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Preparing for baby

by Karen on June 10, 2010

Disclaimer: I plan to be pretty open about baby stuff here. If you’re not into the baby thing, please feel free to skip these posts. I’m trying to keep baby posts down to one a week since I know I have readers who don’t have children. I realize that with posting so light lately, it seems like a lot of my posts are baby-related. I promise that once I’m feeling better and my posting schedule gets back to normal, I’ll be balancing baby posts with finance and other fun stuff. As always, if you have questions or suggestions for topics you’d like to read about here, please send me an email.

This weekend, I’ll be 14 weeks pregnant. That means I made it through the first trimester! Yay! Unfortunately, I’m still not feeling a whole lot better. Everyone, including my doctor, keeps saying, “Any day now!” I’m thinking if I don’t feel at least a little better by next week then it’s time to call my doctor and tell her she’s a BIG LIAR.

I’m kidding. Sorta.

I’m also considering taping my days so the footage can be shown to high school health classes to caution teens about the risks of unprotected sex. Because seriously, you guys, pregnancy hasn’t been pretty for me so far.

Kidding again. But not really.

Now that I’m through the first 14 weeks, it’s time for me to start planning a little. There is so much to consider, and I don’t want to be overwhelmed, so for now I’m just starting to make general plans for the birth and how I want to care for my newborn.

With Tony teaching part-time and me working from home, it’s likely we’ll be on a pretty tight budget for at least the first year of baby’s life. Not surprisingly, a lot of my plans are focused on raising a baby frugally. But money isn’t the only thing I’m considering.

I’m feeling overwhelmed, so if you’re a mom with experience in any of these areas, I’d love your input. Let’s keep it positive, though! I don’t want to hear about why I can’t do this or that.

Natural birth

I’m preparing myself for an unmedicated natural birth. My mom gave birth this way four times, and it’s something that I’ve always known I wanted to do. There are a million different factors, and I realize that circumstances don’t always allow for completely natural birth, but I’m sure going to try!

I’m reading up now on how best to prepare myself for a safe natural birth, and I’m registered for a Bradley Method childbirth class starting in July. My OB is on board as much as she can be — she basically says natural is fine with her, but we’ll have to discuss induction or other options if the baby or me is in danger. I would have preferred a midwife, but unfortunately I couldn’t find a midwife in my insurance network.

Breastfeeding

Formula is expensive, guys! Breastfeeding is practically free. And studies show breastfeeding is good for mama and baby. So I’m going for it! The hospital where I’m giving birth is one of 92 in the country deemed “baby friendly” by UNICEF and the World Health Organization. That means they follow best practices that ensure a good start for moms who choose breastfeeding. Every bit helps! But I know that education and preparation are so important for successful breastfeeding, so I’m doing all I can to hold up my end.

Cloth Diapering

Yep. I’m doing it! According to Green Baby Guide’s figures, cloth diapers can save you as much as $1757 over the course of your baby’s diapered years. This number may be off depending on a wide variety of factors, but money isn’t the only reason cloth diapers appeal to me. They’ll keep my newborn’s 10-12 diapers a day out of the landfills, too.

I still have a lot of research to do on the subject, and I suspect the most valuable research won’t even happen until after the baby is here and we can test different methods. But as of now, I’m drawn to a prefolds/cover system, which seems to be the cheapest and simplest option. Expect more on this topic as I learn more about it, though!

So that’s what’s been on my mind. I’m already overwhelmed, and I haven’t even started looking at cribs and car seats. Yikes.

Photo by aliedwards

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{ 20 comments }

1 Cathy June 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I am really impressed with the topics you are thinking about already. As a long term breastfeeding mom, I would highly suggest finding a La Leche League in your area and contacting the leader before you give birth. If you plan to work outside of the home, invest in a decent pump. But, hopefully (IMO) you will be able to stay home and not need it.

Our experience was that we didn’t need half the stuff the books had a neccessities.

