27 December 2010

Reflection on Change

Tomorrow Layla will be 8 months old. Eight months ago, my life changed forever. As I was putting Layla to sleep tonight, I found myself thinking about how things change and also stay the same. Every night for the past eight months we have followed the same bedtime routine. Yet the baby I put to bed tonight is so different to the baby I brought home all those months ago. Then she was so small and fragile. We hardly knew each other. Everything was new. I didn't know how long she would sleep, was unsure when she needed to feed, whether she was full or hungry. My body had changed and was continuing to change. I had become a Mother and my child was fully dependant on me for her survival.

Layla - only a few minutes old
Now eight months on, we know each other. We have a routine. I know Layla's signals, her cries, her noises. While I'm still breastfeeding her, Layla knows how to feed herself finger food and is showing her independence more and more everyday. I know eight months is not eighteen years. There are plenty of changes and challenges awaiting us in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Layla - almost 8 months
What today really made me think about was change. On reflection, I can hardly believe how much we have been through and how much change we have dealt with in such a short period. One of my favourite sayings is that "this too, shall pass". When things are bad, you need to know that this too shall pass, things will get better and another change will come. When things are good, you need to know that this too shall pass, you need to enjoy the joys for they will not last forever.

When Layla was really small and I was having problems, people would tell me that these dramas would end and that she will only be small for a very short amount of time. At the time, my vision was clouded and I saw no end. Now I look back in amazement at how right they were. It was hard to enjoy the early days and appreciate how quickly life changes with a baby. Then she was so tiny and frail. Now she's so chubby and happy. Then, I had nearly no idea what I was doing. Now I feel more confident and feel in tune with my child. It's difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you are sleep deprived and being challenged by a crying baby. What you (and I) need to remember, is just how quickly things change and that every challenge is to be enjoyed and relished. It'll all be gone before too long.

26 December 2010

Do I Really Need to Buy All That Stuff Now? Part 2

Since I posted Part 1 of this series, I've given the topic some more thought. Now is definitely the time to stock up on your baby stuff with sales in most stores here in Australia and around the world. Here are a few extra things that you may not need or use in the first few weeks but will come in handy shortly after.
  • Baby Gym - these things are a great place for your baby to lie and play right from the start. They also provide a nice, soft and stimulating space to practice tummy time. Pick one that has plenty of colour and overhead beams where toys can be hung off. There is a huge range of styles and makes available. Layla used hers amost everyday until she was over 6 months;
Layla playing in her baby gym - almost 5 months
  • Bouncer/Rocker Chair - I bought a simple bouncer for Layla and found it to be invaluable. From an early age, she would sit in the bouncer while I ate my breakfast, tidied up and generally when I needed to have my hands free. She used it until she was five and a half months and able to sit on her own. While I had a simple bouncer, if I had my time again, I'd have bought a chair that had an inbuilt vibration mode and a rocking function. It would have been invaluable when I could no long rock Layla during unsettled periods;
Layla having fun in her bouncer - 6 weeks
  • Toys - while toys are not essential right at the beginning and tend to be given as gifts, having a few educational toys from companies like Lamaze are great for entertaining your new baby;
  • Nail file - baby's nails grow incredibly fast! Even now I struggle to keep Layla's nails in order and stop her from scratching herself. I bought nail scissors and clippers but found them difficult to use due to her tiny nails and that she never kept still in order to use them safely. Instead I have used a nail file and a manicurists nail buffer to keep her nails short;
  • Nappy / Washing Bins - the number of nappies and outfits a baby goes through each day can be staggering. In order to keep things in order, we bought two simple white flip top bins - one for clothes and one for nappies that we empty each day. There are other more expensive options but this one worked for us.
I hope these suggestions help you in  preparing for the arrival of your new baby. Jas x

