100 LITTLE THINGS ABOUT PREGNANCY, BIRTH, AND BEING A FIRST-TIME MOM. Pt. 1
100 THINGS ABOUT PREGNANCY FOR FIRST-TIME MOM. Pt. 1- I want to share 100 things I’ve learned in the last year about pregnancy, birth, postpartum recovery, breastfeeding, caring for a baby, and being a first-time mom. I make no apologies that this will be a long post, but I really hope it serves you… or at least makes you smile. Because motherhood, after all, really is the greatest joy and privilege.
ABOUT PREGNANCY:100 THINGS ABOUT PREGNANCY FOR FIRST-TIME MOM. Pt. 1
- Don’t worry about timing your baby “just right”. Most people take a few months to get pregnant anyway.
- Forget #1 and do everything possible to not be in your third trimester in the middle of summer. Because seriously, nine months pregnant in the height of summer sucks.
- Your pregnant elephant ankleswillreturn to normal. Just hang in there.
- Take more naps. Don’t wait for the baby to be born so you can “nap when the baby naps”… He might not be a good napper.
- Ask your husband’s employer if he can take an extra week of paternity leave if you end up having an unplanned c-section.
- You have no idea about your capacity to burp and fart until you’re into your second trimester. Just you wait.
- Don’t feel guilty if the gender of the baby on the ultra sound isn’t what you were expecting (or hoping for). It’s normal and will pass. (And you will be so happy about your little boy or girl that you’ll forget about it anyway.) Many women struggle with gender disappointment during pregnancy, so don’t let it rob you of your pregnancy joy.
- Wear fitted clothes – your bump is beautiful and you look cuter without extra frump.
- Don’t buy maternity clothes if you can get around it. Just buy a belly band or button extender and wear your normal clothes. (Until/unless that’s not an option any more.)
- If you do buy anything, buy long tank tops that you can layer under other “normal” shirts. Or better yet, buy nursing tank tops (You will live in them during those first few postpartum months, whether you are layering over them or not.)
- Take heart, your shoes will fit again someday.
- Enjoy that beautiful skin. Unfortunately it doesn’t last.
- Enjoy that hair. You will soon be losing it in copious amounts.
- Save receipts because you really don’t need that bottle sanitizer.
- Use your birthday money on yourself, silly girl. I know you’re excited, but that little baby will get more presents than you know what to do with.
- Get educated about giving birth. The more you know, the more you will be empowered and the less scared you will be.
- Have some understanding about c-sections and recovery… just case. (Ever heard of a “gentle cesarean“?)
- It really is reasonable (and loving!) to let the lady with small children move to the front of the line. Start now.
- Read differing parenting philosophy books and then decide for yourself what’s best for you and your family. I know it’s hard to believe, but you really are the expert.
- In light of #19, be prepared to change your mind later if you need to.
ABOUT LABOR AND GIVING BIRTH:
- If you want to speed up labor once your contractions have begun, use a breast pump. Oh. My. Goodness.
- Have a birth plan but know that it’s just a plan, not a prophecy. It willlook different. (Need help? Here’s how to organize and write a birth plan.)
- Having your waters break is not a one-off gush… it continues for hours into labor. Don’t be alarmed when you have to walk around with a towel between your legsfor the rest of the day. (Birth is so glamorous.)
- Watching So You Think You Can Dance between contractions provides good distraction, but don’t get mad when they forget to pause it during contractions.
- Giving birth is messy. Really messy. What? You know that? Ok then, remember it.
- Remember that sometimes your midwifeneeds encouragement too, especially when things go wrong.
- Make sure your husband knows how to quickly and efficiently find the ice machine.
- Labor is hard work, but you were totally made for it. Go for it, girl.100 THINGS ABOUT PREGNANCY FOR FIRST-TIME MOM. Pt. 1
ABOUT POSTPARTUM RECOVERY:
- If you wake up drenched in sweata week or two after giving birth, get excited about it. You’re sweating off those extra baby fluid pounds.
- Deal with your disappointmentabout things that went wrong with the birth and don’t let it steal the joy of birth from you.
- You are going to feel so overwhelmed with love – don’t try to harness it, just soak in it.
