My favorite unexpected pregnancy and postpartum resources
By the time I was pregnant, I'd been supporting pregnant moms for nearly a decade and researching the topic for almost 15 years. But, of course, being in the process opened my eyes to new and unexpected experiences and resources. Here are just a few of my favorites.
Expectful App - There are many pregnancy apps, most of which are very mainstream and I don't totally agree with, this one blew my mind. The 21 day free trial was sent to me by a friend. The app includes an entire hypnobirthing course (worth the cost alone), daily meditations, breastfeeding resources and advice, sleep expectations for baby, workout and yoga videos, fertility and postpartum support. I have been telling everyone about it!
Lactation support and nursing gear - Get this stuff in order BEFORE baby comes. I promise you won't regret it. Most breastfeeding moms will tell you that nursing is one of the hardest parts of postpartum. Chances are, you haven't been exposed to that many moms while they are breastfeeding. It's not intuitive. And because baby needs to feed at least every two hours at first, you don't have a ton of time to try to troubleshoot as you go. So I highly recommend seeking out help before you are in a pinch. And the same goes for nursing gear! Having nursing pads and clothes that make it easier to nurse in help SO MUCH. I was scrambling for nursing bras, tanks and shirts to wear in public for the first week few weeks after baby came. Clothes that are easier to nurse in make such a huge difference in going out and nursing in public (which can already be awkward even when you aren't fumbling with your clothes).
Boot cleats - About 1 in 4 women will fall during pregnancy. This is due to many reasons including the added weight and change in center of gravity. I took two BIG wipe outs on the ice when walking King last winter and I really didn't want that to happen again this winter, especially while being pregnant and having a sore pelvis already. A patient told me that CAA sold ice cleats so I purchased a pair early in winter. THEY ARE FANTASTIC. I am so glad I used them. I looked a but like a fool when I was indoors and they clicked on the floor (and were pretty miserable to walk in on tiled floors), but I felt confident walking outside in them. I also wore them once baby came and it was still icy outside. I really didn't want to fall with a baby strapped to me. Well worth the $30 I spent on them.
Baby carrier - Newborns want to be held. Like, all of the time. Which is great for about a week. But once I started getting antsy, my life was a lot easier if I could strap the babe to me, than scrambling to do as much as I could in the *maybe* 10 minutes of calm I got when I put her in her bassinet (on the very odd occasion I would get 30 minutes, but it was always a gamble). The two carriers I use and love are the Baby K'tan (although I purchased 3 of them before I got the right size) and the ErgoBaby Embrace. I bought them all used and in good condition. It can take a bit of work (and help) to figure out how to use them and online videos only help so much. It's worth reaching out to a seasoned baby wearer or a baby wearing group to troubleshoot or learn how to use your carrier. Holding the babe without a carrier for too long results in mid back pain for both me and my partner. The carrier makes such a huge difference! And it allowed me to go on walks without needing the stroller, which I wouldn't be able to navigate on the icy and snowy sidewalks.
Perinatal groups - Being a new parent makes you question everything you do. And social media probably will make you feel like everything you do is wrong and that your child has some kind of problem that needs to be fixed RIGHT NOW. It makes is really hard to trust your intuition as a parent. Society today is greatly missing communities. And raising children truly does take a village. Join a pre or postnatal group. There are a lot out there once you start looking. You will quickly learn that whatever your child is doing is probably normal. And that other parents are having as hard or a harder time than you. You are not alone nor should you be. And just because your baby has hiccups, does not mean they have silent reflux even though you read that in Instagram. Not that I ever thought that or anything...
Elimination Communication - Seeing my baby pee and poop on the toilet at 4 weeks old was one of the most incredible experiences. I have never wanted to take a picture of poop so badly. I had only come across this in passing, but something pulled me to it. When my babe was 4 weeks old, I was also very aware of how many diapers we were going through (TOO MANY!). And when I learned that disposable diapers only became a thing in the 60s and that babies in other countries and in history did it different, I was intrigued. I love all things evolution, of course, and this made so much more sense to me! I am constantly telling people about it. It's such a fun process. And it's not all or nothing. You can basically do it at your convenience and it doesn't take much effort. I binged the podcast which breaks it all down. I also purchased the book (not that you would have to) and a tiny toilet. I'm really looking forward to buying the tiny undies once she is more consistent!