Top tips as a new mum to a newborn…

Clothes

  • There is no need for mittens or booties. Most onesies come with “feet” and fold-over hand covers.
  • Babies with reflux need ginormous bibs not the cute bandana ones.
  • Babies’ hands and feet are freezing! This is apparently normal and nothing to worry about. Definitely no need to put 4 pairs of socks on.
  • The triangles at the top of vests are there so you can roll down the vest in case of poocidents so baby doesn’t get poo all over his/her face.
  • The neck of vests are wide enough so you can put them on from the feet upwards. Babies (or at least mine) really don’t like tight things over their heads. But then, he does seem to have quite a big head 😊
  • Getting arms into pramsuits/jackets is a mission. Now I just zip up the pram suit with arms across baby’s chest 😂 life is much easier that way. Alternatively you can treat yourself and baby to a Baby Star Blanket. This has been a complete lifechanger for us!
  • I didn’t buy any ‘newborn’ sized clothes but instead bought ‘up to 1 month’ which last until baby is about 10lbs. He never got to wear the one newborn outfit he had.

Sleep

  • Babies are really really noisy sleepers. Imagine a herd of farm animals and you’re close! Babies grunt, snort, neigh etc… loud enough at night to panic any new parent….but you soon learn to differentiate the farm animals from the cries that really need your attention.
  • We bought a Gro-Egg Room Thermometer. It changes colour when the room is too hot/cold according to safe sleeping guidelines but for us, all it’s done is act as a pretty (but quite rubbish) nightlight. You’ll soon find out if your baby is hot or cold, and whilst a room thermometer may give you reassurance I really wouldn’t spend too much on it!
  • Not all babies like to be swaddled or ‘restrained’ in sleeping bags like a Grobag. Our little boy likes to sleep like a starfish and only a blanket will do so I wouldn’t go crazy in buying lots of things before you get your baby home.
  • We had 2 moses basket stands. A rocking one which lived in our bedroom with the moses basket and a static one which we put in the living room for the pram’s carry cot. This meant we used the Joie Carrycot as a second moses basket to avoid carrying the actual basket up and down all day and it also meant that if baby fell asleep in the pram, rather than take him out, we could just disconnect the carry cot from the pram and move the whole thing to the living room.
  • Having said that, perhaps the best purchase of all was our Joie Travel Cot. At 6 weeks old our little man decided he wanted more space when sleeping and not wanting to move his cot from his nursery into our bedroom in case he didn’t like it, we set up the travel cot and he’s been sleeping in it ever since! We could have saved ourselves from the whole moses basket set up.
  • It is never too early to start a bedtime routine. We started our little boy’s bedtime routine at about 6 weeks old. It starts with a bath at 6pm, cuddles/massage/story and get dressed at 6.15pm, feeding at 6.30pm and then bed. On average he is asleep by 7.30pm. He is now 13 weeks old and only wakes up once between 7.30pm and 6am. This doesn’t work every day and flexibility is key but it works for us most often than not.
  • There are many sleep companions out there which claim to help babies sleep by playing white noise or heartbeat sounds. The most popular are myHummy, Ollie the Owl and our little boy’s choice, Ewan the dream sheep. I couldn’t say whether it helps our baby sleep or not but it’s now very much part of his sleeping routine and we’re much too scared to take it away in case it disturbs his sleep. Some people simply choose to play white noise on phones or apps. Whatever helps to get your baby to sleep I say!

Changing and bathing

  • Nappies have lines that change colour when there’s wee in them. There is no warning sign for poo. That’s a surprise.
  • Nappies come in lots of sizes. Starting from size 1 specially for newborns but sizes are dependent on weight. So far I have noticed a directly correlation between baby size and nappy cost. The heavier the baby the more expensive the nappy. Don’t get me started on swimming nappies!
  • If breastfeeding, you may find that after the first few weeks babies only poo every few days. Breastfed babies can go up to 10 days without having a poo. This is normal and it happens because there is no/very little waste in breastmilk for the body to expel. When they do finally poo you better hope they’re not wearing white (I’ve learned that lesson)
  • A Bath Thermometer is a must. Our baby’s first bath consisted of both myself and his daddy sticking our elbows in to ‘test the water’ before realising we didn’t really know how to gauge if the water was too hot or too cold using our elbows.
  • We used the bathroom sink the first few times and then an Angelcare Bath Support so our hands were free to wash and splash 😊

