I’m sure if we all look back to those early pregnancy days, we fantasised about all the wonderful things we wanted to purchase to make the arrival of our little one perfect. Maybe it was the giant, plush elephant online or that gorgeous onesie with the words “Mommy’s little Tweetheart” and two kissing birds beneath. We wasted time thinking about the whimsical mosquito net or smiling stars waltzing in circles on a mobile. But ask us again, when our little chubby babies are “bum-shuffling” across the floor, if fluffy elephants would still rank number one on our wish list and I’m sure many of us have changed our tune.

 

So here is my revised wish list and believe me, it’s far from romantic!

 

  1. Cloth nappies – The thought might not be the most appealing. Who wants to spend their sacred hour of free time spraying down someone else’s business. I, for one, am far from someone who finds this appealing. I have OCD tendencies. My main area of obsession manifests in cleanliness and hygiene. So, honestly, sinking both hands into a yellow-water tub is not exactly my cup of tea. But I am also a sucker for savings. Needless to say, I took the plunge and, at 8 weeks pregnant, I purchased 20 cloth nappies. On the upside, they are no longer squares of towel that one needs to take an origami class to master. Some smart person decided to make them attractive to the simple-minded and sewed together rectangles of bamboo, hemp and microfibre fabric to make it easy for us. There’s never a wrong side or way to put them! Then, to make it “Pinteresty” and cute put wide-eyed, multi-coloured owls on a waterproof with press studs. Clever! Let’s add on a bonus…it’s eco-friendly! Reduce, reuse, recycle! Genius! Make it look fun to wear and easy to put on, throw in the “Let’s hug trees and save the world” slogan and ease the pocket and we’re sold!

  1. A wrap – Okay, I admit, this was actually on my list. It looked so snuggly and “natural”. I am pro-natural most things (needless to say that I ended up on a table and under the knife). So when the website lists all the benefits of having a baby on your chest and close to your heart, it didn’t take much for my gullible self to covet one. When my gran decided to give me some money towards something special for my special, I was thrilled and explained to her what I wanted to get. Now because these fancy things weren’t around when my parents were toddling about, I had to explain. I told her that it was a long piece of stretchy fabric that you wind around yourself and put your baby inside. I proceeded to tell her all of the benefits of skin-to-skin, keeping baby close to your chest and so forth. Over the next few days, I couldn’t understand why she kept trying dissuade me from spending the money on this amazing piece of paraphernalia. Only later when we were walking through a shopping centre and I showed her one did she understand.

“Oh! That makes sense! I thought you were going to go to Waste Centre (a material shop) and buy a long piece of stretchy fabric!” Amused, I assured her that I would do nothing of the sort!

 

And I am so glad that I invested in one of these! Firstly, they are so tight and compact that it’s as easy as carrying a baby in your womb. Tightly strapped to your chest you have two hands to do just about anything, including being able to go to the loo without awkwardly trying to manoeuvre around a tiny tot. And, if all else fails, you can pull off your shirt, drop your bra in the middle of the bedroom and strap your screaming child to you and do skin-to-skin, which seems to calm them down instantly.

  1. A baby carrier – “Shoulders back!” is a phrase my husband often uses. And if it’s not him, it’s my mom. My posture has always been bad and I remember being very deliberate in practising doing just that before my wedding day so that I didn’t look back on all my photos and cringe at the hunchback walking up the aisle. Having a baby…well, let’s just say that the curled shoulders are back. Many nights of feeding in odd positions trying to get a baby to latch; rocking frantically trying to envelope the cries with my body; curling over her while trying to bring up winds – you know the scene well. So now, my big-little baby is not so little and compact anymore and starting to hang in the wrap. It says you can carry up to 10kgs…how? So now I decide to that I’ll need to get something a little more back friendly. The choices are endless and the opinions are too! Expensive or cheap, ergonomically designed or not…yes, I didn’t know what that meant either. Basically, that you and baby are safe and comfortable – back support for you and babysitting properly. So I wanted to go with a local product because the particular one I fancied was way out of my price range. Someone told me to go and see a lady who “specialises in baby wearing”. So off I go, and she basically explains to me…also scaring the life out of me…that I need to have an ergonomic design. It made sense. The pouches we were all carried in as babies have a narrow seat which means that the baby’s legs hang from their hips. But if the design is ergonomic, the baby’s legs will hang from the knees and the hips will have the correct support. All sounds great to me! I also really wanted a carrier that she could face outwards as it turned out my poor child didn’t find my chest more interesting than all the stimulation in the shopping centre. The local ones said not to. I was told that a particular brand was the only one that had been safety tested…it was the one out of my price range. The good news is that the second-hand carriers were half the price, which is what we opted for. I love the back support! It was so much better and it didn’t feel like I was carrying her weight anymore. There is also a handy hood that also acts like blinkers, limiting her view…brilliant for getting her to sleep. And, I can go to the bathroom without feeling like she’ll fall into the toilet or onto a disgusting public toilet floor.

