50 Thing To Know Before Having a Baby

50 Things to Know Before Having a BabyHere is a list of things of things that people have told me or I would have liked to have known before I had my little bundle of joy.  I hope they help you too! I am just a first time Mom, not a doctor, so not all my information may be accurate.  I am writing these tips as a new Mom with a two month old.   I have been very lucky to learn many of these tips from friends and family. Growing up I was not around children often. This is advice that I would give any friend or relative that will soon be a proud Mom.  This information may be different for everyone but I hope my experiences will help in one of the best events of a person’s life.  I hope you read this information and collect other information to make your own decisions.   If you are currently experiencing physical pain during your pregnancy remember the time will end.  You are slowly creating life!    By the way, if you are trying to conceive  you can buy test strips on amazon here.  They are much cheaper than at the store.  They sell ovulation test strips too. 

Update:  Read our second childs birth story

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Doctor Advice

You will be visiting the doctor more often as the time comes

1. Write Down Questions
During the week you may have many questions, but when you get to the doctor you may forget them in your 10-minute appointment. I had so many questions thought the week, but when I went to my appointment I would forget or be too afraid to ask most of them.  Ask your doctor about parenting classes.  We found a free class at a local hospital.  The best part of the class was seeing a new infant being washed for the first time.  This class helped with some of our fears. If you don't have time to fit a parenting class in your schedule, that Happiest Baby on the Block DVD may be something that you can watch when you have time.  If you don't like taking prenatal pills because of their size, you can take a spoonful of liquid prenatal plus instead.  Heading Home with Your Newborn is advice from actual doctors that is a good source if you forgot to ask some important questions.  Do You Have Any Questions?: A Woman Doctor Answers the 100 Most Asked Questions About Pregnancy  Here are some Anti-Nausea Tips if you are not feeling well while you are pregnant. 
Learn

The more you know before the baby arrives the easier it will be

2. What Comes Out the Morning After Giving Birth
 It may feel like a heavy period after you give birth.  They provided me with heavy pads, ice packs, and a spray for the brush burns that I had down there.  Just be aware that may different things can occur.  A C-section may have different effects on your body.  You may get a heavy first period around 6 weeks after birth. This may be different for every person. Keep those extra giant maternity pads that they give you when you have your baby because you may need them in the future.

3. Wedding Ring
Your wedding ring may become may be too tight to wear like mine.   To make myself feel better to wear another ring on my ring finger while my hands were swollen.  They may not fit for a couple months after either. Here are some more Taboo Secrets of Pregnancy: A Guide to Life with a Belly.   

4. Laugh at Yourself
LOL!  Laugh when your jeans will not button.  Laugh when your belly button goes away or turns black and blue.  Laugh at yourself when you can't believe how well a maternity shirt fits you.  Your body will change.  Some things will go back to how they were before and some won't.  How lucky you are to have the body of someone who gave birth.  Many Women would love to have that ability.  By the way, those pregnancy feet may grow a little in size. 

5. Perineal Massage
Learn how to prepare the perineum for delivery.  “If you're moving into your last trimester of pregnancy, chances are you've heard something about perineal massage—the practice of gently stretching the skin between the vagina and the anus in order to "condition" the tissues for birth. The theory is that having a more stretchable perineum lessens your chances of tearing during delivery, and that it may even help you avoid an episiotomy” (BabyZone.com).   This may help reduce tearing or the need for an episiotomy. Here is a book on Massage for Pregnancy.  An another book to Get Through Childbirth In One Piece!: How to Prevent Episiotomies and Tearing.  


6. The First Two Weeks Home
The first two weeks were hard for me and my partner.  My body was making big changes in a small amount of time.  Someone told me the first two weeks are the hardest but after that you will be fine.  I agree with that statement.  So just be mentally prepared because as hard as you try before pregnancy your body won't be in the best physical shape right after having a baby.  You need to take care of yourself.  Along with taking your medicine, you need to take care of yourself.  Try  to change comfortable pajamas every day.  Also, try to shower every day. A shower will give you time to relax.  Once you will take a shower you realize how much it was really needed.  I also put a little makeup on each day to make myself feel better.  Remember to brush your teeth too! Here is a guide to 50 Things to Know in the First Year of Parenthood.  It would not hurt to read this now while you have time.   

