Surviving The First Month – Boobs And All (Plus, Win a Breastpump!)

Piper is nearing her one-month birthday. I KNOW.

It’s been an incredible (and incredibly fast) first few weeks. She is amazing. I’m drowning in every bit of her, because she really is growing up way too fast for my liking. In fact, I had a little moment this past weekend when discussing birth stories with friends (yes, this is what we talk about now) and I realised she will be my last every baby. I’m devastated that I wont ever have that experience again. But, I digress.

Coming home with a new baby is always a daunting exercise – regardless if you’re like me and it’s your second, or if it’s baby number 5 you’re bringing home to the family.

You forget everything. It’s amazing how the brain retains only what you really need to remember, and discards the rest. Jokes, you’ve just had a kid, Your brain retains nothing, you are all dumb now. So, in the spirit of helping other new moms keep their shit together, I’ve decided to put together a little ‘Surviving The First Month’ series and chat about everything from boobies and body to blood and ‘bloody hell!’

To kickstart, I’ve decided that the most important thing to discuss is feeding. And in my case, breastfeeding. Apologies to the formula mums – I will be there in a few months when I go back to work (although at times I’ve considered hanging up my boob straps and switching to Nan because of, well, all the below reasons)

The latching… Unlike Carter, when Piper was born they popped her directly on my boob and she latched first time, like a little star. I have nightmare memories of leaking nips from Carter days, so my hospital bag was 3/4 breastpads. Although, you don’t actually need them for the first few days as you are making tiny amounts of colostrum and baby really only needs a teaspoon or less, per feed. So all was good under my proverbial hood and little Pip latched and ate and slept and poo’ed. On day 4 my milk came in, and with it, my boobs doubled in size and became rock hard. Piper was still latching but it was so incredible sore that my toes would literally curl in and I would levitate every time she came anywhere near me. I was using these hideous nipple shields to try get her on (because on top of milk coming in and boobs growing, they also become so rock hard that for baby to get a grip is the equivalent of them trying to wrap their lips around a soccer ball). I was in agony and the breaking point for me came on day 5 when after a feed, I looked down and her little face was covered in blood. I immediately contacted a lactation specialist – Sally – from Noobebe Baby Clinic  who came to my house and sat with us for an hour teaching me how to properly latch my baby. That and a session of physio** helped me so much and I cannot stress enough what an investment this is. I can understand why so may moms give up trying to breastfeed, the pain of early onset mastitis, cracked nippled and rock hard goombies is enough to make even the most hardcore crunchy mom give up and grab a bottle.

The mess… Guys. You must never underestimate the messiness of milk. I can only speak from my experience, but when the milk comes in, it comes in fast ad furious. Like the cast of Absolutely Fabulous at a gin sale. No amount of breastpads can prevent this:

Or this (Incase you’re wondering, this is my duvet cover, which means I leaked through shields, a bra, a top and actual linen.)

And even if they do, its a fucking nightmare when boob is out, baby’s on and she suddenly pulls away. Milk streams out at ferocious 90 degree angles. If a forensic expert had to come in to my home they would find traces of Kates Dairy all over the house, from the curtains to the carpets. I took a break from writing this blog to feed Piper now, and this is legitimately what she looked like after her first suck:

My advice? Stock up on breastpads and keep them everywhere. Baby’s room, your room, under your pillow, wedged between cushion covers and in your car. Also, you will be very sleep deprived and therefore very stupid. Top tip? Don’t apply them sticky side down on your nipples. It’s not pleasant.

Feeding in public… I could never get this right with Carter and hated the thought of going out with him when he needed a feed. The amount of times the poor Woolworths change-room assistants let me borrow a stall is beyond me. It also got very expensive as every-time I used a room to feed I felt obliged to buy myself new clothes. Nursing covers are hot and stuffy and unpleasant all round, plus, they could be the size of a picnic blanket but you are still guaranteed a nip sip when shifting baby from boob to boob. I find it incredibly difficult as I have to help her get latched which means both hands need to be under my top, and in order to see what Im doing that also means that I need to also be under the cover. There is not less conspicuous than a hot sweaty woman with a bright pink shawl draped over her shoulders in 30 degree heat trying to wrestle an infant octopus between oversized leaky mammaries. If I have to, then I will feed in public. If not, I express, bottle the milk up and actually just save us both from tears.

