LITTLES | Pregnancy Must Haves: Education

Throughout my pregnancy, I kept a running list of the things that helped make my pregnancy more enjoyable. I’ve tried to really pare it down to the must-haves because of course there were dozens of little tips, tricks, people, and products that helped with each changing week!

I’ve categorized the ‘pregnancy must haves’ into three lists: HEALTH, COMFORT & EDUCATION.

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Pregnancy Must Haves: Learn

You didn’t read the baby books?!

To pass the time and attempt to curb the freak outs, we read the baby books. We read the baby websites. We read the baby blogs. We read the baby magazines. We went to the baby classes. We watched the baby DVDs.

We still weren’t ready – but we sure tried! 🙂

Below is a list of resources that we enjoyed and relied on/rely on:

BOOKS & MAGAZINES

Baby 411:
Vaccines, infections, bath time, everythinggggg! This is an easy-to-read baby ‘how-to’ and good to have on hand in the nursery.

Work. Pump. Repeat.:
I just finished this one and really liked it! A fun {honestly!} look at pumping in the workplace {and cars, and trade shows, and airports, etc}. Tips, stories, troubleshooting, hacks, legal rights and insights from women of all professions. I highly recommend this book to all first-time pumping moms.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting:
It’s a classic and nice to have on hand for specific questions you may have. I wish I had read it more, but the format just didn’t keep my interest and I preferred reading their app. I did like their section on labor and delivery though. Okay, so maybe I didn’t rely on it and it shouldn’t have made this list… But it was, like many new parents, the first book we bought the week we found out we were pregnant, and that was just fun 🙂 Then we discovered their iPhone app and that made the book semi-obsolete. Whoops.

Active Birth:
Very very similar to the Emerge Birthing Classes that we took; we read this a couple of weeks before Macy James was born and found it to be a great refresher. Check this book out for natural birth coping techniques and positions. Also, it has some good stretches that you can do while pregnant to prepare for birth. And the 80’s workout fashions in the photographs are great for a laugh. Full spadex body suit. While fully pregnant.

Moms on Call 0-6 Months:
The subtitle is “Basic Baby Care” and that is just perfect! This is like a starter guide to babies. {Keep in mind that I am a new mom and it had been quite some time since I babysat a baby…} Written by two Atlanta moms that are also pediatric nurses, MOC is quite the phenomenon in this area. Everything you absolutely need to know to get through each day, and night!, is in here – and we have had great success with their tips on bed time routine and sleeping environment.

Bringing up Bebe:
The very first baby book that I actually read, and quite possibly my FAVORITE! It was just fun! It reads like a fictional book not an educational resource, as it follows an American woman through her pregnancy and first years as a mom in France. It seems to be more focused on toddler development and discipline, but is still a great read while pregnant!

The Bump:
Great little {literally} magazine with reviews on new and classic baby products and pregnancy health information. Easy to read, fun to dig through, well designed! Their website is also a goodie. The Bump is part of the reputable ‘The Knot’ family – so you know it’s good stuff.

Fit Pregnancy:
Unfortunately this magazine was difficult for me to find, but the ones I read were lovely! I loooove fitness magazines and was excited to check one out that was geared towards this particular season of my life. Helpful to read if you are unsure of what activities and excercise moves are safe for you and your baby.

CLASSES

Emerge, Birthing from Within:
At the recommendation of Whitney Curtis of The Curtis Casa, my husband and I signed up for a four day natural birthing class. Knowing that I really wanted to give birth without the use of pain medication, we knew that we would need to be well versed on other tools to get us through the pain. This class, broken out over the course of a month, was as granola as you can get. But to our surprise, we loved it and got A LOT out of it!

Even though we were constantly reminded that the labor and delivery process is natural, the teachers took it seriously reminding us that birth is a big deal. There is still plenty of mental and physical preparation that should happen, and most importantly, in labor you are not alone. Women all over the Earth are doing this every minute of every day. ‘340,000 women will be in labor with you’ was written on the wall. We were encouraged to find inner strength through many different exercises and the importance of a strong and loving birth partner were of the upmost importance. {In case you were wondering, my birth partner – my husband Josh – was so incredibly outstanding. I still thank him to this day for all that he did to help Macy and I get through labor. We may consider putting his services up for hire as a birth partner – haha}

What we both really enjoyed is how they explained labor and birth. Exactly what to expect, in just about every scenario. You were truly able to visualize yourself in different situations and think through how you would {and could} react before these moments became a reality. They stressed that your birth will very likely not go the way you ‘planned’ but that you can adapt and continue to ‘make the next best decision’ to get your baby safely from womb to world {now there’s a good book title!}.

We learned a lot, about the life growing inside me, what it would take within us both to welcome her into the world, and the options that you have as parents and parents-to-be during birth. We drew labyrinths, we practiced making labor sounds {for real}, we submerged our hands into ice water many many times, and we watched some ‘whoa’ birth videos. This class isn’t for everyone for sure, but for Josh and I, it was a fulfilling experience.

