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Parenting Hacks, Lifestyle, Wellness & Everything In Between. For Parents-To-Be & Parents-Right-Now. Parenting Hacks, Lifestyle, Wellness & Everything In Between. For Parents-To-Be & Parents-Right-Now.
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What I wish I’d known Pt. 1
Baby talk Baby talk
What I wish I’d known Pt. 1
January 23, 2018
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Baby talk Baby talk
What I wish I’d known Pt. 1
January 23, 2018
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Four years ago when I had my first child, Poppy, I went to hospital with a packet of Tracker bars, a 0-3 month onesie and a change of clothes for me. That’s it. Despite the NCT prep classes, the 50+ episodes of One Born Every Minute, the advice from new-mama friends, it never really registered in my naïve little head that I might need to be a bit more organised – logistically and emotionally. Nor did I think that, once home, I might need an actual bed for her rather than lugging the top part of my pram all over the house day and night.

This sounds so dumb but until she was born I never really believed I would have an ACTUAL baby. In my arms. Anyone else feel that? I messed up so much back then in those early months, from breastfeeding struggles to fighting against the chaos instead of embracing it. I told everyone I was ‘rolling with it!’ when really I was in deep, deep shock at this new lifestyle adjustment, emitting a chilled-out new-mum vibe around friends and family when inside I was broken, scared and anxious. Today, it’s a week before my due date with number 2 and I feel like this is my second chance at not cocking it up quite so spectacularly. I’ve been a parent for four years now, so I’ve learnt instinctively what’s right for me, my husband and Pops, thought long and hard about what didn’t work first time around and what I wish someone had told me. Here’s what I’m doing differently, before, during and straight after.

THE BIRTH

Don’t worry about tearing, pooing or weeing during birth. There, we’ve got the awks one out of the way. It’s like obsessing over the weather before your wedding: don’t waste your energy on the uncontrollable. Once you’re in the full swing of labour, all you will care about is getting that baby out as safely as possible. Your cavewoman instinct is buried inside you, trust me, and she’ll come out roaring with determination. Take comfort in my particularly un-fabulous tale, where I weed on my husband’s feet. After 10 hours of induced labour and just 2cm dilated, I was prepped for an emergency c-section and given an epidural. I sat on the edge of the bed and held onto my husband’s shirt collar, grabbing tightly with each contraction as they got the needle in. Suddenly, I just had to go. I’m talking torrential elephant wee, all over his shoes, drenching his trousers and socks. Guess what? No one cared in the slightest!

THE HOSPITAL BAG

Pack properly. After the C-section I had to send my husband home to pack a whole load of clothes and toiletries for me. Urgh. As a professional control freak just thinking of him riffling through my things and picking all the wrong ones brings me out in hives. I’m scheduled for an elective C-section this time, so I know I’ll be in hospital for a good 3-4 days. I’m packing soft cross-over nursing bras (no clips or clasps), jogging bottoms, two cardis, nursing vests and slippers. For babalina I have three tiny newborn onesies (0-3 months are way too big), vests, Poppy’s baby blanket and a warm knitted cardigan for when we travel home. I developed eczema within a few hours of birth last time due to the cray-cray hormones, so I’ve packed Avene Tolerance face moisturiser and micellar water, and La Roche Posay Lipikar body wash and body balm. And as well as the basics (toothbrush/hair elastics etc), I have a small tube of Bloom and Blossom Nip & Lip Soothing Balm and a tiny Susanne Kaufmann pillow spray.

And don’t forget the baby basics. There will be a REAL, ACTUAL baby in the room, so do remember to bring a pack of size 1 nappies and cotton pads as your maternity unit can only supply a few. I also have a pack of maxi pads and I’ll be waxing the top of my lady garden the day before going in – because last time in the operating room they shaved me and it itched for two weeks. I know, delightful.

THE EARLY-DAYS FEEDING

Prep yourself for ANY kind of feeding. Breastfeeding might go really, really well! It usually does. Sadly for me it didn’t: I had no idea what I was doing and neither did Pops, and every time she fed I knew she wasn’t latched on properly. It was by far the most demoralising, lonely and upsetting part of the newborn days, shifting her in all directions and ‘holds’ just to get that perfect position, then realising she wasn’t getting anything out of me. At one point a midwife and I were both squeezing my knackered boobs trying to catch a few drops of colostrum into a tiny plastic syringe. We then tried her on formula supplied by the hospital and it transformed my dry-mouthed, tiny little girl into a rosy-glowed snoozing babe. Fed is Best, that’s the motto to remember, and although I’ll try my hardest at breastfeeding again I’ve packed a box of formula bottles as a back up plan.

…But don’t rely on a mixture of both. This is the biggest lesson I learnt. Unless you are pumping or breastfeeding regularly, your supply will dwindle. I didn’t know this in those early weeks, and it makes me feel so stupid to even admit that. I did a mixture of breastfeeding (or trying and failing to), then topping up with formula, and occasionally pumping in the evenings. I had no strategy or plan, and the further down the line I got, the harder and more upsetting it was to breastfeed. With confidence and hindsight now on my side, I will try not to be so anxious about it all and try my best with the breastfeeding and pumping, but I’ll be fully prepared to admit defeat and hit the formula if I’m finding it too distressing. Because there is nothing more unfair on yourself than flooding your mind and body with anxiety.

 

But that’s not all… Stayed tuned for more of Alice’s tips next month….

Alice Du Parcq
@aliceduparcq
Beauty & Fragrance Writer • Mama • Garden nerd
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