I recently had a friend break the news that she is preggers! It’s always so exciting to see other people go through this for the first time. I remember the excitement and the nerves, the elation and the shock. When said friend told us she was pregnant, Brian proceeded to have several crowns with her husband, tell the couple that everyone is going to give them advice, and subsequently give them tons of advice.
The experience got me to thinking: I should write a blog post on my advice to new moms. Now that I’ve had a few friends go through being pregnant and having a baby, I have a few opinions of my own and it’d be great to have a place I could send them to as a resource instead of spilling 10 million recommendations onto them in one sitting, a la BT after several crowns…love you babe:)
I preface this advice with this: We decided to have a very unpopular birth plan and I completely understand it is not right for everyone or even most people, so my advice is not that everyone should do it the way we did.
- Knowledge is power, but you can’t take everything literally and you have to incorporate your intuition: I’ve heard of people reading millions of books (a few of which I’ll recommend below), and then raise their children according to exactly what the books say. Please do consume information, but please don’t hold yourself to a standard of doing something exactly as a book says all the time – it’s exhausting.
- When you first get pregnant (or beforehand if you’re the planning type), please get on a fabulous pre-natal vitamin. It needs to have 1000mg of folic acid and that’s hard to find in over the counter versions. This is vital for baby’s brain development.
- Try as hard as you can while you’re pregnant with your first to relax, take it all in, eat healthy food and stay active. It will not be as easy to do this the second time around, so savor it.
- Watch the documentary “The Business of Being Born“. I never thought I’d admire Ricki Lake so much – did I just say that out loud?
- If you have access to a HypnoBirthing class in your area, take it. This class was the best money we ever spent, I swear on it. We learned why hospitals operate the way they do and how to work with them and communicate effectively to accomplish your desired birth. HypnoBirthing taught Brian how to be the most amazing birthing partner and taught me what to expect during labor and delivery and how focus my mind and energy on productively working through the beautiful experience. I really can’t rave enough about it. Here’s the place to go in the greater Seattle area: http://www.seattlehypnobirthing.com
- Buy yourself this pillow for sleeping: Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow
- Register for Amazon Mom: it is so convenient, especially when your baby is just born and you don’t want to leave the house.
- You must register for or buy this product. It’s my Go-To gift for new parents and it comes in SO handy every single day! Leachco Podster Sling-Style Infant Seat Lounger, Sage Pin Dot
- Acupuncture and Massage: Honestly, if you can treat yourself to these things, please do…and don’t take it for granted. Again, savor every second. A month before I had Ellie I had insane heartburn. I went to acupuncture and had three pins put in my right ear and then a tiny gold ball was stuck to my ear. I don’t know why, but I didn’t have a lick of heartburn for the rest of my pregnancy.
- Books to Read:
- Sleep Training – this one is short, sweet, relatively easy to follow and doesn’t involve crying it out: The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Twelve Hours aNight
- Vaccines – obviously a big topic as of late. Especially if you have a tinge of nerd in you, this book will be very stimulating: The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Sears Parenting Library)
- How to Raise Baby – this is our favorite because at the end of the day, what matters most is that your baby is happy, smart and moral: Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
- Things to NOT do:
- Watch a bunch of movies with crazy screaming women in labor – I strongly believe what you fill your mind with affects you in real life. That is simply not how it really is.
- Listen to terrible birthing stories from everyone you know. Find people who had amazing experiences and find out what they did and why they loved it. Fill your mind with good and good will come. It’s just like visualization for an athlete.
- Get anxious as you approach your due date. Just relax, baby will come soon and then time will fly by like it never has before.
- Spend a shit-ton of money on things that don’t matter. I can’t say I always obey this rule, but I think I do pretty well. It’s the 80/20 rule, right? Twenty percent of the time I might invest a little more than the best “value” option, but most of the time I try to be realistic. Honestly, I can’t understand why anyone needs a $1000 stroller – really people?!?!? I think the BOB is just great myself.
At the end of the day, once your baby is born, it’s important to pick a few things that are the most important to you and try to do them as best you can. I recommend staying away from perfecting everything. Don’t tell your kid not to do every little fun, dirty, crazy thing they try because we all have to learn from experience. Additionally if you tell them not to do everything it seems like that ultimately causes them to do everything. Life is all about balance. Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously – that was difficult for me in the beginning. After all, what could be more serious than shaping and forming a human being? Ironically, us being happy and healthy as individuals, parents and partners is just as important to shaping and forming a human being as all the other stuff, so prioritize that as much as possible. Have fun on the ride – it definitely is fun, exhilarating, emotional, and scary – and we wouldn’t change it for the world!