Sunday, 31 August 2014

Having a Baby?

The smallest Cub at two days old

I was pretty much the first of my friends to have a baby.  None of them were any where near even thinking about it really.  Chaz and I were living miles away in the South of France and the whole pregnancy felt a bit like a (very exciting) game.  We'd spend hours wandering around 'Bébé 9' marvelling at maxi-cosis and muslins, giggling at nipple protectors and breast pumps like two idiotic teenagers.  We had no idea what we needed so went along with the shop assistants when they told us we had to have 7000 baby bottles, twenty five car seats, twelve sterilisers and thousand euro prams.    Nine months later when the biggest Cub actually arrived,  I had absolutely no idea what the hell I was meant to do.  And there was no one to help us.  My parents and friends would come and go for weekends here and there but essentially it was just Chaz and I muddling through; drowning in bottles.  I'm now doing it all over again for the third time and as great as it all was, wish that there had been someone to tell me what I did and didn't need.  

The biggest Cub and I having a stripe off

As I write, about fifteen of my friends are pregnant. It's an epidemic.  And despite being surrounded by all their family and friends they too are completely bamboozled by the whole thing.  I got an email from one last week asking if they needed an 'organic coconut-lined, ergonomically shaped  moses basket mattress' for £300. The shop keeper had insisted their baby would sleep for 12 hours straight if they got it. 
A pregnant woman is a marketing man's dream.   Clueless, excited, full of hormones and desperate to give their un-born baby the best they possibly can - you can sell us practically anything.
In an attempt to help anyone having their first baby, I've taken lists from lots of the big baby companies and  edited/made comments on them to tell you what (I think) you do and don't need.  This one is just for pregnancy and the birth - I'll do another one for general life with a baby next.  
I hope it helps! 

For maternity clothes or things that just work well with a bump, have a look at Topshop for every day bits and pieces. Isabella Oliver for one off, well-cut special pieces as well as smarter work wear pieces. Asos. Gap for basics. 9 London for slightly higher end brands. DKNY and Madeleine Thompson for voluminous knitwear that you will never take off. 

Maddie Thomspon dress available from Austique

Maternity trousers/jeans.  If you want to splash out, J Brand do the best.  If not, Topshop's Leigh design is fab. They come in different lengths and the ankle grazer is quite miraculous.

Nightwear.  I've never brought special maternity pjs.  Borrow your husband's.

Bras  - I bought 4 bras in total. Baby lists will tell you that you need about nine. One underwired and 3 non has always been enough for me.  All from Elle McPhearson Intimates.  V pretty and comfortable and very long lasting.  I'm still in the same ones I had first time round.  Online, Asos and fig leaves both stock her.

Maternity underwear.  Again, I just go one size up rather than get special maternity pants.  Mothercare and M&S do the perfect, big granny pant for post baby days.  Elle McPhearson for bras.

Pregnancy pillow.  Try and borrow one;  I just fought with mine and it just ended up taking up precious space but some people love them.
Maternity tops.  GAP do a new line of brilliant basics.  As long as you have good basics you can improvise with the rest.

Maternity dresses.  Asos smocks and swing dresses and Madeleine Thopmson cashmere if feeling extravagant. Jersey tube dresses from Topshop over a legging with a kimono is one of my favourite, comfortable, staple outfits.

my absolute best Asos oversized smock dress

Maternity swimwear.  Topshop all the way. 

Pregnancy band  I didn't have one the first two times but have just been given one and it's a Godsend.  Perfect to hide your tummy button and add much needed extra length to your tops.  Quite good support feeling too. 

Stretch mark cream.  Essential but don't be conned into thinking you have to have an actual special stretch mark one.  Any body moisturiser is good.  Palmers do a good cocoa butter one.  As do the body shop.  Bamford's rose lotion is heaven-sent.

Pregnancy book.  'What to expect when you're expecting' was and still is my bible.  

Hospital Bag

The bag.  First time round I truly believed I needed to go out and buy a special bunny covered baby bag from Nursery Window.  You don't - your normal suitcase will suffice.

Nightwear x 2.  It's nice to have a new nightie for being in the hospital.  A special, vintage one is a great present for a friend about to have a baby.  Ebay have a great selection of Edwardian visions.  If that's not your thing, just make sure you have something that buttons down the middle.  You won't want anything stiff or starchy.  Cath Kidston, Zara Home and Massimo Dutti have real goodies.

PJs from Zara Home

Dressing gown 

Snacks.  However great your hospital is I'd suggest bringing your own food.  Labour can be long and you'll want them for sustenance as much as just to pass the time.

Your own pillow.

Comfortable cotton pants.  Go large.  And black, steer clear of anything white/pale. Mothercare's multipacks were my best. Ignore anyone who tells you that you need paper, disposable ones - Do not go near them with a barge pole.

Maternity towels x 48.  Ultra-slim 'Always' will not be enough.  Yes they look like nappies but you'll need them.

Nursing bras 
Muslins.  Long gone are the days of the boring, small white muslin.  Aden and Anais have given us beautiful, enormous patterned ones that are so visionary you'll want to drape yourself in them.  They also make the best new baby presents. 

Breast pads x 40. 

Nipple cream.  Kamilosan is the best brand.

Wash bag and hairbrush.   A face spray is one of my essentials.  Evian is great or if feeling swanky, Ren, ILA and Chantecaille have delicious Rose ones.


Newborn gentle wipes.  Great for you as well as the baby.  Pampers are great, I'm not a fan of Huggies despite them being permanently on offer. 

Nappies - approx 10.  Newborn size.  Pampers are my best.

2 x long sleeve vests.  White Company, John Lewis and Mothercare all do great white basics.  Petit Bateau slightly more expensive but have real visions.  For the creme de la creme you can't beat Bonpoint.  Esp if you're having a girl.

2 x baby sleepsuits
1 x baby blanket
Baby hat

Baby car seat.  The hospital won't let you leave with out one.  We have a Maxi Cosi and love it.

Comfortable clothes for you for going home in.  Tracksuit bottoms/leggings/nothing tight.  

Phone charger
Change for car park
Blue maternity notes and birth plan.


juliana cassandro said...

I wish i had read all of your comments 35 years ago! congratulations on your 3rd pregnancy Willow! how exciting will you have 3 wolfs or 2 and a little princess. xox Juliana Cassandro.

juliana cassandro said...

I wish i had read all of your comments 35 years ago! congratulations on your 3rd pregnancy Willow! how exciting will you have 3 cubs or 2 and a little princess. xox Juliana Cassandro.

Anonymous said...

many congratulations!