Of my 5 loyal readers approximately .125% of you will have the slightest interest in my unsolicited advice on the matters of things you should consider during the last days of pregnancy and early days of parenthood. And, given the fact that this advice is, as was said, unsolicited, you’ll also likely roll your eyes and ignore me. Of course I understand completely.
That being said:
Here be Patti’s best unsolicited advice (assvice) as can be summoned during one or more middle-shifts
1. Poise undergarments are your friends.
Oh, should I have warned you about that one? Oops. Well, look. Pregnancy itself isn’t exactly the neatest state a human being can occupy and I think we all know that childbirth can multiply the ick factor substantially. Good thing there’s a rather substantial payout at the end, huh?
But back to the poise pants… when you’re done delivering your miracle and the midwives / doctors / shamans / ambulance personnel / meter maids / panicky husbands are done with theirs then everything in hoo-haa land doesn’t simply dry up and go back to the lovely state you know so well. Nope. There’s messy stuff. And leakage. And ick. The hospital (should you go that route) will offer you these mesh “panties” that are disposable and hold oversized maxi pads. They are uncomfortable and work only dubiously well. And, if you have a C-section they do nothing to protect your incision and its dressing… which can add to the ick factor.
The poise undergarments are hella better, let me tell you. I cannot count how many nurses exclaimed when they saw what I was using. My own DOCTOR was impressed and said that she will tell her patients about them from now on. They’re comfortable. They’re disposable. They catch a lot more stuff. They won’t leak. They come far up your tummy and so as an added bonus provide a sort of post-partum support function too.
I don’t evangelize about a lot, but this… oh yeah baby. Vaginal birth or C-cection does not matter. If you bring the Poise, I don’t think you’ll be unhappy with the decision.
2. Bring a towel to sit on while you’re in recovery. This pretty much only applies to a hospital birth I guess, since birth centers send you home pretty quickly. But, in the hospital they’ll have these plasticky sheets that are meant to protect the bed. They work, but they’re scratchy and UNCOMFORTABLE. Especially if you follow my advice from (1) above you’ll be more comfortable if you bring a cheap CVS beach towel and sit on it while you’re in the bed. Much nicer on exposed skin.
3. Dreft is not necessary. Seriously. Buy *any* detergent that is dye free and fragrance free and you’ve got the same gentle, baby safe detergent. There’s nothing different except the price. My favorite? All Free and Clear.
4. Are you the type who likes to know numbers and quantities and statistics? Are you prone to keeping lists? If something were to go a little off would you feel better if you had a printout of important repeating events to refer back to? Then think about using Trixie Tracker Telemetry.
When Kai was born i stumbled on a daddy blog called The Trixie Update. Trixie’s dad was a stay at home dad and web developer and Trixie’s Mom was a doctor. It was in his nature to keep track of things like sleep times, how often Trixie nursed or his wife pumped and since he worked on the web he built the display of this data into his site. The added bonus was that Trixie’s mom could keep track of how her daughter was doing when she wasn’t home, and wouldn’t you know other folks liked knowing the info too. For instance, here’s a sample of how he kept track of and analyzed Trixie’s sleep habits.
And giving credit where credit is due, it was the part of his site where he posted Trixie Pictures of the Day (TPODS) that gave me the desire to turn our site into something similar.
Fast forward a few years and he has turned the idea into a product. You can basically buy your way into his application and use it to track info for your own kid. It’s free to try for two weeks and then you can buy time for a month, or six months or more if you wish. When you’re done buying time he does not erase your data… it’s still there for you to look at, but you just can’t add more.
You better bet I use this with Finn. The link to his tracker is available from the Archives or About pages for now.
5. Never throw away breast milk. Put that bottle back in the fridge and offer it later. Seriously. It does not go bad. You worked way too hard at pumping to dump it down the drain. So what if it’s been sitting out at room temperature for *gasp* two hours. It is liquid gold. Naturally antimicrobial. People put the stuff on cuts as an antibiotic. It’s FINE.