This was my favorite book and the book I give to expectant mothers. It is not just about getting your child to sleep but a whole philosophy on parenting. http://www.amazon.com/Nighttime-Parenting-Child-League-International/dp/0452264073

You are doing amazing! It can be overwhelming but in the end it is just the relationship between you and baby that matters – all the other stuff is just “stuff”.
Cathy´s last blog post ..Balance

2 Cathy G June 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm

If I can give you any advice it would be to aim for a natural birth, but read up about everything else as well, and try not to be disappointed if things don’t go to plan – you’ll have enough else going on emotionally without getting hung up on that too!

Breastfeeding is great, I did it with both of mine but it is tiring and it hurts (a lot initially!) – ask for all the help you can get…

I like baby posts and will read your blog with interest over the next 6 months. :)

3 J June 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I’m pregnant with my first in Indiana, too, just a few weeks behind you (feel free to email me if you like!) I’ve chosen to go to the birth center in Indy w/a relationship with Methodist (there’s also a birth center in Muncie) to get care providers with a natural perspective, and reduce the chance of interventions. I’m refraining from collecting Baby Stuff yet, knowing that there’s not really *that* much stuff we’ll need, and I expect some hand-me-downs from friends. The cloth diapers I’m seeing popping up locally on craigslist sure are tempting, though!

4 Kacie June 10, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I support your decision to be a mom. Just plain ol’ being a mom.

And I support whatever you decide when it comes to how you birth, how you feed your baby, and how you diaper him/her!

I think you are doing great in terms of preparing yourself! You’re doing a LOT of the things I did when I was pg with Johnny, except I was a little behind schedule.

I agree with the first commenter’s suggestion in tracking down a local La Leche League leader…hopefully they have one where you are instead of all the way in Indy, though Indy is better than nothing! I just felt so more relaxed knowing I had already met her (I went to a meeting when like 8 months pregnant) and knowing i could call if I had any problems.
Kacie´s last blog post ..Hi, I’m 25 today!

5 Kacie June 10, 2010 at 3:33 pm

And no worries on cribs and car seats. You can deal with those later.

I about had a panic attack trying to figure out all the options! And then later I realized that was a bit ridiculous. Stinky hormones.
Kacie´s last blog post ..Hi, I’m 25 today!

6 Kacie June 10, 2010 at 3:33 pm

And I can’t get enough of these kinds of posts — so post all you want!
Kacie´s last blog post ..Hi, I’m 25 today!

7 Ginessa June 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Just something I heard–they sell cloth diaper liners, so you can flush the really gross stuff. I’d totally cloth diaper too. It’s so much less stuff for the landfill.

8 Eden June 10, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I’m loving the baby posts!!! I’m not a mom yet, but my mom has been a labor & delivery nurse, lactation consultant, and hypnotherapist during my lifetime. Her suggestions for all soon to be moms: 1) Look into hypnosis birthing through Hypnobabies (www.hypnobabies.com) – it really works!!! No drugs, no pain! And 2) Stay committed to your decision to breastfeed – if the nurse says “You’re tired, just one bottle” say NO! Did you know that the #1 ingredient in infant formula is corn syrup!? If that’s not enough of a reason to breastfeed – forget saving money – I don’t know what is!

9 Ang June 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm

For natural childbirth a lot of my friends have really enjoyed the book Birthing from Within if you wanted to check it out.

10 Sarah F June 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I second Kacie in saying that I can’t get enough of these kinds of posts either! Keep ’em comin’!
Sarah F´s last blog post ..Snowflaking my coupon savings

11 M June 11, 2010 at 9:34 am

Good for you. I’d support any womans’ decision on how she wants to give birth. However, no-one gives you a medal for doing it without drugs. Good advice to consider the alternatives as well. Good for you for doing cloth, however, a lot of the “services” use so many chemicals to clean the diapers that it is just as bad for the enviro. You may also want to keep on hand a few disposable diapers when you are out and about. No, you do not need all the “stuff” the books say you do. Also babies grow so fast in the first year, they will outgrow clothes in a heartbeat. You can get great second hand clothes in thrift stores and in good shape. Also great toys as well that you can easily sterilize. My advice with breast feeding is you can never “pump” enough…Sorry you are still feeling so crummy. Hopefully it will pass soon..