ONLINE

Babyli.st:
The baby product market is like WHOA! There is soo much! When it came to registering, my head was spinning with the dozens and dozens of options for everything from swaddles to bottles and cribs to strollers. And everythingggg in between, why are there so many baby shampoos. Babyli.st became a major resource for me – not only is it a fun way to register, they also allow you to peek in on sample themed registries like eco baby, city baby, budget baby, American-made baby, celebrity baby, etc. I actually ended up finding baby product research to be super super fun!!! Check out my registry here to see the products we ended up trying. I’ll do a post soon on my favorite registry items too.

Pregnant Chicken:
This girl is funny! And THANK GOODNESS for that! Pregnancy and babies can be {read: are} so dang scary and overwhelming; the humor in this blog is refreshing and allows for much-needed belly bump laughs. Check her out for product reviews, the ‘is it safe?’ list and a hilarious week-by-week pregnancy calendar.

Lucy’s List:
I have to admit that it wasn’t until after our baby was born that we started to enjoy this site. Her weekly baby development/postpartum emails have been extremely useful and offer amazing insight and education on what in the world is going on with your body and your baby’s. Tip: read ahead! She also has some good baby product reviews and breaks down the difference between the billions of different mechanisms you can put your baby in for sleeping, playing and eating.

Parents Magazine:
Another one that we love more post-pregnancy than during, this site and their newsletters {and magazine!} cover the gamut of all things baby, mommy and daddy.

Birthing Naturally:
Planning on {or still thinking about} going all natural during labor and delivery? Check out this site for sample birth plans, laboring positions, the holistic stages of labor, and other coping techniques to help get you through it! The site is very well organized and makes for a wonderful reference tool to brush up on your “we are about to do what again???” in those final days/weeks. If you like the information you find on this site, you will likely love a class like Emerge, Birthing from Within and the Active Birth book.

Baby Chick:
This site was right up my alley! She posts only the things you actually need to know. I loved her trimester-specific product lists and her blog posts filled with useful tips for preparing for a natural birth. She even helped me write my birth plan, such a nice girl! She’s a must read for sure!

Scary Mommy:
A ginormous collection of articles and blog posts; both silly and serious, this can be a fun site to get lost in during those sleepless nights. Following them on Facebook seems to be the easiest way to see what’s going on in the baby and parenting world.

Mini Magazine:
All the beautiful things about babies in one equisetly designed digital magazine. Interviews with mommy celebrities and entrepeneurs, information on the very latest and stylish products, interesting and original articles on parenthood, and glimpses into some drop dead gorgeous nurseries. Bookmark their site and visit frequently! {Please hire me!}


APPS

Each Sunday, Josh and I would wake up with such excitement to see how big our baby was now! Just one app wouldn’t do, so we used three! 🙂

The Bump:
We found this app had the most applicable information week to week during pregnancy. We loved the little to-do lists, the additional articles if you wanted to read more and I found this to be the easiest place to archive those weekly bump pics. Plus, the interface is clean and intuitive.

Ovia:
The ‘bougie’ pregnancy app as my friends called it. No where else can you track your growing baby’s size in comparison to Parisian baked goods {my favorite}, weird-but-cute animals, fun & games {think game boys and Lego men}, and a not-so-classic version of fruits & vegetables {at some point your baby will be the size of a tart kumquat and then a Belgian endive, lovely!}. Also, this app has an ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE feature that lets you see the approximate size of your growing baby’s hand!

What to Expect:
It’s a classic. Tried and true information. And another way to see what size fruit or vegetable your baby is this week… Because we all need that. ?


DVD

Happiest Baby on the Block DVD:
The 5 S’s work for us! Well… some of them… Some of the time… 😉 Save time and watch the DVD instead of reading the book. And enjoy the fashions of the eighties… Whew.

And a final little note…

Very quickly into our 9-month journey to Macy James, Josh and I found that we love love love to learn about babies. We were fascinated by pregnancy. The way that a woman’s body is able to sustain and grow another life is a work of art, a miracle, a blessing from God. And the things that the body can do to bring baby safely into the world… There are no words for that incredible feat. Pregnancy is natural, and much of it may come instinctually {like labor, delivery and parenthood}. We listened to and continue to listen to our hearts and our bodies to guide us, but there is truth in the saying that ‘knowledge is power.’ So, we believe in some good ole fashioned {and fun!} research.

This was my very favorite list to put together. I started it very soon after we found out we were expecting and added to it often out of a personal need to not forget ‘where did I read that?’ And ‘oh, thats good to know!’ {I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to preserving these resources}

As I finish this post, our little first born is entering into the ‘infant’ stage. No longer a newborn {tear stained keyboard}, but still very very new to us. Those first three months were the hardest times and the happiest times that we have ever experienced and that happy/hard train doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. 🙂 I’ll try to continue to post about the people, places, things, and resources that help us get through each day. It takes a village, and while I am MOST thankful for the family and friends around me, I still give a strong high-five of solidarity to the parent-baby community that helps us learn, laugh and love.

Amanda Macy

//  SHOP MY FAVORITES HERE  //

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