The Ultimate Guide for First Time Mamas: My Preggo Must-Haves and Check Lists
Updated: Sep 29, 2019
My friends and family know that I like to be prepared, some may say to a fault. lol My personal philosophy is that when preparedness and opportunity meet, that's when you have luck. Also, when you have some level of preparation, the feelings of tension and fear significantly decrease. As a first time mom, that's HUGE - at least for me. I've read books, done research, attended classes and have done as much soul work as possible so that I can deal with any bumps down the road. So, for this blog post, I want to dedicate it to all the soon-to-be mamas out there who maybe don't have time or don't want to dive in as much as I have. I'm going to share with you my essentials that have gotten me through the past 260 days and how I'm getting ready for baby.
I had some nausea but didn't get sick very often. I actually wish that I would have been sick more because in those instances, I felt so much relief. The biggest side effect for me was fatigue. Holy guacamole was I draggin' ass! lol There were a few days that I didn't leave the couch, didn't brush my hair, didn't shower, etc. I have never been so tired in all my life! I also got hot flashes quite a bit which kind of felt like having the flu. Ginger candies, ginger/fizzy drinks, frozen grapes, salty snacks and ice masks were a life saver. I kept pretzels next to my bed and ate them before I would sit up in the morning. It made for a messy bed, but at least I could function. So many smells put me off as well, like eggs and coffee which are two of my faves. Speaking of coffee/caffeine: you are allowed up to 222 milligrams per day which is about 2 cups of joe. YOU. ARE. WELCOME.
At this point, you will want to really take into account your skin care, beauty products and medications. Your doctor will give you an approved list and if you ever aren't sure, CALL THEM FIRST. Stay away from google. If you take one thing from this post, let it be that! haha I had myself convinced my unborn child was going to die because I was stung by a wasp at the pool (thanks to google). Save yourself the stress and call you physician. You can experience some skin changes and it really varies with each person. My skin became more balanced but I also got chloasma which is dark spots on the face, despite using SPF every day. It's caused by hormones and worsened by sun exposure. Sometimes it goes away and sometimes it doesn't. I've actually been prone to melasma (same thing as chloasma but without pregnancy as a cause) since entering my thirties so it wasn't a big deal for me. I am quite enjoying my new freckles! haha As far as breakouts, it's been great! I've actually been more prone to getting spots on my neck and chest than my face which is really strange...but I'll take it! For acne, you are very limited on what you can do. This goes for anti-aging products as well. Below, is my preggo-safe skincare routine that I swear by and I will never go back to my old methods again. The only thing I may add back in is a weekly dose of retinol as well as my salicylic acid mask (both of which cause birth defects so obviously, you won't want to use those whilst carrying your child).
MY PREGNANCY SKINCARE ROUTINE
As far as tasks, you'll want to make sure you have insurance coverage and you will need to pick an OBGYN if you don't already have one. You will also want to get on a really good prenatal vitamin if you aren't already on one (I have actually been taking them for years). I recommend the ones with added DHA and make sure they have a good amount of iron since women are prone to anemia during pregnancy. This is also when you will want to put your unborn child on the waitlist for preschools in your area. Yep...you read that right. This totally blew my mind, especially since I thought that sort of thing only happened in big cities amongst fancy people - not a fairly small town like ours.
Hey hot mama! This is when I felt my best. I was loving my bump and felt a big boost in energy. Many women have an increased sex drive during this time as well. I won't speak about mine because that's none of yo business ;-) BUT if you are feeling frisky, it's totally normal. Between the hormones, increased blood flow and feeling like overall goddessy badass, it's not a shocker. With that increased energy, take advantage and get moving! Walking, yoga, prenatal strength workouts and water aerobics were my favorite. The thing I had to wrap my head around was that I was exercising for health and mobility, not weight loss. This goes for your diet as well. Diets rich in whole grains, proteins, healthy fats, fruits and veggies are more important than calorie counting. Remember, you aren't eating for two. I believe the recommendation is an extra 400 calories or so. If you can move around for 20 minutes a day, that will be helpful to keep your pregnancy and baby healthy as well as an easier delivery. Since your body changes quite a bit during this phase, go ahead and start getting clothes that you're going to be more comfortable in. Invest in a few maternity items and for the others, just size up. You can have them for future pregnancies, pass them down to someone else or even sell them. The mistake I made was buying items too early and growing out of them. I ordered some maternity jeans meant for cooler weather (which has yet to happen) but now I've grown out of them since I am nearing the end of my pregnancy. I plan on using them during my postpartum recovery, so it's not a total waste but still....take my advice and do things little by little so you don't waste your money. Check out my maternity clothes favorites HERE.
