I have only been pregnant once, and only have a 6 month old.. so you may very well know more than me, and probably do! But a friend asked me to jot down some tips she might need to know for her pregnancy.. and then this happened..
*Disclaimer- I am NO EXPERT, these are my opinions. Professionals may see differently. Don’t sue me if any of these things go south.
**I have not received any royalties or endorsements to promote any of these products, however, if the makers would like to send me free stuff and/or money, I will gladly accept!
1. I used Palmer’s stretch mark lotion twice a day- but the most important thing is to stay hydrated (around 100 oz of water a day)
2. Pregnancy pillow- I still use mine to this day, it’s amazing! A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
3. Do not, I repeat, do not worry about weight gain. You are growing a human being. If the doctor isn’t worried, then you shouldn’t be. If you are unhappy with your weight a year after you have your baby, then join Weight Watchers. Now is the time to concentrate on growing human life, that is your only real concern, mom! The petty stuff can wait til later
4. For morning sickness- Diclegis is a prescription, but most insurance companies won’t cover it because a man is clearly in charge of these decisions. It’s approximately $500 for 30 pills and 2 pills are needed per day. If this is the case for you, you can take (talk to your doctor first, blah blah blah.. ) Vitamin B6 (25mg) and Unisom (25mg)- NOT EXTRA STRENGTH, that’s a different ingredient. Before bed, take half of a Unisom, and 25mg of Vitamin B6. If that doesn’t help, increase Vitamin B6 to 2X per day. If that doesn’t work, increase Vitamin B6 to 3X per day. Anything more would need a doctor’s consult
5. Apps- What To Expect When Expecting community page was so helpful because all the moms were going through the same thing as me- I still use it now. You can ask questions or just read through other people’s Q&As
6. Books- the two books I liked best were Expecting Better and Bringing Up Bebe
7. Belly Support Band- I used the F.A.D. maternity belt, it was so helpful with back pain. I started using it just during Zumba, but in the last month, I used it all the time
8. Get pre-natal massages! You will never be able to treat yourself without feeling guilty again!
9. After your baby shower, don’t take off tags and wash everything, including bottles… you will get way more than you ever need and can exchange things you don’t use. Just wash enough to get you through a week or two
10. When you’re ready to get that baby out, jet skiing and 4 wheeling rides will help and sex (anything that can soften the cervix)
1. Take the drugs. The best rationalization for this that I’ve heard was, “Would you go hiking barefoot, thirsty, and cold when you could bring boots, water and a coat? Then why suffer through labor when it could be way more comfortable?!” I know everyone has their reasons, and I respect that, but if you don’t have a solid reason for no drugs, for goodness sake, don’t be a hero, take the drugs! I did. It still hurt. But it didn’t slow down my progression at all and I had a natural birth. I know someone who didn’t take the drugs but still had to have “intervention”, i.e. a cesarean or other method to help the baby out rather than just by pushing. Labor isn’t the same for anybody, but if you can make it more comfortable, don’t feel bad about doing so!
2. If they want to send you home and you don’t want to go, be vocal about it.
3. We did not tell anyone… ANYONE… that we were in labor until after the baby was here. It was wonderful having my husband to myself during this time. He wasn’t going back and forth to the waiting room to update family, I didn’t feel like I had to rush labor because people had been waiting on me for hours to get this boulder out, and I didn’t have people in my room staring at me while I felt my worst. I watched a Friends marathon, exactly as I hoped to, and I had my husband stay at my head with a wet washcloth for all of the gruesomeness.
4. If you shit on the table while pushing, it’s okay. The doctors and nurses have seen it all. And I’d rather shit on a table while giving birth than try to shit in a toilet and a baby falls out. The nurse said I didn’t shit, but I’m not entirely sure I believe her. I think it’s Nursing 101 to tell mothers they didn’t shit while pushing their baby out. And you know what? I will gladly believe their bullshit.
5. Pushing- push like you are taking a shit and also flexing your stomach muscles like you would if you were doing a proper crunch.
6. Don’t be surprised if the only professionals in the room while you are pushing are the doctor and nurse. It’s not like TV! Also, don’t be surprised if the doctor gets up and leaves the room and tells you to keep pushing. Apparently they can gauge the timing of these things better than we can.. I was told to push while in a full bed for a while, which I thought was odd because they always talk about the doctor “catching” the baby.. but when it came time for him to actually come out, they collapsed the bottom half of my bed and got into receiver position.
