Here are some tips that we have collected from talking to first time mothers.

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Maternity Tips

Staying Comfortable

You do not need to waddle when you are pregnant. If you actually think about it whilst you are walking, you will find that you can walk relatively normally.

If you hold your stomach muscles in and concentrate whenever you are standing you find that this forces you to straighten up and will stop you from arching your back – this can stop it aching and can make you look about 1 month less pregnant!

Continue doing everything as normal until you feel you cant any longer.

Get a yoga ball.  Its great for when you feel big and uncomfortable and slumping on the sofa no longer feels good.

For morning sickness- try cold tangerines or satsumas.

Nairns Ginger Oat cakes really helped with my nausea.

Fybogel is brilliant for constipation.  It takes a day or two to kick in and work, but it helped to keep me regular throughout my pregnancy.

Buy a waterproof mattress for the baby, but put it under your side of the bed towards the end of your pregnancy so your mattress does not get ruined if your waters break in bed!

If you are working

If you use public transport, get a “Baby on Board” badge, it can score you a seat some mornings.

If you feel sick or tired on the bus, train or tube, do not be embarrassed to ask for a seat.  People may not realize you are pregnant or they may be too busy reading their paper to notice you.

Many of the train companies offer a free upgrade to First Class to Pregnant women.  You often have to be a season ticket holder- check online to see if your train company offers this.

Maternity clothes are expensive and often not as nice as normal clothes.  H and M do great long vests to pull over your bump and many of their non-maternity tops and dresses are stretchy and great for wearing whilst pregnant. Topshop and ASOS are also good.

If you have to wear a suit to work, then you might need to spend a bit more.  Seraphine is much cheaper than Isabelle Oliver.

One high flying city girl we know had 4 skirts with ever bigger waistlines made for her City Suits, so that when she grew out of one,  she just went on to the next size.

Preparing for the new arrival.

You do not need to wash all your new baby clothes!

Do not unpack all the new baby clothes you buy and make sure to hold onto the receipts.  You don’t know what size your baby will be and you may need to return some items.

Buy some freezer/take away boxes and every time you cook in the last month, make double and throw some in the freezer. You will be so grateful for this in the first few weeks at home with the baby- you will not feel like cooking.

Other Tips

If you get your Maternity Exemption Certificate, you can get all your prescriptions for free- you do not need to pay for Gaviscon or Anusol, which is a blessing, as you may be needing a lot of both!

If you want to change hospitals for any reason, this is normally fine.  Just chat to the new hospital you wish to move to and they will help you make the chnage.

Use a Glycerin suppository when you go into labour.  This will empty your bowels before you go into hospital and you wont be so worried about doing a poo whilst you are pushing!

 

Post-Natal tips

After the Baby is born

Eat 2 kiwi fruit when you have given birth, they are a natural laxative and this will ensure that your first poo, after the birth, will not be too painful or difficult.

No-one told me how much you can bleed after the birth.  Don’t be shocked if you have gross chunks of blood for the first few days.

Tea-tree oil and/or lavender oil in the bath can feel really soothing and helps to heal and cuts or tears down below.  Some swear by sea salt dissolved in the bathwater.

Get some good maternity sanitary towels.  Some of the supermarket and chemist brands are very plasticky and sweaty.  When the bleeding has slowed down you can use ordinary heavy flow sanitary towels.  We like these ones.  Optima Sanitary Towels

These knickers were so much nicer than ordinary knickers as they let you “breathe” down there and don’t get too hot and sweaty at nighttime. J Cloth Knickers.

Get out and about as soon as you can, but don’t over do it.  And don’t be embarrassed to say no to visitors or turf people out of your house so you can have a sleep.  Make the most of your husbands Paternity leave, and try and keep all the well wishers at bay until he has gone back to work, you’ll be glad of the company then,  but make sure that you exploit your visitors for all they’re worth.   Get them to make the tea/coffee/bring the biscuits/hang out the washing/look after the baby while you wash your hair or grab a power nap.

Most first time mothers feel nervous about leaving the house for the first time- just bite the bullet and do it.  It doesn’t matter if the baby screams, a baby never died of screaming and people will not stare at you or think you are a bad mother.

When your midwife comes to visit, it can be helpful if you have a list of questions for her as she may be in a hurry and keen to sign you off.

You do not always need to wait for 6 weeks to drive after a Caesarean Section- if you feel you can drive after 4 weeks then go and see your doctor and if he says it is ok then you are fine to drive.  You must also consult with your insurance company and let them know your doctor has signed you off early.

If your stitches are not healing or are not healing properly then tell your doctor.  You may need some further treatment and someone women do not get this soon enough as they are too busy or too shy to go to doctor.

Newborn Baby tips.

Breastfeeding and Feeding yourself!

Stock up on some DVD box sets to watch whilst you are breastfeeding.

You have to have a smart phone- breastfeeding can take so long and be so boring especially in the middle of the night.  Its great to be able to message other mothers you know who are awake or trawl Facebook or the Daily Mail website!

In the early days of breastfeeding when your breasts are tender and can become engorged with milk- keep a Savoy cabbage in the fridge. Each leaf is the perfect shape to fit one breast and helps cool them down when they become uncomfortable. The leaves fit perfectly inside a bra- like your very own natural ice pack!

