Real-life advice on having a baby from moms and a baby monitor giveaway

Thank you VTech for sponsoring this post. Check out the VTech VM342 Video Monitor with Wide-Angle Lens and Standard Lens to keep an eye on your little one!

When I first announced that I was pregnant on the ol’ blog, I told you that it wouldn’t become the number-one topic of discussion, so those of you who don’t have kids or don’t care, wouldn’t get too bored. And while yes, there have been plenty of posts that haven’t been related to pregnancy — it’s pretty clear this whole baby-growing-inside-me thing is a big deal, and I can’t stop talking about it — so sorry!

I’ve been keeping you updated on how my first and second trimesters went, and so it’s only fitting that I share some of the other baby-related things I’ve been doing behind the scenes to get ready to welcome the little guy into the world in a couple of months.

Ladies and gentlemen … two weeks ago, I hosted a brunch for some of my favorite mom friends to get their advice on having a baby, taking care of a newborn baby and what to expect. You know, the type of stuff that you don’t read in books …

Ladies toasting - What to expect when you're expecting - VTech Baby Monitor by A Lady Goes West

Five of my lady friends, four of whom are currently moms to one or two little kiddos of varying ages, and one lady friend who is also pregnant and due with her first in October just like me, came over on a Sunday morning to eat, chat and get real. While I had only one question for these ladies, the conversation was entertaining, scary and non-stop.

Real-life advice on having a baby from moms to moms-to-be …

And here’s a taste of what I learned … 

Giving birth and being at the hospital …

  • Be very conservative with who you want to visit you at the hospital (if you choose to give birth at a hospital) or come into the room to see you, because you will be in all sorts of stages of undress during your stay. Believe it or not, you may not be interested in too many visitors at all. And let those nurses help you out as much as possible while you’re there, because you’ll miss that when you get home. Nurses are your friends!
  • You are paying for absolutely every single thing that you use and need during your hospital stay (apparently you’ll get an itemized bill at check-out that even shows how many Tylenol you took), so ask for extra mesh underwear, baby beanies, diapers and wipes, and then plan to take all of that home with you. It’s all yours!
  • Make sure you and your partner have tried using the infant car seat a few times before you give birth and go to the hospital (or birthing center). You can even take your car by a local fire department to have them check to make sure that you’ve installed it properly. The people at the hospital won’t help you get your newborn into the car seat safely (it’s your job), so do a couple of dry runs to ensure you know what you’re doing on the big day.

Baby care once you get home …

  • Know that your baby’s temperature is actually naturally a little higher than an adult’s temperature. You can keep in touch with your pediatrician, but you really don’t need to take the baby to the doctor to get checked out unless their temperature is over 100 degrees, and it can be even higher as they get older. And to get a valid temperature, use the rectal thermometer. It’s not that bad.
  • Speaking of pediatricians, don’t be scared to call yours for everything! Most of them should have a nursing team on staff ready to answer any and all of your questions, all the time. No question is a dumb one when it comes to your child. Better safe than sorry.
  • Your baby’s doctor will want to know all about how often the baby is feeding and going to the bathroom, so you’ll have to track that. (This was news to me!) You can do it the old-fashioned way by keeping a notepad and pen by the changing table in the nursery, or you can download an app for it. Some good ones are Eat Sleep and Feed Baby.
  • Babies don’t need a daily bath. But, when your baby is really small, make sure that you clean the little rolls in their necks, armpits and even behind their ears in between their baths. Little particles, like milk, etc. can accumulate in those hidden areas and start to smell bad or get infected. On non-bath nights, just grab a small wet washcloth and get to work. (Oh my.)
  • Team-work makes the dream-work. If you’re the one who has to do all the feedings, let your partner or hubs do all the diaper changes. It’s only fair.

