So, you’ve just found out you’re preggies and the world seems to have changed. Suddenly, you are a “Mummy bird” – you know, the ones you see on nature shows, the ones that feed their screaming chicks by vomiting in their mouths, or something like that. You feel different and so does everything around you.
Feelings of pure joy, anxiety and awe all mix together into a bundle that sits squarely in your tummy, just above the uterus, just above this human being made of you. There are two options here:
- You were not planning for or vaguely expecting a baby at this stage in your life in which case you cry both tears of warm unexplained fuzziness and tears of sheer horror, sit in a quite spot in the doctor’s office and while swaying back and forth soothe yourself with a sweet lullaby your own mother sang to you as a child. Ok, maybe not so girl interrupted. But the point is that an unexpected pregnancy is very different to one that has been on the vision board for a while. OR
- You were planning and longed for a pregnancy in which case you tell everyone. And I mean everyone. Your family (extended family included), hubby’s family, colleagues, neighbours, long lost friends, other patients at the doctor’s office, the security guards at your housing complex, and the man who trims the garden hedges once a week. You have tonnes of friends with babies and have always offered to baby-sit. You are just so giddy with joy you actually emulate the rising sun!
Either way, nesting is an important part of any pregnancy and includes anything that relates to the baby. The urge to get the baby room ready, read all the books about raising a genius, and eat only the healthiest meals for your little precious one to enjoy.
It can seem overwhelming, especially as the word “pregnancy” is nothing but a red flag to anyone and everyone. Suddenly, the lists of advice come rolling in. Who is the best paed (better than every other), how the type of birth you choose can drastically impact your and baby’s health, why you should have baby in another room as opposed to your room, what you should be doing when, how and why…etc etc etc
Now plug your ears to the background noise and read the following carefully:
First rule to nesting: YOUR BABY = YOUR RULES, YOUR NEEDS, YOUR CHOICES
Don’t be phased by the tonnes of weird looks you get when you explain what your ideas are, or the strict parenting rules people have. You are the mother of this child, and you are the best person…listen to me, the BEST person to choose its pre- and post-birth journey.
Now take a deep breath and let’s go through my recommendations for nesting:
Never underestimate the power of the moolla
First off, nesting cannot be enjoyed if the finances are not in order. Do yourself a favour and save a little each month so you have a bit of a buffer post-birth. You never know if and when you need extra cash. God forbid baby is unwell (worst case scenario) or hubby’s aging grandmother who lives in Iceland wants to visit to see the baby but can’t afford the airfare. If not needed immediately, you will have a sweet little sum that you can invest on behalf of baby boo.
Always check on the procedures and extent of your medical aid
Medical aid, with their fine print and terms upon condition upon terms. We need them, but we are rarely fully satisfied. Yet again, get your ducks in a row sooner rather than later. Find out from your medical aid what your option covers, and what authorisation procedures need to be followed pre- and post-birth. For example, some medical aids have rules about authorising a form of birth within a certain time period of the pregnancy. Authorisation means you will get covered when the time comes!
An antenatal class can be invaluable for new Mummy birds
First time Mummy birds, may know the theory (at best) behind having one’s own little chicklet but the reality can be different to what’s expected. Before you borrow books from all your fellow bird friends, take a moment to consider what you really need. Yes, determining the kind of parent you wish to be is important but the first step is to understand HOW to take care of this tiny creature. Practicality is key in the nesting period and an antenatal class can be very helpful with that. Learning the basic mechanics around baby care while in the company of other mums-to-be is very helpful for one’s self-confidence. It is also a great opportunity to introduce the Daddy to the realities of a newborn baby and the role he should and must play. I mean hey you didn’t make baby boo by yourself!
Don’t overspend – trust me
The temptation to go wild on purchasing baby stuff is strong. Think of a hungry zombie let loose in a crowded mall. We have all been there. The baby room decor, the personalised baby room wall decals, the cutsey clothes from Woolies or worse still a baby clothing designer, the classic yet modern changing table, state of the art pram and car seat. The baby magazines don’t help either. Everything is just so damn adorable. This coupled with the need to give your child only the best (fueled by marketers the world over) has us drooling and obsessing over every detail.
