Choosing the Best Baby Stroller

One of the biggest purchases you will probably make while pregnant is buying a baby stroller. There are so many options that it can be quite overwhelming. In fact, I have heard people say that they spent more time choosing the right stroller than choosing a car!

There are a crazy amount of options from large full-featured options to small lightweight strollers to double or triplet strollers. Every type of stroller has its pros and cons, some strollers are designed for bigger kids for example and usually, it is not possible to find one that is totally perfect for every situation. Many people actually end up owning more that one stroller so they can have ones that better suit different occasions.

How to Choose a Stroller?

Online Guides

There are many ways to approach choosing your ideal stroller. My favorite way is to check out online guides to choose the best baby stroller. This can be an easy way to compare different types of strollers and work out whether you really need that big stroller or could be better off with an umbrella stroller.

It is also important to decide how you will use your stroller. do you live somewhere you need to walk on gravel or dirt regularly? Do you want to go jogging with your baby? Do you plan to have two babies close in age so maybe need a double stroller? Once you know these answers, it is easier to pick which type of stroller is best for your family.

Test Drive a Stroller

It is also essential to actually test out the stroller. Go to a baby store and try pushing around a few strollers, folding them up and down and lifting them into your trunk. Ensure they fit into your trunk and that you can lift it comfortably. Also, make sure that you push around the stroller with some weight in it – add some weights or heavier baby items so you have a better idea of how the stroller will handle once you are out with your baby.

It is a good idea to also take your partner with you and for them to push it around as well, especially if you are different heights as you may find different sized strollers more comfortable.

Ask Other Moms

Ask other moms that you know in your social circles and from work. This can be the best way to determine what baby stroller may work out best for you. Remember though that everyone has different needs, so what is right for your friend, may not be right for you.

Check Out Safety Requirements

It’s important you only buy a stroller which is safe for your baby. Check out the latest safety guidelines and ensure your potential stroller meets them all.

Picking a baby stroller can be stressful, but if you follow the tips above, hopefully it will be made easier 🙂

What to Take to the Hospital when Giving Birth

One of the many questions I had when I had my first baby was what to take to the hospital when giving birth. I had no idea what I might need to take so I thought an article about what I learned may be useful for someone else.

Items for Labor

This is probably the trickiest thing to figure out as it can be hard to imagine what you might find comfortable. My advice would be that less is more! It’s easy to think beforehand that you will want to be completely covered up, but chances are that you will not be concerned about nudity once you get down to business.

For this reason, I recommend taking a few different items so you can work it out at the time. A very comfortable bra is an essential. I also recommend a big comfy t shirt or nightie. Boxer shorts or loose underpants are also a good idea in case you want to wear them. Whatever you take, ensure they are not something you are worried about getting ruined as they may be no good afterwards.

Items for You

Work out how long you are likely to stay in hospital for and budget two outfits a day, where an outfit can be sleepwear. You are only going to want super comfy clothes while recovering from giving birth. Also keep in mind that a c section is always possible, so you will want something loose around the waist.

As much as it would be brilliant if our bodies went back to normal after giving birth, they just don’t. So stick with the maternity clothes for now.

You will also need to take toiletries and a big pack of maternity sanitary napkins.

Items for Baby

Some hospitals provide clothes and diapers for your baby while you are in hospital, so ensure you check with them what their policy is. If you need to take your own things, take in a pack of newborn size disposable nappies and a couple of outfits per day while you are in hospital. All in one suits work best at this time.

Hopefully these tips will help you work out what to pack. Feel free to leave any questions below!

Read more about third trimester here.

baby bath

Giving your Baby a Bath

There is something about giving your baby a bath that allows you to bond with the baby in a fun and personal way. If this is the first time you’re giving the baby a bath, here are the steps you need to take.

Start by gathering the supplies you need such as shampoo, a towel, a small tub and a small toy for the baby to play with as you’re giving him a bath. Then you will want to fill the small tub with warm water before placing the baby in the tub and washing him gently. Let the baby move and splash around in the tub as this is a good time for him to enjoy himself.

Additional Tips on Giving Baths To Babies

Before you put the baby in the tub it is important that you check the water to ensure that it is not too hot so that it will not scald the baby. Another thing you should do is hold the baby securely so that he will not drown or hurt himself. While giving your baby a bath, teach him words that pertain to his body parts so that over time he’ll be able to identify them each time he is in the tub. Never leave the baby in the tub unattended and don’t give the bath when you’re in a rush.

