Maternity nurse Mary Ashton shares her ultimate top tips for new and expectant parents. You can follow Mary’s Facebook page for more fabulous advice, and join her private group set up for mamas to be and mamas with newborns whereby you can contact her directly with any questions you may have.
I’m currently working with a family who have just had their first baby and as we work together I’ve noticed when I make a suggestion they’ll usually reply with ‘Gosh, we would have never thought of that!’ so, I thought an article including some of my top tips for preparing for a baby would be useful.
- When buying clothes for your baby look at the weight for the different sizes. ‘Newborn’ can range from 7 lbs to 12 lbs which can be quite a difference depending on the size of your baby.
- Practice putting your car seat into the car and getting it out of your car before you have the baby. The drive home from the hospital will be stressful enough without having to worry about whether the car seat is in properly.
- Don’t have too many visitors in the first weeks, you will need some time to get used to life with your new arrival.
- Stock your freezer with meals that will be easy to heat up as you may not have much time to eat. It’s important to have a balanced diet especially if you’re breastfeeding.
- You do not need to bath your baby until the umbilical stump has dried up and fallen off. This generally happens between ten days and two weeks.
- Changing a nappy whilst the cord is still attached to baby: once the nappy is done up, fold the top of the nappy over on itself and make sure the cord stump and the clip sit outside of the nappy – this will help the cord to dry out quicker.
- You can give them a little clean known as ‘top and tailing’ every day or every other day. You will need two bowls of warm water and some cotton wool pads. Use one bowl to clean the baby from the waist down (tail) and one bowl to clean from the waist up (top).
- You should not use any soap or product on your baby’s skin for the first six weeks.
- You do not need to change your baby’s nappy every time they urinate. With disposable nappies these days your baby will not feel wet against their skin and if they are asleep there is no need to wake them to change the nappy.
- Be aware that everyone is going to offer you advice. You’ll hear that ‘this product / this way of doing things is the only way, it worked wonders for me and my baby’. That’s wonderful, but it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
- It’s ok and perfectly normal not to feel an immediate rush of love when your first see your baby. This doesn’t mean you are a bad mother, it sometimes takes a little time for some people to develop a bond with their baby.
- Swaddling your baby really will help them to sleep better.
- There is no one right way to raise a baby, so ignore anyone who tells you you are doing it wrong – you are doing what’s right for you and your baby.
- If you’re breastfeeding make sure you are drinking plenty of water and eat well, you will probably be surprised by how hungry you will be.
- If you can I highly recommend that you do a paediatric first aid course before you have your baby. I know it can be frightening to think of having to perform first aid on your baby but not knowing what to do is far more frightening.
- If visitors ask if there is anything they can do to help don’t be afraid to tell them how they can help, maybe by emptying the dishwasher or putting a load of washing on.
Article by Mary Ashton