Although I had been through this once before, I was not as prepared for this as I thought I was. Both experiences have been very different, and what I had not learnt with Kyla, I am learning now. And in some cases I am re-learning things again. From my experience there are a few things that have helped and things that I have needed (writing this more so that I can look at it for the next baby – but if it helps anyone else then that’s great. It is very open, so if there are any dudes reading this you might want to stop now, as there are probably things that you never wanted to know that you would rather find out when you go through this with your wife)…
- Save as much money as possible for the time on maternity leave. I am still getting a good portion of my salary and we would not be surviving if we did not already have everything from Kyla.
- Make the most of the sleep that you can get, you won’t necessarily be able to get it with your baby. We were very blessed with Kyla who slept through from 8 weeks, but with 2 it’s def not that easy as either the one or the other wakes up at night and we are not able to sleep in the day as Kyla is awake.
- Enjoy as much unplanned for, quality time with your spouse. I think that one is pretty self explanatory…
- Purchase as many of the things that you will need as possible to limit going out in those first few weeks. Especially if you are a new mom and not keen to venture out in the beginning. We were out on day 7 with Kyla as she did not have any clothes small enough to fit her in the beginning.
- Do as much of the paperwork as you can – fill in your additional dependent form for the Medical Aid, do your UIF forms etc.
- Take it easy now, try not to do anything stressful or tiresome – you will need all the energy you can get.
- Get a copy of Baby Sense (I would recommend buying your own – very helpful). With Kyla we stuck to it religiously, but with Riya not quite as anally as before.
- Try not to have too many expectations of your baby or partner. This can really help in those first few weeks when everyone is adjusting. In terms of your partner – don’t expect them to be washing bottles or getting up at night with you unless you have discussed and agreed on it together. This will save any unnecessary unhappiness. In terms of your baby – don’t expect them to sleep through immediately or not have colic etc. These are just a few examples but they will save you and your sanity.
- Don’t have crazy expectations of yourself either.
- Antenatal classes. Although I don’t feel like I learnt very much, it was very helpful for Seth.
I got a list of things to bring with me to the hospital, however I found it lacking. So this is my list.
- Lansinoh/Bepanthen – I knew from experience with Kyla that breastfeeding is flipping sore in the beginning. Like excruciating! What I did not know is that you get nip cream to ease it a bit or at least keep them supple. Use after each feed – RELIGIOUSLY. (I alternated between Bepanthen that has anti-inflammatory qualities and the Lansinoh).
- Lazer Treatment – I didn’t get this with Kyla as none of the nurses offered it. I got it with Riya and it made a huge difference! Get it as soon as you can. I would do it the moment you get in twice a day for as long as you are there. Your Medical Aid should pay for it as it is an in-hospital treatment.
- Feeding bra’s – You will be walking around the hospital (probably – depending on how you feel) and you don’t want your boobs hanging on the floor, plus it helped to make me feel more normal.
- Maternity Pads – Not normal pads… Huge, fat, super absorbent maternity pads. At least 2 packs (for hospital and home). Didn’t have them for Kyla and I really should have. I was only able to buy them at Baby City this time around, they don’t sell it at Clicks… 🙂
- Disposable undies – I don’t know about you, but the last thing I wanted to do was wash out my undies – enough said.
- Comfy clothes – You want to be as comfy as possible but still be decent enough to walk around.
- Book/soduko/whatever – Although when you are not feeding you will most likely be sleeping, there are times where you are awake and you have nothing to do. I had to keep myself busy otherwise I got bored and lonely.
- Snacks – While hospital food is getting better it still sucks a bit. And because I was breastfeeding I was super duper hungry – like all the time.
- Make up – Not everyone probably had my experience, but with both pregnancies my skin was ridiculous. Scary without make up – I literally looked like a dot-to-dot puzzle (I have yet to figure out what the picture was). The make up made me feel a bit better about myself and helped me to focus on my baby.
- Toiletries – duh…
- Nappies – Go figure
- Surgical spirits – For the umbilical cord.
- Vaseline – For baby’s bum. Although this was fine for Kyla – Riya had a bit of a reaction to it so for the first few weeks we were only to use cotton pads and cooled boiled water.
- Bepanthen – Helps if there is any nappy rash – it’s amazing.
- Clothes – You only need clothes to go home in (at Vincent Palotti anyway). I wouldn’t put them in your own clothes in hospital as they vomit so often etc. and you need to change them frequently and you don’t want more washing when you get home.
