Top Tips for a Mum-To-Be
On Facebook, I’m a member of lots of different groups for women and mums. Recently, a post was shared asking for your top three most important tips to give to a mum-to-be in the lead up to the birth of her baby. I’ve collated them below to include all the answers (in no particular order), some of which are doubles (or triples or more!).
By the way, my top three response was as follows:
1) Hire a doula (ok I’m biased!) - it’s never too late... for both birth and postpartum.
2) You can consent or decline anything!
3) Labour at home for as long as possible (if you feel safe and noting the length of your drive in).
The remainder of the list:
- You have instincts for a reason - learn to get in touch with them and distinguish them from cultural conditioning.
- Have a good birth plan: not because it’s about the “planning” but because you need to know your preferences so that when you’re faced with choices you can move through them quickly (it’s near impossible to think clearly and consciously while labouring).
- You will not be pregnant forever.
- Your body knew how to grow a baby, it will know how to birth it too.
- Your body, your choice. You can say no to anything and anyone.
- Just breathe.
- GET A DOULA.
- Do not labour or birth on your back (unless taking a quick break). It is quicker and much easier on your body to birth upright. Labour often goes faster if you walk around and such too.
- Familiarise yourself with the 4th trimester. Look beyond birth. Labour is over before you know it, you have the baby forever.
- Understand what is biologically ‘normal’ for a baby, not what society thinks a baby should be doing.
- Doulas are awesome, hire one asap.
- 40 weeks is just an average of 38-42 weeks to give your "due date".
- If you intend on breastfeeding and haven’t done so already you can attend a class on feeding.
- If you don’t have one and you are a tea/coffee drinker buy a thermos mug. Your drink stays hot and you won’t worry about spilling a hot drink on your Bub! (Your partner can even make it for you in the morning before going to work.)
- If you don’t have a warm cardigan or wrap without zippers get one. I learnt the hard way that zippers get cold during night time winter feeds!
- Your body is amazing and will birth a beautiful Bub.
- Relax now and get ready for your life to be turned upside down and filled with love.
- Make up a big batch of your favourite meals and freeze them. Soups, casseroles and pasta sauces are great. You will thank heavens that you did when you are tired and have your new beautiful bubby.
- I stressed myself out letting family and friends visit with my first. You can exercise your ability to say no thank you. I need rest. I need bonding time. I need to heal.
- When folks ask if they can help (or visit) ask them to drop off meals or groceries. Like really just drop them off. No visits you aren’t ready for.
- Cuddle, cuddle and cuddle the little bundle it’s gone so quickly. You are all the little person knows in a new and big scary place. Baby wearing a new born in a stretchy wrap makes life easier.
- Relax as much as you can from here on out.
- Do not stress about going into labour it will happen when Bub is ready.
- Remember you are a strong woman doing what nature built us for.
- Give yourself a break if you aren’t over the moon “happy” during the first couple weeks – not every mother feels that instant love for their baby. Motherhood is a learning experience and it’s hard. Don’t feel guilty about admitting that. (PPD and PTSD are both real.)
- Your support team need to be on your side, on your wave length and they need to know and trust and believe in your and what you want.
- You have to trust your body and your baby - 100% - you can be open to the unexpected but you need to believe and trust deep down that your body and baby know what they’re doing .
- Get some independent birth education (not just the hospital classes).
- A babies stomach is the size of a cherry or small marble when born.
- Just breathe, and know it is not failing if you accept drugs during labour if you choose to!
- Accepting help afterwards is 110% OKAY!
- Know the process – lots of education on the stages of birth.
- Protect the process – know what you want and don’t want and how to make it happen (insert well researched birth plan here).
- Prepare to be joyously immobilised by your delicious newborn.
- Cook ahead, get help, take offers of help. All you need to do is take care of you and your bub. Nothing else.
- Go with the flow. Birth plans may change.
