There’s so many books on all aspects of pregnancy, motherhood and babies but I keep trying to remember the unexpected things which personally helped me… things I didn’t find in books. So much changes in 13 years and the last time I was pregnant there wasn’t the internet. I research everything now but that definitely has its down sides too. I did find my mothering intuition was being drowned out by the reels of perfect pregnancy body Instagram pictures, Facebook parent groups, google searches etc etc. At one point after having the baby, and not having the perfect birth or body or post baby lifestyle, I had to come off all the sites I had excitedly joined in my pre baby haze. I needed to find my help on my own. Anyway, here are some of the surprise things which made a real difference to me. There aren’t loads but I swear by them as they kept me sane ( and this was no easy task):
- Kindle: My darling husband bought me this soon after baby was born and it has been a godsend! I’ve always been a reader but a book reader. I wouldn’t ever have swapped the gorgeous pages of a novel for a hard electronic gadget but I am so glad I did! This ‘hard electronic gadget’ has an automatic back light which doesn’t wake the sleeping baby, you can hold it one hand and feed baby without needing to turn pages, and if you’re like me and are feeding all the hours through the night then an escape into a book is just brilliant. The only times I really got a chance to read pre-baby was on holiday but during this maternity leave I’ve read loads! So, there you go – breastfeeding all night, not able to sleep but I still felt like a winner. I love you kindle!
2. Bluetooth headset: This has been another brilliant buy which I discovered for myself by accident. I noticed my husband was taking work phone calls and looking after baby while I was trying to catch up on sleep. I bought him the headset so he could make his phone calls and hold baby. Yes, I did benefit from this…I got more rest time. It turned out that it was also useful when taking baby for a walk. I could use both hands to push the pram and catch up on conversations. The cute thing was baby thought I was talking to her. Miles of walking, talking, and a content mother and baby.
3. Yoga pants and t-shirts: I was just grateful to have clean clothes and there was no way after giving birth could I fit back into my jeans. So, a stack of yoga pants and t-shirts which could easily go in the wash was my best quick fix clothes. All you need for the first few months are clothes that feel fresh and you can worry about whether they match later…much later in my case.
3. Slip on shoes: I don’t know if it was just me but my baby liked to cry and so when I was ready to leave the house I had to make it as quick as possible. Shoes which came off and on easily seemed like a miracle invention. Slip on shoes, loafers, trainers, whatever as long as they’re on and off in seconds. I think you can only completely get this once you have the baby in your arms, a baby bag, your handbag and keys.
4. Beautiful bath oil: All my relaxation time has centred around the bath since baby has been born. Buy yourself a gorgeous oil so when you soak you feel like you’re in a spa. Follow this with a good moisturiser – your body deserves this and when you start to want to claim your body back you’ll be glad you looked after it post-baby wilderness,
5. Cleanse & Moisturise. Spend time cleansing your skin and putting a lovely moisturiser on. I’m a real fan of facial oils and love the way they make my skin feel. For months I was too exhausted to wear makeup but I did massage a facial oil onto my skin night and day. Everyone tells me now my skin glows now and I think it might be due to the one beauty routine I was able to hold onto…or to my next suggestion.
6. Smoothies: This has been brilliant for me and since baby has been born hubby has made me one every morning. I first started drinking milky avocado, spinach, mango smoothies when baby was born as my milk wouldn’t come in. As the months went on and my milk supply built up I drank smoothies for a morning burst of vitamins and energy. I looked ups all types – ones for glowing skin, strength, energy, combat tiredness. I can’t start my morning without one. I loved knowing that after a night of rubbish sleep at least my body is being fed a healthy and nutritious drink. I highly recommend drinking these every day.
7. Podcasts: If you are able to get a twenty minute soak in the bath then try and tune into a podcast. There are some excellent ones waiting to transport you to another world. I’ve really loved listening to Desert Island Discs. Music and words – what a beautiful combination!
8. Sleep Guide Meditation. I hope your baby sleeps through the night and you get lots and lot of sleep. Unfortunately, I haven’t and this resulted in a short spell of insomnia. It’s rubbish that less sleep results in no sleep! I found listening to guided sleep meditations on my headphones helped me unwind and sleep. I still listen to them even now as a pre-bed ritual. I think I even have a better quality of sleep when I nod off to them.
9. Lush pregnancy massage bar: I loved this so much! Every time my skin started to feel itchy I would massage it over my skin and the itching would stop immediately. I thought it was so amazing I bought it for my son who often gets itchy skin before bed and it totally worked for him too!
10. The Wonder Weeks: With my first pregnancy I read every baby book I could get my hands on. I enjoyed it but I knew I didn’t need to read the same material all over again. But this book was totally different – it didn’t try and sell me a parenting philosophy or tell me how I should be caring, nursing, winding my baby. It simply covered in weeks the baby’s developmental leaps. I learnt so much and even know when baby is going through a fussy period I turn to the number of weeks she is and read about the changes she’s going through. It makes me understand her better and be a more patient parent!