Welcome to the Lil Lemon Maternity resource site. Hi, I’m Michelle and I wanted to provide a maternity resource site because as a mother, I know you can never have enough reliable sources of advice for pregnancy and motherhood. Many of us may have a mother and grandmothers that are our best source of parenting advice, others may not be so fortunate to have such a resource for various reasons. But regardless of if you do or not, you have to find your own way when it’s your turn to become a mommy to your precious little ones.
Lil Lemon Maternity was a name that was appropriately coined because I view my children as my little lemons. Raising kids brings us through so many stages and ranges of emotions that lemons to me signify all of those experiences. Like lemons, our children can be sour and bitter sometimes as they grow into their own. Need I say the “terrible two’s”. But also like lemons, you can always turn that sour and bitter taste into something sweet, as with making lemonade. Children are so sweet and a pleasure to have in our families and home. Never let the sometimes tough or sour times in raising children diminish your experience with your little ones. You know there’s a sweet and loving child there that needs us to always be unconditional in our love and attention.
Every stage of raising children is like a new chapter that is yet to be written in your book. Just remember to enjoy all the phases of your child’s life. We’re often so consumed in the day-to-day of our daily routine that we don’t always stop to savor those little moments. You’ll often find how much you miss the baby stage, or the toddler stage, once that phase has passed and your kids have moved on to the next. You’ll also notice that you begin to measure time passing by through the age of your children. I’ve noticed that time passes by so quickly as my kids have grown up. So much changes in their development, personalities, and physical characteristics with each passing year. The constant growth just makes time fly by. First your children are babies, then toddlers, then school-aged, then middle and high schoolers. Just as you’re getting settled into one phase, it’s time to move to the next! You really wish you could freeze time and keep your kids little for just a bit longer.
Of all the stages and phases of their lives, one of the most important will actually be before they arrive. This is the maternity and pregnancy stage. So much will be happening and changing with your body, emotions, and mental state at this time. It’s vital to become educated and involved with every aspect of your pregnancy. Of course the first matter is establishing a good relationship with your doctor. Be sure not to delay this process and get started on regular office visits right away. The guidance provided from these initial visits will bring a wealth of knowledge on the next several months and trimesters ahead. I can’t stress this enough, and by establishing this very early on in your pregnancy will help you to have a successful and enjoyable pregnancy.
I know you’ll be busy with all of the preparation of bringing your newborn home. What color and theme will you have for the nursery, what type of baby furniture will you need, what will you name your newborn, and on and on….These are certainly many of the exciting things to look forward to. Don’t forget to also look at the safety aspects of how to make your baby safe in your home from day 1.
You should learn to always consider safety with every decision you’ll be making during your pregnancy. When you consider baby furniture, it’s important to be aware of how dangerous simple things around your home can become deadly. Don’t just think of what style of furniture you want. Also think of the potential of the dresser or night stand to tip over when your child is old enough to pull up on those items as they begin to learn how to walk. Securing furniture to your wall with a bracket and safety strap will prevent this type of accidental tipping. Too many children die each year from such accidents that are totally preventable.
Household chemicals are also another source of accidents that can be prevented. When your child is just learning to walk and move around on their own, be sure to place child locks or gates on drawers, cabinets, doors, and stairway entrances. These measures should be in place well before your child can walk. You’ll be surprised how soon and how mobile a young child can become in a short period of time.
Another item of great importance is your child car seat. I see too many times where a child is in the wrong car seat for their age, or the seat is installed improperly. Children should NEVER be located in the front seat of your vehicle. The back seat is always the safest location in your car. The front passenger airbag only has enough force to cause trauma to a baby in a car seat. So always install seats in the back. It’s also vital to have your baby in a rear-facing position while they’re very young. A rear-facing baby has less force imposed on them during many common types of accidents. This may seem counter-intuitive at first because you can’t see your baby, but you can purchase large baby mirrors to place in the back seat so you can see them while rear-facing.
Here is a link to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) website on how to properly install a rear-facing baby seat.
Ok, so those are some important things to think about and get started on while you’re pregnant. But now let’s turn back to you and some items to consider during your pregnancy. We already mentioned that establishing regular pregnancy doctor visits are vital. So what about the time in between office visits? What can you do at home to keep both you and baby healthy so you continue to receive good news at the next appointment?
Let’s start with nutrition and lifestyle. Hopefully you were already practicing a healthy lifestyle before becoming pregnant. Even if you weren’t the best at pushing away that cheeseburger or milkshake before, now is a great time to start. You have to consider two lives now and not just your own.
Your baby is going to need a lot of high value nutrients to provide the building blocks that will develop their body and mind. Go back to basics on this one. Yes, that means plenty of fruits and vegetables. Your food intake will begin to increase as your baby grows inside. You’ll have plenty of eating sessions and at all hours of the day and night sometimes. A well balanced diet will contribute to a healthier mommy and baby and help prevent or reduce any complications later on.
Vitamin supplementation will also be incorporated into your daily routine. Even if you’re eating properly, sometimes the need for vitamins are so great that you may not be able to supply enough from your diet alone. Your doctor will go over in detail a plan of what and when to supplement. One common vitamin that you’ll supplement is folic acid. Folic acid is important during pregnancy because it is a critical element to your baby’s brain and cognitive development.
