My baby is almost 2. Wow. It’s so hard to believe. This time of year makes me nostalgic for those last exciting/crazy/maddening/energetic/exhausted/thrilling/desperately uncomfortable wonderfully anticipatory weeks of pregnancy. I always felt like those weeks were like a prolonged Christmas Eve- except that you usually don’t know when Christmas morning is actually going to show up. And you’re incredibly uncomfortable. And the “present unwrapping” part is probably going to be longer and even messier than Christmas morning. But otherwise it’s pretty much the same
I had grand intentions after Ella was born to immediately record and share all the pearls of mothering wisdom that came to me as she progressed through each marvelous and magical stage. And then reality happened. But hey, better late than never. So now that she’s almost 2 I thought I’d give it a whirl, every Monday or every other Monday or on the Monday’s that I remember….I also thought I’d poll a few friends who have had babies more recently for their advice and I’m already getting some great stuff, so tune in next week for that.
This week it’ all me though. Sorry.
In keeping with my nostalgia for the end of pregnancy, I want to start with my tips for the last trimester for anyone out there who might be looking for some. Of course you already know that you’ve got to get all the baby gear, and pack your hospital bag, do the childbirth classes and read the books and blahblahblah….but I have a few other tips and tricks that really helped me or I wish I’d taken/done for myself. Probably they won’t be a big revelation to anyone but maybe someone might find something useful to add to the to-do list.
1.Do stay as active as possible. Preferably you will have been exercising somewhat vigorously throughout your pregnancy and now that you are in the home stretch, this is not the time to take to the couch with a bowl of ice cream and 3 seasons of Downton Abby. What am I saying?! Of course it is the time for that! But you should do some other stuff too. Amidst all the chillaxing and putting your feet up, make sure that you are getting at least 30 mins of exercise every day (so long as your Dr. is cool with it and most of them are more than cool with it so long as your pregnancy is normal and low risk. )
Look people, I know you are tired and you feel like a manatee but you are in training for an epic marathon. And I’m not just talking about the birth itself. The next year(s ) is going to be a real test of physical endurance and it just makes sense to maintain as high a level of fitness going into it as possible. Lookit. You are going to be trying to heal from birthing a PERSON while possible SUSTAINING LIFE for that person through breastfeeding WITHOUT regular sleep. It’s like the ultimate test of physical strength. You’re also going to be holding a baby for long periods of time every day in positions which your body is not accustomed to. Not to mention hefting that huge car seat hither and yon. Chances are you are going to be asking more of your body than you ever have before. And once you are all healed up and relatively back to normal, parenting in and of itself is a very physical job, and it just gets more so as that little person grows. So, enjoy Downton Abby by all means, but don’t let everything atrophy ok? Plus, some exercise and fresh air just makes everyone happier.
2.Do try to find a community of moms who are due around the same time as you are. This will really help the transition to be easier and you to feel less isolated when everyone from your “former”life is going about business as usual. Again, joining a prenatal exercise class or even getting together with a group of fellow pregnant people to walk a couple of times a week can be a great way to find your post-baby tribe.
3.Do make the most of your nesting urges and get things as organized, de-cluttered, streamlined and clean as possible before the baby comes. You will totally appreciate it when things are in predictable places when you are foggy and frantic trying to get out of the house to the pediatrician, but DO also try to maintain some level of sanity when it comes to the nesting. Baby won’t appreciate the freshly repainted baseboards. Trust me. I was always really unwise about this and went into labour and delivery quite exhausted on more than one occasion because I chose to stay up the night before I started labour wedged between the wall and the toilet scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush. Not. Optimal.
4.Do have a close friend sign you up for a meal-train and milk that thing for as many weeks as you can get. You might feel like a superhero now but around week 3 is when most assistance dries up (in my experience) and that is exactly when you are crashing the hardest. The food in and of itself is great but so is seeing a warm friendly body at the end of a day of being trapped inside with your sweet little piranha-leech (and I say that in the most loving way possible). In addition to setting up a meal train you will want to stock up on pantry staples and you may want to make some freezer meals for yourself too.
