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Pregnancy and Birth
- Just as babies are due, friends and relatives often ask 'what can they bring?'. The best thing I found was food parcels! This gives you more time to sleep and also hopefully have some lovely cakes to (scoff) give to guests.
- If your pregnant and too hot, soak your feet in a bowl of cold water, not only will it keep your whole body cool, it keeps the swelling in your feet down.
- Baby nearly due? Fill in all the relevant forms ie child benefit etc, just leaving the name and D.O.B blank. When your baby arrives, you won't have a mad rush to fill forms in or dig out wage slips etc, the last thing on your mind with a new baby!
- If you have morning sickness, try to focus on your fluids. Melon, ice lollies and lettuce will refresh and help keep you hydrated and well.
- The retail industry will not implode just because you have had a baby... shops will still exist after the birth so don't buy everything you think you will (n)ever need!
- Pregnant and travelling by public transport? As you get on, drop your scarf on the lap of a passenger who has their head buried in a book. When you say 'sorry' they will look up, spot the baby on board badge/bump and give you their seat. Even if they are too rubbish, it's more likely someone else will realise you need to sit down and offer you their seat.
- Pregnant and planning on breastfeeding? Buy some Alice bands. Sexy they are not, but being able to see your child while feeding them as well as not having your hair yanked out by the roots does aid the bonding process somewhat.
- Keep morning sickness at bay by carrying a lemon with you. As soon as you start feeling queasy, dig your nail in the lemon and have a good sniff - it really works.
- In your first month after your baby's born, follow this simple rule: if it can be done lying down, lie down to do it; if it can't, get someone else to do it!
- If you're pregnant, try using your birthing ball as a computer chair - then you can feel very virtuous getting your baby in a good position while on Mumsnet!
- Don't tell people your actual due date. Give a 42-week date instead. You can then avoid all the well-meaning but irritating calls asking, Have you had it yet?
- Silk pyjamas and babies do not go together; they just slip right of your hips it's like the helter-skelter at four in the morning.
- Don't buy white maternity clothes. They may look good in magazines but, trust me, you WILL drop strawberry jam on your massive huge stomach.
- Just had a baby? When people ask if there is anything they can do, hand them a bag of laundry. It's a literal load off.
- If you have a cat, before your baby is born, lay double sided tape on the cot mattress to train your cat not jump into it in the future. They hate it!
- To combat all day 'morning' sickness, keep a pack of ice-gems in your pocket to nibble on every few minutes.
- Don't worry if you have no Moses basket sheets; just use a pillowcase.
- When you get home from hospital with your newborn, be sure to keep a duster and some eco-friendly cleaning solution nearby. That way if anyone comments (or even looks disdainfully) on the state of your house, you can hand it to them.
- If you are expecting a baby add at least 2 weeks on to your due date to avoid all those people saying haven't you had that baby yet? after about 38 weeks!
- When I was pregnant I kept receipts for everything. When I had a girl a lot of the unisex stuff I took back to the shops and swopped for girlie stuff. Shops were quite happy to exchange goods.
- No stretch marks! Rub olive oil daily on your growing bump, thighs, breasts. I did that during my pregnancies. Sounds weird but it works! 3 children and NO STRETCH MARK :)
- To cool down hot, aching legs and feet in the later stages of pregnancy, soak a small towel in water and put it in the freezer for an hour. Take it out and wrap round your lower legs and feet: sooo lovely!
- We all know what pregnancy does to your bowels so this gem is from my mad Russian GP: 'Soak three prunes overnight in a cup of boiling water, in the morning chop them onto your cereal and drink the juice with OJ'. Movements you can set your watch by.
- Check out your rights to flexible working before you go on maternity leave: if you know what you can ask for it makes it easier to negotiate.
- When you're at that I'm not fat, I'm pregnant stage, a hair bobble looped between the buttonhole and top button of your jeans will bridge the gap between normal and maternity jeans (just remember to wear a long top so you don't flash your knicks!)
- Buy a bump band! I was sceptical about them, but at 35 weeks pregnant I have given in and now have no belly hanging out from my tops.
- Any old vest top can be a bump band if you just slice the top few inches (with the arm and neck holes) off.
- Pack a cooling spray in your hospital labour bag: you would not believe how hot the delivery rooms/wards are...
- When you're pregnant, if you're feeling queasy or like you want to vomit, have trapped wind or an acidy stomach, then add a capful of apple cider vinegar to your bottle of water and take regular sips whenever you feel this way. The alkaline mixture neutralises the acid in the stomach beautifully.
- As your pregnancy progresses, put away all the clothes that no longer fit and won't fit you for months after the birth. Saves cupboard space - and repeated depression.
- Heavily pregnant? Put a carrier bag on your seat in the car. It makes it a bit slidy, so you can swing yourself out more easily. Not very glam but, if you're anything like me, you'll be too grateful to care!
