Welcome to my new blog series entitled Meet the Parents – Advice for New Mummies and Daddies. It has occurred to me whilst pregnant that so much advice to given to you by anyone and everyone; grannies in the street, ladies on checkouts, friends who don’t have children(!); but where better to get advice from than those who are going through it right now, themselves?
We kick off with Bex from The Mummy Adventure.
Tell me a bit about you, your blog and your family.
My name is Bex and I blog about life with three small boys (and a baby girl on the way). Life with three under four is never quiet but it is always fun and I love sharing our adventures, what the boys wear, where we go and how things change.
What one essential item would you insist on putting in your hospital bag (for you)?
For me it has to be eyeliner, I know it is vain but those first photos are some of the most precious ones I have kept and I look exhausted (rightly so) after giving birth. A touch of eyeliner before leaving the hospital really made me feel more confident and our ‘coming home’ photos don’t have to be edited into black and white to look as good.
I have packed a full make up bag in my hospital bag – it might not get used but I can’t stand the thought of not having it there!
Was there anything unexpected that happened during labour, that you think first-time mums should be prepared for?
I think there is a lot of pressure to write a birth plan when really what we should be preparing for is for nothing to go as plan. I now write a list of preferences as I have realised that labour is unpredictable and you may surprise yourself, either by going in wanting all the drugs and ending up having a pain relief free natural labour, or maybe you are convinced you want things one way and end up choosing something very different when the time comes.
Absolutely, there are some pain relief options I’d like to avoid and others I’m open to if they prove necessary!
What would be your one essential product for a newborn that no new parent should live without?
Muslins – I now have about 50 as I like to always have one on hand. I have used them in cloth nappies when I forgot an insert, as a burping cloth, a makeshift bib, a breastfeeding cover, a newborn swaddle, a light blanket, a changing mat and a wet wipe. They are so versatile and so useful that I never leave the house without one.
I may have started stockpiling these since reading this advice…
What’s the best piece of advice you were given before your first child was born?
A mother’s instinct is the most valuable thing you have. There are so many books, so many right and wrong ways to do things, so much advice but when you come across a decision, stop and think about what feels right as that is probably what you should be doing. On the same strand if you think something is wrong then insist your questions are answered, nobody knows your baby like you do.
What’s the worst piece of advice you were given?
To let a baby cry it out – totally not for me. My eldest son was only six weeks when I was told he would only learn to sleep through the night if I left him to cry and learn that you don’t get milk at night. My son was not only hungry due to his tiny tummy, but he is a real person with feelings and complex needs and when he wakes in the night, sometimes it is just for reassurance that I am there, that he is safe still, and that is a really important need to meet.
What would be your top tip for a first time parent-to-be?
Create boundaries and enforce them when you bring your baby home. Don’t let in too many visitors, don’t let them stay too long and make sure they are making you a cup of tea and not the other way round. It is so important to have time just you and your baby, your new family so don’t let everyone get in the way.
We have tried this already – sowing the seed to the grandparents that they can’t expect to be round every day in the first week!
What’s the hardest thing about being a new parent?
Working out how to leave the house! I had no idea how much I would need of everything and when you finally feel like you are ready baby decides they need a feed and/or to fill their nappy.
I have difficulties leaving the house on time now…this does not bode well!
What’s the best thing about being a new parent?
The love that nobody can really prepare you for. I was told how much I would love this little person but I never understood it until he was here and it was so consuming and overwhelming and perfect.
I think my heart just melted!
If you’d like to take part in my Meet the Parents series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.