Heartburn. It’s a funny word that has actually nothing to do with your heart. And it stops being funny once you get it.
Every second pregnant woman will experience heartburn sooner or later during her pregnancy. It’s also called an indigestion or an acid reflux. It can start as early as the second month and can last until you give birth. Anyone who has it knows it’s uncomfortable and a really unpleasant feeling of burning in your chest.
I’m here to advise you on how to get rid of the heartburn while pregnant.
There are ways to alleviate this pain or, if you’re lucky enough, to make it go away for good.
How does it occur?
Let’s start from explaining the ‘roots’ of the heartburn.
When you’re only couple of weeks pregnant, your body already starts to produce large amounts of the hormones progesterone and relaxin- that leads to relaxing smooth muscle tissues throughout your body, including those responsible for the gastro-intestinal area.
Another reason is that your baby grows especially fast during the 2nd and 3rd trimester so naturally your uterus has to increase in size to accommodate that growth and that means your stomach is under more pressure (so the acids are being pushed back up).
That often results in food moving more slowly through your system which in turn leads to different kinds of indigestion issues (from that bloated, gassy feeling to heartburn). Most commonly, it happens when you’re lying down or right after you had a big meal.
As much as annoying it is for you, it’s actually beneficial for your baby (keep that in mind once you get another hot burn coming!). The slower the digestion, the better absorption of nutrients into your bloodstream; that ultimately means your baby gets the best of what you’re eating.
What can you do to get rid of it?
- Chew on a sugar-free gum. Since it increases the saliva production it can balance out the excess of acid production.
- Eat almonds between your meals. They are tasty, healthy and they can do a great job with fighting those juices in your stomach. It’s a win-win!
- Drink milk. When you can feel the heartburn coming, pour yourself a glass of (could be almond) milk. You can get a better effect when you’ll warm it up (and maybe add a spoon of honey to make it even healthier).
- Drink camomile tea. This plant is well-known for centuries to reduce all kinds of pains, including heartburn.
- Get yourself a papaya. It’s not only high in vitamins but many expecting mums say it really helps with the burning pain.
What else can you do to make it stop?
There are plenty of ways you can reduce the heartburn effects if you only change few things in your daily routine.
- Eat slowly- simple advice not always simple to follow! Never eat in a hurry, chew every bite properly; if you’re still working make sure you use your lunch break wisely.
- Try to eat smaller meals regularly and avoid drinking and eating at the same time. If the excessive fluids get mixed up with too much food, it will upset your stomach; drink water in between meals instead.
- Don’t eat couple of hours before your bedtime. This way you’ll allow your stomach to start digesting before you lie down.
- Stay away from trigger foods. Some foods you’re choosing might be too much for your stomach so if you notice some tendency after certain product, avoid it for now. Some foods that are known to trigger heartburn include spicy food, fried or fatty foods, processed meats, chocolate, caffeine, citrus fruits and acidic foods.
- Wear loose, breathable clothes. Tight clothing around your waist can compress your belly, increasing the pressure and making the burn even worse. If you want to read more about maternity clothing, take a look at my other post.
- Keep yourself in an upright position. During and after eating, it’s important to stay upright for a couple of hours as it takes the pressure of your stomach. Lying down, bending or crouching can make the gastric juices come up.
- Sleep with your head elevated. You can use a couple of pillows or buy a special wedge– this way your upper body stays uplifted (so the gravity wouldn’t let the acids to be brought to the surface). Many women swear by it (including me!). Also, try to stay on your left side when sleeping- if you do it on the right side, it positions your stomach too high (which equals heartburn). To help you stay on the recommended left side, you can consider buying a full size body pillow- personally, it really helped me to avoid the awful burns at nights. To find out more, check out my separate post about pregnancy pillows.
- Watch your weight. Don’t overdo with the ice-cream and biscuit craving! If you gain weight gradually chances are the heartburn will leave you alone. Extra kilos can only make the pain worse as your digestive system gets overloaded. Here you can read about the best foods for pregnancy.
- Just relax. Stress affects all gastric problems, so learning to chill will be only beneficial for you. You can try prenatal yoga, acupuncture or meditation. Mindful hypnobirthing is a great way to combine mediation, visualization and hypnosis (read my other post for a full description).
- Buy some amber jewellery. Although I haven’t tried it myself, there are mums-to-be out there who claim it helped them with easing the burn. Apparently, amber helps to neutralize the body’s acidity. Worth trying (plus, you have an excuse to buy yourself an extra piece of jewellery!).
- Don’t drink or smoke. Pretty obvious isn’t it? Yet, I have to mention it for a piece of mind. Not only will it aggravate your heartburn but is dangerous to your growing baby.
What medication for the heartburn is safe to use during pregnancy?
If you feel like all the things I’ve mentioned didn’t work for you, it’s time to reach for something else.
Medication safe during pregnancy are antacids and alginates. They neutralize stomach acid and relieve the indigestion. Some are available over the counter from a pharmacist like Gaviscon.
*If you’re taking iron supplements and want to take antacids, don’t take them at the same time (they can stop iron from being absorbed by your body). During pregnancy it’s always good to ask your GP for a green light before taking any medicine.
Can the heartburn completely disappear while you’re still pregnant?
Unfortunately, it is hard to completely get rid of the heartburn during your entire pregnancy.
Even if you were one of the lucky ones and indigestion didn’t get you early on in your pregnancy, you don’t have a big chance to escape from the burning sensation around the second or third trimester- it is when your uterus expands the most and forces your stomach upwards.
But hey, I have some good news too! There’s still a small chance you won’t get the heartburn at all- or you’ll only feel it for a short time (but since you landed on this post, I’m assuming you are struggling with it anyway).
For instance, when I was pregnant I was lucky enough not to get any morning sickness at all! And apparently, 75% of pregnant women experience it at least once during pregnancy. So you can’t always trust the stats!
Either way, the heartburn normally disappears completely right after giving birth. And if you follow my advice, I’m sure you can reduce the pain to the minimum so you should barely notice it.
When shall I call the doctor?
Usually pregnancy indigestion can be treated at home but in some cases the heartburn can disturb your lifestyle.
If the heartburn is the reason you can’t sleep in the night, the acids come back soon after taking the medication or you’ve noticed weight loss, stomach pains and difficulty in swallowing, you may have a more serious issue that requires medical help. If you’re diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal acid reflux disease), it will mean you need a special treatment to avoid any further complications.
That’s it for today mamas:)
Hope those tips will turn out to be helpful for you.
Take care of yourself and stay strong!
What is a travel system and do I need one?
A travel system is a pushchair that is compatible with a baby car seat and carrycot. Many of them come as a 3-in-1 bundle so the car seat and the carrycot are included in the price.
But many brands offer you a travel system only if you buy a carrycot and the car seat separately.
I think this type of pushchair is a great and handy thing to have, especially for first-time parents. But every family is different and one travel system may not be a perfect solution for all other families.
Depending on your budget, a place you live and how often you’re planning to travel, you should chose a travel system that will suit your needs.
To be able to do this comparison, I started to pay attention to what kind of pushchairs are being used on London streets the most and follow these brands on social media. I’ve tested 2 brands from my list. Finally, I looked into forums, mums chats and reviews on Amazon.
Here are my 3 top picks for the best baby travel systems for 2020.
In short: the best versatile travel system, great for running daily errands but also a good companion for weekend trips.
