Another pregnancy announcement from a dear friend, and a text of “tell me everything you know” has inspired me to write this.
I’m by no means an expert, as I’m only 2.5 years in to this parenting malarkey myself, but I thought I’d share a little bit of what I wish people had told me the first time round! Of course we all have different parenting styles and we all find what works for us, my “essential” breast pump and sling could be someone else’s waste of money. I’m approaching this based on what has worked for us, in the hope that some of it helps you, dear mama to be.
Everyone will tell you when you’re pregnant that you need to make the most of sleep now, and you will never sleep again… *insert eye roll*
We approached things completely differently with our little people. Against all modern guidelines and under a dilusional sense that he needed “routine” Sebastien was in his own room by 6 weeks old. We also happened to move house when he was 6 weeks old and I was a bit excited about setting up his nursery! At 11 months Vivienne is still nestled next to us in her Chicco co sleeper crib.
Safe sleep guidelines tell us that a baby should be in your room until they are 6 months old ( including sleeping in the same room as their caregiver during the day i.e. in the pram in the lounge) to reduce the risk of SIDS.
This can either be achieved by co sleeping where Baby is in the room but on a sleepspace that is completely separate to the parents bed such as a Moses basket or cot, or by Bed sharing. Bed sharing is safe providing the guidelines are followed properly. Bed sharing as the name suggests should only be done in a bed, and not on a sofa/chair etc. We chose to do a mix of Bed sharing and co sleeping this time round, and did so with a very handy little cot that attaches to our bed; the Chicco next to me. The Chicco also happens to have a carry bag, meaning you can use it as a travel cot.
The Chicco allows for baby to be next to mum but on their own sleep surface away from quilts and fluffy pillows. Baby can be pulled in next to you to feed then popped back in the cosleeper with minimal effort.
Nb: If you or your partner are drunk, take sleep aids or formula feed, bed sharing is not recommended.
- Baby monitors
As I said above. By the time Sebastien was 6 weeks old, he was in his own room. For the first week when he arrived earthside I spent every moment that he was asleep watching him breathe. I would barely sleep at night, waiting for him to wake up for a feed and listening out for his breathing. At the end of the first week , sleep deprived hormonal me decided to blow £160 on an all singing all dancing Angelcare movement and sound monitor. Basically a video monitor with breathing sensor pad. These kinds of monitors are not for everyone. Some will tell you that it gives you a false sense of security. Others will tell you that the odd false alarm will have you turning grey before your time. As with all things baby related. It really is a matter of preference. We’ve had two real alarms from the monitor, and that alone for me is enough to justify the cost. We still use it now on the toddler bed, 2.5 years in, and have a separate identical monitor for Vivienne.
A newborn doesn’t need for much other than snuggles, boob, snuggles (and repeat- basically they spend the first 3 months earthside desperately trying to recreate the environment they had In the womb- take a look at The 4th Trimester ) I digress.
They do however need clothes.
Baby clothes in tiny sizes still make my ovaries ache even though I know we’re done with baby making days.
Most of the tiny size clothes are barely worn, and barring those that get obliterated with a poopsplosion. Seriously, just throw that (shit) in the bin. You do not need to spend 3 hours trying to make the Vest white again! Second hand newborn clothes purchased in bundles on eBay or Facebook are a great cost effective way to build up a lovely collection of clothes. I went completely overboard when S was a newborn and had way too much, so when V came along I reduced the clothes stash somewhat. Favouring babygrows and vests over outfits.
Don’t get me wrong there are so many utterly adorable outfits out there, but when you wrestle those super cute converse back on their feet for the millionth time that day, you’ll realise that all in ones and trousers with feet are genius and Jeans are out!
You don’t need toys to start, you also probably don’t need the £300 baby rocker with lights and sounds and an iPod dock. That kind of money is far better spent on a car seat that meets the new Isize guidelines such as the Maxi-Cosi Pebble. (Other brands are available)
It’s nice to have a safe space to put them down but for the first few weeks this will mainly be in the pram, or on your chest.
They don’t start seeeing patterns until around 8 weeks after their due date. Take a look at The wonder weeks for more info on development leaps which will help you understand what your baby is learning (and how you can guide them through it) and when to expect fussy periods from your little one!
For the first few weeks both S and V would be in the Poddle pod.(pictured below) you can also get a Sleepyhead which does the same thing as a poddle but is approved for night time use. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them something to look at, or have a little soft toy but don’t stress about toys to start. All they really want is Mama!
That part above about the 4th trimester? Velcro baby is real. You can spend hours a day with a newborn dozing on your chest (seriously, hire a maid, fu*k the cooking and just snuggle!) but there will be days where you want to do more than lounge around. Babywearing is a great way to keep baby close and secure whilst also having both hands free. They’re also brilliant if you have dogs to walk, as you’re not worrying about a pram and a dog lead!
The best types of baby carriers to start are called “stretchys” (or stretchy wrap) you can get a few such as Boba, close caboo etc from Mothercare and Mamas and papas, but before purchasing It’s definitely worth looking up a local sling library or asking on babywearing Facebook groups to find the best starter wrap(s) to suit your tastes. Be warned. Babywearing can become addictive, and you end up with lots of pretty wraps and SSC’s (soft structured carriers) in your “stash”
(Do your back and your baby a favour. Don’t go for the structured high street carriers. They become uncomfortable for both baby and wearer very quickly)
Err. I’m on my 4th (5th?) pram in 2.5 years. Can’t help you there. Go with the one you love that fits in the boot of your car.
I will say though, we had a vintage silver cross in the lounge as the sleep space (cheaper and prettier than a Moses basket!) and I’m the proud owner of a second hand Icandy Peach blossom which weighs a tonne in double mode. I’m still not sure I’m a fan of prams, other than to strap the toddler down!!
- Labour, birth and Hospital bag
Despite having 2 children, I have never been in labour as both babies were planned C sections. If you are considering a section, then you can read my Caesarean birth plan here and use it to create your own birth plan.
There are many wonderful birth blogs out there you can read from lovely ladies such as Mummy S over at Mummy_Setra and this honest hospital bag post from Sarah at Mumzilla as well as classes available during pregnancy.
(If you are a blogger and would like to add your birth tips or hospital bag must haves to this post please drop me a message, or pop your link in the comments!)
Best of luck on your pregnancy and parenting journey mama and don’t worry, there’s always plenty of us to help out. It takes a village after all! X