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Things I wish people had told me when I was pregnant

(145 Posts)
katiegolightly Thu 03-May-12 08:34:49

Sorry - a long one. Ok so we're only on day 17 but now the haze is starting to clear I thought I'd jot a list of all the things specific to my experiences so far that I wish I'd been told about earlier - i.e. in pregnancy. Those marked with * are things that I was told about but damnit I wish I'd paid more attention to!! SERIOUSLY. Oh and it's all a bit higgledy piggledy order-wise such is my brain now :-)

1. Don't buy any cute outfits for your baby in 0-3. Get 5-10 vests (no arms or legs) like M&S ones have been brilliant. Layer with a babygro day and night. It's all you need. I feel bad that all the cute things she has been bought in newborn and 0-3 probably will only get worn for the thank you photo, they are too faffy to dress them in!

2. Take 2 hats into hospital. I was asked to take one into theatre for my CS because they like to put one on the baby straight away. I had a spare for taking her home luckily as it gets gunked up immediately.

3. Don't worry about dressing your baby in hospital if you don't want to. Ours spent 3 days in nappy/blanket. I figured I would learn 'dressing the baby' at home. Hospital was for learning to feed, nappy change and cuddle - the extra complication is not worth it, she will be PLENTY warm enough, hospitals are saunas.

*4. Don't do too much too soon. Fortunately the drugs they give you (post CS) are brilliant. In my case, I thought this meant I was superwoman. Just because you feel more than capable of unloading the washing machine and dishwasher on day 5, DON'T. Stupidly I seemed to forget that it wasn't just the healing visible scar I should be thinking of but all the layers inside that had been cut through. You need to heal, seriously, enjoy a good couple of weeks on the couch.

*5. When arranging your visits, tell them the curfew. All of my visitors have turned up late and all of them have said 'tell me when you want me to go'. This is great, but I'm not good at saying 'now actually'. Make sure when you say, 'sure, come over Wednesday evening' that you add on 'kicking out time is 9pm as that's when I have to go to bed to manage the night feeds'

*6. Don't have visitors every day. Give yourself at least 3 days in week 1 with nobody knocking at your door. You need it.

*7. Stock up your freezer if you haven't already. This has proved a life saver.

*8. It's ok to be in shock when your baby is born. Stupidly I wanted to ask 'is she mine' when they lifted her above the screen. I also expected to be blubbing uncontrollably (I am the emotional type...) I haven't at all yet. I wonder if I am emotionally broken. This is ok and normal. Don't put pressure on yourself of DP to react a certain way.

9. I love ted talks - I've watched this one so many times but I urge you to take 15 mins to watch this, it's inspiring and very comforting about 5 parenting taboos. It has helped me a lot.

10. If you know you are having a CS, buy some tea tree oil to massage into your scar once it has initially healed and also look at silicon gel / pads (you can buy from Amazon) to soften and fade your scar over time. You may prefer to dilute the tea tree in water, I didn't and it's been fine.

11. Apart from the M&S babygros I mentioned, most things that go over the head have been annoying. If you can find short sleeved & short legged vesty things like from M&P or mothercare that have popper fronts, these are really easy to work with. Our house is warm in the day and this plus blankets has been fine without a babygro.

12. Stock up on box sets or trashy books. You probably won't have any time to watch/read them - but when you do snatch an hour, indulge in something that will really pep you up and take your mind off stuff.

*13. Your baby will cry. Sometimes there is a reason, sometimes there isn't.

14. It's ok to admit there are moments that are boring or groundhog day.

15. Some foods when in your breastmilk may upset your baby. Some babies may be intollerant to dairy & gluten, some say chocolate, citrus, strawberries and egg are particular culprits. Eat things in moderation and if you notice something may cause issues, cut one thing out at a time. Everyone is different.

16. is a brilliant resource for all things breastfeeding. Get familiar with it before your baby comes out! It answers all those questions about how much and how often your baby should eat, how you know if they are getting enough when your are breastfeeding etc.

17. Photocopy your antenatal notes well in advance. I kept delaying and my waters broke - no copy. I'm told by my hospital (Chelsea & Westminster) it will cost me £50 to get a copy.

