It’s strange to think just over 3 months ago I was impatiently lying in bed, resting my head on Meg’s pregnant overdue belly and having a one to one with Ivy urging her to come out. We were parents-to-be with a small amount of confidence that we knew what we were getting ourselves into. Some things we were right about, some things we were wrong and most of all some things have been unexpected, because that’s what being a parent is really about.
I look at Ivy now and I cannot believe how quickly time has flown by, how big she’s getting and all the little signs she’s starting to show of her personality. I also look at Meg and I, and feel like life hasn’t changed. It HAS, on a monumental scale, but at the same time life is what it used to be, but with a wonderful addition that has brought so much positivity to our lives and everyone around us.
The first month is a steep learning curve, the second I think we started to find our feet and in the third, personally, I have enjoyed parenting the most for a number of reasons, but it just seems to feel natural. In this 3 months we’ve picked up some useful tips, tricks and items that have made new parent life a lot easier and I thought it’d be beneficial to share those with parents-to-be out there.
SWOT Up –
The reality of it is, you’re never fully prepared for parenthood, but you should do your best to have some knowledge in the key areas such as feeding, sleeping, changing etc. Trust me, you will still find yourself with your ol’ pal google when something isn’t going as planned, but wising up either through reading or antenatal classes
is a must. Like going into an exam with no prep, you might get a few things right, but when it really matters the knowledge won’t be there.
Feeding – It happens a lot. At any time of day or night. Sometimes it’ll be for the slightest amount and sometimes your sweet little one will chug like a uni student with a beer bong. As a bottle feeding family, my advice, get a Tommee Tippee prep machine, plenty of bottles and you can’t go far wrong. The few days we prepared feeds without a prep machine were long winded, frustrating and time consuming.
Nappies – Firstly, changing becomes second nature, it doesn’t feel like it will, but it does. Secondly, you’re going to get through a LOT of nappies. Tesco, Aldi & Lidl all do their own brand for a very reasonable fee and I don’t know why anyone ever goes for the big brand stuff. Most have the ‘yellow indicator’ line that turns blue when baby does there business so you don’t have to actually check inside, important when not wanting to wake them or looking through bleary eyes at 3 in the morning. The only thing I can’t guarantee with any brand is that they’ll ALWAYS keep the mess inside… good luck with those.
Grobags – Quite simply little baby sleeping bags that come in varying togs that are useful in pretty much any weather. We first used cellular blankets but Ivy would just kick them off no matter the tucking, now she can kick all she likes. It doesn’t stop her from rotating 180 degrees in her sleep though!
Bathing – We were gifted a baby bath support at our baby shower and it has to be in my top 5 things we have! It makes bath time easy, with minimal wriggling and relatively stress free. Introducing a bath into a bedtime routine has worked a treat, highly recommend.
Muslins and Bibs – I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve changed Ivy and we’re an outfit down already because she’s instantly sicked up. Chuck a bib on as quick as you can and have muslin cloths dotted around the house and always within arms reach, you’re always going to need them.
Baby Pod – We’re making most of the days that Ivy actually wants to be held, but when you have stuff to do around the house and she needs to go down we use a baby pod, cushioned round the side with bumpers that act as a bit of a cocoon, we can put her on surface tops or on the sofa and get on with jobs… until she wants attention of course.
Doing the baby lean – Get used to bouncing from side to side when you’re standing up. I’m so used to ‘bopping’ when I have Ivy in my arms that I do the same stood in the pub with a pint.
Get Out More – A simple walk round the block does everybody good, and as we’ve found, the motion of the pram usually sends Ivy off to sleep. The initial trips out can seem daunting, but with a bag full of gear you can’t go far wrong, it’s also got us out on the days we’d usually fester on the sofa.
Listen to your instinct – If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ever feel like you’re being an over cautious parent, listen to what you think, there is always support out there, whether it’s your local GP or out of hours specialists.
Clips for the pram – For the summer babies out there, an extra large muslin cloth clipped over the front works wonders when strolling around. That or a brolly attachment will do the trick. Shade is good for the obvious reasons but also likely to send baby to sleep.
Sleep, beautiful sleep – The chance to sleep will vary from couple to couple and baby to baby. The early days were hellish and being subject to a babies sleeping pattern left us zombified. ‘Sleep when baby sleeps’ is nice advice but isn’t always an option, all I can say is, it does get better, whether that’s because you get used to running on caffeine or your baby actually settles into a routine. Some nights we get 7 hours of sleep, some nights we get 5 but it does become manageable.
Washing/Clothes – I’m sure from the muslin, bib and feeding chat you can understand that you will be doing a lot of changing. If you think you have too many baby grows, vest tops etc. there’s a very strong chance you need more. Washing is on rotation with tiny spitty, sicky clothes. I’ve no advice here other than non-bio is the best route to help with sensitive baby skin and baby clothes these days really are reasonably priced if you look in the right places.
Swing – Through the kindness of another friend we have another item I hold in my top 5, the baby swing. It has 3 settings of swing, and 3 versions of song at varying volumes. Babies are simple creatures (sometimes) and in those fickle moments all they need is a bit of motion, this can save your tired arms or when you have stuff to do, like eat!!
Toys – Meg and I had the same thought when we were gifted toys, yeah they’re cute, but is she really going to use them? The answer, yes. In the early days when Ivy couldn’t distinguish her hand from her foot she had bigger things on her mind to conquer, but as she’s developed and she knows what each body part does, bright toys with different noises and textures are amazing. They take her focus, specifically the ones that can be clipped to the pram and you can see them slowly starting to get her to coordinate and look less like a flailing drunk.
Ewan- This is my main man. He’s a sheep that makes noises… not Bahhh, but noises that replicate those of the womb. We clip him to the side of the bedside cot when Ivy is going to sleep, and to be perfectly honest, it helps me sleep more than her! With different volumes, a light option and 4 different sounds, there’s bound to be an option that works for your baby too!
Songs – Get creative and vocal. We have a long list of made up songs, you’ll be amazed what you come up with to try and make your baby; laugh, smile, sleep or calm down. My personal favourite being the bath time hit ‘Splishy, Splashy, Splosh’. It seems weird at first but it becomes the norm and works a treat.
Nappy Bags – These wonderful things. When you’re out, it’s not always easy to dispose of babies ‘business’ until later. These scented gifts from God will keep you from gagging when you open the changing bag later.
Little light – If you’ve got dimmer switches, you’re living the dream. However, a low light lamp always comes in handy either when trying to avoid waking the baby or waking your partner during those inevitable late night/early morning feeds.
Personal time – Having a baby is a full time job, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to be a couple. It also doesn’t mean you can’t go and do things on your own. A weekend away with the girls and the same for a night with the boys should always factor in, it’s good for everyone, but maybe not
As time goes on I’m sure I’ll have more items to add to this list, but for now I hope these are useful for parents and parents-to-be out there. If you find it useful or you think someone will, please send them on. These tips only scratch the surface, I’d love to hear any tips and advice you have in the comments below 🙂