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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Newborn nonsense

My maternity leave officially ended this week.  Thankfully, I have six weeks of accrued holiday left, so no massive rush to get back into the office.  I did try and explain to TheBloke (TM) that now I was on holiday, not maternity leave, so technically I didn't have to look after the baby any more.

He looked at me with the same expression he does every morning when I try and convince him for the 137th day in a row that it's "Take your Daughter to Work Day".

The last 12 months have been a huge learning curve.  From those early days of reading every baby manual on the market, to being something of a seasoned pro (read: blagger).  We were very lucky and were lent a lot of baby stuff, so didn't have to buy huge amounts.  Even so, there were things we used and things we absolutely didn't.

So here is my guide to things you absolutely do not need when you have a new baby.

Don't buy this.

A "top and tail" bowl.  It wasn't until the baby was about two weeks old that I realised what this was supposed to be for.  It's essentially a dish with two compartments for water and a shallow bit for a piece of cotton wool.  It allows you to wash a baby's face and its arse with one bowl.  You will literally never use this.  What you (and any halfway sensible parent) will do is dip some cotton wool in the baby's bath water prior to adding baby wash, in order to wash their face (eyes, nose etc.).  And dunk their arse in the bath itself.  If its arse is particularly icky, use a wet-wipe before putting the baby in the bath.  It's hardly rocket science.  If you think you might be the sort of person who wants to give a "mini bath" to their baby in between its daily bath, let me be the first to break it to you; you won't.

Don't buy more than one pack of these

More than two bassinet fitted sheets.  I bought four of these from John Lewis, in the certainty that motherhood would turn me into someone who changes bedding every two days.  In reality, everything  in your whole life is so godawful and overwhelming in those first few weeks, you can barely be bothered to peel off your own beshitted clothing, let alone change an already-clean sheet.  The baby will refuse to sleep anywhere other than on you, so will not actually touch said sheet in order to necessitate its washing.  On the offchance the baby does sleep in its basket (good baby), you will do laundry every two hours anyway.  So if you do find yourself needing to wash the bassinet sheet, nothing remains in the laundry basket for longer than about half a morning.  And then the bastard baby will spitefully grow out of its bassinet basket after about two months, leaving you with at least two completely unused - and unusable - John Lewis sheets.

Don't buy this
Any type of expensive / irreplaceable teddy bear  I was savvy about this.  I was given a lovely teddy bear from The White Company when I left work to go on maternity leave; I carefully checked its washing instructions (machine washable).  Once it became clear that the baby had formed a unbreakable bond with Toby Bear, I went out and bought another one, in case the original got lost.  Twoby Bear currently lives in the spare room, hidden in a drawer, awaiting a Toby-related emergency.  Don't tell the baby.  The point is, whilst you might love the idea of your baby having the same Steiff teddy you had as a child, your baby will inevitably shit on, vomit on and chew your beloved bear. And you will resent them for it.  Buy something cheap and machine washable.  And buy a back-up.

Don't buy one of these

A nasal aspirator  When the baby got her first ever cold, yes, I felt sorry for her, but I was also massively grossed out.  She had a lot of green snot and I just didn't feel I was the sort of person who wanted to be dealing with another human being's nasal excretions.  So I wimped out and bought one of these.  The idea is that you pop the little nozzle up your baby's nose, squeeze the bulb and out pops the green nastiness.  What they leave out of their marketing campaigns is that - if this actually works (it usually doesn't), you've then got a bulb full of snot to deal with.  Which is somehow even more revolting than if it was just lurking in the baby's nostril area.  And, let me tell you, the resale value on these items is not good.  (Anyone want to buy one?  Slightly used.  Comes with free snot.)

Tune in again soon for what you should actually buy.

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