– Easy to assemble
– Huge basket
– Great-size, breathable bassinet (also approved for overnight sleep)
– Stylish design and top quality fabrics
– The toddler seat can be parent and world- facing
– Large sun shade canopy with 2 extra expandable panels and a ‘peek-a-boo’ window (you can also slide the canopy up when your child gets bigger)
– 6 recline positions and highly-adjustable 5- point harness
– Adjustable handle bar height and leg rest
– Simple, one-hand fold (also stands on its own)
– Car seat and bassinet included in the price (no need for adapters). The car seat is very easy to install and often appears on the lists of the top 10 best car seats.
– Solid, superb quality wheels ensuring great maneuverability and smooth ride
– It ‘grows’ with your baby and can expand to a double stroller
– Comes with a rain cover and bug net
– It’s not light and a bit bulky when folded
– It can take quite a lot of space in the car boot
– Some reviews say it’s not designed well for a double stroller (at least in certain position).
Best choice for: parents living in a city who need an every-day full-size pushchair but also one that will be good for ‘off-road’ trips.
Suitable from: newborn to 22 kg
Orientation: parent and world-facing
Number of wheels: four
Folded dimensions: with seat attached: 44 L x 65.3 W x 83.8 H cm (without seat attached: 42.6 L x 65.3 W x 83.3 H cm)
Weight: 12kg (frame and seat)
*You don’t want to spend money on a new travel system? Check out eBay for second hand Uppababy Vista.
2. Bugaboo Fox
In short: the best high-end travel system, very practical; expensive but well worth the investment.
– Bugaboo has a strong reputation on the market; you get few years warranty on it since their products are build to last (I own a different stroller from this brand and I can assure you it’s a top quality pushchair)
– High seat position
– Unique&stylish; look, ‘slim’ frame
– Luxurious and highly functional
– All-wheel suspension (which means a smooth ride)
– Thanks to the big wheels the pushchair has no problem with getting through gravel, grass and uneven surface (it has all-wheel suspension)
– Ultra-compact fold (it’s self-standing when folded)
– Easy to assemble at home
– It has a great, long carrycot (which gives your baby a space to grow)
– If you have a bigger child you can attach a wheeled ‘rider’ board to the Bugaboo Fox- it’s great fun for your little one and less headache for you!
– Very easy to push and maneuver even with one hand
– Height adjustable handlebar is a great option for taller people
– The bassinet sun shade canopy has an extra panel (so your baby will be fully protected from the sun/ rain/ wind when necessary)
– The storage basket is of generous size and has built-in pockets
– Complicated fold- it takes some time to get used to it
– Expensive (the most expensive from my list)
– You have to buy a separate car seat
– Most accessorize are not included in price (such as rain cover)
Best choice for: active parents who live in the city and need a versatile pushchair; for people who can afford investing in a travel system that will last them for years.
Suitable from: birth to 17kg
Orientation: parent- and world-facing
Number of wheels: four
Car seat compatible: yes
Folded dimensions: H 19 x W 54 x L 66 cm
*Don’t fancy to spend so much money? Check the second hand Bugaboo Fox here.
In short: the best lightweight and compact travel system, great for traveling.
-Very light and compact
-Super easy to push
-The size of the Babyzen Yoyo makes it the perfect stroller for urban living (although small it’s sturdy)
-One-hand fold, you can hang it over your shoulder once folded
-Perfect for traveling- it fits the overhead locker on the board of the plane
-It’s a good value for money considering its quality
-Small size basket
-Sun canopy doesn’t have any extra panels (so you may have to buy an umbrella for more sunny days)
-The handlebar height is not adjustable
– No bumper bar
-Not suitable for rough terrains
– Some mums claim the seat of the stroller is not comfortable for the baby (it’s quite narrow and not ‘upright’ enough)
Best choice for: parents living in a city, who don’t have much space at home and who often use public transport. It’s perfect for traveling (I had a chance to use BabyZen Yoyo myself when traveling by plane and it really exceeded my expectations).
Suitable from: birth to 15kg
Orientation: parent facing (with carrycot/car seat), world-facing (from 6months +)
Number of wheels: four
car seat compatible: yes
folded dimensions: H:52cm W:44cm L:18cm
Weight: 6.6 kg
*You’d rather find a cheaper option? Take a look at this Babyzen Yoyo bundle on eBay.
Now think hard !
What the type of travel system your family will need the most? You already know?
So take out your credit card:)
All the best mamas!
When it comes to packing your hospital bag you may think you don’t need any tips, it seems so obvious, doesn’t it? You just need some ugly underwear, PJ and maternity pads for yourself all the baby staff for your newborn. But you would be surprised how long that list will get once you start writing it all down. In fact, you will probably decide you need 2 separate bags.
That’s why it’s handy to have a checklist before you pack all the essentials since pregnancy can make you so absent- minded and forgetful (I actually almost forgot to pack pampers).
To make it easy for you I prepared a list of things you should put in your hospital bag for labour.
When shall I start packing?
It’s always good to be prepared just in case your baby decides to arrive earlier. Once you reach 36 weeks of your pregnancy, that’s when you should have your bag ready. (However if it’s your first pregnancy and you didn’t have any complications it’s most likely you won’t need it for at least next couple of weeks).
Your ‘labour’ bag
THINGS you will need before the delivery include:
1) Your maternity notes including your birth plan. It should be like the Holy Bible for you.
2) A nightdress or a longer T-shirt for labour. Don’t bring anything new or expensive as it will get dirty and you’ll most likely want to throw it away afterwards.
3) Dressing gown and slippers. These will be great if you have to walk around the hospital in early labor. It won’t be much of a catwalk out there as you probably expect… I mean how can you look fabulous and graceful with a massive watermelon ready to pop out any time?! That’s why it’s best to take a lightweight, darker dressing gown as the hospitals can be warm and the dark colour will cover any stains (plus black makes you look slimmer! just kidding). Slippers should be easy to slip on and off, also flip-flops will do (you don’t want to be bending right after delivery).
4) Socks. Fun fact: your feet might actually get cold during labour! Although I had a friend who got pedicure right before her due date just to look at them during the pushing stage, swearing it made her feel a bit more confident (isn’t that crazy?).
5) Hair bands. You will sweat during delivery a LOT and the last thing you need is your wet hair on your wet face blurring your vision.
6) Lip balm. Very useful little thing- your lips will get very dry, especially if you decide to use gas &air.
7) Pillow. Don’t count on the hospital pillows, they’re quite frankly rubbish. If you want to feel a bit more comfortable, bring your own favourite pillow. Also, it’s a really good idea to take some nice essential oil, such as lavender oil- and put few drops on your pillow; it gives you that calming effect you are yearning for.
8) Massage oil/ lotion. That’s a must-have I’m telling you! I can’t thank my partner enough for massaging my back during these worse contractions, it really helped me to reduce the pain. Again, if you have an essential oil, such as almond or coconut oil, it will only improve the whole process.
9) Snacks and drinks. I guess there’s no need to comment on the fact how horrible the hospital food is.
10) Book, magazine/ tablet, music device. Bring anything that will distract you from hours of waiting… And don’t forget the charger to any electronic device.
12) Birthing ball. Only necessary if your hospital doesn’t provide one so make sure you ask first. If they don’t have a birthing ball it’s worth to buy one for yourself as it can speed up the arrival of your baby. Don’t forget to bring a pump.
What will I need after the birth?
- Maternity pads. Bring at least two packs-even though at the hospital they should give you a couple of them right after the delivery, the nurses will be reluctant to give you extra ones on the postnatal ward (I ran out of my maternity pads and had to literally steal few more from the hall when nobody was looking!).
