pregnancy

‘I’m a new mum. Here are the 16 tips that saved me, before and after the baby.’

By nature, I’m a problem solver. When I’m faced with something new and unknown, I tackle it in the best way I know how: hitting up Google to research until my eyes glaze over, speaking to friends and family, and psychotically documenting all the information I collect so I can compare and contrast before making my final decisions.

This strategy was no different upon learning I was due to become a mother to my daughter, in the winter of June 2021.

I was passionate about having all the background knowledge, all the tips to make the journey easier, and also doing everything I could to make sure my husband and I made the absolute most of what I now look at as the most beautiful, special time of our entire lives. 

My motto: parent smarter, not harder.

Watch: Be a "good" mum. Post continues after video. 


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I look back with zero regrets, and I’m so excited if all my planning can help to make another mum-to-be’s experience during pregnancy and early motherhood even better. Below I’ve listed everything that helped me in my journey, separated into those two very distinctive periods: pregnancy and postpartum.

Pregnancy.

Sore boobs and bras.

With pregnancy comes excruciatingly sore boobs. I couldn’t walk, sleep or move in any way, without having to hold onto them to desperately try and relieve the pain - even a little bit. 

Enter: Kmart's lifesaving bras. I removed the padding in the Kmart Wirefree Smooth Crop and it became an absolute dream - it really helped with the soreness during pregnancy and I still sleep in it every night. It was also the only bra I could tolerate on my very sore nips with the issues I had there in the first month postnatal. I still wear the black Kmart Wirefree Seamfree Crop Bras almost every day too and I actually find them better than the maternity bras I own. Too tight bras will also put you at risk for mastitis so having the wire-free ones have helped with that.

Supplements.

During pregnancy I was (and still am) taking a heap of vitamins to compensate for my often unbalanced diet (lots of pasta). I also take fish oil because I don’t eat enough fish.

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The hack here is that every week I fill up one of these pill boxes with all my vitamins and it saves so much time not having to open four bottles a night (not to mention precious bedside table space). I also found that taking the vitamins in the morning made me feel really sick, but taking them right before bed on a full stomach had no side effects, so that’s another tip within this tip!

"The hack here is that every week I fill up one of these pill boxes with all my vitamins and it saves so much time!" Image: Supplied. 

Pregnancy pillows.

I had two pregnancy pillows - one was the typical U-shaped one you find for sale on Amazon and most websites and the other was a Belly Bean. The Belly Bean was the best for sleeping, you can use it in lots of different positions which I really liked and needed. I took it with me travelling and wish I had taken it to the hospital the night I was induced.

Maternity leggings.

The best pregnancy leggings (which I’m still thrashing now) are the Lululemon Align Tights (with pockets). Look no further! 

I read so many reviews on pregnancy leggings and all the brands I perused had a lot of negative reviews hidden amongst the good ones. These were a great investment for pre and post baby. They aren’t maternity but very stretchy so I sized up.

"These were a great investment for pre and post baby." Image: Supplied. 

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Managing the need to use the bathroom constantly.

The need to pee often was naturally multiplied by 10 during pregnancy. During the night, I was getting up so much and it was really affecting my sleep and tiredness during the day. 

Managing this was a juggling act, because it seems like pregnant people are so incredibly thirsty all the time and could drink 50 litres of water at any given moment. To combat this, I created a daily reminder at 7.15pm on my phone to stop drinking water. 

You can do it now, just say, "Hey Siri, remind me every night at 7.15pm to stop drinking water." This helped me immensely!

Documenting your journey.

I made a list of questions I wanted to answer in my journal a few weeks before our girl arrived so I could remember how I was feeling during my pregnancy. I’m so glad I did this, because looking back at the questions I couldn’t tell you some of the answers, except to say I have never been to Maccas so much in my life. I probably spent hundreds on $1 frozen cokes which were my biggest craving. Here's my list:

  • How many weeks pregnant am I?
  • How long until due date?
  • How have I felt throughout the pregnancy?
  • What songs/music reflect the time?
  • What do I want for her?
  • What is my birth plan?
  • What clothes have I been wearing?
  • How has my sleep been?
  • What nesting am I up to?
  • Food cravings?
  • Food aversions?
  • What am I most proud of myself for so far?
  • The hardest part of being pregnant?
  • The best part of being pregnant?

Make sure to keep track of all the special moments as well. Image: Supplied. 

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Learning from the best, research-backed resources.

I found the Raising Children and Red Nose websites very helpful for information that is backed by research and experts. I highly recommend sitting down one day and trawling through all their articles. 

Baby guide books.

I read Save Our Sleep and The First Six Weeks. These baby books (two of the most popular in Australia) are so polarising. 

When I was pregnant, I loved the idea of the sleep routines Save Our Sleep recommends and was 100 per cent certain I would be following that pattern. When I had my daughter Winnie, I realised so soon that she needed to feed when she was hungry, not at a time a book specifies! 

