This week, Anna shares the good advice she's got from her friends.
I am an advice sponge. I'm gathering it from everywhere and everyone as much as I can. But the person I really need to talk to is my mum. Mums have the best advice and they're a really important factor in having some insight into how your pregnancy and birth might be.
In various meetings with specialists, consultants and midwives I've been asked questions about pregnancy and birth on my mother's side, but the sad thing is, I don't have any answers. My mum died five years ago of breast cancer and she's not here to ask.
It's so heartbreaking. She would so have loved to have been around for my pregnancy and a new grandchild. She met her first granddaughter, Isobel, who she absolutely adored, but she died when Izzy was just 6 months old.
Since then she would've been beyond excited with twin grandsons, Max and Thomas, and then another grandson, Archie. She couldn't wait to have grandchildren and she would've had loads! And the kids have all missed out on being doted on by a lovely granny on their father's side.
And I, meanwhile, am missing out on all that invaluable and wise help, advice and support that mothers give their daughters. When I'm at the end of my tether with a screaming baby, she won't be on the end of the phone to help me and reassure me. Yes, it's gutting. I wish so much she was here.
So, my friends have stepped in as my pregnancy and birth gurus. Thank goodness for them. They have brilliant advice to give and will happily talk about prams, cramps, breastfeeding and sleeping routines until the end of time. So I thought I'd pass on their pearls of wisdom to you and if you've got any wise words or good advice to add, please let me know!
- Buy a changing table. Invaluable.
- Don't buy those maternity sanitary towels, they're awful. Just get normal period ones in extra thick.
- Don't spend loads of money on new, bigger bras. Everyone has barely-worn bras in different sizes in their drawers in the quest for the perfect fit. Get them to part with those!
- Everyone will have an opinion on your bump: big, small, high, low etc etc...
- Lansinoh nipple cream is a nipple saver - get it in advance.
- Don't worry too much about your birth plan - the best 'plan' is to give birth
- Don't underestimate the amount of muslin cloths your baby will vomit on in one day - get lots in
- Get some trashy novels for breastfeeding
- Don't expect your visiting parents to be as much help as you think
- Buy fabric breast pads, not the ones in boxes. You can wash them and they feel soft
- Always have chocolate to hand
- Buy large comfy tops with easy access for breastfeeding
- Get a breastfeeding pillow now - good for supporting your bump and then the baby!
- Borrow a moses basket, don't bother buying one, they'll outgrow it quickly
- Buy a cot bed, not a cot, so it'll last longer
- Dummies are a godsend
- Gro-bags are excellent and it means the baby's always warm
- Don't be without Bepanthen nappy rash cream
- Get an exercise ball to sit on and they're great for labour too
- Invest in an expensive monitor, the cheap ones crackle and don't display the temperature in the room
- Maxi Cosi do the best car seats
- If the baby has done a particularly spectacular poo in a cheap babygro, save yourself the horror of sorting it out by cutting the babygro off with scissors and throw it away.
Thanks to: Kate, Harri, Sarah, Nicky, Anna, Polly, Caroline & Ali
- Coming up: Anna goes for her week 20 scan
- Previously: Watch Anna's video blog
- Read Anna's pregnancy diary from the beginning
- More about week 19 of pregnancy
More pregnancy help and advice- Our week-by-week pregnancy guide
- Pregnancy milestone: What to do and when
- The insiders guide to labour, birth and recovery
- What to buy for your baby