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Thread: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

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    RIP Peterb ik9000's Avatar
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    tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    Please can people share their nuggets of wisdom for first time parents feeling like rabbits in the headlights? The impending doom arrives in a few months and we're being bombarded with adverts for "buy this" , "read this", "listen to this podcast", "come on this course" etc etc. We can't do everything!

    People who've already been there, what were the useful things to do/read/buy and any duds that can be skipped/actively avoided etc?

    Also what were the unknowns you wish you'd known to ask about / get in place before it arrived?

    Thanks.

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    Super Moderator Jonj1611's Avatar
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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    I have two kids, well no longer kids, one is 17 and the other is 24.

    Having been exactly where you are I can understand your worries/concerns.

    I would say one of the biggest things to expect is how little freedom you will have once your child is born. And I don't mean that in a negative way, I just mean those nights you might have planned out or things you might normally do will go on the backburner.

    That is something I didn't expect, one minute was free and single then within the space of a few hours, everything and the rest of my life changed.

    I wouldn't bother with podcasts or courses really. Most of it is common sense if I am honest. You should have got a booklet from the nurse, that will contain all you need to know.

    The only thing I wished I had from the start was a Steam steriliser (the electric ones) - god send

    Make sure you have a good baby monitor, in this day and age a CCTV one I would prefer.

    Bath thing, can't remember the name, its so the baby can go in a baby bath but it supports it, will try and find it

    A nappy bin!! Trust me, a worthwhile investment

    Read up on colic, it may scare you if you don't know what it is

    Also be prepared to go up in nappy sizes fairly quickly

    Not sure if breast feeding is going on but if not we used cow and gate

    Oh and GOOD quality teats for bottles, don't be tempted by cheap crap, get the decent more expensive ones, will help with colic amongst other things
    Last edited by Jonj1611; 02-04-2022 at 01:17 PM.
    Jon

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    Super Moderator Jonj1611's Avatar
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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    I will add to it as I go along

    I will say this though, its an amazing scary event, a whole new life in your hands to look after. Its an awesome responsibility but one of the most rewarding you will ever have.

    I have been a single parent since my youngest was two, its certainly testing at times but its so worth it.

    You may also feel times when you have a baby and the crying is relentless and you just can't sleep where you feel lost and down. Those days will pass. I wish I had someone telling me that at the time.
    Jon

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    Goron goron Kumagoro's Avatar
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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    Don't buy too many clothes they will grow out of them real quick.

    Nappies from different brands seem to fit some babies better than others. For me Tesco ones worked best and we didn't get leaks.

    Don't buy the sangenic bins and cassettes to put the nappies in they are a rip off and are of no benefit. Just buy nappy sacks and a bin with a lid.

    Get a baby bath with a bump in the middle so it props them up.

    If you end up using baby milk get sma, aptimel or whatever it is called smells like fish. Also when you ween them off on to normal milk, slowly mix them up until you are on just milk.

    Get some infacol and Calpol before you need it.

    To stop baby crying for no obvious reason don't rock them side to side go up and down slowish bending your knees a bit like squats. This doesn't seem to be well known in the UK. Be prepared to stand up a lot, some how they know you have sat down and will cry again.

    Get lanolin for sore nips and use it before they start to hurt.

    Get an electric breast pump don't cheap out on a manual. This will help if the ol boobies get blocked as well.

    We preferred having a microwavable bottle caddy rather than a dedicated electric one. Also I liked glass bottles as it was easier to guage the temp of milk.

    Get the absorbent pads for leaky nips.

    You may want a feeding poncho so many van be fed discreetly out and about

    Take lots of photos and videos and keep a diary of things they do and when, things they say. You will forget so much and it is nice to have when they are even just a few years older.

    Enjoy
    Last edited by Kumagoro; 02-04-2022 at 01:25 PM.

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    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    First up, congratulations!

    Another parent here whose youngest is now 16.

