All mother’s learn “tricks of the trade” as time goes on. I have called on the help of some of my mummy friends to come up with some little ideas for new, first time mums.
Keep a change of clothes for yourself (and bub) in the car at all times.
I have lost track of how many times I had to run into a clothing store when I was in town to buy a shirt because of one of the three embarrassing baby “P’s” (poop, pee or puke) Then there is the worry of breast milk leakage…yup…I have had the embarrassment of a wet circle around my chest in public, which resulted in bub being carried until a change of clothes or calling quits and heading home earlier than anticipated.
I have had some parents say that they forgot to bring baby clothes with them at some stage. Its seems obvious to take baby clothes in your change bag, but it can be forgotten with the “baby brain” we all suffer in those first few months (or years….)
Essentials for every handbag: wipes, band aids and stickers!
I used to (and still do!) keep a pack of wipes in our change bag, handbag (since the change bag didn’t come everywhere), and the glove compartment of the car. No matter where you are, or what you are doing, you should never get caught out, whether it’s a nappy change or wiping up sticky messes after ice cream at MacDonald’s.
Band aids are always handy because they make everything better! A stubbed toe can feel better with a band aid, but then there also times when there may be blisters caused by shoes, or scraped knees falling over in car parks.
Don’t forget stickers, because any child can be bribed with the promise of stickers. I quite often use this piece of bribery to get the kids away from those blasted rides (you know the ones, the cars that bounce up and down, or trains that go round and round) that are always parked out the front of shops to drain parents of any coins that might be hiding in the depths of their purses.
Find a GP who will listen to you.
Good doctors can be hard to come by. Find one who will take you seriously if you take your child in when your gut is telling you that they are ill. No-one knows a child better than its own mother. But you also want a doctor that isn’t afraid to tell you that the sniffles are just the sniffles and you need to relax. It’s a little contradictory, but you need to be able to trust your doctor to take you seriously and tell you the truth.
Sleep whenever you get the opportunity.
Sleep when the baby sleeps. No-one cares about the housework, catch up on it later. A dirty house is better than an axe-weilding maniac! Those who pass judgement probably havent had kids and aren’t worth the time…they will soon learn.
Call on family members. I bet they are more than willing to help out (Well…people going ga-ga over a baby can be helpful at times!)
Sleep as much as you can in hospital, it means that you will have more energy to deal with things when you get home, because I’m warning you now, the first night home is generally a nightmare (though it usually settles very quickly)
Depression isn’t weakness.
It happens to the best of us. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your baby. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing a good job. Parenting is hard. Find someone who you can vent to…or write a blog (it certainly helps me!) and never be afraid to ask for help. It is normal for your moods to be all over the place for a few weeks after birth while your hormones settle. But if the feelings of sadness or hopelessness (amongst other symptoms) continue, see your doctor. Check out www.beyondblue.org.au for more information.
Don’t forget, fathers can get postnatal depression too!
No book has all the answers.
Some parents have huge expectations of how their baby is going to be once born. They aren’t going to have pacifier at all, organic cloth nappies only, and of course they are going to sleep straight through the night instantly. It’s these sort of people who experienced parents sit back and look at, giggling inside while thinking “Well you’re in for a wake up call!” I have met expecting mothers who have found a certain book and swear blind that they are going to follow every word and their baby will be perfect, only to be dismayed when their baby had other ideas.
Allow your child to have some time to work out a bit of a routine. You can slowly guide them towards one, but don’t expect instant results. If you make a decision on how to do something, then stick by your decision. Don’t allow yourself to get bullied by others to do things their way (for example, the breast vs. bottle debate I touched on recently) What works for others may not work for your family. Allow time to figure it out!