If you are a first-time mum, awaiting the arrival of your baby can be exhilarating, and sometimes, scary. Every single day brings a brand new experience, whether it’s the first wave of morning sickness, the first inkling of a flutter in your womb, or the first kick. Apart from making sure the practicalities — savings, budgeting, and work plans for example — are sorted out (or being worked on), there are other things to consider and to do, including these below.
1. Join a mums-to-be forum
When I was expecting my firstborn, I was a bundle of nerves. After reading every single pregnancy book I could lay my hands on cover-to-cover (going over the parts relevant to the week of gestation I was currently at multiple times), and boring non-preggy friends with a la minute updates of foetal growth, I discovered online forums. Lo and behold, there were mums-to-be who were just like me! We shared our doubts, fears, anxieties, and joy, gasped over each other’s birth stories, breastfeeding woes, and are still talking about our babies — who are now in P6.
2. Keep up with your fitness
If you’ve been active even before pregnancy, good. Keep it up. Exercising during pregnancy is one of the best ways to reduce prenatal discomforts. Keeping active can also promote emotional wellbeing, and an easier labour. If you need to restore and strengthen your sense of mind-body balance (and who doesn’t these days?), try COMO Shambhala’s By My Side. More than just a fitness website, this is a holistic online repository for wellness, where you can follow yoga, barre, and pilates and mindfulness classes. You can also book personal consultations on prenatal nutrition, naturopathy, life coaching and more.
(See also: All you Need to Know about Prenatal Yoga)
3. Confirm your confinement nanny
Most mums hire their confinement nanny through word-of-mouth recommendations. However the more popular ones tend to be booked months in advance. Hence it is best to have alternatives ready. You can engage one from a confinement agency, for instance. Do your research first, and ask friends who have done so. Read up on how to find a confinement nanny and the five important questions to ask before hiring her. The confinement nanny or the agency should also be able to advise you on confinement essentials to buy and stock up on.
4. Order your confinement meal
Even if you do not plan to have a confinement lady, you can still enjoy home-cooked confinement meals thanks to confinement caterers. I did that, and did not regret it one bit. The meals arrived warm, tasted amazing, and came in such generous portions that there was enough for hubs to eat as well. Most confinement caterers use less salt and no MSG in their cooking; some even include lactation-friendly ingredients so as to help new mums get breastfeeding off on a right start!
5. Book your post-natal massage
Did you know that the different races in Singapore have different racial confinement practices? One thing that we’re sure all mums would appreciate though, is the postnatal massage. Pregnancy and giving birth puts stress on a woman’s body, and postnatal massages address these concerns, while offering various other benefits including a reduction in swelling, improved lactation, and better sleep.
(See also: 17 Pregnancy and Birth Superstitions you Should Not Believe)
6. Enjoy a pre-natal massage
Not every mum-to-be goes through pregnancy glowing like a fertility goddess. Some suffer from bloating, water retention, swelling, indigestion, constipation, backaches… you get the idea. One way to ease them all? Get a prenatal massage. Check out our top 10 pampering prenatal massages in Singapore and book one for yourself. You know you deserve it.
7. Think about child care arrangements
If you are currently working, who will be looking after your little one after your maternity leave is over, and you return to work? You may have family or relatives who can help out. You may have a domestic helper who is able to do the job. Or you may be thinking of hiring one. If not, this is the best time to start thinking about child care options in Singapore, and do your rounds of infant care centres if you plan to put your baby in one.
8. Train your domestic helper, or hire one if you need to
Some parents prefer to have their foreign domestic worker take care of their baby, or hire one to do so. Parents who have done this say you should get yours early so that you (or your parents, or someone whom you trust) can teach the FDW what to do, and ensure that she is well-equipped with the skills to manage a baby. In addition, they advise putting in CCTV cameras at home so that you can monitor your helper remotely. Finally, having your parents go over to ‘hangout’ and help with Baby a few hours a day can ease your helper’s load and give her time to rest.
9. Do your maternity photoshoot, and arrange for your newborn photoshoot
Yes, do it, especially if it is your first baby. Immortalise these memories and look at them again in a decade or so when your little darling is growing into grumpy tweenhood and you’re wondering why you ever had children! These are some of our favourite maternity, baby, and family photographers in Singapore. We’re also big fans of this photographer mum’s work!
10. Take a class
Parenting does not come naturally to everyone, but if you are determined to be the best mum or dad that you can be, parent coaching can help. These antenatal classes run the gamut from holistic hospital-based classes, to active birth classes that focus on breathing techniques, to lactation sessions that prep you for breastfeeding. Generally, you can start antenatal classes between weeks 16 and 20 of pregnancy. At home, you can also bond with baby early, and enjoy pregnancy. It’s certainly an experience you’ll never forget!
(See also: 10 Things to do After your Baby is Born)
Additional text: June Wan