Feeding

  • Everyone has an opinion about feeding. Breast or formula? Or both? It’s a very personal decision but ultimately a fed baby is best.
  • Bottles and teats are a minefield. There are all sorts of anti-colic, self-steralising, closer-to-nature bottles with differing flow sizes or variable flow teats 😶 We don’t use many bottles as our baby is breastfed but we initially went with free MAM bottles with size 1 teats that we were given at baby events. Haha! Made decision making much easier. We then moved onto Nuby and Philips Avent with variable flow teats once baby needed bigger bottles. The great thing is we haven’t really noticed any nipple/teat confusion with these bottles.
  • Sterilising is also super complicated. Cold Water Sterilisers, Electric steam ones, Sterilising Tablets/ liquids/ wipes etc…What happened to just boiling things in water? We initially used the Munchkin Latch Steriliser Bags that we also got free and now use the Phillips Avent Microwave Steriliser. Ps. Don’t forget dummies also need sterilising! Pps. Not all babies like dummies which makes melt downs in public particularly exciting.
  • If you are not planning on expressing milk very frequently I really don’t believe that there is any need to spend £££ on breast pumps. I initially had a Haakaa manual breast pump which collected breast let down milk that would otherwise go to waste in a breast pad, and then I bought a generic unbranded electric double breast pump which has been absolutely marvellous.
  • Not knowing when I will get a chance to prepare my breakfast or lunch when I’m on my own with baby, I usually make myself a sandwich first thing in the morning when baby is a little calmer and take bites out of it as and when I can 🙈 I’m not sure that’s a healthy tip but for me, it means I do eat! Snacks are vital and if you can, hide some in strategic places where you can reach them when feeding/napping with baby.
  • I also prepare my cold drinks in bottles with sports caps which means I can have drinks on the sofa within reach and with little chance of spillages on myself or baby. I’ve not yet found a similar solution for hot drinks but I read somewhere about the use of a flask or travel mugs but I don’t feel they are secure enough to have near a wiggly baby.

Out and about

  • Buggy clips or carabiners have made my life so much easier. I hang the changing bag, shopping, my coat, umbrella and all sorts of other things on the pram with ease.
  • Some supermarkets (Aldi and Asda that I know of) have special shopping trollies with a section where you can place the whole car seat. I don’t particularly like using the trolleys with baby seats. They are usually cold and wet and they don’t look very secure. Also if you put the car seat in a normal trolley then you find yourself with no space for any shopping! These special trollies are an absolute DREAM particularly if your baby hates getting in and out of the car seat. There aren’t many of them though so scope them out before getting out of the car.

  • We have a baby carrier that I take with me everywhere…in the car, in the pram, out shopping etc… because I know that if baby has a meltdown in public and I can’t calm him down, then being close to me in the carrier will certainly pacify him without the need for dummy or boob.

I think that is it for now. If I think of any more tips I will let you know 😘😘

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Things no-one tells you about being pregnant – Third trimester

Awwww the third and final trimester…or is it?! Actually not. No one tells you that the first 3 months of a baby’s life is considered to be the 4th trimester. The baby is learning to live in the outside world and mummy still looks 6 months pregnant. But enough of that for now….let’s focus on the last 3 magical months of pregnancy.

  • The last 3 months will in actual fact feel like 317382 years. Despite being exhausted, enormous, swollen and uncomfortable, I tried very hard to not wish my pregnancy away. I didn’t make it to 40 weeks as our little man wanted to make an early appearance but I can only imagine how fed up one must get!
  • Your tummy will grow more in these last few weeks than during the first 6 months. As if that was possible! On the plus side, by this stage you’ll be able to rest snacks on your belly whilst you watch telly, saving you from having to reach for anything.
  • You will not be able to reach for anything below belly button level (if you still have a belly button). And if something drops on the floor? Kick it out of the way and accept it is now lost forever.
  • Your lovely dainty feet turn into boats, seemingly overnight. No pair of shoes, no matter how wide fit you believed them to be, will fit. Unless they are flip flops and/or at least a size bigger than normal.
  • Those cute baby kicks will turn into assaults. And it hurts. Especially as they start to move down towards the birth canal but trying to figure out what makes your little one move is lots of fun! Our little boy had hiccups all the time whilst in utero, around 4-6 times per day and it’s only becoming less frequent now that we are almost at the end of the 4th trimester (see!).
  • Really strange things start happening to your body. Have we not coped with enough?! I began snoring out of nowhere at this stage. I have always breathed heavily in my sleep but this was walrus levels of snoring to the point that I would wake myself up, and my partner, and make enough noise to drive him to a different room to sleep in. I also experienced the most painful carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. Usually a condition reserved for repetitive strain or nerve injuries. My arms and hands would go numb at night, quickly followed by pins and needles and then the most excruciating nerve pain. I cried many many nights with pain and unfortunately (or fortunately?) it meant I had to finish work at 30 weeks. As if my sleep wasn’t disturbed enough, I also found myself dreaming all the time. Vivid, colourful and not always pleasant dreams. Come to think of it, the dreams were most upsetting in the first trimester…by the 4th trimester you won’t be sleeping deeply or long enough to dream so no need to worry about nightmares then!
  • Hospital bags are a hot topic by this point. Everyone will ask you if you are packed and what you have packed. We had 3 bags: 1 for baby, 1 for mummy and 1 for daddy. Despite what you may get told, you don’t need 50 baby grows for baby and 13 sets of pjs for mum “just in case”. It’s good to be prepared and organised but don’t panic. Assuming you will have a birthing partner and visitors, they can always get extras or bits you may have forgotten. Below are a few lists of what we packed. They may help somebody! I think it was a good amount of stuff for a “normal” hospital stay, unfortunately we were in hospital for 8 days so ended up needing a bit more.