22 December 2010

Packing your bag for a trip like no other

There comes a time, in every pregnancy, when you realise that the little being growing inside you, has to come out. I know it seems obvious, but most women have that moment of fear. With most women choosing to give birth in a hospital, the time when you decide to pack for your trip to hospital truly cements the realisation that you will soon become a parent. 
Daniel, Layla and I in hospital - Day 1
Packing for hospital is not like packing for a holiday but rather is like packing for a career change. There are certain clothes, tools and equipment that will be necessary to make your stay comfortable and successful. Here are my tips for what to take to hospital:
  • Clothes - in most cases, you are not going to hospital because you are unwell. As such, there is no need to spend the days of your stay in your pyjamas. I remember when my Mum had my youngest sister Michelle. In those days, women spent their days in bed in their nighties. Oh how things have changed! Take enough changes of clothes for at least one fresh change per day. A couple of extra pairs of pants and tops may be needed especially if you accidentally leak during the day. Pick soft and comfy clothes that you can sleep in during the day if you get a chance to have a nap;
  • Underwear - you'll need more than one change of undies per day. Given the bleeding that occurs after birth, it's best not to take your best lacy lingerie. Much better to take some cheap, plain, black and comfy undies that can be discarded if they get stained;
  • Bras - as your milk comes in, your breasts will change. If you intend to breastfeed, you'll need a feeding bra where the bra cups can be dropped down for feeding. Getting the size right can be tricky. It may be best to take a half top style feeding bra that is comfortable to sleep in and feed in. I picked up a cheaper one from Target as well as an Elle Macpherson Maternelle bra that were really comfortable in the early days. Once your milk comes in, you may need to purchase a bra more suited;
  • Pads  - you'll need to bring sanitary pads with you. Choose the thicker maternity style pad which will offer padding if you end up having to have stitches. Bring a couple of packets with you. You should also bring some breast pads with you;
  • Toiletries - don't ask me why but I packed toiletries as if I was going on a resort holiday. Needless to say, I never got a chance to give myself a full facial! Pack the things that will make you comfortable during your stay. Most women don't wear perfume in hospital due to the sensitivity of your baby's nose and not wanting to mask your smell that the baby will come to know. Remember to take some Lansinoh with you for your nipples. Earplugs are also a good idea if you want to get some rest in a noisy shared room;
  • Slippers  - slippers are a good idea to wear around the ward. Thongs would also do;
  • Pyjamas - bring pyjamas that you can breastfeed in. There is nothing glamorous about having to strip off in a hurry to feed your crying baby in the middle of the night. Button through tops are convenient as are pyjama pants and a feeding singlet or maternity nighties like the ones sold by Loveable or Hot Milk;
  • Feeding singlets - these singlets have an inbuilt bra or support with drop down cups. They are great when you are learning to feed and are comfortable to wear without a bra either for sleep or in the early days. I swear by the Loveable Maternity Essentials range;
  • Labour bag - you may want to pack a separate bag for labour that includes snacks, stress balls, clothes to wear (like a big t-shirt), music, essential oils and camera. I also had some amazing socks from my friend Susan. They kept my feet warm as the room was heavily air conditioned and had rubber soles, great for gripping when pushing;
  • Camera and phone - to capture those precious moments;
  • Coming home - clothes for you and the baby to come home in are important. The first time I dressed Layla in her own clothes rather than the hospital nighties was a really special moment;
  • Pen and Paper - always comes in handy;
  • Panadol  - even though you are in hospital and there are plenty of drugs on hand, having your own stash of panadol comes in handy when things get busy in order to ensure you maintain some level of pain medication all the time;
  • Watch/Clock - you'll want and need to write down when you feed your new baby in the early days. Knowing what the time is at different times of the day and night is important. You can use your phone if you prefer;
  • Names list/book - if like us, you don't have names picked out, you may need to have further discussions once bubs arrives.
Leave me a comment if I have forgotten anything. Best to have your bag packed at least 4 weeks out from your due date. Personally, I left it to the last minute. Probably was due to my disbelief that I was about to have a baby!