 

Expressing and bottle feeding… I used the Medela double electric pump with Carter and am using it again with Pip. This thing is terrific, the only downfall is that you have to hold the pump in place while expressing which meant you were very limited for however long it took to get the milk out. That is, until Michelle from BreastPumps and Beyond came to my house to deliver, what I fondly refer to, as THE BIGGEST GODSEND AFTER HAVING A BABY. She also brought me chocolates, so she’s basically my favourite person.  It’s a click on bra that allows you to hook the pump in so you can operate hands free. This thing has actually changed my life. I can read, work, blog, watch TV, take hideous selfies or wash dishes while expressing. Jokes. I have a dishwasher for that.

I debated for hours over posting this photo, but decided that in the spirit of honest parenting, you needed to see what real motherhood looks like. It ‘aint pretty. 

I’m using the Medela Calma bottle and teat which mimics the sucking action of a nipple. (God, how many times can one person actually say ‘nipple‘ in a post?). I’ve been expressing from 4 days and giving Piper the occasional bottle since she was 5 days old – so I can get a break, or feed in public or so hubby can feed and I can sleep lie awake wondering if he’s going to remember to change her nappy afterwards. Oh, and also so I can drink. heavily.

So, what have I actually achieved with this post? Apart from perhaps causing a spike in the sale of the contraceptive pill? Well, hopefully to help you realise that you’re not alone in this messy journey of motherhood, and also to help you stock up on shit you really need, versus shit you really don’t.

Shit you really need:

Breastpads. Any brand. The large box. keep them everywhere

Towelling nappies. Not for nappying, for absorbing spillage and mess and milk and tears.

A Medela breastpump and THE WORDS GREATEST BRA. Get them here:

A nipple cream – I use the Medela lanolin. Yes you will gawk at the price. Yes, you will need it. (great for cuticles, too).

The number of a good Sister (like nurse, not biological or Whoopi) who can help you with your latch – chat to Sally from Noobebe. She also does vaccinations.

The number of a physio who can help you should you get mastitis or pain.

A comfy chair. I use the ComfyMummy chair with a foot cushion and it’s really helped with those 3 am feeds when you are so exhausted you can’ see straight Tip> Pay for Scotch Guarding. because, mess. FYI – they have recently moved their showrooms so give them a visit or have a look at their website.

Shit you don’t need:

Breastfeeding tops – They really make zero difference when you have to peel back layers of bras and pads anyway.

Overly warm breastfeeding covers – they are not fun for everyone

Nipple shields. If I can give up this crutch, so can you. I promise.

Judgy opinions. Do what works for you.

** Side note. When selecting a physio to caress, massage and laser your boobs, try not to book your husbands ex girlfriend. You’re welcome.

Competition Time!

The lovely folk at Breastpumps and Beyond and Medela want to try and simplify your breastfeeding experience, so we are giving away one Harmony manual pump to a lucky winner. I also have this particular pump as it’s super handy for on-the-go expressing. I’m shooting a wedding at the end of the month and will be taking it along to express between the ‘I Do’s’ . To enter, all you need to do is subscribe to this blog, like and share the post on your Facebook timeline (you can share it from here) and leave me a comment. Winner will be drawn and announced on Thursday.

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Introducing Piper Grey. Our Daughter.

I’m writing this from a very loved up cocoon. 13 days ago we met our precious daughter, Piper Grey. She was born via planned C section but came wide eyed and screaming into this world, just as I had hoped. She is perfection, All 3.42 kilograms and 50 cm of her. Just like her oder brother she was born with a mop of dark hair which I’m almost certain will, like his as well, fade, fall out, grow back blonde and then settle into a dark blonde. She has large almond eyes that currently, are a deep blue and a little rosebud mouth. Her character is simply delicious – soft and sweet with a ferocious crossness that comes every 3-4 hours when she’s hungry and needs boob. Her features are delicate and dainty but her hands, man those hands, those were made for something great. In fact, her hands were the first thing the gynae saw as he pulled her out, and as he did he said ‘she’s gonna be a 4 kilo’er’. I’m kinda glad she’s not.

Alot of people have been asking me about her name, and no, it didn’t derive from ‘Pip’. We were calling her Pip in the tummy because ‘It’ sounded too weird, and when we chose the name Piper it was simply a coincidence that it was 2 letters longer than her nickname 🙂

The whole C section and hospital experience was amazing – even better than the first. I had her at a different hospital to Carter and cannot tell you just how welcome, special and important all the nursing staff made me feel. The only downfall was the limited visiting hours for Barry and Carter and the broken aircon – she was born in one of the hottest weeks and I was uncomfortable for 4 days. It was like staying in a sauna.