6. You don’t need a bottle warmer. Seriously. The kid can drink the milk straight from the fridge (same goes for formula). S/He won’t get cramps or reflux or any other stomach ailment from drinking cold milk. Promise. Although I don’t have much experience with thawing frozen milk, I’m gonna assume that if you thaw it overnight in the fridge first then its the same thing. (Update: I’ve been told that running it under hot/warm water for a few minutes pretty much does the thawing trick.) Now, if you have a child with super sensitive health issues and warming it up makes you feel like you’re protecting their delicate system then I have no argument with you. You know what’s best. But if you have a non-sickly “normal” for lack of a better word child, then honestly make life easier on yourself whenever possible.
7. TiVo is your friend. If you’re gonna be up during countless middle-shifts then you gotta have something to keep you entertained. No cable? Ok… then how about an Apple TV? Netflix? However you do it, you need something to keep you from toppling over onto your helpless babe while trying to stay at least minimally awake. That is, if you watch TV which I understand not everyone does.
8. Trying to decide between diaper rash creams? My vote is for Boudreaux Butt Paste. That stuff is the shiznit. Oh, and get some athlete’s foot cream and keep it around to treat diaper rash. No, I’m not high. Our pediatrician told us to do it. You see, diaper rash is a yeast infection. Lotrimin or Lamisol is an antifungal. It kills yeast. Get it? When Kai would get one, we’d apply a thin layer of the anti-fungal in the morning and at night, just twice a day, and cover it with a layer of the butt paste. All other diaper changes were accompanied by butt paste only. Keep that up for about a week and you can stop the anti-fungal.
If you have a very very little baby and it isn’t quite ready for medicines yet (ask your pediatrician), then think about using a homemade sort of “baby bidet”. See, their butts can get pretty darn raw from even the gentlest diaper wipe. So for a while fill a squirt bottle full of warm water and hold them butt end up over a sink and spritz away. Do it well enough and you may not need the wipes at all… at the very least you can minimize wipe usage to just getting the last most stubborn smudges. After a while the irritation may reduce to the point where the poor thing doesn’t start wailing bloody murder the moment you start to unsnap a onesie.
9. Create and maintain baby “field kits” around your house. Find a way to stash a supply of diapers, wipes, waterproof pads, burp cloths, blankets and butt paste in every room you’re likely to be in with the baby for multiple hours. For us, that’s our bedroom, Kai’s bedroom (where the changing table is, of course) and the living room. It minimizes the chance that we’ll be running around looking for some missing article when there’s a pissed off (or pissing) baby to deal with.
10. And finally, since I’ve rambled on and on and on… I’ll round out with a few of my favorite things. Some of them aren’t immediately useful to an infant, but that’s ok, you know?
* Infantino Sling Rider : I loved this thing the first time and am loving it just as much the second time. Yes, the original was recalled due to a poorly constructed shoulder buckle, but they’ve since improved the design and it’s a better product. I love carrying the baby around in his little pouch. For him it’s probably a smidge like being back inside.
* Baby Legs : Now, why does a baby need leg warmers? I mean really. Two reasons: Crawling and Winter. I found out about baby legs after the crawling phase was long gone, but it still remains a good reason to check them out. The leg warmers protect little knees from hard surfaces when learning to crawl, which is especially helpful if you’re prone to letting the little one roam around in just a diaper, or wear skirts or something like that.
For me, the big draw was as winter wear. I was close to buying tights for Kai, boy or not, because I was sick of seeing bare legs exposed between sock and cuff of pants every time I would pick him up. It’s cold outside… bare skin is not allowed! But tights suck because you have to take them OFF at every diaper change. The baby legs are an extra layer of warmth under pants (or skirt) and they don’t interfere with diaper changes at all. Gorgeous.
Yes, you could make your own if you were so inclined. Usually, I’m not.
And no, it’s not sissy for a boy to wear leg warmers. Shame on you.
* Signing Time : If you let your kids watch videos, then I recommend these. I won’t go into the spiel about how sign language benefits even hearing children, or how kids can communicate in sign earlier than they can talk, and how developing signs works the same neural pathways that spoken speech needs so how can you go wrong. Lets just stick with the fact that they’re entertaining, educational and you hardly feel bad about yourself for letting your kid watch them over and over and over and over and over…
* Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair Booster Um… it’s a high chair that doesn’t take up any more room than a chair you already own. And it lasts from babyhood well through toddlerdom. How cool is that? You save on space, money and double on utility. Woo hoo.
That was the longest post I’ve ever written. And you read the whole thing? Dude.