I'm an expert list-maker.
If you are the list-making type, you may notice that your pregnancy has pushed you into overdrive. Never made a list in your life? This is a great time to learn how to manage one or two.
Everyone is, or will be soon, asking you about where you are registered for baby items. You may have no clue what you really need, and might therefore default to the list the store gives you, what your mom/best friend says, or worse (in my humble opinion)anything you can train your scan gun onto. I've addressed the bare-bones pre-baby list in my Registry List, so you know what I think you need.
Before you panic, remember the two things you must have before baby is born are boobs and a carseat. If you're currently pregnant, you're halfway there.
But for number three, I recommend a couple of ways to get what you need and not much that you don't.
1. Poll your friends. Not the friends you wish you were like, or the friends who have twice as much disposable income as you do, but the friends you think you might be most like as a parent. Ask them what they use most, enjoy most, wish they had received.
2. Find out why they like it. Maybe you've forgotten that you bought them an infant xylophone in a half-hearted attempt to fulfill a registry request but they remember. The reason might be relevant to you, or it might not. Diapers might be gender specific. Strollers are car, carseat, activity, and region-specific.
3. Ask them what they never use/thought they would use/have extra of. Most of the new mamas I encounter are thrilled to purge anything they aren't using. There are truly only so many swaddling blankets that one baby can use, and some babies might use pacifiers while others never take to them.
4. Forget the big-box registry. I know this is sacrilegious, because you don't have the opportunity to use the scan-gun. But I will bet you that the items your friends recommend will not come exclusively from one or two stores. Do you want to lock your family into shopping at one large retailer? Or would you like a few unique items from local stores?
There may be other sites like this, but I've heard great things aboutmyregistry.com. You can register for items found anywhere online, and your friends and family can find the item that suits them best. This list can absolutely be your new BFF.
Loving lists? Check out my meal-sharing tip sheet and my A/B Listfor postpartum job delegation.
More registry suggestions....
Have you seen People magazine lately? Do they always have so many photos of pregnant celebrities or stars with their brand new babies? We know the babies are cute, but the celebrities themselves can often make us feel, well, ordinary.
This is because they have personal trainers, nannies, nutrition professionals, tailors, and other artists whose job is to make them look this way. I promise you, if you had personally custom-tailored maternity clothing, you'd look like that too. Have you ever seen what a celeb looks like first thing in the morning? Take a look in the mirror, love, because that's what they see, too.
In the 1950's doctors recommended that pregnant women gain 15-20 pounds during pregnancy. Many of our mothers and grandmothers (who lived through this era) hold that mentality as their fundamental belief and might not support the healthy changes that your body is making. Tell them that they are not helpful, and then tell them (lovingly) to go sit on a tack.
Want to know the current recommendations? They build upon your pre-pregnancy body and depend on how many buns are in the oven.
Body image is no small matter these days, and if you've always been fit it can be particularly disconcerting to watch your body grow in new and profound ways.
Find role models: there are some women who love their bellies and feel more feminine than they have ever felt. Observe their grace and try on what they are doing. If it doesn't work for you, try complimenting them and letting them know how much you appreciate their comfort with their bodies. If you can't identify any, find a picture of a happy pregnant woman who seems comfortable in her body (not a skinny pregnant woman or a supermodel). Find one that seems maternal, cozy, warm, exhuberant and joyful (they do exist).
Wear clothes that fit: Nothing makes you feel worse about how you look than ill-fitting clothes. This is true whether or not you are pregnant, but it is much more noticeable when nothing in your closet fits. Unless you are a seamstress, it doesn't make sense to alter your clothing, but it does make sense to find clothing that makes you feel good about yourself. Maybe that is a scarf or sweater, or some lovely jewelry that will fit no matter what. You might consider renting something for a special day, or even for a period of time if it will help you feel more comfortable and confident.
Focus on nutrition: This is no time to restrict calories or adopt a limited diet, so focus on eating according to the recommendations of your provider. They are most likely to suggest lots of vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and water because these are the most nutritious foods. Try cooking new recipes that focus on nutrition and consider what you are really hungry for. If you are eating to cope with stress, try something else to remove the stress because baby is feeling it too.
A few of my favorite recipes?
Aloo, Gobi and Chard
Hurry, Curry (lentil dip)
Believe in miracles: Because you are one. No, I'm not being a silly yoga instructor here, you are literally creating another person out of the food that you eat and the thoughts that you think. What impression do you want to give to your child? That they wrecked your body, or that they were your first experience of a true miracle?
Pregnant mama: "Going to a wedding next week... have to buy a dress."
"Oh, where are you shopping?"
If visions of tablecloths and tents dance in your mind when considering formal wear, let me help to allay your fears. Find gratitude that you are pregnant now rather than in the hideous 1980's, when maternity fashion involved oodles of pleats,
<--- "Pay no attention to the belly behind the curtain!"
While I fully believe that the sari is the best fashion choice of all time because it easily adapts from day to day and a muumuu might be the most comfortable choice, I rarely see women wearing either of these frocks at prenatal yoga (nor do I see them out and about). What I have seen and heard about are some great ideas and resources that will help you avoid the camping section and keep a few extra dollars in your pocket.
The hairband button hole trick: early on in pregnancy (and longer for low-rise pants) most women find an easy way to extend their favorite jeans and other pants with a button closure involves a sturdy hair tie. Simply loop the hair tie through the hole, then through itself, and hook it over the button. Sturdy is the key word here.
The big event: (not that big event). If you have a wedding, baby shower, movie premier, or cocktail party to attend, you may not want to purchase a dress you'll wear only once, particularly at maternity prices. There are a few places where you can borrow maternity wear for a month (or many) and pay much less than the cost of the item. Borrow for your Bump is one place you can find some good options. They also offer some other pieces for rental and offer a range of sizes. When your body changes daily, you don't want to buy a new outfit for only two weeks.
Foldover skirt or pant: particularly useful for prenatal yoga, many pants and some skirts come with a little extra band of fabric on top that folds over. I'm not sure what the original purpose is for these features, but they come in handy as the lycra stays up around any territory it needs. Borrow this from your pre-pregnancy wardrobe, or head to your favorite big box store to buy one or two pairs.
Belly band: many stores offer this quasi-tube top designed to be worn under your shirt and over your pants. It creates a layering look that covers your skin and can help hold up pants that are a little beyond the hair tie trick. These are also useful after baby is born if you are breastfeeding in public and you need to lift your shirt. You can keep your tummy covered and warm while feeding.
Nursing bra top: the belly isn't the only thing taking up more real estate, and purchasing new bras might seem like a ridiculous additional expense when you'll just have to buy more later! Nursing bras and tops are designed for a larger bust and will also come in handy after baby is born. If you're feeling uncomfortable, especially if your middle and upper back are bothering you, The Ladies might need a little more support.
I'm one of those people who loves making your life easier (and I believe in you). I am an experienced registered prenatal yoga teacher and a lactation educator.
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