PFB Syndrome: What it is and why I’ve got it…

PFB syndrome is a term coined on Mumsnet (as far as I know), to describe when parents go above and beyond the call of normal parental duty, to protect their child – and when no other child can really compare to your own special little snowflake. This child is usually, if not always, the parent’s first child – hence the term PFB, Precious FirstBorn. 

My tone is quite dismissive but I have no right to comment – I’m every bit as guilty of showing PFB traits as the next proud first time mum. For example, in the twelve weeks since SB was born, we have – 

  • Given up half of the only sofa we have for her Moses basket to rest on during the day. D and I then alternate between the other half of the sofa, and the sunken beanbag on the floor. Neither of us have complained about this yet. 
  • Taken her out of the bath in one towel, before transferring her onto the softer, warmer towel on her changing mat to prevent discomfort for her. 
  • I’m yet to let her have her teether, because even though it’s been meticulously washed and sterilised and has been in the fridge for days, I’m not sure the fridge is sterile enough for something that will be in her precious mouth. 
  • There is a private Flickr account that only myself, and anyone registered on Flickr as a family member or friend (currently all of two people) can access. It has over 4,000 photos of her, taken in the three months of her life so far. They are arranged into albums by month. 
  • We have a tumble dryer which is used solely for towels and SB’s clothes. Her clothes are washed on a separate cycle to ours, even though we use the exact same (non-bio) powder, and the same (Comfort Pure) softener. 
  • All water for washing – even if she’s just puked and needs wiping – has to be boiled, then cooled, and I try to make sure I’m using the softest bit of cotton wool. 
  • From birth, I insisted that we both had to be present for every nappy change, just in case she rolled off the changing table. Eventually this paranoia translated to turning the changing table into a storage table for all her bits and bobs, and only changing her on the mat on the floor. She’s 12 weeks and still doesn’t roll. 
  • At the swimming pool, we take over two of the plastic changing tables, because the family changing room isn’t clean enough for her, and if I put all her stuff on one table, it will be too cramped for her. (Even I’m blushing about this one). 
  • The special baby sponge wasn’t quite soft enough for her skin, so now I use a clean muslin, pre-soaked and already covered in bubble bath so that it is soft enough for her. 
  • The first week and a half after bringing her home, D and I didn’t actually realise that you could let them sleep until they woke up to be fed. We took it in turns to sit up on the sofa, propping our eyes open with sticks by the end, doing shifts all through the night. We were exhausted by the end. 
  • The fridge was covered in post-it notes, telling us when her last feed was, how much she took, and detailing every nappy change and whether it was wet or dirty.

 

You can insist all you like when pregnant that you will NEVER succumb to PFB-itis, it happens. Soon you’ll be warming up their cot sheets with a hot water bottle so that it’ll be nice and warm for when they get in – before insisting she’s just too small for a cot, and has to stay in the Moses basket where she looks snug and comfortable. You’ll be warming Wet Wipes in your bra to make them more comfortable, and having enough sudocrem to treat a year’s worth of nappy rash. 

It happens. 

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