Cluster feeding Netflix/Snack corner
I will handsdown admit now I know nothing about bottle feeding, so this applies to breastfeeding. To make life easier, research cluster feeding. I'll go over it and my experience in a breastfeeding post in more detail, but basically the baby feeds like crazy. A baby that normally feeds for 20 minutes and falls asleep could fall asleep at the breast and be put down 4, 5, 6 times in a row, each time wanting to feed again. If you are prepared it's no problem, if you are unprepared it is stressful and exhausting. It might seem ridiculous and over the top but who are you hurting by being a little extravagant. I would make sure in both my favourite corner of the lounge and on my side of the bed that I had a survival pack for cluster feeding. (This survival kit would also be a good baby shower present for a New Mum) This, for me, would include: The TV remote, a phone charger with a long cable, oat snack bars (also boost your supply), bottles of water (HUGE bottles), comfy pillows, blanket at arms reach incase it gets cold, plenty of TV downloaded/series lined up on Netflix, your phone, fruit/chocolate bars (depending how glutinous you're feeling), muslins/burp cloth, nipple cream (if you're struggling with sore nipples from a poor latch). I actually read a good tip today that if you have more than the one baby, to pack lunches for other kids the night before even though you're just staying at home so you can get them to help themselves/parter easily feed them which I thought was a really good tip so that you can just sit and veg out with the newborn! When I had Oscar we watched Orphan Black (Netflix), Power (Netflix), Banshee (Sky), The Night Of (Sky), Sex and the City (DVD) and, of course, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (my favourites).
A newborn poops like craaaaaaazy yo'. Legit prepare yourself for some insane poops. I think a few times I've been through three new nappies in the space of a minute. Changing the dirty one, he weed all over the new one, I'd put the new nappy on and he would poo again before I had even put him down. I found it SO helpful to have the changing table in our bedroom for the first few months as you will be up so much in the night changing nappies, it would be exhausting walking to the nursery (even if it's just next door). A few changing table essentials: Nappies - I found Oscar moved up in nappy sizes so fast, in the early days there is no point buying the packs with 70 nappies in so save yourself money and buy in small packs like 30. Wipes - Water Wipes for a newborn as they are just water and 0.001% fruit juice so really gentle for newborn skin, and once they're a few months old, I really like Tesco extra sensitive wipes, they're so much cheaper than Water Wipes. I think they're like 5 packs for £2.50 or something! They are the only brand out of a possible five I've tried that still stay wet. Hand sanitiser - in a pump if you can find one, so much easier to just pump from a dispenser than fiddling around with a bottle. Two bins - one for poopie nappies and one for everything else. For other items, check out my YouTube video on my Changing Table: How to organize your baby changing | OSCARSMUM.COM
Pram in car/house?
We keep our car seat in the house. It has it's own place by the front door and I always keep a teether/dummy, a hat and a blanket in it (if it's summer it would be a cellular blanket and a cap, in the winter we used a really nice thick blanket that was a gift from Ted Baker and a fluffy winter hat) I keep the blanket, teether/dummy and hat in the carseat as it means I can put Oscar in the seat and everything he needs for a car journey in seconds. For me, it's worth having a spare teether and dummy for the car/car seat as it means you're not traipsing a dummy/teether around the house getting it dirty by moving it about all the time. Plus, then it's always where you last had it and you spend a lot less time running around like a headless chicken before you leave the house because you're late. I keep the wheels for the pram and the pram seat in the car at all times. 80% of the time I use the pram it is because I have driven somewhere and now need to walk. For the 20% I am leaving the house, whether it's to walk to the shops/local library, I can simply get the pram out of the car. I keep a pack of large Dettol wipes in the car and use them to wipe down the wheels to keep the pram nice and clean and also make sure the car doesn't get covered in crap. In the summer I have loved having a 'Buggy Buddy Shade' (http://www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/my-buggy-buddy-buggy-sun-shade-d4518.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjw4cLKBRCZmNTvyovvj-4BEiQAl_sgQsZnOaoxghlw3VWx0m1djo0W_5blfO4guByp9cdy5IYaAuno8P8HAQ) which shields the baby from the sun where the 'roof' of the pram doesn't cover. Recent research has shown that if you drape a muslin over the pram to protect from sunlight you can increase the temperature inside the pram and your baby can get really hot so this handy mini-parasol is really handy and keeps baby cool but protected. I have two carabiner climbing hooks on the pram as its handy to carry shopping bags. Even if it is blistering sunshine, I ALWAYS take the rain/wind cover for the pram as you never know with this English weather and it is always better to be safe than sorry as I couldn't imagine the guilt I'd feel if I got caught in the rain without it.
