Saturday, November 9, 2013

For my Pregnant Friends

A while back (a long while back since Micah was only 6 months when I first wrote this), my pregnant girlfriend, Alexis, sent me an email asking the following questions. I feel like she was already way more informed than I had been since she already knew the kinds of questions that would actually be helpful. I sent her the following answers which of course were our own experiences for Micah and would be different for each child, but I figure since I currently have a few more pregnant friends, I'd share in case it might help some of you.  Even though I haven't gotten to meet Alexis' little girl yet, I know that she and her hubby are amazing parents and I hope that something I said here helped, even if just a tiny bit. My friend, Krista, was an invaluable resource for me while pregnant since her son is just nine months older than Micah and since I spent almost each weekend grilling her with similar questions! So, thank you Krista; thank you Alexis; and thank you to all of the other friends and cousins, family members, and even other bloggers who guided me through pregnancy and all of the early baby phases. 

My friend Jen and I on Labor Day weekend 2012 with no actual labor day in sight! 

1. How many onesies do I really need for each sizing stage? Probably like 10. I would say you need more when they are way little (0-3) since they blow out of diapers or spit up a lot more. Also, you really don't need any "newborn" size. 0-3 will work.

2. How many swaddle blankets and sleep sacks do I really need? We never really figured out the sleep sack thing. I thought we had way too many blankets, but we didn't have enough swaddlers. I didn't like the swaddle blankets that you have to do yourself. We really liked the ones with velcro or even The Miracle Blanket (I think...something like that). Micah liked being swaddled in the first month maybe, but then fought it pretty good so we stopped swaddling. We tried again at 3 or 4 months and he liked it again, but then we only really did it for another month or so since he started moving so much in his sleep.
sloppy swaddle job!

3. Your go to place to purchase diapers? (online or in-store retailer)? We do cloth diapers, so we got our first set from a fancy little kids store in Seattle area called Bootyland, but now we just get them from Amazon. I don't think you're going cloth, but it is super easy (we got a diaper sprayer and just carry a wet bag with us in the diaper bag and have a reusable liner for the diaper pail.). We use the Thirsties diaper covers and Hemp and Bamboo prefolds. We have used disposables for vacations and when we don't do our laundry fast enough and it seems like you definitely get what you pay for with diapers. We seem to like the Pampers Swaddlers brand (especially since they have the little line on the front that tells you if it's wet or not).

Cloth diapers

4. Fav brand of baby bottles? Dr. Browns. I haven't tried more than one kind, but it seemed like the best from the research I did and seems to work for Micah.

Using Dr. Browns bottles

5. Fav pacifier brand/ style? Micah hates them. He would just spit them out. Now he likes some of them, but just as teethers. I bought like 5 different brands to try, but he just take to it for comfort. 

6. Was there any one or two items that you could not live without or was your BEST purchase? We splurged and bought the MamaRoo, but I would think a baby bouncer would work just fine. It wasn't the baby whisperer that I thought it would be, but Micah didn't ever get lulled to sleep by motion like most babies do. I would recommend making sure you are buying enough items for YOU! I was definitely not prepared for breast feeding. I had the Hooter Hider cover and the My Breast Friend (which is a good one and a pillow of some kind is a must) and I even had soothies and pads to slip in my bra, but I still didn't feel like I was prepared. I would splurge on yourself for two or three nursing bras or two or three nursing camisoles. Really think about your wardrobe too. You will likely be sick of your maternity clothes even if you liked them. I didn't believe people when they said this since I really liked a bunch of the outfits I wore and since I made a lot of my pre-pregnancy outfits work during pregnancy, but I really didn't want to wear them much after Micah was born. Just think about having easy access to those boobies since they will likely get used a lot! Here is a good blog to give tons of good ideas: 
The Mamaroo; not the baby whisperer as expected

7. Was there any item that you could have done without/ you bought and never used? I tried to organize the babies clothes into containers for each size, but I definitely didn't get to some outfits because I either put them in the wrong tub or just had too many outfits at one size. Also, we bought the attachment to our stroller to be able to use the car seat and then only used it a couple times since Micah really hated his infant car seat. 

Micah hated his infant carseat, so the attachment for the stroller was a waste. We just "baby wore" him instead.

8. What were your bath time essentials for 0-6mo. before there was 'bath time'? We just used a small plastic tub and then I really liked having the little foam insert to also use. I barely use the shampoo and baby soap and even now at six months we don't really play with bath toys yet. You really won't need much for a bath for a while. Just a towel, washcloth, and that foam thing.

simple bath tub/swimming pool/sensory tub

9. Best infant Over The Counter medicines to have on hand? I have been lucky and haven't had to use much. I have used gripe water once or twice for upset tummy and hiccups. We use the little nasal aspirator that our hospital sent home with us (they sent us home with 5 or 6 of them!).  The most necessary item that I would make sure to get a good one of is the baby nail clippers. We have to clip Micah's fingernails one to two times a week!

