you have a C-section, low rise underwear and pants.  You don’t want anything irritating the incision.
  • A robe is nice too.  We all know those hospital gowns get pretty drafty.
  • A hair tie.  If you’ve seen Christina Applegate in her delivery scene on Up All Night, no further explanation is necessary.  Don’t forget one. Or ten.

5.  Appropriate (maternity) clothes to go home in.  Even though you will have expelled a multiple pound baby from your body, your uterus needs time to adjust.  Don’t be in a rush to get rid of those maternity clothes just yet…expect to be about the size you were at five or six months pregnant.

6.  Some quick reference guides.  Once the baby arrives, first time motherhood is overwhelming.  It helps to have some books that provide easy and quick answers to your immediate concerns.  Baby 411 and the Nursing Mother’s Companion were those books for me.  Find the content and organization that works for you.

The experience of giving birth is a rollercoaster: exciting and boring (especially if they are past their due date), nerve-wracking and joyous, a long road and an event that is over before you know it.  It’s your task to be as prepared and comfortable as possible so that when your Labor Day arrives you can sit back and enjoy the ride into motherhood.

To read the details of Taskmaster Mom’s personal birth stories, visit her blog, Welcome to the Motherhood, and click the New Here? tab.