- Maternity bra & nursing pads– you’ll need them even if you won’t be breastfeeding as your breasts will still naturally produce milk after you give birth
- Pyjamas/nightdress-make sure it has a front-opening – it’s super handy for breastfeeding.
- Nipple cream. You may need it in those first days of breastfeeding (if you have to stay in the hospital for longer). It really does wonders.
- Cosmetics& toiletries. To save space take smaller bottles of unscented (or mildly scented) toiletries so your baby can get used to your natural smell such as shampoo, shower gel, moisturizer etc. The hospital should provide you with a towel but you might want to take your own with you, unless you’re already short on space. Don’t forget about a hairbrush and a foundation (trust me, you won’t look super fresh days after the delivery as you will be on your feet most of the time). These will make you feel better when taking those first pictures of you and your baby and when it’s time to leave the hospital and take your new family member home.
- Some plastic bags to put your dirty clothes in.
- Old pants or disposable pants. Bring a cheap pair of pants as they will get messy. If you are having a c-section it’s best to take big cotton (disposable) pants as they won’t affect your wound.
- Eye mask and earplugs (don’t worry, you’ll still manage to hear your crying newborn, I can guarantee you that!). They will help you to sleep especially when you want to rest during the day (and it will be bright and noisy on the ward).
- Clothes to change. When it’s time to go home you’ll want to have some comfy, loose clothes with you (it may take some time for your belly to down).
- A notebook & a pen. So you could write down any questions you may have and anything important your doctor and the midwives will tell you. It’s also useful to bring a bigger envelope or a folder for all the information and documents you will be given (about breastfeeding, postnatal recovery, your baby’s registration process etc).
Your baby’s bag
- Pampers. The most obvious item and yet you still have to get used to having them around on a daily basis(yes, I’m trying to make excuses for myself for almost forgetting to pack them!).
- Cotton wool. They are recommended with a warm water to clean your newborn’s sensitive skin over the wipes (at least for the first few weeks). But if you decide to use wipes make sure they’re alcohol and fragrance free. You may want to check out the water wipes.
- Baby clothes for the hospital stay and ‘going home’ outfit. A couple of bodysuits will be the best, most comfortable choice for you and your baby. When leaving the hospital consider the weather conditions and dress accordingly; don’t forget a hat for your newborn, even when it’s warm outside.
- A blanket. Essential for the ride home and inside of the hospital for swaddling. You may want to bring a special swaddle wrap.
- Muslin squares. Must-have for winding and cleaning up your baby.
And there’s a third bag to pack for your partner…
But you know what? Let him worry about that, you have enough on your plate already!
Hope you don’t feel dizzy from all the things I listed above but remember, you have time to prepare yourself and pack so don’t stress out. Just don’t leave anything for the last minute and you can sleep safe and sound.
Do you want to double check if you have all the essentials ready at home for the arrival of your baby? Take a look at my post here.
Hold tight mamas!
You are getting closer and closer to the big day. You start to imagine how the birth of your baby will look like, how much this must hurt and how are you going to even manage this pain. If you are already getting the most horrific images in your head, please hold your horses.
Does giving birth hurt? The answer is yes (sorry!). Can I do something about it? Yes. Does it have to be so scary? Not at all.
How I came across the ‘hypnobirthing’ term
When I was browsing about different stages of labour and managing the pain, the term hypnobirthing popped up. I looked at the Youtube videos which showed testimonials of women who had an amazing birthing experience thanks to the hypnobirthing technique.
I’ve always been interested in psychology: complexity of our brain, how does subconscious affect our lives or how meditation can improve our lifestyle. But I was sceptic at first, I couldn’t imagine a painless birth (can you?). Since I believe in the power of mind I decided to research the topic in detail.
What is mindful hypnobirthing
In short, hypnobirthing is a mix of meditation, hypnosis and visualising techniques. Mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment, feeling all that is happening around you and bringing the attention to mundane but how important processes such as breathing, sitting or walking.
Because the idea of the most excruciating pain that labour involves has been embedded within us for ages, it is hard to change our view that it can be a positive experience. We have all watched movies with screaming women giving birth; your friends who already have kids probably told you awful stories and your mum just gave you that look when you asked about her experience. So it’s apparent that in society persists this belief that suffering is an integral part of bringing a little human to this world.
There are courses available to attend and learn all the hypnobirthing method but for me the price was way too high (limited budget anyone?); I bought a book instead. It’s called Mindful Hypnobirthing by Sophie Fletcher.
How does the book help you to become more confident
The book is well written and introduce you the the world of meditation and self-hypnosis in an uncomplicated way. I really enjoyed listening to the meditation tracks from the book, especially to Sophie’s voice- it was so calming and relaxing! The CD (or the audio book if you choose it) is divided into short mindfulness part, visualisation, and longer meditation tracks. You are meant to listen to them daily, ideally from 28-30th week of your pregnancy.
Sophie gives you advice on how to write your birth plan, how to relax on a daily basis and how to shift your awareness in any situation. She outlines the advantages of water birth and using hypnobirthing techniques at the same time (which I also intended to do) and how to prepare the room you will stay in during your labour.
There’s even track for your partner (if you convince him to listen to it you’re a winner!).
So the book gives you a sense of confidence: you will finish reading or listening to it with a feeling that you are in power during your labour.
My personal experience with hypnobirthing
I’ve never done mediation before, although I tried few times. I even joined a class one day but came out laughing at the breathing exercises those people were doing; it just sounded so funny for me on that time! Plus I couldn’t focus at all; it’s actually difficult to clear your mind completely.
So deciding to try out the hypnobirthing was more like a challenge to me. I remember when I first listened to the track; I felt weird but definitely more relaxed. So I started doing it diligently every day, putting an alarm for the same hour. This was actually working, even my friends told me I look more calm and stopped complaining that much ( when I thought my mood swings don’t exist at all).
So when my first contractions started to appear at 4 am in the morning I immediately put the hypnobirthing tracks on and I started to do my visualisations. I have to say that at that point I was feeling as if I’m having a painful period so there was not that much to distract from. Few hours later I was in a bigger pain but listening to Sophie’s voice kept calming me down.
However my reaction to stronger waves of contractions that were about to come was not what I have planned or expected. In the hospital it turned out that I will be throwing up quite often during the second stage of labour. I could not eat anything, even water made me sick; eventually they had to put me on a water drip.
I have to admit that as much as I wanted the tracks to work during the last, most difficult stage of labour, I could not bother to listen to them. I tried to use all the advice that I learned from the book and although it didn’t work for me with every painful contraction, I believe I put the focus on a right thing when it was the most needed ( in the combination with gas and air).
So is it worth practising hypnobirthing? I would say yes, definitely. By this day I enjoy the benefits of mindfulness practice in the most stressful situations (and there are many when the baby finally arrives!). It is so important to keep the right mind while you are pregnant and during labour; I’d say any kind of mediation will be beneficial for you.
If you decide to buy the book or sign up for a hypnobirthing course make sure you don’t do it at the last minute. Your body has to get used to being in a ‘hypnosis ‘zone’ so if you start 4 weeks before your due date it won’t do much for you. The earlier you start practising, the better for you.
I think that’s maybe one of the reasons the hypnobirthing method only worked for me partially- I only started practising at about 34 weeks of my pregnancy. Who knows, if I started to focus on it at the recommended time, I might have had much less painful labour?
Anyway, just because my birthing experience was not exactly as I wished for, it doesn’t mean your one won’t be positive. You just have to be ready for anything as nobody can predict the unpredictable!
