Preparing for baby
Pregnancy is such a huge time!
There’s all the physical changes, hormone fluctuations and a lot of emotions floating around, along with the expected excitement and anticipation. Having a business, pregnancy was also a time of huge preparations to transition my business to a more sustainable + less client-facing model. As much as I love my Kinesiology client work, I knew it would not be practical to do anywhere near the same amount with a baby, and also wanted to take some time completely off client-work, so changes needed to be implemented.
I started writing a book: Align + Attract – Align your energy to create a business you actually love, which I’ll release in due course, and hired a team to help me transition my group program for solopreneurs: alignandattract.com to an Evergreen model (meaning you can join our gorgeous group anytime). I also brought on more admin support + did a lot of advance preparation. This will mean I can take time mostly off the business with babe (though you can still expect to be supported by me in Align + Attract throughout) but I won’t disappear offline as I do that!
While I was pregnant I found it helpful to read about what other people had found useful and where they had sourced different things they wanted or needed in the lead up to the birth of their babe + beyond. A lot of my friends who have kids aren’t close by, and many don’t have kids. Many of my partner’s friends do have young kids so I got some tips from them, and gathered information from lots of different sources – friends, family, blogs, FB, Instagram – hehe.
I knew I’d have friends + clients who might feel a bit the same way ask me for tips and links down the track. I thought I’d compile a list while it’s fresh in my mind and then I can direct you right here rather than try to remember bits and pieces later.
Private or public?
In Australia we can choose between giving birth in our public hospital system and paying nothing, or very little, and paying $4-7k or more to have a private obstetrician for all your appointments and give birth in a private hospital. Amy of Otherwise Living wrote an in depth post on this and her decision making process which had some similarities with our own (though our decision was fast once pregnant).
Pre-pregnancy I had an inkling we’d go public and access the group midwifery program. However once I was pregnant I found out there was no guarantee of getting into this in our local hospital as it’s very popular and you don’t find out until you’re well into your pregnancy. In the public system you often see a different professional each visit, are likely to be in a shared room and tend to go home from hospital within 24 hours in many cases (compared to 4 or 5 days stay in private). I found myself leaning towards private and the extra care available, especially for those crucial first days after babe arrives.
We’ve have had an excellent experience so far. Our obstetrician Stephen Lane (King William Rd, Goodwood) is lovely – really positive and supportive. We got to preview the hospital experience at 31 weeks when bubs had a curious + excitable think about an early arrival and that was all positive too.
I think either experience can be great – it’s mostly personal preference. It’s good to think about and look into the specific options in your area before you’re pregnant if you can. If you do want to go private, you need to book in as early as possible, especially if you want someone specific. Ours came highly recommended and is pretty well-known for obstetrics in Adelaide. I booked in when I was under 5 weeks pregnant.
Templates and checklists
My wonderfully organised friend Lynn gave me some fabulously practical advice + tips; she had done all the research for her own babe a year earlier. She doesn’t have a super senior role in a large company for nothing, so I listened to everything she said, haha.
I had no clue where to begin so these checklists Lynn sent through were awesome for me. Hopefully they are helpful for you too:
- Newborn baby checklist – nice comprehensive guide even if you don’t get everything
- Hospital Bag checklist – the hospital gave us one but this was more thorough
- Birth plan – useful to go through this to work through your preferences, even if it’s just with your partner
What the hospital said to take
When I went along to the hospital breast feeding class pre-babe, the midwife who ran it was quite specific about some of the things she recommended/women were finding worked best to take to hospital:
- 3 Bonds nursing singlets
- Maternity/night pads
- Long cardigans, dark colours and avoid wearing leggings (if you do) as you’re wearing bulky maternity/night pads
- 12 pairs high waisted black knickers from KMart (told you she was specific!) to support your stomach post babe and while you have to wear pads post-birth (I was separately recommended to take disposable knickers – incontinence pants – as an alternative – truly delightful, yes?)
- Breast pads/shields – not the freezer ones though as she said they can cause infection/thrush
- Lanisloh (for your nipples)
- She did recommend getting an electric breast pump (which my friends had bought me already) and there were some hospital grade options that she thought were good (but my Avent one was fine)
Books + resources
I was quite interested in reading about child birth earlier in my pregnancy and later read a couple of books more related to life with babe. Here are some of the resources I enjoyed:
- Birth Skills – JuJu Sundin + Sarah Murdoch. I bought this after I saw it on Book Depository and it ended up being recommended by many during my pregnancy, including at pre-natal yoga and the hospital antenatal classes. It’s very practical in its approach with lots of personal anecdotes and as the title suggests – skills you can use during birth to help manage the pain and stay empowered, whatever path your labour ends up taking
- Guide to Childbirth – Ina May Gaskin – Lots of info about natural birthing; this book is considered a classic
- Spiritual Midwifery – Ina May Gaskin – I read this on our baby moon in Byron Bay and found it quite intense with a strong 70s vibe (when it was written). That probably makes it sound like I didn’t like it, but I did. It was eye opening!
