Sound the trumpets, wave the flags hallelujah the Royal baby is here. Yes, yes it’s wonderful but lets face it women do this every day, the difference is this mother will have a much easier ride than the rest of us. But there are some things Kate will not get away from, the biggest one being the giant overwhelming meteor that has just hit her. There’s no hiding from it, no matter how much you are surrounded by the fluffiness of Jellycat toys, balloons and flowers it’s coming at you like a truck and it’s going to knock you for six. No one can really explain what it’s like, you just have to take it on and see if you make it out the other side. The nice thing for Kate is that she will have an army of people around her to hold the baby while she has a little cry into her mane of sick filled hair. I’m not completely envious of her fortunate situation though, Kate is also going to have more pressure than the rest of us. She will be expected to be the perfect mother, for example she will HAVE to breast feed (although I’m sure she will want to). When the government line is ‘breast is best’ our future Queen can hardly be seen to give in and turn to the bottle. This is not always an easy ride though, I’ve seen many a mother crying their eyes out over their baby not latching or refusing to feed and you can get yourself in a right state. I would want to tell Kate, give it all you’ve got but if it doesn’t work for you, you have NOT failed as a mother or a woman!
But of course having a baby for the first time is also wonderful, the rewards you get are huge. It just takes a while to get your head back in the game and realise you are still the person you once were, you’ve just got a whole new person in your life and a bit more snot on your shoulder.
So I was thinking if I was to have a chat with Kate, what would I share with her? What advice would I give? What tips passed to me would I would pass on?
Here are some of the things that I couldn’t have done without. I’m not saying they are the only way to go, but they were the things that I was grateful for and worked for us. (there are a hundred more items I could add, but lets not get carried away!)
Lansinoh nipple cream! – A friend told me about this and said don’t even think about trying anything else. I listened, she was right, it saved my nips!
Lansinoh breast pads – I tried others because they were cheaper and the old mantra ‘buy cheap buy twice’ came into it’s own! For me these were the best hands down.
Aden and Anais Swaddles – These are one of my favourite things full stop. They’re not just for swaddling, you will use these giant muslins for everything. Nursing cover, sick mopper, light weight blanket, sun cover for pushchair, love love them. (Since writing this blog it turns out that baby George was in fact wrapped in an Aden and Anais swaddle under his blanket when they left hospital!)
Hooter Hider from Bebe au Lait – Now I can’t imagine that Kate is ever going to have to worry about whapping a boob out in Costa but if she is breast feeding and wants to stay modest, as all good Duchesses should, then these are brilliant. They have a reinforced rim so that you can see your baby easily. I used mine a lot when out and about.
Tommee Tippee monitor with sensor pad – Every new parent is paranoid about their baby at night and you will still wake up a hundred times to check they are still breathing. So to help my frayed nerves we bought a monitor with sensor pad which makes a noise if it can’t feel the baby moving. Only trouble is if the baby moves away from the pad it will set it off, yes that did happen to us and yes that was the fastest I have ever moved!!!
Babybay – I was very much of the school of keeping my baby close as much as possible. I couldn’t have put my baby down to sleep in a another room to me when she was tiny, however I was a bit nervous about co-sleeping for all the usual reasons. The Babybay was the perfect answer for us. I could have her close to me but not anywhere near the duvet or me or my husband rolling on her.
Arnica – Ummm this is for bruising, nuff said ;-)
Maxi Cosi Pebble – There are so many models of car seat to choose from, this worked brilliantly for us and also connected to our pram base (a Quinny buzz which we still use and has been fab) we had the iso fix base too which made life so much easier when getting in and out of the car. No fannying around with seatbelts!
Home Cooking – Try and plan ahead before the baby comes and make up stuff for the freezer so you can just throw a shepperds pie in the oven and be done with it. But if people offer to cook for you, don’t be polite and say no, take the offer!!! We had some lovely friends dropping in homemade Lasagne’s etc and they are a godsend when you are just too tired to cook. If you want the comfort of home cooking but don’t have the time and the deliveries from friends have dried up then try ‘Cook’ it’s the closest thing you will find to your own home cooking.
Chocolate – When you are breastfeeding you need a calorie hit and sometimes you need it quick. It’s the one time you can eat chocolate with little guilt so stuff it in while you can. Cake comes under this umbrella also! (remember chocolate contains caffeine so if you are having a cheeky coffee from time to time do the maths on what you’ve had!)
Visitors – In the first few weeks you will have a line at the door of people who want to see you and see the baby. This is wonderful and makes you feel incredibly special but don’t over do it. You may feel like you are fine and have enough energy for all this but I guarantee you, if you do too much (and I”m talking from experience) you will crash. Your partner/sister/friend/mother whoever it is helping you must work as gate-keeper. They are the ones to say, right thanks for popping by but now we need to rest.
There are a million more things that you can have for your baby and I’m sure Kate will have them all! The baby brands will be climbing the railings trying to get their products to her, but the one thing that you can’t buy is advice from your friends and family. You will have advice coming from everywhere, may be even from strangers. It can be quite overwhelming, but it really all comes from love and more importantly experience. Take it. Listen to it. Use it. You may not agree with something someone is telling you but you are new at this and it’s great to hear what other people have gone through. Use what you want, discard the rest, I am so grateful for all the advice we were given. You don’t always want to sit and wade through the piles of books that you have, you want quick answers and tips that work.
The best thing I did before having our baby was sign up to the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) classes. In no disrespect to the NCT it wasn’t even what I learned from the classes that was the best thing. What you are buying when you sign up is a group of friends. Friends who are going through exactly the same as you, at the same time. Friends who need an intravenous coffee drip just like you, friends who want to talk about poo, sore boobs, stitches and lack of sleep. These may even become friends for life. I can’t recommend this kind of group enough but if you can’t afford it make sure you go to your local baby groups and classes to meet other mums. This can be scary, in a first day of school kind of way, but it’s so worth it. Kate of course isn’t going to turn up at her local church hall, but I hope she will find other mums in the Royal community to help get her through this. Sorry Pippa, this is one area you and your magic bottom can’t really help with!
I could go on and on with this post, there are a million things to share with a new mum. The fact is you will manage, you just do, but if you really are struggling or those baby blues just won’t shift you MUST talk to someone. Post Natal depression is not something to take lightly, speak to your GP, health visitor or midwife.
Like I said before these products, tips and advice are just the things that we loved and worked for us. They may not be right for you, take what you want leave the rest.
So that’s it from me for now, I wish all the luck and love in the world to Kate and all the other new mums out there. You’ve earned your tiger stripes, it’s tough but that’s why it’s the women that have to do it! ;-)
Love Katy xx
P.S – One more tip for you. If your baby hasn’t pooed for days and you have tried everything. Pick out the nicest outfit you have been given for him/her. You can even throw on some cashmere yourself. Now take your darling child out of the house, somewhere remote without baby facilities. Then wait, this is where it will happen, guaranteed poo explosion!