Good luck mamas:)
Finding cute but also cheap maternity clothes can be a challenge, considering most of the high street shops sell overpriced goods. They often want you to pay way too much for a piece of clothing you will only wear for several weeks and then throw it away, put on the back of your wardrobe waiting for another child (like you were even thinking of it right now) or maybe for your sister/friend to get pregnant.
But then again, getting bigger and more curvy is a good excuse to spend some money on your new wardrobe, even if it will serve you only temporarily. After all, you deserve to feel and look fabulous during your pregnancy:)
So, here are my tips on how to shop for some great and cheap maternity clothes.
Don’t start buying maternity clothes too early
I know you are getting weirdly excited to start wearing those funny-looking over bump maternity jeans but hold your horses. If you are just 12 or even 16 weeks pregnant chances are you are still not showing. In my case, people couldn’t tell I was pregnant up until 6 months!
However, as each woman is different, you may already feel bloated in your first trimester. That means you would find it difficult to squeeze into your regular jeans but your belly is not big enough to wear maternity trousers just yet.
What I would suggest is buying couple of stretchable jeggins or leggins, could be in a size bigger than you usually go for. They will fit nicely, without the need to zip or button up your growing belly.
I made a mistake of buying maternity jeans, jeggins and shirts while I was 4 months pregnant and didn’t wear them for weeks because my belly was growing rather slowly (so the clothes were too big for me).
You will find lots of affordable staffs on Amazon
Amazon has everything these days, including clothing for every occasion.
They actually have a range of good-quality maternity clothes from jeans, dresses, T-shirts to bras. And the prices are attractive as well.
Some things I bought for myself :
- Leggings: elastic, with high waistband, available in different colors. Good from second trimester, depending on your bump size. I found these very comfortable and practical for spring/summer, especially if you prefer wearing longer shirts/ tops that cover your bottom or warm, thicker ones for winter/autumn season.
- Jeans: it’s worth to have at least one good pair of maternity jeans in your wardrobe. And they don’t have to be expensive at all. They’re better than leggins in terms of thickness and material, they won’t cling to your belly so tightly like most of the leggins would do. Plus, they will match with every casual style. Should be a good fit once you start showing.
- Joggers: great to have a pair or two at home. They’re comfy and perfect for exercising (which you should be doing!)
- Tops: very practical, come in 2-pack, made of cotton. Great for pregnancy and nursing, available in multiply colours.
- Tunics: gorgeous long top/tunic available in different colours. Looks great with any leggins or jeans and it’s practical as it can be a nursing top as well. You can start wearing it at any time.
- Bras: the trick with bras is that you should buy them gradually as your boobs grow (and they will!). So don’t be hectic when shopping. There is no point buying 4 bras straight away as you may find a huge difference between week 20, 28 and 34 of your pregnancy. For many expectant mums, even with the small bust, cup goes even three sizes up. However, if you really can’t wait, many maternity bras are stretchable so have a bit of space for your growing boobs; they also conveniently turn to nursing bras.
- Dresses: they are the best for summer, when the heat make us sweat like pigs. I’ve experienced it myself, as my last trimester happened to last through the whole July and August (ironically, that was one of the hottest summers ever recorded in UK). So on that time you definitely want to use as thinnest clothes as possibles. Cotton dresses are the best option as they are breathable and loose; here you will find some cute, nicely designed dresses (also good for breastfeeding your baby).
Look for second hand and outlet clothes
If you really want to save some money and don’t mind wearing second hand piece of clothing, visit charity shops and look for something suitable for you or ask your friends who already had babies, maybe they still keep their maternity clothes on the back of the wardrobe so you can borrow them if you are the same size.
Another option is EBay. There you won’t only find used clothes but also brand new ones with tags on; you can bid on some and pay half price (or less) for the product comparing to the original price from the high street shops.
You will find anything from smart long-sleeved tops (such as this one from New Look) to fancy dresses and maternity jeans from Mothercare (the brand has recently closed down, so you won’t find them on the high street or in an online store anymore).
Start buying bigger size clothes
At some point, in my last stage of pregnancy, I found it pretty annoying that there is a limited choice of nice and not overpriced clothes for expectant mums out there.
So what I started doing (and can definitely recommend) was buying ‘normal’ clothes from high street shops. Not forgetting about hunting for sale, I simply bought few items that were two (or three) sizes bigger than I was before getting pregnant.
Don’t get annoyed though coz not everything will fit on you; some designs of size 12/14 can simply look weird on you if you were an 8 before- too loose in your bust area/ too tight on your growing belly. But I was lucky enough to find a good bargain for larger trousers that would not obstruct my movements, or even a loose dress designed for not pregnant women (yay!). It all depends on your figure really.
Don’t go crazy
Speaking from my own experience, I know how hard is to not to get tempted by buying hundreds of new shirts/ T-shirts/ dresses and trousers since you’ve already outgrown the old ones.
Just remember soon you will be able to squeeze into your old size again, and those new maternity clothes will become useless to you. Especially that you will have your favourite, most comfortable clothes anyway and use them most of the time.
Now get dressed, get out there and glow!
And above all, enjoy your new fashion- it will be trendy only for a while:)
In my previous post I emphasised the importance of supportive shoes for your pregnancy journey. They can make a big difference in your posture and confidence and, therefore, alleviate any back pains you may have from the growing bump.
So here they are – 8 short reviews of the best shoes for pregnant women, my top picks for different weather/season. And you will actually like wearing them as they are not granny-looking-like, yay!
a) Skechers Memory Foam trainers
What is better than typical trainers? Memory foam trainers!
These will serve you not only during pregnancy but long after, they are perfect for getting back into shape when (or if) you find time for the gym workouts! And even if you don’t, they are still great for everyday walks or any other day-to-day errands.
Extra comfort and relief for your swollen feet guaranteed!
- Product colour: Multi (available in other colours too)
- Material type: memory foam+ textiles
- Sole: Synthetics
- Fastening: Lace-ups
b) Keds slip-on sneakers
Must-have for vintage fans! Great for any occasion, whether you are going out to a restaurant or simply going to pick up some groceries.
Keds were invented over 100 years ago and with that long experience the company found loyal customers from all over the world, attracted by comfort and chic style.
Their shoes even appear on feet of Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing movie- now that’s a guarantee of a comfort and satisfaction!
- Style: Fashion Sneaker
- Closure Type: Slip-on
- Sole: Gum rubber
- Heel Type: Low-heel
a) Clarks flip-flops
These ‘higher-end’ version of flip-flops are very comfortable for the feet. They are perfect for expectant mums because they are easy to put on and allow the feet to expand.
The fit is great (got one pair for my tired feet as well), they’re very light and the colour matches loads of clothes. The soles are well padded and the toe posts don’t rub. You can adjust the fit with the Velcro strap which is also useful.
- Product colour: Gold
- Material Type: Leather
- Sole: Gum Rubber
- Hill type: Low-hill
b) Verbenas Pink Espardrilles
If you are a fan of Espadrilles, these cute pair is one of the best you can get on the market. The Verbenas brand is originally produced in Spain, they provide you with a super comfort thanks to leather and foam- like padded soles.
They are also easy to put on, without the need of bending (which we all know suddenly becomes a challenge with a growing bump). The colour is very feminine and neutral so will go with anything you have in your wardrobe.
- Product colour: Pink
- Material type: Leather
- Sole: Gum Rubber
- Closure: Slip-On
Produced in Italy Cipriata shoes is a great choice for classical (and affordable) taste. Made from genuine leather, these ankle boots are a great fit to anything you wear- from casual clothing to office look.
