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{Guest Post} Baby Advice – What worked & What didn’t – Images by Lara

Today’s post is a guest post by Lara Baker. A mom, who is busy with an amazing (no, really, you’ve got to check it out for yourself!!) photography business and she runs a blog! Apart from that, she is really a sweet as sugar soul and I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to collaborate with her on this post. Read on, it’s a great one, I promise you!

Baby Advice – What worked & What didn’t

Before I fell pregnant, I can admit that I was tired of people asking when we were going to have a baby. It was a fairly predictable conversation that was going to occur every time I went anywhere. Once my pregnancy was announced, however, I was open to all advice from all quarters. Everyone has an opinion on how things should be done. It’s all kindly meant, and to be honest, I never had a problem with it. By keeping an open mind, I learnt a lot. People will always offer advice – they are also excited, and want to share in the moment. I also decided fairly early on that if someone else had been through a process that I could learn from, then I was going to listen.

Some of the advice worked for us, and some of it didn’t. At the end of the day, Dave and I tried some things, and if they did not work, we tried something else. It’s been a process of adapting, and also learning that what worked on one day may not necessarily work the next. Different pieces of advice work for different parents and different babies, so the important thing is to decide who to listen to, and be open to changing things if the advice does not work.

It’s important to note that this post is about how certain pieces of advice worked for our family, and may not necessarily work for anyone else. The trick is to find your own pattern.

Advice that did and did not work for me:

1) Sleep when the baby sleeps: The most-often pedalled advice, this did not work for me for a number of reasons. Apart from the fact that I am unable to nap during the day, baby’s naps were my only opportunity to get work done (I run my own business), or do laundry. I would imagine that the only moms who get this right consistently have a palace full of servants. For the rest of us mere mortals, this advice is purely a fantasy.

Lara and baby

2) Get yourself ready first: This definitely worked for me. I woke up and got myself ready before I dressed the baby. I did not wait for my husband to start work before attempting a shower. He is also a parent, and was perfectly capable of looking after Broden while I had a quick shower. Each day started with purpose. I was more relaxed, because if anyone popped in or I decided to go out, I only had to worry about the baby. Not once was I in my pyjamas at 8am. I’m secretly kind of proud of that. There is a reason the airlines advise you to put on your oxygen mask before trying to help anyone else. Once you are sorted out, you will not be overwhelmed by all the things that have to be done.

3) Don’t try and breastfeed in the theatre: Sister Annie knew what she was talking about. After finding out that I was having my baby in an hour, I felt suddenly unprepared for everything. In an attempt to have some control in the situation, I asked if I could still breastfeed my newborn straight away. While I could, I was advised not to push for it. I decided to trust in the advice, and went along with it. I’m generally quite relaxed, and was quite happy to be guided by people in the know. This is one of the better decisions I have made for my personal situation. I know that the ideal plan if you have a casesar is to ask for the last caesar of the day (if you are in a position to choose) and to breastfeed as soon as you can, waiting worked for us.

Instead of trying to learn to feed my newborn in a freezing cold theatre, surrounded by a whole lot of people and bright lights, I fed my son for the first time in the privacy of our room, with only my husband present. It was calm, relaxed, and my baby latched immediately. It was an incredible moment in time, where we could bond as a new family, and Dave and I could marvel at the entire experience.

4) Leave your baby to cry it out: This is not for everyone, and so far, it has not been for me. I’m not saying that I won’t, just that so far, it has not been a big deal. Every now and again, I promise myself that I am going to be strong, and let my son cry it out. Every time, I last about 30 seconds. Is it so wrong to respond to your baby when he cries? If you can’t count on your mom to come when you need her, who will you ever trust?

Having said that, I am aware that as he gets older, my son will use this to his advantage, and I will have to put my foot down. But for now, he’s little.

5) Have a Go-Bag: I kept one nappy bag permanently packed with nappies, wet wipes and a change of clothes. Both my husband and I have a nappy and a small pack of wet wipes in each of our cars (even my mom has some spare nappies). It takes the hassle out of leaving the house, and reduces the risk of running late. I think my time-keeping has improved drastically since having a baby as I have had to become more prepared in all aspects of my life.

