Getting ready for baby

Preparing for the arrival of a baby is exciting!  Your life is about to change in a major way whether this is baby #1 or #6.  I've found there are a few unique things you can do for yourself, your family and your home that will make the last few weeks of pregnancy more relaxing and help you survive and even thrive in the days after baby comes home.

1.  Get a chair massage (aka take time for yourself):  
Chair massages have been such a great treat for me these last few weeks.  A full prenatal massage is also a great option if you have the time, can find someone with the right table and have the funds, but for me, a 20 minute chair massage once a week has helped me relax and feel "treated" without disrupting my schedule or bank account too much.  I also suggest getting your hair and nails done :)

2.  Practice Yoga:  
Maybe it's because I'm not getting any younger, but this 3rd pregnancy has been tougher on my body and I've been crabbier than ever. Yoga has helped with both the body and mind issues of late pregnancy.  And it's a nice little escape from the rest of the world.

3.  Consider your gut health via probiotics:
When a child is born and when you hold him in those first moments, the baby's gut is colonized with your bacteria so it's important to do your best to make it healthy.  Also hospitals are nasty, germ infested places.  Having a healthy gut helps you to be equipped to fight any bug you might encounter.  Here are some ideas for how to get your gut healthy with probiotics.

4.  Get in the water:
Similar to yoga, being in the water has felt great on my joints.  And there's just something about being in and near water that makes you feel refreshed.  Who doesn't need a refresher after 8-9 months of pregnancy...

5.  Have a "bringing home baby" outfit for yourself:
There will be lots of photos in the first few days and weeks, and most of them will be of the baby, but have someone take some photos of your new family on the day baby comes home.  A nice shot at the hospital or in front of the house is a great keepsake.  Find something you can breastfeed in (if you're choosing to breastfeed) and something loose fitting....there will still be a bump (the Duchess of Cambridge had one, and you will too).  Here are some ideas for cute and comfortable postpartum style.

6.  Buy baskets:
Babies have so much stuff.  Keeping a few extra baskets around the house helps keep that stuff organized.  Toys, dirty clothes, clean clothes, diapers, pads, etc. etc.  Put it in baskets and help keep your sanity.

7.  Prepare for the pain:
You'll be sore after birth.  A former colleague introduced me to the idea of soaking pads in witch hazel, wrapping them in foil and putting them in the freezer.  This will feel great for the first few days home after me!  And on that note, there are serious uterine contractions even days after the baby is born, especially when breastfeeding and especially with each subsequent baby.  Stay on top of your pain meds (if you're taking them) or brace yourself and your family.  I didn't realize this with my second and was wailing on the couch the first night home...thank goodness my mom was there.

8.  Buy gifts for the other children from the baby and vice versa:
My 4 year old has been talking to my belly requesting his new toy for weeks.  The baby will take a lot of their attention away, but they also need to accept that and learn to give and welcome this new little member.  I can't wait for the gift exchange in the hospital!

9.  Think about food and water.
Prepare a few extra meals for the freezer, stock up on trail mix, bars, good cheese, smoked salmon, hard boiled eggs, frozen fruit and veg for smoothies etc.  Most days when you're the only adult in the house, you won't sit down to a meal but maybe grab a handful of trail mix, an apple and some cheese.  And regarding water, your thirst level if nursing will be out of control.  Treat yourself to an extra large glass or stainless container with a straw.  It will be your new best friend!

10.  Consider placenta encapsulation:
If you're worried about postpartum depression, low energy or low milk levels, placenta encapsulation might be a good idea for you.  I've read about this a lot lately and a friend and acupuncturist just told me that she did it and it helped her immensely with energy levels and balanced emotional health.  It's touted to help ward off postpartum depression, balance hormones, increase milk supply and replenish nutrients lost during birth.  I haven't tried this before but am considering it this time around.  This article about placenta encapsulation on For The Love Of is very informative.

Good luck and ENJOY!!!  This will truly be one of the most amazing experiences of you life...soak it all up!

Also, the power of touch: skin to skin contact 

How to get a healthy gut: probiotics

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