Available in black and brown (tan) colours, these will serve you well during and after pregnancy. Get the desired look without much effort!
- Upper Material:100% Leather
Highly durable, these wellies are a must-have for the rainy autumn days. Available in multi-colours and various design, they are very comfortable and great for swollen pregnant feet.
Made of 100% natural rubber upper with hand-drawn floral prints these wellies are also breathable and have a textile lining; they reach your mid calves so you can be sure your feet won’t get sweaty.
- Natural rubber
- Outer Material: Rubber
- Sole: Synthetic
- Closure: Pull-on
- Heel Type: Block Heel
Is there anything more comfortable on earth than Emu shoes? Although not the cheapest, they are worth the investment. Wearing Emu feels like walking on the clouds thanks to the wool inner material. And they keep you super warm during cold winter days!
I particularly loved the fact they are so easy to put on and being so cozy I didn’t feel like taking them off even at home!
You won’t regret buying them as they will last you for years, thanks to the top quality material. Emu are made with waterproof suede and 100% Australian sheepskin lining. Do you still need more convincing, winter mamas?
- Water proof
- Outer Material: Leather
- Inner Material: Wool
- Sole: Gum Rubber
- Closure: Slip-On
- Heel Type: no-heel
b) Timberland Boots
Perfect for harsh snowy or wet winters, these comfortable Timberland shoes (known from its strong brand) will be a great relief for your swollen feet and provide you with safety when it comes to slippery surface.
They are great for more active women who spend a lot of time outside or have a long commute to work.
They are a bit pricey but worth the investment; available in different shades.
- Material: Suede
- Hill type: No hill
- Soles: Rubber
- Fastening: Lace-up
One more thing…
If you still feel like getting an extra support for your feet, simply buy a pair of so called ‘foot pillows’ or ‘comfy soles’ (depending on a chosen style of your shoes). They are cheap, invisible when put inside and will provide you with an extra comfort when you wear any type of flat shoes.
This kind of gel ‘cushions’ will effectively absorb shock and reduce the pressure felt on your feet – supporting the arches and your heels, plus it will ensure a good shock absorption.
They are great for pregnancy, especially for those of you who are still working or standing longer hours.
Check them out here.
I think that’s all from me for now!
Keep moving mamas:)
Back pain during pregnancy, especially once you hit the third trimester, is a common problem among women. And there is nothing really surprising about that- you are inevitably getting heavier and the growing baby bump is pushing your posture down. What’s more, the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch preparing you for labour. This can overburden the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which ultimately causes back pain.
But fear not, there are many ways to alleviate this pain and make your daily life a bit more bearable.
Here are some of my suggestions:
Exercise as much as possible
There are loads of good exercises for your back in pregnancy. The best ones are stretching and strengthening exercises, such as yoga and/or pilates; doing them regularly will definitely eliminate the pain.
Good ones are core exercises which strengthen your back. One of my favorite without the need of any equipment is called Bird Dog- it will stabilize your back and give the relief you are looking for.
How to do it:
- Go onto all fours (hands and knees)
- Create slight tension in your abdomen
- Extend one arm out in front at the same time extending the opposite leg to the back (hold this position for about 8-10 seconds and repeat on the other side)
Another great and pleasurable type of sport/ exercise is swimming. It’s not only safe for you and your baby but also relaxing (since you will feel much lighter in the water than you actually are). It works out every muscle in your body and on top of that it can reduce swelling of your feet and ankles.
Also, makes sure you walk a lot, don’t stand or sit in one position for a long time. Going for a walk in the park is a great option in those last weeks of pregnancy, especially in those days when you don’t feel like doing any work out at all. If you are still working and it’s a desk job, make sure your feet are elevated from time to time and you go outside for a lunch breaks so that you could stretch those overloaded joints.
Keeping the right posture
The right posture is one of the most important things during your pregnancy. Obviously your belly will keep ‘pushing’ your posture down so it’s not always as easy as it sounds.
However, pay attention to keeping as good posture as possible as it will reduce the pressure on your spine.
- keep your back straight and knees bent when you reach for something from the floor
- avoid lifting heavy objects
- when carrying shopping bags makes sure you’ve got 2 of them to balance the weight out
- avoid tilting your head- this will keep your head and neck in the upright position
- when sitting keep your knees straight and don’t cross your legs
- good support for your back when sitting at work or at home is essential – you can use couple of normal pillows or look for maternity support pillows.
- you would be surprised how a good fitted bra changes your pregnancy back issues so makes sure you get the right one for yourself. Ask the shop assistant for help if needed.
These are so important and invaluable when you have gained few (or more like a dozen) of pounds! I’m sure you’ve already heard about the possibility of your feet growing (or rather swelling) to even a full size up. Although it’s rather difficult to avoid the swelling itself you can make your feet and ankles feel more grateful if you chose the right footing.
Say goodbye high-heels (I’ve never been a fan of them anyway) and say hello to low-heeled shoes, flats and flip-flops with a good arch support. These will assure your spine is aligned and well-supported.
Shoe inserts can also turn out to be helpful.
Here is my review of top shoes I found to be useful while I was pregnant.
There is nothing like a good massage for tired muscles. And having it done while you’re pregnant is a heaven for your aching back, stiff shoulders or sore hips. It will also improve your mood and get those endorphins flowing around your body, making you feel like a newborn again.
You can choose a spa that offers massages specifically for future mums which means the therapists taking care of you will have a special training for dealing with pregnant women.
You could also ask your partner to gently massage your back while you sit. Combine it with some relaxation techniques such as meditation or relaxation music and you will feel much better in a blink of an eye.
Back support during day and night
Sleeping on your side, especially left side, with your knees bent and a pillow between them is the best option for pregnant women. There’s no such thing as too many pillows in late pregnancy! Try different variations: you can use pillows under your belly, between your legs, and also behind your back.
You should avoid sleeping on your back in the third trimester; the reason being is that that position puts pressure from your enlarged uterus onto your spine, back muscles and major blood vessels which can decrease blood flow around your body and to your baby.
The best comfort will give you specially designed pregnancy/maternity pillow which supports your back, belly, and legs during rest or sleep, also giving you a proper back support in sitting positions.
I haven’t tried any myself however some women swear on this method and there is enough research suggesting that acupuncture might help to get rid of lower back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture uses fine needles to stimulate specific pressure points in the body that correspond with various systems of physical and emotional health. This method supposed to eliminate any blockages that are obstructing smooth flow of the body’s energy, ultimately improving health and ease any pain (including back) symptoms. Make sure you tell your practitioner that you’re pregnant when arranging an appointment.
Another solution is aromatherapy. Having a warm (but not hot) bath with just a few drops of lavender oil (and maybe some candles around you) is something you will genuinely be grateful for. Guaranteed you will feel an improvement after that as combination of warm water and gorgoeus essence will relieve your muscle tension, pain triggered by stress or fatigue, and soothe your pacing mind.
Rest, rest, rest
So, apart from staying active, using the right footing or pampering yourself at a spa, what is equally important for the back pain is rest. In the third trimester you will hopefully stop working and stay at home, preparing for your little one’s arrival.
But we all know that staying at home doesn’t necessarily mean being lazy. You will have hands full with cleaning the house, washing and ironing baby clothes, preparing the nursery room or doing the last minute shopping. On top of that you still eat for two so you spend some time in the kitchen, working on your cooking skills!
