As always, these are her personal opinions and we’d love to hear your thoughts on them…
10 things I wish I’d been told while I was pregnant.
1. Drink (a lot) more water.
It lessens at least three common complaints: oedema (aka water retention aka painful, swollen ankles/feet/hands/fingers/face), constipation (yes it will happen to you), and evil migraines that come from nowhere.
2. Spend money on maternity clothes.
People may tell you to wear one size up and bodge the rest together with those big elastic belly bands but you will be much more comfortable (and feel like yourself) with a small capsule wardrobe of good quality, fashionable gear.*
They’ll make life a lot more convenient if you want to nurse when you are out and about, and your boobs will swell to ginormous proportions that require specialist bra support.
3. Buy the majority of your baby hardware secondhand.
Buggies, cots, prams, carriers, swings etc are monstrously expensive and frankly you’ll have no idea what will work for your baby and you. Source gear from community parent websites and the local paper (being able to see the person selling will be more reassuring than random eBay purchases). Manufacturers, such as Bugabo, sell new covers and most are washable anyway if you are worried about hygiene.
4. …then use the money you save to keep your hair looking nice.
Your nails, skin and hair look fabulous in the second and third trimesters so use it to your advantage. As your hormones, digestive system and other bodily functions go haywire, the fact your hair looks good will keep you going.
4. Feed, feed, burp, and then feed again.
The feed-every-hour schedule of a newborn only lasts about four to six weeks (which will feel an interminable amount of time when you’re in it but is over very quickly, I promise). Young babies needs are very basic and imposing a schedule at this tender age will stress you both out more than is necessary.
5. Don’t feel bad about formula.
The breastfeeding mafia may strongly oppose early formula use but I have always given my breastfed baby (now two months old) at least one bottle a day, to give myself (and nipples) a break. You have to give your body and soul over to a newborn baby and the persistent physical neediness of the little things can be exhausting. Plus, they’ll have to take a bottle sooner or later, so save yourself some hassle and get them used to the concept.
6. Pass on aesthetically-pleasing baby equipment.
Your young baby has trashy taste. Swings that move wildly and play tinny music will double the nap time of anything more gentle. Activity mats and toys that have bells and whistles (literally) and bright colours will keep your little lunatic busier than anything that coordinates with your home decor.
7. Cut out cows’ milk.
If your child is gassy or fussy and you are breastfeeding, eat your cereal or porridge with coconut milk (not the stuff you cook with but the type you find in the dairy aisle) or almond milk instead. It is just as tasty, if not more, and often contains more calcium and iron than regular milk and may reduce the gas in your baby.
8. Understand sleep begets sleep.
Unlike older children who may need to be kept awake during the day in order for them to sleep at night, a young baby will sleep better if she or he is well rested. In the fussy afternoon hours, take your baby out for a walk to calm her down before bedtime. (Don’t believe me? Note how your baby will need another nap about an hour after she wakes up from a full night’s sleep.)
9. Read the baby books while you are pregnant.
You won’t have time to read the newborn/young baby books once he or she is born.
10. Savour every minute of those early stages.
You might be hallucinating from lack of sleep but a newborn is rare, precious thing and you’ll be packing away those newborn onesies to make way for bigger clothes sooner than you know it.
Do you agree with these tips? Let us know what you think on Twitter or Facebook.
*Hannah’s favourite purchase from Babes with Babies for her pregnancy was the Stella maternity and breastfeeding dress.