You are pregnant
Getting ready for your new role as a mom
First of all, with early pregnancy, you may not feel pregnant yet, but your little one or ones are definitely going through major growth and development changes. Therefore, you want to be careful to read books about your new journey of being a parent, how to protect yourself as a pregnant mom, and when in doubt, call your health care provider. As a gentle reminder, please take your prenatal vitamins. They are loaded with folic acid, which prevents birth defects. You can start taking them either before you get pregnant if you are planning this pregnancy or when you find out that your test is positive. Also, check with your OB-GYNE if you are on antidepressives. There are many ones that are perfectly fine with pregnancy and don’t interfere or damage your little baby. In fact, it is better for your health to take them if they are prescribed instead of skipping them. Those medications build up a blood level, so you don’t want to take them sometimes and not take them when you don’t feel like it. If you have a mood disorder or are depressed, which many women do, you have a higher chance of having postpartum depression, which involves an in-depth visit with your health provider or Hopeful Beginnings to determine if you have this. It is very much a treatable situation with medication and counseling. We do the counseling, free, and you see your health care provider for your prescription. Again, the medications that are prescribed for you are not dangerous to you or your baby if you are breastfeeding. We are asking you to eat nutritiously and as fresh as you can. If you need help with accessing the Link card or need to know about Food Pantries, we are an excellent resource for you to find these out in the areas where you live. We can also advise you on Medicaid and the Link Card as well as other governmental help. The government still offers a free phone for those women who are deemed to be eligible for one. That is why Hopeful Beginnings has Social Workers. They have a comprehensive background in Family Systems as well as governmental agencies to help and your various neighborhood resources. We also have a bilingual Spanish counselor and Executive Director. Whatever program you need to access, and if you are bilingual, we can help!
Drinking plenty of milk or almond milk or even taking calcium supplements can help you maintain your own bones and teeth while baby pulls from your supply. You can prevent osteoporosis and your teeth will last longer. Don’t forget to go to the dental hygienist for an every 6-month cleaning and check-up. If you need to have dental work, this is the time. Just be sure to tell your Dental Professional that. You are pregnant. They will offer you a weighted apron as to shield the baby from the Xrays. The lead in the apron will not allow the radiation to get through to the baby as well as protect your thyroid, chest and pelvic cavity. Your gums are very important during this time. They may tend to bleed during pregnancy and listening to the directions of your dental hygienist will be truly beneficial. Brushing, flossing, and using the water pick is a definite yes, especially during this time. You want to protect yourself from permanent dental and gum issues for the rest of your life. If you are on Medicaid, if you call your case worker, they can give you a list of dentists that take this insurance in your area.
What you are going to need before the baby is born. First and foremost, you will need a car seat for your child. Those need to be chosen very carefully. No baby can leave the hospital without a certified car seat that has a current date, not expired, or one that has been in an accident. They have a date stamped somewhere on the car seat. A new car seat is always the best if possible.
You also have to make a decision if you want the stroller to be a part of the car seat or you want the car seat to be completely independent of the stroller. With twins, you may want to have the seats side by side instead of one child in the front and one child in the back. Side by side promotes a relationship between the two little ones. It is also helpful to get a basinet for baby to sleep in. Some people like all of the frills and lace while others want something sleek. There is a model that is great that the bottom slides under the bed so the bed portion sleeps right next to Mama. If you are truly in the market for a car seat, stroller, and bassinet, there is a model where all three come into one. It depends on the needs that you have, the size apartment or home that you have, and your budget. A Pack and Play is always a good piece of equipment when you visit friends or family and is a safe place for baby to take a nap in. You can even bring the baby’s intercom/video to wherever you go. It makes it convenient for you to feel comfortable during baby’s nap. The intercom is ideal with the video to actually see what baby is doing. My thing was always, when it is too quiet, but heard them getting into mischief, get running!
When a baby is ready to go from the bassinet to the crib, it is important to have the baby sleep in an empty crib. No blankets, bumper pads, stuffed toys, and hanging mobiles. A bed is meant for sleeping. There have been too many instances of choking, and accidents happen with all of the above. I know that your moms and grandma’s always tell you that you were raised with all of those toys and you worked out ok, but please be aware of the research. Go ahead and start Googling! Check out, “What to Expect when expecting”. It is my Bible that changes as the research does. You can get your copy in the library, amazon, even Good Will, Garage Sales, etc. They also have a book on Nutrition, “What to eat when you are expecting.” What to Expect During the First Year” is Excellent, and “What to Expect the Toddler Years.” It is definitely on my recommendation list.