5.Do take care of all the foo-foo fluffy fun stuff like baby shower thank you notes NOW. Seriously. They will never get done otherwise. Just git ‘er done. It’s also a kindness to yourself to take care of as much of the birth announcement stuff before baby comes too. Address the envelopes! Lick the stamps! Heck even pick out the style you wants so all you have to do is fill in the blanks. After the baby comes it will be less of a charming task to obsess over your baby’s “signature colour” than it is when you are pregnant. Trust me on this. Imagining your baby-to-be and picking out a birth announcement is a delightful and seemingly very important past-time in those last long days of pregnancy. Figuring it out on 3 hrs of sleep and 6 minutes before the next feeding is less so. Plus, when the baby actually comes you will want to be using any free time
to sleep take photos. Lots of photos. Or maybe that is just me.
But on that note here’s another tip:
6.Do suss out a great newborn photographer and see if they will schedule a tentative date. You might be really, really secure in your photo taking abilities but I don’t know of anyone who regrets having professional photos taken of their new baby. Newborn pictures are best when the baby is under 2 weeks old. You can kill several birds with one stone by picking out Personalized Baby Cards from Little Ones Prints, one of my lovely sponsors. (They have very cute, classic cards and some very sweet ideas for photos too!)
7. Do pamper yourself. Get a haircut, get highlights, get a pedicure, get a gel manicure, get your eyebrows waxed etc. Not only are these a nice pick me up when you may be feeling less than awesome otherwise, it’s also going to be a very long time before you have a decent chunk of time to devote to personal grooming again. May as well go into this thing as freshly coiffed as possible. If you are looking for a gift for a mom who has everything already, some sort of gift certificate to this end will be much appreciated. (Even if she doesn’t get to use it until the baby is 9 months old-she’ll really need it by then).
8.Do the same “maintenance” for any other members of your family. Get the kids haircuts, take the pets to the vet and get them groomed, book dental appointment and physicals for the next year. Also random stuff like optometrist and dermatologists. Anything that you can possibly book, do it now. Now listen up because this part is important: FOR THE LOVE of everything good, do all you can to avoid having any of the appointments falling in the next 1-3 months if in any way possible. You will have plenty of baby appointments to worry about.
9.Do plan for any special occasions that may fall in the “fourth trimester”. My husband’s birthday was exactly one week after Ella was born and I still remember feeling bad about how bleh it was. I’m sure he feels fine about it, but celebrations are my love language and I remember feeling bad that I was so unprepared. Buying and wrapping his presents beforehand and maybe having some extra bacon in the fridge would have gone a long way. Really, it can’t hurt to anticipate any special occasions that may happen in the first few months after baby is born and do as much as you can to ease the load while still keeping things special. If you are anything like me, it will help to make your new life seem a little more normal and under control.
10.Do get maternity photos taken. You don’t have to get a formal maternity shoot if that is not your scene but you (and possibly your kid) will at least be curious one day as to how you looked when you were growing them. With my last pregnancy I had no real interest in having any formal maternity photos taken but my husband snapped a few candid belly shots of me a couple of days before I had Ella and as deeply unglamorous as they are, I’m glad I have them. Whether you love or aren’t so psyched about the way you look when you are very pregnant, the fact remains is that your body is doing something pretty incredible and I believe that should be documented in some way.
11. Do arrange for someone to help you with the cleaning after your baby arrives. If you don’t have extended family who can pitch in, and if your budget can in any way stretch to having someone come in and clean at least once a week for at least a month or two after the baby is born-DO IT. I accidentally landed in the position of having a sweet lady come in once a week after my last baby and although it was a bit of a trick to swing financially, it was such a life saver! It really made a very big difference to my mental and emotional wellbeing and took a big burden off of my equally exhausted husband.
Have you had a baby recently (or not so recently but you remember the last trimester like it was yesterday)? if so I’d love to hear your tips!
*This was a sponsored post. While I am offered many opportunities to write sponsored posts, I will only accept those that I feel are a good fit for my readers and I can sincerely and genuinely endorse. All comments and opinions are strictly my own. I will always tell you when a post is sponsored.