Have you ever noticed that getting pregnant is a lot like being accepted into university? It seems like suddenly you take on a new role and you have so much to learn in so little time.
Nine months seems like a lot, especially the closer you are to giving birth, but you’re never really finished learning all the amazing things your body is doing.
If this is your first baby delivery, you’re in luck! We gathered some of the things that nobody tells you about childbirth as told by moms themselves. From things to know about labor, what to buy before you have a baby (and what not to buy) as well as what to prepare for when you bring baby home.
If you find this useful, don’t forget to give it a share!
- Do and Don’t Buy These Baby Products
- Top Labor Tips for First-Time Moms
- Top Mom Advice After Giving Birth
Don’t-Bother and Must-Buy Baby Products
First, take a look at your baby registry carefully. Maybe you don’t have one yet. If not, this is a great time to start. Add things to your wishlist considering what you might actually want in your everyday life instead of what just “looks useful”. Ask moms you know who live similar lives as you.
Baby purchases will be a vital part of your life post-birth. Not buying enough breastmilk bags if you’re breastfeeding or bottles or a diaper genie you can put in just the right place can change your whole dynamic for better or for worse.
This makes sense, of course. Whether or not this is your first birth, your needs now, and even your needs with your previous children from years prior won’t necessarily be your needs when your current baby is actually here.
Experienced Moms’ Top Don’t-Bother Purchases for Baby
- Baby shoes
Getting shoes for your newborn sounds adorable and- don’t get us wrong- it is! However, your baby is going to grow so fast after birth that those shoes will fit for a day and then it’s on to the next. If you’re looking to keep baby purchases on a low budget, skip the cuteness. Your baby is cute enough.
- A crib
Crib shopping is so fun so it’s a shame to go without it. Additionally, nesting is a very real and necessary process! Creating a comfortable room and a bed for the new little one in your family is important. Unfortunately, it’s a totally unnecessary purchase until baby is 4-6 months old and you can room transition. So don’t cancel your crib shopping- just maybe postpone it.
- Wipe warmers
This one is super simple. According to the moms we asked, they’re just not going to make that much of a difference. Babies really aren’t that much more bothered by the wipes depending on the temperature.
- Bottle sterilizers
Don’t bother with them. It’s surprisingly easy to sterilize bottles just by using boiling water. It’s as simple as that.
- Baby bathtubs
“A sponge will do the trick!” Moms we asked said the baby bathtub takes up lots of storage without giving many benefits. They didn’t really use it all that much. If you’re old school and you love a good picture moment, the kitchen or bathroom sink- sterilized- will also do the trick.
Top “Must Buys”
- Burp cloths
An unexpected favorite of new moms! Place them where you’ll find them all over the house. You’ll need them often and you’ll thank your past, pregnant self for being so thoughtful.
- A Baby Carrier
Wearing your baby isn’t just trendy, it’s comfortable and allows you to accomplish other tasks, even just making yourself a snack to stay fueled and be the supermom you already are!
- Basic Onesies
You might be changing your baby’s clothes a lot in the beginning stages. Having these basics will make it easy to wash, change, and replace dirty ones.
- Nipple Cream (If you decide to breastfeed)
This is going to be a game-changer for breastfeeding and you don’t realize it until your nipples are sore. Save yourself (some) trouble and prepare for keeping your nipples in the best shape possible as they become the source of life for your little one
Top Labor Tips to Know for First-Time Moms
- “Be comfortable being naked from birth until you get home.”
Birth is natural and raw and beautiful and you’re allowed to give yourself to it entirely without worrying about what others might think.
- Try visualizing a healthy, happy birth
Dealing with being nervous about labor pain? Don’t get your information from movies, books, or anything that could provide a scary narrative. It’s actually often said that women who fear more experience more pain. Knowing what to expect can help you mentally find yourself in the path of giving birth and knowing what comes next and how far you might be from meeting your baby.
- Prepare for After-birth cramping
After-birth cramping is not often talked about. Many women think that once the baby is out, your endorphins kick in and the pain is over. That’s not quite accurate. After the birth of the baby, the uterus contracts and returns to its pre-pregnancy size. That means it’s basically remembering the way it used to be almost a year ago! These contractions are called involutionary contractions and will happen for a few days after childbirth.
