A dear friend called me a few months ago to tell me that her and her husband were expecting. I was beyond thrilled. And as soon as she asked for any advice I had, I got to work creating a list of anything and everything I could think of that I wish I had known when I was expecting our first babe. Hopefully they’re helpful for you, as well.
Consignment shops are wonderful for finding clothes for your babe and most even have maternity clothes as well. My absolute favorite consignment shop is in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle, called Childish Things. I found some of my favorite Ralph Lauren pieces for Asher there as well as Baby Gap and Zara Kids. I don’t know if I ever came out of there without finding something. They have maternity clothes as well. I already had our son by the time I found this shop otherwise I would have taken full advantage of some used maternity clothes. Maternity clothes can be so expensive and it’s really hard to spend money on them when you only wear them for a short amount of time.
Invest in a few good maternity clothing pieces. Maternity clothes can be so expensive so if you can find them used, like I mention above, then definitely do it. But one thing I would invest in is a good pair of skinny jeans. I tried on so many maternity jeans, from Target to H&M and even Old Navy, I was on the hunt for a cheap pair of jeans but none of them fit me good. And having a good fitting pair of jeans while pregnant can really make such a big difference. As your body grows and changes, it can take a toll mentally, but having a few good pieces of clothing can make a world of difference. I found a really great pair at Nordstrom and they lasted me my entire pregnancy as well as postpartum.
Take a natural birthing class. I can’t stress this enough. We didn’t do this with our first and wish we would have. I think I thought that I had witnessed enough birth stories to have a handle on how it all went down but the class taught so much more than that. We covered the entire pregnancy and how the body changes both physically and emotionally. We also covered the different stages of labor and how to work through the discomforts that arise, including soothing music, candles, exercise ball, heating pad, warm baths, and on and on. We were equipped with so many tips and techniques that I just didn’t have with our first. Had we taken this class our first time around I would have known how to handle the labor experience and wouldn’t have felt the need for an epidural. Even if you do get an epidural it’s still such great information.
Hire a sleep consultant. The postpartum experience can be overwhelming enough but when you’re not getting any sleep it makes those months postpartum almost unbearable at times. There were so many times during the first few months of our second joining our family that Chris thought our marriage was under attack. Looking back, we were just desperately sleep deprived. We found Becca, of Little Z’s Sleep, though Instagram (is there any other way to find people these days?) and are so grateful we finally decided to get help. We as mama’s would do ourselves and our families such a favor to ask for help more often. This is something I’m daily working on as well, so I’m speaking to myself here.
Raspberry leaf tea helps get contractions going. This is one of those many gems of wisdom that I learned during our natural birthing class. When we passed our due date with our second I started chugging this stuff morning, noon, and night. But it turns out it helped so much postpartum for my milk supply.
Don’t stress too much about your due date. It’s just an educated guess, anyway. Our first was 9 days late. My OB at the time scheduled an induction for day 10 and I was so stressed. I knew I for sure didn’t want to have to get induced but didn’t realize that I had the option to say whether or not I wanted to get induced. Sure, at a certain point it can be medically necessary to induce but in all reality, a due date is just an educated guess. And had I simply declined to schedule and induction date and trusted God, my body, and our babe, I think those last few days of pregnancy would have been a bit more enjoyable. I let the stress of that induction date take over. Thank goodness we went into labor on our own, the very day we were scheduled to induce.
Encapsulate placenta. I didn’t do this the first time around but did the second. I will be honest here and say that I’m not sure I could tell much of a difference but there were a lot of other factors at play too. I was exhausted from no sleep and having a toddler and newborn being the biggest factor. Chris was also traveling for work which he wasn’t doing with our first. So there were just a lot of factors at play which made it hard to determine if the placenta pills were actually doing anything or not. There’s a lot of conflicting information about whether encapsulating your placenta actually has any benefits or not but I figured it couldn’t hurt anything to take them so I might as well.
Fans are the best sound machine for you little. We’ve tried many sound machines in our 3 years of parenting. From a $20 one to a $50 and a few in between but what we’ve landed on and love the most is a simple fan. We bought this one (https://amzn.to/2O4hytB) off of Amazon for each of the boys rooms and love that it acts as a design element in their room as well. And I don’t think there’s anything better than the natural sound of a fan. No machine works quite the same.
Stock up on Arnica. This is a homeopathic pellet you can take orally that’s great for bumps and bruises. But it works wonders at helping heal after birth. You can find it here (https://amzn.to/2XYXDkk) and I suggest stocking up. If you don’t use it all postpartum you for sure will as your babe grows. Now anytime our boys get a bump or bruise we give them a little pellet.
Ask for help, and plan for it. Plan for as many people to help as possible once baby is born. The US is one of the only culture where we expect mothers to be up and at it soon after childbirth and it’s just not right. You should rest and enjoy your babe as much as possible. So put together some sort of plan for when babe is here of who will cook you guys dinner, someone to come clean once a week, do laundry, etc. If someone comes to visit you and baby don’t be shy to ask them to help in some way. Everyone would love the chance to help you so take advantage of it and don’t feel bad about it.
Books I Love
Beautiful Babies (https://amzn.to/2FeyPxd)- This book is pure gold. It walks you through the best foods to eat while pregnant, post partum, as well as what foods to introduce to your littles as they grow (and which foods to steer clear of). So much wisdom packed in this little book and it’s so easy to refer back to and has some really great recipes, too.
Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth (https://amzn.to/2FwO8jN)– Your body goes through so much during pregnancy, delivery, and post partum and this book helps you know how to heal, naturally. Another must read.
Apps I love:
Full Term– There will be a period of time, usually, where contractions will start but they’re not quite close enough together to head to the birthing center/hospital. This app is so helpful for keeping track of those contractions. You simple tap when a contraction is starting and tap again when it stops. Then when you get to the birthing center you can simply show your nurse what you’ve been tracking so they have a better gauge of how far along you are.
BabyConnect– This app helps you track every bit of your newborn habits. When they eat, pee, poop, sleep. All of it. You’ll need this info when you go in for their 1 week check up and honestly, when sleep is minimal, it’s so easy to forget how long it’s been since they last ate, or from which breast they ate last. This app tracks every little thing so you don’t have to try to remember.
Sound Machine– helpful for when your traveling and need a sound machine
Wonder Weeks– babies go through what are called ‘developmental leaps’ as they grow and learn. During these times they can tend to be more fussy, want to nurse more, and just need a little extra loving. I had no idea until our photographer mentioned this to us during our newborn shoot with Asher but it changed everything. Instead of feeling frustrated and defeated I felt empowered and encouraged that our babe was learning and growing.