- Cotton Face Pads – To clean their eyes with cooled boiled water and also if you want to use it for their cord.
- Earbuds – Used it to clean their cords.
- Blanket – Again it’s only to leave with as they give you blankets while you are there.
- Dummy – With Kyla she only took a dummy a couple of days after we got home, however Riya was using me as a dummy – which made already painful breastfeeding all that more painful. But Ri-Ri still won’t really take it unless she is hungry.
- Supportive, understanding Husband – You are both going to go through a wave of different emotions (you more so due to hormones). Talk to your man about where you are at and tag team if you need a bit of space.
- Salt – If you have a natural birth you run the risk of a tear or being cut. They recommend that you have a salt bath twice a day… How the heck you are supposed to manage that on your own with a new born I don’t know. So I used a bottle every time I went to the loo.
- Pads – After about a week with Kyla and two weeks with Riya, I was able to change to normal pads and not the maternity ones. You need lots of them – at least like five bags as you bleed up to six weeks.
- Freezer Meals – We were fortunate to have awesome friends who brought supper for us. But once those were finished, there are times where the day is hectic or you just don’t feel like cooking. At least if you have stocked up on a few healthy freezer meals it’s better than takeaways (and cheaper too).
- Tummy Control Undies – One of my expectations of myself was that I would have a “flat” tummy as soon as the baby came out. I was completely shocked after Kyla to see the jelly belly that was left behind. These undies helped my confidence but also helped my tummy remember what it should be.
- Baby Sense – While this is in no way the be all and end all of how to raise a baby, it makes sense (excuse the pun). It answers a lot of questions and helps to know what to do.
- Good friends – Besides providing meals, they are able to baby sit when you need a break or even lend an ear if you are feeling like you need someone to chat to.
- Blackthorn Berry Elixir – This helps with your energy and your milk production. Awesome!
- Breast Pump – For those times when baby doesn’t get it all out and you want to avoid becoming engorged. I also expressed to give my nips a break and Seth a chance to bond with Riya every now and then.
- Feeding Tops – People come over and when you are feeding every 3 hours you need to be ready.
- Breast Pads – Although I only had half the amount of milk that I should probably have had (breast reduction in 2006) I still leaked a lot of milk. Save your clothes and bedding.
- Camera – Take loads of pictures, these moments disappear so quickly!
- Clothes (duh) – If you are having a baby shower ask your organisers to get people to buy the size for the season. You don’t want thick winter newborn stuff if your baby is born in January…
- Bepanthen – We use this as a standard everyday nappy cream – although it is expensive and probably over the top – our kids have never had nappy rash while using it.
- Nappies – We have been through about 12 bags of newborns with Riya already and she is only a month and a half. Think about it, at least 6-8 nappies a day. Kyla outgrew the newborn nappies really early as she was a lot more plump. 🙂
- Fragrance free aqueous – Just a small tub if you can find one. Riya was super sensitive to anything fragranced and we had to use this to bath her with up until about 6 weeks.
- Conditioning Shampoo – To avoid cradle cap. With Kyla we used the bath stuff for her hair too but it caused cradle cap and after changing to conditioning stuff it went away. Riya hasn’t gotten it at all.
- Body Wash – We use the Johnson’s Calming one, it works like a bomb to make them sleepy for bed time.
- Lotion – To do baby massage with after bath. We use the Johnson’s Calming Lotion.
- Nail clipper – For the first few weeks I could just peel off both kids nails when they got too long… Then I had to start clipping them or they would scratch their faces open. Tried putting mittens on our kids and they freaked. You can also bite them off if that is your cup of tea…
- Nose Sucker – Had to use this every now and then for Kyla but Riya is having a more negative reaction to the formula. It increased her secretions, so she has a lot of snot in her nose. This helps get it out.
- Wipes – Kyla was fine with any, but Riya we had to use cooled boiled water and then moved on to sensitive ones at about 5 weeks.
- Changing Mat – To save anything that you are changing them on and stop them rolling off – although you should never not have a hand on them keeping them still. It will be the one time that you don’t because you think it’s fine that they land up on the floor.
- Sterimar Nasal Spray – For Riya mostly but we used a different one with Kyla when she had a bit of a blocked nose at about 4 months. Apparently this one doesn’t make them think that they are drowning like the dropper one does. It also doesn’t burn and lasts for 3 years.