20 December 2010

Do I Really Need to Buy All The Stuff Now? Part 1

So you've walked into the baby shop just to have a look. Everywhere you turn there are colours, shapes and interesting items you've never seen before. Lucky enough, most stores have a handy check list of all the things you'll need for baby. The problem is that the list is SO long and to purchase everything right now you'd need to stay at work for another 9 months just to save up. You ask yourself "Do I really need to buy all this stuff right now?"
Layla coming home from hospital......so little and cute!
In short the answer is NO. There is very little that you need right away when bubs arrives. I put together my basic list of things I think you need for the first few months that you should buy before bubs arrives. If you have time you may be able to hunt things down in sales or on Ebay in order to save a few dollars.
  • Sleeping :
    • Cot/bassinet - the choice of whether to have baby in a bassinet in with you or a cot in his/her own room is a very individual choice. If you go for a cot there are generally two sizes - standard and large;
    • Swaddles - whether it is muslin or a one of the new style wraps (Love Me Baby Wrap Me Up - see previous post), these are important;
    • Bedding - options include sheets, blankets and sleeping bags.
  • Changing:
    • Change table/mat - whether you chose a dedicated change table or a mat on top of a chest of drawers, having a place to change baby is important. Pay attention to the height of the change table as one that is the wrong height will place stress on your back as you spend significant time bending over. Also having a table with sides may be a bit safe as it will help prevent baby from rolling off the table;
    • Nappies/wipes/creams - very individual choice over disposable or reusable, which creams and wipes. You may change many times once bubby arrives.
  • Feeding:
    • Breast:
      • Breastfeeding pillow - while not essential can be very helpful. Make sure you take it to hospital with you when you're getting used to feeding;
      • Lansinoh - pure lanolin that you can use on your nipples while feeding without having to remove;
      • Breastpads - I like the Pidgeon disposable pads because they are thin and less noticeable under your clothes but again this is an individual choice;
      • One handed squeezable water bottle - really helpful to keep your fluids up while feeding;
      • Feeding bra - your breasts will change as your milk comes in. Initially chose a soft bra that you can feed and sleep in;
      • Feeding singlet - like one made by Loveable or Bonds are really helpful when you're in hospital and learning to feed.
    • Bottle:
      • Bottles/teats - very individual choice. I use the Tommee Tippee 'Close to Nature' range but I know many lactation consultants recommend the Pidgeon peristaltic nipples;
      • Formula - very hard to get any advice on which formula to chose. Speak to your friends and Doctor;
      • Sterilser - I have a microwave one but an electric sterilizer would be better if you regularly have to prepare bottles;
      • Bottle brush
  • Travelling
    • Car seat / capsule - I received a car seat from a friend but if you plan on having your newborn in and out of the car regularly I'd recommend a capsule. Layla hardly ever goes in the car so a car seat has been fine;
    • Pram - see my blog post. Such an individual choice depending on what and how you want to use it;
    • Nappy bag - can be expensive. I got mine online from the USA much cheaper. You can also use a large tote style bag with an organiser inside (http://www.bagorganiser.com.au/);
    • Clothes - you'll need clothes to bring baby home in. You may get clothes as gifts but if not start simple. They grown quickly and go through clothes very quickly. I preferred to have lots of white as it can be bleached very easily and always look nice. People told me not to buy 0000 clothes and go straight to 000. Problem was that Layla was a little baby who took quite some time to regain her birth weight. I think I even had a 00000 jumpsuit for the first month. Layla stayed in 0000 clothes for the first 8 weeks or so.
  • Home
    • Night light - available from hardware stores, these little lights turn on when it gets dark and are helpful for use in corridors when you're up at night. A nightlight like the Tot Spot (see earlier post) is also helpful;
    • Lamp with a dimmer switch - useful when tending to baby during the night;
    • Baby bath - I got mine off Ebay for a steal that had hardly been used. We use our bath every night as a part of our bedtime routine. Having a bath on a stand with a hose to empty the bath makes bath time easier;
    • Bath & room thermometer - Avent makes a great thermometer that can be used in the bath and also tells the room temperature. This ensures that baby is comfortable in the bath and bed;
    • Foot stool - A simple little stool from the kids department that is generally used for kids to stand on is handy to elevate your feet when feeding. I got mine from K-Mart for $10;
    • Baby towels - hooded towels are nice for babies but you can use just any towel;
    • Old fashioned cloth nappies - really helpful in cleaning up messes from nappy changes, to posset and spills;
    • Heating/Cooling - depending on the season and the temperature in your home, you may need a fan or heater to make sure your baby is comfortable;
    • Baby monitor - you only need one if your house layout is such that you can't hear the baby from other rooms;
    • Feeding chair - having the right chair to breastfeed in is really important. It is important that the back is upright, your knees are at 90 degrees and arm rests can also be important;
    • CD player - I got a cheap one with an iPod dock. It has been great to play nursery rhymes, lullabies and white noise in Layla's room right from the beginning;
    • Baby sling - my Mum bought me a sling and it became an invaluable piece of equipment to get Layla to settle on the days that seemed to never end. I'll do a post on slings soon!
I have another couple of posts in this series that I hope to put up this week. The next posts will detail what to take to hospital and some extra things to have at home when baby arrives home.