I have the Silver Cross changing bag. Not particularly glamorous at all, but what can you do. It has two inside pockets that I store a packet of wipes and four nappies in. I then have a fold up changing mat that came with the bag, a handful of nappy bags, Oscar's Red Book with his medical notes, spare vest, trousers, t-shirt, mittens, socks, slip on cotton/knitted hat and baby grow. (Handy to have spare clothes in case of poo explosions and a baby grow incase you find yourself out near bedtime, you can change and feed them and then no drama if they fall asleep in the pram as you can just put them straight to bed as they're already in PJs!) I then have a bag for 'my bits'. For this you could use a make-up bag or a wash bag. I have: breast pads, hand sanitizer, a cheap mascara, roll on deodorant, a diary, notepad and pen, gloves (in the winter), tinted lip balm, bottle of water, sanitary pads, fold-up hair brush/tangle teaser and chewing gum. When I get home from going anywhere, I like to get into the routine of making sure that the bag is exactly how I left the house, so will always make sure I leave the house with the bag having 4 nappies, a full outfit change and a baby grow in so that I am never left out wishing I had. Plus, by keeping on top of making sure you always have what you need, it wont have been left a month and you go to change the baby and they have totally grown out of the clothes and nappies packed because it's been so long since you packed it. There is nothing worse than being unprepared. I once forgot scratch mittens at my Mum's house, so we had to open an early Christmas present for him that was finger puppets, stretch the fabric and he wore them over his hands to stop him trying to claw his eyes out. I have also been out without a nappy, and created a make-shift nappy by putting one breast pad over his privates and one over his bum and tucking them into his vest until I got to the nearest shop to buy nappies!!! Improvisation much?
The bathroom I would advise having two sponges, plenty of hooded baby towels, wipes (you may need to wipe a pooey bum before putting them in the bath), a bath insert, body wash/shampoo and the Lion King soundtrack (my favourite album for bathtime anthems). For when YOU want a shower, I would place Oscar in his chair, in the bathroom, only when he was in a good mood. The chair vibrates and plays music, so I would just shower with him in the room and talk to him the whole time singing and saying his name so he knew I was there. I've gotten into a good routine of getting dry first before moving the baby as it's not worth risking trying to pick the baby up if there's any chance of a slippy floor or you having wet feet as the last thing you want is to slip and fall.
Things for you
I would keep a go-to basket of 'freshen up' items by your toothbrush in the bathroom. So that when you ask someone to watch the baby while you go for a wee, you can do a five minute spruce up - brush your teeth, roll-on deodorant, face wipes, mascara, creamy concealer you can blend in with your fingers and a hairbrush. Rather than running about trying to get ready and look after the baby. You'll be surprised how fast you can perfect this five minute routine any time of the day, the more you practice. It will make you feel one hundred times more human.
For the first few months I used a really gentle detergent. (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earth-Friendly-Products-Laundry-Detergent/dp/B001AQM2DQ/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1498508894&sr=8-1&keywords=baby+detergent) Once that ran out I use Fairy Non-Bio to wash baby clothes. A lot of baby clothes I have are white so would do a colour wash and a white wash and use a Glowhite sachet so they stay nice and white. I keep a basket for dirty laundry at the top of the stairs and like to keep on top of the washing because it does get ontop of you if you leave it too long! I use Microfibre towels over the top half of anything Oscar sits or lies in so that I can regularly wash it/change it if he spits up, rather than washing an entire cover. Anything that falls victim to a poo explosion I immediately bin - vests are the most likely culprits so don't fork out on expensive vests - ASDA multipacks all the way! If it's a particular item you want to keep, hand wash the poop out, then stick it on a hot wash and hang it in the sunshine (even if its a cloudy day) as sunlight gets out 99% of stains! Magic!
Kitchen and Lounge
The vibrating chair previously mentioned, we keep on the dining table, that means Oscar is up off the floor from the dogs and is eye level if I am cooking or cleaning in the kitchen. He will happily play with his toys or sleep. In the lounge we have a toy box that keeps a playmat and his toys that we can pack up at the end of the evening and have the lounge as an adult room again! In this box I also keep a packet of sanitising wipes in case any toys look grimy or the dogs touch. When Oscar was a newborn he would sleep a lot and the Sleepyhead pod was perfect to put on the breakfast bar while I was in the kitchen. There was absolutely no chance he was strong enough to move it, I could never put him in there now at 6 months but as a sleepy newborn it was perfect.