This is my advice I recently gave to an old friend and new mother! It’s taken from some rushed notes I made soon after the time I had my now 3yr old boy, and has now been revised after the birth of my second.
It might just be totally relevant to me but I thought I would share anyway.
This is all basic stuff you might not get told, that you’ll need to know or else you might freak out a bit when really there’s no need….
Since writing this I’ve seen a bunch of similar Pinterest posts that look decent – but anyway, apologies for the slang/abbrv – this was written as a wattsapp message and I just wanted to get it up ASAP !
1) Set a ROUTINE for yourself and make your baby fit into that routine.
Babies like routine and order anyway. Accommodate for the baby as much as you can and see to their needs as soon as you can and if you can do something while they’re asleep then do that – but do not let the baby lead your day or you will live in chaos. You can let the baby cry a bit while you do whatever you need to do- it killed me when my baby cried and no one could tell me that it was ok for him to cry, but now I know it won’t hurt him to cry and that it’s better for him that I’m not stressed or tired. Because there will otherwise come a time where your patience might run out and you can go from the most considerate caring mother in the world to something a bit different. It’s unsustainable to do everything your baby wants you to do. If it was up to some babies you would never be able to go to the toilet or cook a meal or put them down. Ibn Qayyim al JAwziyyah in his book tufhat al mawdood binahkaam al mawlood makes reference to parents not having to worry if their baby cries and how this is good for them and makes the mucous move and many other benefits.
2) read up how to breastfeed and latching so it’s not totally new and so you do it right in sha Allah or you will have to deal with extra unnecessary pain on top of messed up sleep. Know that at first it’s normal it will hurt for maybe a while – but if it’s not easing up after a minute after the first few days then there may be cause for concern (so they advise)
I personally found that it was really painful for a minute or so into feeding for about a month and that I felt sore in that area and had to go out and bu soft cotton bras. Other people I know said the same, maybe I had an infection, or maybe it was just hard for the baby to latch on – Allahu Alam- always best to be aware and check up if you’re worried
3) if you’re neurotic – read up on the pros and cons of using a dummy, so that if your baby seems to have a strong sucking reflex or cries too much for you to handle, at least you will be informed as to whether to use one or not. Instead of getting them into a habit that you may or may not regret (pls see article in the baby health category re: the effect of prolonged pacifier used on boys especially- I read this article but decided to use a dummy anyway and alhamdulillah it has made my life so much easier and saved me hours of time a day compared to my first son).
There’s a book called “The Happiest BAby on the BLock” which promotes the theory that babies need to be close to you in the “fourth trimester” after birth and they explain why a pacifiers a solution to a natural instinct that varies in children – I have read that traditionally pacifiers have been used made out of knots of rags etc. WA Allahu Alam
4) Baby grows with mits for newBorns are ideal – like 6/7 – don’t bother with seperate mitts if you want the baby to stop scratching himself (unless swaddling will suffice for you) they fall off so much and get lost easily! Attached mits all the way! One less thing to fret about because cutting those little nails is tricky with a flailing crying baby – and although a scratch is just a scratch – you won’t like it probably when they do scratch their faces
Get the ones that pop up all down the front for easy dressing if you’re nervous about lifting the baby’s neck too much to dress him (I was on my first but not now – everyone’s different – that was a big deal for me)
5) Buy lanolin oil for cracked sore nipples to be prepared – and buy a variety of nursing pads. I find they are all quite rough and uncomfortable on sore breasts so took the pads out of a sports bra and found that to be the best thing. Having a selection easy saves you having to do it all later
6) STock up on easy to apply, easy to clean make up to look half decent in limited time.
7) Get around 7 little vests for newborns with pop up at bottom as wel. Gap and John Lewis are really nice thick and soft, good quality long lasting. In sha Allah you have a lot of children!
8) Get a good bouncer or swing or both and see which one the baby likes. Getting my second used to his bouncer straight away was amazing as I could do so much more than when I had my first as he never got used to it or liked it. Maybe I introduced it too late…
7) Nappies– don’t be afraid to do them really tight right above the belly button as the nurses do in the beginning – or he will wet his clothes. If it’s a boy make sure his thing is down so he doesn’t pee up out of the nappy. I love asda newborn range
9) You need ideally 2 mattresses for the Moses basket in case he wets it- I have put my second son in a three sided cot next to my bed straight away, and Moses basket for the day time so that’s not so important now. But if you’re just using a Moses basket to begin with then two mattresses is ideal
10) 4 sheets fitted for Moses basket mattress
11) They say should sleep ideally when baby sleeps if you’re tired – but now I never take this advice and do my housework then
12) IDeally for the first few days someone needs to feed you and help clean up ! A week would be great if not more! And if you have no one – then Qadar Allah – just don’t expect to get things done – the midwives are used to houses upside down.
13) I always think it’s nice to have something in the house to offer the midwives – like chocolate or biscuits or baclawa- but that’s just me personally. Worth having something in the house before though! And on that note arrange the Aqeeqah before as well! Or get someone else to. The last thing on my mind was even texting people let alone anything else – wish i had prepared nice invites and decided on food etc
14) Eat and drink properly or milk won’t come as much if your baby is super hungry and ur breasts will hurt a lot – or looking back now maybe I had an infection – always ask to get checked for that as a friend of mine took more than a month to get diagnosed and was in agony bfeeding which didn’t put her in the right mood and she eventually stopped altogether.
