Things I'm glad I did and things I learned quickly
Things I'm glad I did during pregnancy
I am not claiming to be an expert on the subject matter, but I did find a few things helpful that I did during pregnancy. I am a mother of a newborn, she's almost 2 weeks old. There are a lot of things that people tell you to do to take care of yourself during pregnancy and it seems everyone has advice about everything. Every pregnancy and child is different but these are a few things that I did that ended up being extremely helpful!
1) Vacuum a lot... this is not for cleanliness, although that does help. This is to help your baby adjust to the sound. The vacuum is the single most annoying sound when you are trying to sleep, however, if you vacuum often during pregnancy, the baby becomes adjusted to the sound and can easily sleep through it. This goes for dogs barking too. Get them to do it often so it won't wake your child everytime!
2) Listen to music pretty loudly. The uterus muffles the volume but the baby can still decipher the tune when born, so it can help soothe a child. Also, sing to those songs, the baby will be comforted by the sound of your voice and the tune of the song!
3) Continue working out during pregnancy. This certainly helps for labor and it will also help you keep excess weight off! I worked out my entire pregnancy and gained about 30 lbs. It's less than 2 weeks later and I only have about 8 lbs. of baby weight left to lose. I gained almost entirely water since I worked out a lot. Also, it takes a while for all of your swelling to go down, so don't be discouraged after the birth when you are still a little swollen. I am convinced the workouts also shortened my active labor. When I went into labor, I slept for 6 hours after my epidural, woke up and pushed for 30 minutes and my daughter was here. Do not under estimate the power of working out!
4) Prepare easily frozen and thawed meals for at least the first week! Adjusting to a feeding schedule and sleep schedule of a newborn can be hectic the first week or two so having meals that are easily microwaved will help with the frustration!
5) Take your prenatal vitamins and supplement them with iron and calcium. The prenatal helps the development of the baby, the iron helps produce enough blood for the two of you, and the calcium helps keep your calcium up for your body and your baby's!
Things I'm glad someone told me and things I wish someone had told me...
1) Not that I really needed someone to tell me this, it is sort of common sense, but it is important to reiterate. Introduce your pets and your baby, SUPERVISED! The night before my daughter and I came home from the hospital, I sent my husband to pick up our pit bull and german shepherd/chow mix from the kennel and gave him a blanket with my daughter's scent on it. He had them smell it when they got home, when they went to bed, and when they got up. When my daughter and I came home, we introduced them to her, supervised, let them outside to run off some energy, and then introduced them again. They have no problem with my daughter and actually seem very sympathetic when she cries! However, always supervise your pets!
2) Set up an emergency bank account before or once your baby is born. We have "free" health insurance from the military, it doesn't cover everything! We found that out the hard way when our daughter needed phototherapy. Insurance may cover most but doesn't always cover all and the things it doesn't cover can add up to hundreds or possibly thousands. It saves a lot of heartache and tears to be prepare. Preparation will alleviate a lot of unnecessary new baby stress!
3) If you are bottle feeding, keep all supplies in the nursery or wherever you plan to do feedings for quick and easy night feedings. Fill bottles with 2 oz. of water so you can just add the formula powder when necessary, it does go bad if it isn't refrigerated so it's easier to prepare more bottles with less in it than fewer bottles with plenty of waste. If you are doing breast to bottle feeding, it is easiest to pump 2-3 oz. and freeze. When you go up to bed at night, take the frozen breast milk, a small cooler, and some ice packs to put in the nursery, since breastmilk, too, goes sour once pumped. The reason I suggest pumping ahead of time is so you don't have to pump before a feeding while your baby is screaming from hunger! Make sure you pump after a feeding to be prepared for the next night feeding. Put the newly pumped milk into your cooler with ice packs and it will save until the next feeding 3-4 hours later.
4) Keep a towel under your breasts and sleep on your side if you are breastfeeding or pumping. I really wish someone had told me what a disaster this can turn into if you don't pump before/after every feeding and prepare for leakage. This sounds really disgusting but the really disgusting part is when you wake up in the morning and your sheets and clothes are covered in milk. This trick will also save you a lot of time stripping the bed and washing sheets.
5) Overpack your diaper bag for the first week or so. You'll quickly discover what you really need and what you rarely need. I'll tell you this, you will need an extra outfit, a receiving blanket, diapers, wipes, and breast pads if you are breastfeeding or pumping. Also, an extra shirt for mom isn't a bad idea. It's pretty embarassing when you have milk all over you because you forgot to pack those extra breast pads I told you to pack ;-).
6) DO NOT over stock on newborn anything, your baby may be born too big for newborn sizes. My daughter is really tiny but I would rather have to go buy a few more outfits and diapers than have a bunch of stuff that I removed the tags from and can't take back.
7) DO NOT open the newborn diapers or newborn clothes. The hospital will definitely give you everything you need the first few days. If you want, pack one or two newborn outfits in your bag, but keep the tags on! Also, pack 0-3 month sizes just in case your baby is bigger.
**The hospital will give you all kinds of goodies, take advantage of it, I was given a $150 breast pump since my daughter was having a hard time latching on. I was also given some wrap tops with mittens on them so she wouldn't scratch herself, receiving blankets, a bunch of formula (even if you plan on breastfeeding, take it, you may need to supplement the first few days or weeks), diapers, and wipes. It was about a week supply of most of it and I still have quite a bit of newborn formula!
Products my daughter and I love!
1) Dr. Brown bottles- my daughter has spit up once. They reduce the chance of colic and spit up, which can help a lot at night!
2) MAM binky- The hospital gave this to us- I had those rubbery colorful ones, my daughter likes this binky a lot better!
3) The Fisher-price cradle swing- It is multi-directional, plays music, and has things that spin and move. It is prefect for entertaining your baby when she is still awake after a feeding but you need to pump or do something else!
4) The baby trend travel stroller/car seat set- It's just perfect and relatively cheap. It is extremely easy to use, however if you drive a car instead of a SUV or Truck, it may be hard to fit the stroller in your car. A travel set is a great investment either way!