Things that I found helpful during the last few weeks of pregnancy...
- Take lots of pictures
- Make a belly cast
- Ask a friend or family member to organize a "food train" where a different person comes and brings you food everyday or every other day for at least a week after the baby is born. (it's so hard to take care of a newborn and make dinner at the same time).
- It's not too late to try practicing hypnobirthing techniques. I used hypnobirthing to help me with my second labor and it was amazing.
- Attend a LLL (La Leche League) meeting to help answer all of your breastfeeding questions.
Things that I found helpful during labor:
- Make a good, relaxing, encouraging music list to listen to during labor.
- Believe in your body and it's ability to birth a child naturally and safely.
- Stay focused and calm. Stay reassured that your body was made to birth a child and you will do awesome.
- Don't be afraid to speak up and stand up for what you want. Don't let the nurses or doctors tell you what to do. Don't push if you don't feel like pushing, don't take the meds if you don't feel you need them. Stay strong and listen to your body. If you need to labor in a different position, don't let the nurses tell you you can't...you can do what ever you want.
Once the baby is here:
- Make sure you've stocked up on food and hydrating beverages.
- Make sure to have some lanolin on hand for sore nipples, also breastfeeding pads to control your leaking boobs.
- Nursing tank tops are priceless and sooooo comfortable, especially the longer ones that will cover your deflated tummy.
-Talk to a lactation consultant if you have any breastfeeding concerns.
-Attend La Leche League meetings regularly to meet up with other breastfeeding mamas.
-Find a good Mom's group in your area so you can get out with the baby for regular playdates and adult conversation.
-Make sure you have a good sling and a couple different types of baby carriers...and never leave home without them! Check out www.thebabywearer.com for more info on different carriers.
-Take time for yourself. Accept all the help you can get. Call someone to hold the baby while you take a long bubble bath all by yourself if you need.
- Be prepared for a major hormonal melt down a few days after the baby is born, it's totally normal, your body is releasing all the crazy pregnancy hormones and it's hard to deal with...it's like PMS times a thousand.
-Take care of yourself, and be aware of any strange shifts in your emotional state, post partum depression is a common occurance, seek help right away if you think something might be going on with you.