Today my baby is exactly a week old and so much has changed already. Twice, I thought I heard her cry and I jumped but it was all in my head. This and so many other things I didn’t expect.
Let me introduce you to My World … her name is Kairo Owethu Forbes. Kairo is an Arabic name and is a variant of Cairo, meaning “Victorious One”. Her father liked the name and decided to name her Kairo. My mother chose her second name Owethu. Owethu is a Zulu name meaning “Ours”. She is ‘Our Victorious One’.
I could never have been prepared for the force of love that hit me when I first laid eyes on my baby girl. I remember the day clearly and it’s a memory I hope I never forget. Her first cry is still well embedded in my mind. When they put her on my chest, my heart was ready to explode. I was in love, I cared, I wanted to protect her, hold her and let her know that I would do everything I could to make sure she is the happiest girl in the world.
How am I going to keep all these promises, how am I going to take care of her?
By now you should know that I am big on planning. I am happier if I know what to expect and how things are going to roll out. I would never be able to cope without a schedule or some sort of plan. My first week after Kairo’s birth was about figuring out how to care for her and how to settle her into our lives and our routines. This being my first child, everything is new and scary. I set out to learn as much as possible during this week.
When I was in hospital, I had two nurses at my disposal, assisting me with everything from changing nappies, bath time, breast feeding, etc.
During this time, I made sure that I asked as many questions as possible. I also made sure that I practiced everything the nurses were showing me so I would know what to do when I got home. I have to admit that I did feel intimidated by everything and that I worried about harming the baby. I had to find my confidence and soldier on.
It took a while for me to figure out how to change a nappy as Kiernan insisted on doing it himself all the time. He would wake up at night during our stay at the hospital and get up to change the baby’s nappy. I remember thinking that I really needed to learn, but it felt good knowing that he was so hands on.
Being at hospital made taking care of the baby appear easy but I realised that when I went home, there would be no nurses, just baby, Kiernan and me.
I needed a daily plan for all of us and this needed to include taking care of the baby, being a couple, work and a whole list of other things that make up our lives.
What I have been doing for the past week is plan ahead for the next day. I know that with babies plans are not guaranteed but this has helped me feel less overwhelmed. I have been told so many times about how I would never sleep once the baby is born and how I must forget about taking care of myself, as all the time will be taken by the baby. I am taking care of my baby and it is definitely overwhelming but I am on a mission to fit Kairo into our lives and not the other way around. I think we get overwhelmed because we stop living our lives and start living according to the baby’s schedule.
There are a lot of things I will not be able to control but I will definitely exercise control where I can and that is why I plan my day ahead.
A week later, my baby is still alive and healthy so I believe that I am on the right track.
Let me share a few things that have worked for me so far.
– Breastfeeding can take time to learn and practice, but it does get better.
– Instead of forcing a feeding schedule on a newborn, feel out her needs for a few days. Let her feed on demand without applying an “every two hour” schedule. She may need to be fed more often than that, especially in the first few weeks.
– Take care of your breasts, you don’t want to end up with cracked, sore nipples … ouch!
– Sleep when your baby sleeps but you can also use the time to have a quiet moment with a cup of tea. Always make time for yourself.
– Take time to do something that you enjoy and makes you happy everyday. It can be talking to a friend, watching TV, or listening to music. If you are happy and relaxed, you will be able to take better care of your baby.
– Newborn babies cry, they are not always settled and quiet. They communicate through crying and you will soon learn to tune in to your baby and her needs. She also needs time to adjust to her new world.
– Share the responsibilities of taking care of the baby with the father.
– Plan ahead. For bath time, gather everything you need before you start. The same goes for a nappy change, make sure you have everything ready before you change the baby’s nappy.
– Create a comfortable ‘headquarters’ for feeding and cuddling.
– When you leave the house, make sure you are equipped with an extra change of clothes for baby, plenty of diapers and wipes, an extra towel, pacifier and a bottle of breastmilk in case she gets hungry earlier than you anticipated.
– If you are feeling frustrated, take a time out. Put baby in the crib or another safe spot or get someone to watch baby and take a 10-minute breather. If you’re stressed, baby will pick up on your tension.
One thing’s for sure, you never know what to expect when it comes to a newborn!
Below are my top 5 products which have made my life and taking care of my baby so much easier:
1. Lansinoh double electric breast pump – I express milk for two reasons, sometimes I want to sleep through the night and let Kiernan take care of Kairo and sometimes I need to leave the house for a quick meeting so I always need breast milk on standby for when I have to leave the baby.
2. Lansinoh lanolin nipple cream and Pigeon disposable breast pads – I don’t plan on having sore, cracked nipples.
3. Stokke Carrycot Complete – My baby is not ready to sleep in her crib and I am not ready to let her sleep alone in her room, so for now she is sleeping in our bedroom in the carry cot.
4. My preggy pillow – it’s the best thing for support when breastfeeding.
5. Stokke Flexi Bath – I love bath time with the baby but traditional baby bathtubs take up too much space. My Stokke folds and it is easy to store away.
Lookout for my reviews on some of my favourite products on the Blog every Monday.
Please share your comments and experiences about taking your own baby home.