Being pregnant with your first child is an exciting, terrifying, overwhelming, and inspiring experience. You start with this little fertilized egg inside you and then over time it turns into a little being with fingers, toes, and a beating heart! Seeing that first ultra-sound and your baby on the big screen is definitely an emotional moment! You start feeling kicks and seeing the movement of your baby, just by looking at your belly – which is such an amazing experience. You and your spouse learn a lot over nine months, and your body goes through so many changes, both externally and internally.
Also, once you start telling people you’re expecting, there is no shortage of advice people are willing to give 🙂 There are also a ton of online resources out there to help you on your journey. You can pretty much search any question on the web and find an answer. The trick is to find an answer from a credible source:) There are also so many videos and reviews on the web about a plethora of baby products! There is almost too much information and it can seem very daunting.
During my pregnancy, I was also an entrepreneur, so needless to say, I had to prioritize and take a very practical approach to the whole process. I did a lot of research, but the most valuable information I received was from my friends that are moms or from their friends that are moms. Depending on your stage in life, you may have several friends that are now moms, which is great, but if not, sometimes you just need to read a lot. I’m very lucky that all the women I talked with were so open to sharing their pregnancy experience with me and so helpful with sharing lists, excel spreadsheets and emails of valuable information! Moms are truly incredible!
This was such an educational experience and I still plan to learn a lot more as a parent, but I wanted to share the key learnings I gained over the past nine months with you to help you as an expectant mom. It’s an exciting journey and every pregnant woman’s experience is unique, but hopefully the things I found very useful can help you as well!
BABY GEAR MUST-HAVES
There are so many possible things to think about equipping your house and life with before the baby comes, but here is my must-have list:
- Car seat / Stroller: The Mesa car seat and UppaBaby Cruz Stroller are compact and have great storage.
- Breast pump: The Medela Freestyle Pump is a must have for working women. It allows you to be mobile. Also, the Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra is also good for hands-free pumping
- Portable crib: We used the Fisher-Price Newborn Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper (no longer available) and it was a MUST-HAVE for us. You will be carrying your baby A LOT, and this gives you a place to put your baby when you need to go to the bathroom, shower, or just take a break. Find one that is right for you, but remember, you shouldn’t ever leave your baby in it unattended or let him/her sleep without you watching.
- Swaddler blankets: Our favorites are the Aden+Anais Muslin Swaddle Wraps.
- Baby Carrier – find one with good back support: The best one I think is the Ergo Organic Baby Carrier with the infant insert. He fell asleep really well in this.
- Running stroller: we were recommended the BOB Revolution Stroller SE.
- Nursing pillow: The My Brest Friend Pillow is very handy and allows you to walk around.
BOOKS & DVDS
- Baby Sleep Solution – this book is a MUST-HAVE if you want to sleep train your baby. It worked wonders! Best if you follow it closely.
- Baby Bargains – good overview of products that’s also objective
- Happiest Baby on the Block DVD – learn the 5S’es to calm a crying baby
- Hypnobirthing – helps you to relax and has a CD called Rainbow Relaxation
- Expectant Father – good to give father something to read ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
- Birth Book – good overview of birthing process.
MOBILE APPS TO DOWNLOAD
- BabyCenter – gives you a weekly update on your baby and a checklist of things to do
- Contractions – this has simple UI and was recommended to me by another mom.
- Afolio – I used Afolio to document my growing belly bump by taking a photo every month. It was neat to see it grow! I’ve now used it regularly to share photos of my little one with family and friends.
- FanTalk – If you love sports and connecting with other fans, it’s a great way to stay connected with other fans (I’ll admit a plug for my company:)
- Drink LOTS and LOTS of water – it’s important to stay hydrated and water can be a universal remedy to make you feel better.