7. GET HELP!!!

Just because someone comes over to watch the beautiful one for a while does not mean you failed!  It takes a whole village to raise a child is not just a saying.  Everyone benefits from you getting help including your baby, your helpers, and you!  Get Dad involved early by having him read some funny books on the subject.  Dads guide to pregnancy for dummiesDude!  You are Going to Be a Dad,  or The New Dad's Survival Guide is a good start.  These Pregnancy Bible Verses may be a help too. 


To Do

Try to do these before the last month of pregnancy.  I really slowed down then.  You want to concentrate on resting and being healthy the last month.

8. Read Up on Breastfeeding
I tried breast feeding and even with lots of help it did not work for me.  I feel if I would have read some books about people who tried to breast feed for the first time I may have done better. Breastfeeding made simple was recommended during my pregnancy from a friend. You may want to know how to make more milk, the natural laws of nursing mothers, or how to problem solve when things don't go as planned.  I tried to breastfeed and it only lasted about a week.  I used a breast pump for two more before changing to a bottle.  The more information you have now the better.  

Also, children in certain areas need vitamin D when breastfeeding because they do not get it though the mothers milk.  I had trouble giving my daughter 1 ml of liquid every day.  There was a sticky mess everywhere.  Also, I did not like giving her the sugar that I knew was in there.  They have Vitamin D drops that is an add on item from Amazon.  They only need one drop a day so the bottle is only $7.99 for a 365 day supply.  This is less mess for the person giving the drops and less sugar for the baby. 

9. Go on a Baby Moon
Enjoy your partner outside your house. I went to Vegas for a friend’s wedding.  Even complete one more of those bucket list items:  I went to Vegas and had a Frozen Hot Chocolate from Serendipity.  Can't get to serendipity yourself?  Buy yourself the gift set.  

10. Read or Watch The Happiest baby on the Block
Either we lucked out, or we had some great tips from this book.  My husband and I were never really around babies and the tips we got in this book really seem to work when our child cries.  I think this is one of the key reasons we have done so well to this point. We use the Sleep Sack to swaddle.  They now also have woobies to swaddle without arms.     If you don’t like to read, you can find links on watch the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD with your partner.  Then send the link to your husband. 

11. Make a Get Out of The House Plan 
You need to get out of the house!!  Yes, maybe a week or two is ok after you little one is born to get some sleep and learn your babies habits.  But the sooner you get out the better.  If you think about places that are safe to start before you give birth this may help.  Grocery shopping, coffee shop, woman’s group, a friend’s house, or possibly church.  I started out by going to a friend’s house.  Then church. View pregnancy discussion boards for help.  You are not the only woman going through this!  Start being part of pregnancy boards. I frequented TheBump.com.    Ask questions and get answers.  Many questions or feelings that you have already asked by other people.  Or just Google your question to get the answer.  Remember to find reliable sources! My friend from college became friends with a couple girls that were pregnant the same month she was.  They now go to each others birthday parties.  Here are 10 Things to Know Before Traveling with a Baby.  If you really want to get out, here are some tips for flying with a baby.  

12. Take Belly Pictures / Set up Baby Pictures 
Remember your pregnancy by taking belly pictures each week  or month.  What a life changing event to remember!  Then put all the pictures together into one image to view the great changes your body has made.  If you want to get those o-so-cute baby  pintrest, they should be done in the first 2 weeks of the baby’s life.  This means you might want to decide and kind-of schedule an appointment before the birth.  You can create a board on  pintrest.com to show the photographer what type of pictures you would like. 

13. Choose a Baby Formula or Not?
Decide what baby formula you are going to use before your big day.  I didn't think of this, and they gave my little one Gerber at the hospital.  Now that all the coupons are gone, I wish I went with a cheaper brand.  Even if you are going to try breastfeeding, they may give your baby formula at night.  Decide now so when they ask you after the craziness is over you have an answer.

