I now feel like I have a bit of experience in the Mum department and can make some helpful recommendations to others who might be expecting a child soon.
- Don't buy too many clothes - everyone will give you clothes, as baby-shower gifts, as hand-me-downs, just-because-they-couldn't-resist-how-cute-it-was gifts. I think that we have possibly bought maybe 5 things - and that was because there was a cold snap and all of the Captain's warm things were too big.
|This beautiful onesie was a gift at my baby shower. You can find similar ones on Etsy here|
- Go to a New Mothers Group - I am not a hugely social person and I thought that I would not want to meet a whole lot of women who had nothing in common with me. How wrong I was - it was so helpful and encouraging to meet Mum's who are going through exactly the same thing you are and they have their baby as the centre of their world. They will also drone on about how advanced they think their child is and neither of you will mind. The ladies I have meet also happen to be lovely and completely normal.
- Make a goal for every day - The days just seem to blur together and before you know it your baby is a month old and then 3 months and then you're starting solids. Pick something to try and achieve with your cutie everyday or week. It might be "have a shower" or "try to sing three songs" or "achieve 5 minutes of tummy time without the baby screaming their head off". Some of mine were to talk to my baby more, enjoy cuddling and rocking my baby to sleep for the 100th time today, because it will end too soon and to decide what's for dinner in the morning.
- Don't feel guilty about anything - With motherhood comes a whole lot of recommendations, advice and rules. I felt immense guilt about some things when I did them for the first time. Like, when I had to give the baby a bottle of formula because I had mastitis and feeding him was excruciatingly painful. Or, when I rock to him to sleep sometimes because he just cannot keep his limbs still enough to calm down and drop off. And when I put the TV on for him to look at because I need to go and make a cup of tea.
- Ignore comments from others if they upset you - I am having to return to work soon, and even though my baby will be with my Mum or Husband all the time I am at work, I have had some other mothers give me a look that says "you will regret doing that" or "do you really want to go?". I have also had people while we are out comment that we use a dummy or pacifier and how their baby didn't. I have dwelt a lot on these comments and they did upset me at the time but now I know that they shouldn't have said them in the first place and if other mothers act differently to what I would do - I will not comment. We are all trying our best.
- Don't be concerned with your weight too much - I was so embarrassed when I realised I put on almost 20 kilos when I was pregnant and other only put on about 10. But, 20 weeks on I have almost lot it all without doing any extra exercise (and normally the exercise level is zilch). Early on, I got run-down from not eating regularly and well and then I got mastitis - twice - since then I have learnt to eat well and take-it-easy. I am breastfeeding which makes the weight come off more easily but I'm giving myself 9 months to get back to my previous weight - after all - it took 9 months to put it all on!
Here are some products that I have found useful:
MilkBar Nursing Pillow
I have the worlds squirmiest baby and he will not be still in my arms for me to feed him. This pillow allows me to support him and have my hands free to help him while he is feeding. This was given to me by a friend who said that she didn't use it at all but we use it every feed (still at 20 weeks). I think as the baby got bigger the pillow became more useful.
Some babies do not like lying down at all and you cannot hold them all the time. I have found a bouncer chair invaluable when I need to get things done. I can put the Captain in it and carry it from room to room while I do housework and cook dinner. He is entertained watching me and looking at all the different rooms as we go around. As we have started solids, and he is too little for his high-chair, I also put him in it for meals. The one we have is made of easily cleaned material and was the cheapest one in the shop.
If you decide to use a dummy or pacifier and you don't want to be taking 100 out with you, then get a dummy clip. It has saved the dummy going on the floor so many times and there are some really great looking ones out there. The Captain's is just ribbon with a press studded loop at one end and a winged clip at the other and cost $2.80 from Daiso (an amazing Japanese $2 shop). This isn't the one we have but the construction is the same. Find it here.
For a few weeks I struggled with how much stuff we needed to take out with us, but now I have it done to an art. I have an old clutch bag that I have filled with one change or clothes, one nappy in a nappy disposal bag, a small pack of wipes, a pair of socks, hand sanitiser, a small pack of tissues and a spare dummy and a small wrap to lay down to change him on. The stroller that we have doesn't have a space for a big nappy bag and I was too wide to fit in some shop aisles with my handbag on one shoulder and the nappy bag on the other. I do still have the big bag with 4 nappies and jumpers etc in the car, so I can go back and re-stock if I need to.
Disclaimer - when you have a newborn and every poo is a poo-nami or poo-plosion, keep a whole box of nappies and wipes in the car in case. We went through 5 nappies in as many minutes once.
Activity Centre Thing
The Captain got this from his Poppy for Christmas and it has been great. It has encouraged the baby to reach for things and we have been able to interchange his toys with the ones that it came with. It's easy to clean, store and means that the Captain is not rolling in cat hair that is on the carpet. I cringe to think of how much he will ingest! Eeew!
PS - here is some typing from the baby as he is dying to touch the keyboard...
scqaz mnnjkklk r dam cn nf/s214521ml.m mmmmm