Because of the growth, you may feel some skin itching and tightening. I used a mix of Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion as well as their salve several times throughout the day and (knock on wood), no stretch marks!
During these months you will want to start your gift registries, get your baby shower on the books and plan your maternity shoot. I'll put my must-have items below for ya! As far as photos, you can get tons of inspo from Pinterest!
MY TOP BABY AND MAMA PICKS TO EITHER BUY OR PUT ON YOUR REGISTRY
*these are not all must-haves. despite what influencers would have you believe, you don't "need" a million things to have a healthy, happy baby. Do what your budget allows and do your best to provide your child with a safe home, food, a clean bottom and lots of love.
1. crib - I like this one from Babyletto because it will grow with her and it's super cute. duh.
6. bath tub
9. butt paste
10. play mat
12. changing pad, table or dresser - we got this one because it doubles as a scale!
15. teething toys
16. clothes - here is a cute newborn bundle I found
17. video monitor
19. head accessories, socks, mittens
21. pack and play
22. swing seat
23. high chair
24. breast pads
25. breast pump (unless your insurance covers it)
27. milk storage bags
29. baby brezza
31. jars, etc.
32. bibs and burp clothes
33. bottle warmer
34. diaper genie
35. nipple cream
36. nursing bras
37. nursing pjs
38. nursing robe
40. belly band
42. baby carrier
45. mirror for car
46. sun shields
47. first aid kit (hospital will give you a thermometer and nose booger sucker)
48. diaper bag
49. decorative items
50. keepsake items (baby book, memory book, handprints, etc.)
Many of the recovery items you'll need will be supplied by the hospital (like a bottle which you will use to clean yourself rather than using toilet paper as well as a spray that will numb your vaginal area). For me, I have stocked up on disposable panties, pads, ice packs, lactation cookies, witch hazel, epsom salt, etc.
MY MATERNITY PHOTOS
DIY MILK BATH PHOTOS
I ordered this lace maternity dress
Next, I got some powdered milk, a few bouquets of flowers and that's it! My husband took these with his phone and I edited them using some of my favorite apps. So easy! You will want to make sure the temp doesn't get too hot bc it could cause the powder to curdle. Hot baths aren't recommended for pregnancy anyway so just keep it warm to luke warm.
Shortness of breath and the waddle (aka pregnancy swag) are just a few of the lovely things you can expect during the last few months of your pregnancy. You'll also experience massive growth which can cause constipation, heartburn and joint pain (round ligament pain is a biaaatch). Because your body is producing a hormone called relaxin, you will probably feel more pain in your back as well as some cramping. Speaking of cramping, one thing I've had a lot of is muscle cramps, especially while I'm sleeping. It's like my calves are having seizures! Swelling is also a wonderful part of this portion of your pregnancy but luckily, mine has not been that bad. I drink a ton of water, monitor my salt intake and I also take warm baths with epsom salt and coconut oil. Since I have been taking probiotics my entire pregnancy, I haven't had as many stomach issues and I thankfully have not gotten hemorrhoids. #praisebe I also keep Colace handy which is a stool softener. You don't want to use a stimulant laxative or anything like that, but softeners will be your BFF. As your uterus grows, all of your other organs get smashed upwards, hence the reason you feel fuller faster, have shortness of breath, get constipation, gas and heartburn. I have also found myself being suuuuper sweaty and hot all the time. I am literally a walking oven! If the temp isn't 69 degrees, I'm in a puddle of my own "sparkles." - because women don't sweat, we glisten right?! haha I always like to say that the pregnancy glow is just the fact that we are sweating so much. This is also when you're going to feel tired again, most likely. I have my ups and downs but I've been taking advantage of this time to just nest and rest. Remember to always give yourself grace. YOU ARE GROWING A HUMAN and that takes up a ton of energy and resources.