*18. Those first few days you have colostrum only. YOU WILL KNOW when your milk comes in. Mine did overnight on day 3 and it was painful. Like tingly severe sunburn. Hard, hot watermelon boobs, hot flushes, dripping with sweat. I was just not expecting it. They eased throughout the next day as I started to use them and felt fine 12 hours later! Get a couple of flannels ready so you can put hot water flannels on your boobs, it was the only thing that eased them.

19. If you want to pamper your little ones bottom, get a thermos flask and a little bowl for beside your changing station/s, particularly if you don't have a sink within arms reach. Water available for every change - warm to boot! I've been advised not to use wipes on a newborn.

20. When you are discharged your antenatal notes will be retained. You will be given 2 new sets of notes, one about you and one about your baby. These document your labour and stay in hospital and every check up, test, conversation you had with midwives and doctors in your dazed state. READ THEM BEFORE YOU LEAVE. I didn't. I didn't understand or agree with a lot of it. These notes stay with you until your last midwife visit at home. Photocopy these before your last midwife visit too. They are militant and will not let you keep them to copy yourself past this date.

*21. Yes, scratchmits are useless and fall off. Rely on the ones in babygros. Most babygros seem to have them in but most products online don't state this when you buy them. It's very annoying that this isn't clearer.

22. Get some Lansinoh cream for your nipples. Make sure it is in your hospital bag. Those first few days were the worst by far for cracked scabby nipples.

23. First few days of feeding can be frustrating / hellish. Research about hand expressing colustrum into tiny syringes, you may end up doing it and I was totally lost. Wish I'd known more.

24. Ask your hospital about checking your babys blood sugar straight after they are born if they are on the small side. They forgot to do this for me and a also an NCT friend this week which meant an extra day in hospital for monitoring on the 'blood sugar protocol' purely because they forgot to test something sooner.

25. Get a feeding app on your phone or find a way to record feeds. I'm the most organised person in the world and I thought this was a ridiculous notion - how hard can it be to remember when you last fed, for how long and on which side. Only after 2 weeks did we settle into this but I still often forget which side I've done - all feeds blur into one, it really helps to keep a record. Find an app now, the most useful time is that first 48 hours. I promise.

26. Write everything down as soon as you can. The birth story, how you felt. There is so much going on it's hard to remember a few days later. You'll be glad to look back on those feelings and thoughts. My DP took a video of DD being lifted out. If I'd known I'd have said no way. I didn't really realise he'd done it until a week later and I'm so pleased he did. Not to Facebook it, to remind myself what happened when I was so in shock I couldn't take it in at the time.

27. Right now all you can focus on is pregnancy and the birth. It's all you know to prepare for. It seemed so obvious after she was born that the delivery was only the tip of the iceberg but I can't believe how fixated I was on this part and how small that seems now we are on the other side. Spend some time considering week 1. Nothing will prepare you for it, but at least think about it!

28. Emma Jane bamboo vest tops have been my only attire for 2 weeks! No bras, just these and comfy trousers. Worth their weight in gold for feeding and easy covering up again when you have visitors.

29. If there's something you need/want to do, do it now. Whether that's redecorating your house, going to the theatre, whatever. You won't give a stuff about anything else in life when your baby arrives. I thought I would, I don't.

30. You may wake up in the night thinking you are holding the baby when she is in her crib. It's scary. I've done this 5 times now and seriously thought I'd dropped her in the bed. Weird feeling. (I've not fallen asleep with her in the bed at all)

31. Get some good hand cream and put it by your changing station. Your hands will be v dry with constant washing.

32. You can't have too many muslins. I have 20, I could easily use 30, they are scattered around every room in the house.

33. Microwavable sterilisers are the way forward. Even just for 1 expressed feed per day/night. I have an Avent one, it's awesome and I put my Medela swing in there every day too, I'd be lost without it.

34. Get a fruitcake or something that will keep. Your visitors (who are lazy and don't bring their own cake) can have a slice and you won't feel bad. Not that you should.

35. Get a banana shaped breastfeeding pillow. Another fantastic purchase for feeding on the bed/couch/anywhere. Otherwise you will need to stuff cushions around you awkwardly or get RSI!

