We're thrilled to have Amy Whitehead guest blog for us this week. Amy is a wonderful supporter of Baba+Boo and you can find her over on Instagram. Over to Amy...
Hi, I’m Amy, mum to 2 year old Gilbert, and currently 38 weeks pregnant with my second child. We found out that I was pregnant two weeks into the first lockdown, back in March of this year. So this pregnancy really has been clouded by Covid-19, and our baby will be a lockdown baby.
I do feel lucky that this is my second pregnancy though, and that with Gilbert I had the chance to experience all the joys of pregnancy like pregnancy yoga and meeting with friends, discussing baby names over a (decaf) coffee. Yes I had the normal morning sickness and fatigue, but it was much easier to cope with with family and friends around, and without the dark cloud of Covid looming over all of our heads. I have to say I really feel for those first time mums out there who have had to deal with all of the emotions of pregnancy, having to go to scans and appointments alone, alongside the worry and uncertainty of Coronavirus. So I wanted to give my humble advice on how have we been preparing for the birth of our second child.
When I was pregnant with Gilbert I worked right up to the last minute before giving birth. I wanted to make sure that I had as much time off work with my baby as possible, so didn’t really think about giving myself any time before the birth. Since finding out I was pregnant I had planned to allow myself some more time to relax and prepare before the chaos of a newborn and a toddler ensued - and with everything that 2020 has thrown at us, I’m so glad that I did.
So this time round I finished work a month before my due date, and have kept Gilbert in nursery for those couple of days a week. So far I have napped, watched films, baked cakes. Nested, cleaned and sorted through newborn clothes and nappies. I have met a friend for a walk, and chatted with family on the phone. And it has been wonderful actually. I think now more than ever we need to look after ourselves. And I would recommend to any pregnant women out there to try to make some time for yourself if you can.
The thought of labour during a pandemic can be quite scary, I imagine especially to a first time mum who also has to contend with all of the normal unknowns that labour can bring. My advice would be to make sure that you have a birth partner who is informed, prepared and supportive.
We practiced hypnobirthing in my last pregnancy, and completed an online course (very useful in a pandemic!) in which I flagged certain topics and sections that I wanted my husband to watch too. Even if you don’t want to go down the hypnobirthing route, I would really recommend taking on board the idea of positivity. It’s so easy to get bogged down with everything at the moment, but being informed and positive can make such a difference to your mental wellbeing on the run up to, and during, labour.
We have planned a home birth this time around, which I am so hoping for and looking forward to. But I have made sure to be aware of other eventualities, in case things don’t go to plan, so that we are prepared and comfortable with any scenario.
I could write a whole blog post just on what to pack in your hospital bag, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Even though we are planning a home birth, I am still going to pack a bag just in case, as it’s always a good idea to be as prepared as possible.
Along with all of the essentials, which you can find numerous lists detailing, my advice would be to pack a few things that bring you joy and comfort. I’ll be packing some of my favourite chocolates and a pair of comfy slippers for sure!
Stress free reusables
Reusable products are better for the environment, but honestly I just find them so convenient too! We have used reusable nappies and wipes from birth with Gilbert, ultimately for environmental reasons. But the knowledge that we don’t have to worry about nipping out to the shop is also really reassuring. I’ve been able to get everything ready for baby’s arrival, knowing that we won’t run out of nappies or wipes… especially important during a national lockdown!
Other reusables like breast pads and wet bags can be really helpful for postpartum too. In fact wet bags especially are so handy for all aspects of motherhood - and life in general!
Although I was already using plastic free period protection before getting pregnant with Gilbert, something I hadn’t come across at the time was cloth sanitary pads. And to be honest the idea of needing sanitary pads post birth wasn’t something I had thought much about! I soon ran out of the small pack of disposables that I had bought and I distinctly remember having to call and ask my mother and father in law to pick some up on their way over to meet Gilbert - and being quite embarrassed about it too. Yet here I am two years into motherhood talking about it for anyone to see - oh how being a mum changes you!
This time round I have invested in some reusable alternatives, along with a small wet bag to store them in. I have chosen a mixture of sizes, with the intention that I can continue to use them for many years to come as period protection.
Bringing baby home
When you bring your gorgeous little bundle home, everything is new, exciting, confusing, wonderful and exhausting all in one big hazy cloud of love. You really don’t want to be worrying about things like cooking meals and buying supplies.
When Gilbert was born our neighbours very kindly brought round a few trays of pies, and meals to keep us going for the first week, and honestly it was the best gift we received! During lockdown it is harder to rely on friends and family (and wonderful neighbours) to help out, so we have been making extra portions of meals over the last month and freezing them in preparation.
One of the biggest impacts that lockdown has on having a baby, is the thought that family and friends may not be able to visit right away. Probably my biggest piece of advice would be to try to embrace this, as hard as it is. Having visitors is obviously such a lovely experience, and it will happen, but having that time as a family to settle into your new life is also priceless. Enjoy the hazy bubble of your little family, and know that it will be just as exciting when everyone does get to meet your new little pride and joy!
The majority of our immediate family live at least 3 hours away so we had a taste of this when Gilbert was born. We started a family WhatsApp group dedicated to photos and chat about him. So everyone could share those lovely little experiences of mum and baby back home having a snuggle, baby’s first bath, or first cloth nappy.
I think something that we have all learnt in 2020 is to be thankful for what we have, to appreciate the little things, and the knowledge that we can get through this! Having a baby is such a magical experience, and although it may not have been the way we planned it, honestly parenthood rarely is - and that’s what makes it such a crazy and wonderful ride!
AFTERWORD: I'm so pleased to announce that since Amy has written this post, she has given birth to her little girl. Head over to her Instagram where she has shared her story. Congratulations Amy!