I’ve had a few emails from new mamas and soon to be mamas asking what things I found useful during my pregnancy and as a new mum. So I thought I’d do a post about it.
I have only been doing this gig for about 5 minutes so really, what would I know? But here are the things I’ve found useful during this magical and exhausting journey of motherhood.
Stretch Mark Cream
Everyone in the medical field will tell you that there is no evidence to suggest that any product will prevent stretch marks. Mostly genetics will determine if you get stretch marks or not. Even though I knew creams would likely not do anything, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. I used Goe Oil and not only did I love the creaminess and smell of it, I also loved the fact that I didn’t get any stretch marks! Was it the cream or was it genetics? Who knows, but I’ll definitely be using this again for the second baby.
I lived in these jeans (above) during my pregnancy. I started wearing them at 18 weeks right up to the last day of my pregnancy. They came from ASOS. ASOS have a great selection of pregnancy jeans that are super comfortable. I saw my OB in them once and he said that maybe for Christmas Andrew could buy me some proper pants that weren’t ripped. I told him, these were my ‘I may be pregnant, but I’m still cool’ jeans.
Muscle separation during pregnancy happens to about 75% of women. It happened to me and my abdominal muscles separated by 5cm. Because I didn’t want this muscle separation to be a forever thing, I bought the SRC Recovery Shorts or as I like to call them ‘Miracle Shorts.’ Apparently they stimulate and compress your core and abdominal muscles to go back to where they came from. You are supposed to put these shorts on as soon as your baby is born however, because I had a c-section, I waited 5 days before I put them on. I wore them for 6 weeks, 24 hours a day. I wore them under clothes and I also wore them as plain old shorts out and about. When I went for my 6 week check up, my OB measured my muscle separation and it was gone. Go Recovery Shorts!
Yoli & Otis Carrier
A few posts ago I mentioned how much I am loving my Yoli & Otis carrier. I use it every day around the house and we take it on every outing. Thomas loves being in it and you can usually find him in it in between nap times when I need to get jobs done around the house. One thing that has surprised me about having an infant is how difficult it is to keep them happy and entertained when they’re awake. For Thomas, he is most entertained when he is in our Yoli and Otis carrier, I think it’s because it allows him to watch the world around him and not be stationary in one place. When we go out with friends, we never take the pram because he doesn’t enjoy lying in it while it is stationary and he will complain and cry. When in the Yoli however, he is a much happier camper!
I have discovered I’m not a pram person and we haven’t used our pram in about a month. Even though I love our pram, it just gets in the way when we are out and about. I find it is a lot easier and faster to get around with Thomas in a carrier. The good thing about the pram though is, as Andrew says, it acts as a wheelbarrow, so you just throw everything into the bottom of it. But when you leave the house with a carrier you need to take some form of bag for all of Bub’s needs outside of the home. I am a little obsessed with my Michael Korrs bag. It isn’t a nappy bag but it is the perfect size for everything Thomas needs and when I take it out, it doesn’t look like a nappy bag.
Thomas loves the bath and talking to other mums, it seems most babies love being in the water, apparently it reminds them of the womb. There have been a couple of times where Thomas has had 2 baths in a day because it is the only thing I can do, when all other avenues have been tried, that will settle him down.
Thomas had a huge variety of pyjamas that were in a 0000 size and now that they no longer fit, I have had to buy the next size up. Having tried all different types of PJs, the Bonds Wondersuits are clearly the best. They are comfortable (Thomas tells me so) and they have hand and feet mittens to keep tiny extremities warm. They also have two zips so when changing nappies in the middle of the night, you don’t have to fully undress Bubs to get to the nappy.
Save Our Sleep
Andrew and I both agreed that we wanted to be relaxed parents and just go with the flow of being new parents. The relaxed approach was working well for about 10 days before the lack of sleep made us very ‘unrelaxed’ (crazy). The straw that broke the camel’s back was when, two nights in a row, it took about 5 hours for us to get Thomas to go to sleep. I would nurse him to sleep and as soon as I put him into his bassinet he would scream the house down. We would rock, walk, sing him to sleep but as soon as we put him down, the Scream Monster would emerge. After the second night of this happening we put him straight onto the Save Our Sleep routine and life went back to being fun again. The book tells you exactly when and how long to put your baby to sleep, and how to treat them when they don’t settle. The routines change depending on the baby’s age. I don’t know how the author figured all this out, but it’s working wonders.
Sleeping Bag Over the Love to Dream Swaddle
Someone left a comment on the Blog a few posts ago about this one. Put a sleeping bag over the Love to Dream Swaddle. The Love to Dream Swaddle is amazing! Thomas can’t fall asleep without it, and now that it is getting colder at night, putting a sleeping bag over the swaddle helps keep him nice and warm while still swaddled.
I bought a mechanical breast pump a week after leaving the hospital so that Toby and I could go for our walks on the beach and I wouldn’t have to worry if Thomas was at home with Andrew and he was crying because he was hungry. Most nights I pump a Dreamfeed (part of the Save Our Sleep routine) for Andrew. I use the Mandala Breast Pump and love it, however I wish I bought the duel pump over the single pump just for faster pumping action.
Having a Spare Room
I didn’t know this about babies before Thomas, but babies are annoyingly loud in their sleep. My gosh! The crying twice a night to be fed I can handle, but Thomas also constantly grunts and breathes heavily in his sleep. Having a spare room allows us to share the burden and has been an absolute life saver. Thanks to the spare room, Andrew gets a good nights sleep on the days he has to work. Andrew then gives me 2 nights a week off when he starts uni late and I sleep in the spare room.
Other nights we tag team during the night. I go to bed in the guest bedroom at 9.30pm and Andrew will administer a feed at 11pm and again at 1ish. When Thomas wakes up at about 4am Andrew then wheels the bassinet into the guest room and I take over from there. Therefore, instead of me waking up twice during the night, it’s only once.
In addition to having the Yoli & Otis carrier, you definitely need a carrier with support. The Yoli is just two bits of material criss-crossed over each other, and at this early stage of Thomas’ life I need to support his head in the Yoli carrier. There is no way I would take the Yoli out for long walks along the beach or go shopping. The Baby Bjorn is my ‘long walks’ carrier. With our Baby Bjorn Carrier my back and shoulders are supported and Thomas and I are both comfortable. I can walk along the beach for 2 hours each day with Thomas in the Baby Bjorn and not get a sore back. The only thing I don’t like about the Bjorn is that it catches so much lint, as you can see in the photo above.
It’s hard keeping Thomas entertained, he has a attention span of a fish. One minute he is interested in something and about 15.2 seconds later he is over it and starts crying. Books seem to entertain him. Thomas likes to be on his back on his Play Mat and stare at the pages of a book I’m reading. He seems to like the intonation of my voice while I read and the different colours on each page. I can read about 2 or 4 books to him before he lets me know he has had enough.
Caring for a baby, not having enough sleep and remembering appointments or upcoming events is hard! I’m finding a wall planner lets me write down what I need to remember and then forget about it. Each night I check it to make sure I know what is coming up.
What about you? Any thing you are loving at the moment that is making being a mum a little bit easier?