  • Driving becomes a little more difficult towards the last few weeks. If like me, you normally sit as close to the steering wheel as humanly possible then I’m afraid you’re going to have to revisit your positioning and allow space for you and bump.
  • Talking about bumps, you may forget that you’re a little bigger/wider than normal and misjudge spaces and accidently bump into stuff. Chairs, doorways, people etc…it’s a little embarrassing but your baby is lovely and protected. A few bumps never hurt anyone!

Next…baby has finally arrived! How could anyone forget to tell you so much stuff! Stay tuned 😘

Things no-one tells you about being pregnant – Second trimester

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I feel incredibly lucky to have had a relatively easy pregnancy. At least that’s how I remember it although I’m sure it didn’t feel that way at the time and I’m sure my partner would say it was anything but easy. What I mean is, in the grand scheme of things, I enjoyed being pregnant. I miss it even.

The second trimester is allegedly the part of pregnancy when the pregnancy glow, the bountiful hair and the cute baby bump make their appearance….so they say (whoever they are!). Food is now multicoloured and you start to ‘grow’ into your pregnancy body. But here is what those same people won’t tell you…

  • This period of wonderfulness is not a trimester AT ALL. By the time you feel relatively normal again (at around 16 weeks) you literally have 6-8 weeks before it all gets a little bit more challenging…(muahahaha) and you enter the third trimester.
  • After your 12 week scan in the first trimester you will live in peace and harmony for about a week in the knowledge your baked bean is growing nicely before spending the following 7 weeks on an anxiety fuelled countdown to the 20 week scan.
  • Your 20 week scan is really really long. All baby parts get checked and accounted for to ensure all is present and correct. At this point, if you haven’t already, you will suddenly want to buy everything for the baby. I’m a list person and I spent a whole afternoon putting together a spreadsheet of must haves and costs, in order of priority and ordered the baby’s travel system the same day.
  • Your partner will not be interested in anything you buy, except how much it costs and any information given on how the travel system folds, what the difference is between a vest and a baby grow and what a muslin square is used for (everything by the way…make sure you have lots and lots of them!) will go in one ear and out of the other until baby has arrived.
  • The pregnancy glow is in fact sweat, sweat and more sweat. I’m still sweating now and our baby is nearly 3 months old. Maybe it’s the extra weight or the extra effort to do anything or those hormones (we blame them for everything in pregnancy and beyond) or maybe it’s just me but I would sweat doing the smallest of tasks. Sweat tash ‘n all.
  • If you’re anything like me you will wish the bountiful hair would just do one. Hair. Every. Where. Sorry to be so graphic but when it starts to become difficult to contort into certain positions, hair removal becomes tedious and you long for those pesky growth hormones to just stop – whilst still growing your baby nicely of course! An old wives’ tale suggests that lots of hair growth means you’re having a boy. True in our case!

  • Heartburn. You thought that now you can eat properly you would be able to eat that curry without repercussions? Hahahahahaha! No. Your GP is your friend. Don’t suffer in silence. Another old wives’ tale says that heartburn during pregnancy = a hairy baby. Not technically true in our case although baby does have much more hair than his daddy! Does that count? <wink wink>

  • My cute bump towards weeks 20-something looked almost full term and the constant “are you sure you’re not ready to pop?” comments get a little upsetting. Everyone’s bumps are different. People will comment regardless. Big ones, small ones…. Don’t compare. The worst thing I did was download pregnancy apps with community groups/chat rooms where everyone compares anything and everything. Don’t do it. Paranoia central. You are unique as you are and doing perfectly well. Go you!
  • You finally look obviously pregnant! Yey! Everyone loves a pregnant lady. People will smile at you wherever you go and are generally much kinder. Milk it and rejoice in that loveliness for all its worth. You deserve it!
  • Despite the ever expanding waist line and the shrinking clothes, I felt beautiful and so will you. In between bursts of insecurity but nonetheless, I loved seeing the reflection of my pregnant body growing a miracle. I loved getting dressed up and wearing tight clothes. It really was a magical time and showing off my big bump made it super special for me.

