Minimal Mother

Things I Wish I Had Known: Pregnancy & Parenthood

June 6, 2017

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Photo by Sinead Jenkins

I got all sorts of advice when I was pregnant. Much of it was advice I sought, some of it offered, most of it helpful. Much of it not, which I only realised after I had my baby. Amidst the advice I got, there were a few things that I felt got left out (with the benefit of hindsight), so I share them here. This is based on my experience, and in sharing my experience and story I am in no way invalidating or discrediting anyone else’s experience. Anytime you talk about parenting, it’s easy to offend people, I hope this post can be taken in the spirit in which it is written. A first time mumma sharing what she wished she had known, but didn’t. It’s written in the spirit of community and compassion.

1. That labour and birth might not be drawn out. That it is entirely possible that your water would break the way it does in the movies (luckily, this happened to me at home and not at a cafe, like I was convinced it would – but was continuously consoled that your waters only break in that stand-up-waters-come-gushing-out-sense in the movies). That it might not take a three days of contractions for your baby to be born. Essentially, that while some labours are long and drawn out others are not. And that with the birth stories that instill a sense of desperation and fear in unknowing first time mothers, that there are stories of relative calm and peace. I would have loved to have been comforted in the fact that my labour could have gone both ways. I was only ready for long and scary, rather that fast and relatively calm.

2. Post-natal recovery might be a B*&$%. Why after sharing so many stories about difficult deliveries did no one care to mention the post-natal recovery? I was convinced I would never walk again. Ever. I was literally scared that I would have to do physiotherapy for months to learn how to walk. I wasn’t prepared for this at all. Those 4 inch heeled boots I packed to come home in? Huh! Jokes on me baby. I came home in flip-flops, crutches and tears. I had no tearing, no stitches, no intervention and took no pain relief but my goodness was post-natal recovery a B&%$&! I wish someone had flagged it as something that might possibly happen (and everyone saying, oh yes I remember that, afterwards, not as helpful, though perhaps a little comforting).

3. Most babies need to learn to sleep. What the F%$&! Neither Patrick nor I were prepared for this one. All the babies we’ve encountered were always asleep. What do you mean they need to learn to sleep or to stay asleep? You’d think any child of Patrick and mine would innately be able to do this. Now, if I had to buy a first time mumma anything, it would be a consultation with a baby sleep consultant. There are lots of thoughts about them but the consultant we worked with just before the four month sleep regression made a huge difference. I wish I had her help in those early weeks (not to ensure my child slept, because apparently they need to feed for hours, four hundred times a night) to help establish healthier sleeping patterns from the beginning.

4. They might not like the pram, or specifically the pram you bought them. Again. What? But apparently, this is normal. I wish I had known. Some babies take to the pram straight away, others don’t like it, others don’t like the one you have. I’ve come to appreciate this about babies. Rafa tolerates his pram now (it still takes coaxing). Actually, this point should really have been, babies might not like the things you’ve bought them. I’m glad we waited to meet Rafa before buying things. They might not like the cot, or the mosses basket, or the pacifier, or the baby carrier. Maybe they just need time. It isn’t guaranteed that your baby will take to all the things you’ve bought.

5. That you might not find the first few weeks magical, and that’s okay. I didn’t suffer from post-natal depression, but I certainly didn’t find anything magical about those first few weeks. I’m glad I had the confidence to say so instead of pretending. Which is why I say it here. If you find/found those weeks magical, that is amazing and absolutely beautiful. If you didn’t, that’s okay too. I was annoyed. I was giving so much to this child. I loved him dearly and all he did was scream when my boob wasn’t in his mouth or when he wasn’t on me. It wasn’t until Rafa started smiling at me that I started seeing the magic. Until then, I just got on with it. The magic came later and that’s okay.

The most unhelpful advice I ever received. Sleep when they sleep. I still want to scream when I hear that. At night yes, sleep when they sleep. During the day? This was unhelpful and stressed me out so much that even when I tried to sleep, I couldn’t because I was so busy thinking about how I needed to be sleeping.

Are there some things you wish you knew about pregnancy, birth or parenthood? Things that truly surprised you, or drove you bat-shit-crazy?

Baby Essentials: Snugbags Diagonal Zip Sleeping Bag

February 22, 2016

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In our efforts to keep what we’re buying for the little one at a minimum I’ve done a fair bit of looking around online and in stores. Sleeping essentials were one of the first items we started buying. The Moses Basket, then the cot, the most amazing sheets (more on those later!) and then I started thinking about the temperature of the room. This is a contentious issue between Patrick and I. I’d rather be hot and Patrick enjoys being cooler. How many blankets is too many blankets? Then I came across sleeping bags and started reading up on them. Eventually we settled on Snugbags which are made in New Zealand and specialise in organic cotton and merino baby sleep essentials.

I knew as soon as their new diagonal zip design sleeping bag hit the market that I needed to have one and we couldn’t be happier with what we received. Let me preface this by saying of course we have nothing to compare this to – we haven’t had children and our baby hasn’t arrived yet but all the aspects of this sleeping bag appealed to our rational, practical academic minds. And the quality of the fabric was so much more impressive than anything we had felt in stores.

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Our Snugbags diagonal zip sleeping bag includes the following features:

  • Dome free shoulders (which counters the little ones ability to get out of or pop open as they start standing or crawling)
  • Underarm domes that help adjust the bag for very small babies
  • A flat opening design that allow for quick and easy nappy changes and for dressing baby
  • There’s also a seat belt slot (in the front and back) that allows you to easily transfer the little one in the pram and car seat
  • The zip starts as a front zip and continues into a full length side zip all the way down to the bottom (this isn’t a feature we’ve seen in other sleeping bags). It also allows you to leave the bottom unzipped to allow for airflow.
  • A zip cover that protects the little ones skin and runs all the way down the back.

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These new diagonal Snugbags are available in standard, winter duvet and winter duvet deluxe weight and two sizes (newborn to two years and two to four years). We have the Winter Duvet weight sleeping bag in the drop print. This sleeping bag has three layers: a merino inner layer, a bamboo/cotton wadding middle layer and a cotton outer layer. Babies can transition to the sleeping bag once they are no longer comfortable being swaddled, which we’ve heard can happen from around 10 weeks.

We ultimately went with this product due to the impressive features (mentioned above) as well as Snugbags meeting some of our personal criteria for what we try to look for when buying for the little one. These include: locally made (Snugbags are manufactured exclusively in New Zealand, all fabric is knitted and dyed in New Zealand also). Eco-friendly and sustainable products and processes (only eco-friendly and child safe dyes are used in Snugbags. The prints are woven into the fabric with un-dyed and unbleached cotton). Organic fibres and fabrics (Snugbags also only use organic cotton, bamboo and exclusively use only New Zealand merino due to its superior quality).
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We’re absolutely thrilled with our Snugbags sleeping bag. It’s reduced the need for too many blankets, we only have a fitted sheet in the cot. The knitted blanket you see in the picture is one I made that will eventually be used as a play mat or something to snuggle with. I can’t wait to share how our little one responds to the sleeping bag but for the moment I thought I’d just share some of the products that we’ve got and are loving for the newest little addition to our family.

For more information have a look at the Snugbags website, the new diagonal zip sleeping bags are also available for purchase here.

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