Besides a healthy diet, you should evaluate your lifestyle and see if any adjustments need to be made their. Substance use such as drugs and alcohol are a big No No here. Remember that drugs, alcohol, nicotine, etc. are harmful and addictive to not just you, but your unborn child. The safety of your baby is the best reason to stop the intake of these substances. The damage that can be inflicted by these substances can mean a lifetime of mental or physical struggles for your children. It’s certainly not worth it. Remember also that sleep will be your best friend during pregnancy. No more late nights and burning the midnight candle.
A healthy diet and a clean lifestyle is very good practice during pregnancy. Don’t forget to get into an exercise routine as well. You will be able to participate in several of the same physical activities while pregnant that you were able to do perform before becoming pregnant, especially in the early trimesters. One exception would be contact sports. For obvious reasons, contact sports are not recommended for pregnant women. Some great activities you can perform include walking, light running, yoga, light weight training, high cardio workouts, etc.
Here are some general guidelines for exercising while pregnant from WebMD:
Be sure to always consult with your physician about your particular situation and exercise plan.
So we have our medical plan established, we’re eating healthier and exercising, we’re turning away from poor lifestyle habits, good job. You’re doing pretty darn good, I’d say. So what about other things to consider during pregnancy, like what kind of clothes can I wear. You’ll soon notice that your existing clothes don’t fit anymore, but that doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe.
Maternity clothes can be expensive and you won’t be wearing anything you buy for more than a couple of months. See if you can tap into your friends that may have recently been pregnant to see if they would be willing to donate their old maternity clothes to you. You can also visit second-hand clothing stores that carry maternity wear. A great idea would be to start a maternity closet among your neighbors and friends that people can freely donate to and benefit from. Some things like undergarments are best to purchasing new, but almost everything else you should be able to get for free or for very cheap.
Sometimes you can even wear your pre-pregnancy clothes, but with some modifications. For example, your pre-preggy jeans can still worn if you just use a waist extender. These are usually elastic bands that allow you to leave your pants unbuttoned and the elastic band allows the stretch and ability to secure your pants to keep them on.
To better demonstrate, here’s what a waist extender looks like.
You also don’t need to buy new maternity tops either. You can wear existing tees and tops and add in a maternity band (also known as a maternity wrap or maternity hide). The maternity band is an elastic fabric that you wear around your mid-section to cover your belly from being exposed. It bridges the gap between your shirt bottom and your pants. It blends in very well with your outfit.
Here’s what a maternity band/wrap looks like.
When it comes to shoes, you’re probably going to be out of luck and won’t be able to wear many of your existing pairs. It will really depend on how much your legs and feet swell during your pregnancy, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. You may be lucky and have minimal swelling of your feet. I wish I could say I did, but that reality wasn’t for me. You may not need many pairs of shoes if you’re a stay at home mom. If you are still working, you will have a good excuse now to go buy new shoes if nothing else! Consider that a win!
Speaking of still working, this brings up another good topic that you will need to think about early on and discuss with your employer. I was able to work until about two weeks before I was due. Depending on your situation and comfort level late in your pregnancy, you may not be able to work as long. Either way, if you plan on working soon after giving birth you’ll need to sit down with your employer and HR department to know what to expect.
Maternity leave in the United States isn’t as long or robust as it should be. Your leave is normally a mix between vacation time, short-term disability, maternity leave, and even time off without pay. Depending on these and several other factors, you will have more or less time at home after you give birth. Many women tend to have two-three months at home with their new baby.
Here’s a good website to learn about your rights as a new mom and how that integrates with your employer.
Unfortunately it’s not as good as it needs to be, but please get educated on the subject and don’t delay coming up with a plan and expectations early on with your employer.
If you plan on going back to work after your leave has ended, childcare will be something that will inevitably become an emotional struggle as well as a financial one.
Nothing is harder for a mom than to leave their precious baby in the hands of a day care facility. Basically it comes down to your child being cared for by strangers and no visibility to you on what’s going on. If you plan on utilizing day care, I strongly suggest you begin interviewing care givers often and early on. Ask your family and friends for recommendations on providers that they have used and trust. This is probably the best way to find someone reliable to watch your child. Do your due diligence and verify providers, and then verify again. Make sure whomever you choose has all the proper certifications and permits to provide child care in your particular municipality. Care giver to child ratios should be within the ranges of your city’s policies on child care and well-being. The facility should always be clean and the staff properly certified with all current CPR and basic first aid training. Now I say the facility should always be clean, bearing in mind that supervising several children is impossible to always keep tidy, but I mean there shouldn’t be unsanitary conditions that exist.
Day care also shouldn’t just be a place where your child has their basic needs of food and diaper changes met. It should also provide healthy mental and physical stimulation through early childhood development programs and teacher interaction. This will help build up your child’s cognitive and social development that will be vital as they grow and enter school a few short years down the road.
I know we have discussed a lot of items here, but each one is so very important for you and your baby. It may sound daunting, and honestly at times it will feel that way. But there’s a beautiful thing that’s inherent to mothers. That one thing is instinct. You may not have a book of instructions on what to do, but believe me, you have everything you need to be a great mom. Educate yourself and always love your children unconditionally.