Third trimester…here we go!

Things no-one tells you about being pregnant – First trimester

I’m not pregnant again by the way before anyone gets excited…I’m just recalling back to when we first got pregnant. When our lives changed forever. There are so many things that no-one tells you. We all know about the sickness and the extra peeing but there is so much more!

Maybe people forget. Or maybe they want it to be a surprise. Or maybe they don’t want you to get worried or scared (incidently this point does not apply to birth horror stories…everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone loves to share their baby delivery stories. Including me and I can’t wait to write a whole blog about it!)

But first, here is a short (ahem) list of some of the things that no-one told me about when I was in my first trimester:

  • Pregnancy tests range from the super cheap (2 strips for £1) to the ridiculously expensive (approx £14) which tells you how many weeks pregnant you are. One pregnancy test just isn’t enough either. For me, much to my partner’s amusement, it was 4 test on the day we found out and then at least 2 per day (morning and evening) for the next week…and as that wasn’t enough, then at least 1 every other day for the next 2 weeks. With additional random tests thrown in for good measure. Of course each time I updated my other half with the exciting news, including pictures of the test. In my defence, we found out really quiet early, about 4 or 5 days before Her Ladyships’s Monthly Visit and I was terrified that it was all a cruel joke. The tests gave me lots of comfort and were worth every penny.
  • You are supposed to let your GP know as soon as you know you’re pregnant…and then nothing happens. My GP didn’t even do a pregnancy test and just took my word and the 321563 tests I had already done at home as confirmation. If you’re lucky, as I was, you may get a couple of magazines that all pregnant ladies quickly become very familiar with (Emma’s Diary/Bounty). Then you wait and wait until a midwife gets in touch for your “booking in” appointment at around 8 weeks.
  • Pregnancy makes you paranoid. I had tummy cramps for a good number of weeks. Every twinge, bit of discomfort or unusual sensation sent me into an emotional overdrive. Maybe it was the hormones. But in any case, it was all normal. It is still an anxious time and it can be frightening and worrying. In the dignified fashion that continues throughout pregnancy and beyond you’ll be running to the bathroom to check everything is ok “down there” every 5 minutes.
  • Morning sickness is not limited to the morning hours. I felt sick morning, afternoon, evening and night but I was very very lucky. I was only sick once. In Aldi (other supermarkets are available). The rest of the time I just felt nauseous, as if hungover or travel sick. There were days when I wished I could be sick just to get some relief but it never happened. You’ll get told this passes after 12 weeks but that’s just a blatant lie! It was 16 or so weeks before the sickness subsided for me.
  • With sickness comes food aversions, not just food cravings. For 14 or so weeks I was on “the beige diet”. Anything green (healthy), orange (nutritious), red (nourishing) or with any hint of colour (not beige) was a massive no-no. I could not bring myself to eat it. Not even chocolate. My first trimester staple diet consisted of mashed potato, cheese, white bread, salt & vinegar crisps and chips (Looking back I shouldn’t really be surprised that I put on so much weight…but…it was what I needed to feel human at the time). Somehow our baby got the nutrients he needed.

  • The tiredness is like nothing you’ve ever known before (unless you already have kids in which case you live with it on a daily basis and you will know it well). No number of naps suffice. Ever.
  • Keeping the pregnancy secret is near impossible. If you look like death, you’re not drinking alcohol, keep disappearing to the toilet and can’t eat anything without feeling queasy then people will guess. And if your partner is so excited that he rings everyone at 1am on a Saturday morning to tell them the happy news at 5 weeks pregnant then the secret will definitely not stay secret for long.
  • Maternity clothes are generally pants. Literally.
  • Seeing your baby for the first time at the 12 week scan is the most incredibly amazing and emotional moment ever and you get to take pictures of the little bean home. Most places like to rob you for the pleasure and charge about £4 for each photo. Totally worth it.
  • You’ll cry for no reason at all. I sobbed on public transport because I saw a pretty tree in bloom. I couldn’t even stop myself.

Second trimester musings to follow 😊

Baby has landed!