If I've forgotten anything, please feel free to add a comment to this post.

Let's talk about parenting taboos

I stumbled across this link and video today on a talk by Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman on parenting taboos. It is a funny and very poinent clip for all new and expectant parents on a topic many of us don't like to talk about.They expose 4 facts that parents never, ever admit -- and why they should. Funny and honest, for parents and nonparents alike.


I particularly liked Rufus' comment that becoming a parent is like getting on a plane, having packed for a trip to Europe only to find that you are actually going treking in Nepal. There is nothing wrong with treking and in fact it is a great adventure, but it isn't a trip to Europe....oh so so true!

I hope you like it as much as I did. Jas x

19 December 2010


When it comes to night time feeding, it is generally recommended to keep light and noise to a minimum so as to avoid excessive stimulation of your baby in teaching them the difference between day and night. When I was setting up Layla's nursery, I looked everywhere for a nice and affordable lamp that had a dimmer switch for use at night time waking and feeding. I had no luck and was running out of time. I set my sisters the task of helping me find the elusive lamp (we work well as a team when it comes to finding things each other needs). My sister Jacqui came to the rescue with a recommendation from a colleague.

IKEA makes a device called a DIMMA. It is a simple and cheap ($19.95) attachment that fits almost any lamp. The DIMMA allows you to dim the lamp with a simple sliding switch that can be used with your hand or your foot (great when you have your hands full with a sleeping baby).
 This simple device has been a wonderful addition to Layla's nursery and has made a huge difference. I hope you find it as useful as I have.

16 December 2010

The Things No One Told Me #2 - Milk supply

One of the key concerns of most breastfeeding mothers, is having enough milk to satisfy their baby's appetite. There are plenty of old wives tales about things to avoid in order to preserve your milk. I remember my grandfather (definately not an expert in breastfeeding) telling me that I had to make sure I didn't eat too much salt and definately not to lift my arms above my head as both things would result in the loss of my breastmilk. Needless to say, neither activities resulted in the loss of my milk.