- Morning sickness – I found that eating saltine crackers sometimes helped me when I felt nauseous
- Eat when you’re hungry
- Stay away from un-pasteurized cheese and cold deli meats because of Listeria
- Don’t eat fish high in mercury like swordfish, mackerel
- Don’t drink alcohol – I didn’t drink much before so this wasn’t a tough one for me:)
- Avoid raw fish like sashimi
- Prenatal vitamins – I took New Chapter Perfect Prenatal multvitamin and MorDHA
- Pack snacks with you during the day so you have something healthy when you’re hungry.
BODY & FITNESS
- Prenatal yoga – definitely do it. It’s good for breathing and building strength. It’s also a good community to meet other moms in San Francisco. I recommend: Jane Austin @ Yoga Tree or Kari Marble @ Mindful Body
- Swimming – it feels amazing & it’s good exercise AND it helps get your baby in the right position.
- Running – if you did it before, keep doing it up until you can’t anymore. I ran until 1.5 months before my due date.
- Walking – this just feels good and is good for you
- Go to sleep early when you can, especially in your last trimester
- Prenatal massages can also be wonderful. Kari Marble has amazing hands and works with a lot with expectant mothers.
- Reduce stress in your life as much as possible. If you run a startup you just have to deal with it 🙂
- Hypnobirthing can help you relax your mind.
- Journal – write journal entries on what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling. You’ll love to look back on those later on.
- Letters to your baby – write letters to your little baby to share your state of mind and things you want him/her to know.
- Photojournaling – take photos of you and your belly growing every week. It’s amazing to see how it grows after 9 months! Afolio is great for this.
- Doula – if you want a natural birth this is a good option. Doulas are like birth coaches and will teach you and your partner about the birth process and will be with you in the delivery room. They can also provide consistency of care since nurses may change during shifts. If you want a good one, book early so can get in their schedule. I’d recommend Liz Palmer. She’s very calming and very knowledgeable.
- Hypnobirthing (see below in Books & DVDs) – great for relaxation.
- Pelvic tilts – good exercise to get that area strong.
- Birth plan – do one. It’s helpful so you can give it to the staff at the hospital. If you have a doula she can help with this.
- Acupuncture – very good 4 weeks before due date; helps prepare your body for birth and relaxes you
- Join a mothers group – if you’re in SF, Golden Gate Mothers Group is good for support.
- Cord Blood – something to look into and see if it’s right for you and your partner. One popular one is CBR. Some people find it’s a good insurance policy. If you register before 32nd week, you get a discount.
- Prenatal, newborn care. A popular one in San Francisco is the McMoyler Method. It’s a two day evening class. It’s a good eye-opener and taught some good basics. The class workbook was thorough. Book early since class fills up fast, maybe 1.5-2 months in advance.
- Prenatal partners yoga. You can sign up at Yoga Tree or Mindful Body in SF. Taking it with your partner is helpful to know how to massage you during birth to be more comfortable.
- Breastfeeding. Definitely an important one. This is probably one of the most challenging things of motherhood. Golden Gate OB offers a breastfeeding class with a lactation consultant and is pretty good.
- Go out as much as you can together and let him know how you’re feeling and how he can help you.
- Talk with your baby together.
- Go to the movie theater. Our favorite was Sundance Kabuki Theater.
- Meet up with friends
- Find someone that’s good and close to you so when your baby is sick it’s fast to get to. You can DM me @sherae to ask for specific recommendation.
- Crib – find one that is made of hardwood since it lasts longer
- Dresser – find something that matches the crib
- Rocker – I was lucky that my mom kept the rocking chair from when she had me and refinished it for me to have. Nice family heirloom. Although a great one I ended up also getting is this Room and Board Colton Swivel Glider Chair. It’s amazingly comfortable and the right size. It’s a little pricey, but I think worth it.
- One of the best stores in the Bay Area to see all these products in person and especially to get furniture is Buy Buy Baby. It’s amazing and the store clerks are very friendly and knowledgeable.
That’s about it before the birth day, and I’ll have another post about what to do just before the birth day and for the big day!