adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Knocked Up Abroad: The Third Trimester

Honestly, I'm having trouble believing that as of Saturday, I'll be 27 weeks and officially in the third and final trimester.  How is this going by so fast? !    Back in the spring, it seemed like I had all the time in the world to find the right doctor, set up a room, and - you know - figure out how to take care of a baby.  But here we are, in the thick of summer, and we're realizing that our little Bonbon will be here before we know it! We've been in the midst of a revolving door of guests lately and it's been oh so much fun!  First Shawn and Kate were here, then our friends Tamar and Chid swung by for a few days, right now Marq and Dawn are visiting, and next week my bestie Devon is coming to town.  It's been a great way to relax with friends before our life completely changes, but boy is it making this summer go by fast!  Overall, I'm still feeling really good, although I'm definitely slowing down especially in the heat.  I find that at the end of the day, I need to put my feet up and sit for awhile and I need to take frequent breaks when walking around.  This bump just keeps getting bigger and bigger (I guess that's the idea, right?) and I'm starting to just feel large.  But again, I can't complain.  I am so grateful for having a healthy pregnancy and I have not for one second taken for granted the ease with which we've been able to go through this whole process.  We are truly lucky.

16 weeks vs. 26 weeks

We're planning to spend the month of August really hunkering down and prepping for baby girl.  I've contacted the midwife and we'll be starting our Pre Natal classes next week, we have lots of clothes and blankets to wash, and an entire room to set up.  I'm also working on figuring out my "birth plan", a term I use loosely since the French laugh in the face of having a written plan to submit to the hospital.  Pretty sure that's not how it works around here. We're using our "second guest room" as the baby room and plan on decorating it pretty minimally since there is a chance we could be moving shortly after she is born.  We're lucky to have lots of friends here in Montpellier willing to loan us things like a crib, carseat, stroller, carrier, etc. so that we don't have to invest too much money in supplies before either getting rid of them or paying to ship them to wherever we go next. So my question to the moms out there is this, what do I need for the first 6 months?  Seriously, give me the basics.  We're trying to be minimalistic here, but every time I go shopping for the Bonbon, I walk out of the store empty handed because I realize I have no idea what to buy.  So shoot me straight - what do I really need?  I'd love to get a list of your top 10 items I will need for the first 6 months.  Please leave your ideas in the comments below!  

27 Responses to “Knocked Up Abroad: The Third Trimester”

  1. My oh my, you look radiant!

    Your description of shopping brings back memories from when I was in that last trimester and living in my inlaws waiting to move into my new home. I didn’t want to buy too much as we would need to move it, but at the same time I was in a panic as to what I really needed.

    In the end, do you know what? You don’t actually NEED much. A baby needs love, a Mummy and a safe place to sleep as well as a safe way to travel.

    My best investments were:
    – The What to Expect in the First Year book
    – a travel cot
    – travel system stroller with Maxi Cosy for car seat
    – pads for leaky boobs
    – baby monitor (still use now as she is 14 months old).

    Good luck!

    ps. If you really think you cannot do without something you can always order online once baby is here. Most companies deliver within a few days.

    • Natalie says:

      Great tips – thank you Sharon!! My mother & sister-in-law also recommended the What to Expect in the First Year book, so I will definitely check it out. Seems like it will come in handy :)

    • Natalie says:

      and PS, what site do you use to order online in France?

  2. Nate says:

    Jess has an awesome list. We’ll send.

  3. Shannon says:

    WAIT! Devon is coming?? Did she book the trip right after Rose’s wedding?? That is awesome! Cute pic!

  4. Kelly Larson says:

    Ok the good thing is u can get by with little the first few months. U need a crib and/or cosleeper if u plan to nurse. Definitely need diapers, bottles (if u plan to pump), pacifiers, blankets, monitor, breast pump & supplies, i didnt use a boppy but some people do, onesies and pajamas, diaper bag or big purse, stroller and car seat. Hope that helps!
    Once they get mobile u will need more big stuff like toys, exercausers, bouncers, high chair etc. but prob not til 5 or 6 mos.
    How exciting! U look fab!