1. pack your hospital bag (I'll put my list below)
2. finish getting the things that are missing from your registry (unless they can wait until later on down the road. If your budget is tight, you're better off buying more diapers than you are getting something your kid won't need for another 6 months)
3. read the books (list below)
4. take the classes - we are taking the ones offered by our hospital which are the standard birthing classes. I am also taking a lactation class in a few weeks. They offer classes for partners as well as introducing your pets and other children to your new addition. You will most likely be given this info on day 1, but if you're not, just ask! We are also signed up to take a sleeping course for newborns from Taking Cara Babies. This came highly recommended so I'm really excited to check that out!
5. do all the nesting you want
6. keep moving, but pace yourself
7. REST REST REST
9. netlfix and chill...but like...actually chill lol
10. treat yo self to a mani/pedi
11. get a massage
14. find your tribe - I joined MOPS which I love and my super sweet sis-in-law has invited me to tag along with her mama friends so that's been an amazing community resource for me. A few of my friends either had kids recently or will be having them soon so those relationships have grown closer too. In addition, I'm in the process of organizing a meet up for mamas in the 417 area! This is such an incredible miracle and blessing, but make no mistake: it is hard. It takes a village and you need a support team. Don't try to go at this alone, mama.
15. laundry - wash all of baby's clothes in a clear detergent like Dreft or the unscented/uncolored ALL. You will want to wash yours as well and maybe even set aside some pj sets so that you feel clean and put together in your new Mombie state ;-)
16. set up an appointment with a pediatrician
17. you will be getting your TDAP and flu shots as well as being checked for the strep b bacteria. I don't know if this is optional, but if you're against vaccines then I guess that's something you will want to discuss with your doctor. We have made to conscious decision to vaccinate ourselves and our child (and this is not something I will debate so don't even go there. Leave it alone, Karen. Leave. It. Alone. lol). Family members will also need to get the TDAP vaccine if they plan to be around your kid during the first 3 months of his/her life. Since our daughter is being born right at the start of cold/flu season, we are being extra cautious - as is our prerogative since WE are her parents. If you're unfamiliar with the TDAP vaccine and what it's purpose is, read HERE.
WHAT WE ARE PACKING FOR THE HOSPITAL
FOR MAMA (AND DAD):
Extra bag to take all the hospital extras home - you have paid for this so might as well take it with ya when you go!
Nursing pjs - most people stay two days but plan for three
Going home outfit
Comfy clothes and slippers for hubs
Snacks, candies, mints
Change for machines
Pillows from home
Cooler (this is for my placenta since we are doing encapsulation)
*postpartum kit provided by hospital which contains a squirt bottle, numbing spray, mesh panties, pads and breast care needs*
Body suits/dresses - a few sizes
A few swaddles
Going home outfit
Her bunny :)
*No diapers or wipes or anything - the hospital has if ALL*
Car seat and cover
Burp cloths - we are bringing one for sure, but the hospital will provide more
1. Sh!t No One Tells You
2. Bringing Up Bebé
3. Mama Natural
4. Belly Laughs
5. A Parents Guide to Breastfeeding
6. Your Pregnancy and Childbirth
7. What to Expect When You're Expecting
8. Baby Laughs
Well, since I'm at nearly 37 weeks and have 3 weeks left to go (assuming baby girl is on time), I suppose that's all I have for you. In the words of Natasha Bedingfield: "the rest is still unwritten." Before I close this out, I want to share with ya'll some of the steps I've taken to prepare for the next few weeks as well as the FOURTH TRIMESTER (aka the recovery time).
1. As mentioned above, I have a support system in place. I have had deep convos with my husband about all of my fears about the future, potential emotions, etc. I have also connected with fellow mamas and my dear friends who I will want and need around. This is a time in your life where you won't want to be stubborn. I have tendency to want to just go at things alone and it's not a shocker when I just lock myself up in the house and don't socialize with anyone. With my half-sister being 10 years older than me, I was basically an only child so I enjoy my own company lol This is good, but bad if I let it get out of control. As humans, we NEED companionship and as new mamas, we need HELP. I have made a promise to myself to ask for help when I need and to take it when it is offered. This is not a time to be stubborn - it's a time to do what is best for our daughter and that's to have a healthy mama.