My in laws made me a Turkish compote of apples blueberries apricots and spices to help me feed in first weeks
15) I like nursing in simple unwired unpadded h and m nursing bras and low tops/ shirts/ button up abaya – be prepared to change your wardrobe a bit. Abayas that have an elasticated neck are also good.
16) You will be feeding and changing nappy and burping all day – feed on one breast then change nappy then feed the other side, that way u will feed most, keep him clean and he won’t cry as much and breast feeding will be easier. Make sure they empty each side as well so they drink the thicker milk that comes at the end
17) red bum = nappy rash – the hospital give u wet wipes but it’s too much for new born maybe, so clean with warm water and cotton wool/water wipes if you want, or every time they get changed they might cry a bit more- as it’s cold for them and some babies are really sensitive about that where others just don’t care. All are different. Metanium is best for nappy rash (thin see through layer tho)
18) I was offended when told to wash breasts everyday but you don’t know how overwhelmed and tired you’ll be so it’s good to be reminded and to change breast pads really frequently to avoid infection – which can cause blockage which can cause mastitis which apparently is so painful
19) buy some soya lecithin granules just in case you do get blocked up so you don’t panic that a) you can’t feed the baby b) your breast will become infected or pop
20) buy a baby sling safe for newborn- or u will be carrying them around trying to do things one handed, or just have to hear them scream if they don’t like being put down. Be patient with the sling the baby might have to get used to it but it’s so much more practical –
http://www.libertyslings .co.uk for the natural slings some people prefer.. Beco is a good make for the more heavy duty type. Holding a baby in a sling at the front and having them face the front is really bad for ur spine – read up on it. Have them face you
21) read up on the cycles of a newborn and when and how they sleep so you can organise yourself and your new routine. There is a method to the apparent madness of babies’ demands, normally a three hour cycle or so of feeding sleeping and being awake. The book “the baby whisperer” was good for that.
22) Try not to do what I did and every first mum does and try and not get the baby used to being held always or going to sleep whilst feeding. Or they might be attatched to you for up to 40mins trying to escape them after you have fed them to sleep.., the midwife told me to get a pacifier but I didn’t listen. Now I know
23) don’t leave reading any baby or parenting books as u go along – read them all now so you don’t panic later or think u should have read sth… Then u can enjoy urself more as u will have enough to do. Reading about discipline and raising kids etc can be done much later when they are over one .
24) however – if you can then read up on the styles of parenting out there so you can make informed decisions on whether to be an attachment parent or not and to what extent etc
25) read up on child vaccines – (pls see baby VAccines post under the baby health category- I don’t believe it’s a simple decision or black and white- you might chose to vaccinate or not to in light of the information – pray istikhara in sha Allah)
26) PATIENCE- having a baby is the most amazing and probably testing thing in the world. I love my children more than life itself, I could look at their faces forever and not get bored, but we’re human, and when you’re tired, or when you’ve not had proper sleep or time to yourself you can be ratty which is what you don’t want to be in sha Allah – especially not when they begin to understand things – so in sha Allah avoid BURNING out – parent burn out is real – know there are different tests each month and year and day- once you have the hang of breastfeeding all day, they don’t need that as much and they need you to entertain them more, then they get ill, and ill again, then when they start sitting and crawling and walking and talking and learning how to do things we take for granted, there are all new tests of patience along the way. It doesn’t really get easier the tests become different. So pace yourself and know that you can prepare in sha Allah, but if you can’t read and compare all 28 reviews of which non plastic sippy cup you will buy – then don’t beat urself up – because your mood and energy is much more important to whether or not you have bought the right things at the right time! For you, your husband and your children and everyone around you.
27) If your Mood is low thats normal- that may not be post natal depression as such – that’s very normal after the big change you have and will go through- don’t forget that the Quran is a cure for mental illness and Allah answers the duaa.
But if you ever believe that you are a danger to yourself or anyone else then bear in mind that the doctors will rush to prescribe you anti-depressants or counselling to protect you and your baby.,
Having never had post natal depression on such a worrying scale I couldn’t advise what’s best or what the consequences of this are – but as with everything it is well advised to expect the worse and prepare accordingly – but stay positive and hope for the best in sha Allah. That way you prepare for the worst without being negative. Talk to your partner and people of knowledge about what to do in this situation
28) DOctors are also acting on behalf of social welfare services now alhamdulillah – so when you go to the doctors don’t do anything silly and have your wits about you always. I turned away from my son who was on the bed once (knowing he wouldn’t roll off as he was about one and from experience I knew it wasn’t in his nature) but the doctor told me to make sure he didn’t roll off but I ignored him and completed my sentence and he wrote on his computer that I was “inattentive” – so beware. That’s his job and some people aren’t attentive parents – never give anyone that impression and may Allah protect our children always Ameen. Always write down exactly what u want to know from the doctor before hand.
29) think about circumscion – arrange it before hand as well – you might want to travel to London for a traditional method of cuecumsicion – I have a section on this as well. Please do read to avoid plastibell complications in sha Allah