I have decided to make this blog a little more personal…
…starting off with this entry, dedicated to all mothers-to-be, especially for those expecting their first baby.
I myself am on my way to becoming a first time mom, in shaa Allah.
…did I mention EXCITED? 🙂
With many unnecessary things you hear about being pregnant, it is important to stay positive.
Books, hearing first-hand encounters as well as blogs have become good sources of information to prepare me for pregnancy and motherhood. So while I’m well good in the pregnancy sphere, I feel I owe it a little to the community of bloggers and blog readers to share my own experience…so far.
Here are some important milestones of pregnancy that I’ve experienced at this juncture:
1. Finding out for the first time : “I’m Pregnant!’
Generally there isn’t a need yet to schedule that doctor’s appointment when you’re less than 4 weeks. Even then, there’s not much visibility that an ultrasound scan can show, but the doctor will be able to determine the existence of a gestational sac, yolk sac and embryo inside.
Once you have received confirmation on the pregnancy, hunt down for the hospital and gynecologist of your preference to make an appointment immediately. Certain gynaes are highly sought after, making it ideal to book that slot as soon as you can. Depending on whether you are self-funded or medically covered by your company, this will help to narrow down the choice.
For me, getting recommendation from friends helped massively. Then research came into play. You may be surprised how much you can find out about a gynae on the internet! Expertise and skill may not vary so much among them, but in opinion, what sets them apart is the ability to interact and connect with the patient. Make sure you can find a doctor that makes you feel comfortable.
2. To share or not to share?
Every individual has the right to decide whether to let people know at such an early stage.
I chose to wait it out a little.
The first people I told were my parents, in-laws, sibling and close friends who were already mothers for some early advice.
3. The Heartbeat ❤
By 8 weeks, the ultrasound scan may be able to detect the baby’s heartbeat!
The heartbeat is still soft and is at an irregular pace at this stage, until it finds its rhythm. 🙂
4. Pregnancy Sickness
Generally, it is during the first trimester pregnancy sickness kicks in at its best. It’s different for everyone — it may be really bad, it may just be a speck of dust or may not even happen. It could even last throughout the pregnancy as you enter the second and/or third trimesters.
But ladies, stay strong. ᕗ
There are several steps you can take to cope and mitigate the effects of sickness. For instance, crackers can shoo away that feeling of queasiness.
Apparently the smell of lemon peels can help too.
5. The Second Trimester
This is when you start your “anti scars/stretch marks” regime! There are a few ways to deploy this regime, like applying coconut virgin oil or Bio-Oil. If you are using Bio-oil for instance, applying it twice to your belly will do the trick!
Regardless, if you do develop stretch marks and don’t get to prevent them from happening, I’ve read somewhere that it’s your road map to something beautiful – motherhood! So don’t sweat!
Just like how research is pertinent when it comes to finding the best colleges, the best restaurants, etc., the same applies when it comes to buying baby stuff.
Again, it’s up to you when to start buying – I waited til about midway.
Being a first time mother and first time father for the hubster, research served as a good platform to base your decisions on, apart from obtaining advice from others. What may have worked for other people, may not do the same for you.
7. The Stroller
The first crucial item in my opinion, is the stroller.
You will use the stroller on a regular basis, so choose wisely.
Some tips based on my experience:
(i) Ask for a stroller suitable for newborns
Strollers which are suitable for newborns can recline at a maximum degree.
Strollers can generally be divided as such:
Newborn to 6 months
Newborn to 4 years
(better for budget)
6 months and above
Depending on how big your baby gets and how fast, you may have to fall back on some adjustments or may even be able to use a particular stroller a little longer.
(ii) Find a stroller that is easy to manoeuvre
Being without a baby doesn’t make you think twice whether a mall is baby-friendly or not. Once you have this extra instrument to bring around, your point of destination will matter even more.
Whilst it is wise to stick to spacious places that provide excellent facilities (lifts, baby-changing rooms, less stairs, etc.), it is also a win to find a stroller that has awesome mobility.
This may be factored by the mechanics of its wheels.
If you’re looking for balance, a 4-wheeler would be ideal.
If you’re looking at passing through different and rough terrains (grass, gravel, etc.), big wheels (usually the rear wheels are larger in size) will do the job.
Another factor is the weight of the stroller.
Some are pretty bulky and heavy. Your physique and height could help you decide whether a stroller pose these features for you. Although some people say, you can buy whichever stroller and eventually, you’ll get used to its structure.
Fancy strollers like Bugaboo and Stokke are pretty, but personally I find some of them too tall.
(iii) Does it come with a car seat?
Most strollers these days come with a compatible car seat.
Some are called the 3-in-1 : pushchair + bassinet + car seat (same sequence as image below).
The upside of having a compatible car seat is that you avoid waking your baby up when making your way into a vehicle, as all you have to do is unlatch the car seat (which was assembled in place of the pushchair) and have it fastened right away in your car.
It is also very important to ensure that the car seat meets the required safety guidelines. This can be reflected in the price tag, like it or not.
(iv) Can the stroller be collapsed conveniently?
When testing out a stroller, one of the items on your checklist should be whether it can be kept conveniently and easily, without taking up too much space. Bare in mind how much space luxury your car boot has.
It should also not pose too much of a hassle. Collapsing the stroller will become a daily chore.
(v) Can the handrail/pushchair be adjusted so that your baby can face you or face the world?
Perhaps to some parents, this is not a concern at all. Personally, I just like the fact that you have this option. Ideally, you would want your baby to be facing you during the first few months.
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These are the prime factors for me, when it comes to purchasing a stroller.
Everything else, such as looks and style come as secondary.
8. Baby Cot/Crib vs Playpen vs Co-sleeper?
Normally when we visualise a baby nursery, we see a crib. But to some, this crib just isn’t a necessity.
Instead, they choose to get a playpen with an adjustable platform. The platform is adjusted to its highest level during infancy, and is leveled lower once your child becomes a toddler and is able to stand — to eventually serve its purpose as an actual playpen.
This saves you cost, as you can use the playpen for a few years. A baby crib is only appropriate during infancy, if the baby agrees to sleep in it that is.
Another option is to get a co-sleeper instead/in addition. With a co-sleeper, you can have your baby sleep right next to you, with easy access to the baby for milk, etc. Some of us are very wary when it comes to having the baby on the same bed, and so a co-sleeper would be a good solution.
If you plan to purchase a crib however, ensure that it meets the required safety guidelines. These guidelines can be checked out on the web. I just found out that a crib with an adjustable railing is dangerous and banned in the United States. This feature can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which you can read more on the web.
9. Insurance for Your Baby
Depending on how well you are medically covered by your company, etc., it’s good to consider some type of insurance for your baby, even before he/she enters the world.
For insurers like Prudential, you can start signing up as early as 18 weeks into your pregnancy under the PRUmy Child plan.
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I hope this entry has been able to help serve as a guide, whether you’re a first time mother or not. Getting the best for your child may be time-consuming but all worth it, in the name of his/her welfare.
For more milestones, stay tuned!