Making Strides

I feel like besides cramming my brain full of as much information as possible, I haven’t really done anything to actually get ready for the little nugget’s arrival. I’m extremely superstitious, and this entire time I’ve been afraid to buy anything baby-related, or do too much to get ready, in case I jinxed it.

And then last night, I gave myself a reality check. I realized that if I kept this up, I’d have a ton of book knowledge ready to go, but before I knew it, I’d have a baby in my arms, no real-world learning experience and none of the necessary supplies to care for it. All of a sudden, I was super motivated to start researching baby items for our registry.

First, I tried to go about it the easy way. One of my best friends, Jeni, who had a baby last winter, extensively researched everything she registered for. We have basically the exact same style, too, so I figured when the time came, I would just use her registry to get ideas and go from there. Done and done. Except it’s not online anymore, so I’m hoping she might have a copy saved somewhere.

After the Pilot got off work, I had cabin fever from being in the house most of the day, and thought it would be fun to look around at baby things. We were to a couple of stores [and I found so many amazing things that I love!] and I bit the bullet and we bought our first baby-related thing: a heartbeat listening thingamathing.

heart thing

We got a little jipped on this one.

Actually, we didn’t read the packaging very well. See those tiny words on the bottom left-hand corner? Third trimester recommended. I’m in the second trimester. Punks. I do have to say that laying on the couch, with the sensor strapped around my belly and trying to find the heartbeat with the Pilot was an incredible moment, though.

Another thing I accomplished on my “let’s get ready” task list: registering for childbirth classes.

After researching various options, from experiences I’ve heard from other moms and per my doula’s recommendation, the Pilot and I decided on the Bradley Method.


Here’s some info from the website:

  1. What is The Bradley Method®?
    The Bradley Method® teaches natural childbirth and views birth as a natural process. It is our belief that most women with proper education, preparation, and the help of a loving and supportive coach can be taught to give birth naturally. The Bradley Method® is a system of natural labor techniques in which a woman and her coach play an active part. It is a simple method of increasing self-awareness, teaching a woman how to deal with the stress of labor by tuning in to her own body. The Bradley Method® encourages mothers to trust their bodies using natural breathing, relaxation, nutrition, exercise, and education.
  2. How is The Bradley Method® Unique?
    1. The Bradley Method® teaches couples ways to stay low risk. While occasionally there are risk factors out of your control, staying healthy and low risk can help to avoid complications. Low risk mothers have more choices.
    2. Relaxation is the Key to The Bradley Method® during labor. It is the safest and most effective way to reduce unnecessary pain and to handle any pain that you do experience. While other methods seek to control the sensations of labor (emphasizing distraction as their Primary labor control technique), The Bradley Method® encourages mothers to trust their bodies (emphasizing relaxed abdominal breathing and relaxation throughout labor).
    3. The term The Bradley Method® is a registered trademark to ensure you are getting quality childbirth education. All instructors of The Bradley Method® are highly trained to help you learn how to give birth.

What does The Bradley Method® Teach?

  1. Natural childbirth – Nearly 90% of Bradley Method moms having vaginal births do so without pain medication.
  2. Active participation by the husband as coach.
  3. Excellent nutrition (the foundation of a healthy pregnancy and baby).
  4. Avoidance of drugs during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding, unless absolutely necessary. No drug has been proven safe for an unborn baby.
  5. Training: "Early Bird" classes followed by weekly classes starting in the 5th month and continuing until the birth.
  6. Relaxation and NATURAL breathing – can be effective pain management techniques with training according to the National Institutes of Health.
  7. "Tuning-in" to your own body and trusting the natural process.
  8. Immediate and continuous contact with your new baby.
  9. Breastfeeding, beginning at birth provides immunities and nutrition.
  10. Consumerism and positive communications.
  11. Parents taking responsibility for the safety of the birth place, procedures, attendants, and emergency back-up.
  12. Parents being prepared for unexpected situations such as emergency childbirth and cesarean section.

What the Bradley Method is NOT:

[Bahahaa. I couldn’t resist. Also, if you haven’t seen the Backup Plan, it’s pretty hilarious]

I’m really excited our classes, which are 12 weeks and during a time when Tom will be able to be there with me for all of them. I already spoke on the phone with one of the instructors (who is also a certified doula, midwife and mom of 3 Bradley method-born children, one of whom is about my age) and she was fantastic. I can’t wait to meet her.

Through the Bradley Method, Tom will be acting as a labor coach, along with my midwife and doula. We’ll be able to learn various techniques and positions to help me relax, and with the 3 people I’ll have on my birth team, I feel really good about the entire process. Also, if anyone knows how to relax me, it’s my husband. He is the most level-headed, calm under pressure person I’ve ever met.

