You Can Thrive
I made it through my first year of motherhood and I’d like to think that I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve which will help new parents.
Here are 6 things you can do to prepare for the birth of your baby.
As a first time Mum I’d heard all the horror stories! I expected the worst; no sleep, taking hours to leave the house, exploding nappies, a body in complete ruins. Most of these things happened but what no one tells you is that YOU CAN COPE with them!
And you can cope especially easily if you’re organised, well fed and have had a short nap! In fact in that scenario YOU CAN THRIVE!
Learn from the Professionals
These tips are mostly things I learnt while working in schools and in a daycare centre. In these environments everything you need for a task is readily to hand. These ‘work stations’ are laid out to be easy to access, store, clean and replenish, I replicated them at home in the following ways.
Bulk buy ANYTHING that will cause difficulty were you to run out, this is no time for making last minute dashes to the shop. Items that fall under this category include, but are not limited to;
- Nappies and Wipes (I think final count was 178 First Size nappies, it was enough)
- Muslin Cloths (we had meters and it still wasn’t enough)
- Loads of little vests (imagine you’re clothing an orphanage and purchase accordingly)
- Washing Powder (you’ll be doing lots of washing so buy extra)
- Toilet Roll (maybe just us who always runs out?)
- Biscuits (visitors, and there will be many, like something with their tea)
- Infacol (we had a bottle in just about every room)
- Lady essentials (This is TMI; faint of heart/males stop reading now) it will take a while for the lady area to recover. BUY CHEAP PANTS! Lots of them! This is no time for thongs, no one cares what Victoria’s secret is, you need your knickers black and baggy! Bonus tip: keep these hideous knickers in the bathroom with enough maternity pads for at least three weeks!)
Organise! Organise! Organise!
Your aim should be to minimise your Mom To-Do List. Having a baby adds about a million extra tasks to your day so any task that you can eliminate is a stress you don’t have to deal with. These are the areas where organising was most handy,
- Baby’s wardrobe. They grow out of their clothes in about 10 minutes so it’s handy to keep their little closet organised. We used wardrobe dividers to organise by size and baskets to separate body suits from vests. Added bonus: putting away laundry takes moments and anyone (even Dad) can work it out.
- Feeding Station. If you’re bottle feeding it’s a good idea to dedicate a cupboard to the baby’s food. Keep your milk maker, steriliser, bottles, soothers, bibs, colic drops etc all in one place. Be religious about it and it will spare many an argument with the other half about who used the last whatever or left something upstairs
- Nappy Bags. The cabin fever is real you guys! Many new mums talk about the loss of freedom since a newborn requires so much stuff to be brought with them. In our house this wasn’t an issue. If you pack your nappy bag the night before it should never take more than 10 minutes to leave the house.
Baby’s do require a lot of new equipment and create a lot of mess. There are multiple times a day when they or their bed will need changed or washed. To minimise the effort of these tasks (and the journeys upstairs) we made a few baskets for different rooms.
- Changing baskets. A small basket of nappies, wipes, soothing cream, nappy sacks and a changing mat. We kept this in the living room and it saved us treking up the stairs everytime baby needed a change.
- Linen basket. Nappies sometimes leak and baby is sometimes sick during his sleep, for this reason we kept a small basket of fresh bed clothes underneath his crib in our room. Any nighttime projectiles were quickly and easily changed with minimal disturbance. Added tip; make baby’s crib, tuck a towel over his fitted sheet and put another fitted sheet over the top of it. At night if there’s an accident you can just whip off the top sheet and towel and voila, there’s a clean bed under there!
- Bathroom basket. It takes a surprising amount of equipment to keep a baby clean! A basket of washes, lotions, cotton wool, nail clippers and combs goes a long way to speeding up the process and keeping your bathroom clutter free.
Take Care of Mum
Pyjamas and dry shampoo
There will be days when you don’t get dressed or wash your hair and that’s fine! If you are in possession of multiple pairs of jammies, a nice dressing grown and dry shampoo this becomes slightly less depressing and you may lounge with sartorial confidence. This did wonders for my mental wellbeing! Honestly most days I felt like a Duchess thanks to clean, ironed pyjamas. (Also nothing will fit you and the longer you put off confronting that reality of day wear the better, stay in PJs!)
Prep your food
Some visitors (the best kind) bring food but for the most part meal prep is all on you. Before Alfie was born I made dozens of meals and stuck them in the freezer. This was helpful in two ways. Firstly I had to make zero effort and secondly, everything was a healthy and nutritious meal and I felt so much better know that even though I was sitting on the sofa barely moving all day I was still doing something to care for the body that had been through so much.
Make use of visitors.
There is a price if you want to hold my baby! Usually that price is just making your own tea but for some (Grannies, Aunts, Good Friends) that price was loading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, feeding the baby while I did something or (for one poor aunt) changing lightbulbs. Try not to exploit any well meaning acquaintances but answer every empty “Do you need a hand?” with an enthusiastic “Yes please!”