6) Remember the first time you hold your first baby: This advice was given to my husband by one of his friends just before we had Broden. I am including it because I think that it is excellent advice. The first time you hold each of your babies will be amazing. But the first time you hold the first baby is a moment that can ever ever be repeated.

Don’t worry about letting people know that the baby has arrived – they can wait. Be in the moment.

7) Put the baby in its own room from day 1: I smiled sweetly every time I was offered this gem, knowing that I was never going to act on it. If it works for you, great. I personally have never understood the logic. For nine months, your baby is inside you, listening to your voice, your heartbeat, and the voices of everyone you interact with. Even the sound of the kettle boiling must provide some familiar comfort. Then all of a sudden, they find themselves in a new environment. Instead of getting the opportunity to gradually adjust, they must be banished to their own room, away from everyone – and be completely okay with this turn of events? I don’t really follow that logic – I just felt like I needed to be close to my baby.

8) Trust yourself: This one worked. You’re the mom, and you know your baby. Everyone means well, but at the end of the day, you know the difference between a hungry cry and and an uncomfortable cry.

Lara B's Baby

9) Let Dad bath the baby: We followed this advice, and it worked for us. Apart from the obvious – you have just given birth and practically it does not make sense for you to bend down or pick up a baby bath- it gives Dad some special bonding time with baby. In the beginning, Dave used a thromometer to get the water right. It was wonderful to see his confidence grow as after a few days he started to get it right without the help of the thermometer. It lets Dad have a chance to decide how he wants to do things. As women, we take on responsibilty for so many decisions. It’s nice to have an area where someone else just handles it.

10) Let people help: If people wanted to drop off meals, we definitely did not say no.

11) Put a note on the door for visitors: We didn’t follow this advice, and if I could go back in time and do this, I would. Scared of offending people, we never put a note on the door to tactfully tell people that we were busy bonding as a family and would let them know when we would be open to visitors. As a result of not being able to say no, we ended up up having 23 people come and visit on our first day home from the hospital (Broden and I got home at 11pm the night before). The first time Dave got to hold Broden that day was at 5.30pm after making tea and coffee as people drifted in and out. At that point we decided that we would have to be more firm about visitors. As kind as our neighbours were (family had already informed us that they were not visiting for a few
days and not to be offended), it was a bit overwhelming.

12) Have a pregnancy shoot: I was originally going to disregard this advice. I’m not comfortable in front of the camera, and until the last month, my bump wasn’t really big enough to justify one. I am so glad we did it though. A friend of ours offered to do one for us, and while I was trying to decide, another friend of mine pointed out that I should rather have them taken. Her logic was that if I did not like them, I did not have to look at them, but that once I had had the baby, I would not get another opportunity to document that pregnancy if I had a change of heart.

I am so glad I did the pregnancy shoot. It captured such a happy time in our lives, and was executed so well.

Well that’s it folks! A great post by Lara Baker. I have to say, you need to read her post on breastfeeding. Her blog does not just showcase her great photos (which they are by the way & no.. I’m NOT getting paid to say this!) but the words accompanying those photos do wonders for a reader like myself. Here are her links, pop her a visit:

WordPress: https://laraslifestylephotography.wordpress.com/

Instagram: lara-baker-photo

Facebook Page: Lara Baker Photography(@photographsbylarabaker)

Twitter: @rabaker99

Website: www.imagesbylara.co.za

Please note that all images used in this post were supplied by Images by Lara

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Simone Gobin is a 24 year old, it graduate, wife to Avi and mother to Yash & Ralee Gobin. She spends her days being a mother and a wife. She has decided to start a blog as a creative outlet as well as connect with other parents. Her belief is that there is a lot to learn from other parents out there and she welcomes all advice possible.

One Comment

  • PeanutGallery247

    It was such a pleasure to read this,brought back memories of last year just before and after my son was born. So many people offered advice, often conflicting. Every child is different and what works for somemay not work for another, I’m so glad you highlighted these. It can be so overwhelming for a new mom. I’m so glad my husband and I share the same views…even though it upset a family member or 2.

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