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Top Tips for Christmas Babies

So, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  Not only is Christmas fast approaching but you’re expecting the arrival of your child too, and yes, they really could make an appearance on the BIG day!  Fear not, hospitals stay open, midwives will be on duty and taxi cabs will be on standby so you will get to the labour ward on time! 

But what about all the kit you need on top of the Christmas spending?  Have you already taken the plunge and kitted your nursery out or are you waiting for the January sales to hit and go for the post- Christmas splurge?

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to buying stuff for your baby before they arrive.  It’s entirely up to you but what you could think about, especially if you want to manage the purse strings at an already expensive time of year, is to consider what you actually need straight off the bat.

First and foremost you’ll need a car seat.  It is a mandatory piece of kit in order to be discharged from hospital if travelling home by car (including taxis).  You’ll also need warm clothes for the baby, hats too, its not just a cold time of year but babies struggle to regulate their inner thermometers so layering is key.  Haven’t got somewhere set up at home for the baby to nap in yet?  Don’t panic, they are not ready for a full night’s sleep for a good few months so a fully functioning nursery isn’t necessary at this stage but having a sleepy head, Moses basket or carry cot from your pram are all good options.  And you’ll need a changing mat with plenty of nappies (reusable or disposable).  You don’t even need wipes as cotton wool and water are perfect for cleaning up at this age.

So what about a pram, surely this is essential?  Well, yes, of course you’ll be wanting to take your baby out at some stage but honestly, especially if it’s your first, you won’t be rushing out anywhere.  Partners, friends, family and even your neighbour Joy from across the street who you’ve probably only ever waved at until now, will be falling over themselves to help you out.  Leaving you the most important job of healing and caring for your little baby in their fourth trimester.  Possibly, a better investment at this stage is in a soft sling, one where baby can stay cradled up close to mum and dad. If you’re ready to leave the house, or have no option due to an older sibling or reduced support network, it’s an easy way to get out and about.  I practiced sling wearing before my babies’ were born so I was more confident by the time they came along and both of mine loved it.

My top tip is to just ease yourself in gently to parenthood and once your baby is here you’ll get a better understanding of what you will need from your pram. Are you planning to walk to lots of places or are you a little more remote and will be driving far more frequently? What about supermarket trips, are you an avid online shopper or perhaps your day, like mine did, would benefit from a little daily trip to break it up and help you get out of the house?  When you’re trying to leave the house, are there steps to navigate, narrow passage ways, communal areas etc.  Once you get a glimpse of what life looks like with a new born in tow it’ll be much easier to choose the right pram for you. 

It can be an overwhelming time so I am always available for advice, you can dm me on Instagram or Facebook @buggyparkuk or email me at [email protected] and I’d be happy to guide you through best options for your lifestyle and budget.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, big love to all the expecting parents out there and all the best for safe and healthy deliveries (and not just the ones from Amazon!)

Nina x

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My fourth trimester

“Trust your instincts” they said, trying to reassure me as a first time mum. Well I can assure you of this, when I was new to motherhood, my instinct wasn’t very strong at all. In fact my ‘inner voice’ was pretty much silent. “You’ll know what to do” they repeated. But did I? Sitting in a newborn haze, staring at a tiny being napping on my chest, I’d wonder “what now?”

My instinct did tell me this much: I wasn’t struggling with PND. My baby easily latched on. We were bonding. I was very lucky with that, but I knew what I felt was fear. Fear of doing it all wrong.

Mother Nature is very generous. She gives us around nine months to prepare our bodies and minds. But the reality of motherhood doesn’t truly hit home until that little human launches into the world. In my case after 25 hours. With the help of forceps.

But Mother Nature can also play tricks on us. Hormones – a whole heap of them. Weeping with sheer exhaustion, relief, love, pain, worry, hunger. Oh the hunger! The best thing I ever tasted was the cuppa and hot buttered toast after labour. But then it was time to be discharged. I was officially the chief carer of a little baby. My son. My very longed-for child.

How would I describe that first night at home? It went surprisingly well. Apart from not feeding him because he didn’t wake up (I assumed he would if he were hungry…!) Suffice to say, the midwife checks over the next ten days were welcomed. I didn’t know what to ask, so I just answered their questions to me: “Yes, he’s feeding. Yes, we’ve seen meconium. Yes, my milk has come in. Yes, my stitches have dissolved.” I ticked their mental health questionnaire, hovering over the question about feeling anxious. Of course I was! But is that not normal? Am I overly worried? Should I say something? No. Best to just stay quiet, I thought.

Life as a family of three changed the day my husband went back to work. It’s fair to say the bubble burst. We were now a daytime family of two and my anxiety took to a whole new level. I don’t naturally turn to others to ask for help and, being honest with myself, I struggled to know what I even felt so unsure about anyway. I had a bond with our NCT ‘friends’ who were in the same boat, but I didn’t yet feel I could turn to them. Our WhatsApp messages consisted of ‘Baby arrived safely’ texts. Accompanied by a gorgeous photo and a name announcement (we’d all played our cards close to our chest on that, in case anyone took our name before each baby was born!) Without a shadow of a doubt I’d turn to that group of girls for support now, but not back then. We were all newbies. None of us really knew what we were doing.

Next milestone: the six week check up. That’s when I learned about the ‘well baby’ clinic run at my GP surgery every Tuesday afternoon. Straight away I booked us in. There wasn’t anything wrong with my son, nor with me, but I instinctively knew I should go. When we arrived, the entire waiting room was full to the brim with new mums, tiny babies and massive prams. Some babies sleeping, some being bounced and shushed, some being fed, others just gently snuggled in. Some mums, like me, had gone on their own, others with partners or grandparents. Based in Willesden Green, there was a wonderful diversity to the families and I suddenly didn’t feel alone or anxious anymore.

In fact from that day it all started to make sense. I realised I was a fully fledged member of the New Mums’ Club – a secret order only revealed once you’ve given birth. I suddenly became aware of people in a way I’d never noticed before. A mum walking her baby at the same time each day to push them to sleep. A dad at a check out, squeezing a bag of nappies into the already full shopper of his pram. An exhausted mum, juggling a tray of coffee and cake whilst steering a buggy round the cafe with a screaming baby in her arms. Pre New Mums’ Club, it never would’ve dawned on me to simply make eye contact with any parent, just to shoot them a reassuring smile, a virtual high five or a kind look of “I feel your pain, but hang in there!”

The term ‘winging it’ is batted around a lot these days in reference to motherhood. There is no manual, and let’s be honest, sometimes there is no instinct. Not initially anyway. Learning on the job is the name of the game from day one, and it continues as we enter unknown territory for toddlers, teens, adolescence and well, even into adulthood! You’ll feel uneasy, you’ll question your methods, you’ll compare yourself to others and you’ll feed that underlying fear of failing. But you are not alone! There are millions of us all trudging along the same path. So next time you spot one of us in need, reach out, connect, lighten the load by whispering the secret code of the New Mums’ Club: “No, I haven’t got a clue either…!”