Posted in How to ...

… organise your changing bag (newborn)

Too stylish to be my bag.

Sudden realisation: I should’ve photographed my changing bag and all the items inside. Ah damnit, who has the time for that?

Before I had LG I spent a (slightly excessive) amount of time on YouTube watching videos about what you need to buy for a newborn, what to pack in your changing bag, what to pack for hospital etc. Now I’m on the other side of childbirth, I thought I’d put together a couple of these posts in the hope they might be useful to someone, somewhere … *

*Peter, if you’re reading this, please consult this list when I’m on holiday in the future.

What’s in my (probably overprepared) changing bag

1. Nappies, of course – two important tips, remember to “update” your bag as your baby grows and their nappy size changes. You don’t want to be there with a nappy for a 3.5kg baby … when your baby is now over 5kg. Second tip, for the love of God remember to replace the nappies when you’ve used them – we once got stuck at Peter’s mother’s garden on a Sunday (shops closed) with no fresh nappies. Nightmare.

2. Baby wetwipes – slim/small pack; takes up less space.

3. Normal size muslin – the size of a small t-shirt I guess. This is for all the spit up, sick etc.

4. LARGE muslin . useful as a “sun protector” over the pram, or a ‘light’ blanket to cover the baby when it’s too hot for a fleece blanket but too breezy not to have anything. Also good for lying your baby on in the pram. Seems to make LG sweat less in the heat.

5. Small toy – a rattle/something colourful that makes noise/distracts

6. Plastic bags – you know the small, annoying kind that you get when you buy a small gift somewhere and never know what to do with it after you’ve come home? Or alternatively, zip lock bags. These are for soiled clothes, or nappies (if there’s nowhere to dispose of them)

7. Thick blanket – good for cushioning the pram, making the baby comfortable whilst feeding, covering them if the temperature drops … the list is endless.

8. Clothes – vest, long sleeved body, trousers (with feet), hat, scratch mits. I normally have a sleepsuit in there too. It’s good to have two sets of spare clothing, as I found out the other day. Whilst at a friend’s (who luckily has a baby girl), LG soiled his outfit, then threw up on his spare outfit. We ended up taking him home in a very pink, girly sleepsuit …. he loved it.

9. Changing mat – one of those handy compact ones. IKEA does a good one that wipes down and folds up neatly.

10. Hospital changing mat – so we kind of stole one of these … Basically it’s just a green disposable sheet that they encourage you to use for sanitary reasons in hospital. It’s been handy when I’ve needed to change LG in the pram and wanted to cover as much surface area as possible …

11. Nappy rash cream – I have a small tin of Penaten

12. Lipbalm, hand cream, hairbrush and deodrant for me – Mums get gross too.

13. Small tube of factor 50 suncream – essential for babies in summer

14. Purse – this purse has some loose coins in it. In Germany you often have to pay/tip the toilet attendant and I’m never sure if it’s free if you just want to change your baby ….

I think that’s everything!

Mama M x

Posted in How to ...

…. deal with the faff of breastfeeding in public

That’s not LG, and that’s not my boob .. #stockimage

Breastfeeding in public is such a pain in the ass. To organise my thoughts, I’m going to answer a few simple questions in this blog that have been raised in my first 6 weeks with LG.

Do people actually care when you breastfeed? Do they stare?
Should I cover up? Is it indecent otherwise?
What’s a worst case scenario with breastfeeding in public?
Can you prepare yourself, to make it easier?
What are some useful tips?
Why would it be considered ‘a faff’?

Okay, so.

Do people actually care when you breastfeed? Do they stare?
In my experience, no, people don’t care. People do look, or rather, glance in your direction – but I guess that’s kind of normal, although breastfeeding is normal and thousands (?) of women across the city do it everyday, you don’t see it everday necessarily. You look when there’s a commotion on the street, you look when someone is put in an ambulance, you look when someone drops a plate in a restaurant, you look when someone’s breastfeeding. No one judges, no one stares. Berlin is pretty liberal, and I’m quite sure no-one would say anything at the risk of a social justice warrior materialising out of thin air and reading them the riot act on #normalisebreastfeeding.

