Thursday, 19 November 2009

Mama Chat - A Dish on Parenting from Real Moms

Tonight I'm introducing a new feature - Mama Chat - to this blog.  I keep saying that knowledge is power, and throughout my pregnancy I've enjoyed gathering advice and ideas from other pregnant girls and real moms.  Mama Chat will bring these gems of wisdom to you, directly as told from the real mamas who know the drill.

Some of this advice may ring true with your actual or imagined parenting style and ethos and some of it won't.  I'm sharing these wise words not because they are the right way to parent  but because they are interesting insights and practical solutions that have worked for others and may do so for you.  As you know, I'm a glutton for food for thought.

Tonight's insights come from two fine mamas of one wonderful little girl each, LG & EW.  LG lives in the UK and EW in the USA.   Thanks for your input ladies!!

This is what they had to say in response to a mix of questions (in bold) from me on baby changing:
LG: We never bothered with a top and tail bowl as, personally, I think they are a complete waste of time. I just bought 2 small plastic bowls and these worked perfectly. I did put a F for face on one and B for Bum on the other just to be sure we kept as hygienic as possible.
  • Do newborns need to be bathed or just wiped down in order to get clean?
LG: For the first 6-8 weeks we only bathed her twice a week, in the early days they don't recommend bathing every night as their skin is so sensitive. It's advised that you only use water and although its tempting to use some soap, it can irritate their skin.
  • Changing - Chris thinks I'm nuts for thinking about this one....cotton wool and water or wipes?  If cotton wool, which type (balls, pads, big pleat that you can rip pieces off of....)?
LG: We used cotton wool and water for the first 4 weeks, as again, all the midwives and health visitors advise that baby wipes (even the un-perfumed ones) aren't suitable for newborn skin. However, as you will find you can never get their bottom's really clean when you are only using water, so that is why after a month we moved on to the Pampers sensitive wipes. I would recommend using the cotton wool that you can pull off as then you can use as much or as little as is required.  My sister also recommended buying some cheap flannels (Ikea do a pack of 10 for about £1.50) and these were handy for using if she decided to pee while i changed her and for the poops that end up halfway up their backs - they did make the whole cleaning up process much easier!
  • I've looked into re-usable diapers in the interest of being green but they look like hard work and like they require a lot of laundering.  What's your take on this?
EW: As "green" as I wanted to be after giving birth...the reality is that the first couple of months are hard to accomplish this.  I wasn't interested in wipes or disposable diapers but thought I'd have a starter set around for the beginning until we worked out our system.  With the timing, schedule and lack of hands during the day....we've stuck with these for the time being.  Laundry is hard to do every day so if you're going to do might want to look into a diaper service for washing for the first few months until you can leave baby alone or get longer naps in where you can do laundry.  

I have the starter set for g-diapers which are just the coolest thing ever!  We use them occasionally during the day when I'm home.  Our goals have shifted to just "surviving" with the disposable stuff until it's easier to set her down to deal with the eco-friendly products.  Since you're out of hands & the g-diaper is a flushable layer, it's hard to do one-handed! Also...there are some disposable diapers that vanish quicker in landfills than normal diapers too....those might be of interest for the beginning too.

  • Dirty Diapers - did you get a little box for them? I don't want to put them in my kitchen garbage and have them smell it up and my bathroom one is tiny!
LG: We managed without a box but only because we could put all the dirty nappies straight into the dustbin, you definitely don't want them smelling out the house. We also used the scented bags and they seemed to work pretty well. You may have come across 'nappy angels' in your research, these are basically a nappy disposal system which works by sealing each nappy in its own bag inside a plastic container, most of them hold up to 20 nappies (probably 2-3 days worth in the first few weeks) and helps to avoid endless trips to the bin. I know various people who have these bins and they have all found them really useful. I think I remember getting a voucher for a discounted 'nappy angel' in my bounty pack but forgetting to redeem it in time, so it may be worth seeing if you got one in your pack.
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