Last time I wrote about all the things to focus on during the first trimester. The little one and I are currently about halfway through our second trimester, so I am moving on to the second trimester list this week! I hope this is all helpful for those going through their first pregnancy, or even a subsequent pregnancy where they’d just like to plan better this time around (like me).
14. Register for a crib and/or bassinet
Cribs can be pricey so it’s nice to think about this one a bit before you need it. The nice thing about registering for one, is that depending on which registry you choose, people can choose to go in on a larger but more important gift (like a crib, car seat, or stroller) together instead of all getting smaller gifts. Lots of babies sleep in a bassinet in their parents’ room for a few months before transitioning to the crib.
We used a playyard/bassinet/changing table combo. Our oldest let us know on about day three of being home that he would prefer his own room and the crib, so I’m glad we did not buy a dedicated bassinet. We went with a convertible crib that he will be able to use as a toddler bed and eventually swap out a full size mattress as he gets older. Something to consider: you may want to use the same crib for multiple children so picking one that isn’t necessarily too feminine or masculine may be a priority if that’s the case.
15. Register for a Car Seat
Car seats are another pricey but important one. The main consideration for a car seat is whether or not it’s important to you that it can also be used as a carrier. We picked one that is not used as a carrier, but lasts for a longer range of child sizes than most. Having a carrier wasn’t important to me, because I think they are a little awkward to hold.
When we go places (and I still do this), I just take him out of the car seat and put him into the Konny wrap (which he loves). The nice thing about that particular wrap (which I talked about in my post on baby necessities) is that you can put it on under a coat or before going somewhere so it is ready to go when you arrive at your destination. Since it’s just fabric, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable while you’re driving or look weird if you accidentally leave it on for the rest of the day. Ask me know I know.
16. Register for a Stroller
Strollers are kind of the final element in the expensive baby stuff trifecta. I LOVE the stroller we got, and the bassinet/pram attachment for when the little one is tiny. However, I neglected to consider that we might have another child so soon though. I probably should have picked one that can convert to a double stroller. Looks like we will be buying a second stroller this time around! Definitely something to think about. Post pregnancy, it is really nice to be able to take the little one out for a walk.
We ended up using the bassinet/pram by itself as a nice little area for him to nap during the day. It was especially nice when we would sit on the patio since we could keep him shaded and bug-free (with a mosquito net).
17. Register for Diapers
Yes, you can register for regular disposable diapers for your baby shower. That way people will know what kind you’d like to use – I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to use biodegradable diapers, since not all of them are. The estimates of how long it takes the average diaper to decompose are between 100 and 500 years. Every disposable diaper ever made is still around today.
ALSO, you can register for cloth diapers. I’m an environmentalist so I would feel terrible if we didn’t even try them. You can always buy one or two and just see how it goes. We started my son off on prefolds with waterproof covers, and they worked great! I did put far too much effort into them initially. I was scrubbing each poo diaper out individually, and it turns out that breastfed baby poo is entirely water soluble so you can generally just throw them directly into the wash.
When he outgrew the newborn sizes, we decided to try all in one diapers, and those were such a game changer! All in one diapers are almost exactly like disposable diapers. They just snap or velcro shut, and you throw them in the wash. We either drop poo into the toilet, or if it’s soft enough just put it directly into the wash. They have come out clean every time. We do use baby laundry detergent which I’m sure helps. Since most of the “work” involved in changing a diaper is the actual changing part, we have been able to keep up with this pretty well. We do use “overnight” disposable diapers for overnight, because they seem to let him sleep through the night better. But one disposable diaper a day is way better than ten!
18. Register for and order Pumping & Breastfeeding Tops
You can register for things for yourself too. During pregnancy, I don’t think I really understood how much time I would be spending feeding the little guy early on. I’ve talked about this top before, but I am bringing it up again because it is kind of pricey and maybe someone will buy it for you! Another option with the same functionality as this one has not been found. I did try something similar from Bed Bath & Beyond and it was terrible. It did not do the job.
I bought four of these from Kindred Bravely (with a discount code) while breastfeeding my first. I pretty much lived in them. It was the only way to do everything I needed to do without a million layers or constantly changing clothes. And the layers BOTHERED me while breastfeeding. Something about that process just made me sweat like crazy… even more than I normally would during a very intense workout. Early on in the breastfeeding process, it was very important to me to be able to wear this top, these leggings, a zip up hoodie (to be removed during feeding), and not one other thing.