14. De-Tag, Wash, and Sort Baby Clothes or Not? 
De-tag, wash, and sort all baby clothes by size.  Put clothes in bins marked 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and 12 month plastic containers. Or you may want to wait because you don't know what size your baby will be each season.  Here is a Baby Cloths Chart if you have trouble understanding sizes.  Some things that we just loved are: Sophie the Giraffe - I know she was expensive, but this was the teether that our little girl used the most.  I think she like it because it was similar to a human hand.  Soft with different parts to chew on. Banana Tooth Brush- She loves chewing on this one too.  I hope this will help her in the steps to loving her brush her teeth.  Halo Sleep Sack - This is what our daughter slept in since night one!  We got 2 from the baby shower, then the hospital gave us one as we were leaving for a present.  Great gift!  Sleep Sheep - This sheep was given to us to our friends who were just first time parents themselves.  Before every nap and every night we turn on this sheep.  We prefer the wave and rain sound.  I switch it up to the whale sound too.  Our daughter is getting big enough that we turns the sheep on herself sometimes too! and a Infant Car Seat - After you get the hang of it, car seats are not that bad.  They let you have your freedom as a new Mom! 

15. Walk, Walk, Walk
Try to walk as much as you can.  Then waddle to the end!  I even walked in the grocery store and couponed when it got cold.  They also have pregnancy workout DVD's for each month, and the 5 months afterwords.  

16. Start Journal 
Find a Journal and start writing.  I started journaling in high school.  Thanks Oprah. 

17. Birth Announcements 
Choose a birth announcement from a website that you are going to select.  I selected shutterfly.com to create ours. Create a spreadsheet with the names and addresses of intended baby shower/birth announcement/thank you note recipients.  Print out Avery Easy Peel White Address Labels- two times, one for birth announcements, and another for thank you notes. We used the same addresses from our wedding.  We like to use these for Christmas cards too.  Another option would be to have everyone write their address on an envelope during the baby shower.  Here is a She is About to Pop Baby Shower theme and our 5 favorite baby shower gifts.  

18. Who Will Be in the Delivery Room
Decide who you want to be on your team on the big day.  The only person you can 100% count on being there is you!  But planning for others and telling others no in advance should set you up for success.  Are you interested in a Husband Coached Birth? Is Hypno Birthing something you are interested in?  Would you like to ready about Faith-Based Births? The last book I will recommend is Your Best Birth which talks about many of your options.  
19. Buy Thicker Toilet Paper
By the end of your pregnancy when you cannot see all of your lady parts.You can start couponing now for items you know you will need. 

20. Buy a Larger Bra 
You will need to deal with your milk coming in.  You will need some support here.  Also a tip, if you are going to try breastfeeding then decide it is not right for you, it may take a month or two to quit.  This was painful to me when I just wanted to relax and enjoy my new one. 

21. Create a Google Calendar for Baby
I don't like clutter, so keeping  online calender for your child is a great way for keep track all the events of her life.  This is also a great place for medical information.  For example if the doctor asks when you changed over to solid food, you can find it on your child's online calendar on your cell phone during the visit. You can also purchase a baby calendar or put one on your baby registry. 
 
22. Home Renovations
Try to do these in the now while the nesting phase occurs.  Trying to do them while a little one is crawling or walking around will be even harder.  You can also go though your kitchen cabinets to make room for baby.  Here is a food storage container organizer that may be helpful in your home.  

23. Baby Sitter Sheet
After a couple weeks you may want to leave your awesome addition to your family at home for a couple hours while you get out of the house, but may not have time to leave that information for someone.  Creating a sheet with important information before you have your baby will make this process smoother.  You can always add more information to the sheet after the birth.  Add this document to the home binder. You can purchase baby sitter sheets to keep instructions on where you will be, where to reach you, and special instructions for each child.  

24.  Get Excited!  Get excited to know that you are the luckiest person in the world to get to see your baby grown and learn each day right in front of your eyes!  The most beautiful thing in the world is going to be in your arms soon!  If you would like you can listen to the heart beat with a prenatal heart listener.   Want to stay comfortable?  I bought this pillow to make the transition to sleeping only on my side easier when I became pregnant. It is a wonderful pillow.   

25. Cervix Checks 
Before you have your baby they will start to check your cervix.  Web MD explains this as "Effacement and dilatation need to occur for a baby to be born through the birth canal. Effacement means that the cervix stretches and gets thinner. Dilatation means that the cervix opens."  If you did not start to change, this could be very painful, so just be aware.  You do not have to get them if you would not want because this information may not help anyway.  Research cervix checks for more on this. What to Expect When You are Expecting may be a good resource for more information on this topic. 