    We went on both the antenatal course at the local doctors, and went to NCT sessions as well. We picked up some useful tips, but mainly at the one by the local midwife we met a bunch of local parents that we really got on with. The NCT bunch were a tad competitive, but still we had some mileage out of it. So yeah you can pick up what you need to know probably off youtube these days, but a bunch of local people you can learn with is dead handy. Hopefully that isn't something that has gone over to Zoom and wreaked the social side.

    Might be a bit late for this but... we seemed to be the only people we knew who actually researched the options of where the kids could be born, because there is a choice. We used a midwife run low risk unit in a local hospital (sadly now gone), everyone else we knew used the big hospital in Reading which was really under staffed (the staff there were lovely, just not enough of them). Our experience was better, just like in the reviews. Go figure

    People will buy you newborn clothes, because they love babies. They will last about 5 minutes before they are outgrown.

    Can't remember at what age we started using a sling to carry the kids around. I was working from home 20 years ago, and found I could work on my PC with a little one snuggled up in a sling on my front where they would just sleep (giving mum a bit of a rest).

    And don't worry too much. Humans have been not knowing what they are doing for thousands of years

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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    Listen to all the advice, follow whatever you feel like. Every one is different!

    Putting a tea towel down on the changing mat was the winner for us. Stops them peeing when they lie down due to the cold and if there is a little mess it's easier to clean up.

    Do try and get out and about and have visitors, and do ask the visitors to bring a meal with them for you all so you're not entertaining!

    Ask for help, ask for hand-me downs or buy second hand clothes and pass them on when you're done.

    Feeding is a personal thing, there's no wrong answer. We had real trouble with breast in the hospital due to complications/stress but it worked out at home, bottle feeding at the start allowed for us to get home and also share the work.

    NCT was a mixed bag. We got a lot out but didn't really click with the other couples. Friends somewhere else didn't really rate the person taking but made s child of friends.

    Relax, enjoy, be ready for your works to be turned up side down. It's hell at times, but rewarding.

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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    I can't say I'd know, but what I can say is congratulations!

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    RIP Peterb ik9000's Avatar
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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    Quote Originally Posted by Output View Post
    I can't say I'd know, but what I can say is congratulations!
    Thanks. People keep saying congratulations to me, but tbh I'm also accepting commiserations for this curve ball that, as people allude to above, will well and truly scupper our plans and current lifestyle forevermore. I think this is cosmic karma for being glad we didn't have one to deal with during lockdown. Somewhere we said it to the wrong person and now this is pay back clearly. Children are a blessing they say. All I can see is a lifesentence of woe and hassle, particularly when starting at our (not youthful) ages.

    At least my colleagues can no longer criticise my dad jokes with "but you're not a dad" anymore.

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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    It sounds like you are looking forward to it. Congratulations
    Jon

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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    Don't bother with a bottle steriliser, we had a microwave one and used it for a few weeks and then just washed them up like everything else, the kid survived with no ill effects.

    @DanceswithUnix - Second that about Reading Hospital, they were so busy that Anethatist couldn't attend my wife to administer an epidural, she had to go with Morphine & gas. Also as it's also a teaching hospital, the nurse/trainee doctor, screwed up the drugs they gave her to induce labour. They had kinked the drip line and no one spotted it, so when it finally sorted it labour came on real fast and with not enough Anethatists on site she missed the window for epidural.

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    RIP Peterb ik9000's Avatar
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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    Quote Originally Posted by jimborae View Post
    Don't bother with a bottle steriliser, we had a microwave one and used it for a few weeks and then just washed them up like everything else, the kid survived with no ill effects.

    @DanceswithUnix - Second that about Reading Hospital, they were so busy that Anethatist couldn't attend my wife to administer an epidural, she had to go with Morphine & gas. Also as it's also a teaching hospital, the nurse/trainee doctor, screwed up the drugs they gave her to induce labour. They had kinked the drip line and no one spotted it, so when it finally sorted it labour came on real fast and with not enough Anethatists on site she missed the window for epidural.
    Eek that's awful! I hope she's ok now.