Self care after the baby arrives …

  • You should be prepared to be very emotional and protective of your new baby soon after they are born. In fact, there’s a good chance that you won’t want other people (other than you and your partner) to hold or care for the baby at all the first few weeks. And that’s okay.
  • Even though you may want to be productive, for the first few weeks after the baby is born, you really should try to nap when the little one naps. Give up the guilt of a full pile of laundry, and lay your head down to snooze. You need it!
  • This is a big one, repeated among all the moms: Do NOT stay inside the house all day every single day. You should always have at least one outing to clear your head, which can be as simple as a walk around the block with the stroller. Plan that one outing and stick to it. It will do you a world of good. Bonus points if you can join a breastfeeding or new mommies group.
  • Believe it or not, when the baby is under three months old and sleeping a lot, this can be a good time for you and your partner to go out to eat and bring the baby. 
  • If you have out-of-town family members who want to come visit to see the baby, tell them to schedule their visits at least one month after your due date, so that if you do go a couple of weeks past your date, you’ll at least have two full weeks at home with the baby before anyone comes into town. Once again, remember that you will be recovering, hormonal, emotional and very tired — so don’t overbook your visits.
  • But when your friends or family want to come by to see the baby, assign them very specific tasks. Rather than saying you “need some help,” give them one-to-two assignments that they can handle for you, like folding a specific pile of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, or running to the grocery store for milk, eggs and bread. This is definitely a time in life when you can be a little bossy with your requests, so don’t be scared to ask for help.
  • Another common thing that all the ladies mentioned is the massive amounts of leakage from your breasts. (I find this gross, but I guess there is a lot of grossness in my near future … ) Apparently this is a real issue, so you should plan to have plenty of nursing pads on the ready (and in your purse and diaper bag when you go out), because accidents happen all the time. They all said that nursing tanks and bras are your friends, and you’ll wear all of that much longer and more frequently than you expect.

Host welcome - What to expect when you're expecting - VTech Baby Monitor by A Lady Goes West

Baby gear and supplies …

  • When you’re buying clothes for your future little one, don’t load up on too many newborn sizes. Believe it or not, some babies skip the newborn size entirely, and you’ll have a lot of unused pieces. You should get several outfits for the 0 to 3 months size from the outset, as well as larger ones too.
  • Also when it comes to baby PJs, all of the moms suggested getting zipper jammies for night-time. You find a lot of styles in the stores with snap buttons, but apparently those are super inconvenient in the middle of the night, when both you and your baby are tired during feedings and changings. 
  • Baby wipes are your friends. Get the high-quality organic ones if you can, and use those wipes for you, your baby and even your house. Wipe it all down, and keep a pack with you at all times! (As a clean freak, I love this one!)
  • You’ll need a lot of diapers, and they aren’t cheap, so make Amazon your friend, because the prices there are a little better than traditional stores. 

And that pretty much covers it for advice on having a baby from these ladies!

Ladies brunch scene - What to expect when you're expecting - VTech Baby Monitor by A Lady Goes West

Introducing the VTech Video Monitor

In addition to talking about all of that good stuff (yes, I took notes), one thing we also did during the brunch was pass around the VTech VM342 Video Monitor with a Wide-Angle Lens and Standard Lens, which I was so nicely gifted by my friends at CLEVER (who I’m partnering with on this post).

Dave are I still trying to figure out how to get our nursery in order, so we obviously haven’t actually used the monitor yet, but my friends were super impressed with the fact that this one offers a color screen and a sound machine — in addition to the wide and standard views of the room, with a range of up to 1,000 feet. You can switch back and forth your views just by attaching the wide-angle lens for panoramic shots when you need them. So fancy!

It’s pretty cool that this brand has enough variety to suit varying needs and has a good-looking design, which won’t stand out too much in the nursery or on the brunch table …

Ladies brunch - What to expect when you're expecting - VTech Baby Monitor by A Lady Goes West

According to my mom friends, having a high-quality monitor is super important, because you will be using it ALL THE TIME. I’m glad I have this one on the ready to watch our little angel in his soon-to-be set-up room.