    • Natalie says:

      thanks Kelly!! Hopefully we’ll be back closer to family by the time she’s mobile and I can borrow all the toys and play gyms from my sister :)

  5. Jill says:

    So excited for you guys! Trust me, it may seem like its going by fast, but the third trimester by far seems the LONGEST! ;) We actually used very little of what we had in the first couple of months. Definitely don’t need any sort of bottle/ wipe warmer or sanitizing equipment, we returned all of that. Here’s the things we couldn’t live without:

    good breast pump and storage containers
    swaddling blankets
    easy to lug around diaper bag
    stroller and car seat combo (was awesome for us)
    lots of onesies (you will be throwing away many thanks to blow outs )

    Best of luck to you guys!!! xoxoxo

    • Natalie says:

      thanks Jill! and you’re right, I’m sure the August heat is going to make this trimester creep by :)

  6. Susan Davis says:

    What’s the diaper and washing machine situation? Cause cloth diapers are SOOOO much cheaper and eco-friendly. But if you don’t have a washer, forget it. Waaayyy too many diapers a day to be schlepping them to the laundramat.
    Onesies and socks are lifesavers.
    Good luck, my dear. Besides the time your mama and were 11-15, my babies were the most fun I had in my whole life! I can tell you and Michael are gonna be the same way! :)

    • Natalie says:

      Thanks Susan! I’ve thought about cloth diapering, but we don’t have a dryer so it’s out for us. I don’t have time to wait for all those little inserts to line dry!

      I’ve bought a few onesies but still trying figure out the French size the socks so that I get the right ones – ha!

  7. Meghan Lipford says:

    You look absolutely wonderful, Natalie! If you plan on nursing, something that I thought I was kind of silly and that I would never use is something that looks like a smock/apron. I think it is called a “hooter hider” or something ridiculous like that. I got one as a shower gift and I absolutely loved it. I also used a baby bjorn carrier a ton (I found the slings to be uncomfortable). A great activity/playmat (the ones that have the stuff hanging above) was really useful and so was the comfy little vibrating lounge seat.

    My parents went to France right before I had Finn so they got a TON of adorable clothes for him. Some of them are a little too feminine for my husband, but I say he looks like a little french prince :)

    • Natalie says:

      Thanks Meghan! I will look for the hooter hider – ha! I love the name. And yes – the clothes here are SO adorable!! I recently bought my nephew a little tank bathing suit that was a little ridiculous for a boy by US standards, but I couldn’t resist! ;)

  8. Kathryn Watson says:

    Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve had babies, but I remember oh so clearly the few things that I could NOT live without. In addition to the great suggestions above:
    1. Pajamas with BUTTONS all the way up the front. I found it so much easier to just open my shirt to nurse rather than try to fit my HUGE boobs through the pre-made holes in nursing gowns. ha. Plus – well they look like nursing gowns and add to the feeling that you are a milk machine.
    2. LANSINOH cream – this was a lifesaver when breastfeeding left me sore and bleeding in the beginning. If you can’t find the brand name in France, it’s basically pure lanolin. You can leave it on and it won’t hurt the baby when she nurses the next time. Was one of the best tips i got from Amy (Michael’s aunt!) who is a doula and breastfeeding consultant.
    3. Cloth diapers to use as burp clothes, slobber wipes, and later as a “blankie” for the baby. We called them “Woobies” (from the movie Mr. Mom) and since we had TONS of them, if one went missing, we were able to replace it right away without the drama of “I lost my Woobie!”
    4. Noise-makers, “chew toys”, and teething rings that can be chilled in the fridge.
    5. Portable crib – we took it everywhere!
    6. A sense of humor – don’t sweat the small stuff. She’ll love you even if you clip her nails a little too short. :)

    So excited for you guys! Where might you be moving?? Lisa will be so disappointed if you leave Montpelier!

    Love to you!

    • Natalie says:

      Thank you Aunt Kathryn! Another friend of mine sent me an email and said the same about the pure Lanolin, so it sounds like a must have! We have NO idea where we might be going next or when exactly, but Michael’s contract will be up next spring and we’ll have to see what happens. I can’t wait for Lisa’s return in a few weeks – I miss her!!