Just remember that rest in this time is essential for you and your baby. Sleep at least 8 hours during the night and have an afternoon nap if you feel tired- you deserve it like nobody else. When I was in my last weeks of pregnancy, I slept until 10 am most of the days and then I still slept one or two hours during the day as I felt like I won’t have that opportunity once my baby girl is here. And guess what- I’m glad I did because the sleep deprivation in those early weeks is not a myth (unfortunately). And having that extra rest is also good way of keeping up your energy levels for the labour day!
Insomnia during pregnancy is something very common and very annoying, especially in the 3rd trimester. Your growing belly (you never thought your skin can stretch to these measures did you?) unables you to find a comfy position, the baby is constantly moving and pressuring on your bladder, forcing you to get up at least twice during the night to pee. On top of that you are already aware that once the baby is here you will not sleep much anyway; so how is that fair that you need to fight with the insomnia right now as well?
The only solution I found for those sleepless nights was buying a good pregnancy pillow. It supports your back and front, making space for the belly and gives you the comfort you are looking for.
There is so much choice out there it might be hard to decide which pillow will do the job. Here are my 5 picks based on reviews of other pregnant friends! All available on Amazon.
Number 1: Chicco Boppy Total Body Pillow 3 in 1
This pregnancy pillow achieved 4-star rating by its users (with few comparing it to ‘sleeping on the cloud’) and has become the pregnancy favourite for many mums thanks to its multipurpose use. Not only will it enable you to have a proper night’s sleep and get some comfort during the day, but it can also help you breastfeed. It was designed with a physiotherapist to remove any pressure on the spine, so if you’re suffering from so common back-pain, this pillow might be a great solution for you. It consists of three different pieces that can be used together, or separately, with support for the whole body, the head and the shoulders, stomach up to ankles. It’s safe to wash in a washing machine.
- It is designed for left side sleepers (recommended position for pregnant women) so it’s not the best choice if you prefer to sleep on the right side.
- Once the parts of the pillow get unattached you are left with scratchy Velcro.
- Finally, the price is not very attractive; it’s the most expensive from the list below.
- It doesn’t take too much space as other pillows do.
- It is a good quality and actually helps you get a good night sleep once the belly is on your way.
Queen Rose is marked as a best-seller on Amazon, with hardly any bad reviews. This full-body support pillow is made in US and can be also used as a nursing pillow after pregnancy.
The U-shape offers support for your baby bump, back, neck, shoulder, and legs without the need to use other pillows or change sleeping positions. Many say it’s better than the C-shape as it naturally adjusts to your changing body, reduces the leg swelling and improves the blood circulation.
- It is a big pillow so it may be inconvenient for you if you don’t have a king-size bed and difficult to store once you stop using it.
- Couple of reviews say that the pillow doesn’t give as good support as they expected (it may loose its firmness after few months of use). Although the material is pleasant it’s not very breathable and apparently can make you sweat at night.
- Multipurpose use: for pregnancy support or to reduce heartburn, back pain and swelling in pregnancy, for breastfeeding and nursing but also for a relaxation time at home, such as reading or watching TV. It is also great to use by anyone else as a body pillow support to relief pain either after an operation or if you suffer from a chronic body pain ( so you can maybe give it to your grandpa when you don’t need it anymore?).
- Great quality: 100% pure velvet pillowcase (removable and washable), very pleasant to use.
Number 3: Summer Infant Body Support Pillow
This pillow is shaped like a 9 and designed to provide full-body support from your head, through your legs and around your back.
Post-pregnancy, it can be used as a pillow for baby’s tummy time (when he/she is ready to practice that neck and shoulder muscles), ‘converted’ into toddler’s reading chair (when your baby learns how to stay in a sitting position) or mum’s feeding pillow.
- It is quite big so takes some space on the bed (making your partner unhappy).
- May be too hard for people who are used to sleeping on very soft pillows.
- Some reviews claim the pillow is not the best quality- too narrow and not firm enough.
- Best used as a back and tummy support for growing bump while you’re pregnant, but also suitable as a breastfeeding pillow or a support for the baby.
- The soft cotton cover is removable and washable.
Number 4: ClevaMama
Clevacushion 10 in 1 Nursing Pillow – Maternity and Baby Cushion
This pillow can be used in different combinations, from pregnancy stage to a moment your sweet pie arrives. Focusing on pregnancy, the pillow is made of memory foam so it adjusts naturally to your back plus has adjustable straps to fit your waist, giving you well- deserved comfort and enabling extra support and stability for future feeding. It’s a good choice if you want a product that will last for more than few months (for a baby it may last even until s/he’s 2 years old).
- It is more of a back-support pillow when it comes to using it during pregnancy. You can put it between your legs when you’re sleeping as well but it’s not a whole body pillow.
- The best choice when you want to keep using the pillow once your baby is here: good material, comfortable and sturdy; also many colours to chose from and has extra toys attached to it.
- Great if you stay a lot in a sitting position during your pregnancy.
- Multipurpose- mums swear it’s the best for feeding your little one; it is also a great pillow for a safe play time (perfect for tummy time for younger babies and a great ‘nest support’ for sitting babies) as well as useful to keep the baby comfy in the stroller or in a bouncer.
Last but not the least is this shaped- like- a- 9 pillow, that has won my heart but also many of other expecting mums. I chose to go for it based on ‘Amazon’s choice’ tag and many good reviews from pregnant women. I had a back pain in my third trimester so I found this pillow as a life-savoir.
The Dreamgenii is a whole body pillow that provides back, leg and bump support, and its shape is designed to offer the correct blood flow between you and the baby during sleep.
Once your little one arrives, it can also be used as a feeding support pillow. Different patterns available.
- It doesn’t take up all the space in bed.
- Well-made (100% cotton), it has personally offered me a better, less disturbing night sleep.
- The back support helps you to stay on the recommended left side position for the whole night.
- The pillow is easily rolled to the shape that makes breastfeeding your baby much easier.
- It is designed to lie on your left side so if you turn a lot during sleep you might find it annoying. However, left side sleep is the desirable position for mother and baby.
- There are few reviews claiming the pillow is not suitable for taller women and the fabric is too delicate and rips easily (for me it wasn’t an issue though).
The decision is yours
It was hard to find a pillow (or any other product for that matter) out there with a 100% customer satisfaction. There’s always somebody who will find a flaw. But I assure you, buying any pregnancy pillow will give you some relief.
I hope my post has helped you to make the right choice.
Feel free to leave any comments or your own suggestions about pregnancy pillows:)
Sleep tight mamas!
Preparing for your little one to arrive can be exciting but also daunting at the same time. After all, you are bringing a new life to this world and you need to make sure you are fully ‘equipped’ and ready to be a full time mum.
The list of essentials for a newborn baby may be overwhelming, especially for mums who are on a lower budget. But what is absolutely necessary for you to buy and what can you cross out from your list for now?
Essentials that you will need to look for
There are certain things that you just need to buy, paying attention to the quality, as some items you will have for longer period.
The list includes:
- a crib/ a cot- when you do your research you will most likely find out that the best-seller for newborns in this category is Next2me crib. The cheapest place to get it would be on Amazon. And while it is a great cot with so many good reviews, keep in mind that it will only last you (or rather your baby) for about 6 months. This cot is designed to be installed next to your bed so that you will have easy access to your little one when he/she awakes in the night. And it’s an amazing thing for those few months when the baby cries a lot; you don’t even have to stand up to breastfeed, your baby will feel you’re close and maybe even sleep better (but don’t set your hopes too high!). It is particularly a good cot if you are travelling as it doesn’t take much of a space.
