I have the pleasure today to congratulation two amazing and wonderful people on their expected little one! They are my cousin, Kelly, and her husband, Brandon. JR and I have said for months how wonderful they would be as parents and have been praying for them regularly as they prepared to be parents. When we would visit with Emma, she would always light up when seeing them. I’m pretty sure she is after Brandon’s heart! They are great with her and it’s obvious their desire to be parents. We are excited for them and I wanted to dedicate this post to them and their little one on the way! Here are some tips and advice to share from our own experience. The best part- YOU’RE THE PARENTS! You can take or leave any of the advice I give, it’s all optional 🙂
Take care of yourself. Your body is preparing a baby and that’s some seriously hard work. You will be tired and exhausted in the next few weeks, which is completely normal. You’re creating life! When your body says eat, eat. You don’t have to eat 2 tubs of ice cream but you can eat more than three times a day. And you know what? If you crave some ice cream, go for it. Having a bowl won’t kill you. Trust me, you and that baby are growing together and it will take more than that to put on the pounds. Along with that, don’t be afraid to put on some weight as long as, once again, you don’t go crazy. Your body and your baby know what they need. Take your vitamins regularly. They will keep you and the baby healthy. Not to mention, your hair, your nails, and your skin will look great thanks to them. Two words: cocoa butter. I used cocoa butter my entire pregnancy. My momma bought me my first jar as a gift and I started using it around 12 weeks. I used it almost daily (unless I forgot, and let’s admit, sometimes you forget!) and never had any stretch marks from my pregnancy. I’m sure there are other things that you can use to reduce the likelihood of stretch marks, but this is what worked for me.
Begin shopping early! There are all kinds of things you will need that you can buy, even before you know the gender of your little one. You can get the most bang for your buck by getting things before you actually need them. Shop clearance. Shop consignment sales. Shop your friend’s baby stuff. If you begin early, I promise you’ll get great deals! And once you find out what your little bundle of joy will be, be sure to have a unisex outfit in the to go bag, just in case. It never hurts…just in case! I would also recommend beginning your registry early. It doesn’t mean you do everything, but as you think of things, you can add them. As you decide you don’t want them, you can remove them. Voila! The blessings of a registry!
Ignore the books. There are so many books that tell you to do this and others that tell you to do that. You will end up with 20 thousand things running through your mind and not knowing which is the right way. The most important thing is this- you are the parents. Your instinct will kick in and you won’t be able to believe how well it does. You know your baby better than anyone else does. ANYONE. There may be tips along the way that help, but I always try to get those from people I trust and talk to regularly, rather than a book. And to add in to that, a lot of books say not to hold your baby while they sleep. Pish posh. Your baby will only let you hold him or her for a short time. Hold away. In a few short years you’ll wish you held them more.
Start considering your decisions now. Natural or medicated birth? Breast or bottle feeding? Crib or co-sleeping? Pro-antibiotics or not? There are a lot of decisions to make and they can be overwhelming all at once. Do your research, ask questions, and make sure that at the end of the day, YOU are comfortable with these decisions. Keep in mind the majority of these decisions can be changed so it’s not something you necessarily have to stick with until the day you die, it just helps to make those decisions now versus when the baby comes. When that baby is here, you won’t remember if you used deodorant or not in the past week. It’s no time to be making decisions, just cuddling and loving on your sweet little one! One more piece of advice here- it you can have more than six weeks maternity leave, take it. You need that time for you and for your little one. Check into your maternity leave at work as well as if your job covers FMLA leave. It’s worth it, I will definitely go this route next time.
Enjoy one another. It’s hard to imagine, but your little bundle of joy will be here SOON and it will soon be three instead of two. Even in all the excitement and anticipation, remember it will never be the two of you again. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to realize because you all need to be the best you have been with one another, and with God. You are being put in charge of raising a little one and they’re depending on you for so many things beyond food and shelter. They need a stable family that loves one another and loves God. Spend time with God regularly. Go on trips together. Take regular date nights. Go to your appointments and do baby things TOGETHER. Along with that, agree to be partners NOW. Agree to make decisions together. At the end of the day, it’s doesn’t matter what the doctor says, what your friend says, what the book says, or what your family says. You are husband and wife and the most sacred bond ever created. Keep God first, one another second, and everything else will follow.
Congrats again to Kelly and Brandon! We couldn’t be more excited for two people as they prepare to welcome a child into the world! We are here for you and love you all more than words can say. God will prepare you in every way you need- just sit back and enjoy the ride!