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What advice would you give to first time mums about pregnancy?(30 Posts)
What it says above. Getting through my 22nd week and wondering if anyone has any advice on how to use the second half of pregnancy to best prepare for baby/being a parent? (Am already sleeping a lot!)
Hey. I'm shortly to give birth (very close to due date) and one thing that surprised me was how long it can take to get certain items of furniture/baby stuff delivered.
My husband and I were both a bit superstitious about getting things in too early, but I guess I assumed that when we did get around to ordering items (I'm thinking in particular of the buggy and the cotbed), they'd come pretty fast - like within a week or so.
In reality, most of the big items took at least a couple of weeks to get delivered. With the buggy we wanted to order (with lots of bits like car seat, etc), we were told it would be an eight week wait for the colour we wanted. One delivery from John Lewis took three weeks to arrange, then there was a problem with the delivery and it was delayed a further 10 days.
Everything's here now, but if the baby had arrived in week 36 or 37, we would have been very disorganised. So I'd say save yourself some stress, and don't leave ordering the bigger items until the last minute like we did.
Oh, and don't underestimate how tired you'll be towards the end. I breezed my 2nd trimester, but I found the third hard work physically (with a lot less sleep), so do factor that in when you're planning when to go out on maternity leave.
Best of luck. I've loved being pregnant despite all of the discomforts, and I wish you a very happy and safe one.
Get a many date nights in as possible and enjoy making time for each other, don't over worry about weight gain where possible.
Rest as much as possible in the last few weeks leading up to the birth as you need that energy for labour, you can't bank sleep, but a little extra rest can only help.
If you are planning to breastfeed search out support local to you before you give birth, having a contact number to hand if any problems arise is so much easier than searching and researching on google. In my area we had a breastfeeding midwife and I also had the NCT breastfeeding woman as support. Also find out where you can hire breast pumps from, two friends of mine needed one quite urgently due to problems with feeding and needed electric ones, they hired the hospital grade ones for a month until breastfeeding was established or not, saves buying one and it then being a waste of money.
Don't feel bullied into exclusively breastfeeding when your baby arrives.
I've found that all HCPs are ridiculously pro breast feeding and it's really a personal decision that you need to take time to decide on.
If you do choose to exclusively breast feed I'd highly recommend you express also and feed baby from a bottle once a day (so they learn and keep that skill) as if you fall unwell or are do unbelievably exhausted from all the night feeds etc, you'll be able to pass the baby to the dad or close relatives / friends and give yourself a bit of a breather.
I'm into month 6 with my first DD and was so coerced into breast feeding that my baby has never taken a bottle and feeds at least every 3 hours and oh my word it is a tough old ride!
I second having a few 'date nights' with your DH / DP. You might not get much couple time for a while once baby arrives.
I'd also add researching local baby groups etc. It can get pretty lonely suck in the house all day with a baby (especially once your DH/DPs paternity leave finishes). It's good to have some ideas of things you can go to with the baby.
Regarding labour, try and be open to different possibilities. E.G, don't set your heart on a particular birth plan, or be convinced about what pain relief you do or don't want. Birth can be unpredictable so it's best just to be aware of your options and go with the flow a bit.
Listen to your body and make sure your dh knows exactly what you want during labour
Eat out, last chance before you have to master the one hand eating or wolfing food down
Trust your own instincts
Don't be afraid to tell the community midwifes to leave you alone, we had one particularly rude one and I won't have her in my house again!
Do any decorating/house sorting before baby arrives-no time or inclination later!
Enjoy normal tv, everything we watch is now later on sky plus as Disney jnr/Nick jnr/CBeebies are normal viewing!
Enjoy your pre-baby mat leave. Do antenatal exercise classes, have long lunches with friends/nct pals, get your nails/hair done, go shopping, read, cook, do whatever you want when you want. You will never have that time again until you retire and/or children are grown up.
Try to enjoy the last few weeks! And I would also advise you not to get too caught up on birth plans-just go with the flow and don't over think it.
I always thought the most useful thing I could have done in hindsight was to have improved my upper body strength - the strain of carrying/feeding etc. a baby totally knackered my back first time round (and second come to think of it). I did have a particularly high needs baby who did all naps in a sling for a few months, but I think with any baby it can be extremely hard work physically.
Not sure how practical that actually is in pregnancy though, or how much you could get done in a couple of months! Reading about alignment and posture and best ways to look after your body whilst looking after baby might be good idea though - some useful stuff on Katy Bowman's KatySays blog I think.
Oh, and also with hindsight, I would have looked into booking a doula with my first. I did for second and have for third, but with my first I couldn't see the point. I had no birth plan at all and thought I'd just see how it all went as I assumed there was nothing I could prepare for. For me, this just meant things felt very out of control and unexpected very quickly and i had no coping strategies.
I think that although obviously you can't dictate how your birth will go, there are lots of things it's useful to think about beforehand and make some decisions about what you might prefer. I also think whilst there are some fabulous mws and some DPs/DHs will be great, there are also a lot of less than brilliant mws, and many DPs/DHs are shocked/horrified/scared and not sure how to help in the heat of the moment. Having someone calm and experienced who is there only to help support you and your partner and try to help you have a birth you're happy with can be really valuable.
Save up for a cleaner to come for a few weeks if your a tidy person it killed me having my house look like a dump but I was too sore and tired to do it properly. This time round I'm having a cleaner come the first 4 weeks to do the floors, and give the kitchen and bathroom a good scrub. Might sound daft but I pushed myself to much to early because I hated the mess.