  9. Tracy says:

    Hey lady, you are looking great! Love the picture, that bump is so cute:)

    Here are a few things I could NOT live without (besides the basics, of course):

    1) Video monitor. I’m not the crazy mom that stares at my baby in the crib every minute, but it’s helpful to be able to look at him if he is fussing to tell if he’s really up or not.

    2) Some sort of baby chair that can rock AND vibrate. Just something to keep the baby occupied so you have a free set of hands. I’ve found sometimes they like it vibrating, sometimes rocking, sometimes just playing w/ the toys that hang over it – so these 3 features are essential.

    3) Pacifiers. I know not everyone agrees with giving them, but I can’t stand to hear a baby cry, and sometimes all they want to do is suck to soothe themselves.

    4) A diaper bag that doubles as a purse. This time around I refused to carry a diaper bag and a purse. I got a big bag that looks like a purse, but is really a diaper bag. I then put all of my normal “purse essentials” in a little bag that I throw in the middle of it, so I can easily take it out if that’s all I need to run into a store.

    5) Overnight diapers. They are probably called something else…but the kind that last 12 hours. I never used them with Anthony but one of my friends just bought me a box and I love them. Great for the middle of the night feeding so the baby can just eat and go back to sleep without waking up.

    Apparently this is all I can think of even though I have a one month old and this should be fresh in my mind! Hope this helps!

    • Natalie says:

      so helpful! Thank you Tracy! I’ve had multiple people tell me to get that vibrating chair if want to get anything done, so it sounds like it’s a keeper! What kind of purse/diaper bag did you get? I’m curious what my options are :)

  10. Joanne Malene says:

    Hi Natalie, One of the best things to have is corn starch, especially if baby has chubby little thighs from nursing (trust me – it’s adorable in a baby). Sometimes the little creases in the leg and around her bottom get red – corn starch helps – as does Pink Salve – don’t know if you can get it in France – will see if Devi can find it – if not I will bring it when we come. And a baby eye dropper thing with measurements on it so if you need to give her vitamins/medicine etc. You and Michael are going to be super parents – just use your common sense and you will be fine. <3

  11. Mom says:

    Hi Natalie!
    The best thing I had when I came home from the hospital with you, was Grandma!! She was a tremendous help to me especially with having a terrible episiotomy job; it wasn’t easy getting up and down!! I’m so excited to be there for you and baby but also seeing MY first born become a mother : )

    One of the best investments was your bassinet on wheels (which I’ve used with Brighton). The first few months you just slept in that and I was able to wheel you around from room to room with me.

    You and Michael will be great parents! Your daughter is blessed to have you both. Love you! Mom

  12. Kara says:

    The things I couldn’t live without….
    1. Burp cloths
    2. Nanny nap- a seat they sit in but can’t tip over once they get old enough. Also it is at an incline if baby is sick or acid reflex.
    3. Swing- loved it
    4. Swaddle and sleep sack
    5. Video monitor- I love it so much
    6. Diapers and wipes tons of them
    7. Laundry detergent I washed clothes all the time
    8. Blankie- I know there is so many opinions about puting a blankie in the crib. Since Evan was born I had a little square blankie satin on one side and on the other fleece with satin around edges. He love them and still sleeps with it. I get them at nordstroms. I will look up the name. Life saver. They aren’t big at all.
    9. Sound machine. Our house you can hear everything so I put the sound machine in Evans room and it keep noise out.
    10. Swaddle blankets I think called swaddlers they are light weight great for swaddeling and if you nurse over yourself but not to heavy for baby.
    Those are my top ten. I am getting all of it back out again for my second baby due in November. Sorry for the long MSG. I got so much stuff and never used. These are the top
    Good luck

  13. Gay Smith says:

    I feel that Gma needs support(ie:friend)
    when she helps new Mother!

    1.Cloth diapers &
    1/5 Gma
    2.Baby wipes or wash cloths
    2/5 Gma
    3/5 Gma
    4/5 Gma
    5/5 Gma
    Number one Lots of Love!

  14. Jen says:

    If you can send me your email address, I will send you my annotated list! Jeff and I are still in a small loft apt., space at a premium, so we’ve gone minimal. I recommend it!

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