Here are some more details and product features:

  • High-resolution, 4.3-inch color LCD screen
  • 170-degree wide-angle lens
  • Soothing sounds and lullabies (how cool is that?)
  • Two-way, talk-back intercom so you can calm your little one
  • Adjustable camera angle to get just the right view
  • Up to 1,000 feet of range (perhaps in case you live in a massive place?)
  • Vibrating sound-alert on the parent unit
  • Temperature sensor
  • 9-level sound indicator
  • Full-motion video
  • Sound activation mode
  • Automatic infrared night vision
  • Secure digital video and audio transmission
  • 2x digital zoom (so you can a close-up of his or her little face!)
  • Wall-mount bracket (helpful)
  • Volume control
  • Rechargeable battery with low-battery alert on the parent unit

I mean, that’s a high-functioning monitor, right? If you’re interested, you can find the VTech Video Monitor for sale at Target, Walmart, Amazon and on the vtechphones.com site. And take it from the experienced moms who’ve been there before us: Don’t skimp on your monitor, because it will be an integral parenting tool from early on!

Now, here’s your chance to win one of these monitors for yourself or as a gift for an expecting or parent/mom friend …

Giveaway: Enter to Win a VTech Video Monitor

One lucky winner will receive a VTech VM342 Video Monitor with a Wide-Angle Lens and Standard Lens ($129.95 ARV).

What to expect when you're expecting - VTech Baby Monitor by A Lady Goes West

Rules: The winner must reside in the continental United States. This giveaway will close on Sunday, August 6 in the evening, so act now.

To enter, click on the giveaway widget below, enter your email (which will not be shared publicly), and fill out as many fields as you want. The more you fill out, the better your chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for entering and for stopping by the blog today to read all about advice on having a baby from some of my mom friends. Also, I’d LOVE it if you shared this post and giveaway with someone in your life who may need it! 

What to expect when you're expecting! Advice from moms and a big baby monitor #giveaway. Check it out from @apstyle ... Click To Tweet

Disclaimer: I was selected for this sponsored opportunity as a member of CLEVER, and I received compensation and a free monitor, but the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors who keep the lights on at A Lady Goes West!

Questions of the day

What’s one piece of advice on having a baby you’d like to share to a mom-to-be that’s not included here?

What’s one question you have about babies and baby care that you’d like answered?

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76 Comments

  1. I had my LO totally naturally and right after birth I was shaking so much it scared me. I could not stop it. It was like I was freezing. Turns out it is normal from all the hormones leaving your body. Totally TMI but all the pushing can cause some side effects I did not know about either. That lasted for a couple of weeks. I also love the girdle after birth. It really felt good wearing it.

    1. Hi Bethany! Very interesting! I haven’t heard about that, so thank you for sharing. And yes, one of my friends loved wearing the girdle — even at night. Perhaps I’ll look into one.

  2. All these tips are great! In the early days with both my babies we had these long nightgown things (forget what they are called, but I have seen them at all the baby stores) that completely cover their legs and feet but pull up super easy for night time changes. They were a fave of mine in the early days.

    1. Hi Emily! Good to know! I’m sure that total convenience is key for anything you have to fuss with in the middle of the night! πŸ™‚

    2. Ditto on the gowns. Get 2-3 and use them at night for the first few months. It’s so much easier to do a quick change by lifting up the gown. I found really cute navy blue and seaside themed Nautica ones for my son so just because it’s a gown doesn’t mean it’s only for girls.

  3. one thing I’d advise is to wait a while before bathing your newborn, let the vernix do it’s job in keeping baby’s skin protected and keep that sweet newborn smell even longer- it works to keep your feel-good hormones up

  4. This is all such helpful advice! I won’t be a mama until October, but my friend actually recommended skipping button up onesies all together since they are so much less convenient than zip up onesies!

    1. Hi Maryann! Yay for October babies!! πŸ™‚ And I know, moms don’t seem to love button-up baby clothes at all. Too bad, because there are a lot of cute options heheh! Thanks for reading, lady!

  5. I love how you structured this post; that was a really good idea to have all those mamas over and ask them their best advice. And I’ve seen one of the moms I follow on Instagram use a video monitor; it’s a really good idea!

    1. Hi Emily! Yup — you’ve got to keep an eye on the little one even as they sleep heheh! πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading, my friend! And this post is a great example that you can always get some good tips from the people in your life!

