Welcome back to my blog series Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies. This week we’re chatting to Donna from What the Redhead Said.
Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.
I’m Donna and I blog over at What the Redhead said, sharing everything about family life and days out as well as recipes, reviews and giveaways. It’s a bit of an eclectic mix but mainly focuses on our family – Myself, my husband David and two children – Athena who’s four and Troy who will soon be turning three.
What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?
I had home births with both children so packed hospital bags ‘just in case’. For me the main thing was snack bars as a little extra energy boost and wet wipes. You can never have too many wet wipes, especially just after having a baby!
Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?
Both labours for me were quite text book although with Troy he entered the world so quickly that his lungs didn’t have time to clear of fluid and we had to transfer to hospital and stay for a few days in case he had an infection. This is quite common with quick deliveries but not something I was aware of before at all.
What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?
I think babies don’t really need much at all – but for me the one essential product was muslins. You can never have too many and they can used for so many things – burp cloths, a temporary sun shade or make shift sun hat, a bib, a blanket… They are so versatile and definitely top of my essentials list.
Definitely something to have plenty of!
What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?
To listen to all the advice people gave and then to just go with instinct and to find my own way. Some people give great advice and some advice doesn’t work for everyone. Do what works for you.
What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?
To get the baby into a routine as early as possible. With breastfed babies this just isn’t really possible and it worked better for us to just roll with it and be baby led as much as possible. We fed them when they were hungry, changed them when they needed a change and let them sleep when they were tired. It worked for us.
I think the responding to needs approach is appropriate for all babies regardless of how they’re fed.
What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?
Savour it. The early days are a balance of so much emotion and tiredness as well as hard work and such a massive change to your life. But they go by in a blink of an eye. Days will be long and hard but the years will go by so fast. Take in each day, appreciate it and make the most of it. Before you know it you’ll have a toddler running around.
What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?
For me the hardest thing was friends not accepting your new life. Friends still wanting to go out on all day shopping trips or clubbing when you have only just had a baby. The good friends will be the ones that come and have tea and cake, that will invite you to a coffee shop, to their house or for a picnic in a park. The others – that still have the same expectations – will probably not be in your life for very long. Having babies really makes you realise who your best friends are.
Fortunately my clubbing days are long gone so I’m not sure any friends will be expecting me to have those sorts of trips out anyway!
What’s the best thing about being a new parent?
Everything. The love that you didn’t know existed until your baby was born. That new baby smell. Knowing that you can function on so little sleep and the new purpose that being a parent gives your whole life. Being a parent is amazing and being a parent for the first time is incredible. A rollercoaster of emotions but a time that I would love to have back to experience all over again.
If you’d like to take part in my Meet the Parents series, please email me at email@example.com.