7. I did the delayed cord-clamping and immediate skin to skin contact. My friends made fun of me, but here’s why I did it.
a. The delayed cord-clamping lets all the “good stuff” (google what it is exactly, I can’t do everything for you!) that goes from you to baby to you to baby to get back to the baby before the umbilical cord is cut.
b. The immediate skin to skin contact, meaning, no bath before baby is laid on momma, allows you to bond immediately and helps the milk to come in. Baby has been through SO MUCH at this point, being taken to a table and wiped down is pretty traumatic for the baby in this sensitive time. Placing baby immediately on momma’s bare chest will soothe the baby and create an awesome bonding experience.
1. If you plan to breastfeed, keep the baby in the room with you all night while in the hospital, don’t send them to the nursery. This is when the baby cluster feeds and when your body discovers it needs to produce colostrum and milk. I know you need sleep, but power through, it will help you establish your milk
2. Have “pad-cicles” prepared at home- take long maxipads and put aloe vera and witch hazel all over them and freeze them.. this will be very comforting the first few days after labor. They give you a squirt bottle and some ice stuff at the hospital, but these were helpful when the ice ran out, and were less bulky
3. Tucks hemorrhoid pads- the witch hazel in these helps the soreness/stitches. I used warm water in the squirt bottle and then placed 3 or 4 tucks pads on the maxi pad.. you will bleed for about 6 weeks post-delivery (which totally counters the pleasantry of not having a period for 9 months… not that you don’t leak some sort of crap for 9 months anyway and still need a light-day pad.. but I digress.) The soreness lasted for about a week or two.. I used my pad-cicles a couple times a day, then the Tucks in-between that
5. Take stool softeners. Imagine those stitches stretching out.. not fun. Take them in the hospital and after you get home for about a week or two.
4. You will wake up drenched in sweat, you will have crazy thoughts, maybe anxiety, maybe depression, it’s all normal!!! Talk with your doctor if it gets in the way of taking care of your baby or your enjoyment of motherhood. I had a traumatic experience during my maternity leave because my dog bit a child in the face. I decided to put the dog down, but the grief was unbearable. I was not being the best mom for my baby while dealing with this and I decided to go on an antidepressant to help get me through. There is no shame in needing help. This is a very emotional, hormonal, life changing time for you, mom, and you need to make sure you’re at 100% in order to be there for baby 100%
5. Our baby cried all night the first night home and once we realized he was just cold (they are used to 98.6 degrees!) he slept soooo much better! If baby is a terrible sleeper and you really need rest, put the baby on you in the baby bjorn and lay in a couch/chair. Just make sure you can’t roll and suffocate baby.
I breastfed for 3 weeks, then developed mastitis with a fever and clogged ducts. Some women fight through this and that is wonderful. My mindset going into breastfeeding was, “do it until you stop enjoying motherhood.” I was so sore and would cry when baby went to nurse. I dreaded it. Baby wants a happy mom! If breastfeeding makes you happy, do it, if it doesn’t, don’t feel guilty about it! There’s so many other ways to screw up your children, formula won’t be the reason they turn into assholes!
More on breastfeeding- apparently, your breast is like an orange with multiple ducts, like wedges, and if you use the same position to feed all the time and that position doesn’t get milk from all the ducts, you could get a clog. If you get clogged ducts, put a hot washcloth or heating pad over the area and lean over the sink. Then milk yourself. Yes, like a cow, milk yourself like a cow. No one told you about this part, huh?? You’re welcome. You can also do this in the hot shower. You may have to do this for a few days.
Drying up your milk
Had enough??? Here’s what to do:
• Take Sudafed (non-drowsy)
• Wear multiple, tight sports bras
• Put cabbage leaves in sports bra a few times a day for an hour or so
• Wrap sports bra tightly in ace bandage or use the belly support band (you can use this band for so much, holding heating pad or ice in place on your back, etc.) Keep yourself tightly wrapped
• Avoid hot showers for a few days/a week
1. It’s never too early to start a registry, you will change things a million times after you do research, but you have to start somewhere. You can do everything online, but I suggest going to the store to look at the big stuff, like cribs, car seats, bassinet, jumper, stroller, etc.
2. Don’t buy a breast pump, they are most likely covered by your insurance. I got the Spectra S2, which I really liked. It’s more hospital-grade than the Medela- meaning, it sucks the shit out of your boob
3. My Brest Friend is great for breastfeeding- it helps with back support and allows you to breastfeed with one hand and eat/use your phone with the other!