I’ll never forget the first *fight* we got into: I was in the kitchen switching the dishes into the dishwasher, yelling and clanking things around, and he said so calmly, “Come here, baby. Sit down and we’ll figure it all out.” Um, yeah. I still don’t know what planet he came from, but that I’m very lucky.


Have you taken any childbirth classes? What’s the #1 most awesome baby registry item you know of? I’ll be putting together a favorite things style wish list soon 🙂

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  1. amber@SAHM's musings on July 12, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    If you are planning to breastfeed I recommend a boppy pillow & cover, medela breastpump, and reusable nursing pads that you can wash. (I enjoyed something along these lines Oh and a cute nursing cover

  2. Chris on July 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    When I was pregnant with baby #1, I bought one of the doppler similiar to what you bought and it never worked. I was so disappointed. I loved hearing the babies heartbeat. It was so calming and reassuring to hear that little thumping sound anytime I wanted. So when I was pregnant with baby #2 and baby #3, I looked on line and rented a baby doppler. It looked exactly like the one they used at my OB’s office. It came with the gel and everything. I used it every day and especially with the 3rd baby, I used it all the time b/c my other 2 kids LOVED it. They would always ask to hear their little brother’s heartbeat. I think it helps me also. I was less stressed all the time and never had to worry if the baby wasn’t moving as much as usual or make frantic calls to the doctors office to try to schedule an appointment because I was freaking out. It was so easy to rent one, and not too expensive. You just decide the number of months you want to rent it for, they sent it to you (free shipping) in a box, you save the box, use the doppler as much as you want until your time is up, put it back in the box, use the pre-addressed label and take it to the post office and sent it back. easy peasy. The website I ordered from is called heartbeats from home. The website is:

    Good luck 🙂

  3. Autumn on July 12, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    I love the Bradley Method! My kids are 4, 2, and 1 and I used that with each of them. My husband was deployed when I was pregnant with our first child and wasn’t going to be there for the birth. I knew I wanted a natural birth and after some research, decided on Bradley. I just read the book since I didn’t really have a coach, and just focused on the things it said to do myself. Then with with each of my other children, I just re-read the important parts of the book to refresh my memory and kinda prep myself. Bradley is awesome though. With my first, even though I had no idea what labor would be like, I felt very prepared and confident as a result of the book.

  4. Meghan on July 12, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Yay! So glad to hear that you chose Bradley classes! We took Bradley classes when I was expecting our first child six years ago. The information provided in those classes definitely prepared me for the labor and delivery of our children. Although I already felt like I knew a lot of what was discussed from reading so much, the information was invaluable to my husband. We now have three children (and hope to have more). Our first was an unmedicated hospital delivery and the next two were home births (and I am not a traditional “granola-type”. I really feel that the biggest key isntelling yourself that you WILL have a natural birth or knowing you will breastfeed. Sure, there us a small chance that you might require intervention but the chance is just that, miniscule, if you don’t allow intervention unless absolutely necessary. Best of luck to you!

  5. Ali @ urbanfruitbat on July 13, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Good for you girl! It must feel good to know you are doing all you can to make this the most enjoyable experience for both of you. You will be the most informed mama eva!

  6. Sabrina on July 13, 2011 at 1:42 am

    One of the best pieces of baby gear advice I’ve heard is to borrow items like swings and bouncy seats from friends to try them out first. Babies are all so different – my oldest daughter HATED the bouncy seat, but my younger one absolutely loved the bouncy seat. The nice thing with newborns is that you really don’t need a lot of things right away (granted, I would have never believed this if someone had told me when I was pregnant with my first).

    You’ll do great with labor and delivery – I think having the confidence that you’ll be able to do a natural birth is huge. My first was a completely natural delivery at a hospital with a wonderful doctor, who was completely open to whatever I wanted to do (I was very much set against having any intervention, unless it was absolutely necessary). Granted, kid two was induced and I had a lovely epidural, but I am glad that I did experience a natural childbirth – the key for me was a supportive husband and really believing that I could do it.

  7. Elisabeth on July 13, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Bradley method is awesome. Got me through three labor & delivery experiences with relative ease (you know, painful, but I knew what to expect and so was calm about it). One of the best pieces of advice I got from my classes was to relax into the pain as opposed to fighting it. It sounded ridiculous when I first heard it, but it totally worked.

  8. Emily on July 13, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I’m new to your website, but already love it! My husband and I have been TTC for almost a year now. I used to be a workout freak, but have cut that back. I eat only organic and anything proven to increase fertility (yams, red peppers, sunflower seeds, the list goes on!). I’m also on my 3rd cycle of acupuncture with Chinese herbs. Any advice on how to just relax?! Thanks and can’t wait to keep reading about your development!

  9. Debbie on July 13, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Make sure you register for a baby papasan chair…my babies lived in it! I wish I had one…so comfy!

