Best Tips for Expecting Moms

There is no shortcut for excited moms-to-be, here are few guides and hints to help you cope on the firsts months of your newborn:

The Birthing Day

Prepare a hospital bag, so husband and family members will not forget anything in panic, fill it with:

- your comfortable easy-to-slip on clothes

- underwears (panties and brassier)

- slippers or flat sandals for you

- your toothbrush

- your own spare blanket and pillow

- thermos with hot water (or plug-in airpot)

- Distilled water (Wilkins or Absolute)

- Baby wipes (do not buy generic and cheaper brands it may contain harsh chemicals)

- plastic cup, disposable spoon and fork, plate

- your baby’s blanket (pranela/lampin), booties, gloves and cap to cover her on the first minutes. Name your baby’s stuff, the nurses MIGHT interchange them accidentally with other babies in the nursery (it happened to my firstborn, we got an old blanket/pranella and the new ones was given to another baby – do not worry we did not protested, we let it be…just wanting you to be reminded of it).

* medium size towel

* soap (for the baby)  to give the birthing assistants

*adult diaper for you (the first days after giving birth – you will get a heavy flow (like menstruation).

*70%  alcohol

-In a PLASTIC ENVELOP (put inside the bag):
*Philhealth/Medicard Documents and receipts (photocopied)
*Marriage Contract of Parents (original and photocopy 2pcs)
*Credit Card/Cash/ATM
*Black ball pen
* Be sure to have a CLEARLY WRITTEN COPY of your child’s name for the hospital to register – check on the birth certificate (spelling, date, parents’ name, middle initial –for sure check the whole document)

The moment you see blood spotting on your underwear that is the time...


Buying Clothes

Size
It is not so practical to buy lots of clothes for the first six months because your baby is growing too fast but still, there is another option if you still insist on buying – buy larger sizes (BUT not too big to swallow the whole of your baby!), that is to make sure that the baby can use the clothes for more than just a month or two and you need not buy another set sooner…

Color
If you are too excited to buy clothes for the baby and you do not know the gender yet – you can not go wrong with white and or yellow – it looks fine on both sexes.

Colorful (resembling flowers) clothes might attract insects more although they look really nice to see.

It is important to buy BIB too. Include it on your buying list.

Design
It is best to choose plain than the printed ones so you can easily see or catch even the smallest insect that might pester the baby.  It is also recommended in buying linens (pillow case and bed spreads).

Another thing to consider is comfort in clothes-changing, cotton shirts and undershirt (sando) might look best and comfy design, the cloth itself is the best because it is breathable but BETTER choose the buttoned or Velcroed front clothes even for overall (clothes with socks and hood) clothes. Babies are very delicate and might easily get hurt just getting the shirt out while the buttoned once can easily be removed by simply lifting her back while protecting her head. Make sure to get the one with smallest and buttons (sometimes hidden by a piece of cloth) and always check if they are still adhering tightly every after washing – accidents on swallowing is possible. Zippers might irritate the baby’s skin.

Comfort

Babies want to feel warm like they are inside the womb – especially in the cold days. Do not forget to buy her three-fourths shirts.

Choosing Diapers

Although the use of cloth diapers is the best for baby’s skin and comfort, busy ‘mom and dads’ prefer diapers that offer the same convenience plus more.  Considerations:

- the efforts (if you can pay for a laundry, good). The time you will spend on washing can be your rest timeo bonding time with your baby.

- the consumables like water bill, electricity bill (on ironing for disinfecting), detergent soap

To sum it up, it almost costs you the same, indeed! Why not choose convenience? There are diapers that feels like cloth and as soft as cotton. Do not go for the plastic ones.


The brand I have tried is EQ Dry (NOT EQ Plus) – I have tested other diaper brand, it is the single brand that impressed me a lot.  I tried even the expensive ones but I just got frustrated the leading brand is better but this brand is the BEST.

- dry for two to three wettings
- clothlike cover
- economical, cheaper than the leading brand
- no absorbent gel just pure cotton material

(The leading diaper brand, I was surprised to find gel residues when I happened to overlook Angel’s diaper when she was a baby, I suppose it may be harmful to her health if that gets inside even just in the anus). I am not sure if the pee turns to gel or what…

If you opt to save money on buying too much diaper – during the times the baby is awake you can use cloth diapers and reserve instant diapers for:

- sleeping time (to save the beddings)
-for the times you are out for hassle-free travel.



Getting the Right Pacifier

What kind is the best?

Although we do not want the babies to get used to too much sucking – it may somehow affect the appearance of their mouth – I am not sure if that has a scientific basis – as I heard from friends and I theorize as it may be possible – we could not avoid using pacifier as not to overfeed them.  I recommend Pure Silicone (upto its handle) Orthodontic Pacifier, no hard plastic handle that your baby might accidentally sleep into if it falls from her mouth the moment she gets asleep.  I learned this from a friend, Sis. Lenie Flores (Daine, Indang) – thanks to her. 

You can gently move away the bottle oryour nipple in your baby’s lips if she looks like half-asleep and replace it with the pacifier if she finishes the bottle. Burp the baby, see instructions on ‘Burping the Baby’ below in this article.

Where to buy?

You can buy it from the leading drug stores just tell the pharmacists. It costs not more than five dollars/two hundred Philippine pesos.


Your Baby’s Medicine Cabinet
Maintain all of these and be worry-free, make sure to check for expiration from time to time to replace the stock:

-Veteran moms taught me to use acete manzanilla for air-bloated baby’s stomach. If you slightly knock your baby’s stomach with your two fingers (thumb and pointing finger ‘pitik’)) and it sounds hollow (like empty and echoing) it is filled with air (kinakabag). Just wipe manzanilla on her stomach and it will relieve her.