Baby Baths And Colic

If your baby is screaming constantly due to colic, a warm bath might help him calm down. This may not work for every baby in that situation but it doesn’t hurt to try. According to some medical reports it would be a good idea to give the baby a warm bath to soothe him.

Essential Oils And Baby Baths

When you give the baby a bath, put a few drops of essential oils in the bath water because these oils have soothing qualities for babies and they’re safe to use. Some good oils to put in the water include coconut oil, almond oil, lavender oil and argan oil. Argan oil in particular works well for the skin and be sure not to put too much of it in the water.

Other Benefits of Baby Baths

When your skin touches the baby’s skin as you give him a bath, you warm him in a way that a blanket cannot do. As the baby hears your voice during bath time, he senses your presence and it gives him comfort while bathing. The baby also learns initial language skills because when you talk to him, he may try to imitate some of your words.

Conclusion

Giving your baby a bath allows for greater bonding with the child and it also relieves stress for you because you can take your mind off the stresses of the day and you can focus on the quality of time you share with the baby. Practice safety measures during the bath and you can even sing a few lullabies as a way of having fun.

If you need more help, there is a great video here.

Essential Baby Items You Need

So you are pregnant and wondering what essential baby items you need when you bring home your new baby?

Feeding Equipment

A quality, safe breast pump is essential such as an Ameda breast pump, so that you can store breast milk for the baby. Bottles are necessary for new parents and you can buy them in bulk inexpensively from discount stores.  If you are formula feeding your baby, then you need to stock up on formula.

Clothing

For clothing, you should buy plenty of onesies and undershirts for the baby and you’ll also need a lot of nightgowns and socks to keep the baby warm in the cold months. Hats are also important to get for the new baby and blankets should be purchased.

Crib and Stroller

A crib and stroller are essential.  These need to be suitable for newborns and meet all safety requirements.   The best strollers lay completely flat for a newborn, like the Baby Jogger City Select. You can read more about choosing a baby stroller.

Pacifiers And Safe Toys

There are times when your baby will get irritated and cry a lot, so it would be a good idea to buy a few pacifiers to calm him down. As he becomes a toddler he’ll develop his motor skills so a few safe toys would also be nice to have on hand. You can find affordable pacifiers and toys at most chain discount retailers.

Car Seat

Since you’ll travel with the baby often, it’s important that you purchase a car seat that is safe and that fits the baby’s size and needs. Before you buy a car seat, research different brands and models so that you’re getting the best products. Also inquire about any recalls of certain car seats when looking for a car seat.

Changing Station

You want to have a changing station because this makes it easier for you to change the baby’s diaper. Stock the changing station with diapers, diaper rash cream, lotion, baby powder, baby wipes and extra clothing.

Bathing Items

Baths are important for a baby’s health so you should include bathing items such as baby shampoo, baby towels, baby lotion, essential oils, and some tiny wash towels. A small tub to put the baby in should also be purchased if you’re a new mother.

Bedding Items

Another thing you need to get is a variety of bedding items for the crib such as linen sheets and crib liners. You want to buy these in bulk so that you’ll always have some on hand.

Conclusion

You should purchase the essential items a few months before the baby is born and the best way to do this is to establish a baby registry where loved ones can buy some of the things needed for the baby. You should include the most expensive items such as a stroller and crib on the registry if you currently can’t afford to buy them.

While you can buy some baby items used, this is not always the best choice because those items suffered wear and tear and it could be a safety concern, especially used cribs and strollers. Finally, buy items according to your budget.

You may also want to check out my article about what you need to take to the hospital when giving birth.

The Best And Worst Parts of The Third Trimester of Pregnancy

After the second trimester, you hit the third.

One thing that is not pleasant about the third trimester of pregnancy is the gradual weight gain that will be difficult to lose once the baby is born. You can cut down on the excess weight gain by eating a balanced diet daily and cutting out unhealthy foods such as snacks made of refined flour such as white pasta, white rice and white bread.

Another irritating part about the third trimester is the constant backaches and this is due to the weight gain of the unborn child inside you. If you’re sleeping or sitting, look for a chair or pillow that has excellent back support.

