During my pregnancy I spent countless hours reading about my pregnancy, finding the best baby products and all things baby. I basically spent every free second reading about this little human growing inside of me. Cookie was my first and I wanted to give her the best start in life.
Now looking back I feel like I wasted time on things that weren’t as important and didn’t do other things that I now consider very important. I also got a lot of advice from people, some I asked for and some unwanted. Even though I thought I had researched all I needed to know, the reality is that I didn’t. There were many things I learned and discovered once my baby was born that I wish someone would have told me during my pregnancy.
Now I want to share with you some of these things and while this list doesn’t have all those things you should know, there are things most people don’t tell you.
Here’s what I wish someone would have told me before my baby was born:
The first 2 months of you baby’s life all you will be able to do is hold your baby
The first 2 months of my baby’s life I spent it holding my baby because I was nursing for what seemed like 24/7 and because she hated sleeping in her crib. I wish someone would have told me many newborns want to be constantly held so I could have done everything I had to do before having my baby. I was so naive and thought I would get stuff done while my baby napped but she hated sleeping on her crib, so I couldn’t get anything done. I’m not saying your baby will be like mine but just in case make sure you’re free those first 2 months.
Then get some good books to read because you might end up holding your baby while she sleep and nurses and you’ll want to do something. It’s a great time to read about parenting!
I know every baby is different but many of my friends went through this. It was hard to get anything done when baby just wants to be held. Having support is so important during those first 2 months. My husband had to become my cook and personal assistant. I was taking care of the baby and he was taking care of me.
If anybody asks you during pregnant if you’d like help once baby comes, say yes and ask for meals. Cooking is so hard with a newborn and if your husband is working, like mine was, it gets even harder. Any meal your friends or family can drop off will be amazing. Also, stock up on your favorite snacks because you will need them, especially if you’re nursing because you will get hungry quite often.
Don’t buy a crib
I’ve had 2 babies by now and none of them liked the crib. We’ve actually never been able to use it and really regret this purchase. Right before I had my first we bought her a very expensive crib, a pack and play and one of those co-sleepers that you can put on the bed. She hated all 3 and so did my second child.
Even if you need a crib, you won’t need it those first few months so save your money now and decide after your baby is born if you need the crib. My advice is to get an Arms Reach co-sleeper or a bassinet and if your baby likes it, you can go ahead and order a crib when they outgrow the co-sleeper. If they don’t like it, learn about safe co-sleeping practices. Co-sleeping works great for many families because everyone gets to sleep and it’s easy to nurse your baby.
When my babies were tiny I was really scared about something going wrong so having them close to me was really helpful because I can monitor their every move. The slightest sound or move they made would wake me up and I could make sure they were okay.
Don’t waste your time reading about pregnancy
When you’re first pregnant you want to know all about it but honestly there is not much you can do about pregnancy – the baby develops on its own pace and most of it it’s out of your control.
Just eat healthy, make sure you’re familiar with the foods and things that you should avoid during pregnancy. Then get an app that reminds you what week you’re on and gives you a summary of what to expect and what’s happening.
Use your free time to read about parenting. There are so many good books out there and the best way to become the parent you dreamt of being is by informing yourself. There are also many different ways to parent and you might not know about them if you don’t read. So, read, read, read but about parenting! My favorite parenting philosophies are natural parenting, holistic parenting, gentle or positive parenting and attachment parenting, in case you’re wondering on where to start.
Don’t buy all your baby gear new
Don’t buy the big baby items, like a swings, rockers, activity mats, etc, new. Our swing was great and loved but honestly, your baby won’t be in it all day and some babies don’t even like it. It’s better to buy used gear that you can sell for cheap once you’re done using it.
If you buy used and your baby doesn’t like it, you won’t be out of too much money, which is always great.
Don’t buy a stroller if your baby can’t face you
When I was pregnant with my first I bought a BOB stroller. My goal was to jog after my baby came but soon after my baby was born I realized two things: you can jog with a baby until they have proper head and spine control (the manual said around 10 month) and my daughter hated facing out. As soon as I put her on the stroller she would freak out and cry because she couldn’t see me.
There are a few stroller that can face in and out – those are worth every penny. Plus most of them are made for 2 kids so you will use that stroller for a long time. The most popular strollers for 2 kids sitting and one standing are Britax B-Ready, Baby Jogger City Select and Uppababy Vista.
We ended up buying the Uppababy Vista when my oldest was 2 years old and I was expecting our second child. My only regret is not getting it sooner. It is such an amazing stroller and I eventually plan to write a review about it but the reason why I picked it is that it’s a very smooth ride – I can easily steer with one hand, it has a huge basket that can hold a lot of weight, it’s really sturdy and just feels better than other strollers I tried. Plus I can push 3 kids in it without breaking a sweat!
Buy about twenty 0-3 & 3-6 months outfits
Buy this and no more, especially if you live in a place with seasons. You probably think you want to stock up on baby clothes but you really don’t. Babies grow at different paces, my girls were using 18 month clothes by the time they were 6 months. I had so many pieces of clothing I didn’t use because they grew so fast and then the ones that would fit them would the wrong season since I wasn’t expecting such fast growth.
Other babies will grow slower and some will use the baby size that corresponds to their age but you won’t know how your baby is going to grow until he’s born. Get the basics and order the rest online once you figure out how fast or slow your baby is going to grow.
