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25 Things you MUST have before your baby arrives

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I was off work for quite a while before my due date. That meant tons of time on my hands to research and re-research what I needed to have prepared for the baby’s arrival. Boy, did I find more than I expected! I had to think back to my nephew’s and niece’s births and even further back to when one of my cousins was born about fifteen years ago to really put things into perspective.

If I had to tell you which 25 items I’m grateful I did have in place before I gave birth, it’d be these:

  1. A car seat that’s easy to install. The world of car seats is, I dare say, almost as complex as the world of cars. Keep it simple and safe as possible. We went with the Maxi-Cosi Rock i-Size in grey. We used it a lot with her pram too as she seemed to prefer a bit of elevation.
  2. Diapers and wipes. Yeah…right…duh! I’ve experimented with lots of diapers from Aldi UK ones to Aldi Germany ones to Naty to good old Pampers. The only ones so far that haven’t caused me any leakage problems whatsoever (when they really should have!) are the Babylove diapers from Germany’s dm stores. Too bad they’re only available in size 4 on Amazon UK. They’re amazing. As for wipes, well I started out with Water Wipes for the first couple of months and then quickly realized that would do as long as they were soft and made up mainly of water. I now only use Pampers aqua pure wipes as they happen to feed through her diaper warmer efficiently and are also 99% water.
  3. Wipes warmer. This one thing I didn’t get before she was born but was ever so grateful for when I got eventually. If you have a winter baby, you’ll appreciate it too. I didn’t initially get it coz I figured babies did just fine before they existed. Warm wipes turned out to be the difference between a screaming, anxiety-filled nappy changing session and a relatively calm diaper change. I use the Lionheart warmer.
  4. A good nappy ointment
  5. A diaper bin. This is one thing I certainly didn’t expect to appreciate as much as I did in those early days. The refills last for so long, you hardly ever have to worry about changing the bin.
  6. A baby carrier. My husband bought the Baby Bjorn which just never worked for me. It felt uncomfortable and although it was probably as simple as a little adjustment required, a baby wrap worked best for me and baby seemed most comfortable in it too. It puts her right to sleep! Any long, narrow and stretchy fabric is good too.
  7. A portable changing pad for use both at home and on the go.
  8. A blanket(s) – you will always need these for a newborn. In all temperatures. I went with all breathable ones, just to be safe.
  9. Baby-safe detergent. I stuck with Fairy’s non-bio powder and recently tried a Persil sensitive gel too.
  10. Baby socks
  11. A few cardigans for layering. I tend to go for zips wherever possible. Anything to save even a millisecond!
  12. Onesies – as many as you can lay your hands on and in as many sizes as possible! Both long and short sleeved, and for ease, always go with those that you won’t have to pull over baby’s head.
  13. A nursing pillow
  14. Muslins – again, as many as you can get. They’re wonderfully multifunctional.
  15. Nipple cream. If you plan to breastfeed, you’ll need this initially. Well… I did for at least the first six weeks.
  16. Nipple compressing pads
  17. A nursing cover
  18. Saline nasal drops. Depending on if you’ve got a generally snuffly baby, these may be a life saver for you.
  19. A super soft wash cloth – now this you really could decide to skip altogether as a muslin would do just fine. I chose to use an actual washcloth for a teeny bit of friction only because I wanted baby’s first few washes to properly clean her off of all that lovely, healthy newborn gunk and I didn’t think a muslin would do the job.
  20. A bathing strategy. Note, I didn’t say a baby bath. I’ve seen mums do it in sinks, bowls, buckets…whatever works for you and baby. I chose to bathe my newborn on my lap for months till she could sit steady enough in a baby tub. It gave me better control of her wriggly self!
  21. Hooded towels
  22. A bath and room thermometer. I’m still using this Tommee Tippee one for both her baths and occasionally her room. I’ve had to add on another thermometer that measures humidity too as she doesn’t do well in a room that’s too dry but this thermometer has served us well.
  23. A rocker or swing
  24. A crib that baby can start in grow with till the first year at least. My little girl is already almost too long for her co-sleeping crib at 6 months old.
  25. Finally, a basket or bin to arrange baby’s things in is invaluable. It’s helpful to have most of what you need in one spot.