36. Pack your change bag when you get home from an outing, not before you go out. You'll be more ready to up and go when you want to and less faffing.

37. Water in bottles. Glasses are great until you can't chug the whole lot and can't reach the table. Constantly calling DP to take the glass off me.

38. Get some almond oil (neals yard) or beeswax to moisturise any dry skin like on your baby's hands or feet. It's lovely to spend time rubbing their little toes too, nice time for mummy after a feed.

Ok, I think that's all for now, I've gone on for long enough. Hope some is helpful for some of you!

nickseasterchick Thu 03-May-12 08:38:22

You sound lovely - enjoy being a mummy x

blackteaplease Thu 03-May-12 08:40:55

Good advice there.

We just used normal extra virgin olive oil on dd when she was born, no need to buy any special oils.

Can I add a couple more that I found useful?

When DH returns to work, get him to leave you a snack by the bed when you are sleeping so you have food first thing when you wake up. Breastfeeding makes you hungry and this is an instant boost.

On the same vein, get dh to leave you a sandwhich in the fridge for lunch.

Ignore the housework

McPhee Thu 03-May-12 08:42:20

Read, and I'm sure I'll re-read again. Thank you smile

Russki Thu 03-May-12 08:53:52

very helpful! thank you

Aworryingtrend Thu 03-May-12 09:08:38

Thanks so much for taking the time to type this- so useful as I am pg with DC1 and have no idea what happens after the birth!

MockCroc Thu 03-May-12 09:20:32

This is great! Thanks so much. thanks

Naisy Thu 03-May-12 09:35:41

Awesome post Katie - thanks so much! Will be printing it. smile

PollyIndia Thu 03-May-12 09:36:46

This is brilliant. I am going to copy and paste this and save it.
God, I did suddenly get The Fear though. This will be a huge shock, however wonderful it will be too...

Flisspaps Thu 03-May-12 09:38:33

39. Don't sweat the small stuff

40. Not all of these 40 points will work for you or seem relevant - that's OK. Pick and choose the stuff that works for you (unless there are health or safety implications in not doing something)

PollyIndia Thu 03-May-12 09:42:13

Number 29 in particular really resonates. I was dithering about whether to go and visit my uni mate in N. Ireland and whether to go to Parklife, a festival in manchester, but having read that, I think I should make the absolute most of the remaining time I have left just as me.

PollyIndia Thu 03-May-12 09:43:00

And do all the decorating I want to do - which mean not sitting on mumsnet but sorting out all the crap in the spare room.

Chunkychicken Thu 03-May-12 09:43:46

Brilliant list - most of this I discovered for myself with my DD who is now just 2yo (including, sadly, the loss of the notes - I was quite disappointed not to be able to look back on my pg notes & remind myself, even days after, especially now as I'm pg with my 2nd). It would have been great to know it first time around!!

A few things to add, if I may;

I wore a bracelet (soft leather thing that I had for yrs) and would swap it from wrist to wrist to remind me which boob next - you can buy special ones, but why when you might have something already?

Try out different nipple creams - the Biofem one worked best for me. The discomfort does pass, it just takes perseverence & time.

Don't stress if you're 'late' to somewhere (unless its to a hospital appointment or to register the birth). These times are to relax & take it easy, people will understand & cut you slack.

ALWAYS always enjoy your HOT cup of tea/coffee when someone else is enjoying a cuddle with baby. Relax for 5mins & have a nice drink, it doesn't happen often!! If you want, get an insulated mug for those times when you just haven't had a change to reach for the mug between nappies/feeds etc.

I used the nipple collection shells to collect the vast leakage I had when feeding DD & bunged it in little breast milk freezer bags. I would then get a few ounces a day with minimal effort & after a couple of days, have a large bottle fulls-worth ready & waiting in the freezer.

blackteaplease Thu 03-May-12 09:56:45

Ah yes chunky chicken. I used a hair bobble round my wrist as a boob reminder.

Lovemarmite Thu 03-May-12 10:00:14

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Please some advice though on first point: Don't buy any cute outfits for your baby in 0-3. Get 5-10 vests (no arms or legs) like M&S ones have been brilliant. Layer with a babygro day and night. It's all you need.

