Tag Archives: Newborn

My 7 newborn inessentials

Newborn inessentialsAs expectant mothers, we’ve all pored over Baby Centre (actually ‘Center’ usually) articles on products you absolutely MUST have for your newborn. And for some reason both times I’ve felt like everything I need has to be bought BEFORE the baby arrives – as if I’ll be house-bound for weeks and months after (I wasn’t) and as if Amazon isn’t handily there for some night feed purchasing (it certainly was).

So you’ve got the Moses basket/fancy sleeping cushion/co-sleeper, a mountain of coloured muslins and enough newborn nappies to fill your shiny new cot. But what about the real essentials that no one talks about? The things that are going to keep you sane and functioning for the first few months? Here are what I’d call my newborn (in)essentials:

  1. A portable phone charger – because, let’s face it, the iPhone/smartphone is your constant companion. For night feed browsing and spending (see above), for arranging coffee dates, for finding the baby massage class and for uploading adorable sleeping baby shots.
  2. Eye cream – you might not be able to fake sleep but you might want to help your eyes while you adjust to being up at odd times and falling asleep in the middle of Homes Under the Hammer.
  3. Your local coffee shop loyalty card – OK you’re spending a bit on large lattes (and a small sliver of carrot cake) but look, you’re getting a free one each week so it’s all worth it! And you can now say ‘the usual’ to the owner which feels quite nice.
  4. A nice rain coat (that covers your bottom) – even if your baby has a summer birthday you still need to be prepared. I learnt the hard way that there’s no holding an umbrella when you’re pushing a pram. They have a raincover, you have a pack-a-mac or something lovely from Seasalt if you’ve got yourself organised.
  5. A remote control with working batteries – boxsets are your friends. As is daytime TV. My favourite thing was/is to clog up our Sky Planner with episodes of Frasier. Great for feeding in front of and for watching as your baby falls asleep on you (and you drift off too).
  6. Decent biscuits – none of your plain Rich Tea nonsense. You’ll probably be eating one handed for a while and there’s no easier and more filling snack/breakfast/lunch/dinner. Just make sure there are some wholesome oats (and chocolate chips) in there.
  7. A corkscrew – or even better, buy screw top wine that you can open with one hand (only kidding – you’ll need to pop the baby in the bouncer for this one ;-)).

What newborn inessentials would you add to the list?

Have a little patience – learning to love the randomness of the baby months

Randomness of babiesI remember most of Scrip’s baby milestones but, although they were very real and exciting at the time, I can’t now pinpoint exactly when they were. I mentioned to a friend recently that I wish I’d written a diary or even a few handy notes at the time – she suggested it should be mandatory if you were at least contemplating having more than one. Maybe an NCT exercise?!

The problem is, having a new baby means I’m ready and impatient to reach those milestones again – particularly the ones which will help order our lives a bit more. When can I get him into an (unforced) routine? When should he really be napping in the cot? When do his bedtimes start regulating? Don’t get me wrong, I love his gorgeous smiles, little chuckles and chubby babiness and I feel like I’m able to enjoy this time so much more second time around. It’s just that I know what’s coming and am keen to embrace it – but I don’t know when it’s coming.

Babies and particularly baby timing is random during these first few hazy months. Even now, 9 week old D’s sleeping in his pushchair and I’m not sure if he’ll wake up in 40 minutes or two hours. 

So although I’m keen to get on to the next stage I’m trying to encourage myself to wait until at least we reach three months to start thinking patterns and routines. And in the meantime, especially with the backdrop of a warm summer, enjoy as many of the small details along the way as I can.

The New Parent Olympics – could you compete?

New Parent OlympicsI know strictly speaking we’re not new new parents, but having had a gap of three years, at tricky times and in the early hours it certainly feels like we’re doing all of this for the first time. Some things come flooding back (the only way to treat nappy rash is to reach for the Metanium, always make sure the frills at the side of the nappy are facing out or face the consequences, no room should be without a muslin) and some feel like we’ve never experienced them before.

Much of it is logistical, fuelled by sleep deprivation, and a lot is about making the most of small windows of time. So I’ve been mulling a few new parent challenges that could be worthy of including in next year’s Olympics:

The five minute supermarket dash. Contenders need to collect at least ten items, spanning both sides of the giant supermarket with a grizzly baby and/or whiny toddler before either fully melts down. Bonus points for not knocking anyone flying en route and not giving into pester power for cheap toys or cheap sweets.

