1. short bath
2. no soap
3. no woollen clothes
4. not to play on a woollen carpet
5. qv bath oil in the bath
6. qv wash instead of soap
7. novasone ointment daily to rash
8. glycerine 10% sorbolene cream twice a day to body and limbs
Baby guide for Sal:
1. The link where you can find digital catalogues from a lot of shops. http://lasoo.com.au/portal/. I registered to receive catalogues from BigW, Target, ToysRUs etc so once they're out I'll see them in no time, saving me lots of money and time.
2. The midwives probably will teach you how to wrap a baby in antenatal classes. And it seems that every baby will be wrapped for the first few months. So wraps will probably be an essential. We wrapped DD1 until 9-10 months, and DD2 maybe for 1-2 months. Wrapping makes baby feel secure during the first few months of sleeping. However it's not really a MUST, so you probably can live without it if your baby is ok to sleep without a wrap, saving you having to wean her off it. And not wrapping a baby saves lots of time too.
The cheapest wraps I've found are in BigW. They're about $12 for 3-4 wraps. In winter you use thicker cotton fabrics such as flannel/flannelette, brushed cotton, stretchy cotton etc. In summer you use muslin.
We bought some muslin (the thinnest) ones because DD1 was born in summer. When winter came we couldn't use the thicker ones given to us as gifts, because they were too small for our 6 month old. And it was so hard to find large size wraps. So I bought some fabric and made my own. You can just use bed sheets and cut to size, easy as that.
3. Since you've bought some new baby gear, don't forget to leave them outside for some time to get rid of the smells. After we bought our cot, mattress, stroller etc, we installed them and left them outside (in the sunshine if possible) for a few weeks just to get rid of the smell. The smell from the cot was quite strong from my memory.
And for the clothes and toys, I heard sunshine is the best disinfectant. I’ve been trying to avoid chemicals in my daily life and believe it’s good for baby. When I wash babies clothes, I 1/4 of recommended washing detergent. It doesn't matter if the clothes looks a bit dirty, but it does matter if they have chemicals residue on them.
4. Below are the two things I think most important when it comes to labour:
First. You should contact your hospital when:
1) You’re bleeding, or
2) Your water breaks, or
3) Your contractions last 60 seconds regularly, and 4-5 minute in between, regularly.
The first 2 are easy to identify, but the third one is very hard to tell. First time moms don’t have the experience to identify ‘regular’ contractions but actually if you have a pen, paper and watch to record the contraction patterns you’ll probably have an idea.
Second. The breathing technique.
If I remember correctly I needed to have deep breaths during contractions in 1st stage of labour and before every push during 2nd stage when pushing. Ask your midwife or OB about it. Screaming doesn’t help but waste the precious energy. Use your will to control it and ask your hubby to remind you not to scream. You’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of. These techniques will help you get oxygen which is essential to you and your baby, and also conserve your energy which is most important in labour.
Refer to below website for more information about breathing techniques in labour.
5. Below is my labour experience with DD1 and hope this will help you prepare:
My contractions started early am of 23/12/6, and was about 5-10 minutes in between. (Later on I knew it was very mild.) I called the hospital when we got up and the hospital said we could go and have it checked out. So we went to the hospital, got checked, and the midwife said I was in ‘pre-labour’ and it was hard to tell how long it would be. So we were sent home. The contractions continued until am of 25/12/6 when I felt it was too strong to even walk, and I couldn’t help screaming, so we decided to head to the hospital again. Lucky it was only 5 minutes away, coz you really won’t like travelling under that circumstance. The midwife said I was only 1-2 cm dilated. And she still wanted to send me home. I insisted coz I didn’t think I could cope with another travel. So I stayed. I got 4cm dilated at 11am and was finally sent to the birthing suite. When I was in the birthing suite the midwife directed me to stay in the bath for some time as it would relieve some pain. I was suffering from a lot of back pain so it did help. Then we tried different positions to help with the pain, and also some tricks to stimulate the dilation, such as rubbing the nipples. Then they said my dilation was still to slow, and asked my permission to break the water. I said yes. After they broke the water the contractions suddenly became a lot stronger. And I started screaming uncontrollably. The midwife told me I shouldn’t scream as it would waste my energy. So she taught John how to remind me and taught me to breathe instead of scream. This is when you know how strong your will is. Yes you will is strong enough to help you ignore the pain and control your reactions. I could breathe without screaming and it really helped a bit. Then there were some trivia things I don’t want to get into too much detail as they may vary from person to person. So this is my first stage of labour (yours may not be that long as pre-labour doesn’t often happen so a first stage should normally be around 10 hours not 3 days).