  26. Diapering with Amazon Mom
Look into buying diapers from Amazon.  Even with coupons and sales, I could not find deals like these.  These deals were 20% off with Amazon Mom, and shipped to my door for free.  One less thing to worry about if you are not going to cloth diaper.  There is even online coupons occasionally.  
Stations
Creating these stations will help you stay organized
27. Set up Stations 
At the Changing Station you will need diapers, wipes, a changing pad, a changing pad cover and a trash can.  I recommend putting the trash can on the right if you are a righty.    This will make changing a diaper simpler. You could even have two of changing stations.  For example up and down stairs.  Keep clothes nearby in case a wardrobe change needs to happen.  Adding a mobile hanging from the ceiling  will provide entertainment to you and your baby. With a mobile the baby may stay still while you change them.  At the Bottle Station you will need bottles, nipples, formula, bibs, and a bottle washing system.  The items will need to be washed many times throughout the week.   I put these items in a basket on my kitchen counter near the sink.

At the Mommy Medicine Station you will need a piece of paper to keep what medicine to take and when.  See Mom Medicine Schedule for a paper schedule that I created.  Make a little chart where you can check off what you took each day.  I had to take pain medicine, iron, and a stool softener every day, twice a day, for the first month.  Since I was low on sleep when I came home and had to keep the baby changing schedule in my head, marking down when I took my medicine was very helpful.

28. Baby Feeding/Changing Schedule 

Make sure you have a place to write when you fed and changed the baby.  See Baby Feeding/Diaper Schedule for a template to keep you and your helpers on track.  This worked great for us the first month, but was not needed after that.  You can buy a Itzbeen Baby Care Timer from amazon that can keep track of the diaper changes, sleep time, and bottles for you.

28. Read Up on Breastfeeding

I tried breast feeding and even with lots of help it did not work for me.  I feel if I would have read some books about people who tried to breast feed for the first time I may have done better.  There are many woman’s groups you can join in advance for help.

29. Go on a Baby Moon

Enjoy your partner outside your house. I went to Vegas for a friend’s wedding.  Even complete one more of those bucket list items.  I got to have a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity.   

30. Read or Watch The Happiest Baby on The Block

Either we lucked out, or we had some great tips from this book.  My husband and I were never really around babies and the tips we got in this book really seem to work when our child cries.  I think this is one of the key reasons. We use the sleep sack to swaddle.   If you don’t like to read, you can find a DVD on the techniques.   

31. Make a Get Out of The House Plan

You need to get out of the house!!  Yes, maybe a week or two is ok after you little one is born to get some sleep and learn your babies habits.  But the sooner you get out the better.  If you think about places that are safe to start before you give birth this may help: Grocery shopping, coffee shop, woman’s group, a friend’s house, or possibly church.  I started out by going to a friend’s house.  Then church and went from there. 

32. View Pregnancy Boards

You are not the only woman who has ever been pregnant!  Start being part of pregnancy community by joining a pregnancy chat boards. I frequented TheBump.com.    Ask questions and get answers.  Many questions or feelings that you may have were probably already asked by other women. 

33. Take Belly Pictures

Remember your pregnancy by taking pregnancy pictures each week or month.  What a life changing event to remember!  Then put all the pictures together into one image to view the great changes your body has made. 

34. Choose a Baby Formula

Decide what baby formula you are going to use before your big day.  I didn't think of this, and they gave my little one Gerber.  Now that all the coupons are gone, I wish I went with a cheaper brand.  Even if you are going to try breastfeeding, they may give your baby formula at night.  Decide now so when they ask you after the craziness is over you have an answer.

35. Make a Meal Plan

Decide what you will be eating for a week or month out. The earlier you start doing this the better.  When people ask if they can help before you have your child, tell them that they could make a dinner to bring over in the future. Try to add as many fruits and vegetables as possible to these meals.  They will hydrate you.  You may also want to snack less. 

36. De-Tag, Wash, and Sort Baby Clothes

De-tag, wash, and sort all baby clothes by size.  Put clothes in bins marked 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and 12 month plastic containers. 

37. Walk, Walk, Walk

Try to walk as much as you can.  Then waddle to the end!  I even walked in the grocery store and couponed when it got cold.

38. Start Journal

Find a journal and start writing.

39. Buy Thicker Toilet Paper

By the end of your pregnancy when you cannot see all of your lady parts, you may need it.

