1 Year later: parenting tricks I learnt

A year! A YEAR! 

It’s a little insane really. We managed to keep our little girl alive a whole year! Man do I have newfound respect for my parents. 

Hence, I think it warranted to share a few nuggets of wisdom with those still in the expecting stage, as well as the new parents whose little one has just arrived. 

You’ll be getting a lot of advice from just about everyone over the next few months. Ignore all of it. Yes you heard me, ignore all of it. Ignore what I’m about to write as well. Chances are very little of what I will dispense below will have any bearing on your situation. 

I will forge on nonetheless, I feel like I now wear a badge, like a sherrif’s that endows me with the responsibility to guide (completely misguided mind you). There are a few pointers (or parenting hacks if you will) that are universal, for easy reference I’ve marked them in bold:

  1.  If you don’t yet have a dishwasher get one now. No now, drive or go online and get one now. I’ll wait. No really, this will save you mountains of time and months of back ache bending over a sink scrubbing bottles. Uses much less water and electricity than in a sink.
  2. A bottle warmer. Buy this when you buy the dishwasher. Yes, that means now.
  3. Steam sterilisers. Pop it in the microwave and 5 minutes later the bottles are done. In fact buy two because…
  4. Have at least 10 bottles.  Two day’s supply so you don’t have to worry about running out. Fits nicely into the 2 steam sterilisers.
  5. Digital thermometer that measures the temperature in the ear. This will keep you sane the first night you have to fight a fever. Don’t get the ones that go in the mouth or butt. Good luck holding or getting it in babies mouth, and the butt, just no, because…
  6. Talking of fever, get Calpol and Neurofen. Neurofen when baby’s fever hits 38 degrees or above. Use Calpol in between. If you gave Neurofen first, wait 4 hours and then give Calpol, 4 hours later Neuofen and repeat (follow the dosages on the pack).  Neurofen for babies older than 3-4 months, Panado for babies under that age. Calpol is fine for all ages. If you can’t break the fever within an hour or it approaches 40 degrees Celcius, get to a hospital.
  7. Baby monitor. This is a must. Instead of you wondering if your baby is okay and getting up every 10 minutes to check, you’ll hear your baby make strange noises over the monitor and get up every 5 minutes to check…
  8. Baby wipes. Just found out you’re pregant? Good, start buying wipes now. Buy 10 every month. You’ll run out by week 2 anyway. 
  9. Nappy bags. Same as with the wipes, buy plenty! They don’t just come in handy for nappies. Get the scented ones, at least you’ll mask the smell of your vomit when you change your first poo nappy. 
  10. From about 4 months your baby will start to sit unaided. This is great and helps with bath time as now only one parent need be involved in the bathing process. This also means you’ll have a free hand when your little angel poops in the bath. Sorry, there’s nothing  you can buy to prevent this and no gadget to help you clean it. Just hope it’s a solid one, the breast milk ones are nasty. Have one if those nappy bags handy… And wipes. 
  11. Wait, there is something that helps with poo in the bath water. Those jugs with the rubber ends that are supposed to keep the soap and water out of babies’ eyes. Buy one of those to scoop up the poop, doesn’t work for what it’s intended anyway.
  12. Don’t buy toys. None. What’ll happen is you’ll buy that really cute toy, get home and baby will latch onto the empty toilet roll and play with that for hours. That or your plastic ware. 
  13. Buy a stroller with an extra load area underneath where baby goes. The extra storage space will always be used. In fact, buy one if those twin strollers even if you’re having only one baby. You can never have enough stowage. 
  14. Buy a smartphone with the biggest storage you can afford. Your 16GB iPhone 6 is not going to cut it, you’ll be taking pictures constantly…
  15. Syringes. Lots and lots of syringes. Only way to get baby to take medicine. Syringes and glycerin suppositories. The suppository is to get baby to poop, yes sometimes they don’t poop, when they don’t it’s worse then when they do.
  16. Paper towels. We buy 10 rolls a month. Still not enough. 

That’s it. These things have saved us time and kept us sane over the last year. Feel free to add to my list in the comments below with your parenting hacks. 

I’m off to buy more wipes and paper towels.