I was chatting with a very dear friend tonight about “the early days”, of what I wish I knew, and thought it might be a good idea to do a post on it – to a) remind myself when the time comes for the next one, and b) for her, and any other friends who are expecting.
Some of these are things I did know, given as advice from close friends of families (thanks again, you know who you are 🙂 ) – which will hopefully be useful to new mums.
#1 – Don’t worry about buying that nice big white cot for the first 3-months, or 6-months. Get a bedside bassinet.
We got all excited with the cot. I mean, that’s one of the few things you know you need, or at least you think you need when you are expecting. The bed. The baby needs to sleep in a bed. No one told us (or to be fair, we probably didn’t really listen in the early stages of pregnancy) – that it’s best if your little one is right next to mummy for the first few months due to various reasons – a) if you’re breastfeeding her every 2-3 hours, all throughout the night – you better be as close as possible to her, and b) apparently to reduce the risk of SIDS (a word that I only knew a few weeks before the arrival of the little one) – also know as sudden-infant-death-syndrome.
We got our Hauck bedside bassinet from Babyshop during the sales – there’s a few different ones you can get here in Dubai (Rebecca from Sandpitbaby did a great post on this as well and recommended the Chicco one). By all means get the big cot if you wish but you’re not going to be using it for the first few months, unless you don’t mind getting out of bed every 2-3 hours and lifting a teeny weeny newborn from the cot to feed her 🙂
#2 – Get sleepsuits for your newborn.
We’re first-time parents. We have no idea what this tiny little person will wear. “Anything cute” comes to mind 🙂 But when her clothes will get drenched with milk at every feed as she’s still learning to latch on, and she will poop at every feed in the early days, and she just might throw up (all over herself, and you) – it might be a good idea to get something you can change – quickly. Remember that your little one is all soft and floppy in the early days as well. We bought (and was gifted) newborn tops – the type you need to pull over the head and try and roll up the sleeves and pull her tiny arms through, which we did use. And then we had one sleepsuit which you can easily open up easily (picture Superman when he opens up his top to reveal his S outfit underneath) – and gosh the sleepsuits are so so much easier to use! So stock up! We bought a few from Babyshop, and were gifted some from Next (and love those!)
#3 – Get yourself some mesh undies.
I was gifted these from a very dear friend during a babyshower as a ‘funny gift’ and at that time I was thinking to myself, why on earth would I need this. Trust me, you need it. In Al Zahra hospital you will be given these for free (and you could ask for more before you leave the hospital) – but in case it’s not enough, get some ready for the early days. No they’re not sexy, but trust me the word ‘sexy’ won’t be in your mind for the first days (or weeks, or months) of having your little one 🙂 Oh, get yourself some giant pads too.
#4 – Book yourself into a breastfeeding course before she arrives.
I cannot emphasize how important this is. I’ll be honest with you – when I first saw this online, I was thinking aww that’s a bit expensive. And no there’s no 241 voucher in the Entertainer for this (or Groupon, or Cobone, ha ha ha). But if there is a time to pay full price for something, it’s this. Giving birth to a little one may seem like the biggest event of ‘having a baby’ but it’s an event that lasts for a few hours (or days). But breastfeeding goes on for the next 6-months or more. And it’s hard, very hard.
I cannot give thanks enough to Amy Vogelaar from Love Parenting UAE. The course is just one morning, but we learned so much from it – what to expect in the first day, second day, third day, and onwards. Things like – to push back if the nurse suggests to bottle feed your baby in the hospital, that your milk only comes in on the third or fourth day, that it may seem like your baby is not full in the first few days but her tummy is only so small and the sucking is only to stimulate the milk to come in later on, that breastmilk is all they need in the first 6-months. I emailed her during the first few days as well when things that I just did not understand was happening to my body. She was amazing and responded so quickly. Thanks a lot Amy 🙂
I know here are various other courses similar to the above around that you can look up. There are a lot of support groups on Facebook as well – Breastfeeding Q&A, Breastfeeding Mums in Dubai, and one that I used a lot – Informed Pregnancy and Birth UAE.
#5 – Get yourself some nipple cream. Yes, nipple cream.
I did not ever imagine that the word nipple would ever appear on my blog. Ha ha ha. You will never pay attention more to your nipple and your breasts more than after you’ve had your little one. I was gifted a tube of Medela Purelan 100 nipple cream (Thanks so much, you know who you are!) – and I used it so much in the first few weeks. Feed, cream. Feed, cream. We did get a bit over-excited that I will use more and bought two giant tubes of it afterwards, but never did end up using it he he so yeah, start with one, and see how it goes before you buy more!
#6 – Get yourself some cotton pjs.
In the beginning, you will wake up most nights with a wet patch on your pjs (and your bedsheets, and duvet….). You may have a lot of gorgeous satin/silk pjs from Victoria’s Secret and Ted Baker but these things don’t absorb milk. So get yourself some cotton pjs. Maybe it’s just me, but I found cotton so much more comfy in the first few weeks 🙂
#7 – Be prepared, as labour does happen like the movies.
I won’t go into too much detail here but my only advise is be prepared. Your labour could be hours, or it could be like the movies. Closing into ‘D-day’, pack your bags, know your routes, make sure the petrol tank is full, and be prepared to make that dash to the hospital.
#8 – Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk.
A lot of people ask what will help your labour and I was told the same – walk. So get your big fat lazy ass (literally) out of that couch and walk, closing into D-day. It helps, it really does 🙂
#9 – One up, one down.
I didn’t know this until I asked on the Breastfeeding Mums in Dubai facebook group about breastfeeding in public. Surprisingly, it is perfectly fine to breastfeed in public and one of the best ways is to simply use a one up/one down top combo. I.e a singlet underneath, and a fairly loose top that you can pull up. That way you’re not revealing too much and you can use a nursing cover as well if you wish. I wish someone told me this earlier!
#10 – Enjoy the ride.
I’ll save the personal thoughts for friends and family, all I can say is, enjoy mommyhood. It’s the most amazing thing that can happen to you and enjoy it. If you’re expecting, I wish you all the best 🙂 If you’ve just given birth, congratulations. I hope to bump into one and all of you somewhere in Dubai and around.