Now to expand on those a little. At the moment I have a couple of friends that are pregnant for their very first time and have told me that any suggestions are welcome. I figured instead of writing them each separately the identical advice, I would just post it here instead and maybe someone else can benefit from what we have learned as well. I am not thinking that my list is the Be All and End All but they are definitely things that helped us while going through both our pregnancies and having little ones around with a very busy life.

**Disclaimer** I am not a doctor, a lactation consultant, or any sort of health care professional. I am not a rep for any of these products. Do not take this as the only way, its just OUR way, OUR necessity.

1. Hypnobirthing. I know it sounds completely hokey and insane, but it is not about swinging a pendulum in front of your face and being a zombie through your labour. It’s more about the natural aspect of giving birth, getting back to that, and understanding different breathing techniques that can help you at different stages of your labour. It is a quick read and even if the techniques are not for your the first few chapters on the “History” of birthing are very interesting.

2. Bio Oil. I have had two very large pregnancies. Not to say that my babies were huge, although Arias did weigh in at 9lbs at birth, but I managed to gain a good 50 pounds with each pregnancy. A regimented routine of bio oil every morning and night kept me stretch mark free and helped with that itchy feeling that you get when your skin is expanding to an insanely abnormal size.

3. Iron in Prenatals. This is never something that I would have thought to check in to, but lets say that even before my pregnancies things were not always “regular” on the numer 2 front, and so add some pregnancy hormones to that, and a higher dose of iron in normal prenatals and I was struggling to make things run smoothly. Our midwives immediately advised me to switch to natural prenatals and things got better right away. I chose to use SISU prenatals.

4. Cataloguing Your Pregnancy. We took a lot of pictures while I was pregnant with Arias but nothing on a regular basis to show my growth. When Ellia came around we decided to do things differently and we started taking weekly pictures of the pregnancy as well as doing little write-ups of how I was feeling at the time. It is something that I cherish so much and regret we didn’t do it with Arias. I strongly encourage you to catalogue, find your own way, but remember these times whether your pregnancy is going awesome or even less than awesome.

5. Amount of People at the Birth. Now this is not an exact science but our midwives warned us that every extra person you have at your birth you can add on average an extra hour to your labour. They say this is simply due to your subconscious, your inhibitions, and the amount you can relax and concentrate on the labour itself, rather than those around you trying to grab the cutest pics.

6. Birthing Pool. If you have the chance to have your baby in a birthing pool, we can tell you from experience that it is an amazingly helpful thing. But our midwives said, do not enter the birthing pool until you reach that point where if you were in a different you would be asking for pain killers. The pool with relieve the pressure that you are feeling but it will also slow your labour as it will help you relax. If you are not in the full throws of labour getting in the pool too early could just prolong it.

7. Optional Procedures at Birth. Do your homework. Know what is and isn’t mandatory. Know what you want and what you are allowed to refuse or delay. In our case, with both girls we requested not having the goop rubbed into baby’s eyes when they are born, we asked not to do the heel prick until 3 days after, and with Arias we chose not to give her the Vitamin K. With Ellia we gave her the vitamin K as her labour was so insanely quick that there were possibilities of inter cranial bleeding and the Vitamin K would help with her blood clotting. Not everything is mandatory, but if you do not do your homework you wont be able to tell your doctor or midwife what it is you want or don’t want.

8. Lactation Consultant. We had the amazing gift of getting to speak with a Laction consultant before having Arias. We already knew that we would be breastfeeding, and in our case we chose to breastfeed on demand until the girls were ready to wean themselves (both around the age of 2). Something new that we did learn from the lactation consultant was about breastfeeding and drinking alcohol. There are a lot of articles and research out there, but to paraphrase lightly, the way she explained it was that your milk alcohol level will closely parallel your blood alcohol, so if you blow 0.08 (which is legal limit) than your baby is drinking a 0.08% beverage, which is way less than a non-alcoholic beer. Also, your milk goes through the same cleaning process as does your blood and so when you are no longer feeling the alcohol in your system it is no longer in your milk either. Do what you want with this information. Please go and do your own research and make your decision based and how you feel about breastfeeding and drinking. I did not drink at all during both my pregnancies, but once I had given birth I would partake in a drink every now and again. Just be prepared for some weird looks if ever anyone catches you breastfeeding and drinking at the same time (1 because this may mean you may be breastfeeding in public, which many still seem to find disturbing; and 2 because many have not done their homework when it comes to this topic and so immediately deem you a bad mother). 

9. Baby Wearing. We loved carrying the girls around on us, for both the practicality of it and for the extra snuggles that you get while doing it. We had two great baby carriers that I can not recommend enough. The first is our Buddha Baby carrier which is made of a three stretchy pieces of material that we could use to carry the girls on our fronts, our backs, our sides, while they slept, and while they nursed. Lots of people joked about how I always had a growth on me, since we were constantly wearing the girls all wrapped up in this. This is by far the BEST gift we received and the most used baby item we have owned. The second carrier is the Ergo Baby carrier, which is a stiffer material that is great to use when you need some extra support. We use this one, still to this day with our almost 2 year old Ellia, mostly when we go on longer walks or hikes. Go and invest in both these carriers.

10. Co Sleeping. There are many different sleep techniques and advice to teaching your infant to sleep, but most will agree that cosleeping is the best you can do for your child when it comes to bonding and attachment parenting. Yes there are the naysayers that think your baby could die from getting wrapped up in the blankets, or you could roll over your kid. But believe me, you become hyper sensitive when you have a little one in your bed. The main reason we chose to cosleep was more for my sanity. With breastfeeding on demand it was just easier for me to have baby in bed with me, or us, and that way I could nurse and fall back to sleep right away. Yes we do have some very attention spoiled little girls that still sleep with their parents, but it works for us, especially with our lifestyle of living on a boat or out of a hotel. 

Those are some of the things that we learned to be helpful that I wanted to pass along. Some may work for you, or none may, but in the end do what works best for you and your baby, keep your sanity, and enjoy all the ups and downs that come along with being pregnant and having a baby, because you can only be pregnant so many times. Unless you’re the Duggars, they just keep on going.

It’s easy to travel with baby when their bed is your bed
Children should not hold you back, they are accessories to your amazing adventures. Buddha Baby Sling.
Careful: there is a nursing baby in there, or a sleeping one, or nursing and sleeping. Who knows. It’s great. Buddha Baby Sling.
want to hike a waterfall? Ergo Baby.
want to ride a horse? Ergo Baby.
one of the “weeks” we catalogued during my pregnancy with Ellia. The rest can all be found on my FB page.