When I went to the Doctor with Layla to have her two month immunisations, he mentioned to me that in the coming week or so I should expect to notice changes in my breasts and not to worry. He was right! From 8 weeks, your breasts may no longer feel hard and full when you're ready to feed. The reason is that feeding becomes easier and more efficient. Your breasts become softer and the 'fuller' feelings become less. These changes are normal and are not indications that your breast milk production is becoming less but rather that your breastfeeding has now been well established. Many women panic when these changes occur and think that they are losing their milk or that their supply is insufficient to sustain breastfeeding. I'm sure I must have read about these changes somewhere before Layla was born but I had forgotten. Thank goodness my Doctor had reminded me otherwise I too would have panicked. Should you have any concerns about your breastfeeding make sure you seek assistance from you Community Health Nurse, Lactation Consultant, Doctor or Breastfeeding Counsellor from the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

15 December 2010


Over the past few weeks, I have run into a number of old friends either in person or on facebook. I have been delighted to hear how many people love reading my blog! From new mums to expectant mums as well as girls who have no baby plans right now. It is so lovely to know that people actually read what I write and find it useful. You've given me a new energy injection to keep writing.
Thank you SO much. Watch this space - there's more to come.
Jas x

14 December 2010

There Are Going To Be Bad Days

Over the last week, we've had a number of bad days. I've been thinking about writing this post for the past week and contemplating what makes a day 'bad'.

Before I had Layla, I had bad days. Bad days were normally the result of a bus that didn't come on time, forgetting toiletries or clothes at home when I went to the gym, a flight being delayed on a work trip, getting an unexpected bill, having a disagreement at work, dealing with a difficult work matter or being stuck in traffic. Some of these things were caused by my actions but many things were out of my control. The things that were within my control often required better planning, more patience or acceptance that things don't always go to plan.

When Layla came along, I found out that bad days continued to exist. Bad days with a baby normally involve poor sleeping, poor eating and crying. Unlike the bad days I used to have, I often don't know why a day turns bad. Despite doing everything the books tell you or keeping to the same routine you have been following for weeks, some days things just don't work. The days you need your baby to sleep, she decides not to sleep resulting in an overtired and irritable baby. The days you need to go out and do things, she decides to sleep all day and your plans fall by the wayside. I remember hearing a podcast where an expert of sleep said that parents want their children to have their best day sleeping experiences every day. I smiled as I am one of those parents. I crave order and routine. I like to know what will happen next. I like to plan my day and week and then tick things off the list. A baby changes things......everything!

What I've realised is that when a day turns bad, it often is not bad for Layla but rather it is bad for me! I'm the one who had plans or really needed to have a sleep. I'm the one who is frustrated. I'm the one who has to rearrange my day. Layla rarely has a bad day. Sure, she may have a day when she is overtired or doesn't want to eat, but generally she is a happy child.
Layla having a wonderful time in her new play pool at home in the garden

The most important thing I have learnt is that tomorrow is another day. No matter how bad today is, tomorrow will be better. And if tomorrow is no better, then the next day will be. Some days just need to come to an end and need to be forgotten. When 5pm comes around and Layla's bedtime routine begins, I know that the difficulties, frustrations and craziness is about to end. I just need to get through feeding, bathing and bottle and then it will be 7pm and bedtime. This has always been the way. Even when Layla was very small. Sometimes it took longer to get her to sleep and I'd have to put her in the sling with me until she settled, but once she was asleep, I could put the day aside and hope tomorrow would be better. I often have to remind myself that tomorrow will be better and that all the frustration I feel is because I didn't get my way rather than Layla being to blame. Children teach you a new level of patience and acceptance. I've had many bad days over the past seven and a half months, but I wouldn't trade them for the world. The good days when Layla does something new or just cracks up laughing for no reason cancel out all the bad days and makes it all worth while.

POSTSCRIPT - After posting this blog post I was thinking about what I had written. I decided I needed to add one more point. My ability to see through the bad days now at 7+ months is very different to how I felt at 2 or 3 months. There were days when I could not see through my tears and I thought that the frustrations and sleep exhaustion would never end. There were days when no matter how sweet and cute Layla was, all I wanted to do was be somewhere else. My ability to deal with my frustrations and handle bad days with Layla have developed over time. It takes time! For new mums or expectant mums reading this post, know that the bad days do end, that things get better and that this is the hardest job you'll ever do. Hang in there and the sun will shine again! Jas x

09 December 2010

The Things No One Told Me # 1 - Day 3 Feeding Frenzy

Morning all! This series of posts is based on the things I discovered the hard way and wish someone had told me either when I was pregnant or when my baby arrived.
I read all the books and thought I was prepared.
Oh how wrong I was!

