Everyone always says it, don’t they? You don’t know what raising a baby is like until you do it. You won’t know how to be a Mum until you are one. It’s true! I can’t tell you how to be a parent, no one can (or should). However, I can tell you what I wish I had while battling the early days of motherhood and what I will be having for the next baby. So here are my top 10 things I wish I had as a first-time Mum.
First things first, newborns suck.
I said it. Newborn babies are always idolised as the cutest and purest thing on the planet. They’re cooed over by every family member and cause those who normally have no involvement in your life to invite themselves over to worship them. They’re so fragile, you’re scared of breaking them, you’re terrified of them choking or suffocating in the night and people think that because you have a tiny baby they can stop you in the street to give you unsolicited advice. A time where you’re at your most tired, sore, emotionally drained and you just want to tell everyone to “fuck off and mind your own god damn business”.
The biggest reason that newborns suck is because they don’t do anything. All they do is cry when they’re hungry, feed from you constantly, they don’t sleep when it’s convenient, and their poos are at their worst. They don’t give anything back. There’s no look of adoration to you, there’s no cute giggles yet, they don’t play or appreciate fine entertainment (Friends on Netflix). The one thing I tell every mother in the newborn stage is: IT. GETS. BETTER.
If this is you, if you’re in the newborn stage or about to be, hang in there. Let’s get back to the top 10 things I wish I had as a first-time Mum.
1. Nipple Cream and Nipple Shields
Yep, we’re driving right into the deep end. As a first time Mum, I didn’t know what I wanted to do feeding-wise for my baby. The NHS heavily push you to breastfeed (they gave me like 3 leaflets at my 12 week appointment) and I wanted to give it a go. I read all the books, went to pre-natal classes (which had a whole 4 hour session on breastfeeding) and felt super prepared. I wasn’t. No one tells you it hurts. I was told that it would hurt for a couple of days but nothing as horrendous as pushing a baby out. They were wrong.
I had multiple professionals check she was latched on ok and they all said she was, but 2 weeks in and it still hurt. I’d happily go through labour again. It was making me miserable. The one thing I invested in days after having my baby, which I wish I had in advance, was nipple shields and nipple cream.
The shields gave my nipples a break and took away all the pain. The cream allowed them to recover. Top tip from an experienced Mum: apply the nipple cream onto your nipples a few days before baby comes, that way your nipple will be soft and ready for feeding. Also, apply the cream just before feeding. This nipple cream is 100% safe for babies.
For ages, I just used the mat that came with the changing bag, and for a while it worked great! Then as Olivia got older, I wish I had a bigger, comfier mat for her. Especially in public changing rooms! I saw this one and fell in love! I love that it is quilted and adds extra comfort but also is so pretty! This one also comes with a pocket for a couple of nappies and wipes. Perfect if you’re just taking a quick trip out and don’t want to lug the whole nappy bag with you. Why can’t the mundane things be cute as well? I will definitely be investing in one, should I ever get pregnant again.
When I was pregnant with Olivia, we were trying to save money everywhere we could. For a nappy bin, we bought an IKEA pedal bin and just changed the bag regularly (throwing out really bad smelling nappies straight away). I can tell you, as a first-time Mum that was penny-pinching: BUY THE NAPPY DISPOSAL. Even now, Olivia’s bin is the bane of my life. Every time I open it, it smells. Every time I change the bin liner, I have to deep clean the bin because it smells of 2 day old baby piss. Do yourself a favour, buy this. It’s a little pricier but it’s 100% worth it!
We bought one of these at an NCT sale and I love it! I have it saved for the next baby. It says for up to 6 months but I think we used it until Olivia was 10 months. It was so handy during that stage where they want to sit up in the bath but aren’t steady. We let Olivia sit up in the seat and should she slip and we didn’t catch her, she’d fall onto the soft silicone mesh and would be fine.
Do not waste your precious time with fabric bibs, I beg of you! I bought soooo many bibs and spent soooo much time washing them and drying them. This is more for the weaning stage but Silicone ones are so much easier because you can just wipe and use straight away.
I really love these ones from thehut.com.
6. The Original Grobag Newborn Snuggle Baby Sleep Bag
I bought these in advance of birth. I hesitated to use them in the first few days because I was scared of them (I was scared of everything as a new Mum). After about a week, we tried them and OMG I fell in love.
They swaddle your baby safely so they feel secure and don’t wake up from their startle reflex (ya know that thing that makes you wake up because you think you’re falling). The sides have poppers so you can eventually let your baby have their arms out, too.
It zips from the bottom up which is perfect for the middle of the night nappy changes. Baby can still be all cosy and arms tucked away, allowing you- the half asleep zombie- to change them in record time with no danger of poop-spreading.
Get yours here:
I love this stuff. Even if you don’t get it for your baby, get it for yourself! I swear by this magic. I have put it on any rash my daughter has ever had and in less than a day it has made an improvement. The only time it didn’t was when she had ring worm and it wasn’t working. That’s how I knew something was wrong. I even use it for myself. Plop some of it on a zit at night and wake up and it is a fraction of the size. It doesn’t have a horrible smell, it’s cheap and has more than one use!
8. Spritz for Bits
If you are planning on having a natural birth, you’ll want this. I loved this product so much that it was the first thing I bought for my best friend after she had her baby. I sent this in a bag with some muffins to the hospital because that new Mum and her muff are priority! Remember that! The baby doesn’t care if you bring it toys or a cute outfit the second it’s come into the world but that Mum is tired, sore, emotional and needs support.
It soothes any irritation ‘down-there’ and is amazing for stitches because it stops them stinging and you can spray it onto your pad to keep the relief going. It might seem a tad pricey but I swear by it. Will 100% be buying again!
Newborns are very problematic. Crying, tongue tie, rashes, colic (fuck me that’s a bitch), sleep regressions, development leaps, I could go on. One of the minor problems is they scratch their faces. They’re tired and try to rub their eyes but don’t realise they’re ‘tiny and adorable’ fingers have ‘tiny adorable’ razors on the end of them. Sure, you could just buy the mitts but good luck keeping those on for more than a minute without superglue.
There’s material on the sleeves that allow you to pull it over their hands like a mini oven mitt, protecting their faces from being carved up from their Freddy Kreuger fingers.
Get this Joules baby grow on SALE right now, here!
10. Some kind of bouncer or swing
You just need something to put the little tyke in while you do something independent from the baby (God forbid!). You know, like: eat dinner, have a cup of tea, have a wee, have a small breakdown (we all do it) or even just stress-scoff a load of chocolate. 10-15 minutes of invaluable ‘me-time’ to do the things that are essential to stay alive. How selfish of me!
We got these second hand!
DISCLAIMER: You are not selfish for wanting 10 minutes, 1 hour, an afternoon, a day or even a weekend without your child. You need to do what you need to do to keep yourself healthy in mind and body so that you can take the best care of your kids that you can. IT’S NOT SELFISH. I know, you’ll feel the Mum guilt, we all do. But the best thing you can do for your kids is give them a calm and healthy Mum. So take care of the most important person in your kids’ lives… YOU!
What are some of your must-haves for surviving the Newborn stage?