I've been buying age ranges of 0-3 (and 3-6 months) some are in the sale, costing about £7 bodysuit but others have cost a bit more and so are these suitable? cute PJs

I figured with the PJs that the top and bottoms can be versatile and if only the t-shirt is worn at times, then great.
I think I have 5 bodysuits (including one with full legs) for both 0-3 and 3-6 month age groups and wasn't going to buy anymore.

Thanks for the advice. I've been obsessing about what to buy but also not to spend way too much money on unnecessary things. Help really appreciated!

elizaregina Thu 03-May-12 10:14:04

fab list, will copy this for time two, have forgotton all from last time nad very interesting about bloody notes!!!! i always thought what i have got seems rather thin, i didnt even know my other notes were taken etc....

Flisspaps Thu 03-May-12 10:14:35

Marmite - buy what you like wink just make sure there's plenty in case you get a leaky baby!

DS and DD have both had proper outfits for daytime since birth, I find them no more faffy than vests or babygros, and I find side or front opening vests no easier than envelope necks.

Like I said before, what works for one won't necessarily work for another smile

Quodlibet Thu 03-May-12 10:16:47

Great tips.

You can get almond oil in the supermarket from the asian section for a couple of quid - it's the same product, massage places just put a huge mark-up on it!

Kaloobear Thu 03-May-12 10:18:08

Brilliant and very true post. My own version is here-it took me a couple of months after giving birth to write it though so kudos on your speediness!

Things they don't tell you before or during a pregnancy

katiegolightly Thu 03-May-12 10:20:17

Hi Lovermarmite - those PJs are too cute! I'm sure you'll have no probs with those, although I haven't any experience of 2 pieces yet :-)

I think because our baby is quite small one piece has been easier to deal with. Also because they are so wriggly I suspect they would end up with bare mid drift when picking up, moving around, generally wriggling which is why I avoided.

That being said, I'm sure it's useful to only whip trousers off for changing, I've been un poppering and hoiking up vests/babygro underneath her so it's out of the line of poo-fire but it might be uncomfy stuffed up underneath her.

The bodysuit look brill imho and exactly what I'm looking for today, on the one day I want to put her in a cute dress for a special outing. I can't put a short sleeve vest over a sleepsuit really (it's too thick and cuddly) and I think she will get cold little arms if she only has a vest underneath. So that would be what I would use those for.

Eitherway, no biggie I reckon, but nice finds! smile

Oh and we're working on the basis that she can spend 24 hours in a vest & babygro combo unless she sicks or poos on it. For the most part this is fine and they are staying pretty clean. We have just got a tumble dryer so 5 sets would be plenty but I'm trying to not do washing every day so I have 10 (with those I've bought + gifts) which is nice, we're washing stuff every 3 days or so.

katiegolightly Thu 03-May-12 10:21:29

bracelet or hairband - brilliant! Thanks chunkychicken

BenedictsCumberbitch Thu 03-May-12 10:23:44

Just a teeny point though that although hospitals can seem warm, little ones can lose a lot of heat as they are ineffectual at maintaining their own temp for a while, they can then use lots of energy and burn all their fat stores trying to stay warm thus becoming sleepy and unable to feed effectively leading to low blood sugars. Please keep babies warm as possible.

Lovemarmite Thu 03-May-12 10:24:05

Thanks Flisspaps
I was thinking of also getting an M&S pack of cotton bodysuits that seem very cheap too, plus MIL has knitted about a dozen cardigans and hats and so hopefully we're covered. Thanks for advice as I was thinking that maybe I'd bought too many.

elvislives2012 Thu 03-May-12 10:29:26

This is fantastic! Thank u so much. The fear is creeping in tho...

Lovemarmite Thu 03-May-12 10:33:08

Thanks katie, phew! I thought I'd gone overboard as a few pieces I've chosen have been more expensive than I should have gone for really.
I'm trying to use the mantra 'sale, sale, sale' but I get a bit goo-ey over a few items and then bam I've got them.
I'm with you on the washing - hoping not to use the washing everyday!
Thanks again!

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