2. I have decided to do placenta encapsulation. While there isn't a ton of science to back up how this is beneficial in preventing postpartum depression and anxiety (as well as quicker recovery time from childbirth), tons of women swear by it. This is my way of covering my bases so I can be my best self for my hubby and our kiddo.
3. I have ordered a belly wrap from Belly Bandit (linked above on my favorites list). This helps to compress your stomach, which will push out the excess fluid and aid in shrinking your uterus back to it's original size. Plus, it just makes your tummy feel more secure. These are especially helpful for women who have had c-sections.
4. Meal prepping: some people have friends do a meal drop off and other people make food in advance. We are doing a bit of both thanks to MOPS and my gal pals!
5. Make the final decisions on your birth plan and how you want to handle visitors after your child arrives.
6. Fill out and sign all necessary paper work and put it in your hospital bag.
7. Make a plan to get out of the house as soon as it's safe for mom and baby. Showering everyday and being sure to show up for yourself will be key so do what you need to do in order to prep for that.
8. Stock up on essentials in case getting out of the house to run errands is too daunting. I have disposable panties, gigantic pads and basic home essentials ready to go.
9. Plan some date nights. I already have my mama lined up to watch our daughter so we can focus on US. Also, get in all the alone time you can before baby as well.
I hope you enjoyed this and found it beneficial on your journey to motherhood. It's a beautiful thing and I'm sooo happy for you! Always remember: every pregnancy is different, every mama is different and every baby is different. While some things seems guaranteed, so much is unpredictable so just enjoy the ride and don’t compare yourself to anyone - especially on social media platforms. I know for me personally, I post mostly the highlights of my life and it isn’t to come across as something I’m not...I just know that everyone has bad days and things they deal with so the last thing anyone needs from me is to read my complaints. If it isn’t helpful to someone else, I don’t share it. I also believe that there are some of us out there who are braver than most and those women have been called to share the shadows, the things we think but are too afraid to say, to show parts of themselves the rest of us hide. I am grateful for those strong, amazing women but I don’t feel like I’m equipped to be that person and here’s the thing - I don’t have to be and neither to do you. You can keep your life and your pregnancy as private or as public as you want. You can share or not share. There are no rules except the ones you set for yourself. With that being said, I will be honest with you here for the sake of this blog post and say that while I feel like I’ve had a good pregnancy, I’ve had my struggles that I have not shared publicly. There’s a lot of discomfort, especially right now. There have been lots of tears, both good and bad. If you’ve taken my Journey to Love course, you know that body issues have long been a struggle for me and that I’m a survivor of abuse, which did damage that I have only recently begun to heal. This made for a lot of self-doubt on top of looking in the mirror and not recognizing the reflection staring back at me - which was a shocking revelation at the time. Some days I felt really beautiful and powerful. Other days, I felt depressed, tired, ugly and full of shame. While on others, I could laugh at all the things I had just been sobbing about. A big part of that is hormones but the other part is an area of my life that needs mending...and I’m working on it...especially for my daughter.
So if you have this illusion that anyone is as perfectly curated as their Instagram feed, please stop. You are only doing yourself a disservice and I can say that because I’ve done it myself. Whether you have morning sickness or not, whether you gain 25 pounds or 50, whether you enjoy every aspect or can’t stand pregnancy - IT IS OKAY. All that matter is that you love yourself, respect your partner and most importantly, do what is best for your baby. That’s the end game. It isn’t compliments, likes or acceptance. It’s bringing a healthy child from your womb to the world. It’s a big job and you not only worthy but capable.
I wish you the happiest, healthiest pregnancy possible! You are a badass goddess of a woman who is literally bringing life into this world. How amazing is that? I’m still overwhelmed by that fact every single day and I know it will only increase when I see her sweet face. Until next time...XOXO, SZ