Two of my very good friends are pregnant at the moment and expecting their very first children within weeks of each other. And both of them have asked for advice on what they really need to have on hand once the baby comes, rather than what the advertisers of every baby magazine are trying to tell them they need.
I mean seriously, what on earth is a baby wipe warmer and why would anyone that doesn’t live in an igloo need one?
So I’ve put together a list of ten things that I think are essential – but please feel free to add your own too.
Breast feeding pillow
Oh how cute and little the baby will seem when they are a newborn. Oh how light and delicate, how could anyone ever need help holding this little piece of perfection at their breast. Yeah, just wait until they have doubled in size in a couple of months and they want holding at your breasts for about oooh, 12 hours a day. Get yourself a breastfeeding pillow to rest your poor weary arms and hold baby at the right height for the near constant snacking.
Breast feeding pads
I know what you’re thinking, really. What awful nasty things are these? But seriously, your boobs are going to leak. Over everything. At the most inopportune times. Stick a pad (okay, sometimes you might need two) down the front of them and you’ll be less likely to embarrass yourself in Tesco. Just saying.
You’ll need one of these fellas and you won’t want to scrimp too much on the price either. You’re going to need one that’s comfy for the baby, the right height for you to push (most of them have adjustable handles) and something that is easy to manoeuvre. I have a bit of a thing for Silver Cross prams and the Wayfarer and Surf 2 both look ace – you can weigh up the differences between them both here.
Ideally, get a pram that can lie flat and sit upright: lying flat is good for a new born but being able to sit them upright means you can use it as a buggy later on too. It’s also a good idea to look at what accessories you can get to fit them too like sun parasols and matching change bags.
It doesn’t matter if you think baby carriers are for hippies and you’ll never need one (Sam, I’m looking at you), you’ll find in a few months that anything that can take the weight of the baby off your arms and just let you get on and do things because my goodness won’t this child ever let me put them down, will be worth it’s weight in gold. Don’t just get one, get two or three. Seriously. You can visit your local NCT sling library to try a load out and see which fits, how to tie them etc. which is a great idea.
Go for slings that are soft, can be machine washed and that you can fasten baby into without the need for a second pair of hands.
Lots and lots of wipes. They are not just for poop you know. They also work on vomit, food, quickly running over the furniture you haven’t dusted for 6 months before the in-laws arrive. And just about anything else you could need wiping up. Get a whole bunch of packets and put one in each room. You’ll be glad you did.
This might seem a bit left field – a bit biblical. But I tell you what, the difference in sleeping in my babies with one of these was amazing. Gently cocooned so that they couldn’t wake themselves up flailing their arms and legs around and terrifying themselves (has anybody mentioned to you yet that babies don’t really understand that they have arms and legs nor what they are for?) they slept so much better. And you’re really going to want them to sleep. Get one.
Because nothing is more painful (okay, perhaps child birth but you don’t have to do that several times a day) than trying to squeeze a boob that’s swollen and tender with milk out of the top of a normal bra.
You are not going to want to squeeze all of the stuff that you need to cart around with you into your very pretty handbags – I broke the zip on a favourite handbag trying to do that. But that doesn’t mean you have to have some big ugly thing with ducklings on it. There are some gorgeous change bags out these days, some of them that even look like great big handbags, but are wipe clean and have lots of compartments to stop you losing all your stuff. Trust me, the wipe clean bit is going to be important.
These weird looking large clothes are going to be one of your best friends if you don’t want vomit on the back of every outfit you wear for the next 12 months. You’ll need some.
Onsies or trousers with feet in
Babies might not entirely understand the concept of legs, but they do know one thing – socks are for pulling off and flinging in the nearest puddle. So are those really cute pram shoes, In fact, keeping their little feet covered up and frostbite free is going to become a full time job. Which is why you need clothing with feet built in. They will save you from having one of those really embarrassing temper tantrums in the middle of the high street where you are convinced someone must have called child line because you just called your baby a rude word.
Anybody else out there got advice on what to buy in preparation for a new baby?