  6. Great advice! Most people tell you not to stock up on newborn size b/c not many use it for long. I ended up having a smaller baby and were goin on six weeks of newborn diapers/clothes! I wish I had stocked up more on those.

    1. Hi Heather! hahah! Funny how that happens! I guess another great reminder is that EVERYONE’s situation will be slightly different heheh! Hope your tiny peanut hasn’t minded outfit repeating hahah! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Samantha! Congrats to you on your little one. Do you know if it is a boy or girl? Is this your first too? Guess we both get to make it through the hot summer before welcoming our little ones! Thanks for saying hi!

  7. This is all very interesting. I am not currently a mom, but will be one day hopefully. I am curious if any of your friends have any experience with cloth diapers? I have super sensitive skin and as a baby was allergic to most disposable brands and am afraid that my children will likely be the same.

    1. Hi Amanda! Great question — none of my friends used cloth diapers, so I can’t tell you much about them. But I do know that it is definitely more environmentally friendly choice. Maybe the diapers of today are better for sensitive skin? Like the organic ones? Who knows!

  8. Love this and love the advice from real moms! Sounds like boundaries are super important at the beginning and something to talk about with family and friends earlier than later! Thanks for sharing xo

    1. Hi Alexis! Yes — totally — establish those boundaries, which could be easier said than done, right? πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed this one, future momma!

  9. Do NOT flip that dang highchair upside down and put your baby in it! Your baby is probably your most precious item, right? So why would you put a heavy carseat on a narrow base, where people are walking around and not paying attention and could knock your baby over? I literally cringe every time I see this! Especially when people unstrap their child, because now your baby becomes another flying object if somebody knocks them over. Just tuck the carseat under the table where you can see your baby’s face, but out of the line of traffic. Don’t make your baby a top-heavy item! Maybe I’m a paranoid ER nurse, but I cannot for the life of me understand how this became common practice.

    1. I’ve actually never seen it before, so can’t picture it. But I totally get your concern — parents should be extra careful to make sure where they put their carrier is rock solid! Thanks for this! πŸ™‚

    2. I know this is beyond stupid from personal experience! I was brunching with my friend and her brand new baby. Baby in car seat in flipped upside down high chair. High chair was bumped accidentally from nearby passerby, baby was not buckled in and car seat ended up upside down on the ground next to us. We panicked but ver,y very, very luckily baby was totally okay. I never again did this w/ my own kids and warned everyone I knew.

      The same applies to putting babies in any kind of chair on the counter top or table. Another friend’s baby fractured his skull when one of the dogs accidentally bumped the table and he went flying.

      1. OMG — that’s awful to have witnessed that and that these things happen. Wow!! Scary stuff! Clearly the infant seat needs to be kept LOW and babies locked in. I have REMOVED that portion of the post suggesting flipping the high chair, so we don’t need to further that idea any longer … πŸ™‚ THANK you for speaking up!

  10. Sorry about my heated response, haha. I agree with the rest of the list, but that is just such unsafe behavior! And I know TONS of people do this because they just don’t think about the dangers associated with it or think they’re going to be paying attention, but accidents happen so fast, and if only we could prevent everything bad from happening, then I’m sure that’s a great solution. But we can’t…

    1. Hi Liz! It’s totally okay to get heated when you are passionate about something as important as child safety, and of course, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of preventable accidents as an ER nurse. I’ve actually never seen someone put their infant carrier on the high chair upside down, so I don’t know what it looks like, but it does sound strange. Perhaps the tip here is to keep your baby strapped into their carrier, put them close to you and on your level or lower under the table if you can, and steer clear of the flipped high chair, unless it’s a wide base and looks very study. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

  11. My advice is to listen to the longest shortest time podcast during the beginning months when you are stuck at home with baby- helps you feel less lonely and normal! also get a mom tribe with kids the same age to help support!

    1. Hi Amy! Ohhhh yes, podcasts and a voice talking to you in the background can be very helpful. I love that! And also the support groups for sure. I just signed up for one starting soon after I give birth! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing, lady!