I do hope this is helpful for someone! Of course, what I found necessary, someone else may not. Are there any items you found you needed for your newborn that I didn’t list above?

If you think this will be a helpful list for you, I’ve created a pdf version of it that you can print out as a handy guide! Just enter your details in the pop up to receive it!

Posted on 3 Comments

Superwoman – tragedy & healing

This is actually our second cycle of actually trying. We just got married in December so we were preventing until then. The January I got really sick from the stress of the wedding. February was our honeymoon and our first attempt at trying. I'm 2 DPO [Days Past Ovulation] today  

Wow congratulations on your marriage. Wedding stress is definitely an odd one - the weird combo of tiredness and happiness you experience after lol
Are you feeling any stress re ttc [Trying To Conceive] at all? From yourself or anyone/anything else? I hope not 
Thank you! That is so true! My body was like, we're done haha. 
I think the pressure I feel is from myself more so than anyone else. I wouldn't call it stress as of yet though. I turned 34 in January, so the age factor is there. My husband will be 40 this year so there's that. It's odd how we spend so much of our lives preventing and now the tables have turned. 
My mother in law has made comments but nothing malicious. My husband is her oldest so she really just wants that and I understand. I feel confident enough that if it gets out of hand, I am able to say something to her. 
My husband is just going with the flow, as usual haha. If anything he's liking the influx in sex
Lol @ influx of sex. I like how chilled it all sounds for you guys. Yeah I’m turning 33 soon and have just had my first and the sleep deprivation is making me feel like a second is out of the question! But I know in another 6 months I’m likely to feel very differently about that. 
I do sometimes envy women who started much earlier in life although other things in my life may not have been ready to cope with a baby if I’d done it earlier. Do you feel like everything is good to go and ready for baby? Ie. Finances, etc? And are you two decided on trying for more than one?
Haha right! Guys don't get it. 
Congratulations!! I love my sleep so that's going to be an adjustment! 
In general, my thoughts on being ready is if people wait til they are fully ready, no one will ever be ready. But for the most part, yes I do believe we are ready. 
I was in a catastrophic car accident almost 4 years ago. I had head injury, ruptured spleen, broken leg bones and shattered ankle. 9 surgeries later, I'm not 100% but I don't need my wheelchair or cane anymore. I am up to walking almost 2 miles nonstop, whereas a year ago I couldn't even walk a few houses down the block. I once thought having family was not in my cards because of this. I was wrong. 
I'm currently not working but am starting to look for part time work. My husband works and makes decent money. I did get a big settlement from my accident so needless to say, finances are good.  We do want more than 1, maybe even 3 God willing! 
That is amazing. So you’re blessed to be alive. Your kids are going to have one strong mummy! Thank God for your life!! It sounds like things are certainly in a good place financially - I think that causes some of the biggest issues when there’s a new baby so thank goodness for that. 
I’m still so struck by your experience. Were you already in a relationship with your husband when the accident happened?
Aww thank you so much!! That means a lot to me. 
My husband and I were only dating for 6 months when the accident happened. It was rough!! I was in the hospital for 3 weeks initially. Then released with a wheelchair and unable to walk. I had surgery after surgery to correct the initial mistakes the first surgeon created. Then I developed an incurable nerve disease, CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome). I had a spinal cord stimulator placed to help relieve pain (doesn't help) and it was messed up the first, so had to have another one. 
My husband stayed by my side thru it all. He's amazing, my rock and I don't know what I'd do without him. There were times were I didn't think we'd make it. My depression made me a bitter, angry person and I took it out on him. Therapy has changed not only my outlook but our relationship as a whole for the better!  
Ah so you did go through depression because of it all - as I was reading, I was wondering how you managed to stay positive when it was going on. You’ve gone through so much. I always imagine that people who’ve gone through the kind of tough times you have and managed to come through to the other side must now be some of the most positive people on Earth... able to withstand any situation.  Ok so clearly your kids are about to have two awesome parents! Your husband sounds amazing. How many men would manage to stick around through all that, I wonder. Probably very few. 
Are you able to drive again?
Ohhh yea. It was bad. Not suicidal but really bad. I lost everything, my ability to walk, shower alone, drive, lost my job. Mostly I lost my identity. I didn't know who I was anymore without a job to describe me. It's weird. Then my narcissistic mother decided to really test my mental health and would not talk to, wouldn't help me and to this day we don't speak. 