Constant Need to Urinate

The reason for the constant need to irritate is because of the baby pressing against your pelvis as he grows inside of you. If you’re urinating at unusual levels or if you feel that you may have a urinary tract infection, meet with your doctor to discuss solutions to the problem.

The Joys of Feeling and Hearing Your Baby

One of the best things about being in the third trimester is the joy you receive when you feel the baby moving in your stomach or when you hear the baby’s heartbeat during a doctor’s visit. You start to anticipate the day when you can hold your baby and sing or talk to him every day. It is this joy that supersedes any discomfort you feel from the negative symptoms.

Lack of Energy

A common discomfort during the third trimester is a lack of energy and there are some solutions to the problem. Start by establishing a set bedtime each night and if you’re really tired during the day, you should take a nap. Eat more whole grains as this helps you get more energy and sometimes exercise boosts energy levels.

You Receive Encouragement from Others

When you’re in the third trimester, it is almost time to give birth and during this time you’ll receive plenty of encouragement from loved ones although you may disagree with some of the advice they give. It is also during this time that you’ll be given a baby shower and you’ll have a lot of gifts that you can use after the baby is born.

Conclusion

There are good and bad aspects of the third trimester but the good news is that it will all come to an end and this means the pregnancy symptoms go away. Until that time you should keep up with your doctor’s appointments and relax as often as possible. Delegate household chores to your spouse and older children and be sure to pack a bag so that when it is time to give birth you’ll be ready to head to the hospital. Use this trimester to narrow down possible baby names.

Read more about what to expect in the third trimester of pregnancy and check out our guide to the baby items you need.

The Best And Worst Parts of The Second Trimester of Pregnancy

There are many good and bad parts to the second trimester of pregnancy after often a horrible first trimester.

One of the best parts of the second trimester of pregnancy is that your breasts become larger.  This is because of the milk production that occurs. Those who had very small breasts before pregnancy may be excited about the growth in their breasts while for other women this could be the worst part of the second trimester if their breasts were already large before pregnancy. A negative part of pregnancy during the second trimester is the increase in stretch marks and occasional cramping in the stomach, which is known as Braxton Hicks contractions.

Here is a great second trimester to do list.

You Receive Special Treatment

One of the best things about the second trimester, according to some mothers, is that you receive special treatment from loved ones and other people. People will open the doors for you and you may receive encouragement from strangers regarding the pregnancy. Also during this time, your spouse will be more accommodating than usual to your needs by doing chores such as cooking, washing clothes, cleaning the bathroom or running certain errands.

You Feel The Baby Kick in Your Stomach

During the second trimester you sense a stronger feeling of the baby in your stomach and you experience the joy of knowing that a precious life resides in your body.  You wonder what the baby will look and act like as he grows over the years. Your spouse and older children will also share in your happiness.

No More Nausea

During the second trimester you will hopefully not experience the constant nausea and vomiting as you did in the first trimester and this is something that many expectant mothers say that they are happy about as they reached the second trimester.

Leg Cramps

When you are in your second trimester you’ll experience leg cramps and some mothers stated that this was one of the toughest parts of this trimester. You can relieve your leg cramps by stretching the legs before bedtime and drinking plenty of water. Ask your spouse to give you a leg massage and a warm bath should also help.

Kidney Stones

A negative aspect of the second trimester is the development of kidney stones and this can cause physical discomfort in the body. One good way to eliminate kidney stones naturally is to drink a few glasses of water.  Lemonade is also beneficial. You don’t want to eat high sodium foods as this trigger kidney stones.

Conclusion

The second trimester is a stage during pregnancy where you see less of the major symptoms that existed during the first trimester such as nausea and constant fatigue. You should keep up with the doctor’s appointments and eat as well as possible to ensure that your baby will be in good physical shape at birth. Take time to relax and delegate some household chores to your spouse and older children. You can still exercise, but don’t overdo it because it causes strain on the body. Finally, maintain a stress free life during the pregnancy.

Read about the third trimester.

The Best And The Worst Parts About The First Trimester of Pregnancy

One of the worst things about the first trimester of pregnancy is the constant nausea. You become hypersensitive to certain smells and tastes and there are times when you may throw up at various times in the day.