It’s official, we are moving house next month! Yikes, cue mad panic, waking in the middle of the night writing lists in my head and trying to scrounge approx 39596 boxes from somewhere to transport all our stuff in – we’ve only been back in the country 3 years, how on earth have we accumulated so much stuff?
It’s as terrifying as it is exciting. Moving a whole house worth of stuff, moving to a brand new area, making new friends, finding an honest garage, a good dentists, a decent hairdresser that isn’t going to talk to me about the weather and holidays as she cuts my hair – gah, what am I doing?
But on the other hand, the house is lovely, we are moving to a gorgeous area (Stamford in Lincolnshire) near my parents with little traffic, lots of lovely outside places to visit and play and the house is on a cul-de-sac which is a great relief with two kids eager to explore the area they live in and play outside.
We’ve decided to rent for now – house buying seemed like too complicated an issue in a brand new area – I think you need to get to know an area first – and to be honest, too much of a confusing issue in general with not having the 20% deposit and the new help-to-buy scheme being so blummin’ confusing. There are two different ones now which I couldn’t get my head around at all until I saw this help to buy information from the Natwest. It helped clear it up in my mind. The main difference seems to be whether you want to buy a new build or not.
It all looks pretty self explanatory when laid out like that, although I’d still have some questions about the interest rate the government was going to charge after the 5 year period ran out and what happened if I wanted to sell my home before I’d repaid their part of it. But hey, it looks like it might be possible for us to buy a house of our own in the future – which is rather exciting considering I thought that would never be an option given our lack of ability to save up £10 to £20 thousand.
Excitement abound. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some house-move panicking to be getting on with…
I wandered up the aisle in Tesco a few days ago, coming to a confused stop in front of a shelf of ‘seasonal goods’. The whole rack of shelving was covered in bottles of champagne and teddies clutching love hearts. Why where they all here? What was the purpose of such a vomit inducting display?
I must have stood there for a good 30 seconds, my head tilted to one side, my face screwed up in confusion. What is it all for? Who’s going to buy all these teddy bears? Where the hell are the Creme Eggs? And then it came to me, the answer slowly rising out of the fog inside my harried brain.
Of course, the season for sticking a heart on just about anything and calling it romantic.
I’d forgotten all about it.
And some people say I’m not romantic. Pft. Totally remembered. Ahem.
Have you ever had a psychic reading? Your tarots cards or palms read? Looked into a crystal ball at a fair or used a psychic reader over the phone like TheCircle provide?
I haven’t. I’ve seen them at fairs and such like and been intrigued but never brave enough to go in. I’m not sure why. Out of fear that is would work or because I don’t think it would? A waste of time and money or a scary glimpse into the future that I don’t want to see?
Perhaps a spot of both. I have a hard time believing in anything that hasn’t been scientifically proven or that I haven’t had personal experience of and I am the sort to question everything – I don’t even believe in ghosts. I tried to do a ouija board once with friends but the letters were all written on bits of thin printer paper and I was laughing so hard that they all kept blowing away.
Which naturally made me laugh louder.
Yes, there may have been alcohol involved.
But I think the biggest fear is ‘what if?’ What if it does work? Do I want to know? I’m not convinced that knowing what is going to happen in the future is a healthy thing. However for now I think there are some things I can predict about the coming year that won’t surprise anyone.
5 Predictions for 2015
1. The build up to the general election in May will give some of us hope. Those of us who are sick of same party politics and middle-aged white rich men being in charge will start to see a chance to change things, to band together and try to make a difference. But ultimately we will end up with more of the same middle-aged white rich men in charge and life will be pretty much carry on as before for those of us not in the 1%. Well same as before only poorer and with less rights, no doubt.
2. There will be weather. Sometimes dull and fairly ordinary, other times spectacular and other worldly. During those times of imminent spectacular weather my local shop will run out of bread and toilet roll again. As though the residents of my little village believe they can live off toilet paper butties for the rest of eternity. Or perhaps they are planning to use them to soak up all the water in case of floods. Who knows?