Therapy has really changed my life with changing the way I view and react to struggles and obstacles. With that reframing comes a newfound appreciate and awe for life. I truly think I needed a wake up call in my life and things happen for a reason. I was doing okay, living in my own house, working at a hospital, dating a great guy, but I felt mundane and like I didn't really have a purpose. This shook me and woke me up to treat my body better, ingest better food etc. I changed my life for the better in so many ways. 
He's amazing. I told him a few times he doesn't have to stay, that he could find a non disabled girl and go be happy... He called me crazy and said he's not going anywhere. 
I am finally able to drive! I got a new car last year. Granted I don't go far cause the PTSD is still lingering (I have therapy for that too) but I'm not afraid like I was. 
Do you mind me asking what you did for a job at the time? I find it interesting how much it formed such a huge part of your identity. 
I take it your mother took your depression rather personally then. 
Yes for therapy! Quite a big question but do you feel like you have now/are closer to some level of self actualisation because of therapy?
Your husband was just...👏🙌
I’m so pleased for you that you have the courage to even get back behind a steering wheel again.
Not at all, I was a medical assistant and then I was to start school in the fall to get my degree in respiratory therapy. I have always been drawn to helping people as well as medicine, so this, I thought, would have been perfect for me. And that all came crashing down with the accident. The tables had turned, I was now the patient and I didn't like it. However, it opened my eyes to the negatives within the medical field. How pain is truly subjective, how doctors don't believe their patients and think they are drug seeking. That, in combination with the extreme pain I had every single day, really took a toll on me. To not be believed and to have someone treat you as if you're in the wrong is indescribable. 
As much as I feel therapy has helped me to have a better insight, I also feel somewhat lost too. It's hard to explain. Because of the tables turning, as much as I want to work in the medical field again, I don't think I can conform to the mainstream anymore. I don't agree with a lot going on in conventional medicine right now. I had so many drugs pushed on me and was told that I'll be on certain ones for the rest of my life. That's not true. I changed my diet, starting exercising properly, started supplements and I have stopped all medication except one. I feel like the pharmaceutical field pushes these drugs to make profit and that's all. We're not taught to self heal, we're taught of there's a pill for it take it and then take another one to counteract the side effects of the first one, and so on.. 
I hope that makes sense. I feel lost in the fact that the area where I live isn't big on promoting self healing, we don't have a lot of health stores let alone homeopathic doctors offices so I have my work cut out for me trying to find a career where I can stay true to myself. 
Thank you! It was a big step driving again. PTSD is very real and super scary. 
I can relate to so much you’ve said about the pharmaceutical industry and of course being a patient in general. Clearly these are global issues and not just a problem in my tiny part of the world. I sincerely hope that by the time you’re done having children, you can see the way forward clearly re a career path that truly fulfils you. Whether it’s within medicine or not. Whatever you decide to do, your testimony/story is encouraging to anyone and that’s you helping people already!
One last question - is your relationship with your mother something you think you might want to re-establish in the future? Do you think reconnecting with her will have a positive impact on you as a mother or do you think you’d be a better mother without her in your life?
I've tried to re-establish a relationship with my mother on multiple occasions. She's sick, she needs mental help. I truly think she's a narcissist and views herself as the victim. I asked numerous times for her to be in my life to no avail. She refused to even come to my wedding, instead choose to threaten me with some secret knowledge she claimed she had that would ruin me and my marriage. After that I blocked her number. I thought leaving her child with broken bones and in a wheelchair all alone was bad but I forgave her. Now she was messing with my future, my family. I don't play that. 
I think it would be have a very negative impact on my life having her around, especially for my children. She can walk out of my life all she wants but I'll be damned if she pulls that with my children. If anything, she has taught me how not to be as a mother, so there's that.

Aw well it’s a good thing that you’re very clear about that situation. Almost funny that I thought this would purely be a conversation about ttc lol.

Haha right but things happen for a reason and the conversation went this way for a reason

...

