Friday 17 June 2016

Being a new parent tips

Being a new parent
This is a long post so in true FoodieForce style grab yourself a cup of tea, cake and settle somewhere comfortable. 

So I have been a new parent now for just over six months and I thought it would be useful to share some of what I have learnt so far. 

1.There is absolutely no right way to do things. Do what makes you happy and you will in turn have a happy baby.
First few weeks with a baby

2. Absolutely everyone will offer advice, they mean well but you know your baby best.  
becoming a parent
3.You will be told by everyone except mothers and those with children that breastfeeding is easy.

Breastfeeding is actually very difficult and that's without any additional challenges. It can be one of the most stressful things about being a new mummy. Those who come to it easily are absolutely in the minority. If you manage to do it, you learn quickly that it is bloody hard work, in the early days it's painful and very tiring to have a little person constantly feeding (cluster feeding).

So do I have any pearls of wisdom, not really; more survival tactics. Buy at least two tubes of Lansinoh cream, use it regularly after each feed, even if you don't have pain to start with. 
Breast feeding
Treat your boobs like the Crown Jewels. The point of using the cream is to prevent sore, cracked and bleeding nipples. Yes that really does happen.

In the early days you will have engorged boobs, this is uncomfortable (it is where your milk comes in on mass and your boobs become swollen and heavy) but can be eased with massage, hot showers and compression. Lansinoh do great hot and cold compression gel pads

Breast feeding
At the first sign of engorgement or mastitis use these. 

If all else is not working for you and breastfeeding is too painful and your about to give up try breastfeeding shields.
Breast feeding
Regardless of how you feed your baby you will need breastfeeding pads, they are not all equal. Find those that are right for you; they are as much for keeping milk in, as they are for protecting your nipples rubbing on clothing and getting sore. 
Breast Feeding

Get yourself at least two good breastfeeding bras and make sure you get measured (this can't be done too early, around 38 weeks is fine). Invest in a breastfeeding cover which will be useful in a variety of situations in the early days. Later on you just won't care about showing your boobs.

It's tempting to express early don't resist the urge at least till you are in a routine with your feeding and milk supply. That is unless there is a medical need to do so. I expressed early due to Noah having a tongue tie and having to finger feed him. Much of my additional breast pain came from expressing. Invest in a decent machine trust me it will be money well spent. I went for two different ones, one for when on the go and another for being at home.  

Breast pump
If you need any help, advice or support on breastfeeding visit a breastfeeding drop in centre, call the National Breastfeeding helpline, visit the Kellymom and lalecheleague websites. The drop in centre also has the additional benefit of being able to meet other new mummies.

If your a mother support others. There is a huge stigma that if your a woman you should be able to breastfeed, if you can't you feel like a failure. Being open and honest about your experience will help others. Support one another. 

Britain is definitely not breastfeeding friendly. But I'm a great believer that people can change this. If you are where someone is breastfeeding don't stare or make them feel uncomfortable. It takes huge courage to get your knockers out in public. 

The one thing to remember is regardless of how your baby is fed they will love you just the same.  

4.If you live in London put your name down asap for a nursery. 

It's a game that I didn't really understand or appreciate the rules to. So whilst this sounds like madness and I agree with you that it is, to get a good nursery you need to act quickly. Many nurseries have a years waiting list. You will um and ahh! Don't worry about the small deposit that you might have to put down, just do it. Be guided by parents reviews and Ofsted inspections (you can find these by searching the nursery name and Ofsted result). 

Unsure what questions to ask have a look here. If you don't have the energy to visit in the early days get them to send you the paperwork, fill it in and you can visit later.

5.Think wisely about your pram purchase, it is very easy to get carried away, big is not necessarily beautiful. Do you really need those off terrain wheels in the heart of London? Think about your lifestyle where do you live and what do you like doing? Buy with this in mind. Read reviews and go for something that suits your life. I know many friends who have purchased ridiculous buggies, only six months on to be replacing them. 

We did absolutely loads and loads of research to find one that met our needs and I haven't lived to regret my purchase. Our purchase was the new Babyzen Yoyo+ and it definitely was the best purchase we made and still is six months on. 
Best pushchairs
Its easy to assemble, super light, folds to be incredibly compact and everything goes in the wash. It also converts into a buggy as your baby grows.

As an added bonus if you travel a lot, it fits in an overhead compartment in the cabin of an aircraft as it is small enough to be classed as hand luggage. 