It is also important to remember that you don’t give your baby a bottle of formula or juice to go to bed with. There is a syndrome called Baby Bottle Syndrome in which the baby’s teeth actually turn black and rot. One hopes that it does not affect the Adult teeth. If you must give a bottle, nursery water would be the preferred liquid.
Now, as cribs go, please don’t get influenced by the furniture stores. Yes, you want to pick a crib ahead of time, but remember that you will probably be using a bassinet when you first bring the baby home. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your baby should have outgrown their bassinet by six months old. How do I know if my baby is ready to sleep in their room? Sleeping alone is a huge milestone in an infant’s life. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in their development. So, I’ve seen plenty of salespeople try and influence people to buy their crib immediately. If you need to budget for it, start doing so when you find out that you are pregnant. Remember that an expensive crib is just as comfortable as one from Target. Please do not get your crib from a garage sale. There is certain information that you should check on such as how many inches between the slats, etc.
Please remember to dress baby as you dress yourself. I have always loved babies and children and have been surrounded by them in my professional life. I see small children with sleeveless little dresses with no sweater or jacket on when both mom and dad have coats on. You do need to make certain that the baby is not too cold or not too hot. Although we all dream about buying beautiful baby clothing, it is not a fashion show. If the baby is still crawling, then please choose pants for baby whether it be a boy or girl, or buy knee pads to protect their little knees that rub against the floor. If it’s windy outside, please put a hat on the little one. Bare feet are great at the beach, but not in chilly weather. If you would wear a coat, please have baby do the same. If it is hot and scorchy outdoors, please protect the baby’s head and body from the sun. You can put a cover over their stroller to provide protection. They have very delicate skin and it’s up to us as parents to do that.
Look into your park district’s programs for babies and toddlers, such as Moms and Tots, Swimming lessons, and other fun things for both of you to meet other moms to socialize. If this is your first baby, there are lots of things to learn. Sometimes, your church has activities that you can join to provide stimulation, education, and socialization for you and your baby. Your local Library can help, as well. There is story time and other activities that are available for you to choose. We are blessed in this area to have so many resources that serve moms and children. Check out your local high school, as they might have a preschool program, your local community college also has daycare services while you take a class. Sometimes word of mouth from friends, your health care provider, or someone you trust is helpful. For women who have been professionals all of their life, it is difficult to acclimate to being a mom. Hopeful Beginnings has a wonderful program called “Transitioning to Motherhood”. You see your social worker once a week and she gives you ideas of things to be involved with. You are never alone when you are in one of our programs. This is real professional assistance for you and thus positively impacts your baby. Taking a walk with your baby in her stroller is a wonderful way to stimulate conversation with neighbors and people that you may not know. You may find they have children or older children who may be able to watch your children for an hour or so when you need to go grocery shopping.
Remember, you are your child’s very first teacher! Take the time to remember that you are in charge of this little one’s life. You provide education, stimulation, and love in everything you do together. Silly talk is OK and encouraged. Reading books to the baby while you are pregnant is perfect! Reading to your infant is perfect. You are setting the stage for lifelong reading and learning for your child! Check out all kinds of authors, Caldecott Award Books, Scholastic Books, and any books. I was finishing a degree when my son was born, so I would read my biology and chemistry books to him. I made my voice a little higher and used lots of inflection, and he loved it. I was giving him my attention, speaking directly to him, and learning at the same time. I believe that moms invented the word multi-tasking. You CAN do it! If you need help, Hopeful Beginnings is there for you! We counsel and educate.
Hopeful Beginnings specializes in Counseling for Moms who have prenatal or postpartum anxiety or depression and have difficulty transitioning to motherhood. We also do case management to help connect you with local resources and ideas. And lastly, we have a baby closet to help you with diapers and a limited amount of formula and connect you with WIC, women, infants, and children. If you are in need of help to get formula for your child, WIC is the place.
You can contact Hopeful Beginnings at 847.870.8181
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