I'm currently 5 DPO so I'm praying I have good news in the coming weeks.

I’ll be keeping you in my prayers. Trusting you’ll have some good news soon

I know you’ll still on the road to full recovery. Are you going to have to take any extra precautions when it’s time for childbirth ie. to protect your spine, for example?

Thank you so much!! I've talked to my doctors about my spinal cord stimulator in relation to pregnancy and all of them agreed that it poses zero risks. I would like to have childbirth be as natural as possible so I'm hoping to not have to have an epidural but if I did, it would be placed higher up on the spine than where my device is, so that's a plus. So, no, not really. My only worry is the swelling that can and most likely will take place in the feet. With CRPS, a bad flare makes my foot bluish red, swollen and hot to the touch and I don't know how my body will react to pregnancy. So I'll just have to take it all one day at a time, as it happens!

Ang, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Posted on 6 Comments

Mummy life 1

I did say there’d be quite a bit of mummy stuff sprinkled around here. You can’t expect anything else – she’s the centre of my world right now. She’s almost 7 months old, which is just incredible to me. I feel like I’ve known her all my life!

When she’s not being fussy or crying for no apparent reason, I find myself thinking “She’s growing up so quickly!” She’s almost my height already. Okay, I jest, but last month, she was in the 81st percentile for height so…she really is tall. I’m going to have to allow myself to enjoy every moment with her before she’s too old to have me constantly trying to kiss her (maybe she’ll always want my kisses…no?)The past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about how much she – and all babies – change in so little time. Although she’s always seemed very opinionated, she’s becoming more so as she realises that she can communicate her needs a bit more clearly now. Clearly = shrill screams.

By the time she turned 6 months, she could:
•Reach for things to chew – she loves a good label•Sit without support •Roll in both directions •Stand with support •Babble to get attention •Eat cereals and puréed foods
The food thing is a big one for me as I like to know that she’s well fed of course. It’s helpful to be able to cross that one thing out of potential needs when she acts like there’s anything wrong!
It’s so easy to get caught up in watching out for these milestone achievements though, especially if you have people around you and apps reminding you of what your baby should be able to do each week/month. Who says? Scientists? They don’t know personally know your baby. Attempt to ignore it all sometimes and just enjoy what they CAN do.

There’s a lot for mums of little babies to enjoy. Every moment is special because they’re changing so much so quickly. It can sometimes just be difficult to enjoy everything when you’re exhausted. I’ve learned these last six months to take it one day at a time. On the more difficult days, I even take it an hour at a time. Reminding myself that every lost hour of sleep (sleep deprivation is a whole other topic on its own!) is worth it for her little four-toothed smiles and giggles.

Of course, this is all a lot easier said/written than done…

On another note, if anyone’s read the book below, I’d love to know is it worth the purchase?


Photo source: http://stolensleep.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/front-cover-1-1-232×300.jpg
Posted on 4 Comments

Marriage with a newborn

Has having a newborn been tough on your relationship?

Having a newborn has been really tough on our relationship. With a tired recovering body and demanding newborn who refused to sleep in her cot for the most part, you tend to feel exhausted for those first three months. Breastfeeding makes you feel like your body is no longer yours and it takes some getting used to.
If you haven't dragged your other half to antenatal classes or had a serious chat about each others' expectations before they arrive, it can be a plethora of disagreements and surprises. Be it dummy, no dummy, Co sleeping, breastfeeding versus formula or just who is expected to do the dishes, I had many surprises and ended up arguing a lot with my partner. Then the jealousy kicked in that I wasn't working and despite me feeling exhausted, to him, it seemed like a holiday. I didn't feel like that at 3am trying to get a baby to sleep.

What advice would you give a first time mum who’s worried about her relationship making it through? Or do you think you don’t know the answer to that yet? 

I would say to do a few things that I didn't manage.
Sit down before baby arrives and talk through your expectations with each other includes household chores, finances, mat [maternity] leave, going back to work hours, and importantly, parenting styles.
At least this way, you can try to agree on some things before the baby is thrown into the mix. If this doesn't work, try to lean on whoever you can for support - siblings, parents, etc. to get you through those first few months.

Has having a newborn been tough on your relationship?

