It is with much happiness that I congratulate my cousins Drew and Anna on their recent news that they are expecting a baby! I’m so happy for you both and excited that Parker will have a new friend in the family around the same age.
So, as my first cousin once removed (yes, I had to look this term up, who knew?) is baking until approximately September 18th, I thought I would offer some helpful tips. Isn’t that what family is for anyway?
1. Consignment sales rock. Most of the finds are gently used, and you can get some great bargains. All 4 Kids is the best one in Atlanta. They’re offered twice a year in Spring and Fall. The only downside is that they are addicting! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
2. Hotlanta and pregnancy ain’t fun. September babies are great, but being pregnant in the summer can be a doozie. If you drink lots of water and walk every day, you have a better chance of not swelling up like a good year blimp. I was able to wear my wedding ring until the end, and my ankles didn’t turn into cankles, and I attribute it to this. I’m sure you being the track star that you are, you won’t have to worry about this a bit!
3. Enjoy your pregnancy! I know everyone tells you this, but its so true. In the first month when all you want is sleep and through the last month when you’re back hurts, it’s easy to say “enough already!”, but its nice to enjoy the special time when you have the baby all to yourself and no one else.
4. Read all the books you can on a baby’s first year, developmental milestones, and any sleep training books before your baby comes. I read all about my pregnancy and delivery, which was good, but once the baby came, I felt clueless when challenges came up. I enjoyed reading the week by week pregnancy book, and some on the delivery, but if I were to do it over again, I would have read more about what to expect the first year. When you’re taking care of a baby it’s hard to find the time to research things or to read books when something goes haywire.
5. Enjoy your newborn. Don’t get caught up on whether your baby is sleeping through the night, or if they’re abiding by a “schedule”. I think that was one of my biggest mistakes as a first time Mom. I blame my type A personality and the worry of “oh, what will they think of me as a Mom if he’s not sleeping through the night by X months?”. They’ll let you know when they’re ready to go on a predictable schedule. Some can as early as 3 months, and others somewhere between 4-6 months. Every baby is different, and just when you think you have them figured out, they change.
6. Northside Hospital offers some great classes for soon to be parents. Dan and I took the Baby Basics, Infant CPR, Carseat safty (which sounds pretty unnecessary, but we learned so much!), Breastfeeding for Couples (if you plan to nurse your little one, this one was really good and its great to have the support of your husband too) and Childbirth preparation classes. What they won’t tell you online is that if you register for them over the phone they can give you a discount for purchasing them all together.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When it comes to painting the nursery, moving or putting together furniture, its harder when Mama is preggers and soon to be Daddy can’t do it alone. Also, those first six weeks with a newborn are rough, I’m not going to lie. It makes such a difference to have someone help you with the house, hold the baby so you can SLEEP, take the dog for a walk, cook you dinner, etc. Take advantage!
8. When you’re ready to be away from the little one, make sure to take advantage of date nights. They become far and few between once the little one is in the picture.
9. If you plan to nurse your little one, and its not going “as planned” consider meeting with a lactation consultant. Mine was invaluable to me and I probably would’ve thrown in the towel a long time ago if it wasn’t for her. Also, there’s a Mom and Me connection group for first time nursing Mom’s that is great and its sponsored by Northside Hospital.
10. Take a trip. Even if its a little weekend away for the both of you, its totally worth it. Its so nice to have a little mini babymoon before the baby comes.
We’re all so excited for you both!! If any of you veteran Moms (or Dads for that matter) out there have any more advice you’d like to share, leave in the comments.