- Who cares about getting your tiny baby on a schedule from day one? Just snuggle, snuggle, snuggle and let him sleep on your chest as much as your little heart desires. I promise you, you will not regret this. Don’t let any book or auntie tell you otherwise.
- Yes, the world really does want to see a bajillion photos of your baby on facebook – load ‘em up. (You’ll never feel so popular as when you’re the mom of an incredibly good-looking brand-new baby.) And even if they don’t, you will NEVER regret taking all those photos. (Just give clear, repeated instructions to your husband to make sure you’re included in some of them too. Don’t shy away because of bad hair or bags under your eyes. When you’ve survived the baby years, you’ll want photographic proof that you were there – mothering victoriously.)
- Tell hubs to stock up on Draino because at around four months post-partum you will begin to shed ungodly amounts of hair.
- Your c-section scarwill still be numb six months after the surgery, and it will sometimes still feel itchy. Just deal with it and know it’s now a badge of honor.100 THINGS ABOUT PREGNANCY FOR FIRST-TIME MOM. Pt. 1
- Breastfeeding will come easily and natural to you, so you have nothing to be nervous about, and just ignore all those horror stories.Unless it doesn’t.Go ahead and read a few stories (without obsessing) and prepare for both the best and worst. And practice this mantra now: I will not be defined by breastfeeding ‘success’ or ‘failure’. (Psst– no mom that’s trying hard is a failure. Perhaps banish that word from your vocabulary?)
- Breastfeeding will be one of the absolute sweetest things you will ever do. (Need courage to breastfeed in public?)
- Breastfeeding will sometimes feel like one of the most annoying things you ever do.
- Breastfeeding will sometimes feel like a competition with some inanimate object while you vie for your baby’s focus and attention.
- Breastfeeding will sometimes feel like one of the most time-consuming things you ever do. (And it is.) Hang in there, it changes before you know it and you will miss the excuse to sit down for forty-five minutes at a time like you did during the newborn phase. Later, when you’re baby’s nursing for only ten minutes at a time you’ll be thinking, What baby? Already done? No… let’s just sit here for a while snuggling.
- Breastfeeding will be one of the wisest things you do for your baby andfor you. (Still pregnant? Here’s how you can prepare for breastfeeding.)
- Breastfeeding is the one thing only youcan do with (and for) your baby. That’s a special honor that only a mama can experience. Remember to appreciate it.100 THINGS ABOUT PREGNANCY FOR FIRST-TIME MOM. Pt. 1
ABOUT CARING FOR YOUR BABY:
- If you keep your baby awake too long, he will never go to sleep easily. Don’t overestimate how much awake time a newborn can handle between naptimes.100 THINGS ABOUT PREGNANCY FOR FIRST-TIME MOM. Pt. 1
- Don’t worry about changing your baby every time he spits up. You already have too much laundry to do. Just rub it in – ha!
- Never judge your baby’s clothes by the numbers on the tag. If you think that cutest-ever outfit for your baby is too big to pull out, do it anyway. It’s easier than you know to miss the “right size” window.100 THINGS ABOUT PREGNANCY FOR FIRST-TIME MOM. Pt. 1
- When traveling on an airplane, don’t only pack a spare set of clothes for your baby – pack a spare shirt for yourself too. Just go ahead and trust me on this one.
- I’m totally against the use of “baby TV time” (you guys know how bad it is for your kids’ development to let them watch TV as babies and toddlers, right?! experts say to wait until two years old), but go ahead and use the TV to your advantage when cutting your baby’s fingernails. (Don’t worry, when they hit the stage where this is necessary, you will know.)
- Don’t wake your sleeping baby unless you absolutely have too. Feeding schedules, shmeeding schedules. Let the baby sleep. (You’re welcome.)
- When your baby is a newborn, take extra care to burp him after a feed. (I like the firm, upward rub up the back. I’m also a fan of the firm thump.) It’s worth the extra few minutes to avoid gassy baby melt-downs.
- If your baby is having a melt-down, drop everything and walk outside. It really does work every time so don’t waste your time trying to find something else more “convenient.”
….to be continued in part 2.
100 THINGS ABOUT PREGNANCY FOR FIRST-TIME MOM. Pt. 1