12 Lindsey June 11, 2010 at 10:11 am

Hey! Congrats! Sorry you’re feeling so crummy. Ginger is your friend. There is a product available called preggo pops (or something close to it) that are wonderful for really bad nausea. Ginger Ale is fantastic as well.
About cloth diapering with the prefold system, we did that too! I would suggest using a snap cover, as the velcro on ours wore out rather quickly. :-) If I had to do it over again, I would totally do snaps. Bummis brand seemed to be the most frugal option for us as far as covers go.

13 Kacie June 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm

To M — “However, no-one gives you a medal for doing it without drugs.”

You are totally missing the point. Choosing to give birth without drugs is NOT some thing moms do for some sort of glory. It’s really discouraging to hear these sorts of things.

Moms who choose to go med-free are doing it because EPIDURALS ARE NOT 100% SAVE FOR MOM AND BABY. Long-term effects on delivering with a cocktail of drugs are not yet known (because these days, epidurals, Pitocin, extra fluids, and plenty more will be in mom and baby’s system).

Yes, plenty of moms and babies come through it fine.

But some babies respond horribly and need to be delivered via emergency c-section. Had the mom gone without the epidural, that perhaps could have been avoided. It’s tough to say.

And sometimes the epidural affects the mother poorly, too.

In addition, epidurals can interfere with the baby’s ability to breastfeed in the early hours because they are more lethargic. Some of them never fully master the latch because of it. They have adult-doses of drugs in their system! So it makes sense.

I’m sure you didn’t mean harm by that comment, but SO many moms who want to go med-free hear comments like that, and it’s actually really really discouraging for them.

Oh, and Karen will wash her own diapers, so no worries about chemicals used in a diaper service.
Kacie´s last blog post ..Hi, I’m 25 today!

14 Anne June 11, 2010 at 10:56 pm

I have to second Kacie’s information about epidurals. I was highly uninformed about non-medicated births with my first delivery. All of my friends had an epidural and I had thought that was just how it was going to be. I had been in labor for 24 hours before I received the epidural. As soon as I received that epidural we were rushed in for an emergency c-section because mine as well as my daughter’s heart rates dropped to startling lows. We had a hole slew of complications going on already prior to the epidural but looking back on it, I wished I would have not opted for it and waited till they said I had to have a c-section because of the other complications, if that would have come.

I also believe that because of the drugs was the major reason breast feeding was not successful for my first nor my second for me. Neither of my daughter’s were able to latch on properly and the hospital(s), despite my request, gave them bottles before I was ‘allowed’ to hold and start breastfeeding. With my first I gave up after about 2 months of very little weight gain and very little support. With my second, I stopped trying to breastfeed after 2 weeks and went to exclusively pumping. With my third, since it’s going to be a c-section as well, I plan to attempt to breast feed but am prepared for pumping 100% of the time if we need to.

I don’t harbor any hard-feelings towards anyone who decides to go for the epidural. But I wanted to post my little story in support of Kacie’s comment. As it is true. An epidural can have lasting effects and these effects have not only followed on from my first or second child but are likely to follow on to my third child as well, at least we are prepared for it. If I could go back, I would opt out of the epidural in a heart beat if I knew then what I know now. I also would have made sure I was much more informed about different birthing options versus just relying on what all my friends had chosen.

15 Karen June 12, 2010 at 12:01 am

Anne – Thanks so much for sharing your story. It has definitely reinforced my plan for a natural birth. You never hear these stories since the epidural become such a routine part of childbirth! I think the choice to have an epidural or not have one is absolutely every woman’s prerogative, but I also think a lot of women take it for granted as the only way.

