16 Nov 2012

Five Things - What you really need to do to prepare for a child

Aplologies for the long title but I hear so often how mothers to be should 'get all the sleep you can before baby arrives' and 'sleep when your baby sleeps'. Both of these to me seem silly and just one of those things you say, they aren't really helpful.

My own experience of sleeping in late pregnancy was that it was mostly non existent, just when I'd get comfy in bed and start to doze, a small child would expertly balance on my bladder and I'd have to get up (slowly and like a hippo) and waddle into the bathroom to only then squeeze out the smallest possible dribble of wee EVER! This continued most nights and the rest was spent turning over and waking up or waking myself up as I lay on my back or right side (panic would then sweep over me that I'd slept on anything other than my left side and could have cut off vital supplies to the baby) and then I wouldn't be able to sleep again. As for sleeping when my newborn slept, well that didn't work, I was always too highly strung and waiting for her to wake or as soon as I managed to fall asleep she would instantly wake up. Game over!

So below are my essential things to buy in pregnancy or early motherhood and how to get through it all.

Slow Cooker
This is a must as it provides you at the end of a weary, nappy filled, day with a hot meal that was seemingly effortless. Lets face it, you'll be up early so putting the meat and some vegetables in the cooker and switching it onto low won't impact the rest of your day much. The benefits include the fact that it fills the house with lovely smells of comforting food all day and this is always good when you get back from another long walk to make the baby sleep. Your husband will think you are the best wife/mother/homemaker in the world and will be able to gloat in the office as he talks to people in a similar situation who had Chinese takeaway for the third night in a row.

Just like the slow cooker, this allows you to throw some vegetables into the plastic compartment and turn the dial to ten minutes before you need your slow cooker meal ready and voilà, some iron rich, mood boosting goodness. Then when your little bundle starts weaning you can again throw some vegetables in and make beautiful purées without having to stand over a bubbling pan whilst baby screeches for your attention.

On demand TV
Whilst heavily pregnant (whilst you can't sleep) record, record, record. Anything that may mildly take your fancy is fare game because when baby kicks in the middle of the night, you'll have something to do instead of staring at the ceiling panicking about child birth. Don't forget that once you've had your baby, there will be long days and nights of newborn feeds and changes and a bit of light hearted drivel will be exactly what you want.

Heated Dryer
I got my Lakeland three tier dryer when pregnant and as it was winter, me and the bump sat contently and snuggly whilst all the little white clothes dried in preparation. I love putting it on when the weather turns because as well as being so cheap to run, it adds a bit of warmth into the room while I'm waiting for the timer on the central heating to click on. We have the smallest house in the world and can't fit a tumble dryer in and now I wouldn't want to, I love my dryer and the best bit is that it folds up flat when not in use.

Magazine Subscription
I'm a lover of magazines (more of an addict actually) and regularily buy magazines (like every week and that's just the glossy's). You need to find a magazine you love to read or aspire to and get it delivered to your house because as for TV above, there will be lots and lots of time sitting around during the day and night and flicking through a page or two is enough to give you a taste of real life again. It also needs to be delivered because with a newborn, there are some days and weeks where you may not get as far as the end of the road before baby needs a feed, poo, cry, sleep and your body just won't be able to propel you to the corner shop. The only caveat is that under no circumstances should it be a baby related magazine because these will only leave you feeling hollow and inadequate in the wake of the glossy mums with no sick down their front and a smile on their faces. Besides you have the real McCoy and there is nothing like on the job training!

My last piece of advice is to ignore any advice and also to take advantage of being able to go out on the spur of the moment at 5pm in the evening. Go for an early dinner and a movie or a late dinner or just to the supermarket because before you know it, you'll be tied to routine feeds and meals and now 5pm to me is the count down time until Bubba's bedtime. Sometimes I crave being out when dusk falls and being able to spontanously go out as and when I want, now 5pm is dinner time for a small, noisy toddler. Oh I can hear the shops/bars/cinema's calling me...
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