  12. My best piece of advice is the one I didn’t follow. Take it easy for the first week or two. This is the time to let your husband and any visiting family members like grandma totally take care of the house so you can focus on yourself and your newborn.

    By day 2 of coming home I felt pretty great. Since my husband had taken care of everything in the weeks leading up to the birth and since coming home, I felt guilty so I decided to get some dishes and laundry done that morning. Being that it was Christmas Eve, I also wanted to put together our normal special meal for the next day. By that afternoon I was wiped, and hurting. My doctor told me to get back in bed and stay there for 48 hours and call back if I got worse instead of better. So, I ended up spending Christmas Day in bed with my baby doing the resting and healing that I should have been doing all along.

    It’s the one time in life you shouldn’t feel guilty for asking for help or laying around doing nothing for a week or two (more if you have a c-section.) You are healing and bonding with your baby, and that takes a lot of work!

    1. Hi Stefanie! TOTALLY agree with taking it easy. I’ve been told by a LOT of ladies that they felt okay, so did too much too soon and didn’t realize they weren’t helping the healing process. My doula told me to lay around for two weeks at a minimum before doing anything major! I will follow that. Sorry you had to spend Christmas in bed, but at least you had your little one with you! πŸ™‚

  13. Definitely agree on the zipper jammies! You do NOT want to be fooling around with buttons in the middle of the night. Also, for mom, I’d recommend a two-piece pajama set and seamless bralette – you don’t necessarily need a lot of nursing bras, just ones that are lightweight and easy to maneuver. I remember not realizing how difficult some clothes/bras were going to be for breastfeeding! And the boob leakage is so real, stock up on those nursing pads!

    1. Hi Mollie! Thanks for that tip! I’ve actually been loading up on pajamas lately so that I have plenty of comfy stuff to wear. Great info! πŸ™‚ I appreciate you sharing!

  14. Don’t be a hero. Let your new little one sleep in the nursery during your hospital overnight. They will bring the baby to you whenever they need to be fed. This will be the last quality sleep you’ll get in a while so take it!

    1. Hi Erin! Agreed! I’ve heard from a lot of people to stay in the hospital for as long as you’re allowed and to let the nurses do it all! πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing!!

  15. That’s so awesome that you have so many mom friends to ask for advice! I personally love all your pregnancy posts because you keep it so real— keep them coming:)

    1. Hi Kalena, I’m basically the last of my friends to become a mom heheh — so yes, I have a lot! And I TRULY appreciate you reading and saying those kinds words, lady! Thank YOU! πŸ™‚

  16. My oldest was born in November, literally right before Thanksgiving. My ped told us to be extra careful of hot liquids around the baby. She said fall babies often get passed around at the holidays at tables with hot coffee and dessert. The coffee is a recipe for bad skin burns. I was the crazy mother that did not pass by baby around and certainly not at the holiday table.

    1. Hi! Oh no — hot liquids on the baby? How terrible. I see myself as being a lot like you in NOT letting others hold the baby around the table. Thanks for sharing this tip! πŸ™‚

    1. TOTALLY true, Marielle! You have to use your instincts and know what’s right for you and your little fam. Thanks for that reminder, lady! πŸ™‚

  17. Aside from napping when bub naps, use that time to make/pack quick grab-and-go snacks for when you’re in a rush or are otherwise tending to the little one with barely one hand available but you need to eat something!

    1. This is a good one. About a month before my due date we prepared homemade ready to eat frozen lunches and dinners that could just get tossed in the oven. We wouldn’t have eaten anything but takeout, delivery, and rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for the first few weeks had we not done that.

      Our pediatrician was really honest with us and warned that the first 12 weeks are the roughest for new parents. It took two weeks for us to get used to the changes that come with being a first time parent and feel like we were doing more than just reacting to our baby’s immediate needs. By then, we had a little routine down with each other and our little one. But you will need to hang in there for the first 12 weeks before it really gets good. They are less of a sleeping lump of baby and more of an individual. Also, somewhere right around 12 weeks they learn to smile and it makes those late nights and early mornings much easier.