- What crowning feels like
Some moms would have found it helpful if someone told them what crowning actually felt like. Since the skin is stretching as it allows the baby’s head to emerge, that feeling can be a little strange. Some moms refer to it as a burning sensation that fades after birth.
- “Ask for a mirror when you’re pushing”
Speaking of crowning, one mom said having a mirror to be able to see what’s going on down there as your baby is making their debut can help. It gives you motivation! Watching the natural process of birth may be too much for some, but for others, it’s extremely motivating. You can see what your nurse is telling you. You know that the baby is one or two pushes away.
Ah, the inevitable question of pooping on the delivery table. Here’s what moms say. Unless you’re being induced by appointment and you’ve prepared, you’re probably going to poop during labor. If you’re concerned about that, let us tell you this. We looked everywhere for a story of someone saying it impacted their lives, their relationship, their self-esteem in any way, and found nothing. Despite how awful it sounds, it really seems to be a non-issue in the moment.
- Relaxation techniques
Of course, it’s not just your body that has to prepare for giving birth. It’s also your mind. Preparing mentally for birth can even just be about understanding your body, welcoming the experience of birth as a beautiful moment of growth, and something to look forward to. Some women implement visualization, others even believe in orgasmic births. That may be too much for you, but the general idea is the same. Fear feeds fear. Think about birth as the happiest day of this stage of your life, maybe of your whole life.
- Think, but don’t stress, the birth plan
One of the biggest topics around giving birth is the super-trendy “birth plan” the meticulously thought-out plan written down and handed down to doctors to explain exactly what you want and don’t want. Moms say making one is definitely a good plan, but be flexible to changes. When your baby actually comes, you might decide you want or need something different and that’s okay
- Consider an Epidural
You may have heard this one before. “Just get the epidural!” Now if your beliefs are deeply against getting the epidural, by all means, ignore this. However, a lot of moms say the epidural is worth getting to be more present in your birth and less present in the pain. Inform yourself about what an epidural can mean for you and choose it if you think it will enhance your birthing experience.
Tips to Know After Giving birth
- You’ll still have a belly for awhile
For some reason, this is surprising to many. Did I mention that your body has been growing a person for almost a year? It’s going to take a while to return to its non-pregnant shape. In fact, consider this post-pregnancy shape your post-pregnancy shape. Things have changed and that’s okay. There’s plenty of time to see change happen. Post-pregnancy bellies are natural and normal.
If you decide to breastfeed, moms suggest getting a large insulated cup for water. you’ll be thirsty all the time. Why? While breastfeeding, your body is releasing oxytocin that triggers thirst. This happens because your body needs you to have enough water to make breast milk. Having an easy-to-carry large water cup will help you get hydrated when you want.
- Know the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety
They’re common and it’s better to be informed so you can face them and consult your doctor and get support from your family.
- Remember You’re a good mom!
You’re going to get a lot of opinions about every single one of your choices. Don’t forget that you’re not nursing – IT’S FINE. If you’re doing a mix of formula and breastfeeding, that’s fine too! If you decided not to breastfeed at all, you’re still doing great!
Hold them! That’s also fine! Don’t hold them, that’s also fine! You are going to feel a little out of your league for a while, but you’re going to grow into your new role as a mother in your own time and at your own pace. As long as you’re being safe, you’re being a good mom.
- The Sleep, oh, the sleep
You’ll never sleep the same again, but you’ll never want to go back to before you had your little ones.
- The Emotions
Like we mentioned in our point about depression and anxiety. Post-pregnancy, the emotions are often much more intense after giving birth than they are during your pregnancy. They’ll regulate too after some time, and as long as you’re keeping an eye on those signs for anxiety and depression and you’re making sure that you have the support you need, these swings will get back to normal.
To add, moms we talked to said having children opens a wound that never heals. For the rest of your life, your heart aches for everything they do- good or bad. it’s like a little piece of you is just out exploring the world.
- Let people help!
Your parents, your partner’s parents, your friends, anyone who wants to help, let them. People will want to give you a hand and for all the reasons we’ve seen in all the previous points, it’s going to be a good idea to let them. Whether that means to feed you, to hold the baby so you can take a nap, to babysit when they’re a little older. This is the meaning of “it takes a village”.
Tell us Your Thoughts!
What are some things you’d tell a new mom who’s about to give birth? Tell us about it in the comments below!