40. Buy a Larger Bra

You will need to deal with your milk coming in.  You may need some support here.  Also a tip, if you are going to try breastfeeding then decide it is not right for you, it may take a month or two to quit.  This was painful to me when I just wanted to relax and enjoy my new one. 

41. Birth Plan

A birth plan is a guide for what you would like to happen on the big day.  But since God laughs at the plans we make do some research now before you are in the situation at the hospital and need to make a quick educated decision.  Research C-Sections, epidurals, and an episiotomy, just in case. 

42. Create a Google Calendar for the Baby

I don't like clutter, so keeping online calendar for your child is a great way for keep track all the events of her life.  This is also a great place for medical information.  For example if the doctor asks when you changed over to solid food, you can find it on your child's online calendar on your cell phone during the visit. 

43. Home Renovations

Try to do home renovations before you have a child roaming your house.  Trying to do them while a little one is crawling or walking around may be even harder. 

44. Take Advice or Leave It

You are not the first pregnant person in the world.  Many people may offer advice.  You decide what you will try and what you don't want to worry about.  Some may be old wife's tales.  As a new Mother, you should follow your instinct.    10 Things to Know Before Traveling with a Baby includes baby travel advice that you can take or leave. 

45. Choose a Pediatrician

Before leaving the hospital the nurses will want to know the name of your pediatrician or office you would like to take your child.  This is also a good idea because she may need a checkup early. 

46. Choose a New Birth Control Method

The morning after I giving birth the doctor had a half hour chat very early in the morning with me about deciding when to have the next little one.  This is a great idea since getting pregnant in the next couple months seemed like an out-of-this-world idea to me.  Do your research before getting to this moment.  Remember if you are going to try breastfeeding you can't take the normal pill and breastfeeding is not a true birth control in itself. 

47. Create a Home Binder

Create a home binder that is a binder with folders to organize important information.  Label folders that may include baby documents, tax, retirement, and insurance information. 

48. Print Baby Sitter Sheets

After a couple weeks you may want to leave your awesome addition to your family at home for a couple hours while you get out of the house, but may not have time to leave that information for someone.  Creating a sheet with important information before you have your baby may make this process smoother.  You can always add more information to the sheet after the birth.  Add this document to your home binder.  See Baby Sitter Sheet. 

49. Collect All Retirement Information

Get all your retirement information in one place.  This may come in handy if you are going to be a stay-at-home Mom.  Try to add money to the fund even if you are not working. 

50.  Get Excited!

Get excited to know that you are the luckiest person in the world to get to see your baby grown and learn each day right in front of your eyes!  Laugh when your jeans don't button.  Dancing in the shower always made me feel better while pregnant and after giving birth.  Laugh when your belly button goes away and turns black and blue.  Laugh at yourself when you can't believe how well a maternity shirt fits you. The most beautiful thing in the world is going to be in your arms soon! 



 The Insanity Workout is how I lost the baby weight and got back to my high school weight.  These workouts are great to keep you motivated to exercise while taking care of a baby.  I could just pause the DVD when I wanted to feed/change/play with the baby.  I also planned and portioned food ahead of time with these organized storage containers.  A great option if you are pregnant are these monthly workout DVDs.  Each month has a different workout. 

Charlie the Cavalier Travels the World

downloadJoin Charlie the Cavalier on his travels around the world. While away he will video chat, send post cards, call on the phone, and text the people he misses at home. He even brings home his best friend Lilly a present. A great way to show kids how you will stay connected while you are away from home. Kids will also learn different landmarks around the world.


Charlie the Cavalier Begs for Attention

unnamedIn this infectious rhyming read-aloud, Charlie the Cavalier travels with the little girls Mom to the airport and beyond when the little girl has to stay home. The little girl is confident that when her Mom travels with Charlie that he will protect, entertain, and get her Mom back home safely. Children will relate to the little girls need for comfort when a family member is away, as much as parents will appreciate Charlie the Cavaliers reassuring message.


Charlie the Cavalier Goes to the Amusement Park

Charlie the Cavalier Goes to the Amusement Park Join Lilly and her best friend Charlie on their next adventure to the amusement park. They enjoy the amusement park and your children can learn how act around others while they are there. In each picture is a hidden heart to find too!



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