A baby carrier is a must
I am glad someone told me about Ergobaby carriers when I was expecting my first child. I put it in my registry and a friend got it for me. When I had my baby I soon learned that all she wanted was to be in my arms all day long. The only way I got things done was by babywearing.
Both of my kids practically lived in a baby carrier, they took naps in it when we were out, they nursed in it and it helped me keep others from holding my baby. This is a great investment and one that you will use for a long time – I still occasionally wear my 4 year old and I wear my 19 month old on a daily basis.
Now that I’ve learned more about carriers, I recommend you get a ring sling for when the babies are little and a soft structure carrier for when they have better head control and the toddler years. My favorite ring slings are from Vienna Springs and my favorite soft structure carrier are Tula Baby Carrier and Kinderpack.
Before deciding what’s best for you, it’s better to stop by a babywearing meeting and try different carriers to see what fits your body best – check on this link if they have meetings in your area. If you can’t make it to a meeting, get familiar with babywearing basics.
If you’re going to nurse, join a local support group or a Facebook group
You will have questions and lots of them. You will wonder why is your baby nursing so much, you will wonder if you’re making enough milk and you will have all sorts of questions you didn’t even think you would. Moms that have been there will give you great advice and that’s why having a support group is so important.
One thing to always remember when you start doubting if you’re making enough milk is to check your baby’s diapers, if there is pee, there’s enough milk. You can also take your baby to a breastfeeding meeting where they can weight them before and after they nurse so you can check how many ounces your baby is drinking.
Click here to check if there are La Leche League meetings in your area and look on Facebook for breastfeeding support groups or join our parenting and green living group where you can ask any parenting questions.
Buy a Nosefrida – the snot sucker
Yes, it’s what you’re thinking – a device that sucks snots out of your baby’s nose. You basically put one end on your baby’s nose and suck. Don’t freak out – you won’t get a snot in your mouth because there’s a filter that prevents this from happening.
Other nasal aspirators can irritate your baby’s nose and are not good at getting the boogies out. Nosefrida or something similar to that is the way to go. Believe me, you will be happy to have this at home when your baby is congested.
Don’t get any vaccines during pregnancy – they have not been tested on pregnant women
My doctors never recommended I get vaccines during pregnancy but I’ve heard from other moms that they have been told to get vaccines. Before you get any vaccine, find out if it has been tested on pregnant women and read the package insert.
Pregnancy is a delicate time and you’re developing a human being. The reason why so many things are not recommended during pregnancy it’s because we don’t know how this can affect baby. To my knowledge there hasn’t been a vaccine tested on pregnant women so why take the risk? If you want to vaccinate, the time to do it is before or after pregnancy, and not during.
Keep in mind I am not a health care provider, so please talk about this to your doctor or ob-gyn and come up with a plan that’s best for you. It is ok to ask questions, to ask for tests and to read the side effects any medication (including vaccines) may have. You are your baby’s advocate and this is why having a doctor you trust is so important.
Be mentally prepared to not shower every day
A 5 minutes shower sounds like such an easy thing, but when you have a small baby it can be almost impossible to take a shower if you’re home alone. I didn’t showered every day because my baby only wanted to be with me and I didn’t want to let her cry.
Plan to shower when someone else is at home with you and if you don’t manage to get a shower that day, don’t stress too much. You will eventually shower on a daily basis again. Promise.
Your baby doesn’t need a lot of things
Those first few months all babies want is love, comfort and to be held. Babies could care less about everything else, they don’t even notice the toys around them until close to 3 months. Save your money and buy stuff once your baby is older and interested in things.
Most of us end up buying a lot of thing we didn’t use because we thought we had to have them. If you wait until your baby comes, you will be smarter about spending your money because you will know what your baby likes, dislikes and needs.
Amazon will become your best friend
Seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered stuff for my kids on Amazon. Their one day shipping is so useful when you realize you’re suddenly out of diapers or when you want to get a new toy for your kid. Let’s face it, why go out shopping when you can just have it delivered at home?
Amazon has a program called Amazon Mom that you’ll want to sign up to because you can get diapers and wipes at 20% off and you get a bunch of discounts on other baby items. Amazon Mom is free for prime members. If you don’t have a prime account you can Try Amazon Prime Free 30-Day Trial but if you decide to keep it you will have to become a prime member. It might seem like I work for amazon (lol!) but I don’t. 🙂
Listen to your mama instincts
This is my biggest piece of advice for you! No one knows your baby better than you. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to your instincts, research, ask questions, demand answers.
Don’t do things you don’t want to do. If you don’t want someone told hold your baby, it’s ok to say no. If you don’t agree on the parenting advice someone is giving you, you don’t have to follow it. If letting your baby cry-it-out sounds horrible to you, don’t do it. Every baby is different and there is no one advice fits all so do what feels right to you and what’s best for your family.
Do not ignore your mama instincts, they are there to guide you and be the best parent you can be for your little one. Trust them, even if this is your first baby. Trust yourself.
Having a baby is such an amazing thing – it is a life changing moment and one that will enrich your life in ways you never thought were possible. Your heart is going to grow and you’ll learn what it feels to love someone more than anything else in life. Cherish every moment you get with that little person and do your best to enjoy every little moment.
Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember, you got this mama!
So, there you have it, my list of 14 things I wish someone would have told me before I had my baby. Do you have anything to add to this list? I’d love to know. Leave a comment.