The second stage: I felt strong urge to bush. It was like you have a diahorrea and want to go to the toilet as soon as possible. I said I wanted to push. The midwife said no wait till I tell you to. So I had to control it. Then at a stage I said I really want to push, the midwife had a look and said yes do it, and do it when the next contraction comes. (You should push only when there’s a contraction, and when the contraction is gone, you have a rest, or sleep.) Then I started pushing but I didn’t really master the correct way to do it. You should focus on your virgina, not your bladder or bowel. But I just pushed everywhere so it took a long time. The midwife was directing me and if I was doing it wrong, she would criticize me, and if I was doing it right she would tell me too. So in your case, I would suggest focusing on where your baby should come out and use your will to keep that focus, then your baby will come out in no time. I wasted a lot of energy and the midwife even threatened me if I continue doing it that way, she would have to vacuum the baby out. I was so scared coz I knew vacuuming is not a good thing. To be honest I was really gonna give up at some stages because 3 days of labour was making me too tired. But maybe you just need a few more pushes. So finally after more than 1 hour of pushing the midwife said she had to cut me because the baby couldn’t come out. And I asked so if you cut me it’ll be easy for the baby to come out? And she said yes. So I said cut it. I remember I heard from somewhere the cut won’t hurt so I didn’t really care about the cutting. And it really didn’t hurt when she cut me. I guess there’re not many nerves around there. And then the next push was like nothing, and I was told the baby was out, and I pulled her out of my body. It was like a dream to take your baby out of your body. Nothing can describe it. Then the cord got cut, and it didn’t hurt at all as well.
The third stage was easy. It was only another push to get rid of the placenta.
6. DD2’s birth was different. I had much less prelabour and when I knew it was 5 minutes apart I knew it was time for hospital. 6:30 am I was in the delivery suite and 10:17am DD2 was born. This time I was on all fours (hands and knees) so DD2 came out very quickly. Midwife said this position makes labour faster (although more painful coz you don’t have much time to get used to the progress of the pain) due to the gravity. I decided to apply this position because I wanted to avoid another pubic symphysis tear.
7. About pain relief, epidural etc. I was planning to use them when I needed, but my mind wasn’t clear enough to request them during labour. But I have no regret not using them. I experienced a wonderful and complete labour, although terrible on the other hand. And I realized how strong a person’s will is, and I was very proud of myself. It’s a wonderful thing. But, I don’t know if I would be damaged so much if I had had an epidural. However epidural has risks too. John’s relative had 6 months pain after using epidural. If you really think you want to use epidural or any pain relief, you need to plan it. When I gave birth to DD2 I asked for it at the final stage of Stage 1 and was refused because it was too late.
8. Breast pump: not every mum will need it. So I wouldn’t recommend spending money on it before you have the baby. And to me, it IS an unnatural thing and I DID feel very uncomfortable and even painful when using them. I bought a manual one and didn’t like it. My mom bought me another manual one and I didn’t like it. My friend lent me an electronic one and still I didn’t like it. I learnt how to express milk by hands from a midwife and found it the best way for me to express milk. Breastfeeding is one of the biggest topics after you have the baby until it stops, and there’ll be so many problems and questions surrounding it. The best website to explore it is ABA http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/. Here you can find all the bf information you’ll need: http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/index.html and trust me, they’re useful and practical, because they’re compiled from experiences from real moms. And this page is talking specifically about expressing milk: http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/express.html and it lists the occasions when you NEED TO express milk, in other occasions, expressing is NOT NEEDED. Expressing milk is not something every mom needs to do. And as always, you can ask questions and explore threads on the online baby forums where thousands of mums are there to tell you their experiences. I can’t rave more about ABA as from my personal experience the website and its counselors (they even came to my home to teach me) almost saved my life. I’ll need to stop now because otherwise I’ll spend 1 whole day on this topic.