      Speaking of the late nights and early mornings, we split up during the nights for the first 12 weeks so that one of us could get actual sleep while the other was up with the baby. This worked extraordinarily well for us since my little one wouldn’t latch and I ended up pumping. It meant allowing each of us to sleep 4 consecutive hours per night and I believe that having a decent amount of sleep every night made the newborn months much easier to handle. If you end up wanting or needing pumping tips, do not feel bad asking for them. Breastfeeding is wonderful when it works but it doesn’t work for everyone and exclusively pumping allows you to make sure your baby is still able to get breastmilk.

      1. Hi Stefanie! Preparing meals ahead of time is an awesome thing to do. Nice work for getting that done. Love how you guys made the tough stretch work for you! Major props! Thanks for sharing all of your tips and experiences. πŸ™‚

    2. Hi Heather! Good tip! Totally — I’m sure it’s not that easy to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when you are hungry, so having food ready is super important. Thanks for sharing this! πŸ™‚

  18. I’m due with my 2nd in a month, and I definitely agree with most of this advice-mostly the zipper pjs! This time Only
    bought ones with zippers!

    1. Hi Amy! Good to know — thanks for confirming that one! πŸ™‚ Congrats on your second one and hope the end of your pregnancy is quick and easy!

  19. What a fun brunch! We’re currently trying to plan out our families’ visits since we don’t live in the same city as any of our families or friends. It’s super challenging to try to anticipate how soon we’ll want visitors (i.e., people to help)!

    1. Hi Marissa! Agreed! It’s tough to live far from family! Good luck to you, and remember to keep those boundaries at first hehe! πŸ™‚

    1. Great question!! Let’s see if anyone else answers it. But I was told by some friends to get like 5-6 newborn onesies/jammies and 5-6 zero-to-three month onesies/jammies. I’ll get back to you if I find out more! Don’t forget hats and socks too! πŸ™‚

  20. I’m not a mom yet, but I’ve been around enough families (and newborns especially with photography) that I have gained a lot of advice over the years.

    This advice is rather specific, but if you’re in a two-story home where the rooms are upstairs, I recommend getting a dirty clothes hamper for downstairs, some type of bed (whether it’s a bassinet or a pack ‘n’ play – which can be great for diaper changes too), and dresser (even if it’s just a single stack of drawers with some diapers/swaddles/onesies). You’ll realize rather quickly you don’t want to be going up and down the stairs all day and getting down low for diaper changes will get difficult (this is especially true for C-sections where the doctor will limit how many times you can go up/down stairs).

    1. Bree! OMG — I can’t believe you are bringing this up. We live in a three-story townhome, and I am SOO fearful of having the stairs be a hindrance for me after giving birth. I will DEFINITELY be setting up a changing station on both the second and third floor, and will try to think of other ways to make it convenient. THANK YOU for bringing this up, lady! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Nikki! That’s a great one! I’ve heard that taking the baby on a car ride also helps them to sleep. Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  21. When we go on vacation, we always take the kids swimming right before bed so it tires them out. A hotel with a pool is a must for us!

  22. MAke time for yourself! Even if it’s just 30 minutes you take a relaxing bath while someone watches the baby! Seriously, you must have some me time.

  23. My advice–be cautious but not too cautious! Parenting is not perfect and though you may want to do that the first time around…you’ll find that just getting through each day successfully is good enough!

    1. Hi Christina! That’s a great reminder — perfection is not possible, nor should we seek it. Thanks so much for reading and sharing! πŸ™‚

  24. I am not a mom but I nanny for two boys and man some days can be rough! You just have to remember they are babies/kids and need to learn from mistakes, I find myself telling myself he doesn’t understand you a lot of the time when i get frustrated when the baby will crawl under the chairs over and over again and then bump his head or cry because he can’t get out.

    1. Hi Paige! Oh wow, I can imagine that is a SUPER tough job, so props to you for that. You will be very prepared if you ever choose to have kids one day, for sure. And I know that kids need time to learn their own way, so I appreciate you saying that. Thanks, lady! πŸ™‚

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