And the boys? Well, they are simply besotted. Barry has been given 10 days paternity – which is great but in my opinion about 2 months too little – so has been with me for 2 weeks helping and bonding and being my rock. He goes back to work tomorrow and Im somewhat devastated. Carter is simply obsessed – I always knew he would be loving and nurturing but to see him with her, it can actually make your ovaries do the Macarena. She is his little light and he gravitates towards her like a beacon – he smothers her with kisses and soft touchers and whispers her name when he’s crying. I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Piper was born with several ‘stork bites’ on her face – a ‘V’ on her forehead, on her eyelids and under her nose. At first I was really upset – her perfect face felt flawed, and I gave myself a full day to mourn a little bit of her perfection. And then I sucked it up and told myself I was being ridiculous – she has 10 fingers and toes and is a perfect human in every other way. The docs said the marks will fade in a few years, and I’ve learnt to embrace them as part of her and who she is. I don’t edit them out in all my pics as I want her to look back at photos and see her for exactly who she was.

I have been loving my time at home with her. Not being able/allowed to drive is a tiny blessing. I’m trying this time do do less and be more. She is my last baby and so I want my waking hours to be spent gazing, touching and smelling this little bundle. Because I know all too well just how fast they grow up.

r-Grey

It hasn’t all been roses and custard, I did too much too soon and suffered a small bout of mastitis, afterbirth pains (we need to talk about that, people!) and threw in a dose of food poisoning for good measure.

She is 2 weeks tomorrow, and I actually don’t remember a time before she was here. Yes, the lack of sleep and 2 am feeds and constant soiled nappies and saggy tummy and exhausted eyes are leaving me more mombie than anything, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. She’s here, she’s ours and she has completed our little family.

 

 

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‘Pips’ Nursery Reveal

One of my favourite parts about having kids (I sound like Octomom) is being able to plan their rooms. I hate anything that’s too ‘themed’ and tend to go with a feel, rather. Carter’s room was grey and navy and because it had more room and space, I could do so much with it. When it came to putting Pip’s nursery together, I really battled. Not only is the room tiny but there is zero wall space, so it was trial and error trying to get everything we needed in there. I always wanted a bight, cheerful tropical nursery, and never realised just how popular the trend would become! Nevertheless, my love for flamingos trumped my disdain at being sucked into a trend, and I persevered. Although it’s not perfect, I am really happy with the room and how it’s come together. Its bright, light and calm, and already smells so damn good.

All of the furniture is a hand me down from Carters room (and several other babies before him!), the side table was one I found in the garage and repainted. The shelves are from @Home, the art is from Shutterstock, the painted flamingos were done by me and my moms friend. The cube shelves are Mr Price and the flamingo was a gift from a friend. I’m waiting on 2 more special items – a mobile lovingly and painstakingly being made by my mom and a delicious monster printed muslin blanket that I eventually caved on and bought online.

The nappy bag is also Carter’s (yes, he had a girlie nappy bag!) from Lou Harvey, the bottles I will be using are all from Nuk and the dummies I’m going to be trying out are from Nuk, Tommee Tippee, Doddle and Co and Avent. I’m not taking any chances that she will be a fan of those hideous honey dummies her brother (still!) adores.

Now just to pack hospital bags and I’ll be (almost) ready for her arrival.

 

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7 Ways To Survive The Last Month Of Pregnancy

There comes a time, in every women’s pregnancy, when she reaches the ‘gatvol‘ stage. For my International audience – gatvol basically means ‘sick and tired’. Well, friends, I am officially gatvol. Like labour dilation, it happens slowly with a rush at the finish. I woke up on Monday, tired, puffy and exhausted, and by the time this morning had rolled around, I was 100% certified gatvol. If you aren’t sure if you are in the early stages of gatvolness or the late stages – here’s a simple test: Does the sight of another human being fill you with rage? If yes, you are at full-scale gatvol.

Full-scale-gatvolness tends to happen in the last month of pregnancy, and can be narrowed down to one thing. You have been pregnant for 11 years.

The only official cure is to birth the baby, so until then the gatvol-ness must be managed with a variety of lifestyle changes. Because as we all know, hard liquor, medication and murder are all top of the ‘pregnancy no-no’ list.

So, as my free-gift to you, I have come up with a list of several ways I can recommend surviving the final stages of pregnancy, until it’s time to become un-pregnant.