If it is your first pregnancy, you may not have much of a belly at this point. I definitely just felt like I looked normal, but fat. It can be nice to have a cute maternity top or dress than makes the “pregnant, not fat” thing very clear. If possible, you may want to go to a boutique and try things on. It can be hard to tell how things will look with a silhouette you aren’t used to. Normally I like loose clothes, but it turns out that fitted styles looked a lot better on me during pregnancy. It took ordering a few dresses that made me look like a refrigerator to find that out.
20. Baby Shower
The 20-week mark is when many people choose to have a baby shower. It can be helpful to designate someone to write down who each gift is from (especially for anything off-registry). I didn’t remember to do this, but thankfully my sister volunteered her husband. Pregnancy absolutely destroyed my short term memory. You may also want to order Thank You cards at this time so you don’t forget to send them.
21. Review Family Budget (& make sure your rings still fit due to pregnancy swelling)
Post-shower is a good time to review your family budget. If you haven’t typically kept one, now is as good a time as any to start doing do. Pre-pregnancy, my husband and I just did our own things with our money. We basically split the bills somewhat down the middle. Once we had a baby on the way, we started tracking our combined household spending together and making sure we had a separate budget for baby items.
Although babies don’t actually need much, the expenses associated with them can add up fairly quickly. Unfortunately in the US, it can be very expensive to deliver a baby even with good insurance. It is also difficult to get most hospitals to give you a quote on how much to expect to spend. There could always be additional surprise medical expenses. AND, you may still need to purchase anything you didn’t get during your shower.
It’s also a good time to make sure that if you wear rings, they aren’t getting too tight. I think the swelling I experienced during my first pregnancy (AND this one) may be more than usual, but if I hadn’t taken my rings off when I did, I’d probably be short a finger by now.
22. Take a Pregnancy & Childbirth Class and Write A Birth Plan
A lot of people find it helpful to take a childbirth class, especially before their first time giving birth. Since I was first pregnant in February 2020, I took an online birth class. I think it was nice to be informed about the process well in advance so I would know what to anticipate.
I also wrote and printed out a hard copy birth plan, which I did not end up needing (since I was conscious the whole time), but it can be helpful to have it all written out in case of a medical emergency, some confusion, or just to make sure you thought it all through. Make sure your partner or support person knows where to find it if they need it. Mine was very short and not very complex, but some people have additional preferences they would like to include.
It is important to be flexible! I wanted to try laboring naturally, without medication or an epidural. As the Pitocin dosage continued to increase I was grateful to receive an epidural. On top of that, I did not fully understand what an emergency c-section would entail (and we thankfully avoided that situation) before arriving at the hospital. Learning that a breathing tube may need to be inserted if not using an epidural swayed my opinion since we were on the clock to get our little guy out in time! Also, if you are planning to bank cord blood, that is an important thing to mention. More on that next time! This is the information mine contained:
23. Send Baby Shower Thank-You Notes
Ideally someone wrote down what each of the gifts were. You don’t want to rely on your memory for this. Our registry site let us know who had purchased each item from the registry. That said, there were a few off-registry items as well. Get these out as soon as you can so you don’t get sidetracked with everything else!
24. Deep Clean the House
Week 24 is a great week to give the whole house a deep clean. If you are able to hire a cleaner or solicit some help, I would highly recommend it. Otherwise just take it a little bit at a time and don’t overexert yourself! During both of my pregnancies it has been very important to me to reorganize the entire house. I understand that is a fairly common phenomenon. It can be challenging to tackle the big projects with a new baby. Anything that has been categorized as “we will get to it one day” should be tackled soon! Many women get very tired again in their third trimesters of pregnancy. You also know if the baby will be early, so it can be helpful to get this out of the way.
25. Order a Breast Pump through your insurance company
Many insurance companies will pay for a breast pump. After calling my insurance company, I was sent to a website where I could pick out the pump I wanted. They shipped it to me free of charge. I read a lot of reviews on Amazon and other sites even though I ordered through the insurance site. My doctor signed off on it, and it was not shipped until closer to the end of my pregnancy. Even though I mainly fed him directly from the breast, it was helpful to be able to pump so my husband could give him a bottle. We were also able to save up the extra milk in the freezer in case we needed it (which we did). This is the one I used, which I liked, but I haven’t tried any others so I have nothing to compare it to.
26. Set up the big nursery items
As with house cleaning, it helps to get the big nursery items set up a little early. You may run out of energy in late pregnancy or have a surprise early delivery. I didn’t help much – I micromanaged my husband doing all of it – but it was a relief when the room was ready! Having the crib, book shelves (for all the baby books we received as gifts), blackout curtains (for noise and light), nightlight, wall hooks, and rocking chair/middle of the night feeding station ready to go can also make the whole thing feel more real! We are getting ready to do this process again for the boys’ new shared room, and I can’t wait.