Should I cover up? Is it indecent otherwise?
Tricky question. Every time, it’s a judgement call. I’ve gotten pretty good at lifting up my top and positioning it so that the edge/hem of the t-shirt is touching his lips – in effect, you can’t see breast/skin/nipple, but you can see a latched baby, and the feeding is pretty obvious. This is how I’ve fed LG in parks, at Markt Halle IX, at home in front of family, and other open spaces. I have used a muslin cloth to cover myself in cafes and restaurants – more at Peter’s request that mine, his impression this is something you ‘do’ at proper eating establishments. I would argue that there’s no need to hide your baby under a muslin, but you should do your best to keep things kind of discreet. At the end of the day, 99% of people are probably cool with breastfeeding but still end up feeling uncomfortable at the sight of someone’s boob & nipple out in plain view – this is how I was at least, before I had LG. I never knew where to look! P.s bollocks is it indecent, next question!

What’s a worst case scenario with breastfeeding in public?
You’re trying to juggle a baby on one arm, and position them correctly, whilst at the same time cover yourself with a muslin. Baby latches, then unlatches – wailing everytime they unlatch. You’ve got loads of milk that gets everywhere – all over your baby’s face, your clothes, their clothes … You manage position them correctly but at the cost of hunching your back in a super uncomfortable way. To onlookers you are frazzled stress and not at all at ease.

… this was my second experience! LG was 4 weeks old and we were at Veganz cafe in Bergmannkiez. Nightmare!

Can you prepare yourself, to make it easier?
If possible, get someone to hold your baby whilst you unclip your bra, grab your muslin and gets your arms (or in my case, legs) ready to rest your baby. Otherwise, do all these things before you take the baby out the pram (assuming they’re in a pram…).

What are some useful tips?
First focus on getting that baby latched and in position as quickly as possible, then worry about the tactfully covering up. Don’t try and do both at the same time.

Why would it be considered ‘a faff’?
For all the reasons mentioned above!

Mama M x

Posted in How to ...

How to … ease cramping/wind in babies

gas explosion
Metaphorically, this is what you want to achieve

It would seem that LG has moved on from that tranquil newborn state into a more cranky-very-cranky kind of newborn state, and it’s all the result of our ultimate nemesis wind. Oh and poop. But mostly wind. This has led myself and Peter of a quest of sorts, with the holy grail being the relief of all discomfort for tiny LG. As a mother, you go through phases of feeling incredibly sorry for your baby, as you watch them wriggling, scrunching up their face, kicking their legs and generally being very distressed, to then feeling just as sorry for yourself as you realise you’ve had near 3 hours of this digestive merry-go-round.

Having come across so many suggestions to ease the discomfort, from others mums, our midwife and the good ‘old Internet, it seems mean not to share.

Top Tips

1. Cycle those legs, baby – it’ll be good practice for when you enter them for the Tour de France. There’s a few videos, but this one is pretty accurate (maybe go easy on the pushing phase mind you, just an idea…)

2. Sage/aniseed/fennel tea – (Salbei/Anis in German) Half a teaspoon or a whole teaspoon after feeding, 5 times a day. It’s meant to easy digestion.

3. Hot water bottle or ‘cherry stone cushion’ – I’ve found that this method can relax your baby, even if it can’t speed up the process of getting that air or poop out.

4. ‘Tummy time’ – lying them on their belly (which is good to strengthen those neck muscles anyway) can put just enough pressure on their stomach and abdomen to help them burp (at either end…)

5. Drum circle – Lie them across your lap (face down like tummy time) and gently drum on the lower part of their back. My midwife chanted “Wir sind die Mongolei” … whatever floats your boat.

6. Sun and moon massage – Although this didn’t help little LG, it’s still useful to know. You need to have a baby that doesn’t wriggle around too much! Click here for instructions.

7. Superman! – Hold your baby on your forearm, their head in your palm (face turned either right or left), arms and legs dangling either side. Sometimes this can release pressure, but at the very least it relaxes the baby enough for them to stop grumbling.

Hope this helps!

Mama M x