I have prepared some suggestions that may help those in preparation for the arrival of little ones. If you have a friend who's expecting maybe you can send this list to her, because pregnant women LOVE unsolicited advice!
9 Tips for 9 Months - Pregnancy "Best Practices"
- Take lots of pregnancy photos to share with your kids when they're older
I know you feel sick, or gigantic, or sore and that sucks, but still take some photos during your pregnancy. You don't need to post daily or weekly baby bump updates on social media. It's nice to have a few pictures throughout your entire pregnancy that you can show to your children when they ask, because they will. There are very few photos of me in the first six months of pregnancy, and most of those in existence are from before I even knew we were expecting. For the first and a good chunk of the second trimester I felt too sick to go out or do anything, so there weren't any photos, and now, in retrospect, I wish there were a couple that I could show to Molly and Jack.
- Enforce a Kid Programming Boycott
My husband and I both enjoy cartoons and kid focused movies, likely more than most adults. For the entire time we were expecting (and during infanthood) we avoided seeing kid movies because we were preparing for what was coming. In the future you are going to be spending a ton of time watching some great movies and kid focused programming (there will also be some absolute garbage) over and over and over again. Why ruin the surprise? Wait a bit...the children's movies are coming! If you are expecting your second, third, fourth child you already know the pain of some of the children's programming out there. (DORA PLEASE STOP YELLING!)
Image courtesy of TeletoonAttention: Anyone who has been forced by your children (or other people's children) to watch CalliouCheck out 19 Things That Look Exactly Like Calliou on Buzzfeed - you are welcome!
- Date nights
First Time Parents: Go out, go out tonight and go out often. Check out a live band, a comedy club, have some dinner, watch an R rated movie, eat at a diner at 1AM and enjoy yourself because you can do this without having to pay for a babysitter (or bargaining with the grandparents to give you a break). Second Time (and beyond) Parents: Remember how demanding the feeding schedule is for a newborn? Time consuming, huh? Take a little time to go out on some dates and enjoy couple time, knowing that your older little ones are well taken care of while you enjoy a date night.
- Get Cooking
You don't need to start at week 1, or even week 10, but I suggest that at around months six to seven you prepare and freeze some of your favourite meals so all you need to do post pregnancy is heat them up and enjoy. This also ensures that in the first few months post baby you aren't surviving solely on a diet of cereal, Little Caesar's pizza and Zoodles. If friends offer to make you food, say yes! I was such a fan of all of the tasty and healthy food I received once the minions arrived, I began the annual tradition of a soup exchange to keep my freezer stocked each fall (click here to read more about it).
- Prenatal Massage
Towards the end of my pregnancy my sciatica went crazy. You are going to be uncomfortable, but there are things that will help, including splurging on a prenatal massage which is AMAZING. Don't have insurance coverage? Ask for gift cards as birthday and Christmas gifts and save them, particularly for month 6-9 when you get really uncomfortable. A nice hot bath or a swim at a local pool is another great pain reliever in later months of pregnancy.
- Speaking of Insurance Coverage
Many of the things you may need during pregnancy may be covered by your insurance plan, especially something your doctor has recommended. The special physiotherapist approved support belt that I purchased for the above-mentioned sciatic nerve issue was reimbursed by our insurance. All I needed to do was provide a doctor's note along with my receipt. This saved us $200. Some employers even have extended wellness coverage which can pay for items including fitness (prenatal yoga), an upgrade to a private room during hospital birth or prenatal classes.
- Save Your Money
I always assumed that my time on parental leave would be the most financially draining because significantly less money was coming in while I was home with the twins. We saved up to prepare for this and lived very comfortably during the first year of the minions' lives. What we didn't prepare for was double daycare expenses for the three years that followed. Set aside whatever you can during pregnancy to prepare for future expenses.
- Sleep When You CanThis tip also applies to parents of infants and toddlers as well. If you can't sleep at night, but are exhausted when you get home from work, take a nap. By trimester three of my pregnancy I would take a half hour nap during my lunch break just to make it through a work day. Just get some rest, you're going to need your strength and energy.
Image Courtesy of Someecards
- Be Kind to Yourself
I mean this in all sorts of ways. Growing a baby is tough work. It's exhausting, but amazing. Don't push yourself too hard, remember all of this is temporary. Asking for help is not a weakness, it's smart. Be kind and thankful to those who are making your life easier during pregnancy. Take good care of yourself so you can take care of the little baby you are about to bring into this world.