- Pee (and drink) as often as you can
- Stare at your baby for as long as possible in those moments and remind yourself to remember them. Look at every inch of your baby’s face, touch every part of their body. They will only be that tiny once.
- Relax, trust and be good/kind to yourself.
- Trust your body! Trust your baby! Trust that you have inside you EVERYTHING YOU NEED to birth this baby!
- NO is a full sentence.
- Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breath is life xx
- Remember that you NEVER need to justify your decisions.
- Do your research so that you can make informed decisions – you're responsible for every decision so you may as well make sure that you are the one actually making them!
- Trust your body.
- Every baby is different.
- Make your own experiences.
- Sleep as much as you can, and nap when your baby does.
- Do a crash course in Hypnobirthing!
- Stay at home with very few visitors in the first 3 weeks of bubs life and bond, sleep, snuggle and enjoy the baby moon.
- Throw. Away. The. Clocks!! There is no such thing as “3hrly breast feeding”. Babe will feed when and how often it likes, so go with the flow.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
- If a natural hospital birth is what you’re after, labour at home as long as possible. You’ll know when you need to go. Less time in hospital gives them less time to intervene. However, you can say no!
- Go to the toilet every hour even if you don’t have the sensation to pee, just do it. You can get a full bladder which can stop/hinder baby coming out.
- Rest rest rest during early labour until you absolutely cannot rest anymore. You’ll need every ounce of energy you have for later.
- Read a book.
- Listen to your fav music up REAL loud.
- Sleep in.
- You won’t get to enjoy these things for a long time (birth is the easy bit).
- Hire a doula.
- Watch the business of being born.
- Read every article on evidencebasedbirth.com.
- Trust yourself.
- Go with what you feel is best.
- If it doesn’t go as planned, it is okay to grieve.
- If you're breastfeeding by gods grace do your research on what to expect so when your supply regulates and your boobs suddenly dont feel rock hard continue to TRUST YOUR BODY and not supplement formula because you suddenly think you're not producing enough.
- Throw the word routine away for 3 months and just respond to your baby’s cues. Read up on fourth trimester and the 300 gazillion reasons why routines won’t work.
- And no, you cannot cuddle your baby too much. Cuddle the shit out of them every day and all day.
- Before labour three best tips: 1: Strong mind. 2: Strong mind. 3: Stick to your nilly willy guns.
- Your body is a temple.
- Don't be afraid of it.
- You’ve got this!
As always, feel free to comment below if you have something to add to this list, and if you enjoyed it, share it with a friend.
*EDITED TO ADD:
Hanna Dahlen has just released (today 9 Aug 2018) a collation of top ten tips by other mums from a Mothers' Day Letter Project. Of more than 150 letters received, here are the top 10!
1. Listen to people who give you advice but trust your instinct. You and your baby will figure it out together
2. Cherish the moments that give you joy and hang on tight when you feel out of your depth because the tough times do end and you do survive
3. Don’t forget to ask for help and please don’t say ‘no’ when help is offered.
4. Sleep is your greatest challenge so prioritise sleep for yourself over everything else.
5. Eat well, be kind to yourself and take time to breathe. Housework is not important
6. You are not alone and there is great advice and support out there
7. Feeding is a full time job and don’t let people make you feel bad
8. Don’t isolate yourself. Get out and go for a walk or a coffee and find your tribe
9. Nothing prepares you for the love you will experience so try to soak it all in. Inhale their smell, relish their soft warmth and remember the giggles.
10. You are an awesome mamma and you are everything your baby needs. You have got this !
About Essential Me
Hi, I'm Amanda. I support women and couples during their pregnancy, birth and postnatal journey as a Doula, Ka Huna massage therapist and Pilates instructor. I'm Based in Sydney and would love to help you. Please check out my Top 10 Tips for the best possible birth experience here. I'd love to meet you for an obligation free interview to see if you feel we're the right fit. Contact me here. Thanks, Amanda x