However, I think it’s a bit pricey (considering it will only serve you for a few months). There are other cribs out there that have a similar price and are adjustable according to your child’s age. So, apart from having an option of 2/3 different heights, you could convert it into a bed when your little one grows up. Some cribs also enable you to take one side off and simply put it next to your bed so you can get the same luxury of having your baby close to you. They will be bigger than the Next2me ones, but at least will last you for way longer (up to 3-4 years).
I bought a really great and affordable convertible crib from Amazon together with a mattress. I took out one side of the rail for the first couple of months so I could be next to my baby girl; co -sleeping literally saved my life! I couldn’t imagine getting up 10 times during the night and constantly bending to pick her up and breastfeed.
Don’t forget to find a matching bedding set, always check if it has the same measurements as the mattress. Also, what turned out to be useful was the waterproof mattress protector; the baby may sometimes make the bedding wet for obvious reasons, even through the nappy.
- a pushchair- another very important item for a new mummy. There are tons of pushchairs out there, making it hard to chose a good one. Many of them are really expensive but then you get what you pay for: convertible, small, not too sturdy, light and easy to operate. The cheaper pushchairs probably won’t be as functional as those more expensive ones but if you’re on a budget they’ll do the job as well.
It’s always better to have a look on the high street first before you decide to buy one on Amazon or eBay. Prepare yourself though: the prices may terrify you (in many shops you’ll find fancy pushchairs for up to £1000), but you won’t necessarily go out there to make the purchase but rather to decide which attributes of the product are the most important for you.
Look for pushchairs that are not too heavy and don’t take much of a space, especially if you live in a small flat. It is also important that the pushchair converts from lying down position for those early months to sitting down, (or even better if it includes a carrycot) facing both front and back, and it should ideally include a car seat as well, making it a proper travel system just like the one I had from Jane brand.
For me a big deciding point was also having a quite spacious basket as I don’t own a car and most of the shopping I did with my daughter in the pram.
What I would advise you, if you can’t imagine spending that big amount of money on a new travel system, is to ask your friends who already have babies. They might be willing to sell it to you for a good price or at least lend it (if it’s still in a good condition) .
That’s exactly what I did, not wanting to spend much at the beginning, I got a travel system from a friend, knowing that I want to save money for a proper stroller once my daughter gets bigger.
Here you will find a separate post with my honest review about my Bugaboo Bee 5 stroller.
Another option is to look on eBay, where there are loads of good-looking and affordable travel systems like this one here. (However, I can’t really recommend it as I’ve never tested it).
You can also decide to go for a second hand one. Just make sure you see it before you buy it, so collection in person is always the best choice. After all, you will be the one pushing it all day long!
- a car seat (if you’re not opting for a typical travel system)- it’s always best to buy a new one as the second hand can have a fault that is not visible and you won’t be able to check it yourself. Look for group 0+ and the Isofix base; the Maxi Cosi seems to be one of the top car seat brands when it comes to safety and durability
- changing mat/mattress – look for one with edges so when you will be changing your baby he/she wouldn’t roll over like this one here
- nappies and nappy wrappers- no need to comment on this one!
- nappy bin- this was a life-saver for me in those early weeks when the baby’s diaper was constantly full of rather unpleasant surprises. I did not consider it as an essential until I got one; it will prevent you from making trips to the bin outside the house every 3 hours as the odour stay inside this Angelcare nappy disposal system.
- baby clothes- don’t go crazy with them! It’s true that babies will need to get their clothes changed 2-3 times a day but remember they grow so fast you won’t even notice when they’ve outgrown them. But hey, I know you can’t resist buying these cute little outfits and dresses once in a while; after all, your peanut needs to look pretty on those pictures! So go for it but don’t overdo it (or you’ll end up with wardrobe full of unused baby clothes).
What you really need is about 12-14 body suits and sleeping suits(all-in-ones); maybe less if you are planning to wash them often (about 5 pieces of the newborn size and 7 pieces of 0-3 months size). The season your baby will be born indicates if you should opt for long or short sleeved type (or you can choose to have both).
Another items are: a hat, a cardigan if it’s an autumn/winter baby and couple of socks to keep those tiny feet warm.
- baby bath and a couple of soft towels-
there are simple plastic baths available everywhere, but if you have a bath at home I recommend going for a Soft Touch Bath Support designed by Angelcare. You can get it again from Amazon for a good price; it’s much more convenient to store as it’s smaller than the plastic baths. More importantly, the task of bathing your baby gets easier as this product gives a proper support for the little body, giving more freedom to your hands.
- baby gentle shower gel and lotion- you will actually need this few weeks later (since you’re not supposed to give a bath to your baby for about first 2 weeks until the belly button gets cleared). I love the Mustela brand- its smell is addictive!
- muslin squares- absolute essential, get at least 10-12 as you will use and wash them all the time
- baby blanket/ swaddling blanket– you will need it (or rather your newborn will!) on the day you leave the hospital
- baby sling/ baby carrier- such a great thing for you and your baby. Makes your life so much easier: enables you to run your daily errands (as your hands are free) and, at the same time, helps you to connect with your baby while his/her head rests on your chest. Your little one can literally sleep on you when you’re making lunch or you need to get out of the house to get some groceries. What a blast!
Again, Amazon has a wide range of (affordable) choice- have a look at one of the best sellers. If you love outdoors, and so does your baby, opt for a baby carrier; I wrote about the ergonomic carrier in my other post.
- bottles – useful to have when breastfeeding and expressing, especially when you need to go out and leave the baby with daddy or grandma. I used Tommee Tippee brand as their teats resemble mothers’ nipple so if your baby is a fussy one this should do the trick
- dummies- for soothing your crying baby ( although my daughter hated them since the beginning)
- nail scissors- you’ll be surprised how fast those tiny nails grow!
- thermometer- absolute essential, you never know when your peanut gets fever (hopefully not too often). Make sure it’s FDA approved
- cotton wool pads or water baby wipes– they are better than the regular baby wipes for these first months as they’re more soft on the skin (but most fragrance free wipes will be okay)
- nipple cream- it brings you a huge relief for those first weeks of breastfeeding. Lansinoh is a well-known brand for all breastfeeding essentials.
Things that are useful but not so necessary
- Changing table- you don’t really need it as you can change your baby’s diaper anywhere else: on the bed, on the chest of drawers etc. As long as you have a changing mattress you’ll be fine.
- Changing bag- some good pushchairs include a nappy/changing bag but if your one doesn’t then you can use any larger bag that you already own. The proper changing bags are obviously better as they have divided space for each baby item but if you want to save money, a normal bag will do its job.
- Baby bouncy chair- useful but not necessarily needed, many babies actually don’t like it (because of the unsettling vibrations or music). If you are having just one baby, you should manage to entertain him/her without buying this ‘toy’. However, if you want to try there are loads of rocky chairs available on the internet which are not expensive, ranging from £25-35 (unless you chose a fancy one that looks like a tiny spaceship and can be connected to the Bluetooth like 4mums mamaRoo). I decided to buy a baby rocker to my daughter called Nuna Leaf because it is not vibrating, just moving left and right (it doesn’t require any batteries and doesn’t have to be plugged in so it’s a big plus). The new one was too expensive for me and I got a used one for half the original price from Ebay; and I’m glad I did as we were not using it too long.
