Oct 2, 2014

My best and secretest baby tips [Part 1]

Because we all know I'm an expert at babies and pregnancy....
(Not really but I think I can call myself a veteran of extreme pregnancy and baby-feeding issues. :) )

I have lots of preggo friends and I have lots of thoughts in my head about surviving things to do with babies, so I thought why not write it all down, and then next time I am pregnant I can refer back to it as well because you forget everything immediately!

1. Stretch Marks
I read a blog by a 3rd time mother of twins who had no stretch marks and swore by L'Occitaine Organic Shea Butter. I rubbed it on my belly every day from the first time I could do so without vomitting (I can't remember when exactly but was it the end of the second trimester? Something like that, which was about the same time I started showing more obviously). It's pure FAT so yes it's greasy and I got so tired of having clothes sticking to my oily belly - as if wearing clothes wasn't bad enough already! - BUT but but it seemed to work as I avoided stretch marks. My only extra tip would be to put it on any other stretching places too - hips, boobs, anywhere you think is growing.
It's not cheap so ask for it as a baby shower gift or whatever but I think it's worth every buck. Also, zero chemicals.

2. Pumping your boobs. {aka Do I need to buy a breast pump?}
No, but if you ever want to go out and get a babysitter and not have to teleport your boob back home for feedings then it's probably a good idea. The best one according to everyone, and the one that I bought, is the Medela Swing. It can be battery operated so you can pump in the car. I would know! We have had feeding issues so I had to hire the hospital double pump ($4000 to buy so... ). But we couldn't have known that in advance. If you suspect you will do a lot of pumping (though how can you know??) then buy the Medela double pump.

3. Bottles and Teats.
Oohhh here's where it gets tricky. We have spent hundreds trying different teats and bottles and so has everyone I know. The only one that everyone seems to have success with is Dr Browns. It's anti-colic, recommended by lactation consultants, and the same one they use in neonatal units in hospitals. We went straight for the large one as you don't want to have to buy more every time your baby increases their appetite. I would get a 3-pack of the large one, and you can buy spare teats too.

Oh and not that I'm into defamation but I don't recommend the Medela Calma Teats. I have not yet met ANYONE who can get their baby to feed using these teats. I'm sure it must work for some but yeah, stick to the tried and true Dr Browns. Just because one brand makes the best pumps, doesn't mean you should buy their teats :)


4. Nappy Bag
 I never bought a nappy bag, I just jam everything into my handbag, which is a Kelly Moore bag and already has compartments as it doubles as a camera bag. The only advantage I could see to the usual nappy bags are that they come with a change mat that you can fold out. So here's my solution that works fine:
{Fold-out plastic change mat with pockets for nappies + wipes}
 +
{Kelly Moore hangbag/camera bag}
My only complaint is that the change mat isn't as small as I hoped, but it's still handy for changing a baby on someone's nice carpet, or in the boot of the car on a road trip, or anywhere that you really don't trust the germ count (read: public toilets).
You can buy packs of small disposable change mats from the supermarket, too.

5. The Darkness
Which room will your baby sleep in for daytime naps? Wherever it is, make it dark! We have only just started putting Ella in her own room for daytime sleeps and she is sleeping Soooooooo much better because it has blackout curtains. I'm sure there is some rule (there always is) about having daytime naps in a light place so the baby learns the difference between day and night. But after 4 months of shallow napping I really don't care. It works for us and hopefully it will work for you too.

6. Cots and things
I never really considered that we didn't even need a cot when our baby was born. There's no rush to buy one - baby will be in a bassinette or even a pram for quite a while most likely. And I won't go into the boring details of those, but you should get a pram-top attachment for your buggy. Handy for rocking an unsettled baby to sleep, too. Our pram lived in our bedroom the first few months as Ella looked way too tiny for her bassinette.

7. Car seats
Oh here's where it gets tricky. In New Zealand you need a different seat for 0-6 months than you do for 6 months +. So, hire the first seat (around $60 from Baby on the Move depending which brand you get), and then maybe buy the big carseat when your child is 6 months. Baby on the Move have a few branches and will help you choose the right one. The safety standards change so fast that it's not worth buying that carseat (unless you are planning to have another baby 2 months after your first, which happens but....)

8. Bedding
I have such a vivid memory of coming home from 5 days at hospital where midwives did everything, and looking at the bed I had made up in the bassinette before Ella was born, and bawling my eyes out because it was all wrong and I didn't know how to do it. Answer: Wrap baby in a muslin or swaddle (arms in or out depending on your baby. Ours is an arms-up girl) and place on a bottom sheet that is tucked down. If you're smart, put a small towel under the sheet! Poonamis coming your way. Then tuck woollen (not synthetic, they make baby sweaty and uncomfortable) blankets around them. For a brand new baby you could also put a wee hat on their sweet bald head so they don't get a chill.

There is no way around the fact that your carefullly made bedding will get pooped on frequently, sometimes several times a night. I don't have any great tips for that - keep spare muslins and cloths nearby, maybe?


Ok, that's enough for now, any questions?
I'm thinking the next Baby Tips posts should be on: Organising a Nursery, What to Pack in your nappy bag, What Babies Wear (important! Get alll the buttons and allll the nighties!) and.... let me know if there's anything else.

All the pregnant ladies! (All the pregnant ladies) All the pregnant ladies! (All the pregnant ladies) Put ya hands up!




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