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    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    Quote Originally Posted by jimborae View Post
    @DanceswithUnix - Second that about Reading Hospital, they were so busy that Anethatist couldn't attend my wife to administer an epidural, she had to go with Morphine & gas. Also as it's also a teaching hospital, the nurse/trainee doctor, screwed up the drugs they gave her to induce labour. They had kinked the drip line and no one spotted it, so when it finally sorted it labour came on real fast and with not enough Anethatists on site she missed the window for epidural.
    Sounds like you had a bad one, but I heard plenty similar. The epidural bit seemed a common theme back when my peer group were all doing the baby thing.

    Whereas down the road at Heatherwood, with both kids we had a midwife able to give us all the attention we needed. With one of the births there was a student midwife helping, so we basically had someone looking after us all the time. People said they were worried by it being a low risk unit, saying what if something went wrong. Well the place did elective c-sections ISTR every Wednesday, so they had a theatre ready to go and a surgical team always on standby if things got bad and you needed a crash c-section. If things just got a bit iffy, you ended up in an ambulance heading for Slough which seemed about the same as Reading. In our case things weren't straightforward, but nothing they couldn't cope with. Real shame they closed the unit.

    Hence I tell people to talk to their midwife about options, look up what the options are, and go visit them if possible. Again, hopefully covid hasn't ruined the open days that you used to get where you could have a good look around, but it probably has

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    RIP Peterb ik9000's Avatar
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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    It definitely has I'm afraid. Our hospital has a good rep though so we're happy enough at the moment. We are just drawing up maps of places to avoid near dday so we don't get shipped to one of the less reputable ones if mrsik9000 gets bundled into an ambulance in an emergency.

    Latest scan suggests it's going to be a hunker chunker baby so it's going to matter. I imagine it will end up needing a c section given some of the things they mentioned.

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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    RULE 1:
    The very moment you are given your little bundle and allowed to cuddle it, dress it up and all that - Usually just after weighing and measuring - whip out its nether regions and slap a load of Vaseline™ all up its bum crack. No, more..... No, more than that. I said a load - Grease it like a CV joint!
    Seriously, the first few poos will be meconium, a dark greenish-black substance that is basically road tar. Thick, sticky and a ******* nightmare to clean off, especially if you have limited experience in handling tiny, delicate little lifeforms. The Vaseline™ makes it a doddle by comparison, and this is one stress you can easily do without.
    Thank me later.


    NCT was pretty good. Not much you couldn't learn from Google, but delivered in a social setting. Most of it depends on what sort of people you're with. Our lot were all middle and upper-middle classers, driving fancy cars, having good jobs, all owning their own 3-4-5 bed semis and no-one knowing if their bank accounts even include overdrafts... Three years later, The Ttaskmistress still hangs out with all the other girls and chats with them almost daily. I never gelled with any of the blokes and didn't even make the first 'Beer and Babies' pre-birth social night.
    It was good to have that social support and interaction, if only for the Mrs's benefit.


    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    We used a midwife run low risk unit in a local hospital (sadly now gone), everyone else we knew used the big hospital in Reading which was really under staffed (the staff there were lovely, just not enough of them). Our experience was better, just like in the reviews. Go figure
    Both of ours were born at the RBH in Reading...
    The Midwife Unit was still running in March 2019 and we spent the first few hours on that ward. Lovely place, lots of nice furnishings, facilities and options to accommodate and cater for various birth plans, including the really weird ones. Ours would have gone smoothly and possibly have been a water birth, but there were complications and we had to spend the rest of the 57 hour labour in a room of one of the more dedicated wards, before ending up in theatre. Staffing levels were pretty good, with several nurses and two doctors never more than a shout away, and given that both of us have worked in the NHS, as well as the accompanying Mum-in-Law being a former nurse herself, we found very little to complain about.
    September 2020 was a very different time, but RBH still found enough bods to match the staffing levels of our previous visit. We briefly saw one doctor during a consult, but really this one was a very quick in and out (just like the conception, ha ha!), and we barely had time to say Hi to the midwives (yeah we got given two) before we were saying Hi to the second sprog!