3. Cancer will be once again tackled by a bizarre internet meme, which will enthrall millions and be reported on by Fox News but ultimately won’t do a damn thing for the treatment or prevention of cancer. Some famous people may get involved.
4. My children will grow every single time I buy them new clothes. I mean every time. New shoes, within 4 weeks they will be too small. New trousers? Oh look at that, you grew a foot over night. They will grow so fast I’ll consider leaving the tags in the clothes for a few weeks just in case. But when they fall over and hurt themselves they will still be my little babies.
5. At least once every month I will look at my kids and wonder at how together, grown up and clever they are. And at least twice a week I will look at them and wonder what on earth I thought I was doing when I started home schooling the crazy little hellions and how they are ever going to learn anything.
I think these are about the only things I can predict with any certainty. I shall leave any more future speculation to the professionals and will simply have to trust everything else to luck, hope and hard work.
It has got me wondering though, if someone could tell your future for the next 12 months, would you want to know? Would you like to know all of the good and bad that was coming your way or would you rather live in ignorance of what the year has in store for you? Have you ever used a psychic hotline or had experience with tarot or palm readers?
As I kneel in the bathroom scrubbing something that looks suspiciously like poop but I’m trying not to think about it off the wall, again, it occurs to me that you couldn’t pay people enough to do this job. Not the what-may-or-may-not-be-poop scrubbing, but the whole mum thing. Can you imagine the job description or indeed the interviews. I can’t imagine City Calling have much luck filling this one on their job site, can you?
Wanted: Full Time Master of Operations
Hours: ALL of them
Holidays: Ha ha ha ha
Job Description: Full time and long term, this position is working in a key role in a challenging, chaotic and often high-pressured environment. Candidates must be able to think on their feet, eat on their feet, sleep on their feet and have an inexhaustible knowledge of natural world trivia. Patience and a cheery demeanor must be shown at all times especially in the face of the question ‘why?’.
This is a very low profile role which vast swathes of society will mock, ridicule and talk down to. Don’t expect anyone at a party to want to talk to you once you have told them what your job is. Ha, only kidding, you won’t have the time, energy or money to go to parties.
Instead of partying or ever again socialising with people that don’t have children around similar age to your own, your working days will be filled with a vast array of tasks all of which will be urgent and to be completed 5 minutes ago. From chauffeur duties, event management, social calendar keeping, peacekeeping and fire-fighting (sometimes literally) to small gadget repair, minor plumbing work, first aid and emergency medical care, educational duties as well as sports and life coach services, your working day will rarely be dull but always filled with new and interesting tasks to be undertaken.
You will also be responsible for all cleaning tasks in your work environment. If necessary however you may employ your charges to help (well, it’s like help…) with minor cleaning tasks so long as you pay them out of your own pocket.
Weekend work, night work and extra hours/effort over holiday periods is essential and non-negotiable.
Skills Required: Infinite patience and a cheery demeanor are not the only skills required for this role, although they are the two key elements. Candidates must also possess an alarming knowledge on how everything works and why everything. The ability to go from 0 to 60mph in an instant is essential as are peacekeeping skills to rival any UN official.
Culinary skills are required for this role, and you will be expected to provide all of your own food as well as food for your charges that is visually appealing, nutritional and liked by everybody at the table. Good luck with that. Any electrical knowledge is a bonus as are horticultural skills, accounting, small toy assembly and IT knowledge.
Physical strength is a must for this role, candidates will be tested to make sure they can carry a minimum of 4 heavy shopping bags, 2 coats, a handbag full of food and drink and at least one small child under the arm whilst simultaneously bending down to retrieve a toy that is absolutely too heavy for a one of your charges to carry all on their own, let alone retrieve from the floor where they have just flung it.
Must have a strong constitution and not be averse to cleaning up urine, vomit or feces. Often from out of own hair or off the ceiling.
And just imagine what the job interviews would be like! Assuming of course anybody was daft enough to apply.