-Paracetamol drops must always be made available (check on expiry). I recommend the safest over-the-counter fever medicine– Biogesic.  We do not wish your baby to get sick, the important thing is that YOU ARE READY and need not be stressed to run for a medicine in the middle of the night  IN CASE…

- Lactacyd protects your baby’s skin (no need soap and shampoo anymore) makes her bath water smell good.

- NO to cold medicines. My Angel’s pediatrician recommends water only, lots of water intake. You must have the cute bottle (smallest size) for natural juice (NO to instant, better freshly squeeze) and water.

- petroleum jelly is the best partner for diapers , wipe a thin film  on the hidden top part of the legs (singit) where the diaper adheres – that is the mostly irritated part or you can also include the under the diaper’s belt line. The word petroleum intimidates me – but just on the leg part not in the chest or torso (where the lungs and heart are).

-Cough medicines. I am not a pediatrician. I read about WHEN TO GET WORRY ( Pedia book) when your baby has a cough and it says that you need not worry if her back sounds normal breathing while not coughing (the lungs) if it has another sound other than it, do not waste time go to your pediatrician.

I have learned from reading a book of Pediatricians in the US that slightly elevating the baby’s head while sleeping will keep her from the discomfort of clogged nose and it works like magic, believe me! The moment I learned about it, Angel or Riana has not been cranky because of colds anymore when they are still babies.  Be sure to adjust the whole bedding as not to bend her neck and affect her posture. I think few pieces of folded clothes underneath the baby’s bedspread will do...imagine a slightly reclined hospital bed, not too much – just enough to keep the head unleveled with the rest of the body.

- Choose olive oil if you want to protect your baby’s lungs and chest when bathing. Commercial baby oil’s ingredient is mostly petroleum see it for yourself. It is really surprising! They just removed the natural scent and changed it to perfume scents not to scare us.

Read this article HuffPost Style Clipping

- 70% alcohol for disinfecting
- Baby wipes, cotton balls
- Hydrogen Peroxide for disinfecting wounds without pain and
- Betadine to kill germs on a wound after cleaning
- Mosquito patch (repellant)
- nail clippers (smallest size) nails grow every after two days, correct me if I am wrong.
Baby’s nails should be flat to avoid skin breakouts when scratching.

Burping the Baby

Burp your baby every after feeding by letting her lie on her stomach (padapa) or carry her with her back on your shoulder and gently tapping the upper part of her back below the neck.

It is important to make sure the food goes down to her stomach to avoid spitting.

Once she burped, you can lay her down. Feeling satiated, she will soon fall asleep.

Getting the Right Soap

Mildly scented soap like Dove (1/4 moisture milk) or the best is Lactacyd (blue)- just a few drops on your baby’s bath water is enough to give her the fresh scent of bath without drying her skin. That’s it, no need to rinse with plain water.  My pediatrician before do not recommend the baby bath liquid soaps around. I learned its use from an older friend in Cabanatuan- Ate Camia Cordova. Thanks to her.

Bottles
-You need at least to have five to six(5-6) bottles formula feeding or not. Two small for the water and juice.  You need not boil it every after one use. You can reuse the bottle, but make sure that you shake it with boiling water right after a feeding. You can use one for the whole day. 

-Make sure that you wash every bottle changed as soon as possible to avoid bacteria. Better use a bottle brush and liquid detergent soap. Use toothpick to clean the nipple hole. Better choose the bended-style brush to reach every corner.
-
Smell to check of the remaining milk or soap smell. Rinse or soap again if necessary. Shake an ounce of  boiling water in it (be sure that the bottle’s neck is tightly screwed and hold the bottle and its cap while shaking to avoid accident). Set aside (put inside the sterilizer to drip) while waiting  for the other bottles to save on electricity (for instant sterilizer) or for gas consumption (on makeshift casserole sterilizer). As soon as one bottle is left, be ready to sterilize again.  I chose Farlin brand on bottles.

- On Formula milk, there is a corresponding age recommendation read the label before you buy. It is prepared according to the baby’s digestion capability that is why it is IMPORTANT that it should be age-appropriate.

Breastmilk

Collustrum offers BIGGER nutrients and immunity for your baby as well as gets you back in-shape faster than ever, thawing excess maternity fat... you can pump breastmilk in advance (especially for working moms, breat pumps are available in Drug Stores) and refrigerate it if the baby feels full and your breast aches of too much milk. You can just dip the bottle in a mug with warm water to reheat it later for another feeding. Make sure it is not hot just warm enough on your wrist.

SUNLIGHT

You can bath the baby with sunlight from 6am to 7:30 am (depending on the weather, if it is cloudy until 8am will do)– intense heat beyond those times is not anymore recommended because of our depleting ozone layer...

Household Preparation

- Keeping the surroundings clean can help your baby a lot.  Dust and dirt inhalation might cause colds or coughing. Avoid clutter.

- If someone in the household has a cough, be sure to buy mask and ask to disinfect hands with alcohol if holding the baby is inevitable.

- Humidifiers is recommended

- Avoid pet in baby’s room, animal’s hair might be inhaled causing cough…or allergies to your baby’s skin, saliva in cat’s or dog’s fur (when they are grooming)may cause irritation.

- Make sure to cover electric outlets



Feel free to share your parenting tips and opinion, my fellow veteran moms…Pediatricians and Family Physicians are VERY WELCOME to comment or correct any possible blunder or misconception I have written here.  This article is based on consolidated personal experiences, advices from older moms as well as my years of watching and reading parenting shows and books…

I hope I have given you the BEST summary to help you out on your first baby.



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Family, Daily Living & Style by Angelita Galiza-Madera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.