- Pregnant and suffering at night with the heat? Fill a bath/bowl with cold water just before bed. Then, when you need a wee (or several) during the night, stand in the cold water for a few minutes. Cools you down beautifully.
- Pack some glucose energy tablets/sweets in your hospital bag. They really helped me keep going and give me that bit more strength I needed in my long labour.
- Read up about Caesareans even if you aren't planning one - you never know what will happen.
- Put maternity pads in the freezer before wearing them after birth, especially if you'd had stitches. They will be super soothing!
- If you're getting ready to give birth, get your birthing partner to re-pack your hospital bag because they'll be the one finding things for you when you're in labour. It means you won't have to keep calling out "It's in the pocket. No! The other one!"
- Before putting on the first nappy smother your baby's bottom with vaseline. Then when he or she has that first sticky poo you won't need to scrub, it just wipes easily away.
- Later in pregnancy put a carrier bag on your seat in the car. It makes it easier to swing yourself out of the car, especially if you're suffering from something like SPD.
- Keep your chosen baby name a secret - there is nothing more irritating than someone having a baby just before you do and deciding to call it one of the names you chose.
- While I was pregnant, I found peppermint lotion was great for my ankles when they puffed up. It's even more effective after a night in the fridge.
- Set up all your "baby" equipment and learn how to use it before your baby arrives. Even the simplest instructions are a nighmare when you've had zero sleep for days.
- When your baby is born, don't wear any perfume for a while..it overpowers their lttle senses and it's best that they can smell their mummy's natural smell.
- Morning sickness? Drink cola and eat salt and vinegar crisps. Trust me - I've had nine pregnancies - it really does work!
- Pack some plastic bendy straws in your labour bag - then you can sip a drink whatever position you are in!
- Stock up on hand-cream when pregnant. Once your baby arrives you'll be constantly washing your hands and will go through tons of the stuff.
- Lanolin-based nipple cream saved my lips from being chapped & nasty after super dry hospital wards. I still use it instead of ordinary lip balm.
- Whilst pregnant, let people look after you. Enjoy every minute of the attention because as soon as bundle arrives, the limelight's off!
- Decide on visitor rules before the birth and don't combine the day 3 blues with your mother in law coming to stay.
- Plan an easy to cancel activity for each day after your due date. i.e. cinema trip, girly lunch, shopping. It'll helps you deal with being overdue, if you are and helps 'tempt fate'!
- Once home with your new baby, stay in your PJs for a week. Normal clothes make people forget. It never hurts to remind people that it's not called labour for nothing!
- Home from hospital with your new baby? Keep visiting time to between 2 and 7pm. Stops you rushing in the morning and lets you get to bed early!
- Keep morning sickness at bay by stashing ginger biscuits by your bedside for a nibble when you wake up the morning.
- I swear by arnica cream prior to delivery and arnica tablets after, to reduce the risk of tears and assist with healing.
- One for the dads: when your partner tells you she's pregnant, do her a favour and give the loo a good clean. She'll silently praise you during the weeks of morning sickness to come.
- For morning sickness, try half a Granny Smith apple in bed before you go to sleep and the other half in the morning before you move from the bed!
- Packing plastic sandals for the shower in your labour bag is a great idea. If you're having a winter baby pick up a pair in the end of summer sales. I forgot and couldn't track down a pair last December.
- If you have morning sickness, try to focus on your fluids. Melon, ice lollies and lettuce will refresh and help keep you hydrated and well.
- The best present you can give to the mother of a newborn is to turn up and take any siblings out for at least half a day to give her some time alone with baby.
- Suffering with morning sickness? Drinking lemonade when you wake up seems to settle your stomach so you can actually face breakfast.
- If you suffer from irritating stretchmarks, after-sun lotion with cooling agents can help take the edge off the itch.
- Packing plastic sandals for the shower in your labour bag is a great idea. If you're having winter babies pick up a pair in the end of summer sales. I forgot and couldn't track down a pair last December.
- When packing your labour bag, don't forget some plastic flipflops. You can use them instead of slippers and wear them in the shower, you won't want to go barefoot in there.
- Stock up on tea, coffee, long life cakes and biscuits and freeze some milk before baby is due. Saves mad dashes to shop for those unexpected 'seeing the baby' visits!
- To stave off morning sickness, keep a bag of crystalised ginger pieces by the bed. I had some covered in dark chocolate which worked wonders.
- If morning sickness means you can't face cooking, buy everything ready made. It's not cheap, but (hopefully) it's not for long and it's preferable to starving yourself and the rest of the family!
- Visiting your local high street before your baby is due and noting where all the baby changing/feeding rooms are should make your first few outings easier.
- To reduce morning sickness, keep some fruit oatcakes by your bed so you can gently graze on them when you wake up.
