Random Observation/Comment #587: Everyone has an opinion on pregnancy and parenting. While help is appreciated, the amount of unsolicited advice can be overwhelming and at times, even stressful.
Why this list?
Not just in pregnancy, but in life, it’s always good to collect just the right amount of information. If you collect too many sources, you get into what the business calls “analysis paralysis.” In turn, just like knowing where your food or news come from, we wanted to make sure we felt confident in our sources.
We started with our primary care doctor who graciously provided a list of recommended OB/GYNs. After deciding on an OB/GYN, we worked with her to create our list of resources. Of course we still conducted some of our own research, but we tried to avoid the rabbit hole of Google searches and unverified websites.
- Primary Care and OB/GYN doctors
- Childbirth education classes through Your Birth Matters recommended by our OB/GYN
- Post-partum doula – Kim Kushner
We know that not everyone can afford things like a postpartum doula, however, the above publications/apps are free or should be available at your library. Here are also some useful gems of solicited advice:
Pregnancy and Health
- Don’t let people try to pressure you into what you should and shouldn’t do and eat
- Create a routine for hydration and staying active
- Always carry water, a healthy snack, preggy pops (this was a lifesaver for Vinessa and apparently also works with hangovers), and pregnancy safe meds you may need (ex Tums)
- Call your insurance early on to find out what is what’s not covered
- Never hesitate to call your doctor, even during off hours
- Ask for that seat on the subway
Labor and Delivery
- Opt to be educated on all options and scenarios vs a coming up with a detailed birth plan. Talk with your doctor and partner about your preferences.
- Carry around a large plastic ziplock bag of preparation toiletries for when water breaks. This includes a clean pair of underwear.
- Sign up for hospital tour early, especially if you live in a city. Come with questions (like what you do and don’t need to pack).
- Figure out pet care while you’re in the hospital.
- Exercise balls are awesome.
- While the 5-1-1 rule is the textbook recommendation for going to the hospital, take into account long commutes and possible traffic if you live in high traffic areas. Our contraction timing is 15-1-2 (Every 15 min for 1 min for 2 hours).
Post Partum Recovery
- Learn about what to expect
- Talk with your partner about postpartum depression
- Set expectations with family and friends before baby arrives. Are grandparents up to date on immunizations? Do you want a week of private time to bond with baby without visitors? This tip also applies for labor & delivery
- Figure our your support system in those first few weeks. Ex. will you have a family member staying with you to help out? A postpartum doula?
- Don’t punish yourself if you’re unable to breastfeed.
Child-Raising and Parenting
- You and your partner are the parent(s).
- Educate yourself on the latest of child care safety. While your parents can assure you that you turned out just fine, many new findings have been shown to reduce SIDS and help development. See first bullet point.
- Always hold the head and don’t shake the baby
- If you are doing the daycare route and live in a big city, sign up for a day care right away. In the NYC area 12-month waiting lists are common and you will likely not even be able to join the waitlist without attending a tour…which can also have a waitlist. Make the most of your tour and come prepared with questions, like can the staff give your child medication if they are sick or having an allergic reaction.
- Figure out how your partner and you will work as a team. Moms tend to take on a lot of burden which can be physically and emotionally unhealthy for baby and parents.
- Have a plan for your maternity and paternity leave coverage.
Be your own advocate. Ask all your questions. Speak up if you don’t feel you’re getting the care you or baby need. Don’t feel bad for saying no to plans if you need to rest. Sometimes your decisions may hurt or confuse friends and family. What matters most is that your partner and you are now responsible for a baby human and future adult.
~See Lemons Solicit Advice and Vnessa with an Eye for Pregnancy Apps