- Cotton Face Pads – To clean their eyes and face. We went a bit nuts with Kyla and did this for like 5 months, but I don’t think it’s actually necessary for so long. But then again Kyla never had an eye infection…
- Surgical spirits – For the cord. Kyla went through 2 bottles and about 4 weeks before the blasted thing fell off, Riya’s was off by the first week.
- Vaseline – For the bum if you not keen on Bepanthen.
- Earbuds – To apply the surgical spirits and keep those ears clean. I have heard different theory’s on the ears though. Up to you.
- Blankets – To keep them warm 🙂
- Dummy – If they don’t self sooth with their hands.
- Gripewater – We get the non-alcohol one. We try not to use it too often unless their winds are bad but it works like a dream!
- Clinic – We were fortunate enough to be pointed in the direction of Bowwood Baby Clinic in Bowwood Road Claremont. It is a private clinic, but so worth it as the nurses are so very helpful and really care about the well being of your baby. They have helped us a lot and I would recommend them for sure! They also have the Blackthorn Elixir far cheaper than I have found it anywhere else.
- Bottles – I was not able to breastfeed Kyla and even now with Riya I have to top up with formula. And even if you are giving solely breast milk, sometimes you need a break for one feed or when you get baby sitters etc. You never know when you will need them. Be sure to get anti-colic ones, they have a special air valve to circulate the air. Cheap crazy store bottles are a no go zone!
- Steriliser – Funny story… In the beginning with Kyla we were super careful about everything, Seth more so than I. So you are supposed to boil the drinking water for 10 minutes…..if you are in a rural area without a kettle! However Seth insisted to boil a kettle full of water, then boil that water in a pot for a further 10 minutes..While boiling bottles for 10 minutes in another pot. Kyla would wait for her super clean bottle for about 30 – 45 minutes. This soon ended once we bought a microwave sterilizer, which takes 5 minutes, and using just plain kettle boiled water.
- Carry Cot – We used this lots and lots. Now depending on how you want to do your sleep thing you might not needs this. We used it a lot now for Riya as we kept her in the room with us, and could easily take it to Grandparents for her to sleep in. If you are hardcore enough to put your kid it’s cot from the beginning then well done to you!
- Towelling Nappies – No, we are not crazy enough to use towelling nappies for their real use (I do not have the patience to do this at all). We use them as burp cloths, especially for Riya as we were changing our own clothes more than we were changing hers in the first couple of weeks.
- Baby Monitor – For peace of mind. We have the Angel Care monitor that monitors their movements and breathing, so if they stop breathing an alarm will go off. It helps me to sleep easy at night.
- Bath – With Kyla we did not have our own bath, so we bought a baby bath. With Riya we have finally installed a proper bath and have gotten a seat for her to bath in. The lass of a baby bath (filling it, emptying it, finding a surface to put it on that is the right height for my shortness etc.) really put us off using it this time around and having the seat means we can bath both girls at the same time.
- Hooded Towels – Awesome to keep them warm, especially if their hair is wet.
- Car Seat – I think that people who don’t put their kids in a car seat or buckle them into the car are flipping stupid. They clearly do not love their children. The only thing worse than leaving them unbuckled is if they are on your lap – lucky you to have your own human airbag asshole.
- Baby Bag – Although it is super cool to have one that looks like a handbag, I have consulted with Seth (who regularly goes out alone with one of them) and he would rather be carrying an overtly BABY baby bag than one that could be a handbag!
- Thermometer – We have just the normal one, but want to get the ear one that only takes like 2 seconds. Try getting your one year old to sit still with the normal one under their arm for like ever!
TOP 10 MUST HAVES
- Supportive and involved husband!! – I would be totally lost without mine!
- Baby Sense – It’s not perfect, but it does help you understand a lot more about what to do.
- Breastpump/bottles – I found this super helpful to relieve any potential engorgement and to enable Seth to help with the feeds.
- Freezer food – For those times where you don’t have time/energy to cook.
- Good supportive clinic – Going there once a week to weigh gives you a chance to ask a lot of questions!
- Space – Sometimes you just need a break, ask your man or trusted friend to baby sit while you take a long bath or whatever floats your boat. Rather take the time than lose your mind.
- Blackthorn Berry Elixir – Ups your milk supply and energy – two very important things!!
- Bepanthen – An all round awesome thing. For sore nips, red bums or even if you have a runny nose and it getting a bit red from constantly wiping it!
- Lansinoh – Relief for sore nips, but also great for dry lips.
- Gripewater – Helped both kids and gave almost instant relief – which in turn gives you almost instant relief. 🙂