Five Memorably Good Pieces of Advice about Pregnancy and Babies
* OBGYN: Skip WTEWYE and read Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy instead.
All of the What To Expect books annoy the hell out of me; they're too unstructured and highly alarmist, not to mention populist to the point of being useful for no one. Vicki Iovine, on the other hand, has memorably funny advice that relates actual human women and their actual human babies. Also, when she was younger, she was a Berkeley women's studies major or law student or something who infiltrated the Playboy Mansion for thesis research and ended up becoming a centerfold. Used to be married to Jimmy Iovine, but they just got divorced after four kids and 20-plus years. In any case, I love her, and I've heard that she's an amazing person in real life.
* MOM: Put the light in the baby's room on a dimmer switch.
My mom convinced us that the room we wanted to use for the baby was infested with mold, so we had to rip out the windows and remodel the whole thing. There was no mold, but it was probably a good thing to do anyway--Jackson now has the nicest room in the house. In the midst of this remodeling upheaval, mom also suggested that we put the light on a dimmer switch. Oh how I resented this advice at the time, but she was firm that it was a good idea, helpful for soothing babies with soft light and such. Well, the lady was right. It's awesome to be able sneak into Jackson's room at night, skootch the light up just a bit, and be able to see him and make sure he's doing OK.
* JEN P.: Get the hands-free pumping bra.
Typing while pumping! Most liberating thing ever for a breastfeeding mom. Can't recommend it enough.
* THERAPIST: Join a mommy and me class.
Best friends I ever paid for and an absolutely invaluable education in parenting. Pricey, to be sure, but worth every penny.
* LADY AT BABIES 'R' US: Get an activity gym.
Newborns mostly live in a blurry, vague, warm, well-padded world, but it's nice to give them a little stimulation every so often. Jackson loved the lights and music in his gym, and having something cool to look at. If there is a "next time" with babies, I'm getting a matching set of Fisher-Price activity gym, swing, bouncy seat and jumperoo. On one level it's all useless, and on another, it's great to be able to put the baby down and have 15 minutes to yourself.