Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Third Trimester Solicited Advice - Part 1

As I am now about 7 weeks from being a mommy I sent out a request for advice to all my friends who have young children. I figured they wouldn’t generalise or sugar-coat stuff as we’re mates! I only asked people with little kids as (a) people forget and (b) birth/newborn ideas go out of fashion.

My questions were:
What are the 5 lifesaver items you took to the hospital?
What are the 5 most important things to have ready for the newborn at home?
What have we probably not thought of or not been told?


The replies are coming in from all over the world so I’ll post them in batches as I get them. Also, some lovely ladies have written in detail so those will get their own post.

...feel free to chip in the comments with your answers too!

What are the 5 lifesaver items you took to the hospital?

Jodie (Australia)

  1. Chocolate (of course)
  2. Books
  3. Hand lotion and lip balm
  4. Diary
  5. A dummy (not talking about the father). You may be already saying no to the dummy but that was my saving grace for M as all she wanted to do was suck. So my magic wrap lady (the mid wife) would come in after I had fed her and she would ask for the dummy and wrap her in warm blankets and she would be out for hours.. up to you of course.

Shona (South Africa)
The hospital question is a tricky one as it depends on the hospital and what they provide and whether or not your baby rooms in with you or is in a nursery. For us H was in the nursery unless we took her out and wanted her in the room with me. The one thing I found useful was earplugs for when I wasn't looking after the baby as there is generally a lot going on in a hospital and strange noises, so I found that they helped me get a bit more rest when someone else was looking after H.

Julie (South Africa)
  1. Vaseline – smear all over bottom area as meconium (baby black poo) is very sticky & won’t come off the skin other wise
  2. Questions – ask for help, especially when first feeding. Make sure someone (you like) is with you when you first latch with baby so that you get it right from the beginning. The nurses are there to help you – use them as much as possible in the beginning
  3. Rescue remedy – takes the edge off when you don’t sleep
  4. Take the pain killers as prescribed (even if you feel you don’t need them) – particularly if you have a Caesar. You don’t want to feel that pain!!!
  5. Diary / Notebook – try to record as much as possible as you do forget (sadly)

Laura (UK)
  1. Written birth plan. You won't be able to speak.
  2. Magazines / music
  3. Small towels / large flannels you can wet and put on your back
  4. TENS machine was a good psychological prop but wasn't much use later on
  5. Good supportive husband is worth more than anything else!

What are the 5 most important things to have ready for the newborn at home?

Jodie (Australia)
  1. Panadol for 1 month (you will be surprised at how quick those first few weeks go and I gave it my girls before they were 4 wks).
  2. Vicks to rub on their singlet if they get a blocked nose
  3. stuff for reflux that you can buy over the counter ( not sure of the name though sorry)
  4. Baby thermometer (you probably already have one but the 1 second readings are great, expensive but well worth their weight in gold.
  5. Lots of flannel wraps to wrap her up snuggley after you have fed her. I used to throw them in the microwave and heat them really well because by the time you have walked back to wherever and spread them out they get cool quickly.

Shona (South Africa)
For at home, a couple of bottles, steriliser and formula (even if you are planning on breast feeding). I was breast feeding but sometimes it takes a while to get into, like with me and in the meantime I had a screaming baby that wouldn't sleep because she was hungry, so a little formula helped everyone be a little less stressed until we got into the way of things. Bear in mind that your caregivers and the hospital will probably actively discourage formula and bottles like ours did, but in the end I listened to my mum and just gave her a little formula so she wasn't hungry. It worked and I carried on breastfeeding til four and a half months.

Julie (South Africa)
  1. Somewhere to sleep close to you – you will want baby close by for the first few weeks & they’ll need to be close to you. M still sleeps next to me – he’s almost 4 months now. It’s so much easier for feeding & they need you close by in the first few weeks.
  2. 6 vests, 6 baby grows (must have poppers on legs for easy access to nappy) in newborn (or bigger if your baby is big) (forget the fancy clothes – you hardly use them, get practical everyday clothes)
  3. Don’t remove all the labels of your baby shower stuff – you may need to change stuff once baby is here when you realise what you have & actually need
  4. Telaments gripe water & colic drops – when colic starts at about 3 weeks
  5. Rescue remedy – for you at times due to lack of sleep, crying baby (for no reason – you’re still trying to figure out their cry)

Laura (UK)
  1. A cleaner coming in once or twice a week. Guests vaguely offer to help but it fizzles out after a while!
  2. An electric breast pump is worth its weight in gold.
  3. Breastfeeding pillow in a C shape was better than a V shape for me (it doesn't slip)... but everyone's different!
  4. A dummy (soother) in the cupboard. You may think you don't want to use one, but we came to the end of our tether at 3am and we wouldn't have been able to buy one at that moment. Just buy it!
  5. One of those plastic bath supports (solid, not mesh)
  6. Baby sleeping bag. Much better than blankets. We used ours from day one.
  7. Ready meals in the freezer

What have we probably not thought of or not been told?

Jodie (Australia)

And last but not least babies are very resilient and will not die sleeping on their stomachs!!! Both mine did and they turned out alright, well yes the jury is still out with M!!!

Shona (South Africa)
The third question, take any opportunity you get to sleep, your house will probably be untidy and dirty but try and ignore it and sleep. Also, start making extra food now and freeze it so at least you will have meals for yourselves for a while.

Julie (South Africa)
  1. Get the Dunstan baby video – it’s Australian. She shows you what the different baby cries mean – it’s fantastic if you can know early on what their cries mean (food, wet nappy, uncomfortable, etc). It’s accurate…..
  2. Breast feeding is hard – but persevere, it’s worth it for both of you! It takes about 2 months before you feel comfortable & you have both established a good routine. It is a long time but it does go quickly you won’t realise it.
  3. Day 3 or there about may be hard – your milk comes in, your hormones change & you may cry – even though you are happy. Just cry – it’s ok!
  4. If your milk doesn’t come in, get help early. I didn’t & Matthew got dehydrated….
  5. It’s not ok to have sore nipples – baby is latching incorrectly, so stop feeding & start again
  6. Go for physio – laser on your nipples if even just a bit too sore. You don’t want them to crack & then deal with them – too painful. Go for 4/5 treatments in a row – should sort it out.
  7. Take as many photographs & record your feelings, thoughts, development of baby – time goes quickly & you forget the details or little things
  8. Just accept / listen to all the advise you get & then do what your instinct tells you to do – it will be right. You & your baby will figure things out with time – you are both learning!
  9. When you first get home – ask your friends to give you time to get used to baby before they descend for visits. It’s wonderful to feel so loved but you need time with baby. I realised that the first week wasn’t love – you are overwhelmed by the whole experience & having your baby. It’s a wonderful time & enjoy bonding with baby & your husband.
  10. Try establish a routine as early as possible – that’s been my lifesaver.
  11. When you are home, let baby create the lead for feeding. If they sleep longer than 4 hours – let them. I did with Matthew & he was fine, particularly at night. He has always been a good sleeper at night as a result of that. I never woke him ever to feed – in spite of what everyone told me to do.

Laura (UK)
You've probably not been told all sorts of things, but that's because you would never believe it. Welcome to the Great Parenting Conspiracy!!!!!!!! Good luck and keep us posted!

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