Mom guilt

I had a moment today. The house was quiet (Mark was out for a run with our first child) and I sat with our first born, in a pod on our patio, gently swinging and looking out at our garden. I love our home. And I’m so excited that one day Elle (first born) will get to run around with Indie (first child – she’s a dog in case you missed that) in this house and garden.

But as I sat swinging, with my sleeping bebe I realised in two months time I’m going to be paying someone else to sit in this swing with her.

And so the mom guilt set in.

I was warned about mom guilt. From the moment you give birth (by c section, which isn’t a real birth as some say – even referred to as an easy option by those same ‘some’) the mom guilt sets in. Give up breast feeding? Mom guilt. Go back to work? There it is again. Work late? Girls dinners out? Weekend away without kids? Mom guilt written all over those things.

I don’t want to pay someone else to rock my child to sleep and soothe her when she cries. I have waited a long time for my baby, to see her smile, hold her hand, help her take her first step. And I want to be there for those things. But there’s a chance, a good chance, I’m going to miss some things.
Going back to work is a non-negotiable for me. There’s the whole… well, financial thing. Living in this house that I love means that FNB loves monthly payments. But there’s also the whole career thing. I’ve built a career over a the years with some hard work. I studied a degree, I started at the bottom, I read, researched and absorbed (absorb still) all I can from mentors and industry leaders. And when I couldn’t be a mom, I accepted my career as my thing. It, in part, is what I do. Who I am. What I’ve worked hard for for many years. It stimulates me, challenges me and captivates me. It’s not something I want to give up.

As I rocked my baby and imagined the person (that I haven’t hired yet) who will be sitting in my place in two months time I couldn’t help but cry. I don’t want to go back to work just to pay someone else to do this. But I’m not. I’m going back to work to pay for so much more. To give her this home, an education in a good school and also around the world as we travel with our baby girl to beautiful places and show her our favourite cities or discover new ones with her. I’m going back to work so that she can admire her mom for being an equal, contributing to the household, and to teach her that women can succeed in the workplace as much as men can.

Hopefully all that mom guilt is worth it in the long term.

How to baby

I’m writing this post for you, dear reader (from Canada, Australia, the UK and SA – yes, I see my stats and know who you are!) but mostly for myself. If I’m lucky (crazy/stupid) enough to fall pregnant again and survive those (hellishly long) 9 months before welcoming a small pink baby human into the world again, there are some things I need to make a note of to recall when the time comes.

How to baby:
Firstly – you will lose your shit. At yourself, your husband, even your new baby. It’ll be a moment. Or many moments. Your sanity returns… to a degree.

What happens in the night, stays in the night. Words spoken, thoughts thunk. We’re all tired and all go a bit loopy at 5am when we haven’t yet slept.

At some point in those early days at home you will cry.
Cry because the miracle is here, and that it’s yours. Cry because it’s yours for the rest of your life and that is a massive responsibility. Cry because it’s your problem to try and settle it and you don’t think you can. Cry. Without a because.

If the baby doesn’t want to feed – tickle his/her cheek, massage his/her hands or undress the baby. This undressing technique may land up in tears (baby’s) so approach with caution.

Nappies. You will change more nappies than you can ever imagine. You will be an expert nappy changer. Stock up with more nappies than you think you’ll need. It probably still won’t be enough.

You will smell like milk. Your baby will smell like milk. The couch will smell like milk.
You may also smell like curry. I’m not sure why.

The White noise app. Just keep it downloaded on your phone.

Infacol, Apollo-kol, Colic Calm, Telemant. Whatever you use, the winding in the first few weeks is a bitch. Remember the tap is light, slightly to their side and on the nappy line. It will eventually come out. When they’re like 10 weeks old… just keep tapping.

Give them the damn Bennetts. Every new mom battles the Bennetts guilt battle. But.. Happy baby, happy mom. Start again tomorrow. Give them the Bennetts tonight.

Nipple cream. You don’t (contrary to what you think on day 4) need to keep a tube of nipple cream in every room of the house. You do stop needing it. But before you stop, you will cry from pain. It too, shall pass.
Blooms nipple cream is the only one. You too shall promote it to any listening new mom as it is that miraculous.

Nighttime feeds. A valuable nugget of advice I received about 5 weeks into this (but that has since changed my life!) is – don’t change their nappy at the night time feeds!
A) it’ll wake them up. Then you have to settle them again. (some basic logic in that one I guess.. and that I clearly was lacking between week 0 and week 5) – unless ofcourse you need to wake them to feed them and 2) They eventually learn not to poop in the night so its a bit of training too.

These three tips compliments of my paediatrician.

3, 6, 9, 12 – day or night. Feed them on these hours. Just until they’re back at their birth weight again.
Feed for 10 minutes a side. Burp in between.
It is not an open buffet. Their sleep is as important as their feeds. If they fuss, or spit up, they miss out. They need to go back to sleep until they’re at their birth weight.

Limit your guests. It’ll save you from exhaustion. It’ll save your baby from overstimulation.

Let your baby sleep in its own cot from as early as possible. (Preparing for onslaught of co-sleeping moms here. I guess its personal choice).

You are not a human pacifier. If you behave like one, you’ll need nipple cream in every room!
Just give them a dummy. You know you’re going to land up doing it in a few weeks anyway. Leave it too long they may never take it. Then you’ll be more sorry than if you’d given it to them in the early days. You seldom see a 6 year old running around with a dummy. You’ll wean them off it. Eventually. (Theory yet to be proven)

A Nurture One cushion will be the best purchase you make. Just trust any mom who has owned one. (this tip isn’t sponsored)

Purchases – do them all pre-baby. I am 10 weeks down and still don’t have a cot mobile or a nappy bag. There is NO time nor headspace once the baby arrives to buy things. Unless they’re online.

Online shopping. Download the apps, and get comfortable with shopping online. A pram, no matter how fancy, doesn’t make grocery shopping an easy task.

Freezer Meals. Just do it. Make them yourself, order them in. Arrange it before you have the baby. You don’t need more baby clothes or flowers from friends. You need food. (ok, you do actually need flowers. More on that later).

Finally. The antenatal whatsapp group. Handy sometimes, annoying most times. Every baby is different and comparison will be the thief of any joy you have.