Mr UFM, newborn Poppy and I arrived home from the hospital at around 8pm on a Sunday. The three of us were tired and hungry and Mr UFM and I were brimming with excitement and nerves.
That first night at home was one of the most petrifying of my life. We were now on our own and were totally responsible for this tiny, helpless human who totally relied on us. In the hospital there was always someone to help and advise us, but at home it was just the three of us. I’ll never forget the beautiful sense of relief when night turned to day and we realised that we’d actually done it….we’d got through the first night and Poppy was in one piece. It only got easier from there on in.
What’s amazing about being a new mama is that you start off being a total novice but very soon become something of an expert. It’s a huge learning curve but it’s quite incredible how quickly you get the hang of it. It’s all about getting to know your new baby and what works for him or her and I’ll tell you something…if I can do it, ANYONE CAN!!
Anyway, there are a few things that people taught me and that I learnt on the job that I want to share with you. Some people might call them ‘baby hacks’…I just call them lifesavers.
Newborn Baby Hacks:
1.Before you begin changing your baby’s nappy place a fresh nappy under the current one, then clean the baby’s bottom, whip off the dirty nappy and voila, there’s a clean one in place, all ready to go.
2. Sometimes newborns have what I like to call ‘Poo-splosions’. Poppy once did a poo that shot across her nursery and hit the wall…I’ve never laughed so much or been quite as shocked. There will almost definitely be times when poo escapes the nappy and goes all over your baby’s babygro and vest. The gro is easy to remove because of the poppers but the vest isn’t quite so obvious. You’ll notice that there are funny foldy bits at the top of the vest on each shoulder. They are specifically there so that you can take it off downwards rather than over your little one’s head. This means that you handily don’t get any poo on your baby’s face which would quite frankly make me want to cry.
3. If you’re struggling with what to dress your newborn in the general rule is to put them in one more layer than you’re wearing. You can check how hot/cold they are by feeling their chest and tummy. Don’t judge temperature by feeling your baby’s hands or feet as they are generally colder than the rest of the body. Another thing to remember is that it’s very important not to overheat your baby. It’s always very tempting to wrap them up in blankets, but if it’s a boiling hot day they’ll be fine in a vest or even just their nappy.
4. A quick and easy way of making formula is to have some cooled boiled water available. Then you boil the kettle, put some hot water (no cooler than 70 degrees) in the bottom of your baby’s bottle and add your scoops of formula. Put the lid on and give it a gentle shake…you don’t want to do this too forcefully as it will produce air bubbles which can contribute to wind. You’re mixing the powder with the hot water to kill germs. After the formula and hot water are combined, add cooled boiled water, gently shake again and you have an instant bottle of milk at a good temperature. (You’ll need to do a bit of trial and error to work out the ratio of hot and cold water for the perfect temperature for your baby.) Always test the milk on the inside of your wrist. If you can’t feel it it’s perfect as it will be body temperature.
Something that I need to add to this is that it’s important to get the correct ratio of water to powder so make sure you measure out your water in advance in order to add the exact amount recommended on the formula container. (e.g. 210 ml or water to 7 scoops formula).
5. Carry your newborn in a sling so that he/she can sleep nestled against you while you get on with errands. They absolutely love being close to you and hearing your heartbeat (Many people refer to the first month or so as the 4th trimester of pregnancy meaning that it makes sense for your baby to be as close to you as possible) and Pops would sleep for hours like this without crying…at times it was the only way to calm her down. Check out these Important Tips for Safe Sling Wearing.
6. If your baby screams every time you lay him/her down in the Moses basket and seems uncomfortable after feeding but isn’t always sick or obviously windy then it could be silent reflux. Many people aren’t aware of this as it has no obvious symptoms apart from a lot of crying, particularly when your baby is lying down. It’s good to be aware that it does exist and to bring it up with your dr if you’re worried. Poppy’s symptoms were eased with a medicine called Ranitidine and by raising her Moses Basket at the head end slightly, but your GP will advise you.
7. Make a note of when you feed your baby and for how long on each breast if breast feeding or how much milk they take if bottle feeding. Also note down how often they poo and wee and when they sleep. Its great info to show your health visitor and will help you to understand how your baby works a bit and to notice if any patterns emerge. Babies should produce 6 wet nappies a day a few days after the birth and the urine should be nice and clear and not too smelly. Nappies will feel heavy and the little line on them will change colour when your baby has done a wee.
8. Baby’s often wee when they come into contact with the cold which explains why they always seem to do one the minute that you remove their nappy. Always have a flannel handy to place over your baby boy’s willy when changing him so that the wee doesn’t go everywhere. (My friend’s son got her in the eye once :0)
9. Go on a baby massage course and incorporate it into your little one’s bedtime routine from a really young age. I still do baby massage with Poppy and she’s one. It relaxes her and lets her know that it’s time to settle.
I hope that these come in handy. I’ll add more as and when I think of them.
Oh and if you like this make sure you check out this list of everything you could ever need for your new baby.