This post is dedicated to Lior and Michael who welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world yesterday. Mazel tov!

On day 2 or 3 after you give birth, your baby gets hungry....really hungry! If you are breastfeeding, your milk is yet to come in but is on it's way. This sudden burst in hunger is due to your baby's tummy and gastro-intestinal tract now having been emptied of all the mucous and amniotic fluid that was sitting there from the womb. Your baby's stomach size also increasing in anticipation of milk feeds that are about to arrive. The feeding frenzy is the way your baby helps your milk come in in order to start your breastfeeding journey.

I'm sure I read this kind of information when I was pregnant and it was discussed in our parenting/birth classes. While I was aware, I really didn't know! When people talk of a feeding frenzy, they mean it. Your baby will want to feed every hour or two, all day AND night. By the time the morning of our fourth day arrived, I was a wreck. After a long labour and two nights of broken sleep, the feeding frenzy knocked me for six. I remember my obstetrician coming to see me the morning after our night of constant snacking. I told her that if Layla wasn't so cute, at that stage I was ready to give her back (oy, if I only knew then what was to come)!

So what can you do in order to prepare? Ultimately, what your baby is doing is helping you (as ridiculous as that may seem). The constant sucking is what helps bring your milk in. There may be no way for you to be well rested before the feeding frenzy begins nor to hold off feeding in order for you to rest. I found that having my Mum or husband there to take the baby out of the room and walk her while I rested and slept even for 1 hour made a big different. Babies are very noisy sleepers and as a new Mum your ears are tuned to react to every little noise they make. By not having them in the room even for 1 hour, you may be able to recoup a little bit of sleep before the next feed. The feeding frenzy also has a tendency to cause grazed nipples. Constant feeding and poor attachment when you're really tired can do serious damage to your nipples. All I can recommend is to attend the breastfeeding classes offered in hospital, get the hospital lactation consultant to see you and apply lansinoh after EVERY feed.

Seven months on and I still remember the feeding frenzy with vivid memory. Even at the time I recall thinking "Why didn't anyone tell me about this?"

Good luck !

07 December 2010

All the stuff you need to carry

Before Layla, I could easily just grab my wallet, phone and keys and walk out the door. These days, I feel like I'm moving house every time I go out for a walk. My baby bag is always overflowing with 'just in case of emergency stuff. Now that Layla has started solids, I also have to pack an ever increasing number of snacks to keep her occupied and satisfied.

When it comes to baby bags, the variety and price ranges are extensive. You don't want a bag that's too small or otherwise you'll never fit the things you need. You also don't want a bag that's too big or you'll find it weighs down your pram and you can't find anything. Here are a few ideas on nappy bags:
  • I bought my Skip Hop bag online from the USA. It retailed here for $150+ and I managed to get it for under $US60 delivered. Try the USA based online retailers. Either have it shipped directly or use www.hopshopgo.com for easy and cheap delivery;
  • Forget a dedicated baby bag. You can use any large bag as a baby bag. I great idea is to use a fun tote. My hugely talented sister Michelle makes and sells stunning cotton totes that are machine washable and very practical. Check out her range at www.bundarra.etsy.com. Here are a few of her current range. I love them all and wish I had them all hanging in my wardrobe to match my daily outfit and mood;
Japanese Flower Tote                      
  • If you want to use a tote or large bag, getting a bag organiser can be helpful. Have a look at www.bagorganiser.com.au and check out the caddy which would work really well in a tote. The caddy ensures you can find your baby essentials without having to rifle through things creating a huge disorganised mess;

  • Another idea is to carry a zippered pouch with the essential nappy changing things (nappy, wipes, creams) inside your nappy bag that can easily be transferred into your handbag or pram for quick outings.
Happy travels!