Get a breastfeeding pillow or find a good cushion so you can get the baby in the right position for feeding.

Get a poncho or cape if you are shy about breastfeeding in public.  We love these, http://www.lovemolly.co.uk/ and they were great to wear whilst pregnant too!

Have a little bag prepared with all you want in it for when you are breast feeding, as you will be stuck to the sofa/chair, otherwise you find yourself constantly asking people to pass you things, or if you are on your own you be willing for the remote control to move on its own!  Ideas would be:  Water, book and pen or download app for breast feeding, cereal bar/snack, remote control, magazine, watch/clock/timer, phone, muslin, breast pads, breast feeding book by Clare Byam Cook.

The book “What to Expect when you are Breastfeeding” by Clare Byam Cook was a lifesaver and I have recommended it to so many friends.  She covers every eventuality in a really down to earth and non-patronising tone and also offers great advice on what to do if you are really struggling.

You can not have enough snacks ready…breast feeding makes you starving.  My favourite was flapjacks (oats are apparently good for breast milk production) and cooked chicken. I would do an online shop with your supermarket in advance of the birth and then you can then just book a delivery as your favourite items will already saved to your shopping cart.

Get food that you can eat with one hand!  Pieces of cheese, like Mini Babybel are great for stuffing in your mouth when you don’t have time to make yourself lunch!

Protein and Sleep are great for your milk supply.  If you are worried you have low supply, then 2 boiled eggs and an hours sleep whilst your partner takes the baby out and you will feel amazing and have full boobs again!

Don’t feel bad about enjoying a glass of wine after breastfeeding the baby.  If it helps you to relax it can be very beneficial, my doctor told me, a happy mother is necessary for a happy baby.  By the time the baby needs feeding again the alcohol will have gone from your system.

Expressing

Some Health Visitors seem to think you should wait until 6 weeks before beginning to express.  However I started the first week and it meant that very soon my husband was able to do one night feed, giving me some extra sleep.

Give the baby a bottle (of expressed milk or formula) before 6 weeks and continue to give one every few days or every day.  I have friends who didn’t do this and when they wanted to give up breastfeeding the baby refused to take a bottle.

If you are trying to build up a stash for the freezer, (perhaps you have a night out planned) do not worry if this seems impossible as the baby drinks everything you pump, one time he will sleep through a feed and you can pump then and store this!

Try and master the art of breastfeeding lying down! Is great for night time feeds!

Changing Nappies

If you live in a house, have a changing mat downstairs as well as up.

Cotton wool and water is a bit fiddly, and impossible when you are out and about, but these Water Wipes are brilliant- they are 99.9% water.  Water Wipes

Have some kitchen towel to hand to wipe up any wee they might do during a change.  Watch out as baby boys seem to aim straight for your eyes or mouth every time!

Have a bucket with water and Napisan at the ready and just drop any soiled clothes straight in.  It’s the only thing that gets the poo stains out, and later on its great for food stains from weaning.

Sleep, you and the baby!

Not all babies like to be swaddled.  Mine spent all the time trying to escape and get his arm out.

Get a sling- if you have a baby that doesn’t like to be put down, put him in the sling in the house and you will have your hands free and be able to do things around the house!

A bouncy chair is a must have for rocking the baby whilst you eat in the evenings especially.

Take the baby to the pub!  They love the loud noise and can sleep through even the noisiest of crowds.  You can probably do this up to about 6-9 months, after this they are much more aware and will wake more easily!  So make the most of it whilst they are little.

Sleep when they sleep!

If your baby does not sleep during the day, see if someone will push him for an hour so you can have a nap.  Do not use this time to clean the house, get straight into bed and sleep!

Apparently, most women feel tiredest 10-12 weeks after having baby when all the excitement has died down and the sleepless nights are taking their toll.  If someone can come and take the baby whilst you have a nap, this is great!

Other Tips

Don’t be embarrassed to say no to visitors.  If you feel awkward saying no, then get your husband to do it for you.

If the baby is born in winter- get a good “pram pushing” coat and shoes as you may find yourself pounding the streets in the rain trying to get the baby to sleep!

Warm his cot or moses basket with a hot water bottle so that when you transfer the baby from your chest to the cot he still feels the warmth.  (Obviously do not leave it in there or he will over heat)

Get your partner involved with as much as possible as soon as possible. They need to learn to have confidence and therefore need to be given the chance rather than you taking control whenever baby cries.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice about anything – every question has been asked before and nothing is embarrassing

If you are feeling teary, miserable, down please please please go to the doctor.  It’s absolutely normal to be depressed and they can help you.

If you do not feel immediate love for your baby then do not worry.  If you have had a traumatic birth or you have a difficult baby, you may find it harder to “fall in love” with your baby straight away.  I did not feel a passionate love for my baby until about 16 weeks.

Get out of the house every day.  Set yourself a job to do – go to the post office, get a coffee, pick up a bottle of wine – no matter how bad the weather staying at home on your own with a baby will send you doolally!

Just leave a messy house, it can get tidied another day

Babies don’t need to have their baby gros ironed – sit down and watch tv and relax instead of ironing!

Sex after The Birth

As soon as you are healed down there – give it a go, other wise it will loom over you for months!

Your body is not really designed to be having sex again whilst you are breastfeeding, so you may be very dry when you try and have sex, make sure you use lots of lube.