4. Lansinoh storage bags
5. Lanolin for nipples (I hear coconut oil also works well)
6. Lansinoh disposable nursing pads
7. Bottles- you will have to see what works best for your baby. I’ve used Dr. Brown’s, ComoTomo and MAM anti-colic bottles. I like ComoTomo best but use MAM because the baby had gas and the anti-colic seemed to help. Who knows if the MAM actually helped or it was just timing. I also switched from tap water to distilled water around this time. Dr. Brown’s has a lot of pieces to wash and the opening was very small to drop formula in. MAM has a lot of pieces also (5). ComoTomo only has 3 pieces and is most breast-like, however, the texture of ComoTomo does make things like dog hair stick to it. I have 9 MAM bottles and throw them in the dishwasher, after taking all the pieces apart, to wash. I boiled them before initial use and every 3 months after that.
*There is no way to boil every single thing your baby puts in his/her mouth, so do the best you can but don’t go crazy. You can do everything right and they will still find a way to lick the handle of your shopping cart.
8. The formula I use is Lebenswert from OrganicStart.com. However, it’s not approved by the FDA because it’s from Europe, but they have stricter standards for organic products in Europe (i.e. no hormones were fed to the cow, no pesticides on the grass the cow ate.. and there’s more but you can google that). We really like this formula and if you buy in bulk, it’s the same price as any other formula.
9. Drying rack- I have the Boon Grass but it’s too small, I’ve seen better ones. Thumbs down
10. You’re going to feel like there are a million things on your registry to put your baby “in”- and there are.. but I used all of it!
B. pack ‘n play- I have the Graco Playard Snuggle Suite and give it a thumbs up
C. Snuggle Me Organic (expensive, but I liked this better than the doc-a-tot, try to borrow one from a friend or buy used)
D. bassinet- they make sooo many, you need to see what works best for you. We have the Graco Dream Suite. He would only sleep in this with the Snuggle Me Organic, BUT we used it all the time with the bouncer
E. bouncer- I have the Fisher Price Luminosity- thumbs up. We actually put the bouncer in the bassinet and wheeled him around the house with us in the beginning- this is not recommended by doctors, but use your judgement.. not much IS recommended by doctors
F. ROCK ‘N PLAY- this was and still IS a godsend!! Get the one that plugs in and rocks itself. Our baby slept in this next to our bed for the first 2 and a half months and uses it now when he’s congested because it keeps him inclined. Doctors don’t recommend this for sleep, but I sure do
G. Froggy sit-me-up chair or bumbo chair
H. Jumper- I have the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo; he likes it, no complains, thumbs up. I’m sure there are other great ones, too
I. Swing- I have the Graco Simple Sway LX Multi-direction Swing. I like it, you can go front/back or side to side. It plays music, you plug it in for swinging and use batteries to make the chair part vibrate
J. Play mat- I recommend the Baby Einstein Caterpillar and Friends one with the star. The star is detachable and lights up and plays music, you can bring it everywhere with you. I attach it in the car, on his swing, put it in the diaper bag when people babysit
K. Baby Bjorn- I use the Infantino Flip 4 in 1 convertible carrier and really like it. We use it a lot, especially when baby just wants to be held and mom has stuff to do
L. Walker- I have the chicco walky talky walker- thumbs up. I’m sure there’s other good ones out there, too
M. Exersaucer- I don’t have one but it’s an option
11. Swaddle Me velcro swaddles- regular blankets can go over their face and suffocate them, swaddle me velcros keep them safe. We use a long sleeve sleeper underneath, too
12. Sleep Sacks- for sleeping when they get a little older
13. Carseat- I have the Chicco (pronounced Keeko- so you don’t look like a fool at Buy Buy Baby) Keyfit 2. I like it but it’s heavy, so I don’t think I’d recommend this one
14. Car seat cover- you’re not supposed to use the kind that goes in-between baby and carseat (even though I did, I had the JJ Cole Bundle Me) but the safest one for baby is something like Cozy Cover Premium Infant Car Seat Cover
15. Stroller- we have the BOB Rambler, the all-terrain jogger! I had to buy an attachment so my Chicco carseat could latch into it, but it’s great for walks, hikes, the fair, etc. Very smooth and can even get through mud/rockiness. Remember to add a tray for baby and cup holder for mom if not already included in stroller. I also have the Baby Trend- Snap ‘n Go stroller, which is smaller. It fits any car seat inside. I keep that one in my car and use for running in and out of places.