  10. Nicole on July 13, 2011 at 10:09 am

    My little one is 10 weeks old on Friday.

    Lifesavers for me have been:

    1. Swing — he loves the motion and it allows me to get a few things done around the house
    2. Miracle Blanket (swaddling blanket) – this works great and keep him tightly wrapped thru the night
    3. Happiest Baby on the Block DVD – Dr. Karp knows his stuff. The tips he provides really do work
    4. Graco Snugrider — convenient to snap the Graco carseat right into and easy to fold. Lightweight too
    5. Boppy pillow — I have both My Brest Friend and the Boppy and I actually like the Boppy better. Easier to position him when feeding, especially during the nightly (half-awake) feedings.

  11. sarah on July 13, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I think you would love to have a Saranoni blanket on your registry!

  12. meagan on July 13, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Going to a Bradley class is beneficial, but I’ll be honest–I found the book pretty sexist. Even my Bradley teacher agreed. So…While I think the method is a good one, and the classes are valuable (mostly for husbands)…the book itself I felt was a dud. I liked Hypnobabies and hypnobirthing and during labor used my knowledge of yogic breathing to get me through it.

    As far as registries go, I loved our Miracle blanket swaddler. We could tuck her in tight and she couldn’t escape! It was awesome. Also…you need a lot of burp cloths or cheapie receiving blankets (what we used for burp cloths). In the first few months there’s just a lot of fluid going around–spit-up, breastmilk, etc.– and you”ll always need something to mop it up. Oh! Also, some form of lanolin for your breasts. I liked Medela TenderCare the best. It went on smooth and not gloppy like I thought Lansinoh did.

  13. Kristin @ Wounded Fawn on July 13, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I am not a mother but have been a nanny for years and am in the process of becoming a post partum doula. I would also recommend “The Happiest Baby on the Block Dvd” but I think you can also just check the techniques out on youtube.

    I have to tell you this if nothing else! Swaddle the child!!! Whether it’s with the Miracle Blanket, A bundleme or just an old fashioned blanket although, my favorite swaddle blankets are “aden + anaisMuslin Swaddle Wrap”.

    Also, a great book on understand baby sleep patterns “The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program: Follow Your Child’s Natural Sleep Rhythms for Better Nights and Naps”

  14. Bianca on July 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I think you would really love watching the Business of Being Born. It is a documentary about natural child birth. My mother is a midwife, and she thinks this was a very accurate and beautiful depiction of home and natural births. I loved it as well, and it got me very excited about natural childbirth in the future (distant future, no hubs yet).

    • Fitnessista on July 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      i loved it! have also read your best birth (by the same producers) and thought it was very eye-opening and informative

  15. Brenda on July 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Baby Bargains (9th Edition, April 2011) by Denise and Alan Fields is a book that rates and explains all baby products. The husband and I read it to decide which products to go with. It made completing a registry much easier than I had imagined! The authors also tell you which products to skip- helpful when you’re being inundated with so many new things! I was also going to go off of a friend’s registry, and while she and I are so similar, I found myself wanting to pick out the products and know what they are used for and why they’re the best. Baby Bargains helped a lot!

    • Becky on July 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm

      I used this book as well! A lifesaver. I also had my friend who has 2 kids under 3 come w/ me to offer advice on what to get/not get on things that may not have been discussed in book 🙂

  16. Kara on July 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper. It may look like nothing special, but everyone I know loves it. My baby slept in there for 6 months because it’s elevated and helped her reflux. It’s perfect for when you bring the baby home and you want it next to the bed at first.

    • Nicole on July 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      I agree — my little guy is 10 weeks old and I use it right next to our bed. Works well during the day too when I need to put him down so I can get a few things done around the house.

      • Marie R. on July 14, 2011 at 12:05 am

        I agree that the rock n’ play is a life saver! My son is 15 weeks now and I use it for naps occasionally and to put my little guy in when we have dinner or I need too get something done around the house. When he was younger it seemed like the only place he would sleep sometimes, so we let him sleep in it next to the bed. We also use it if we are traveling as it breaks apart pretty easily and then you don’t have to monkey around with requesting a crib which is usually shoddy anyways. I bought mine on a whim and it was one of the best things- especially at the beginning when it seemed as though my little guy did not want to sleep anywhere except on me. He was about 3 weeks when I got it and I wish I had it from day 1!

        I also love my portable and rechargeable night lights. I got them on amazon and they are perfect for middle of the night feedings and diaper changes. They provide just enough light to see what you’re doing, but not enough to really wake you or the baby up. I think mine is the “xoxo candela” and it came with 2 lights and the charger base.

  17. Renee on July 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Hey Gina!
    Can you please recommend your favorite pregnancy related books? Thanks!