Exactly 9 weeks and 3 days ago a slightly crazy but very welcome stork crash landed into our lives and delivered our unique and joyous baby boy!

Of course, it wasn’t really a stork that delivered our baby but a very capable and frankly, life saving obstetrician who, after an eventful 55 hours of labour arranged for our baby to be delivered through the sunroof instead of the front door and who much to my eternal gratitude, left minimal evidence of entry/exit.

Since then, life has been a wonderfully steep learning curve where days and nights have blended into what feels like a continuous cycle of breast feeding, nappy changing, puke wiping, cot rocking, dummy holding, baby bouncing, high pitched singing and cold coffee drinking broken up by weekly mum and baby group visits, shopping trips and the odd bit of telly watching.

So far it has literally been the best 9 weeks and 3 days of my life.

Despite the postpartum pain (which I can’t really remember now), the challenges with breastfeeding, the indignity of not remembering when I last had a shower, the ongoing battle of whether or not to change my clothes after baby’s 10th pukefest of the day, the lack of chances to eat or drink anything hot until past 5pm, the inability to do a 10 minute chore in less than 5 hours and the not knowing when my next toilet break may be…I just would not change a second of it for anything in the world.

Even as sleep deprived as I am, with baby sick in my hair, weighing the most I have ever weighed x5 (perhaps an exaggeration but only slightly), wearing the crappiest of clothes that highlight all my wobbliest of bits, I feel the happiest, most content and most confident I have ever been.

I would love to feel slim and glamorous and dare I say it, attractive again. Nonetheless, it’s amazing how a little person can put you on such a deeper, more meaningful path of self discovery and give you a new perspective and revised priorities.

I have a renewed sense of self, a purpose that I didn’t know I needed and an overwhelming amount of love for my wonderful partner in crime, our baby, our family and our friends. I feel kinder, more patient and in a strange way, much calmer and at peace. It’s an incredible place to be and I thoroughly recommend it!

And so, whilst my last blog entry (almost 3 months ago!) was full of hopes for frequent posts, the truth is that I have been completely wrapped up in being a mummy and I have loved loved loved it so much that the days have passed me by and blogging didn’t even cross my mind.

Until now.

I have so many funny stories, anecdotes and “I didn’t know that was a thing” things that have occurred during my pregnancy and since baby’s arrival that it’d be a shame to pass the opportunity to share..so…bear with me.

I’m coming back 😘

Or at least that’s the aim…but you know…babies have a habit of throwing plans into chaos!

New beginnings, new blog

I am currently 34 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

Wow.

I was encouraged, and I intended on starting a blog on my pregnancy much much earlier than this, particularly given how successful (ahem/haha!) my previous blog was (feel free to check it out here). At the time of writing this particular post, my other blog comes up as the 6th hit in Google, out of 3,000,000 results, when searching for ‘student nurse blog’. I would say that is pretty spectacular, wouldn’t you? I never gained any fortune or fame from that blog, and I expect nothing more from this one, but the point is, despite having abandoned that blog, I enjoy writing very much, and I enjoy sharing, and I am told that I am quite good at both. Plus, I have had a total of 4 requests to write more so….Here I am!

I realise that there are already many blogs out there talking about pregnancy, and more so, an insurmountable amount of blogs relaying funny and anecdotal stories on the ‘truthful’, ‘undignified, and ‘exposed’ reality of being a parent. There are even books about these blogs and in all probability, it is just a matter of time until someone makes a film based on the books about these blogs. But…. I don’t intend to compete with them and the irony of this blog should demonstrate my lack of intention to jump on mumsy blog wagon. Frankly, I don’t consider myself witty, or in fact, sweary enough to be any sort of competitor so I’m just going to do my thing and hope that someone will like it. I know my mum will, at least!

So, back to pregnancy. Yes. Wow. What a rollercoaster. There isn’t really any other way to describe it. In the grand scheme of things I have had a very lovely pregnancy so far, except a few weird and wonderful symptoms! My aim, should my baby brain allow it (it’s a real thing!) is to spend the next few blog entries talking about the last 34 weeks of my pregnancy and go from there.

Don’t panic though!5060260134568_Z Unlike my lovely, but lengthy ‘Baby Bump to Baby’s 1st Birthday’ journal, I will not be subjecting you to a weekly account of my pregnancy thus far. As wonderfully nostalgic and tear jerking it will be for me to read it all back in years to come, I think it would be kinder to you, my very important reader, if I just summarise and highlight the important milestones.

So, hold on to your elasticated maternity pants, ladies and gents, gets some snacks, make sure you’re near a toilet, and enjoy the read!