Today is cold. It’s supposed to feel like 7C out there (about 45 F) but it feels colder and the temperature is dropping. I realised I had forgotten to alter the heating timer as the clocks changed at the weekend. There’s always one thing I forget to change. And because I have a new duel fuel cooker, I have already discovered that I don’t know how to use the timer, so it will stay on British Summer Time unless I remember and get round to looking at the instructions.
Anyway, I have a couple of friends expecting babies so I thought I would share some tips on early motherhood, dispel some myths, and help to be a bit environmentally friendly.
Giving birth completely changes a woman’s body. It already changed radically by conceiving a baby. Hormones have raged and then settled.
So now, having given birth, your hormones will rage again. This is because your body is producing colostrum and breast milk, and is recovering from the hormone that equipped your body to push out a baby from a usually narrow passage. If you had a caesarian you will still feel the effects. Generally, this is a tendency to have tears fairly easily when normally you would not. The sight of your baby may make you tearful though you are really happy to have him or her. You may feel sensitive to comments from your partner, family or friends. You may find a midwife makes you tearful- they are all different and one may seem very supportive while another may be quite different. When I had my daughter there was a sister on the ante natal ward who was months away from retirement and had never had a child. I dreaded her coming in to my two bed room (for which I was very grateful). She seemed devoid of empathy.
You will get support in learning to hold your baby so they can latch on to the breast. Never worry that your baby will suffocate against your engorged breast, their noses are designed to prevent this. At first you may experience some pain. It just means baby is not latched on properly. You will feel discomfort in your tummy area. This is your uterus shrinking. Breastfeeding reduces the size of your enlarged womb.
Muslin cloths – I never got any and didn’t need any. Breast fed babies rarely sick up. You can use a clean tea towel, or pillowcase.
Changing tables – easier to use the floor with a changing mat or oil cloth. Then you can put all you need nearby and baby won’t fall to the floor.
Baby wipes – a no no. They are too strong for your baby’s skin. Use washable cotton cloth and water. Use a good baby cream, like Sudacreme, to prevent nappy rash. Don’t use a perfumed moisturiser, baby’s skin won’t like it.
What kind of nappies- that is your choice. Disposable ones take thousands of years to biodegrade. On the other hand sterilizing terry cloths pollutes. There may be a nappy service in your area which will collect a certain type of nappy and deliver them back, laundered.
Bathing – just use warm water and let it run over baby’s head with your hand. Baby won’t be dirty so keep it short.
Talcum powder – No no. Babies inhale it and get asthma.
You don’t actually need a baby bath. A clean bathroom basin or sink is fine.
If you get sore or cracked nipples don’t use ointment. Wear something loose and let the air heal them.
If you decide to express breast milk you don’t need a sterilizer. Drop your breast pump and bottle into a large ice cream container or a bucket with boiling water and a Milton’s tablet.
Buy a bamboo hairbrush with very soft bristles. Get a bamboo toothbrush with soft bristles. Baby will enjoy the soft sensation on his head. After two months or so, start to brush baby’s gums. Tooth hygiene starts before teeth appear.
Baby monitor – I never used one. If baby cries you are going to hear it. If baby wakes, he can wait until you go to him.
Nap while your baby sleeps. You will get very tired.
You can sleep with baby unless you are drunk. My daughter slept on my chest a lot.
On their tummy is OK. If your baby gets colic, laying them on their tummy lets the warmth relax their stomach. I used to rub my baby’s tummy but she never had colic.
Winding – whatever suits you. At your shoulder, laid on your lap, or sitting baby on your lap leaning over your hand, and rubbing their back.
Don’t rock baby to sleep – this will make a rod for your back. Start a go to sleep routine early. It may be singing lullabies, and laying them their cot and putting on music before you leave.
Nightlight – I never used one.
Pacifier – I never used one. They ruin a child’s teeth.
The best you can do for your baby is love and cuddle them. This develops their brain.
Your hormones will take a year to settle down. You will not go to the toilet alone for two years. It’s all worth it though