- Rockstar birth magazine – great podcast + online magazine about different aspects of birth with a really empowering vibe
- Dream Baby Guide – Sheyne Rowley – I really liked the message around good communication and the notion that skills like independent play and how to settle can be taught. This really resonated with my teaching background and I picked up some great tips. The book does end up getting very wordy and you need to navigate from section to section (a complaint I later read on Good Reads; quite a few reviews said it needs a good edit!)
- Save our Sleep – most people have heard of this book, a few friends specifically recommended it, so I bought it as a resource in case I need it
Some people prefer to go up a size or two in regular clothing but I found I felt far more comfortable in my regular size in maternity wear. I wore mostly maternity stuff from around the midway mark of my pregnancy. I tried to buy some items that were also going to be suitable afterwards for breast feeding.
Here were some of my best buys:
- I found ASOS was good for basics and I got a lovely dress for a wedding from the site too. Pro-tip: choose some maternity options that are also nursing friendly so you can wear them post-birth (particularly if you like wearing dresses, as I do)
- Great denim shorts + plain tops from Jeans West
- Loved my black Mavi jeans, got them on sale from Just Jeans
- Nice + affordable dresses from Maive + Bo – I got four!
- Blossom + Glow have some lovely stuff for maternity + breast feeding though I only bought one dress from there in the end
- I love Feather + Noise and some of their stuff was great for the first half of my pregnancy or so. They have some breast feeding friendly dresses too
- Frankie + Co – not maternity either, but I got some breast feeding friendly dresses from here
- I didn’t buy special maternity bras, but got my nursing bras from Hot Milk Lingerie
Of course you’ll always do what feels right to you and go with the options in your local area. Here’s what I did:
- Pre-natal yoga classes. There were two classes within walking distance to me so I did both: Sheoak Yoga + The Yoga Centre. I had to stop after babe thought about an early arrival at 31 weeks but it was great until then, and nice to meet other pregnant women in my area
- Birth workshop at Coast Yoga which was really informative about the natural physiology of birth, natural pain relief + knowing your options, if a little anti-medical system and in particular private hospitals, which wasn’t reflective of our experience with ours
- Massage – I had fortnightly massages through most of my pregnancy and they were brilliant for all the things
- Chiropractic – I was also having fortnightly Chiro appointments for the first half of the pregnancy which were good but I felt to take a break and so listened to my body
- For exercise, I kept walking a lot until my body abruptly made me stop at around 31 weeks, and also really liked this strength workout on YouTube
- Reiki – As I was doing my Reiki mastership whilst pregnancy (some people are happy with just the one dose of massive transformation at a time, but I like to double dip, haha), I had mostly weekly sessions with Sara Brooke of Space in Between. These weren’t always healing sessions as such, as I was working with specific Reiki symbols and reflecting on my experiences, but we did a lot of visualisations and I had some distance Reiki sessions during this time and also did self-Reiki healings + readings. Distance readings are great for giving extra insights about what’s going on for you on a more spiritual level during the pregnancy
- Acupuncture – I became quite fatigued once trimester 3 hit and so had a couple of acupuncture sessions for that and also towards the end for birth preparation: “Commenced in week 36 this treatment was proven in Germany to shorten labour and reduce pain relief requirements. It enhances the natural softening (ripening) of your cervix allowing for easier dilation, resulting in less stressful birth for mother and baby. Complaints common to the last stage of pregnancy can be addressed simultaneously”
Baby clothes + stuff
We were given quite a lot of clothes as gifts and items from family their kids had worn, but here are some sites I bought clothes + some other baby stuff from:
- Bonds – pretty much everyone recommends their baby clothes and you can often get things on sale
- Gaia Organic
- Daisy + Moose – French Vintage style
- Children of the Tribe
- Britax Strider Compact pram – my sister-in-law had used this pram, it had great reviews, and we liked the fact that you could get a baby capsule for your car that could transfer to this pram and that you can buy an attachment to make it suitable for two kids down the track
- Bambella – I got a nice sheet set, change table cover + play mat from here
- We got a cot, chest of drawers + change table top (goes on top of the chest) package from Haggle Baby, who we don’t particularly recommend but chose because we liked the packages they had. Furniture can take ages – we ordered 8 weeks before our due date but you’d be better to allow 12 weeks or more
Breastfeeding + post-baby stuff
- The First Forty Days – I bought this book after I saw a new Mum on Insta highly recommend it and saying she wished she’d read it in her third trimester. The book focuses on healing + nurturing yourself as a new Mum
- Lactation cookies – My Mum made some which I put in the freezer in case I had supply issues + I’ll get some nursing tea such as this one
- Breast pump – my friend’s Lynn + Lynn gave me an electric Avent breast pump
- Cheekoh wrap – This was one of the first baby things I bought. Don’t ask me why. I just liked the idea of them. When in doubt, start where it feels easiest and most fun I say, haha.
I did a maternity shoot with Shutter Photography and we’re planing to do a newborn shoot with her too.
Would you like to share any great resources or links that you’ve heard of, or if you’re already a Mum, worked beautifully for you? I’d love to hear!