10. Was there any item you wish you had know to buy before baby arrived? So, I was trying to get by without a pump until my insurance would pay for most of one which was just a few weeks after Micah was born, but then day three happened when my milk came in (the first days is colostrum) and I made Phil run out to get a handheld pump. Bottom line...make sure you have a pump even if it is the most basic kind! I had heard that it is painful when your milk comes in, but I was in no way prepared for it to be that bad. It is so worth it and now I love love love breastfeeding Micah, but holy crap....I'm not going to sugar coat it for prepared for it to hurt right up there with contractions bad. The good news is that it really only lasts about a day (the bad news is that when you are on the schedule of a three day old baby, every minute feels like an hour and every hour feels like a day! Ok, that's exaggerating, but you get it!)

My Breast Friend breastfeeding pillow

11. Did you use a different laundry detergent for baby's clothes/ blankets/towels/ etc.? At first we used a special baby detergent from Babies R Us for the baby clothes, but I've read that you really should use gentle stuff on every load you run so that leftovers from an old detergent don't get on babies clothes. So, now we just use Seventh Generation brand on everything which seems to work nice. At one point I used a free sample of Rockin Green detergent, but I didn't realize it was a kind for Hard Water and we don't have hard water here and it really affected Micah's poor little tushie! So just figure out if you have hard or soft water and then be careful if you use sample detergents. :-)

12. Most helpful prenatal class you took? We took a six week prenatal class that was mostly about what to expect for labor with one class about breastfeeding and one about caring for baby. It was ok....but I think I learned the most from my friends and family with new babies who let me ask questions all the time and didn't hide or sugar coat anything. What was more important was finding a support class after baby was born. I drove way way out of the way because my friend had gone to a Mommy and me group that was free and super helpful. If you can't find any free ones, it is seriously worth it to pay. I never thought I would be one to want a "class" or want to meet others like me, but especially in the first weeks and months it is so nice to hear what is developmentally normal for your baby and what other moms and couples are going through. 

Micah and friends at our first Evergreen Hospital Parent Baby Group

13. Do you remember what mattress brand you decided to go with? No clue, sorry! Micah barely sleeps in his crib still! Ha. That was a surprise too. I thought he would at least sleep in the bassinet, but he has pretty much been in our bed with us each night of the six months. You'll hear from lots of's not unusual. Even if the baby normally sleeps in a crib or basinet, at some point most babies will sleep in the parents bed too.

14. Favorite item in baby's nursery? (decorative or utilitarian): I was all excited for that little sleep sheep (heck, I used to buy it for all my pregnant friends when they had their babies), but the sound machine in it automatically turns off after an hour or so. We use a sleep machine app on the iPhone that is awesome and has three different settings and will go all night and is loud. I think the best things we've bought so far for Micah are his activity mat (it's amazing that he keeps discovering new things on it and he has been on it daily for six months!) and the jumperoo. I think we didn't get the jumperoo until he was about four months, but he loves it! He was also super fascinated by the black and white animal cards (He still likes them at 13 months, but now he plays with them instead of just looking at them on the wall).

Fascinated by black and white cards

In the Jumperoo

15. Hospital bag... did you overpack, underpack, wish you had packed? I think in ways I overpacked and in ways I underpacked. I think Phil played some calming music on his Iphone when I was in labor which did help a little bit. We brought some snacks and I think I ate a granola bar or something before the contractions got too bad, but I'm sure Phil ate whatever else we brought. I packed myself socks and a change of clothes and we brought our camera of course, but I didn't pack enough for Phil. I think I packed him a new tshirt, but forgot undies and shorts or something like that. ha! Basically, just don't forget to pack for your hubby because even if he can go back to your house to get more stuff, he may not want to leave and if you end up having a C Section like me, then you might be in the hospital for two or three days. Someone told me to bring the breast feeding pillow, but I thought that was a bit silly. In retrospect, I think I should have because then the nurses and the lactation consultant could have showed me how best to use it to help me figure out breastfeeding. 

16. The one or two things no one ever told you related to labor/delivery (there is no TMI on this one):  Pretty much if you have an opportunity to be in a bath tub while in it! It really helped. Also, be prepared that a c section is possible. I always thought, "oh, that won't be me" and it may not be you, but it could be and just know that if it is you, the emotional healing can be harder than the physical healing. It's still kind of hard to realize that I wasn't even conscious for the first half hour or hour of Micah's life! Boo!  Oh...if it's a boy, then do some research on the circumcision. I guess sometimes the OB's do it and sometimes the pediatricians do it and it sounds like some doctors do it right away and others do it almost a week later or so. Our pediatrician did not like the way that my OB did it. Micah's poor little wiener got super inflamed. The whole thing was sooo horrible! We felt so bad. Luckily it healed nicely, but it was pretty scary!

The only other advice I can give is this:
 #1: go with your gut and your instincts
#2: do not use cabbage to help with engorgement (it stinks way worse than any amount of pain relief you could get)
#3: breastfeeding takes a while to get used to, but it can be a really super special time to bond with your little one
#4: try to find some kind of mommy support group as soon as possible (and I would say do one with a trained professional leader)
 #5: take tons of pictures and share them with us!

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