In terms of the facing outwards…done it once, not sure I’ll do it again! Let’s just say the layout of my chest against her back did not sit well with either of us. Apart from which, I was also told by the “baby wearer expert” that babies are still uncurling from birth and need to have the C-curve. When they are 9 months, their S-curve is starting to develop and so they can face outwards for only ten minutes. A day! So, not worth it in my mind. But I love my carrier nonetheless!

  1. A baby monitor – This was also on my list but I certainly did not think it would be something I depended on so much! We are snobs and have the fancy one with a sensor pad. The fact that it was a staggering price didn’t even make me cast more than a disgusted glance at it in the shop. However, things changed with our tiny, tiny baby arrived. Se firstly decided to surprise us at 36ish weeks. The first thing I noticed when this little thing was lifted over the green screen was how skinny she was. All 2.3kgs of her! So in hospital she had a sensor pad under her mattress. Apparently prem babies are prone to sleep apnea. As are C-section babies, so I’ve heard. We had a double whammy on our hands. So when my husband’s mom gifted us with this top-of-the-range-sensor-pad-included monitor, we rejoiced. At first I thought the beep to tell me she was still alive would keep me awake. But, it was sweet music to my ears to suddenly wake up and, instead of sticking my ear next to her mouth to see if she was still breathing, I could smile and just listen to the “deet-deet-deet” from the comfort of my bed. People did warn us that when your child is old enough to roll, the alarm sound will give you heart failure. We had a few of those. One word- terrifying! But it gave me much coveted sleep. It also tells me the temperature in her room – like how cold it was when she was born. I shiver to think how little I dressed her in. I was so scared she was going to overheat I was ready to give her hypothermia instead. It also has a function that you can talk to your baby from another room. My husband would probably be tempted, in a creepy Stars Wars voice to say, “…I’m your father.” We’ve never made use of this function. I know that the power button is also quite useful when they are wailing and fighting sleep. That’s just what I’ve heard.

  1. A snot sucker – This has got to be the coolest and by far, the most disgusting thing I’d ever thought I’d use. Snot is something few people talk about – unless you’re a mom or a preschool teacher of which I am both. Our baby girl came down with something the second week of her little life. I recall watching my husband pull a piece of hair out of her mouth…correction, I thought it was a strand of my long hair. It was phlegm. So when she sounds all snuffly and I’m convinced she can’t breathe and will suffocate during the night, I will literally do just about anything to end this! So we invest in saline spray!  And after we’ve sprayed, I sit there with a green (I hate green) silicone nasal aspirator bulb. Now, there is a knack to using this thing because if it’s not aimed in just the right direction, the snot taunts you, comes into view and then does not move a millimetre further. So when my husband comes home with an interesting looking device, I’m intrigued. It has a very cute animation of a mom and baby and then a long tube connecting mom’s mouth to baby’s nose. Lovely! Like I said…prepared to try anything. So, pulling it out and investigating to make sure that her snot UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can reach my mouth (apparently an FAQ), I give it a try. Placing the mouth piece between my lips and making sure that the sponge that blocks the snot reaching me is securely in place, I place the nozzle near her nose and…suck. The satisfaction of instantly seeing everything I’ve been hearing for the past week vacuumed into the tube is almost as good as squeezing a spot on your face. There is something oddly satisfying about it. And both she and I could breathe easier after using this impressive piece of equipment.

So there you have it. My top 5 things that I would choose to do mommyhood with. Some have saved me money and some have saved my sanity. All in all, when you have a baby, you need both and seldom have either, so I’d say it’s a good idea to hold onto them when you have the chance.

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