No, this isn’t about birth, or pregnancy itself… or even those precious first days with your new bundle of joy. There’s already plenty of blogs and articles on those subjects – mainly ones funded by the likes of Johnson & Johnson, Pampers, Cow & Gate etc etc. I’m not trying to sell you anything (even in my first point, honest!), here’s a list of things that I discovered during experience of the first year with my baby (most of which came too late for me to fully take advantage of!).
I hasten to add, this isn’t me telling you what YOU should do, this is a list I would like to have sent to my 3 months pregnant self back in March 2014. If it helps you make an informed decision about something you hadn’t yet thought about, then awesome!
1) You do not need to buy a travel system. The carry cots become useless after a few months and take up loads of space. It’s not recommended you use car seats on buggies (more on that later). Best just buying a parent facing from-birth buggy which folds up nice and compactly – like the Cosatto To and Fro. At least you won’t be wanting to trade it in after the first year for something less chunky!
2) The different definitions of co-sleeping and why it’s important to do so in the first 6 months
3) Join breastfeeding support facebook groups in advance! Read about other’s experiences in preparation of your own. Learn about the differences between formula and breastmilk (no they are not the same, not even close) and make an informed decision about it – without the assumption that you will fail at breastfeeding before you’ve even tried. You also don’t need to get that Tommee Tippee starter kit in preparation for the birth. You might not ever need it and if you do, I can guarantee there won’t be a bottle shortage. Your baby might not even take a bottle full stop!
4) Don’t buy any tops/dresses you can’t whip a boob out of easily. And make sure you’re in the Can I Breastfeed In It? group!
5) Don’t bother buying any ‘normal’ bras for now – there’s no guarantee what your bra size will be post-birth.
6) Buy a car seat which goes from birth to age 4 and can remain rear facing. The Joie iAnchor Advance is an example and complies with iSize regulations.
7) Here’s something I didn’t learn until my LO was about 6 months… don’t leave a baby in a car seat longer than 90 minutes / 2 hours. If you are on a long car journey, this means stopping for breaks and taking baby out for a bit. Make sure they are supervised as much as possible – this may mean purchasing a mirror to put on the headrest nearest your baby.
8) Don’t bother with a moses basket if you can help it for overnight sleeping. They are noisy when moving baby in and out (not good for dream feeds). Side cribs provide much better access if you are breastfeeding throughout the night. These can be bought, rented or look into attaching a cot to the side of your bed. Moses baskets are useful for the very early days when you need to be in the same room as your newborn at all times but I recommend babywearing where possible.
9) That someone had told me to Google ‘The Virgin Gut’.
10) Don’t spend loads on a highchair when the IKEA antilop will do a better job for a measley £13! We’re still using ours at 14 months and our Joie all singing, all dancing highchair has been packed away into storage.
11) Don’t get a photo shoot for your newborn with ‘two (or however many) free prints’ as when the time comes to review the photo shoot session, you’ll be throwing hundreds of pounds at the photography studio because you can’t stand those precious photos of your new squish being deleted and never to be seen again. Instead, try and find a photographer who can offer you a short session (as babies don’t tend to stay chirpy for an hour!) and put the photos on a DVD.
12) That babies (or us adults for that matter) aren’t actually supposed to sleep for long periods of time. They also can’t self soothe until they are much older. You are NOT failing if your baby does not sleep through.
13) Don’t bother spending money on talcum powder and baby oil – they’re not necessary and contains nasties.
14) Cloth nappies are worth their weight in gold when it comes to preventing poopslosions (if they are fitted correctly!!!)
15) Don’t buy solids weaning paraphernalia until you’ve had a good read about Traditional Weaning and Baby Led Weaning and made your mind up about which route you wish to go down.
16) Perhaps most importantly, go with your baby’s flow – whether it’s with sleep, behaviour, solids, on-demand feeding or anything really! Trying to make your baby work around you instead of the other way around can lead to a lot of stress for all concerned. We’ve had decades to perfect our lifestyles, why should a baby have to learn how to do the same within a few months? In the past 14 months, I think I have learnt just as much from my baby as he has from me. Embrace it!