Things to Prepare for During Pregnancy

Finding out you’re expecting is so exciting, but other than that little plus sign on a stick it’s not always immediately noticeable that you’re pregnant. You might not be climbing into the maternity jeans just yet, but when you first find out you’re pregnant there are some things you should prepare for so you’re ready when they come.

Maternity leave

If you work, find out your company’s policy on maternity leave. Plan ahead of time so you can make arrangements if you plan to go back to work, completing projects, adjusting deadlines, or arranging replacements for your absence. Remember that these dates should be flexible – babies tend to operate on their own schedule, but as long as you are in communication with your HR department so they’re in the loop you should be good to go.

Maternity clothing

I was both eager and nervous when it came to wearing maternity clothing. Shopping was the fun part, but finding things that fit well and were comfortable was a whole other ball game. Buying a full wardrobe before you’re really big may mean you have another big shopping trip when you ARE big and shopping is the last thing you want to do. You can probably wear your regular clothes for a while at first, and when they start feeling tight you can buy a few universal pieces that will stretch no matter how big you go. Once you are bigger you’ll know for sure whether you like pants that cover your whole belly, sit under your belly, or don’t want pants at all. Flowy dresses were where it was at for me.

Travel adjustments

Once you are past a certain point, many doctors recommend against traveling while pregnant. If you have plans to travel or something comes up, you may need to make adjustments to your plans. Buying travel insurance or rescheduling a trip early on to avoid fees is a good idea for trips you can’t cancel completely.

Staying hydrated

As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, start prioritizing your water intake. Your body produces and circulates a higher blood volume to deliver nutrients to the baby and aid in development, as well as keep your own body functioning through the changes, and drinking water is essential to keep all of your body’s fluids replenished.

Breastfeeding

I didn’t realize that my boobs would start leaking and changing during pregnancy, MONTHS before my baby was born. It’s never too early in your pregnancy to start reading up on these expected changes and buying some staple items. You should probably wait to buy a bra until you know for sure what size you’ll need, but you can stock up on Lanolin and nursing pads.

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Life With My Rainbow Baby

Guest blog post written by Sarah from Alice and After, a mother to forever 5-month-old, Alice and rainbow Rosie Mae.

When my daughter Alice passed away from SIDS, I was crushed. My whole life had been decimated by the loss of my beautiful little girl, and my husband and I were left with no choice but to rebuild. Of course, nothing could ever fix the tremendous hole left in the heart of a parent who has lost a child. However, as we have been forced to move forward with Alice always in our hearts and minds, I have found a few things that have helped me cope. Since the grief process is different for everyone, effective coping mechanisms may vary for you; this is just my experience.

1. Talk about your child –

You have experienced an unthinkable loss, but your child’s life, no matter how short, was a blessing. Try to separate the child from the tragedy in your mind, and allow yourself to celebrate the joy they brought you. Say their name. Involve them in your life. Tell friends about them. There will be times this will be difficult, and you don’t need to force yourself, but don’t be afraid to share if you feel inclined.

2. Find a therapist – 

This is the #1 piece of advice I give to everyone who has lost a child because they can help you on a personal level rather than a “one size fits all” treatment. Particularly in the first year, coping with the loss of a child is extremely difficult. There is no need to attempt to cope on your own. A therapist can provide strategies that will help you grieve in a good way. They are professionally trained to help you overcome things come along with loss like PTSD, guilty feelings, bad dreams, and panic attacks. They are not there to help you “forget about it” or move on like nothing happened. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a therapist that is a good fit for you. I would recommend finding one who specializes in grief counseling.

3. Network with other loss parents –

Whether in person or online, connecting with other parents who have lost a child, possibly even in the same way you did, can be immensely helpful. Shortly after Alice passed, I joined a Facebook group of parents who had lost a child to SIDS in my area, and the mothers there welcomed me with open arms. We spoke openly of the day our babies passed and I was brought great comfort knowing I wasn’t alone in my loss. You can find validation, kind listening ears, and people who just get it by connecting with other parents who are familiar with infant loss, and I guarantee you will find lifelong friends.

4. Do whatever YOU need for peace of mind –

After losing a child, I can almost guarantee you will experience heightened anxiety. Do not be afraid to do whatever it takes to keep this at bay. If you find yourself extremely worried about your child’s health, find a pediatrician who will be understanding and call them or take them in as often as you need to. If you need extra ultrasounds during subsequent pregnancies, find a provider who is willing to accommodate you. If you are too anxious to sleep while your child sleeps, I would recommend purchasing something like an Owlet Smart Sock so you can keep an eye on your child at night by tracking their heart rate and oxygen. This may help you get the rest you need. I never would have been able to have more children without the promise of the peace of mind the Owlet Smart Sock brings me. Be patient with yourself. You are not crazy. You experienced the unthinkable, and of course you will never be the same. Peace of mind is invaluable, and there are people and products who can help provide it. Find them. Use them.