- If you're suffering with stitches or a tear after giving birth, invest in some baby wipes, they're far more soothing than ordinary toilet paper.
- When in the final weeks of pregnancy, sleep in a satin (style) nightdress or pjs. The slippiness of the material makes it easier to turn over!
- If you're planning more children, keep a box for clothes. As each size gets too small, tape up and label the box and keep safely for next time.
- Add a laundry basket to your list of things to buy for baby, they need many more changes of clothes than you can imagine, and it is much nicer not to have them in the family basket.........!!
- If you're suffering from 24 hour morning sickness, try a big bowl of cereal or porridge last thing at night. It should stop you waking up feeling sick.
- When pregnant, if you are standing up and can sit then sit, if you are sitting and can lie down then lie down, if you are lying down and can go to sleep then sleep.
- Don't try to get back to sleep when you keep waking up towards the end of your pregnancy. Give in to it; get up, do something and wait until you are sleepy again. Use the time to come on to Mumsnet!
- I had seriously aching legs mid pregnancy onwards and found support tights relieved this. They were really comfortable and looked fine. Allow a few more minutes in the morning to get them on though!
- As your pregnancy progresses, put away all the clothes that stop fitting you and won't fit you for months after giving birth. This saves cupboard space and repeated depression.
- If you are trying to cut back on tea while you are pregnant, try redbush tea - it's a nice herbal tea that still has the richness of ordinary tea, plus you can have milk in it - but it is naturally caffeine free.
- When out drinking before you've announced your pregnancy, drink tonic water, if you can stomach it. Unless someone actually takes a sip you can pretend it is a G&T and noone will be any the wiser.
- Those paper knickers you get after giving birth are horrid - save up some old big pants and use them then just bin them!
- Take a tennis ball in your hospital bag, your birth partner can massage you more easily and for longer by rolling it on your lower back to ease the pain.
- Save all the little samples you get of sudocream etc in your Bounty bag and use when you go on hols or in your change bag when you are out and about. Once they've finished, refill later from the big pots.
- Try and swim as much as possible when you're pregnant. It doesn't take much effort, it makes you feel much lighter and you'll return to fitness much more quickly after childbirth.
- In those first exhausting weeks after giving birth, have a list of chores to dole out to visitors. They'll go away feeling pleased they've helped and your hubby will have less to do!
- Pack energy tablets in your hospital bag. I found them the perfect thing to suck on during labour. It gives you something to do, they are thirst quenching and energy boosting to boot.
- In the last few months of pregnancy take a rest mid morning and mid afternoon to help to prepare the baby for day-time wakening. Your baby is most active when you are at rest because you are not pumping blood to limbs, allowing a better supply to baby.
- A top tip for trying to combat morning sickness is wearing travel sickness bands on your wrists. Although after weeks of sickness I was doubtful of it's success, it really worked for me.
- If you can't get labour started - try pineapple juice as it has certain enzymes which seem to get labour started. It worked a treat with me.
- When you are pregnant, if you have actually chosen a name for your baby that you really love, don't tell anyone! While you are pregnant people will tell you exactly what they think of the name, whereas once the baby is born and you present the name as a 'done deal', everyone will just smile and say it's lovely!
- Go to antenatal classes before your first baby but if you can only go to one, go to the hospital visit. That way at least you will know what to expect when your time comes.
- If you have problems with sore or bleeding gums while pregnant, a baby's toothbrush is great for gentle, thorough cleaning. And don't forget to floss!
- Pack some expensive shower gel in your favourite fragrance in your labour bag. It'll be a real treat after your hard work and whenever you use it in the future you'll look back on your achievement that day!
- Rather than spending a lot of money on maternity nightwear, pinch your husbands/partner's old shirts - the bigger and baggier the better.
- When friends or family ring to ask if they can visit a new baby don't be afraid to say NO. If you say yes,don't be scared to give them a departure deadline We'd love to see you but the Health visitor coming so can you be gone by 3
- If you're struggling with the heat when heavily pregnant, let the cold tap run until it's really cold and put your wrists under the water, palms up.
- My one tip for a parent of a newborn would be to not worry about the housework. Also when you first bring your baby home and you have an endless stream of visitors, put a note on the door and the answering machine on. Enjoy quality time as a family unit.
- When pregnant try and befriend someone who's expecting the same time as your, either through antenatal classes, pregnancy massage or even at the doctor's surgery. You'll find it much easier to cope as a new parent if you've got someone at the same stage to swap notes with.
- Sign up for antenatal classes early. I left it too late and only got a last minute place because someone moved out of the area. I don't know how I would have coped without the support of the other mums I met there.
- Pack lip balm and hand cream in your hospital bag - it's amazing how your skin dries out in hospital!
- When pregnant, I showed the baby-book to my four year old showing how big the baby was at each stage. By the time she was born he was so excited to meet her there was no jealousy.