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Diapers, Delivery, and Debt: Things I Wish I Had Known When I Was Expecting

The miracle of life can often seem mysterious. What do babies do all day that makes them so sleepy? How can something so small scream so loud? Where does all that poop come from? Us moms ask ourselves all these questions and more. Sometimes the answers can only arrive through firsthand experience, but there are a few things I would’ve loved to know before my baby came into the world. Here are five facts for expectant mothers to take away some of the mystery, but none of the wonder, from having a baby.

Morning Sickness Isn’t Just For Mornings

You probably already know that morning sickness exists. Awareness of this lovely little side effect of pregnancy is so common that it has become a trope of movies and TV. The second you see a romantically involved woman run to the bathroom on screen, you know, and she knows, she’s going to have a new roommate coming soon. That said, there a few things you may not know about morning sickness, like that it doesn’t only occur in the morning. Yes, morning, noon, or even in the middle of the night, you could find yourself running to the cold embrace of the porcelain throne. But all this unpleasantness ends after the first trimester, right? Not necessarily. Those heightened senses of taste and smell that seem like super powers can bring on nasty bouts of nausea well into your pregnancy. My advice? Make sure to carry some mints or candied ginger at all times, right up until you go into labor. They help calm upset stomachs, and can eliminate any nasty tastes, just in case.

Take Care Of Your Medical Care

It might seem strange to shop around for hospitals, but believe me — it will definitely be worth your while. Of course, you’ll want to consider those hospitals or birth centers that are covered by your insurance, but you shouldn’t just pick the place that’s closest to home. Costs for procedures before, during, and after delivery can fluctuate from hospital to hospital. I still have flashbacks to the first medical bill I got for my hospital stay when I was in labor. In addition to cost, you want to feel comfortable with the quality of care you’ll be getting during your pregnancy. You trust the life of your child to these people. If you’re not satisfied with what one hospital is selling, you can (and should) look elsewhere until you are. The peace of mind this brings will make the months leading up to your delivery more relaxing, as well as the delivery itself. Well, as relaxing as going into labor can be anyway.

Kids Rack Up Serious Costs

I knew raising a child would mean spending more money, but I had no idea just how much. Do you realize how many diapers a baby burns through? You might as well take that new pack of Pampers and dump it in the trash the second you get home from the store. Then there’s the extra equipment you’ll need: crib, bottles, stroller, baby clothes, diaper bag, and that’s all before your baby can talk. You may be thinking about college tuition, but did you consider day care? The cost is comparable to college, and your kid doesn’t even get a diploma. So, do yourself a couple of favors. First, if you haven’t already, start saving — now. Second, while you might feel compelled to keep up with the Joneses, try not to give in to temptation. It’s better to invest in quality, durability and flexibility than to keep buying new things every week.

There Are Tons of Delivery Options

There’s more than one way to crack an egg. Okay, maybe not the best metaphor to start off with, but the sentiment remains the same. There are plenty of birthing methods available to modern moms, some of which have been used for centuries. Mothers of generations past didn’t have the luxury of epidurals or other painkillers, and many moms today are deciding to opt for this more natural approach to childbirth. Not sure you can stand the pain? Hypnosis could help you get through labor comfortably, without any need for medication. Lying down in a hospital bed may be the first delivery scenario to come mind, but what about being in a bathtub? Water births are believed to provide babies an easier transition from the womb to the world outside your tummy. You don’t even have to be on your back to give birth. Non-recumbent birthing positions can be more comfortable, as they allow gravity do some of the work for you. The point is that there’s no “right” way to birth a baby, just whatever’s right for you.

Falling Asleep Isn’t Always Easy

Sleep should be simple enough. Try telling that to a baby. One week your baby could be sleeping like an angel soundly through the night, and the next your bundle of joy could be screaming like a banshee from dusk till dawn. From feeding routines to sleep environments, the list of reasons why a baby has trouble falling asleep or sleeping soundly can seem endless. But the importance of sleep, for you and your baby, cannot be understated. Aside from developmental concerns for your child, the more tired you feel, the less prepared you are to care for your baby. While it might be tempting to let your baby sleep at anytime, in anyway, not all sleep is created equal. In fact, the way your child sleeps could either prevent or encourage certain health problems. Leaving loose blankets in your baby’s crib, or letting your newborn sleep on his or her tummy can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). So, please, study, strategize, take all the time you need to help your baby sleep soundly and safely.

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