Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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"Before you go home and get very busy taking care of your baby, write a thank-you note to your OB or midwife and the nurses. You'll always be glad you expressed your gratitude."
— Mary Ellen Strote, Calabasas, Calif., mother of two
On Being A New Mom
"The first time we did the deed after I had a baby, my boobs sprayed milk at the most inopportune moments. For a while after that, I wore a bra for bedroom romps, so I wouldn't have to be distracted by whatever the girls were doing."
— Gail O'Connor, New York, mother of two
"As soon as you can, go buy a couple of outfits that fit. You will look and feel better, which makes it much easier to accept your right-now body."
— Nicole Unice, Richmond, Va., mother of three
"In Chinese Medicine, it is said that how a woman treats herself in the first four weeks after giving birth will affect her health for the rest of her life. Because of this, many women are encouraged to stay home with the baby and not go out. This might be nearly impossible in our culture, but I think the best thing you can do is have a 'sitting in' or 'sleeping in' time with your baby for as long as you can. It's great for bonding too."
— Liz Richards, Portland, Ore., mother of two
"Nursing a baby is like marrying a man. You have to be fully committed from the start because there will be too many reasons not to continue."
— Leslie Housman
"Some people learn this the hard way: Your baby may not automatically be added to your medical policy. Have your husband call the insurance company as soon as the baby arrives."
"Change diapers before feeding, as you would never want to interrupt your baby's postprandial sleep for that."
— Rebecca Chandler, London, England, mother of two
"You'll get lots of pass-along baby gear from friends and family things that aren't exactly gifts. To avoid uncomfortable situations later, ask up front whether or not your benefactor wants the gear back."
— Hillari Dowdle, knoxville, Tenn., mother of one
"If your baby is in the NICU, ask the nurses what you can do to be involved with his care. They may let you change his diapers, feed him, sponge-bathe him and more."
— Marianne Gamboa, Shelby Township, Mich., mother of two
"Don't deprive yourself of even more sleep than necessary by changing a wet diaper in the middle of the night. Use lots of diaper ointment at bedtime and then only change the poopy ones."
— Heather Hach
"Everyone says to nap when your newborn naps, but that's just not realistic for most people. Instead, my husband and I took turns in the evenings: One of us would go to bed right after dinner, while the other was on baby duty until the wee hours of the morning. That way we were tired on alternate days."
— Heather Lusk, Indianapolis, mother of one
"If you have to give the baby just a snort or two of formula to get you both through the first couple of feedings, just do it. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It is much better for you and baby to be rested and fed than for you to be exhausted with extremely sore nipples."
— Susy Greer, Washington, D.C., mother of two
"Don't count on having pleasurable sex six weeks after you give birth. Apparently, there is a direct correlation between the number, type and frequency of utensils used during delivery and the degree of sexual discomfort afterward."
— Leslie Housman
"When we're drowning in a sea of information and overwhelmed by the you-must-have-this-organic-peapod-sling parenting culture, it's important to remind ourselves why we had children in the first place. It was not to follow all the rules. It was because we thought it would bring us joy, and we hoped to bring them joy, too."
— Heather Hach