The service station nappy change. Contenders need to change a nappy on a dubious surface (often wobbly, rarely spotless) whilst avoiding baby touching any part of the changing table. Bonus points for negotiating the (often broken) straps and managing to have a toilet break yourself.

The me-time challenge. Contenders need to make the most of a rare child-free hour, courtesy of partner/in-laws/fool-hardy friends, by fitting in as many household tasks as possible – aim for at least 15. Bonus points for anyone who actually manages to rest during this ‘rest time’.

The cup of tea challenge. Contenders need to finish at least one cup of tea (which could be classed as lukewarm or above) fully, within a 24 hour period. Sounds deceptively simple but not many have succeeded.

The getting ready alone challenge – baby vs shower. Contenders need to wash, brush teeth and dress without the baby crying. Bonus points for using a variety of apparatus such as baby bouncer, crib with mobile, moses basket and fluffy towel on the floor and for singing nursery rhymes/nonsense songs continuously.

And the New Parent Olympics gold medal? A lovely smile from your baby…and a hot cup of tea.

I’ve been practising all of these in the last few weeks and would rate my chances. Could you compete?

Life with a newborn Р#winning or #failing? 

 Ten days in and having sent my mum my standard morning sleep progress report text – a positive one – she replied ‘#winning’. Which made me smile. I’d had a few hours’ sleep strung together not once but twice. Result. 

It made me think. These last few days of starting to get grips with a newborn again as well as becoming a mother of two have had their ups and downs. Those winning moments are brilliant – you feel you can achieve anything. But as with anything, they’re balanced out by the little challenges (or fails) along the way. 

And that pretty much sums up the first week and a half (in between all the lovely moments and staring in amazement at our gorgeous little boy):

#win – putting him down and him settling straight away in the Sleepyhead
#fail – next wake up was a five hour feeding session. Who knew they were even possible? From one side to the other on and on (ouch) and grizzling in between

#win – soundly sleeping all the way around our first shopping trip
#fail – then taking 45 minutes to latch on…

#win – first time in proper clothes (including Little Brother top, obviously)
#fail – changing after 5 mins due to suspect yellow stains appearing

#win – figuring out the Ergo Baby carrier and having a nice stroll 
#fail – struggling with playground/swing pushing logistics with carrier on (frustrated Scrip)

#win – calmness in first bath – we use a Tummy Tub – and a helpful Scrip to sponge him
#fail – D inconsolable after leaving the water

#win – Scrip being curious and loving with him (mostly)
#fail – her enthusiasm bubbling over as noisy toys piled on top of him, waking him up (instant wailing)

I expect the pattern will continue like this for a little while, but the wins of being a family of four definitely outweigh any of the bumps in the road so far. 

Introducing our newest arrival 

 

Little D arrived on 15th April – the day before my birthday and the best early present I could ever have. I say early – he was 12 days overdue in the end and although it was all pretty intense and quick I was able to have a water birth in the birth centre and avoid an induction planned for two days later. 

Scrip is everything all at once – excited, proud, confused, a bit jealous. I guess it’s all to be expected but we’re involving her as much as we can whilst making sure it’s not all about D. She suddenly seems so grown up and even more loveable. 

And as for him, he’s pretty perfect. We’ve already had a tongue tie diagnosed and snipped, poor mite. So feeding is challenging but we’re getting there. He’s also very hungry so very little sleep but what did we expect?

Mostly I just can’t believe we have a new addition – and a male one (Scrip’s freshly washed baby clothes are largely redundant!) and we’re enjoying these special early days as much as we can. I know all too well they don’t last long. 

The truth about having a new baby – what it was really like

baby handsAs I sit here, one ear on the monitor to check Scrip really is napping and not chatting away to herself, I know that we’ve got a good routine going. We’re living family life with one toddler and managing OK. That’s not to say it’s easy – it’s never easy – but this is our life now and we’re in a pattern. So just the time to throw it all off track by introducing number two into our reasonably balanced equation.

I was reminiscing with a friend this week about the early days and about how hard we both found it – especially with the first (she has three). It’s funny but it’s a Continue reading