On the heels of my first post of 10 tips for all of you soon-to-be moms, I’ve written a second list of tips! I hope these are super helpful, but remember: what worked for me doesn’t always work for everyone, and you should do whatever works best for you, your baby, and your family! These are just suggestions!
1. Don’t buy maternity underwear. I say this not necessarily because it’s a waste of money. It probably isn’t. But you’d wear it for a few months, and then just pack it away or trash it, right? A better idea is to just stretch out your regular underwear, and then after the baby is born, hit up Vicky’s semi-annual sale and treat yo’self to some brand new undies you won’t have to let go of in a few months. The options are cuter in regular sizes, anyway.
2. When getting nursing attire, you may need two sizes. For the first two months or so, my breasts were huge, and needed to be available all the time. After that, I started to shrink down a little (it was NOT sad) and could start wearing things that weren’t nursing friendly every once in a while because they were nursing more predictably and not as often. I got all my nursing tank tops and nursing bras at Target, and there are several brands and styles I liked just fine.
3. When offered help, have it continue through (at least) the first two months. It seems like you’d get a rhythm and not need as much help after the first couple of weeks, right? Ha! Well, you do. But your adrenaline wears off, the lack of sleep builds up, and you’re dragging even more than you were when you said you’d never been so tired. So if you’ve got a friend setting up a meal calendar, have it continue through two months, even if that means it starts a little later. If you’ve got someone asking if you need a break to take a shower or a nap, say yes, and ash them if they’d like to do it again. It feels silly to take them up on things like that, but hey – they offered!
4. Use the lactation consultant at the hospital! When you’re there after delivery for however many hours, and that consultant comes by, let her take a good look at what’s going on, let her get in your (and the baby’s) business, and ask her ALL THE QUESTIONS. It’s awkward. It feels weird to have your boobs out and her squeezing and whatever, but just do it. You learn tricks, and you can even get her number for a follow-up phone call later. It’s the best!
5. Have Daddy help out. I don’t mean just with cooking and cleaning and yada yada. I mean with the baby. He needs to bond, too, so have him help out at night if possible (if he’s not working the next morning) or have him take the early morning shift, so you can catch some more z’s before your day really gets going. It’ll be really special time between Daddy and baby, and it’ll be heaven for you.
6. Try not to get too worked up. I know this sounds ridiculous, but if you’re in the middle of a crying jag, or a nursing strike, or just plain isn’t happy with anything, it’s tempting to get really stressed and freak out. I’ve been there tons of times, when you just feel useless. I got a great piece of advice. Put the baby in the crib, walk away, and tag out with Daddy, or just give yourself a minute. If what you were trying wasn’t helping, getting stressed isn’t either. Your baby can sense that you’re stressed, and that doesn’t help them calm down. However you can get a minute to calm down, that’s the best way to calm the baby.
7. Be flexible with sleeping arrangements. Something different that you thought might be what works for you. When I had EK, I had planned on keeping her in the room in a bassinet until she started sleeping better, just so I wouldn’t have to walk around the house in the middle of the night. Turns out, Hubby and I couldn’t sleep because we were listening to every tiny squeak and each little squirm, wondering if she was waking up, if she was hungry, if she needed something. I couldn’t ever get to sleep! We spent two nights like that, and moved her to her own room, because we couldn’t get any rest. Unless everyone’s getting sleep with whatever arrangement you are trying, you might try something different.
8. Create a bedtime routine. I went into depth about our bedtime routine in a recent post here, but having a few things that are the same every night will help baby know when bedtime is, and go down a little easier. For instance, clean diaper (bath when they’re ready for a daily bath), clean jammies/sleep sack, swaddled (if you’re swaddling), read a book, sing a song, feed her, and lay her down before she’s all the way asleep.
9. Go ahead and choose your pediatrician. The hospital will ask you just after your baby is born who you will be working with (what office, anyway) so go ahead and visit a few before you have the baby. The pediatrician on call will do a visit in the hospital for the both of you, so meet a few of the doctors if you can, and you might see a familiar face! Most offices do tours and meet-and-greets, so call a few and ask around! For us, we love the option of a Saturday clinic, the option of lots of different doctors, but being able to see our favorite nine times out of ten, and the fact that they all treat our kids like royalty. What can I say? They love us.
10. Get some sleep before the baby comes. I got all sorts of advice about I should do before EK got here: go on vacation, get my nails done, get my hair cut, have a girls’ night, have a massage, have sex with my husband (how do you think we got pregnant?), prepare the nursery, wash the baby clothes, go to the movies, and a thousand more things. The best piece was to get sleep. I took naps, slept as much as possible all day and night, and I felt super rested when the baby came. It was the best possible scenario.
What else would you add to this list? How have you prepared for a baby?