Now, the key to conquering new mummy syndrome is to recognise that you’re crazy (in love) about your baby and not the stuff on offer…step away from the store window. Do it! Now, don’t look back. slowly, slowly slowly.
Ah (sigh) you made it. Well done! You are on the road to recovery.
Overspending may seem fun, but it actually creates a more fussy environment for little baby than you think. Here is a list of things that parents the world over generally need:
Health & Safety
- Digital thermometer
- Nasal aspirator/saline drops
- Baby nail clippers
- Baby brush/comb
- Medicine measuring equipment – a soft tipped syringe is recommended
- Good quality car seat that meets South African safety standards (should include: 3 point harness, head support, cushioned inside, easy to carry, easy to lock and unlock into the car seat base and pram)
A few pacifiers (NUK has the best shaped pacifiers for baby’s mouth)
- A breast pump that suits you best.
- Ointment to protect your nipples against cracking (I can personally recommend Lansinoh nipple cream)
B) Bottle feeding
- Steriliser (A microwave steam steriliser is very easy to use)
- Bottles (Here again I would recommend NUK)
- Teats (note the different hole sizes NUK no.1 is under 6 months of age and no.2 is for 6-12 months of age)
- Bottle brushes
Breast-feeding tonic (for mom to take while breast-feeding):
1 litre apple/cranberry juice
2 litres water
60ml Schlehen Elixir (available at any pharmacy)
1 effervescent vitamin C tablet
Mix the above together and keep in fridge. Take one glass before each feed.
- Non-alcoholic Gripe water (I recommend Telament gripe water for wind)
- Telament drops (Also used for wind)
- Calpol (used for pain or fever)
- Surgical spirit (used to clean the umbilical cord)
- Aqueous cream (used as body wash when applied before baby’s bath)
- Baby shampoo
- Diaper cream (I recommend Bennets bum cream)
- Baby bath
- Cotton wool pads or balls
- Four packets ‘newborn’
- Four packets ‘size 2′
- Bin and scented plastic bags
- 6 packets of non-perfumed wet wipes
- 6 front-fastening, cotton short-sleeved babygros (for summer babies)
- 6 front-fastening cotton long-sleeved babygros (for winter babies)
- 4 cotton vests (the ones that fasten between the legs are the best)
- 3-4 pairs of newborn socks or booties
- Two cotton beanies
- 2 cotton sweaters or jerseys (cardigan style are best for newborns)
- 4-6 bibs (towelling ones)
- 4-6 receiving blankets
- 2-3 baby blankets
- Cot / camping cot (ideally one that has a detachable new born crib, a detachable changing area for newborn baby, and an adjustable cot for growing baby)
- Mattress for cot
- 2-3 sheets
- A nappy bag (you or your husband will be carrying this, so go with what suits you)
- Changing pad for changing nappies (that is if your cot does not have a changing area already installed)
- Car window shade
- Pram (one that is light enough to use with ease, but maintains the safety standards you need for a growing baby)
Let’s consider the list shall we?
What can you put on the baby shower list, and what can you buy? I would strongly recommend you buy the cot, car seat, pram, grooming kit, medicine kit, and feeding kit (including breast pump and bottles). The rest is free game for all your baby shower buds. The more you can save on items like towels, nappies and clothes the better your nesting period will be. You will not have the stress of getting everything, but will have the comfort of knowing that the essential stuff has been taken care of.
Don’t forget about Mummy bird
So you’re all guns blazing in the prep phase of your pregnancy but when was the last time you gave yourself a treat. Ate your best comfort food, or booked yourself in for a pedi or mani, or gave yourself a PJ day where you lay in bed reading your favourite book. Don’t fool yourself. Little chicklet will only be as happy as Mummy bird is. So the less anxious, stressed or just plain manic you are the more chilled your baba is. Take the time to spoil yourself and indulge in celebrating you. It may seem like an extravagance when there is so much to do and so little time but trust me you will not get that time back once baby boo is born.