- As soon as they’re old enough to find a toy they like, never ever lose that toy. SB is obsessive about her Lamaze ‘Emily’ doll – £6 on Amazon -, it is guaranteed to calm her down if she’s crying, and if she’s calm it will always bring out a smile. She goes everywhere with us now, and can clip onto the pram for ease. I dread the day we lose the little bugger. There will be tears – mostly mine.
- If you’re using dummies (we are), make sure you’ve got enough clean ones with you (or get ones with dummy clips – remember to never tie it around your child’s neck). I tend to have a little plastic case with clean dummies in the changing bag, and another one in my handbag just in case. I still manage to lose them, somehow.
- NO walk, shopping trip or car journey is short enough to negate the need for a changing bag. The one time you go out without it, the baby will experience a Poonami. This can work to your advantage if baby is ever constipated – go out without a changing bag, dressing the baby in their best clothes, and wearing your favourite dress. Within half an hour the blockage will be cleared and your dress will be ruined.
- If your baby screams,
bastardspeople maywill glare, tut and sigh at you, for having the audacity to have a baby with feelings and needs (Didn’t you know your baby is supposed to be an automaton? My little Wilburforce didn’t show an ounce of human emotion until he was in university, you know). There’s no real ‘tip’ for shutting them up, but just ignore them. It annoys them even more and leaves you stress-free. Dummies and dolls are great for averting crying situations, but sometimes nothing will work.
- If you’re going swimming, take two towels – one to get baby out of the pool with, and the other to dry them with. Keeps them warm because even though baby pools are 32 celcius, babies get cold quickly.
- A pool membership, if you can, will be a great investment – rather than paying £4 a time for a 10 minute swim a few times a week, paying £15 a month for unlimited swims is great – at first, all you’ll get is 10 minutes in the pool at most before baby gets too cold. Be prepared for shivers, looks of ‘What the fuck are you doing to me, mum?’ and people walking past your shivering baby, tutting. (What is with all these tutters? Do they follow new mums around, waiting to see a mistake?)
- Bibs. Bibs bibs bibs. Whether you use bibs or muslins or cloths or whatever, just MAKE SURE YOU BRING A SPARE. Have one in the puschair, one in your handbag, one in the changing bag, one wherever you can fit one. Stuff them in your pockets (just don’t go into any shops, because they’ll think you’re shoplifting if your pockets are overflowing with dribble bibs). Because when your baby is having a sick-a-thon, or just dribbling everywhere (it will happen, when you discover the joy of teething), you’ll realise that solitary bib you packed is nowhere to be seen. It’s also great when your baby decides that your finger tastes nice. You can laugh now. I don’t know what tastes so great about my thumb, but slobbering all over it is one of SB’s favourite hobbies.