This post basically contains everything I would tell myself if I could go back in time to when I was pregnant. With all things baby and parenting we all choose to do things differently due to the way we were brought up, our values and what we prioritise. With this in mind you may not agree with all my tips which is absolutely fine. However I hope some may be useful for soon-to-be mums and you can learn from both my regrets and my wins.
Read a little about what to expect with a newborn
When I was pregnant I decided I was just going to just stick with reading and researching all about pregnancy and giving birth. I thought that was a lot in itself to take in and learn about in 9 months so I would just focus on that and not get too overwhelmed. I thought I would read all about babies once my baby was born. The problem with this is you have no time or energy for this! All my time in the first few months was literally spent nursing my baby (you can’t read a book while nursing, trust me I tried) and trying to sleep.
The books I liked and found useful (and wished I had read before having my baby) were:
- The Wonder Weeks. This book has a chapter on each of the 10 developmental leaps your baby will go through. I really liked all the ideas for activities and toys which are suitable for your baby after they have gone through each developmental leap. Also it’s super comforting to know if your baby starts sleeping terribly or acting super cranky you’re not doing anything wrong, it’s just normal leap behaviour.
- What to Expect The First Year. If you only buy one book buy this. It’s a great overview book for how to look after a baby.
- Save Our Sleep. I didn’t follow Tizzie’s routines precisely, I modified her routines to suit my baby and me. For example my baby for a while was always waking up at 6:30, not 7 like the routine in the book. Rather than going crazy trying everything to get my baby to sleep an extra half hour I just accepted it and adjusted her bedtime to 6:30 so she was still getting 12 hours sleep. I literally knew nothing about babies and their sleep requirements so this book was great to refer to to get a rough idea of babies sleep and wake time requirements at certain ages. I got other great ideas from this book like to introduce a comforter. This is a blanket/toy thing that you give your baby to sleep with instead of a dummy so they always have something constant and familiar to sleep with whether they are sleeping in the pram, their cot, on a plane or at their grandparents house in a portacot.
- The Save Our Sleep Safe Bedding Guide (free to download, just click the link). This gave me an idea of how to dress my baby for sleep and how much bedding to put on her depending on the room temperature. I have a Oricom baby monitor which provides the room temperature which I find super useful.
- The Happy Sleeper. This book was pretty similar to Save Our Sleep but had some information which Save Our Sleep was missing like night weaning.
I found the cheapest place to purchase these books was The Book Depository or a second-hand book shop. It’s true what people say, there is no manual that comes with a baby to tell you how to look after it. I found you have to try lots of different ideas and techniques until you find what works for your baby. To be honest I found not knowing how best to look after my baby frustrating and overwhelming at times. My advice for you (and for myself when I have another baby) is to accept that’s just how it is. You won’t know what you are doing to start with but you’re doing your best and that’s all that matters. Always follow your mother’s gut instinct, it’s true that it’s highly accurate. You are the expert on your baby. You know your baby better than anyone else. Experts advice can be very helpful but remember they haven’t spent nearly as much time with your baby as you have.
Download these apps for your phone
- The Wonder Weeks. If you don’t buy the book at least get this app (it’s free!) When your baby is going through a developmental leap they will be more clingy, cranky, nurse more and their sleep will be negatively affected. It’s amazing how accurate it is.
- Baby sparks. This app gives you ideas of things to do with your baby to help their development.
- Baby Centre. This app has lots of articles for each week of your baby’s development with information about things they may be going through.
Purchase some nursery rhymes for your iPod to play in the car
I bought ‘Play School: 50 Best Songs’ and it is a lifesaver. Whenever my baby gets cranky, yells or cries on car trips I play this music and she is instantly quiet as she listens intently to the music.
Most pregnant woman are obsessed with shopping for baby clothes in anticipation of the arrival of their special little person (me included). I would recommend if you see some really cute baby clothes you love, buy them in size 00. Babies are in size 0000 and 000 for such a short period that they don’t get much use out of them. Also in my experience life is a lot easier if you just dress your baby in a onesie or bodysuit instead of complicated two piece outfits when they are so little. Especially if they are born in winter you want to make getting dressed as simple and quick as possible so you don’t have to listen to your poor little one crying for any longer than necessary.
Baby shoes are useless
I have five pairs of baby shoes and they have never been used. I have tried to put them on my baby just for the cuteness factor (they have no practical use at this stage), however as soon as I lie her on the floor or put her in the car seat they come off. Very unpractical that’s for sure. Just stick with barefoot in warm weather and socks in cool weather.
Get organised by pre-purchasing your post-natal supplements
I took arnica to help with the pain and swelling from giving birth, a breastfeeding support tablet to help with my milk supply (it contains Fenugreek and Blessed thistle) and switched from Elevit Pregnancy to Elevit Breastfeeding (once the previous one was finished, no need to switch immediately).
Have a cup of fennel tea daily (once baby is born)
I found this really helped with my milk supply and it’s supposed to help with digestion which was good for my bloating and also good for helping my baby with her terrible wind and silent reflux (she got a bit of the tea via breast milk).
I absolutely love this class and so does my baby. It is so much fun and gives me playtime ideas and music that I can use during the week at home.
Don’t forget a mirror for your baby car seat
I wasn’t sure if this would be useful or was just a gimmicky thing. Right from the very first car trip (6 hours after giving birth when I was driving home from the birth centre!) I regretted not having bought a mirror. The very next day we bought one, it’s super useful to see what they’re up to.
Kmart nursing bras
These are great! I regret spending $50 on a maternity bra from Bras N Things when the $10 ones from Kmart are just as good. Plus you don’t have to worry about wasting your money if your size keeps changing throughout your pregnancy and when your milk comes in. The main reason I went to Bras n Things was because I wanted to get properly fitted as I had no idea what size I was now that I had changed so much. I now know you can just use an online sizing chart which will give you the exact same result as having an ‘expert’ fit you.
Sign up to the Fisher-Price newsletter list
Not only do you get emails containing ideas of age-appropriate toys, just before your child’s first birthday you will get a 25% off discount voucher with free shipping. I bought Summer an awesome farm play set and it only cost me $30! The shipping was $60 until I put in the free shipping promotional code! Such a bargain!
Fan heater for change table
If your baby is born in winter then I highly recommend a little heater to sit on your change table. A lot of babies cry when you undress them for a bath or just to change their outfit (because it’s cold – fair enough!) Summer never did if we had the heater blasting which made change time a lot more enjoyable.
Mobiles are awesome
I was unsure if I should put any mobiles in my baby’s room because I had heard conflicting information e.g they can make the room too stimulating for your baby when they are trying to switch off and go to sleep. In our experience mobiles are a fantastic simple way to entertain and distract your baby without any negatives. We have one above her change mat and one above her cot.
I hope these tips are helpful.