The industry devoted to “baby stuff” is making a killing off of new parents who don’t know what they will and won’t use when they have a baby. And like every parent, I went through trial and error to find the things that I love. I even used a few different things with each kid, because I found a new product I loved, or brainstormed an easier way to get a task done. But either way, there are a few things that you just will not need, no matter what. I’m not saying you wouldn’t use it if you got it, but if you’re in a spot where you’d like to save money, you can cross these things off your list.
Newborn shoes and coats. Your newborn will spend most of their time swaddled, in blankets, in fleecy suits that cover their feet, or sleep sacks. You don’t need baby Pumas or a baby North Face to keep them warm. And you can’t let them wear puffy coats in their car seat anyway.
A “Peepee Teepee”. If your little boy is going to pee during a diaper change, this thing isn’t going to save you. You have to have ninja reflexes to keep yourself from getting soaked if he pees without his diaper on. (As an unfortunate aside, girls can somehow soak you, too!)
Diaper Genie (or similar). Any trash can with a lid will do. Or you can do what we do: just take them outside to the bin. Yes, I’m sorry, but there will be diapers you’ll want to take straight outside.
Bottle warmer. It sounds nice in theory, but wouldn’t the warm water from your faucet warm a bottle just fine? Or put the bottle in a pot of water on the stove, and warm it that way. I’ve found that bottle warmers aren’t any faster. It’s basically just money a person could spend on diapers.
Changing Table. Just put that changing pad on top of the dresser, and boom! More storage, and less furniture you’ll just get rid of when they’re three. You might change half the diapers on the nearest surface, anyway.
This might seem cold, but it’s like I said: when you’re counting the dollars you’re spending, these are just a few unnecessary things. What are some things that you would add to this list? Did you get any shower gifts that you absolutely never used?
A couple of weeks ago, I was given the privilege of being in the hospital with my best friend and her husband as she labored and they prepared to meet their little girl. I don’t know how helpful I was – mostly cracking jokes to relieve tension and trying to find something good on TV – but I truly enjoyed being there, and experiencing labor from the sidelines. It’s a little different when you’re not the one in pain. There are a few things I totally forgot about, even having done it three times. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten about these things…
The shakes and the itching. Epidurals, and just plain ol’ high pain levels can cause crazy side effects. Thanks universe, the pain wasn’t bad enough without itchy feet and shaky hands.
The waiting. As if you haven’t had enough waiting for things during your entire pregnancy, it just multiples in the labor and delivery ward. It is so BORING when you’re waiting to dilate, waiting for the next time you’re getting checked, waiting for the medicine to kick in, waiting for the next contraction, waiting to finally start pushing… The waiting seems to never end.
The endless flow of Coca-Cola. After trying for nine months to cut out most of your caffeine, stay hydrated, and be as healthy as possible, the labor nurses come in with Coke after Coke after Coke… and the most perfect little pellets of ice… it’s glorious.
The crappy TV. If you’ve labored late during or through the night, you know that the only thing on TV to distract you is pure crap. Nothing but low-budget infomercials and strange, B-list celebrity reality shows happen between midnight and the 5 o’clock news.
The mindless banter. Nurses come in to check on you, and you answer questions, maybe crack a joke. Whoever is in the room with you – spouse, friend, etc – mentions random things from their Facebook newsfeeds or funny stories that pop into their heads. Your doctor comes in to see how you’re doing, and you make small talk about the same thing every time they come in. It’s purely to be polite, when you’d really just like to be left alone.
When your bladder is empty, your contractions don’t seem as bad. I still don’t fully know the science behind it, but contractions are SO much worse when your bladder is full. So after your third Coke, just go ahead and have them empty your bladder for you. It’ll help – really.
The inability to be still. You get to a certain point in your labor when the epidural isn’t doing much, and your body wants to push, but they say you aren’t ready yet. This leads to wanting to hop off the bed and do jumping jacks until the baby comes out. That’s a little unrealistic, of course, so you resort to squirming on the bed, nervous for the next contraction, but also wanting them to come more quickly and get the process over with.
Labor is a beautiful process, because at the end, you’ve added a bundle of joy to your family. But whether they’re things etched in your memory forever, or things that get glossed over in your mind the older your baby gets, the labor process is full of all those little moments – some sweet, some funny, and some just plain miserable – that make up your entire experience.
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?
I’m a little late on my Currently this week, but here it is! I’m linking up as usual with Becky over at Choose Happy! Join us and let us know what you’re up to currently!
Enjoying || a day at the lake! Hubby’s parents have a place on Lake Norman, which is about an hour from us. So last Thursday, we packed up and went down for the day to enjoy the sunshine! We are super excited to be going back this Thursday, also!
Writing || about pregnancy, delivery, and newborns. Some of these posts have already gone up (like this one on delivery), and some are coming soon! It’s been on my mind a lot, for obvious reasons, and writing about it for y’all helps me prepare myself, too! Since it’s my third time doing this, I’m not terrified or anything, but the more comfortable I am with the process of having, bringing home, and nurturing a newborn, the easier it will be in addition to keeping my older kiddos happy. It’s going to be a huge life shift (as it always is) to add another person to our family, so I’m preparing myself mentally and emotionally to make it happen!
Eating || the three meals from our free week of Blue Apron! My friend Lauren and her husband have been subscribing to the service for a few weeks, and had a free week to give away, so Hubby and I just finished our first round! For $59, you are sent every single thing you need to prepare three separate meals for two people each (or two meals for four people) and directions, etc to make it happen. They’re fairly quick (20-40 minutes prep and cooking time) and all three have been totally delicious! Our favorite thing about them was that we’d never have fixed those dishes or used some of those ingredients (I’m looking at you, ramps. What even are you, anyway?) except that they were given to us. We totally recommend it!