Having a newborn has been really tough on our relationship. With a tired recovering body and demanding newborn who refused to sleep in her cot for the most part, you tend to feel exhausted for those first three months. Breastfeeding makes you feel like your body is no longer yours and it takes some getting used to.
If you haven't dragged your other half to antenatal classes or had a serious chat about each others' expectations before they arrive, it can be a plethora of disagreements and surprises. Be it dummy, no dummy, Co sleeping, breastfeeding versus formula or just who is expected to do the dishes, I had many surprises and ended up arguing a lot with my partner. Then the jealousy kicked in that I wasn't working and despite me feeling exhausted, to him, it seemed like a holiday. I didn't feel like that at 3am trying to get a baby to sleep.

What advice would you give a first time mum who’s worried about her relationship making it through? Or do you think you don’t know the answer to that yet? 

I would say to do a few things that I didn't manage.
Sit down before baby arrives and talk through your expectations with each other includes household chores, finances, mat [maternity] leave, going back to work hours, and importantly, parenting styles.
At least this way, you can try to agree on some things before the baby is thrown into the mix. If this doesn't work, try to lean on whoever you can for support - siblings, parents, etc. to get you through those first few months.

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What would I do without my wife

...

You’re crazy lol

Yeah yeah I know
I'm beginning to finally see it these days you know

Old age? Lol

I dunno about y’all but i'm young shoot

Till my dumb ole self goes to a clubby place instead of a lounge then I am like what the heck
Are these kids doing here

Abby I don’t get how guys date younger than them to be honest. My lil sister and her friends and that age group get on my last nerve

I mean if you are gonna have a purely sexual relationship with someone younger, I guess I can see the allure. But a proper relationship where you gotta talk to the person and do life with.
I don’t get it.
We be in two different planes. The things i'm thinking about someone 10 yrs younger isn’t thinking that.

Hahahaaa maybe it’s more a wisdom thing than an age thing. And maybe a tolerance level thing too lol

Must be. Old people are less tolerant.

What about lounges?

At least you can talk...and hear yourself think

Exactly
I dunno
I like smart women and lounges separates smarts from Air heads
Don’t care how physically appealing you may look
If you were dumb I lost interest quick

And in the lounge it becomes very apparent who falls into what bucket
In the club you too busy
These things end up falling through the cracks
Lol

Very true

Then you like why did I give him/her my number

But don’t you think you only see how smart some women really are when the tough things in life happen?

Like....it’s hard to be sure what they’re going to be like even if they seem intelligent in the lounge when you first meet them

Oooh yeah

At this point you still getting what they want to show you but they also giving off certain things away without them knowing.
Everyone is on their best behavior at this point
Then y’all become boyfriend girlfriend and hopefully some type of adversity hits so you can judge what type of boyfriend or girlfriend you have
Adversity shows character and mental fortitude

You said hopefully?! Lol!

Yeah
You won’t really see how a person is and the measure of how much they claim to love you until you are in a not so good spot

Loving someone is always easy when the circumstances are ideal
Almost anyone can do that
So I look at my parents now right
And one is sick
Their so called love is being tested

Words are easy to say
Similar to the words below:
“The Dream is free. The hustle to get the dream to be a reality is sold separately"
“I love you” is now cheap

Yeah for better or for worse. We never think of how bad that worse can be

Marriage is good don’t get me wrong but it’s hard

So damn hard

Sometimes I wake up and I am like “man I don’t know what I would do without [my wife]”
Other times I wake up and I am like, “ why the heck am I with her? She is getting on my last nerve”
That, sweetheart, is the reality
Hahahah
But this narrative does not fit the Cinderella happy ever after narrative
I told [my wife] I am not responsible for your happiness per se. That’s between you and God. But I, however, can not be responsible for your unhappiness

Hardest thing I did with my life [marriage]

Yeah it’s hard for us to remember that sometimes. Probably especially for women who are taught by storybooks to wait for their Prince Charming to sweep them off their feet and solve all their problems for them

But maybe part of it is you men’s fault too. Coz you’re generally problem solvers and you try to solve the problems of ppl you love. You can make women feel esp early on that that is what you’re there for

True

We do solve problems

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