9. Birth classes: I know when you give birth the midwife or OB will give you instructions to guide you through it. But it would be better if you are well prepared before labour. It’s a time when you don’t have much time to think and learn on the spot. When you see your care giver (midwife or OB) next time, ask them what to do during birth. You can also learn from internet or by asking questions in forums. I learnt a lot of things new when I was in labour and it was late. It was helpful but it prolonged my labour and wasted my energy. It will be helpful when you already have some theories in mind and know what they’re talking about. It’ll be most helpful when you already know how to do it!
10. When baby's starting solids (around 4-6 months), you'll need a high chair. i heard ikea's high chair is pretty good and cheap. http://www.ikea.com/au/en/catalog/products/40157918 but i preferred wheels so we spent $100 on one with wheels when it was on sale. the ones with wheels are normally a lot more expensive than the ones without wheels. But we really need this feature as i'm trying to avoid lifting things. Another feature of our high chair is it's foldable. But i never needed to fold it. Probably good when you're moving house or putting it away.
11. Baby shopping: I would go to baby specialty stores such as Babies Galore (BG) or Baby Kingdom and have a thourough look although may not buy from there. You can also check out their websites which might have very detailed information about their products. They have almost everything you’ll possibly need for babies. It’s just a matter of what you want to have and whether you want to spend that much money on good brands. Then you can go to ToysRus, BigW or Target (or even Coles and Woolworths) to see if you can find cheaper options. I’m not suggesting Kmart as personally I don’t trust their qualities.
We initially bought most of our stuff from BG because we didn’t realize that we could buy baby stuff from supermarket or department stores. However we find they have the brands and quality that we can trust.
12. Nappies: We never bought any newborn size for DD1. DD1 used about 260 newborn nappies before we had to move on to Infant size when she was about 2 months old. The 260 nappies were all given to us as gifts by our friends and colleagues. Just spread the word that you’re going to have a baby and you’ll have more newborn nappies than you need. Haha~ DD1 used at least 8 newborn nappies per day during her first month, then they were too small for her. We had to sell a box of newborn nappies (on ebay) which was a late gift from my old colleague.
Huggies boxed nappies are as low as $30 each box when on sale. Normal price is around $40-50.
Using newborn and infant size Huggies has some advantages because they have very good resale value which means if you can’t use them up, you can sell them on ebay, even if you only have a few unpacked nappies. Then when your baby grows to crawler size, you may find you need to pay more per nappy. But you may still pay less by switching to other brands. I now use BIGW’s Dymples with DD2 and have been very happy with them. I was also happy with Aldi’s Mamia and BigW’s boxed Babylove, but they’re not as big as Dymples. We’ve used Mamia since DD1 started to crawl then we switched to boxed Babylove from BigW when we found Mamia was getting small. These three brands are the best of what we’ve tried. We’ve also tried some pharmacy brands, snugglers, and dribots from Target, but they can’t beat these three brands. Huggies tends to be small so expect the baby to outgrow the size earlier than you plan.
When choosing nappies, try to buy the ones with elastic waist. From my memory snugglers and dribots do not have elastic waists. Small babies tend to leak, especially when they poo. And because they’re mostly in a lying position, they tend to leak from their back. So nappies with elastic waist especially at the back is providing the guard to prevent leakage.
