Having been blessed with two lovely girls, I often look back at all that I went through before our first born came. The questions I had, the inadequacy I felt, the fear, uncertainty and an overwhelming sense of not being fully prepared for the role I was about to take on as mother. I often smile when I think of how I fussed over everything, how I had a whole list of blogs and sites I visited in preparation not just for the birth but also for the life after. I now realize that I failed to relax, breathe and enjoy every moment knowing that the natural instinct would soon set it.
For those about to experience the profound joy, you must have so many questions. Most of those seeking answers are first time mothers. More often than not, when first time mothers seek information from their friends who have been through it, they receive an influx of information. It is all good. If you are expectant and getting all this overflow of advice, some of which is usually unwarranted, don’t let it scare you. Bringing new life into this world is purely science in the creation and sometimes the delivery but afterwards, the raising and caring for a child it is a trial and error for everyone. So start by relaxing, breathe, you can do this.
1. Don’t worry yourself too much, Enjoy the the Journey
First, enjoy the journey of growth of your baby before birth. It is indeed a miracle. This period is always the best because the worry is less. The child is safe inside you, warm and loved. The bond between the two of you is intense and that is important.
2. Talk to your unborn child
Talk to your child, scientists have proven that a 7 month old fetus can hear as their vortex muscles are usually developed by this age.This bonding process enables the child learn and be soothed by your voice in the womb and even after they are born.
3. Don’t go crazy shopping
Second, don’t go crazy shopping for too many things for the unborn child. Most mothers will tell you that in the excitement they bought their first child lots of clothes that the child soon outgrew without getting the chance to wear them. Buy bits of clothes and add more as the child grows. You are better off buying them a size or two larger, the little fellows grow so fast and you may not have the time to shop all the time and to save some money.
4. What to carry on the D-Day
Most first time mothers are never sure of what to carry with them to hospital on the D-day. Well it isn’t that much. The baby’s bag should have
a. Diapers for new-borns-do no let the different size names by the various diaper vendors confuse you. If shopping along Biashara street, which most parents do, ask for new born diapers, if buying in the supermarket, check those written age 0-3 months,
b. A vest
c. A t-shirt,
d. A romper,
e. A trouser,
f. A sweater (I had always wondered why a lot of women over-dress kids, turns out, its easier to deal with a heat rash than dealing with a common cold or worst still, Pneumonia by a newborn)
g. A pair of socks,
h. A shawl and blanket
i. A baby hat
j. Your change of clothes and a pack of pads
Make sure that the clothes have some space to pull over their heads and the sweater is a button down or has a zipper, make it easier to dress the child since they hate having clothes pulled over their heads.
5. Milk Production
Once the baby comes most mothers worry about their milk production. It is usually mostly psychological than anything else. So make sure to eat right and avoid stress. Keep an open mind that you will have more than enough milk.
The baby’s milk comes from you, so you better take good care of yourself. Eat well and avoid going to many places. A new mother’s immune system is very low, so one has to avoid going out to prevent illness among other infections. If one has to they have to take extra care, like avoiding hospitals, washing their hands often.
People will come to wish a new-born good health and offer congratulations. Ensure that they all wash their hands before holding the baby. This is to prevent infections being contracted by the child since their immune system is so low.
The information out there is immense and one could get lost. Listen or read them and use the ones that seem to work for you. Trying all of them out could be stressful and believe me, if our grand parents manage to raise over 9 kids with just the information from their midwives, you can also do it. Remember, raising a child is not a science, take it one day at a time.
Post co-written with Amina Michuki