  18. Jaime on July 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Congrats on a happy pregnancy! I found that *most* of those things we get from baby registries are not at all necessary (hello, wipe warmers?, diaper genies??). I ended up not using much of anything for my newborn. You and your family will probably be holding him/her 99% of his/her awake time! My baby was born in the summer, and it was so hot we didn’t even use any of his baby clothes most of the time. The Bumbo, however, is an amazing invention for when the baby gets a bit bigger. Also, if you like to use natural care products, like baby wash and lotion, put those on your registry– they get SO expensive!

  19. Shayla @ The Good Life on July 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Love hearing about this Bradley method! Once our time comes, I too would love to use the Bradley method since I want to go as natural as I can. My mom went natural for both me and my sister…at the time I don’t think she knew about this method (of if it was even out?), but it’s pretty on par with what she did. When I asked her, how did you do it natural? She simply responded, “I kept reminding myself that the pain and what was happening to my body was a natural process, to trust in what it was doing, and to just RELAX.” I’m sure easier said than done, but I’d love to follow in her foot steps and do the same 🙂

  20. Hilary on July 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I’m so glad I took a Bradley class when I was pregnant! I had a relatively easy labor, no interventions, and a perfectly healthy baby. I know part of it was just fate, but I feel very strongly that a big part of how things came out was prepardness, knowledge and my calm and oh-so-supportive husband who helped me through every step.

    My fav baby thing is my ergo carrier. My son is 1 now and I still use it almost every day. And my reuseable nursing pads! Still use them every day. I got mine off of Etsy (Wee Essentials store – I highly recommend!). You really don’t need that much stuff, so don’t get too caught up in it all.

  21. Maddy on July 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    As soons as one of my friends who I have known since childhood found out I was pregnant she said “Have you bought your bouncy chair yet?” I am so grateful to her because bouncy chairs weren’t even on my radar then, We got an “aquiarium” bouncy chair. OMG was that the best 20 bucks we ever spent. At first, he just liked to sit on the thing and discover the world around him from an upright position. Soon after he became mesmorized with the whole moving fishy thing and the music. Then during a fussy phase we found that one of the only things that calmed him was putting that bouncy chair in vibrate mode (Remember the Sex in the City episode?). After that he was all about bouncing. He figured how to move his leg just right to keep the bouncing going for as long as he wanted without us needing to do a thing.

    Congrats on the Redbook mention by the way!

  22. Julie S. on July 13, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    My boyfriend is a very calm, laid back, easy-going guy, too – thank God! – ‘cuz I’m… not. 🙂

    When I had my daughter (almost 12 yrs ago!) I got one of those hand-crank baby swings for my baby shower & immediately exchanged it for its ultra-expensive, musical, automatic swinging sister. Well, I think my daughter ended up using it once & hated it. 🙂 The one thing we couldn’t live w/o tho’ was the little vibrating bouncy seat. She actually slept in that thing for her 1st 2 mos! (She hated her crib, too – ugh!) We actually burned out the motor in the vibrator we used it so much. I think we went thru a couple of ’em. 🙂

  23. Julie S. on July 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    That’s funny – I just went back & read some of the other comments. Didn’t realize the person right before me had recommended the bouncy seat, too. 🙂

  24. Ali on July 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    We signed up for childbirth classes but after the first one stopped attending. It was late at night (hello, I was tired and going to bed at like 6pm) The chairs were super uncomfortable on my back and it was so 1970’s. the videos, the teacher…and really when it came down to it we didn’t need it. However my BFF took an awesome class that was catered to the now and she felt like she got something out of it. I guess my point is you get out of it what you make of it. It’s all stuff you pretty much know, common sense but some ppl feel better hearing it from a teacher.

  25. Ali on July 13, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Oh, #1 registry item: plain white onesies with hand cuffs (so they don’t scratch their face) and the ERGO carrier. I could not do without it.

  26. Conni Jo on July 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I got a Moby with my 3rd daughter and I am so sorry I didn’t have it with my first 2. It was the best thing ever for baby and for me. I could hold her and get everything done that I needed to all at the same time.

    I read The Bradley Method though I didn’t practice with my natural delivery. It wasn’t that I disliked it, I just felt like I prepared enough with my doula (and husband) without The Bradley Method. We had a plan, and we put in in effect. I love hearing about people planning for natural birth because I know how AWESOME it is to realize your body’s full potential. It’s crazy.

  27. Christianne on July 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I have two reccommendations for baby gear.
    1. Get a travel swing instead of full size because they are less expensive and you will be able to move it around the house more easily.
    2. Zip off crib sheets are a lifesaver. The bottom part stays under the mattress and the top zips off. It is surprisingly difficult to change the sheets on a crib and it’s extra fun when there is some sort of mess that needs to be cleaned up.


  28. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on July 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Omg congrats on your engagement!! I’m going to have to check out your wedding tips, I just got engaged this past Friday! I’m so excited!

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