13. Nappy change: we didn’t know how to roll the dirty nappies at first so we ended up with lots of cockroaches at home (yuk) so you might want to know how to dispose a dirty nappy as well as change nappies. This video shows you from start to end and the end shows you how to roll the dirty nappy tightly so that no smells can come out. I do pretty much the same with DD2 without the ‘’wipe’ part, as I find wiping her bottom too much causes nappy rash. Now I only wipe her bottom when she does a poo, and if she doesn’t do a poo in a day, I wipe maybe once or twice a day using wet cloth wipes. Keeping her bottom dry is very important to avoid nappy rash.
14. When buying clothes or anything that may touch baby’s skin, try to buy 100% cotton made and avoid synthetic fabrics such as polyester/polar fleece. You may find many winter clothes made of polar fleece. Even if you have to buy these synthetic fabric clothes, try not let them touch baby’s skin by putting a cotton layer of clothes between them and baby’s skin. I got this advice from my GP when we found out DD1 had Eczema.
15. Shopping lists:
1) Cot and mattress. We bought DD1’s from Babies Galore
2) Waterproof mattress protecter. It is optional but we can’t imagine without one. We bought DD1’s from BG for $20.
3) Pram/stroller. We bought DD1’s 3-wheel stroller from BG. Some people prefer 4-wheel prams but I prefer 3-wheelers as I planned to run with DD1 in it and I do find 3-wheelers manuveur better than 4-wheelers. After baby reaches 6 months and can sit you may want to buy an umbrella stroller which is a compact light weight stroller with only sitting position. We bought ours when DD1 was 7 months and it weighs only 4.5kg. I love it. It saves your back!
5) Playmat with hanging toys. It can be used from birth to approx 6 months when baby starts crawing. DD1 enjoyed it for months. But once she started crawling she didn’t want to stay in it any more.
7) Nursing pillow. It makes breastfeeding in a sitting position so much easier. I bought my Boppy pillow from BG. I was holding DD1 when breastfeeding her before but found it too tiring. With the pillow you can place it on your lap and put the baby on it so you get free hands. I used it until DD1 was 8-9 months. A good arm chair can do a good job too. I don’t have one but I find the ones in the parents room in some shopping centres are quite good. With DD2 I didn’t use a boppy pillow as my milk flow was too quick for her and I had to feed her in a lying position, in bed. Until now when she’s 7 months I still feed her in a lying position, unless when we’re out.
8) Lots of face washers. I cut up some of DD1’s old clothes to make wipes which do the same job. I find cutting up flannelette bed sheets makes the best wipes ever, better than towels.
9) Change pads: some $2 shops sell waterproof baby mats. Simply wipe clean and they can be used again. I bought a pack of Huggies disposable change mats but never wanted to use them as they’re not reusable.
10) Nursing cover: if you intend to breastfeed in public, a nursing cover will be very useful. I made one (very simple) for myself and have been using it all the time. It’s one of my essentials in my daily nappy bag. And I feel free to breastfeed anywhere. If you don’t want to sew you can buy them online but they’re quite pricey for me considering I can make one in half an hour…
11) Nursing pads/breast pads. If you want to breastfeed you may find when you feed your baby from one breast, the other one is leaking. And you wouldn’t want your breast to look wet in public. To prevent leakage you may want to put some washable nursing pads inside your bra. I bought some disposables and found I had to change them every few hours. They were about $9 for 24pk. So I bought 6pk of washable ones from Target for $8-10. When I was in China I bought some more. I’ve never really needed to spend money on disposables any more as I just throw the wet ones into washing machine with clothes and reuse them again and again.
12) Baby wipes. I used disposable baby wipes with DD1 but with DD2 I use cloth wipes only. All you need to do is cut up some old flannelette bedsheets into about A4 size pieces. When you need a wet one you just wet it with water. Or if you want to be more creative, google ‘cloth wipe recipe’ you’ll find plenty of ideas. When used, throw them into a bucket and wash them with clothes when you do the laundry. I sometimes get lazy and just throw them into the laundry basket with other clothes.