6.Babies aren't babies for long, they grow quickly so make the most of every second.You will spend hours talking about your baby, constantly taking pictures, I have reams and reams of pictures of Noah. Months fly by and before you know it, your baby will be out of their small crib, their 0-3 month baby clothes and cutting teeth. Everyone will be talking about weaning and returning to work. Make the most of them whilst they are little. 

7.Take fifteen minutes to yourself each day, let other people in your life share the work. If they aren't forth coming, tell them what you need. I was really bad at this and as a result have spent the first six months of Noah's life shattered. 

8.A little person will find delight in everything and anything. Seeing the world through their eyes of firsts will make you feel alive and young again.

9.You will learn new things about where you live that you previously had no awareness of. Your local area has so much to offer you and your baby, you just need to get on out there.

10.Being a mummy can be very isolating and getting out is the best thing you can do. You will make lovely new friends. Look for NCT Bumps and Baby groups, activities like baby massage, Hartbeeps, Monkey Music and your local libraries have some great offerings.

11.You will do anything to stop your baby crying it is like a dagger to the heart, but you will learn that they won't self combust if left for a second.

12.For a good while things that you love to do will have to be put on the back burner, but this will change in time. It doesn't last forever. 

13.You will change as a person, having a baby alters you and who you are. That's not a bad thing.

14.The world will put huge pressure on you that within a few months of birth you should have lost your baby weight. I say CRAP! You've had a baby, carried a little person around for nine months, your body performed magic, with organs and body parts shifted to new places. Your body has been stretched out beyond all recognition. It will come off in time but don't put additional stress on yourself.

15.Buy a children's first aid kit and some things that you might need for your little one at different stages. Infacol, calpol, bonjela, teething granules, cheeky monkey organic cheek rub, gripe water, snuffle rub, cradle cap shampoo to name a few. 
Baby medicine
If you have a little one who is two months plus that struggles to take an oral painkiller, ask the doctor for paracetamol suppositories. I wish I had asked for these sooner.  

16.Immunisations are hard going both to have done and afterwards when your little one feels rough. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding straight afterwards can be a great help. If your breastfeeding, express some milk in the days leading up to the injections, so if your little one refuses the breast you can still offer them your milk in a bottle. Take Calpol with you for the first and third immunisations.     

17.Be kind to those that come after you as mothers. Share useful information, be honest, share tips and a kind ear to listen to their worries. The labour horror stories are totally not needed or helpful. Everyone's experience and journey is different. Help one another out to prepare rather than scaremongering.

18.If your a friend, family member to someone who has just had a baby, come with food and you will be welcomed with open arms. Load or empty the dishwasher for them. Make your own cup of tea/coffee and be gracious enough to know when it is your time to love and leave.

Are you a parent or have siblings/friends with babies? Have any tips or pearls of wisdom to share? 

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  1. I'll pass these very helpful tips on to two friends who have just had babies

  2. It's a long post but I wanted to share what I have learnt. Glad it was useful. I really struggled to find content that was helpful and honest when I had Noah Lucy x

  3. Oh lord, having a baby isn't simple, is it? I'm not sure I'd be able to cope with all these changes to not only my body, but my whole life. I know people say it's worth it, but I'm not always convinced haha! I can't believe how early you have to start thinking about nurseries!

    Corinne x

  4. It's not simple it's hard work but is the most rewarding thing you will ever do and it makes you. I have been very honest in my posts maybe too much so but I wish that someone has shared the reality with me. You just have to go into it with your eyes wide open. Just make sure you have travelled and done all the things you wanted to do and life doesn't stop having children, it just begins. You will be a great mum. I love being a mum and I wouldn't swap for all the money in the world. Noah is by far my best achievement yet Lucy x

  5. Lovely post and very informative! Particularly love the bit about seeing the world through your baby's eyes, how wonderful! On the other hand I feel like screaming and running and hiding after reading the bit about breastfeeding and engorged boobs and cracked nipples. Oweeee!! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Food, Travel, Italy

    1. Thanks Lucy, it's definitely a post to bookmark and when the time comes to come back to it. I've been brutally honest in this post. I truly found most stuff I read lovely and reassuring before coming a mum, then reality and you feel a bit cheated. I'm a great believer in honesty. Breastfeeding is hard work but the rewards of doing it are amazing. I have now been breastfeeding for six months. The first two were the hardest and now it's easy pease.

      I love looking at the world through Noah's eyes it really makes you appreciate life, find joy in the simple things and love where you live. Lucy x

  6. I read carefully your this long post. Thank you for all your advices. I used Lansinoh cream too and also love lansinoh breast pads. ahhh love your stroller so much, looks so posh hehehe