By the time Week Three came around, I was tired, confused and desperate and thought I’d give the routine a try. 

I can safely say all it did was add even more pressure and anxiety. I wasted all this time trying to wake her up for a feed she wasn’t hungry for and ended up wondering how it was helpful at all if sometimes I was actually shortening the time in between feeds and giving myself less of a break. 

It's honestly mind blowing that the book suggests its possible to train a tiny little being that has been in the world for one week into a rigid sleeping pattern. I now really dislike that 'one size fits all' model. 

I liked The First Six Weeks because author Cath Curtin took a more realistic approach, but I often think about how absurd it is that she recommends you stay up at each middle-of-the-night feed for 20 minutes, not to burp your baby but to enjoy the time you have together. 

I don’t know about other new mothers, but another 20 minutes in the night would not be conducive to good parenting during the day, for me at least. 

In the end though, I am glad I read both. I gained lots of random tips out of each and I would recommend reading them if you have time before the baby.

Listen: In this very special bonus episode of Me After You, host Laura Byrne sits down with Holly Wainwright to talk about going from one baby to two, gender disappointment, and the importance of having good mum friends. Post continues after audio. 

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Postpartum

Going off grid.

Possibly the best thing I did the night I was induced: took my phone and my husband’s phone and deleted Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.

For 10 days we were in a bubble with no social media and it was just divine. My mum kept coming into the hospital asking, "When are you going to post on Instagram?" because she wanted to post so badly, and the thought of downloading those apps and spending that time scrolling made me shudder! It was the best!

Remembering it all to cherish later.

Ask your partner to make a little journal as your labour progresses and for the days after - my husband noted down the timings of things happening and funny stuff along the way in his iPhone notes. 

I transcribed it all into my journal, and the "your birth story" part of our baby book, which is really special to have and it would have completely slipped my memory if we didn’t designate that job to him!

You won't regret jotting things down in a baby book or journal. Image: Supplied. 

Receiving flowers and gifts.

Once you have the baby, ask your partner to make a list of any flowers or gifts you receive at the hospital and home in their phone so you remember to thank people.

Avoiding dreaded constipation after childbirth.

I packed a huge bag of pitted prunes and a bottle of prune juice for the hospital. I was super worried about becoming constipated and having to deal with that along with all the other painful stuff going on down there! I ate prunes over the first few days and drank prune juice to make sure that didn’t happen and it worked so well. Amazing hack.

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"Amazing hack." Image: Supplied. 

Tracking your feedings.

I have used the Huckleberry app from day one to track feeding. 

Matt and I are both logged into my account on our phones. At night, I try to go to bed around 9pm, then Matt feeds Winnie the bottle at 10-10.30pm. When I get up for the middle of the night feeds, I can see how much he was able to give her and at what time. 

Even now, during the day, I honestly could not tell you how long it’s been since she last fed and I can’t be bothered trying to remember the time it was, and how long for (let alone what side) so this app is amazing for that.

Difficulty getting back to sleep.

L’Occitane pillow spray is SO helpful in getting back to sleep after the many middle of the night feeds. It smells ridiculously good, I will be using it for life and love gifting it to mums-to-be. 

I also really enjoy the Headspace app for their meditation guides and short sleep guided meditations.

I’ve found them immensely helpful when my mind is racing and wired before bed or in the middle of the night.

Feeding in public.

This breastfeeding shade has been really handy for social gatherings or feeding in random places like the shops, and it’s much easier than using muslin cloths or blankets to cover things up. Of course, there is absolutely no shame in breastfeeding in public without a cover, but I have loved this device because I’ve personally felt self-conscious about it.

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It has a curved bit of plastic around the neck which allows you to peep in and make sure baby is attached and breathing. I keep it in the pram and it doubles as a leg shade when I clip it on the pram handle with pram pegs.

"This breastfeeding shade has been really handy." Image: Supplied. 

Expressing breastmilk.

I purchased the Elvie Double Breast Pump, along with the extra Three Bottles (for a total of $667). 

The only store selling this to Australia (that I know of) is Oxygen Boutique. Sign up to their newsletter for a 15 per cent discount code. 

I pump walking around the house, in bed, on the couch, doing my makeup and sometimes in the car. I look at my Elvie pumps lovingly when I wash them and think to myself "if these broke today, I would find the money to order more" because they have been so incredibly easy and time saving. 

It is a huge luxury because they are very expensive, but they have paid themselves off and continue to every day!

"If these broke today, I would find the money to order more." Image: Supplied.
 

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Tori Falzon is a trained chef and nutritionist turned recipe developer and social media manager. Under her brand ‘Into The Sauce’, Tori shares her obsessively tried and tested recipes, providing inspiration for everything from weeknight meals to entertaining. Tori’s other skills include finding hacks and efficiency in life and the kitchen, fashion and style. You can follow her on Instagram  @intothesauce.

Feature Image: Instagram @intothesauce.

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