If you do want to use disposable baby wipes, try to avoid ‘scented’ ones. Try to buy ‘fragrance free’ ones. We bought Johnson’s scented baby wipes and DD1’s bottom was instantly red after we wiped it with them. We found Huggies unscented baby wipes are safe for DD1, but DD2’s bottom wouldn’t even tolerate this brand so we have to use cloth wipes on her. DD2’s Paed said the commercial baby wipes clean too well and a wet cotton ball should be enough for cleaning baby’s bottom.
13) Baby skin products: none is needed. Baby only need water to bath.. If baby’s skin is dry, use QV cream. If baby has skin problems, see Early Childhood Nurse (ECHN) or GP for advice. Do not use any chemicals including bubble bath, shampoo, lotion. We occasionally use QV oil in baby’s bath but I don’t feel it essential.
Our GP said we do not need to bath baby every day. She advised us to do it every other day. We’ve been bathing DD1 1-2 times a week after that. For DD2 we do the same thing: luke warm water for a quick bath twice a week, Sorbelene cream after bath. Both DD1 and DD2 have Eczema (which is another big topic).
14) Clothes: try to buy them when you need them not beforehand. Baby grows too quickly. Most of DD1’s clothes were worn only once, some even never worn. We didn’t buy any clothes when DD1 was born because there were plenty from family, friends and colleagues. As she grows we continue receiving them as gifts and from families. So we haven’t really spent much on clothes. However you may want to consider buying a couple of sleeping bags. DD1 lived in sleeping bags for years, while DD2 doesn’t have the luxury. I always use blankets on her.
15) Wrap: you don’t have to wrap baby to sleep. But midwives in hospital tend to do that and teach you to do that when baby is born. If the baby can’t sleep well maybe try to do it so baby feels more secure like in the womb. There’re different types of wraps: cotton/flannelette is for winter and muslin is for summer. We bought ours from BG but you can easily find cheaper options from BigW. You may need 2-3 of them to alternate. We wrapped DD1 till she was 9-10 months old. She was so big that none of the wraps in the shops could hold in place. So I had to sew a few from some old bed sheets.
16) Mittens. You’ll probably need to prepare them before birth. DD1 was scratching herself from the first few days after she was born and the midwife said we needed mittens. Later on we mastered the skill of clipping baby’s nails so mittens weren’t needed any more. We just use normal nail clippers. We found the baby ones very difficult to use.
I know a pregnancy can be difficult at times. I suffered from very severe hay fever when pregnant with DD2 so I
know what it's like! Oh talking about the difficulties breathing! I had to gasp for numerous times every day for weeks to get enough oxygen. I thought there was something wrong with me. I even went to see a couple of GPs about it. I followed their suggestions by trying to relax and increasing outdoor activities and the difficulties of breathing went away. About baby kicking ribs, I really can't think of anything that can help at the moment. Maybe
when tomorrow morning I'm not as exhausted I can remember something. :) You poor thing. Oh my mom said the baby doesn't need to grow much during the last month of pregnancy so I always restricted my diet to control weight gain during the last month. I never gained weight during the last month of my both pregnancies and both babies were healthy. It's good because the heavier they are the more difficult it would be for the pregnant mom to
carry them. And no one wants a very large baby because it would be very difficult to give birth. DD1 weighed 3.33kg and DD2 weighed 3.18kg. I gained 10kgs during both pregnancies. I lost the whole lot after I had DD1
but didn't lose everything after I had DD2 so I'm slightly chubbier than before I had DD1 now. :) I hope to lose all the extra weight after I wean DD2.
I couldn't sleep much during the last few months of my pregnancies too. I think it happens to most pregnancy women. All the discomforts... But then, after you have the baby you still can't sleep well due to the baby feeding
very frequently...I still get up every 2 hours at night to feed DD2 now at 8 months! Oops, you wouldn't want to know would you? LOL... But you don't need to worry too much about this because you'll have family support. If
someone can look after your baby for a few hours you can catch up with some sleep easily. I could when my parents were here. But once they went back to China I've got no help so I was quite overwhelmed with lack of sleep for a while, but now I kind of get used to it...