Since my list of baby-advice books is one of the most popular posts here, I am adding in my recommendations for people who are pregnant.
Tell your due-date to Babycenter.com and you will start receiving free weekly emails telling you, “Your baby is losing its gills this week…” It’s really fascinating stuff.
The baby name wizard is an interactive graph that lets you zoom in on the popularity of various names over the last century. It’s hard to explain the baby name wizard, but trust me, it’s fun.
Third, check out Jan’s site for the best adjustable and affordable baby slings. Her tencel fabric is my favorite. If you want to sew your own, Jan has patterns here. If you’re scared of slings, then what I recommend is an ergo baby carrier which conveniently holds babies up to 45 pounds, and is much more comfortable and versatile than a bjorn.
If you live in San Diego, you’ll want to visit Liza’s website for prenatal yoga and more. Liza Janda not only cured my aching back but also kept me laughing through pregnancy – and helped me give birth without pain medication. Even if you’re not interested in yoga or natural birth, Liza’s website has useful links.
If you are interested in natural birth, avoid Lamaze. It doesn’t work. What does work is either the Bradley Method or hypnobirthing, so try to find one of those classes near you, and, if you possibly can, get yourself a good doula. We loved our doula; our hospital nurses loved our doula; I think even our baby loved our doula.
The next thing you’ll need to know is
BABY STUFF THAT WE SHOULDN’T HAVE BOTHERED TO BUY:
- Any baby clothes that don’t snap at the crotch: they ride up uncomfortably. Your baby is going to outgrow everything in weeks, anyway. We got most of our best baby clothes from the local Catholic charity-store that is in a nearby rich neighborhood. Even better, find someone to give you hand-me-downs.
- Most stuffed animals. Young babies just don’t care about them, and everyone you know will give you stuffed animals, so you don’t need to get yourselves any.
- A diaper bag. Any large bag will work, so there’s no need to spend lots of money on one you don’t particularly like. The roll-up changing pad from TheFirstYears slips into my purse or backpack and I’m good to go.
- A fancy stroller. Really, we used the sling or the ergo, and sometimes (after Sophie could sit up) the jogging stroller. Other parents like to use strollers that hold the carseat, but you can get a simple attachment for the jogging stroller to do that. Our regular stroller became just a holder for blankets, until we gave it away.
- A glider chair. It’s another expensive and bulky thing we didn’t use much. Sophie and I prefer our cheap rocking-chair, or sitting crosslegged on the ground, or on the couch with the boppy (although she outgrew that quick). Gliders must work for some parents, but they don’t work for us.
What you should get yourself is frozen food. Whenever you make soup, freeze some for after the baby is born, because you won’t have time to cook, for weeks. The best presents we got after Sophie was born was a package of frozen steaks and a plate of coconut brownies.
Which leads me to
WHAT ELSE TO BRING TO A BABY SHOWER
Everyone is going to be giving soft blankets and clothes that the baby will barely have time to wear. You can be more creative and supportive.
- Oxo candela rechargeable lights are sold in home and garden stores but make the best portable nightlights ever.
- And hooter hiders are the perfect cover-up for nursing moms.
- Cute socks. She’ll outgrow most clothes quickly, but socks will fit longer, so they’re fun. The BabyLegs brand legwarmers are also lots of fun.
- A bouncy-chair or activity-mat. Before Sophie was born, I thought I’d never ever put her down in some commercially-designed distraction, but before Sophie was born, I hadn’t considered how I’d manage to take a shower. The bouncy-chair saved my sanity and my cleanliness.
- Gentle non-irritating perfume-free laundry soap. This one works especially well on cloth diapers, but even parents using disposable diapers will need soap, because baby skin is so delicate that babies need all their stuff washed before they wear it. Soap may be too prosaic to bring to a baby-shower, but they’ll need it, and you can add in Burt’s Bee’s baby soaps and some tub-toys and such.
- Diaper champ trashcan, if they’re using disposable diapers. Works better than diaper genie, because it doesn’t require that you buy any special trashbags.
- Good CDs of baby music: I particularly like Priscilla Herdman’s “Stardreamer.” Or a baby-food cookbook: I like Annabel Karmel’s. There’s more books and music for new parents listed here.
I could go on, but that’s probably enough to start with.
The Expectant Father
The Mother of All Pregnancy Books
Enjoy your pregnancy!