Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Questions from a soon-to-be new mum

During probably the last trimester of pregnancy I found myself wondering how we’re going to look after our baby.  We know next to nothing about looking after a baby!  I had lots of questions bouncing around in my head, but haven’t been very sure of where to look for answers.  

Maybe you’ve been there and find some of these questions familiar.  Or maybe you have also wondered these things as you are preparing for a baby.  Here are some of the questions I’ve had and how they have been answered, I hope someone finds them helpful. 

Who teaches you to change a nappy?
The antenatal class was where we learnt how to change a nappy.  It was on a doll though, which I’m sure is much easier than on a real baby.  The midwife teaching the class told us that we would be taught how to do this again once our baby had been born.

How does a swaddle work?
Swaddles help the baby to feel cosy by tucking their limbs in against their body.  This is a familiar feeling for the baby, because they were pretty tight while in the womb, and it can help relax them.  Two techniques for this were taught at the antenatal class (and we were also reassured that we’d be taught again once the baby arrived). 

When should a baby use a dummy/soother?
It’s recommended that you don’t use a dummy in the first six weeks of life.  If you want to breastfeed your baby (and this is the best-for-baby, best-for-mum, best-for-the-bank account option) then you don’t want to confuse the baby.  Both mum and baby have to learn how to breastfeed, and the baby feeding helps to increase the mother’s supply of milk.  If the baby is sucking on something else then the mother’s body is not being encouraged to produce milk, and the baby gets confused about how to suck for milk. 

2016-03-08 09.28.04

Should the baby sleep in my room or a different room?
This comes down to preference really.  Apparently when I was born I spent one week in my parents room before I was kicked out for being too noisy.  I may have got my own room before I got my own name!  Some mums I’ve spoken to have said that they like the reassurance of having the baby in their room, particularly in a cot or bassinet next to the bed where they don’t even have to get out of bed to check how the baby is going.

Edit: Actually, I was wrong.  The recommendation is to sleep the baby in the parents’ room for at least the first six months, even up to 12 months.  This lowers the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  Recommendations were different when I was a baby of course, but now midwives are adamant that the baby should sleep in our room.

Do I need a post-partum girdle, and where can I buy one?
A post-partum girdle is like a wrap support for your stomach, to help hold everything together after the baby is out and everything’s floppy!  My GP told me that I would only need one if my abdominal muscles have significantly separated.  If this happens then the hospital will loan me a girdle to use, to help the muscles come back together again.  Usually, the abdominal muscles will come back together on their own by about 6 weeks.  Despite this, I’ve wondering about using one anyway, just to help things along. 

What forms (if any) do I need to bring to the hospital for after the baby is born?
As far as I’m aware, in Australia we don’t need to bring anything of this sort of thing. Of course you would bring your pregnancy record card and some form of identification like a drivers licence, but I think that’s it.  I’ll update this if we discover the answer is something different. I think once the baby is born the hospital gives you a bunch of forms!  One of these in particular (I think it's the orange one?) is what needs to be shown to Centrelink if you are hoping to get monetary support from the government for your baby. 
If there are forms we need to bring, I can always send J home to get them after the baby is born!

I’m sure there’s more questions I’ve had along the way but these are the ones that I remembered to write down.  I hope other new mums might find this helpful. 


  1. Do you know the ergo cocoons Rachelle? Sooo much easier than using a wrap swaddle. I am a total convert!

    It's interesting your midwife said it's personal preference where the baby sleeps... I think the SIDS recommendation is in the parents' room but not in their bed and I've found midwives and nurses to be quite stringent about that - one said it's what the govt obligates them to say though, not what she actually thinks! Apparently they're not allowed to mention co-sleeping at all apart from 'don't do it'!

    I thought the thing about 6 weeks before a dummy too for breastfeeding but friends who've had trouble breastfeeding have actually had the ABA recommend a dummy, because it strengthens the baby's suck reflex! Who knew?!

    1. I have heard of the ergo cocoons but I don't own one. I was given a Love to Dream swaddle, which lets the baby self-sooth with their hands, while still being tucked in so they don't scratch themself.

      The hospital definitely has a policy on the baby sleeping in your room while you stay at the hospital, but the midwife who taught our antenatal class didn't say anything definite about it for when you get home. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that we're in a very multicultural area and different cultures have different ideas about where children sleep. I don't see why that should stop them making recommendations though. Perhaps I'll hear more about it after the baby is born!