Losing a child brings unimaginable heartache. You will never be how you were before. Nothing can completely fix it, but if you honor their memory, prioritize your mental health, connect with other loss parents, and do whatever you need to for peace of mind, you can build a happy life where the tragedy of infant loss is just one piece of the puzzle.

 

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8 of the Best Gifts for Mamas-To-Be

Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching, and so it’s time to start thinking about gifts. If you’re stumped about what to get your favorite mama-to-be, we’ve got your back. Here are eight of the best gifts for mamas-to-be, in no particular order:

1. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9

An instant camera is a great item to have during the birthing experience. So photos of the mama can be taken during labor, or the first moment where she meets her baby can also be recorded. This is also a fun way to document the baby once she’s born; taking monthly baby photos and then displaying them in something like this is such a fun idea.

2. Diamond Eternity Band

Okay, this is admittedly a little extravagant, but if you’re going more of the “push present” route, this is a gift to consider. Alternatively, get her something personalized, maybe it’s the first initial of her child’s name, or a piece of jewelry that incorporates her baby’s birthstone.

3. A Cute Nursing Bra

Because nursing isn’t sexy. In all seriousness, buying a cute nursing bra for your favorite mama-to-be could really lift her spirits. It’s amazing how much it can help with that physical transition after birth, because we all want to feel comfortable with ourselves, and yes, even a little bit sexy.

4. Almond Supple Skin Oil

Not only is this oil amazing to help prevent stretch marks, but it also can be great to use postpartum. It’s richness melds into the skin and helps soothe it from feeling stretched out or dry. And it smells amazing!

5. Dwell & Slumber Caftan

Getting your favorite future mom a comfortable caftan is another great gift idea. Because she can wear it while pregnant, and then wear it after she has her baby. The simple snaps (or zipper, depending on which style you select) are very nursing friendly, so it’s something she can wear with ease. And, when she’s feeling like an outing, it can easily be knotted at the bottom and dressed up to be worn in public as well.

6. A Soothing Eye Mask

The sleep deprivation that babies bring is so real, so treat your favorite mom with a soothing gel eye mask that she can wear to help alleviate those bags under her eyes. Or the headaches that will most likely ensue.

7. A Mani/Pedi or a Massage

A little self care goes a long way, and it’s hard to think of yourself when you’re caring for a new baby. So another great gift idea is to treat the mama-to-be with a little spa experience, and offer to be with the baby while she’s away.

8. Dinner

Offering to provide a dinner (whether you make it, or if it’s takeout from her favorite place) is a gift that’s a little outside of the box. However, it can sometimes be the most meaningful thing. If you’re her partner, you’re hopefully going to be doing this already, so maybe it’s taking her out to a nice dinner baby-free, once she feels up to it. If you’re her sibling or friend, this can be something that both mama and partner will enjoy. You can even order a meal service for a week or two, if that’s something you think she’d love.

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Body Changes AFTER Baby

The changes your body make during pregnancy are quite obvious. Some of them go away once your baby is born, others remain even after baby is born, and some changes occur only after the baby is born. Here are some ways that your body may be different after you’ve had your baby.

Skin

Many women report changes to their skin one way or the other. Some women with dry skin report that after pregnancy their skin tended to be naturally more oily. Some women with oily skin noticed that after pregnancy their skin tended to dry out quicker. Changes in hormones may play a part in this, and as your hormones balance back out after pregnancy your skin may return to normal.

Hair

A change that may be more permanent is the effect of pregnancy on your hair. While many women report thicker hair during pregnancy, many report that it falls out during the postpartum period. Similarly, many women also notice that it gets darker after pregnancy.

Breasts

A woman’s breasts go through many changes during pregnancy, and perhaps even more after pregnancy. Although breasts get bigger during pregnancy and when breastfeeding, they can often shrink back to normal or even smaller than before pregnancy once you finish breastfeeding. Some women notice a change in sensitivity in their nipples after pregnancy. An interesting phenomenon that some women who breastfed experience is often referred to as a “phantom letdown,” which is a tingling feeling indicating milk is about to flow.

Stretch marks

Although stretch marks appear during pregnancy, they can develop on your breasts after pregnancy as well. In addition to your stomach, you may notice stretch marks on your arms, legs, back, and butt. They often fade with time to some degree, but are never something to be ashamed of. People of all ages, sizes, and sexes can develop stretch marks during times of rapid growth. During pregnancy they are is simply a side effect of the incredible work your body is doing to nourish your baby.

Please remember that everyone’s body is always changing. Aging, illnesses, diet, weather, stress, etc. all change our body, so the changes that come with pregnancy are nothing to worry about or be ashamed of. Embrace pregnancy and the changes it makes on your body as another amazing event that shapes the experience of your life.

Did your body experience any of these or other changes after your baby was born?

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