Initially I had grand plans of what we were going to achieve in a week, what I would do when my Mum turned up, all the things that would be done. Now I start the day with two objectives and generally it has been a good day if one is complete by the end of it. I feel like I am living my life in slow motion, everything takes forever – my never excellent timeliness is now non-existent.
So what does this ever-growing to do list consist of?
“To do” every day
The following is a list of activities that basically need to be done every day and sometimes many times a day which every thing else needs to fit around:
My iBaby Feed app tells me that Elphie feeds 8-12 times a day, for an average of 23 minutes each time and with an average of 2 hrs 23 minutes between feeds (measured from the start of one feed to the start of the next). Generally you can get a good 2-3 hours if you need it between feeding which is when you do your other stuff, but heaven forbid you are late for a feed – complete meltdown will ensue if there is even a delay of 15 minutes between deciding she wants food and her getting it!
If using bottles with formula or expressed milk, or an expresser, or other breastfeeding aids like nipple shields then you need to sterilise them.
There are a number of sterilisation options, but for cold water sterilisation which has the benefit of mass sterilisation you create a sterilisation tank once a day in a plastic container and then can put things in for sterilisation once washed and they will be sterile in 15 minutes. Steam sterilisation is a faster option but more limited in its capacity – still I aim to try it out one day!
For someone with the smallest clothing in the world, a huge amount of washing is generated as things get variously puked on, weed on or pooed on; simply have breast milk sully them; or morsels of parent meals dirty them as said parent fails to feed themselves with one hand. Then there’s all the new clothes that have to be washed before they are worn. It never stops.
Probably the most tedious of them all – for each feed there are probably two nappy changes, and in amongst them you have the continuous changes where just as a new nappy is in place, a terrific eruption tells you another is required. Or the mid change nappies where a new nappy gets destroyed by a pee fountain (that often also gets the clothes and changing mat). Happy days.
More complicated than it would seem and dependent on the little baby despot letting you eat!
Also, now you are at home a lot more, the need for home cooked meals dramatically increases. This means more shopping and more cooking. If you are a sensible person you would have the shopping delivered – but that require more forward planning than I am capable of.
There is a degree of official business that needs to be taken care of after the birth – mostly medical and some legal. This comes next on the priority list unless you want to find out at what point they call the dreaded Social Services.
Once you are solely under the care of the Health Visitors then you need to go for a regular check-up on weight, as well as length and head circumference less regularly and to have a general chat about your and the baby’s health and check you are doing all your other official business. At least in our area, these are run as clinics with a full cacophony of screaming babies and a car park load of buggies waiting to be seen on a first come, first served basis. We were there for three hours today – next time I will bring a book! We had been told to go weekly, but today’s health visitor said fortnightly was fine – so at least it’s only every two weeks.
Beyond this there are auxiliary health-related activities such as breast feeding support groups – optional but likely to result in disapproving looks next time if you don’t attend.
Registering the birth – this has to be done within six weeks of the birth or untold things will happen such as fines or someone getting very cross with you. In the case of London, this involves rocking up to the registry office in the borough the baby was born in (other boroughs require an appointment) with a ream of paperwork. We are now week four – this will happen this week!
As the babies are born, you need to take the first few steps towards bonding with the ladies and babies of your NCT group. This group will be your life support for the next few months and possibly the rest of your life as everyone else gets bored of you and returns to their normal lives while you are left suddenly not having to go to work any more but at the whim of a mini-tyrant wondering if you are supposed to now act like a housewife.
Beyond your own group, NCT will run general get togethers in your area for coffee mornings or cocktail hours for mummy and daddy networking. Not sure when exactly these would reach the top of my to do list though.
And if the NHS breast feeding support ain’t enough then there might be an NCT one more to your preference.
Personal “to do”
Then there is the stuff you need to do, including things like:
So based on all that and my current record of one achievement a day above and beyond the every day stuff, then I might be on top of it all by her first birthday!