- Baby monitor- unless you live in a big house, it’s not essential. You will be able to hear your baby crying from the other room if you live in a flat. Besides, those first months and sleepless nights you will most likely spend in your child’s room anyway.
Another tip I can give is throw a baby shower! Traditionally, few weeks before your due date you can invite your friends who will bring you plenty of useful gifts for the arrival of your baby. Prepare a ‘baby wish list’ beforehand and show it to your girlfriends so that they would know what you actually need, instead of them guessing what’s necessary and getting you something that you already have.
I am not saying use your friends to buy you staff but don’t be ashamed to ask for help. After all, they will soon become aunties for your little one and if they are close to you they will be present in your baby’s life forever. That’s why I am sure your true friends will be more than happy to help.
There are certain things that you can buy second-hand or cheaper online rather than on a high street. However, it’s good to browse on the high street first just to see what qualities are important to you and if you can find alternatives on the internet.
And while I’m a supporter of reusing staffs such as the stroller or baby clothes from your friends/ family, the thing that you should not save money on is the crib as well as the mattress. It’s crucial for your baby’s sleep so make sure they are both new and have all the safety standards.
If you are struggling financially by the end of seven months of your pregnancy but you are still working, what I would suggest is to get a credit card (check if you are eligible first). Find one with lower interest, but make sure you will be able to pay the balance each month as you don’t want to end up being charged for late payments. The right credit card will give you the boost of cash you need for all your baby essentials as well as build your credit score (important for the future if you are planning to get a mortgage one day!)
If you are close to your due date, check out my other post to see what you should pack in your hospital bag.
Can you think of any other essentials for the arrival of your baby?
Let me know in the comments below!
Take care mamas:)
Would you like to know if it’s a boy or a girl kicking inside of your womb? You can play games with your partner and predict the sex of your unborn child, according to some old tales, or wait for the professional opinion.
So when can you find out the gender of your baby?
The sex of your baby is usually determined between 18-20 weeks of your pregnancy and you can find it out from the second ultrasound. The accuracy is never 100%, however with the advanced equipment technicians have these days, it is rare to make a mistake.
Ultrasound- your first scan at 12 weeks
In England, your first scan, called dating scan, is available for you through NHS at about 8-14 weeks.
Although you should see your GP as soon as you’ve found out you’re pregnant (they will assign you a midwife), most local hospitals will not book your scan appointment until you reach 12 weeks pregnant. This is because miscarriages are not uncommon in the first trimester of the pregnancy ( so the hospital ultrasound department basically just wants to save money- surprise, surprise).
Therefore, the waiting time for your first scan can be irritating. But be patient; this scan is something to look forward to as it will be your first insight into how your peanut looks like. When you finally get to that room, the scan lasts for only about 20 min.
Things that will be checked during the dating scan:
- how far pregnant you are and what’s the estimated date of delivery
- whether it’s only one baby in your womb
- if the baby is growing in the right place and if it’s developing in the right way
- baby’s heartbeat
- whether you agreed to the screening : an estimated risk of a Down syndrome your baby may be born with (this is called a ‘combined test’)- you may have to wait outside of the room for a few minutes to get the results.
Second ultrasound at 20 weeks
The other offered scan, called an anomaly scan, will take place between 18-21 weeks of your pregnancy. This scan checks for structural abnormalities in the baby.
This is a chance for you to see your little one for the second time, this time with many more details as the baby is bigger and its parts more visible to you. Moreover, the sonographer will take more time to examine the baby, giving you chance to peak at her/him from different angles.
If you’re lucky you may be able to even notice your baby moving its legs or arms! The sonographer will zoom the baby’s different developing body parts and the inner organs such as heart, lungs and brain. At the end you will be given some printed pictures of your baby that you can keep with you. However, in some places there might be a charge for the service (still worth it if you ask me).
Your second scan usually allows you to get to know your baby’s sex. Make sure you tell the sonographer at the start of the scan that you wish to find out. Also, keep in mind that there is no such thing as 100% accuracy when it comes to discovering the gender. It may happen that your baby is lying in an awkward position, making it difficult or even impossible to tell.
In addition, some hospitals have a strange policy of not telling patients the sex of their baby. Ask your sonographer or midwife to avoid disappointment.
Pros and cons of finding out the gender
Finding out the gender of your baby is a very individual decision so make sure you (and your partner) are not pressured by your family members or friends.
1. Some benefits of knowing whether it’s a boy or a girl:
- Bonding with your baby. You can start creating positive scenarios about you and your child, for example if you know it’s a boy you will imagine yourself playing football with him or, if it’s a girl, playing with dolls.
- Choosing the name. Knowing the gender of your baby allows you to pick a name earlier and start calling your little one by name even when she’s still inside of you. This helps you, again, to bond with your unborn child.
- Preparing the nursery. Being aware of the sex of your baby simply makes your life easier when you think of redecorating that room- painting the walls blue or pink? Choosing curtains with Disney princesses or Spider-man? Same when it comes to clothing- after all you need to buy few essentials for your newborn, such as bodysuits. And yes, you can buy neutral colour of those tiny clothes but let’s face it- it’s much more exciting to shop for something that has cute pink hearts or imprinted cars than just choosing boring white
- Enough of surprises. If you got pregnant unexpectedly, the last thing you want is to get another surprise and be guessing for the whole 9 months who is residing your womb. You’ll be better off prepared. And let’s face it- even if you say it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl as long as it’s healthy ( I was saying that for quite a long time), your mind is subconsciously settled for one or another!
2. Benefits of NOT finding out the gender:
- Can be fun. For some people it’s more exciting to wait and play guessing games with your partner or friends and family. Plus, you get to stay ‘old-school’- you grow a baby and stay in that oblivious state just like women in times before the technology became so advanced. The moment you find out will be, undeniably, one of the most amazing things you’ll ever hear in your life!
- Can be a bigger incentive to push. When the time comes, the mother’s deep curiosity held for so long can enhance her motivation to push. She will be desperate to hear those words in the delivery room: ‘it’s a boy’ or ‘it’s a girl’!
- You won’t be misinformed. Imagine they told you during your scan that it’s a girl and you did everything accordingly to that gender, from preparing pink crib and cute little dresses to having only one settled name in your head. And then suddenly, when your baby finally arrives, you get to know that it’s actually a boy! Now that’s not the best surprise ever. Not knowing the sex of your baby can prevent you from getting a potential disappointment.
Is there any other scan available to me after the anomaly scan?
If your pregnancy is low-risk and is progressing without any complications, you probably won’t have more scans after 20 weeks.
From that point, your midwife will be looking after your baby’s growth by measuring its, so called, fundal height- the distance from the front of your pelvis to the top of your womb (uterus).
The regular check-up also include:
- measuring your blood pressure
- taking and testing your urine and blood samples
- keeping an eye on your BMI (especially if you gain weight too quickly or too slowly)
However, if any problems or complications occur, you may be sent to conduct some extra scans. And don’t worry: there are no known risks for you or your baby from having an ultrasound scan.
Welcoming your baby
Just by visiting my website I’m sure you already made up your mind about finding out the gender of your little one. So, congratulations to all of you! Finding out the gender, sooner or later, is an unforgettable experience. It makes your pregnancy so much more realisitc and joyful:)
I’d suggest bringing someone for your scan appointment, especially the one at 20 weeks as you will want to share this moment with a close person. If your partner cannot make it (or is not around), then make sure your mum or a friend can come along- you will feel more supported and calm.
And don’t forget, you should be ready for any outcome if you want your baby’s gender to be revealed; after all, the doctors warn you they can make a mistake.