You're pregnant! Now what?

You’re probably getting tons of advice from friends, family and strangers on the street on how you should proceed from here on out. Here’s a little bit more…

Drink enough water

I didn’t drink enough and had to be on bed rest for a week with low amniotic fluid. Drink up!

And while you’re chugging down all that water, try adding a few prenatal vitamins. My sister-in-law is a naturopathic doctor and recommended Rainbow Light Prenatal Petite tablets, available at Whole Foods.

Get a few pregnancy staples

A giant body pillow
I initially resisted the giant body pillow. "Why do I need a special pillow?" I thought. Wouldn't it be just as easy to put regular pillows between my knees, behind my back, etc.?  But starting month 6 or so, I'd wake up in the night with throbbing hips. "You should put a pillow between your knees," suggested…everyone. Finally someone recommended the body pillow, which seemed like a more reasonable suggestion than a $250 pillow top. I slept well throughout my pregnancy and months after.

Stretch Mark Oil/Cream
A friend gave me her leftover oil, swearing that it left her stretch mark-free. Who am I to argue? I used that oil I can now boast no stretch marks and my (old) skin has pretty much returned to pre-pregnancy elasticity. (Friend tip: Don't forget to use it on your boobs!)

Maternity Jeggings/skinny jeans
I lived in these for the duration of my winter pregnancy -- and then for awhile post-birth. I paired the stretchy denim with t-shirts, swingy sweaters and some strappy boots.

For summertime pregnancy, however, stretchy maxi-dresses seem to be a popular choice.

Some other cool maternity shops:

And then a lot of baby stuff

My husband and I really didn’t want having a baby to become a huge consumer affair — until it did. Once our son was born, we were fielding daily deliveries from Amazon with things we needed (?). The baby is spitting up constantly — we need burp cloths! Uh oh, he keeps breaking out of his swaddle — let’s try sleep sacks!

There are a zillion things to buy for your new baby. Here are a few things you’ll definitely need:

If you're driving, a car seat
You can’t leave the hospital without one. My husband and I really liked the base that had a snap-in carrier. If the baby was sleeping, we didn’t have to pull him out of the seat — and we had a built-in place to put the baby where ever we went.

Diapers
Have an array to try. Like any pair of pants, different brands fit all babies differently. I know people who swore by Huggies. For us, Huggies equalled blow-outs. Seventh Generation was our best choice for newborn diapers. My friend loved Pampers Swaddlers' color strip that lets you know the diaper is wet. Once my son got older, we used Honest products for just about everything: Diapers, wipes, soap/shampoo, baby oil, stick sunscreen. Honest wasn't around when Wilson was an infant, so I can't vouch for the newborn diapers, but they have been amazing since he was about 9 months old — plus they are super cute. 

For diaper cream, we started with organic products: California Love and Burt's Butt Cream, but the stuff that really seemed to help his bum and make his diaper rash better, was good old-fashioned Desitin.

A place to sleep
Whether you are co-sleeping or planning on using in a crib, you’ll need somewhere for baby to get some rest. We had a pack-and-play with a built in bassinet we kept at the foot of our bed for the first four months, then transferred him to a crib.

A place to sit
Our baby came home with no place to sit. Sure we had a pack-and-play for sleeping, and a swing for napping, but when he’s not sleeping, then what? A nice reclined seat that’s portable. Something you can have next to you while you eat dinner or set up by the shower for when you want to be clean. Once he gets a little older, you can also add this.

Some other things to think about:

A nursing tank
If you’re going to breast feed (check out my post), consider a nursing tank. I wore a nursing tank under everything: T-shirts, kimono tops, cardigans. It covers your stomach yet provides easy access. I had a million.

Boppy
 While I was figuring out nursing and he was so small, the Boppy really helped get him in position. Later I used it to prop him up when he was learning to sit. A friend felt the My Breast Friend nursing pillow was more stable for nursing -- and what's not to like about that name?

An iPhone app
For me, it was seriously helpful. I used one for the whole year I breastfed. It tells you when you should feed, and how long you fed, which side you need to start with. 

Take a look at The Happiest Baby on the Block
If you have time, take a look at The Happiest Baby on the Block. My husband and I checked it out from the library (you only have to see it once). It gives some suggestions for dealing with a crying baby. While I’m not sure they all work, at least it provides a jumping off point.

Read Bringing Up Bebe
Reading about how Parisian women deal with child-bearing will make you both jealous and inspired. We might not have subsidized day care that serves our kids braised leeks, but we can glean a tip or two about raising unfussy eaters.

Since you’re buying all this stuff, you might want to think about signing up for Amazon Family. You get 20% off the stuff on your registry.

You’ll need clothes

My son wore newborn clothes for probably 6 months, but I had a friend whose baby skipped newborn entirely and started life wearing 3-6 month wear. Have an array of season-appropriate options in varying sizes.

Here are a few places with super cute and good quality clothes:

But also check out second-hand shops and hand-me-downs. Some of my favorite clothes came from my friend’s baby clothes swap.

Here's my Amazon store with many of the items I bought.