A handful of my friends are pregnant right now. Some with their first, and some with their second. I love talking about all things pregnancy and baby related, and I realized I had never done a post like this before. While I am far from an expert, here are my two unwarranted cents.
1. Read The Happiest Baby on the Block before Baby is born. Read it again after Baby is born. A friend recommended this book to Brody, and I am SO thankful. It was an invaluable resource and helped prepare us for making Finley comfortable in her new, scary environment (aka the world and not the uterus). I suggest reading it after Baby’s birth because you’ll likely have missed or forgotten something, or it will just make more sense now with a tiny being in front of you.
2. Attend a mother baby hour from early on and as long as you can. When Finley was three weeks, I went to Meriter’s (my hospital) weekly meeting for first time mamas. There are three groups: 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 months. I went almost every week and looked forward to each meeting. I found it to be a safe place to talk about my struggles and ask questions. So many moms were going through similar things, or had recently gone through it, and I learned a lot from them and the nurse who facilitated the meetings. A group of about twenty moms formed a Friday play group so that we could continue to get together past nine months, let our kids play, and be there for each other.
3. This one is quite trivial but enjoy your thick, luscious hair during pregnancy and for the first few months post birth. Because it’s going to fall out. As someone with thin hair, I loved this part of pregnancy. Thanks to the extra estrogen in our bodies, the hair follicles hold on to the hair you’d normally lose. So when your hair starts coming out and clogging the shower drain, it’s releasing all the hair it’s been hanging on to for over a year. I’ve also been dealing with awkward re-growth of hair on the top of my scalp.
4. Don’t become obsessed with napping like I did. Looking back, I see how much energy I wasted regarding Finley’s napping. Finley was never a bad sleeper (although she had her rough patches like all babies). There’s so much I could say here, but I won’t. I only wish I would’ve been more “go with the flow” and not have been so much of a nap slave. (Do you feel the same way Jena?)
5. You don’t need to change Baby’s diaper very often in the night. For the first few weeks of Finley’s life, I changed her diaper every time she got up in the middle of the night. This would often extend her time awake and make her upset (cold air, cold wipes, etc). I finally learned that unless the diaper is soiled or she’s had it on for a long time, it’s unnecessary to change it.
6. Leave Baby with your partner overnight as soon as you’re ready. Or maybe sooner. I went on a girls weekend trip for two nights to Lake Geneva (an hour and a half away) when Finley was four months old. Brody stayed home with Finley, and he did awesome. I appreciated and needed the break from my role as a mommy.
7. Consider joining Netflix. This was something Brody told a couple recently, so I’m stealing it for this list. Newborns sleep A LOT. I watched the first season of Orange is the New Black in a few days. This winter, we watched all seven seasons of The West Wing.
8. Make as many freezer meals as you can before Baby is born. Even though babies sleep a lot early on, you’ll often be so exhausted that cooking is not appealing. I spent Finley’s naps cleaning, napping myself, or *gasp* relaxing (reading or watching tv). Freezer meals that involve a slow cooker would be ideal. A simple search on online (or even my blog!) will provide lots of options.
9. Keep food and water next to the chair where you feed your baby. I was hungry and thirsty all the time when Finley was first born. Before Finley went to sleep, I’d put an extra water bottle and a small snack (trail mix, Larabar-like balls, etc) next to the rocker.
10. Find a babysitter you trust and use him/her to go on date nights with your partner. Or get a haircut by yourself. We left Finley with a babysitter for an afternoon when she was six weeks old. That may be earlier than some parents are ready for, but we felt confident in our sitter and weren’t going to be far from home. A former neighbor of ours recommended our sitter, who recently graduated from college, and her mom lived across the street from us. I know other moms have had luck with care.com and the UW Job Center website (if you love in the Madison area, but I bet other colleges have something similar). If you’re lucky enough to have family members in the area, take advantage of when they offer to watch your little one.
What was some good or bad advice you were given about pregnancy or babies?
How have you helped a new mama out during those first few months?