Ah it's always enjoyable as someone with a 3-month old baby to have the chance to impart a few gems of wisdom, many of which are of the 'I wish I'd thought of that!' variety.
+ We were given loads of books about newborns/babies and told to prepare ourselves. However, none of it seemed to make any sense to us, having not had a baby yet. In hindsight, the stress we put on ourselves to read those books was NOT worth it - it's too overwhelming to learn all about something you've never met yet. So first gem = don't stress yourselves out about not being prepared enough. All first time parents are terrified - you'll find pretty quickly that you'll learn your baby with or without a book.
+ Buy a steriliser and bottles. Even if you plan to breastfeed, have the equipment in the house ready (and researched so you know how to use it) just incase. Keep it all in the packaging with the receipt, so you can return it if you don't use it. But the worst thing is needing it and not having it, as you just don't know what will happen in the first few days. Also buy some ready-made formula cartons, ALWAYS have those in the cupboard, JUST IN CASE.
+ DO stock up on nappies, wipes, nappy bags, muslins, breast pads, washing powder/softener etc. You can never have too much/many of any of them. Some people only change newborn nappies 6 times a day, some do it as many as 16 times a day, and that can be ALOT of nappies! Do not underestimate how many of these items you will need in the first month alone!
+ Don't bother wasting money buying toys, playmats, rattles, teddies etc at this point - your baby likely won't care about any of them until they're around 3 months old. Spend that money on stocking up stuff for baby and you guys.
+ Do mentally prepare yourself for a few days' stay in hospital post labour. The worst thing we could have done was go home the same day as giving birth - we wish we'd stayed in at least overnight, as the help they give you in the first few days is invaluable.
+ Get a night-light for your room. Nothing worse than turning on a bright lamp and waking baby up or, as my partner once tried, changing a dirty nappy in the dark. Night-light = must have.
There are probably dozens more but duties call (dirty nappy) and I'm sure I've already said things other people have said. Best of luck and I hope this was a little helpful
Discuss with your DP how you will manage the childcare and domestic work once the baby arrives. If he doesn't already do a fair share, or expects you to do more when on mat leave, seek to address this.
Sort out financial arrangements. Investigate childcare / work options.
Make some dinners for the freezer!!
The first few days I came home were fine and we cooked as usual but then we hit the day10 cluster feeding and I didn't move from the sofa for 6 hours and it was a godsend for DP to be able to reheat a healthy meal rather than order
yet another takeaway!
Second stocking up on wipes, and start buying some paracetamol with your weekly shop. I had a c section and was taking 2 every 4 hours without fail and because you can only buy 2 packs a time it meant we had to keep venturing out!
Trust your own judgement - whether that's about sleeping, baby's wellbeing, feeding, your own health. Don't be afraid to ask or even push for support and advice but feel free to pick the parts of it you find useful. You are in control. You can do it.
If someone had told me this I might not have felt just as vulnerable. I'm a very assertive person normally and it went out the window to the altar of exclusive breastfeeding and poor postnatal advice. It won't this time.
Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep. And if you have any spare time after that, have a nap.
It's more for the first few weeks than pregnancy but...realise it is ok not to enjoy it! I was SO excited I could burst as it was a much-anticipated baby but the shell shock and exhaustion really can hit you for six. I was jealous of people who could just enjoy cooing over my DD while I was fretting about getting her down in her basket or thinking about how many hours I might sleep that night. It was not horrendous but there is a steep learning curve when you are at your most vulnerable - don't worry if you feel bad for not loving every minute. Then suddenly you are out the other side doing it all like a pro!
Enjoy it!! the next time you do it you will have a child to look after!
I don't mean you have to enjoy every second of pregnancy, (I say at 32 weeks as baby is wedged under my ribs) because not every second is enjoyable, but the second time round, when you are tired its not always possible to just go for a lie down....
enjoy just walking out of the house.....not worrying that you have packed everything including the kitchen sink just incase baby needs something!
And take time out to be bloody selfish. Can't be arsed to do something? Don't do it.
Also don't forget your pelvic floor exercises. They're not lying about how important it is.
Eat what you like, don't worry about weight gain
Have date nights with your partner, it's good to feel close and once baby arrives time can be hard to find.
Make sure you have a massive supply of nappies, wipes (places like boots & supermarkets always have deals on so stock up)
If you have days when you feel like not doing something, don't do it
Don't go overboard on reading baby books ds is 6 months now and if I did everything the books told me too, I'd seriously never eat or sleep
Having baby in a sling is a good way of being close and you get your hands free so can still do things around the house
Near the end of your pregnancy cook some meals for the freezer to have for dinners for the first few weeks, me and my dh done this and lived on them for the first 2 weeks
I disagree with the eat what you like advice: I did that and being overweight and trying to lose it and look after DC was/remains rough!
A bit late in your case, but consider an independent midwife - I wish I'd had one for DC1.
Go to a breastfeeding workshop or support group while you are still pregnant, and get details of where to find support (if you want to breastfeed).
Have really thorough conversations with your OH about how you will share household tasks/free time/couple time.
Read a copy of What Mothers Do (even When it Looks Like Nothing) by Naomi Stadlen.
Spend some time with your friends who don't have kids, and build up your relationship because you are likely to be on incompatible body clocks for a while. Arrange ways of keeping in touch in case you can't meet often.
I also disagree with eat what you want losing it can be so difficult especially when your tired all the time.
Avoid a lot of stress.
Don't tell any one your due date. If pressed, tell them your 42week date. It'll be here by them.
Then you will avoid the endless texts and calls from 39 weeks asking if you've had it yet and giving unwanted advice.
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