Another drawback during the first trimester is that you’ll be hungry most of the time, and this hunger is generally not satisfied even after you have eaten until you’re full. Some mothers stated that one of the worst things about the first trimester is the up-and-down emotional rollercaster. One minute you’ll feel really excited while you may feel irritated within the next few hours.

Best Parts About First Trimester

During the first trimester you can still fit your current clothes and you haven’t gained the extra pounds yet. You also don’t have to deal with extreme heartburn, constant body aches and back pain that are all a part of the next few trimesters of pregnancy. The first trimester is also a time where you can enjoy hearing the baby’s heartbeat. There is a lot of time left to prepare the checklist of items you need and you can use this time to pick the baby’s name and reflect on the joys of parenting.

You Can Still Exercise During First Trimester

During the first trimester you still have the benefit of exercising on a regular basis, so if you want to maintain a healthy weight during your pregnancy, now is the time to continue with your regular routine. You can still do high intensity workouts but be sure to take breaks in between the exercises and you should also go a few days without exercise to avoid burnout since fatigue is a part of the first trimester.

It Puts A Dent in Your Sex Life

You will not need to abandon sex altogether during your pregnancy, but due to the above mentioned symptoms that occur during the first trimester, you’ll find that your sex life is not the best and you may not desire it as much as you did prior to pregnancy although some pregnant women desire it more during this time. It depends on the hormonal changes you experience.

Frequent Urination

Some mothers stated that they hated the frequent urination that occurred during the first trimester and this is one of the negative aspects of pregnancy. The reason this happens is because of the baby’s pressure that goes against the uterus.

Initial Excitement

One of the best aspects of the first trimester is that you can experience the “honeymoon” stage of pregnancy where you’re excited and you share the good news with loved ones. You start to think about how you will raise your child and you envision how your life will change once the baby is born. On the other hand, some pregnant women experience excitement as well as minor depression.

In conclusion, you will experience positive and negative symptoms during the first trimester.

Read about the second trimester.

what is a doula

What is a Doula?

Nowadays, more and more moms-to-be are choosing to experience the miracle of birth in more meaningful and memorable ways. With greater access to safe and natural birthing options, well informed mothers are able to take control of their labor and delivery, preparing birth plans and enlisting trained professionals committed to a mother’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being in all stages of the birth experience. A Doula is one such professional.

what is a doula

Photo credit: Jason

What is a doula?

Well trained in childbirth, a doula is an expert non-medical person, dedicated to a mother’s safe, empowered and meaningful labor and delivery. A doula supports a mom-to-be, helping her maintain a healthy lifestyle while pregnant, preparing her for labor, assisting her in creating her birth plan, being emotionally present for her in all stages of labor and delivery and sometimes even assisting in post-birth concerns like breastfeeding and post-partum depression.

Doulas take on the role of a mother’s “champion”, making her feel more confident and empowered during the entire birthing experience. In a doula-mother partnership, a mother has someone to talk to about her concerns and fears as well as her wishes, without fear or insecurity or having to doubt her body’s natural design and ability to bring forth life.

The benefits of hiring a doula

Having a doula encompasses a wide range of benefits that stem from having your personal advocate during a stressful, exhausting and emotionally draining experience. Doulas provide mothers with a better understanding of the birth process and emphasize that each experience is unique for each mom. They provide comfort and a soothing presence while making sure that a mother is able to fulfil her wishes for labor without compromising her safety and the well-being of her infant. A doula also complements a mother’s support group by being an accessible and reliable resource person for their questions and concerns, and as a source of emotional reassurance for the husband or partner and other members of the family.

Studies have shown that mothers who have doulas present during labor are more likely to have more positive birthing experiences without much unnecessary medical intervention.

How to find a doula

Because of the doula’s significant role in your birth experience, it is important to find a person you are comfortable with. Find someone who is able to understand your personality, someone you feel secure and confident with. Communication is key to a successful partnership, thus, it is important you have a doula you can really talk to. Ask friends or family members who have experience with doulas. There are also online resources and directories that can refer you to well trained doulas. You may also check with local parenting groups, health and maternity centers, clinics and hospitals in your area.

It is a woman’s unique privilege to bring forth life into the world. No matter how you choose to give birth, whether via natural delivery or a caesarean section, home birth or hospital birth, with medication or without, consider having a doula to help you have a more empowered, memorable and meaningful labor and birth experience.