Some 12, 13 months ago – Motherhood was depressing. While I was happy to finally a little one to call my own; emotionally I knew that I needed help & support.
I couldn’t decide between going with my maternal instinct vs. what was in the books/websites, it was a constant struggle – to wean at 4 or 6 months? Milk supply was dipping – oh dear and everyone else was increasing. I fret about starting a routine and keeping to it – oh no he woke up at 9.30am today vs 7.30am on the other mornings! Weaning was a daunting task that I was afraid to mess up (pun unintended of course) – what if I don’t do it correctly and then he’ll not like veggies like forever? Every knock or accidental fall that happened laid a heavy load on my shoulders as I replayed the incident and hope for the worse to NOT happen. I carried a big bag full of “just in case baby needs” stuff which dampened my mood even before I stepped out of the house while packing – maybe I should just not go out today….
I felt incapable.
But of course God and the universe heard my pleas and soon enough I received the warmest encouragement from more experienced moms such as my relatives & closer friends. I was given a free pass to text them whenever, wherever I needed advice and/or assurance. It helped me tremendously and when I asked how I could ever repay them for their graciousness and patience to attend to my frantic needs – my cousin told me the best way was to pay it forward to another mom who might need similar help in the future as how she was now paying forward a deed that someone helped her when she needed it most as a new mom.
Here and there, I’ve been happy to share anything that I could help with whenever I was asked. Some readers-turned-friends thanked me for sharing my personal experiences while others complimented me for doing a great job so far. I have to stress that while I seem confident for most of the times, deep inside I’m usually crossing my fingers & toes and hoping that all will be okay. Through trials and errors, I’ve learnt what works best for me and my baby.
So recently when I was presented with another chance at helping to allay another fellow mom’s nerves, I thought I’d document what I’ve shared here as well while I can still remember most of it. For future assurance perhaps. Remember, there’s no hard & fast rules but to adopt the one that suits you the most. Eventually I hope to have someone guest blog about their experiences managing 2 or 3 kids. But for a start, I hope this helps!
Today’s topic: WHAT DO YOU PACK WHEN YOU GO OUT? I FEEL LIKE I’M BRINGING THE ENTIRE HOUSE OUT.
Not being able to nurse anymore sucks when it means needing to carry more stuff like hot water/cold water/ enough formula milk in addition to extra set of clothes, diapers, swaddle, pacifier and the works. But with some planning and organization skills which I’ve learnt to harness over time, it’s doable. Some of my friends carry a huge diaper bag which can house flasks of water – hot & cold to make/warm up milk while for me I had a dedicated “milk bag” from allerhand to segregate my milk. I chose to segregate mainly because my jujube diaper bag wasn’t big enough to contain everything and I appreciated it being lightweight enough to cross body while carrying Liam. Secondly because I bring my pram everywhere with me – it was easy for me to chuck the “milk bag” in the bottom basket of the pram and have everything housed there (i.e.: clean bottles, hot & cold water, milk powder, sterilized wipes if needed) – which also serves as a great checklist instead of ransacking the diaper bag before leaving the house.
Once I got the hang of baby’s routine, it was easier for me to plan. For example if I leave the house after 2pm and know that I will be back by 5.30pm, I can bring just one clean bottle of water (get a bowl of hot water outside to heat it up) and a small container of milk powder for that afternoon feed. I would pack 3 fresh diapers + 3/4 used tube of diaper cream (to lessen the load) + pack of travel-sized wet wipes + small towel to dry in a wetbag and if there was space – an extra set of clothes. If not just an extra tee at the very least (or a onesie to save on space). On days when the diaper bag has no space to contain my aden & anais swaddle, I would use a soft shawl instead which takes up less space for times when I need to cover the pram during naps outside.
For a start, go to places where you’re well acquainted with where the baby rooms are as well as drinks stations/cafes to get your cup of hot or cool boiled water. The more practice you get, the more confident you become and when you finally venture to places outside your comfort zone, you’re more comfortable in adapting (i.e.: using your swaddle as a little pillow for your baby’s head to rest at places where there’s a hard surface for baby changing or always bring along a padded change mat). I always have a disposable nappy mat just in case I need to contain messy poo moments or if I’m uncomfortable with the level of cleanliness. Going out on mummy dates also help since you can be rest assured that if you do forget to bring something, you can always borrow 🙂
After going out for a few times – it can just be a short trip to the supermarket or a walk outside to get some fresh air, U’ll start to note things that you really use and other “just in case” stuff which you hardly touch yet takes up space. Note the timing of these outings too so that you can adjust accordingly. You might as well record it in your baby book too while you’re at it (so that others can benefit from it should a caretaker need to take baby out one day)! Challenge yourself to leave at home one item from the “just in case” category and see how you get along just fine in your outing with baby without it. You might even surprise yourself with some improvising. After that, challenge yourself to remove another item and so on. Good luck!
(p/s: I stopped needing to bring out milk bottles when chungkin was about 10 months+/- as he dropped his afternoon feed by decreasing his intake for a few weeks and replaced it with snacks instead)