The Happy Baby Project

A happy baby needs a happy mum


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38 weeks and the due date approaches…

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38 weeks today and I’m feeling…well..uppy, then downy, then uppy again. Poor Chef.

Good news is maternity leave is wonderful, giving me time to put my feet up, do some “grooming”, see friends, and sort out the house in wierd and wonderful ways that only an expectant mother could come up with (we must plant herbs! we must fill the freezer with ready meals! we must buy drawer storage boxes!)

Also good is the fact that my liver function seems to be settling down and out of the last 3 blood tests (am human pin cushion), 2 had gone down to almost normal, and only the last annoying one had crept back up a little. But hopefully I’ll be left in peace until baby decides to make an entrance.

Bad news is the hormones, the tick-tocking of  time to d-day, are making me rather irrational and emotional.

I have previously spoken about people discussing your first child’s arrival as a sort of armageddon. Having recently finished NCT and gone to a Bumps & Babies class, I am filled with the impression that in the weeks following the birth I will be a shell of a woman, unable to do much more than make a sandwich and brush my hair, on a good day. I’ve been advised to avoid visitors for the first 2 weeks to allow us time to settle into things. Food shopping, cooking and basic personal hygiene appear to be impossible tasks. Certainly, having read Look Mummy No Hands description of breasfteeding round the clock, it would make sense to prepare for the worst.

Will it really be that bad? The Chef doesn’t seem to think so, and having suffered from insomnia for much of my life (see this post I wrote for The Happiness Project London on being a “troubled sleeper“), sometimes I think I will cope pretty well. But I can imagine that after the highs and excitment of the first few days, the hormones and tiredness will kick in, as will any problems with breastfeeding, and we’ll just have to take every moment as it comes.

The other thing I’m finding, is that I keep getting told all the things I should be doing now BECAUSE WE WON’T GET TO DO IT AGAIN FOR AT LEAST 18 YEARS! (That was a direct quote from my NCT teacher). Way to put on the pressure. I’ve been told to:

  • Go to the cinema lots
  • Have date nights
  • Eat out
  • See friends
  • Sort out all the things wrong with the house as you’ll never have time later
  • And…somehow find time between all the above to nap, have baths, and read.

And being someone who is probably more suggestive to other people’s opinions than most, I’ve been running round like a headless chicken trying to do all the above at once. Phew. So a couple more weeks before baby decides to show up would be nice.

Which brings me to my final worry. The Birth. It is becoming more tangible every day, with my belly swelling and the bump moving lower, and the little stabby pains in my pelvis I didn’t have before, and the shock of every twinge making me think IS THIS IT?!

And it’s scary at times, really overwhelmingly emotionally scary. And it could utterly overwhelm me if I didn’t try to stop it. Because although I’m calm and controlled and an active-birth-yoga-hypno-birth follower, there is a little part of me that wonders whether when the time comes, maybe I will just not be able to handle it, will thrown my fricking frankincense out the window while screaming for an epidural NOW. And I know that won’t be the worst thing in the world, but it’s the fear of the unknown that gets me.

I want to be able to let go completely, to give my body over to this baby to make its way out as it knows how to do (a girl in yoga class described the birth of her first child as being like when you vomit – an abandonment of your body to instinctive urges), to accept the feelings of my body splitting open, with a certain calmness and power. But how do I know if I’m strong enough or powerful enough? How will I be able to follow my primal instinctive side when my brain is telling me that MY BODY IS ABOUT TO RIP OPEN?!

I don’t. I’ve done my best to prepare and the rest will be up to me, The Chef, our midwife, and my body. And perhaps a large glass of red wine.


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New Baby Shopping List

Here are the things I’ve bought for me and baby in the last few months. I’m not saying these are all necessary, nor that they are the best things to buy, but they are all things I’ve seen recommended by friends or that I’ve found from trawling magazines and the internet. Seeing it all written down makes me do a little bit of sick in my mouth at how much I’ve spent (and The Chef is yet to understand the extent of it all) but I told you the nesting instinct was strong. Here goes:

Nursery basics

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Sleeping

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Travelling

  • Bugaboo Bee pram (bought second hand with rain cover, sunshade and footmuff for around £240. Borrowed Maxi Cosi car seat adaptors and bought coffee cup holder – apparently an essential!)
  • We borrowed a sheepskin rug for the pram from a friend and got John Lewis cellular pram blankets
  • Baby Bjorn baby carrier (bought for a fiver at the NCT nearly new sale post)
  • A babasling (more recommended in comments below – I bought off ebay for around £15)

Changing and feeding

  • Luckily, some lovely friends have given me a steriliser, Mendela mini-electric breast pump, bottles (Dr Brown and Tommee Tippee), and breast milk storage bags. All I need to do was to buy was a bottle and teat brush from Boots, and to bribe them with wine to come round and show me what on earth I need to do with it all
  • Skip Hop changing bag
  • John Lewis wedge changing matt
  • John Lewis birdy breastfeeding pillow
  • John Lewis muslin squares
  • M&S assorted muslins
  • I may buy a mamascarf
  • I got a second hand bumbo from the NCT nearly new sale

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Medical, bathtime and grooming

  • I didn’t buy it in the end as I bought separate items, but I like the look of the Tommee Tipee healthcare kit which has brush, comb, thermometer, nasal mucus sucker-up thing, nail clippers and file
  • I also did a big shop at Boots for: Arnica pills, paracetamol, baby flannel and sponge, baby nailfile scissors and clippers, Pampers newborn nappies, cotton wool, baby wipes, nasal aspirator thingie, dummies, antibac hand wash, Sudocream, Infacol, breast pads and nipple shields, nipple cream
  • John Lewis baby step (I thought I could sit on it while baby is in the bath)
  • John Lewis baby bath box to hold all the many baby bits and bobs in the bathroom
  • ELC bathtime baby ducks
  • A Cuddlemoo cowprint towel apron from Cuddledry
  • John Lewis baby hairbrush
  • John Lewis dino cuddle robe
  • I borrowed a baby bath from a friend and bought a baby support from the NCT nearly new sale for £1
  • Philips Advent Digital Thermometer Set
  • Advent bath thermometer

Clothes

Toys and playtime

  • Sophie the giraffe teething toy
  • Freddie the Firefly
  • Stripey horse soft toy
  • I bought a baby gym from the NCT nearly new sale for £10 and am borrowing another from a friend
  • I have borrowed 2 baby bouncers from friends, and am borrowing a door bouncer
  • I bought various rattles, toys and books from the NCT nearly new sale and have inherited lots from friends, as well as getting some lovely toys as pressies

Hospital Bag

  • Mine currently has: lavender oil & hanky, nipple cream, arnica pills & paracetamol, throw away pants, maternity pads, slippers, camera, iPhone speakers, snacks, nappies, wipes, cotton wool, newborn outfits x 3. I’m still to get some lipsalve, eye masks and ear plugs, a towel, and cheapie nighties, pants, vests and trackie bums from Primark
  • I also love the Hospital Bag checklist from Mums Make Lists and am waiting for the Hospital bag list from The Pregnant Beauty Guide