    Car Seat - As with motorcycle helmets, I would advise against anything second-hand, as this is a major piece of safety kit, so you can never scrimp.
    You'll want this already bought and installed long before you're anywhere near your due date, so you can take the little one home safe, even if they arrive early.
    Various brands, various attachment methods. If you have ISOfix in your car, then FFS get a seat with it. Get the clips and the floor brace, at least, if not the whole tether mechanism if your car has that too.
    We opted for a Joie 360, which locks facing forward or rearward and spins around, which makes loading a kid so much easier than a fixed one. Some favour the carry seats that lock into both a seat base or a pram base, but they tend to be for newborns and you may need to buy a bigger setup after a year or so. We went with a separate pram/pushchair device.


    Stuff - Most newborn and <1yr stuff has no resale value. Often people end up with piles of unused or even unopened kit, becauise everyone wants to buy new and everyone else buys stuff as presents for them. This means the second hand market can be very cheap.
    Look for local Mum2Mum sales events, which is basically a car boot sale for baby stuff. Pack of muslins for a couple quid, pack of babygrows for £1.50, stuff like that. Toys, bouncers, all sorts.
    About the best High Street shop these days is probably Jojo Maman Bebe. Pricey-ish, but very good if you like their styles, and there are dedicated second-hand websites, including a Farcebook sales group which Jojo themselves does officially endorse (so long as you don't use their own stock photos).


    Nappies...
    If going disposable, we found Aldi's Mamia brand very good, and very cost-effective at about a third the price of the big brands. Disposables all end up in landfill, which is a load (8,000,000 per day) of plastic doing harm to the environment... but sometimes this may be the easiest option for you. Try not to feel guilty.

    But... under NO circumstances should you ever flush one.
    I don't know who you are. I don't know what you were thinking. If you are looking for money, I can tell you I don't have any. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career, skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you bin your nappy now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for it. I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for it, I will find it, and I will dig it out of our filter screens.... and if our dye tests trace it back to you, I will bill you!!


    If going re-usable, the initial cost outlay will hurt, but the savings over the next few years will be well worth it. Roughly £250 now vs £1,400 over the next few years. One of the best brands IMO is Baba And Boo. Take a few minutes to read all about them:
    https://www.babaandboo.com/
    They're resizable all the way up to toilet training age and beyond, even for proper tubby babies. You can add or remove lining layers too, if your little one pees like the Orinoco (yes, Enya even wrote a song about this!). You'll be saving the planet as they're all natural, some even biodegradable, and coming in all sorts of pretty colours. They even do one-month trial versions, which are fully refundable if you don't get on with them.
    More importantly, these things do have great resale value, so you even get to make a good 60% of your investment back.


    Right, gotta do some work.
    I'll likewise pop back with anything else I think of. Any questions, ask away!!
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Tyson
    like a chihuahua urinating on a towering inferno...

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    ik9000 (04-04-2022)

  25. #15
    Editable... jimbouk's Avatar
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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    Re nappies - we went with TotsBots (https://www.totsbots.com/) and they've been great - except at the start! Whilst they say they're "birth-to-potty" (the size 2 ones) we found them just too bulky and not a good fit at the start so went with disposables initially. Some apparently eco brand (though not convinced!). He's just starting to get too big for them (we could go a bit longer if needed) but we're going to switch to pull ups soon and enjoy(!) potty training

    The nursery we started in used Asda nappies so they must be reasonable as well - in fact I'm pretty sure any of them will be fine and it'll just be about cost and convenience to get them. Sizes can vary between brands so that's the only thing to keep an eye on.

    Any yeah - enjoy the initial poos! NCT did make up simulated nappies for the first few blacks and greens and stuff

  26. #16
    Super Moderator Jonj1611's Avatar
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    Re: tips for new parents. what to buy/know/do/avoid

    Without knowing how long ago people had babies its hard to say about nappy quality, for me it was 20+ years ago. We used Pampers which were excellent, we did try other cheaper brands at the time and had no end of problems with leaks etc
    Jon

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