16. Diapers- you will have to see what you and your baby like. I registered for Pampers but like Huggies and their fit a lot better. I’ve heard Huggies for boys and Pampers for girls (???) You can return unopened diapers to Walmart and exchange them for the brand you want once you decide what works (warning- Walmart will cap you at like 10 exchanges in 6 months without a receipt, so have hubby with you if you need more exchanges than that!! They can use his license instead of yours)
17. Wipes- I like Kirkland wipes. I get them from amazon
18. Diaper bag- I use and like the bag nation diaper bag backpack. It’s unisex so my husband can wear it too
19. Diaper changing- I put the changing pad on the dresser and attached that to the wall. (I have 2 covers and some cover pads) PLEASE remember to strap them in if you walk away! They can roll off!
20. Triple Paste for diaper rash. I use Aquaphor to prevent it and Triple Paste to treat it. Also, I use a little fan or blow on the area and buttocks to dry it off before putting a diaper on. I try not to put a diaper on wet skin, it really makes a difference. You can also use Aquaphor under their neck because that gets real funky and chafed
21. Diaper Genie- this is what I have but I would actually not recommend this kind. It doesn’t fit many diapers (maybe a day and a half worth) and the refills are expensive and it stinks when you open the lid.. I don’t know what brand to recommend, but know this is what you’re getting with this one
22. Burp cloths- I like Burt’s Bees. When burping, my baby does best when I hit his back a few times and then rub his back upwards. I just keep repeating that. They will still spit up.. just hope it’s not when you lift them over your face
23. For baby gas- bicycle legs, push knees to chest (you can press pretty hard) then straighten legs
24. Little Remedies gas drops
25. Nose Frida (Fridababy) for congestion/stuffy nose- it’s not as gross as it looks and it really really helps!! If you love your baby, you will suck out their boogers
26. Thermometer- I have the nice, expensive one that checks the ear, but I find that sticking the cheap one in his ass is more accurate and helps his bowel movements anyway… so a 2 for 1!
27. Nail clippers with a light- easiest to clip nails when baby is asleep!!
28. Highchair- I use the Graco Blossom, 6 in 1 and like it
29. Ciao baby portable high chair- there are a few kinds of portable highchairs, these are nice for eating out, in the backyard, or at a family/friend’s house
30. I love the Burt’s Bees bibs. We go through about 10 a day because he drools so much!! They go over the head, I don’t like the velcro bibs because they leave scratch marks on the back of his neck and baby can rip them off
31. Waterproof silicone bibs are great when baby starts baby food
32. Bathtub stuff- I use (and like) the Fisher Price 4 in 1 sling ‘n seat tub. I got a million and one washcloths for my shower and wish I kept some in packages, I would have exchanged some. I use Aveeno bath stuff and like it (pretty much because Jennifer Aniston said to)
33. Nightlight- something that plugs in and lights up when it’s dark will be helpful
34. Mobile for crib
35. White noise machine- I use Big Red Rooster on the ocean setting (reminds baby of mommy’s womb) and it’s been wonderful
36. Fan with vibrate/white noise function
37. Crib sheets- 3 is plenty
38. Pack ‘n play sheets- 2 was plenty for us
39. Towels- 4 is plenty
40. Monitor- I use Infant Optics DXR-8 video and love it. I can talk to him through it, set it up to shut off in 3 or 5 minutes, or remain on. I can move the camera in the room using the monitor, zoom in/out, and it has a pretty good distance on it
41. Car seat mirror
42. Camilia teething drops- I LOVE these. I also have Baby orajel, but that’s not recommended by doctors, either. The camilia drops calm the baby and help with teething. The active ingredients are all-natural, but they’re not approved by the FDA for some reason. You can get them on Amazon. Whiskey also works! And for goodness sake, if all else fails, sing Baby Shark!
43. Pacifier- my little one will ONLY use a wubbanub
44. Baby banana toothbrush is easy to hold for teething
45. Sophie the giraffe teething toy- easy to hold
46. Links- the little links that connect toys to anything or just become toys themselves are great! I connect them to his bib, to toys and attach to the walker, hang from the swing, use on the play mats, etc.
47. VTech sit to stand walker- it’s nice because the fun part comes off and you can sit with baby and play
48. My Pal Scout- super cute and you record baby’s name and likes for Scout to sing
49. JJ Cole outdoor blanket- great for spreading on ground. We use this at the beach/park/backyard
50. Bottles of wine. Girl- you made a PERSON! You literally grew a person. Go have a drink!