I wish that doctors presented natural birth as an alternative rather than only offering natural births to women who plan it themselves! These days, unless you fight for it, it seems that natural birth is very difficult in a hospital setting. I’m so sorry you went through that, and I hope you have better luck breastfeeding your third! When are you due?

16 Carla June 13, 2010 at 2:42 am

Kacie gave you some good info about the risks of epidurals, and Anne shared a perfect example of the number one side effect of epidurals, a drop in Mom’s BP which causes baby’s heart rate to drop.

Here’s the thing about the whole no medal for doing it naturally theory, you can get in a car and drive to the end of a marathon. You still finish the race, but do you feel as empowered as you would if you ran the whole way?

And I have to say, I just love OB’s who want to talk induction and “other options” before you’ve even felt the baby move. How stressful a career that must be, believing that something will always go wrong.

Sorry for the negativity, I’ll blame it on my lack of sleep. :op

17 M June 15, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Sorry, I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone with my comment. Obviously, the epidural isn’t a choice for everyone. Carla, the “marathon” running analogy is a good one, but an even better analogy, is the 18 plus years of raising your child. That’s the REAL marathon. Childbirth is like the 100 yard dash — very intense — relatively short — in the grand scheme of parenting. We’re talking about two different finish lines. Birth vs. parenting. I completely support any woman’s choice in how she wishes to give birth. To Kacie, it may help to consider some other perspectives: I’ve got twenty plus years on you, and the “medal” I hope for is the one for guiding my kid into great adult and contributing citizen. That’s the point I inarticulately, was trying to make. Good luck, Karen, and best wishes.

18 Kristin June 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I just found your blog and ran across your first baby post. I had my 2nd baby in January so I have a few tricks I’ve learned. I was induced with my first, big mistake, but that experience led me to have a homebirth, best decision ever! I was very nervous about the pain so a friend of mine told me about Hypnobirthing, loved it!! Check it out. I agree with contacting Le Leche League group. I had a hard time producing, everything else was great from my baby’s perspective, but momma just wasn’t producing. I never made it to full time but I did the best I could. So go into it with an open mind and don’t stress about it, just do what’s best for you and your family and give it your best try. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I also cloth diaper, we started with prefolds and covers, those can me a little messy and annoying but they are economical. We also use Bumkins All In Ones, LOVE them. Check out craigslist and other cloth diaper resale sites to save even more money. If you have a diaper store near you go in and have them show you the options. There is a good one in Phoenix, wildflowerdiapers.com and one in Virginia Beach, softclothbunz.com that are very helpful and would be happy to talk to you on the phone. There is so much to research, but a lot of things are just things and really don’t make your life easier. Here’s something to add to your list, vaccinations, start now cause there is A LOT. Here are some money saving things I do, shop at thrift stores, yard sales and craigslist, I have found amazing things for super cheap!! although you probably already know this :) Blessings to you as you discover just how amazing being a mom is. And something to keep in mind, know that the decisions you make for your baby and family are the best decisions, even if later on you may think it wasn’t the best, it was at the time based on the information you had….and you still have a beautiful family to love and cherish.

19 Christine June 30, 2010 at 11:31 am

I just wanted to add a breast pump made my sister’s breast feeding experience much easier, even working 45 hour weeks while caring for her 2 daughters – now ages 4 and 2. When you consider some babies will take 45 minutes to eat each time, every 2-3 hours, you will spend alot of your day nursing without a pump.

A friend got up early to spend a while cuddling with her daughter while she nursed first thing in the morning, she pumped twice the rest of the day. You can freeze the milk and save some up. The use of a pump increases your milk production too. The rest of the day, the friend just bottled fed her daughter pumped breast milk.

20 Amy July 25, 2010 at 2:03 am

Just a little thing I learned from a friend that I thought I would pass along. She used cloth diapers and couldn’t figure out why baby wasn’t sleeping at night. After a few months she realized it was because the baby can feel when it’s wet much easier in cloth diapers and it kept it up all night. She suggests to use cloth diapers all day long, but when it comes to putting baby to bed, use a regular diaper so you can get some sleep!

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