We had another baby– surprise! Or, well, maybe not to anyone else 🙂
And while you might think that I’m a seasoned veteran by now, there are more than a few things I wanted to do differently this time around for sweet baby #5. From my prenatal nutrition and care to the newborn essentials I added to my cart, this last pregnancy was a complete one-eighty from my first go at this nearly eight years ago. The approach I took this time was for both my own health and my baby’s health. Here are five things I did differently to prepare and care for my growing baby during this pregnancy.
Prioritized Nutrition Over a Prenatal Vitamin
I’m sorry to say that in my previous pregnancies, I overestimated the importance of a prenatal vitamin and underestimated the importance of my daily diet. And while you should always consult with your physician or midwife on this topic, I dropped the prenatal vitamin this time around. Instead, I ate a variety of nutrient-dense foods and filled in the gaps with a few clean supplements and minerals.
On my pregnancy menu this time around: grass-fed butter on sourdough, citrus fruits, beef liver (if I can do it, so can you!), steak, steamed broccoli, and at least three eggs per day. I swapped out my usual second cup of black coffee for a scoop of Fasted Fuel mixed with A2 milk, snacked on nuts and berries instead of granola bars, and added magnesium and pink Himalyan sea salt to my water.
I also added a methylated folate supplement instead of the usually recommended folic acid. Folate is more bioavailable than synthetic folic acid, which makes it more useful in helping a baby’s brain develop properly. There’s also some talk that it can help eliminate the possibility of a baby having a tongue tie- but that’s a post for another time 🙂
These changes made a HUGE difference in my energy levels, especially during the first trimester when, historically, I’ve felt like garbage. Proper nutrition was the biggest change for me during my fifth pregnancy and it feels good to know I’ve been taking care of my body in the best way possible. I invested in some high-quality supplements to take when I felt like I wasn’t able to give my body the best nutrition- you can find those under the category “supplements” on my “shop my home” page right here!
Prepared Nourishing Postpartum Meals
When you already have four kids at home, life doesn’t stop just because you have a new baby. Everyone will need to eat, and the last thing I wanted was to not have a plan for meals. While meal prepping isn’t my favorite, not being stressed by the request for the next meal sounded pretty good to me!
On my list of make-ahead freezer meals? My family’s favorites! Mini meatloaves, taco casserole, French toast bake, chicken noodle casserole, lasagna, baked oatmeal, and white chicken chili.
I’ve also enjoyed scrolling through this list from The Minimalist Mama for some new ideas- YUM.
Prepared for the Possibility of a Tongue Tie
I began my first breastfeeding journey on the wrong foot– or, no foot to be more precise. While everything seemed fine in the hospital, she refused to latch about forty-eight hours after birth. It wasn’t until I began my own training in oral restrictions and airway health that I dared to peek under my then-five-year-old’s tongue to find one very restrictive lingual frenulum (“tongue tie”). How I wish either I or my pediatrician could have figured that one out (my oldest went straight to the bottle).
This time, I plan on doing my own oral assessment of my newborn and seeking the help of both a pediatric chiropractor and a lactation consultant to support my breastfeeding journey. Breastfeeding is the first and most important step in actively shaping a child’s oral cavity and airway. And while every mother’s choice is different, I truly believe that breastfeeding is the best choice for every baby.
Assembled My Newborn “Toolkit”
If there’s one major difference between my first baby and this fifth baby it’s this: less stuff.
And while I have significantly cut out the cute baby “fluff,” baby and I will still need a few things to support us in our postpartum journey. Here are a few that are important to me as a whole-health dentist:
- Solly Baby Wrap. This is by far my favorite baby-wearing wrap. With beautiful fabrics and the perfect amount of stretch, I would place this purchase in my top three baby items of all time. Baby-wearing promotes breastfeeding because it helps mothers pick up on their baby’s hunger cues and decreases crying (it’s much easier to feed a baby that hasn’t escalated to crying from hunger). It’s extremely convenient when you have other children to tend to and need both hands free. When you click here, you can enjoy 10% off your Solly Baby order!
- Evenflo bottles. After discussing with many of the nation’s top lactation consultants, I’ve come to recognize which bottles are better for babies so that they can deeply latch onto the nipple in the same way we want them to while nursing. While there are a handful of recommended bottles that do just this, I decided to go with Evenflo bottles. You can find the exact ones I purchased right here.
- The Avent pacifier. The tip of this pacifier is exactly what I look for in a nipple shape- just a simple, straight, rounded end. Plus, it’s affordable so I don’t have to panic if (when) I lose one.
Simplifying Family Life
I’m actually quite proud of my family and myself for how we’ve eliminated the daily chaos and emotional “clutter” over the past nine months. My husband and I sat down with our oldest children to explain why this season of our life would be a slower, perhaps less thrilling one for our family. Here are the small but impactful changes we made so that we wouldn’t be exhausted by the time baby #5 arrived:
We said no to almost everything. So if you’re a friend or family member reading this, please know we love you and were honored by your invitations to parties, cook-outs, and get-togethers! But saying “no” when it felt like it would sacrifice our peace to say “yes” was the best thing we ever did for our family. Waddling around in the Midwest humidity and heat with four children in tow has been more difficult than I thought, so I can only imagine how worn out I would feel if we attended too many events.
We stopped buying stuff. I always felt like minimalism and children was an unattainable utopia that I would never enjoy, but I realize now that I was doing it all wrong. I would purge and donate and throw away… but I would continue to bring new things into our home, creating a vicious cycle! I did something I should have done a very long time ago. I canceled my credit card, applied for a brand new one, and never memorized the card number or plugged it into my phone or computer. This has saved me from so many impulse buys! Now as I clean out my house, I actually notice the difference. Fewer clothes to fold, fewer decorations to dust, and fewer things to step on.
I’m confident that, while it may not be easy to juggle all that comes with having five children, I’ve done my best to set us up for a peaceful beginning to our sweet little babe’s life at home with us.
Want more helpful tips for preparing for a baby’s optimal airwy
To your family’s health,