Thankful for || beautiful weather and kids who love to play outside! J runs toward the door every time it opens, hoping to catch a few minutes in the grass. When we pull in the driveway, he doesn’t want to go in the house… he just wants to stay outside! It’s great because they usually wear themselves out and nap really well – and who doesn’t love that?!
Well, that’s what we’re doing Currently in our family! What have you been up to?
Delivering a baby is the biggest, most important, most intimidating thing you might ever do. If you’re a newbie at it (and even if you’re not) there are a few things you can do to help the day (or night) go more smoothly. And since I’m gearing up to have a third go at it in July, it’s good for me to go back over it. Here are some tips based on my personal experience with my two kiddos.
1. The Hospital Bag. This can be as important as you make it. Here’s my experience: I packed too much for EK. I packed too much for J. I’m considering not packing one this time. Ha! I’m kidding, but a little bit serious. I haven’t ever showered at the hospital (how much nicer is your shower at home, right?) so I haven’t used anything but the toothbrush, chapstick, and my glasses (I typically wear contacts) in the toiletries department. I wore a light robe, nursing tank, and stretchy shorts (think high school basketball shorts) when I got to my room. I used the hospital’s everything for the baby: diapers, wipes, nose sucker (what’s that thing even called, am I right?), blankets (with the exception of a muslin swaddle I brought), and hat. Everything is kinda covered in new baby fluids (read: pee, meconium, spit up, colostrum, etc.) so you don’t truly need an outfit until the “going home outfit” you picked out. Speaking of that outfit… if you’re like me and you have big babies, or if you don’t know what you’ll get because it’s your first, then pick one in newborn size and one in three month size. J couldn’t fit in most of his newborn clothes even though he was just hours old. Because hospital food is “eh” and nursing burns one million calories an hour, I packed a few non-perishable snacks (Luna bars/Larabars, crackers, etc) and bottles of water, my pillow, and my laptop. This is crucial because I want to stream Netflix while I’m not sleeping, am I right? And one last thing: pack an empty bag inside your bag so you can fill it up with hospital freebies like diapers, wipes, maxi pads, nose sucker, etc. They’ll give you more of all of those before you head out.
2. The car seat. I know, this seems like a no-brainer, but go ahead and install it in your car. That way, you don’t have to think about it when your water breaks. It won’t even be on the radar. And you don’t want to be reading the manual to figure out what LATCH is sitting in the hospital parking lot. (Side note: neither does your partner.)
3. Ask for all the drinks and ice you want while you’re in labor. For me, I was excited beyond belief by the perfectly crunchy pellet ice at my hospital, and the fact that I could drink Coca-Cola up until I started pushing. Someone (I’m sorry, dear nurses) would come by to… ahem… empty my bladder whenever I was feeling like I needed to go. And as dry as the hospital is, I was drinking a ton.
4. It’s gonna be messy. For me, it wasn’t as bad as I’ve heard it could be, but either way you and whoever else attends the actual birth will probably get sweaty at the very least. The lights are bright, the tension can be high, and at least one of you is working! You’re probably wearing a hospital gown, but bring a change of clothes for Daddy, too, because it could get a little messy. Especially if you’re like I was with your first, and you’re a little nervous to be there by yourself and you’d like him to stay with you.
5. Rest. Don’t try to do too much during your hospital stay. Keep to the bed as best you can, especially the first few hours. I know that after having J, I popped up, my adrenaline kicked in, and I wanted to go, go, go. But if you have an epidural, or if you have some tearing (It’s okay! I tore and I lived through it!) you’ll not want to overestimate yourself. The first three or four times you need to go to the bathroom, use someone (Dad, nurse, anyone!) to help you to and from the toilet. You may be a little lightheaded.
6. Make sure you actually need to go to the hospital in the first place. Always call your doctor before you head to the hospital. I’ve had several friends with “false” labor and “pre” labor who show up at the hospital and get sent home, or sent to the mall to walk, or whatever. Your contractions have to be pretty long and pretty close together before they’ll want to keep you, and even then if you aren’t dilated at all, they might still send you away. That being said, if your water breaks, GO!
7. Get on the same page with Daddy before you start labor. It’s always nice to know what he’s up for and what he isn’t. Some dads don’t want to see it all happen, and in the heat of the moment isn’t a good time to find out. Ask him beforehand whether he’d like to sit by your head and hold your hand, or if he’d like to be a more in-depth part of what’s going on. If he’s gonna hit the floor at the sight of blood, maybe holding your hand (or the waiting room, ha!) is the best place. Hubby and I didn’t talk about it before, but he ended up being a big part of my having a successful labor/delivery with EK, and so he was very involved again the second time. Bless him for not knowing how much of a part until the actual day. Give your Dad the choice and a heads up – just because it’s a nice thing to do.
8. Do those Kegels! It’s never too late. Any amount of Kegels is better than zero. I think it also helps you learn how to push. A cousin of mine told me that during her first child’s delivery, she pushed the wrong way for over an hour. Talk about a lot of effort and pain for no gain. Kegels help you familiarize yourself with the muscles you’ll be using to have the baby, in addition to their normal benefits (getting back to normal more quickly, etc).
Well, there are eight of my most helpful tips for preparing for your delivery! If you’re expecting, good luck with your pregnancy, labor and delivery! If you aren’t, log this for when you are – it might help you out! If you’ve been through it once, or twice, or many times, do you have anything to add?