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Baby Planning

January 20, 2013

Its been so long since I’ve last blogged, I’ve almost forgotten about it.  Can’t say that I haven’t been busy – I recently had a baby and that has kept me on my feet.  He’s now 5.5 mos and now that I’ve gotten into the rhythm of things, I can get back to blogging!

I have to blog about pregnancy and postpartum first while it’s still so fresh in my mind.  And I might as well dive right into it and get to the points.  This is dedicated to all the moms out there – especially the single moms who have little or no help – because I now know how much work this can be.

I received so much advice when I was pregnant, but nobody ever stressed to me about some of the biggest challenges I was going to face (neither did websites or prenatal books I read).  And that’s why I want this to be out there for people to know.  Don’t get me wrong, having a child is the most amazing part of my life.  My son is the love of my life.  But some of the challenges were overwhelming at times.

I’m telling you, most first time parents have this idealistic or romantic view of having a baby and I find that reality hits them hard during the first months.  And nobody will understand until they have gone through it.  It is a much much bigger challenge (no, the double much is not a typo!) than you think.  That is the realization of new parenthood.  You’ll know then that the pregnancy was a walk in the park compared to taking care of a newborn.

So much advice, so little time – here are some (of so many) tips that maybe helpful.

  • Planning for Pregnancy – Before you plan to become pregnant you need to sit down and have a serious discussion with your partner about your commitment and expectations when baby is born.  It will be all about baby for at least the first few years.   This means your freedom to do what you choose will be limited, whether it is about going out or sleeping in or even talking on the phone.  There may be a chance that your baby will cry a lot, or won’t sleep and that can take a toll if it happens on a daily basis.  This is combined with the fact that you may lack sleep.  Like I said earlier, you won’t know the extent of the challenge until you’re in it.  But once you’re in it, you need to be committed – because this baby will be 100% dependent on you.  Your partner and you most certainly have to be on the same page and you both must stay solid as a team – otherwise it will put much strain on your relationship and on the baby.
  • During Pregnancy/Prenatal –I absolutely loved being pregnant but it may not be the same for everyone.  So my first advice to you is enjoy as much of the pregnancy as you can and be calm and present – it’s so good for you and baby.  Also, listen to your body.  If you’re having crazy cravings, it may be a sign of lack of a nutrient so try to do some investigation.  For example, craving for ice cream may be a lack of calcium, craving starchy food maybe a sign of not enough protein.  Also, if you’re tired, slow down, and take naps.
  • If you have a normal pregnancy, consider using a midwife (and/or doula).  I had both an ObGyn (in first half of pregnancy) and a midwife (last half of pregnancy) and there are so many reasons why I preferred a midwife.  My midwife spent a lot more time with me to help me make more informed decisions and she took more time on my checkups.  She even stayed with me throughout my entire labour which helped so much – for a first time pregnancy that’s so valuable.  I’d also look into a lactation consultant for when you have your baby.  Breastfeeding is an amazing and important experience, but it has its challenges.  It is probably one of the most challenging things you’ll go through in your first few months and a lactation consultant can make it a lot easier.
  • Baby WhispererOnce you’re closer to your last month or two of pregnancy, don’t focus too much on prenatal books (if you don’t have a high-risk pregnancy) and websites (maybe just read points on websites about what to expect in the last trimester).  What I would do instead is start reading up on postpartum period (after baby is born).  The first few months will be a huge learning curve so it’s important to be a few steps ahead.  If I had known better, I would have focused on literature about breastfeeding and sleeping (for baby).  I’ll probably blog separately about these topics as I think they’re that important.  The book that saved me was Secrets of The Baby Whisper by Tracy Hogg.  I highly recommend it.  Once you read it, you’ll be able to get more valuable tips on her tribute website http://www.babywhispererforums.com/
  • Consider using cloth diapers.  Your newborn is going to need to be changed 5 – 8 times per day.  In one month, that would be anywhere from 150 – 240 changes!  Using cloth diapers would minimize the amount of garbage (and chemicals) that goes into our already cluttered landfill and the amount of chemical on your baby’s skin.  Plus you’ll save tons of money.  There are so many different brands of cloth diapers so it maybe a bit confusing.  I would ask other people which diapers they liked or see if your city has a cloth diaper class (yes, they exist) – they’re super informative.
  • To prepare for delivery – all literature advises that you pack a hospital bag for yourself.  But it’s just as vitally important to pack one for your partner or whoever’s staying the night with you.
  • A day after my labour, I felt like I was hit by a train.  My body was so sore and I was incredibly sore “down there”.  Arnica was super helpful for my overall aches – it reduces pain & inflammation and is known to be very safe for you and baby.  Also, a good diet really sped up my recovery so it’s very important to eat healthy.
  • Consider encapsulating your placenta.  There’s a TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine) method of making them into capsules
    My jar of placent pills.  The sachet has my dried umbilical cord in the shape of a heart as a momento.

    My jar of placenta pills. The sachet has my dried umbilical cord in the shape of a heart as a momento.

    and is good for postpartum issues.  I swear by it.  It helps with moods, hormones, and lactation.  I also attribute a lot of my weight loss to it – I went back to my original pant size at 2 months and was even thinner after that.  It sounds a bit gross to eat placenta but people have been eating their own placenta for thousands of years.  Plus, when they are in capsules they don’t taste like anything.  Many doulas/midwives also specialize in this.

  • Once baby is born, take things slow.  Don’t have too many people come visit at once.  I didn’t even tell people I was in labour in case they wanted to come visit.  You need that time to focus on yourself and baby.
  • Try and find someone that can help you at least 2 days a week – if not helping with the baby, then cleaning/cooking etc.  It’ll make a world of difference – especially the first month as the baby needs to be fed every 1.5 to 2 hours and that will occupy the bulk of your time.
  • Ensure that your partner understands postpartum depression.  It is so very common but hard to detect yourself.  I had it for a week and I had absolutely no idea I was going through it until I got more rest.  Make sure your partner encourages you to nap or rest when they notice that your mood has changed.  There’s a difference between postpartum blues (which is more common) and depression.  If your partner notices that you are extremely depressed and it may affect your or baby’s welfare, make sure they know to take you to the doctor.
  • That’s all for now.  Oh yes, remember, your baby is only just a baby – this means adjusting and adapting to their new world takes a lot of time.  Be patient with them.  They will cry, because they went from 9 months of effortless comfort to discomfort of living in an entirely new environment – learning to breath, eat, poop/pee and sleep independently are amongst the many things that they have to adapt to and I can only imagine what a challenge this is.  Stay calm, strong, determined; and embrace and love this miracle of life that you brought into this world.
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One Comment
  1. AC, this is a great post! I think you should write more 🙂 You have a great voice and some out-of-the-box knowledge and ideas. Enjoy these baby years!

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