06 December 2010

Love it, Love it - Dinky Kids Portable Highchair

The world of solid foods is both exciting and so very very messy. Whereas I used to complain about breastfeeding in public, feeding solids (or should I say mush) when not at home is also a challenge. Not everywhere has highchairs and trying to hold a 7 month old while feeding her is near impossible.

Here is a product I found which is just so very great. The Dinky Kids Portable Highchair is a restraint that attaches to most chairs and acts as a super compact highchair. Made of cotton, it is easily washed and folds up into a tiny bag that will fit inside your nappy bag.

I bought mine on ebay (new) from Dinky Kids for $18 and have since seen similar styles from other conpanies both online and in baby stores (for a lot more). This style appealed because it had shoulder straps in order to restain any baby keen on moving. I used mine just the other day when I was out having coffee with my sister. Layla didn't want to sit in her pram but rather wanted to join the ladies for tea! This way, she was able to sit with us, safely on a chair and enjoy her snacks while we chatted....perfect!

The Dinky Kids Portable Highchair is suitable from 6months old assuming the baby is able to sit by herself unsupported.

02 December 2010

Could we pop over? Dealing with visitors at home

This post is both for new and expectant parents as well as all the well meaning friends/family who ask to drop in to see you and the new baby.

If, like me, you restricted the number of visitors you had in hospital following the birth of your baby, then once you go home, people will want to come over to see you. Having visitors can be a bitter sweet experience. While on one hand you want to show off your bub and see your friends, you also would like to be sleeping when the baby is sleeping rather than entertaining. Here are a few tips on having visitors over once you go home from hospital.

  • Picking a time can be difficult as initially you won't know when the baby will be awake or asleep. Pick a time but don't be afraid to change the time if it does not suit;
  • If you've had a bad nights sleep, there is no harm in rescheduling visitors;
  • Don't be shy to excuse yourself in order to go to sleep while your visitors are over. If your partner is there, he/she can keep entertaining the guests. If you are alone, don't be embarrassed to ask them to leave (in the nicest possible way);
  • Try to keep visits short where possible;
  • There should be no pressure to hand the baby around for cuddles. Especially with your first baby you may not feel comfortable in playing pass the parcel. If someone asks and you would rather not, just tell them that the baby is due for a feed shortly and is likely to get grumpy if passed around;
  • Ask all visitors to wash their hands when they arrive in order to minimise germs being passed onto your little bundle;
  • If someone arrives to visit and they are unwell in any way, don't feel shy to ask them to come back when they are better. The last thing you need is a sick baby.
Here are a few tips for visitors:
  • Don't come empty handed. While a gift for the baby is always welcomed, bring some food for the parents. This may be dinner, lunch, a snack. You may even wish to bring a bag of fruit and veges. Bring some sushi or fruit salad and yoghurt, some nuts or cake;
  • Don't come and expect to be entertained. If you see something that needs to be done, do it! Wash some dishes, fold some washing, hang out wet washing, take out the garbage;
  • Don't stay long. Limit your visit to 1/2 hour in order to avoid being asked to leave or overstaying your welcome;
  • Make a meal and drop it off to the new family without staying. A call or SMS to notify that you have dropped dinner at their front door is normally enough;
  • Call before you come to visit. Even if plans have been set, a quick call before you leave home will help;
  • If the new parents make you food (coffee, tea, cake) wash your own dishes or offer to help tidy up. I always said no when people offered but secretly wished they would have done so;
  • Call or SMS to check how the new parents are going. Don't expect them to answer the phone, return the message or SMS. Just knowing people are checking up on you is the nicest thing.
I'm sure there are more things I could add but I'll leave it to you to add your thoughts and comments. Just remember that a cute little baby is a handful of work. Entertaining visitors once your baby arrives can be a difficult task. Be kind to yourself and remember that your health and well being come first. As for well meaning friends/family, think of how your visit can help the family in order to make the experience a good one.