  • You aren’t sleeping, which is terrifically unfair, because you know that in a short few weeks when baby is here, you will never sleep again. Why aren’t you sleeping now, you ask? Because baby is literally sitting inside your bladder making running water noises and the slightest movement from either yourself or her sends you waddling to the loo. If you’re lucky, a little bit of wee will pass out. Enough to justify the use of a square of bog roll. If you’re not, you will convince yourself you have a bladder infection. This goes on all night. All fucking night people. The only way I have managed to help myself is to have a weekly cheat meal of soya sauce in a bowl. Drink it before bed and ensure you do not touch water. You must dehydrate yourself to the point of biltong if you want it to work. Then, with skin sucked in as tight as Zumas Shrek skull, you must go to bed and not move. Not a muscle. Your lack of movement, coupled with the extreme dehydration your are now putting your body against, will ensure a guaranteed 4-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

  • The heartburn in the latter stages of pregnancy will become so bad that you will wish sudden death upon yourself. Gaviscon will no longer work. Not even when drunk directly form the bottle (the large pink one) and downed with a couple chew tabs at the same time.Not even when your pillow nest is 4 granny-goose high and you are more erect than Bill Cosby after cocktail hour. The only cure, I’m afraid, is to stop eating anything with wheat, carbs, cheese, sugar, preservatives, spices, flavouring or milk. You must not consume anything that is actually food. Instead, if you feel faint to the point of collapsing, you may smell a piece of spaghetti and drink one glass of soya sauce in water. You might actually die from malnutrition, but the positive to this is no more heartburn, and a guaranteed good rest.

  • If you, like me, are waddling like an Internet gif, you must make alternative transport plans. I cant begin to tell you how little respect I generate when I walk int a boardroom looking like I’m birthing a penguin from my vagina. If the waddle is severe, you must break a bone and confine yourself to bed rest until baby arrives. A toe or foot will suffice. Remember – a break will hamper your time after baby – so think this one through very carefully before committing. If the waddle is only bad in the morning, afternoon, around lunchtime and at other times during the day, may I suggest finding a sturdy office chair to get you from point to point. Extra claps if you can find an attractive colleague to push you around.

  • It is very important to remove yourself from any situation where you may encounter a person with a stupidity disability. Sadly, hiding at home away from other human beings for 9 months is almost impossible, so may I suggest embarking on a ‘people purge’ for a while. Remove yourself from any and all mailing lists, politely decline any and all meetings and avoid 98% of men in the office who think their sexist jokes are funny. It is also very important to not answer unknown numbers, or emails that start with ‘TV licence’. Just yesterday I told a do not reply sender to go and ‘fuck their hand’. If your bullshit tolerance feels like it might break, then may I suggest also deleting your social media accounts until your anger hormones have settled. 12-99 months should suffice. Top Tip: Also try and avoid the following people: Car guards, telesales people, municipal workers, slow waiters, taxi drivers and slow-mall-walkers.

  • Do not allow yourself to be in traffic unnecessarily. I say this with peace and love in my heart, for I intentionally aimed my SUV at a silver painted mannequin man just last week. After a mind blowingly fun 2 hours in traffic. His juggling red balls were blocking the turning arrow, and for that I knew he must die. Luckily I had my son in the car, otherwise that silver man would have been so deeply ingrained into the tar of William Nicol that people old have mistaken him for a shimmery mirage.

  • Do not divorce your husband while pregnant. Give the relationship a fighting chance and admit that even you – yes, you – may be overreacting at times. Sure, the sight, smell and sound of him may cause you irrational anger, but this too shall (hopefully) pass. They don’t mean the things they say and they are also probably truly sorry for being such assholes during your 40 weeks of suffering. Do not rise to the bait when they tell you about your pregnancy and feelings and do not, under any circumstances, let them know that the smell of alcohol on their breath makes you want to cut their face off. If possible, ignore them for the entire gestation and become a self sufficient martyr.**

  • In the last month of pregnancy it is important to not carry anything of monetary value. Buy a cheap pay-as-you-go cellphone and eat off paper plates. This means, should you ever drop anything, it is therefore not necessary to pick it up or retrieve it, because if you lean down to fetch it, the chances are statistically high that you will never get up again.

  • Invest in a pair of highly unattractive, yet functional footwear. I’m taking something with the word ‘Froggy’ or ‘Green’ in them. Your feet and ankles with grow so swollen with water that anything sharper than the prick of a blade of grass will surely make them explode. Your feet, in anything stylish, will expand and wrap themselves around the straps, and you shall be left with a Geisha like walk for eternity. Fashion be damned, buy those damn Crocs.

Now off you go, waddle with god speed into your 19th trimester, dear friend. Not long to go until baby is here, you can drink wine and see your toes again.

**If you still feel this way when your baby has reached high school, then it’s probably not a phase and you should get a divorce attorney in.

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Showered With Love!

It’s less than 3 weeks till the little Miss arrives. I haven’t hit that ‘fukkit‘ stage just yet, but I am getting more exhausted with each passing day. Just 12 more days left of traffic to the office, 5 more shoots (I’ve squeezed in 3 more this week, oops), several more social activities, 2 bags to get packed and one nursery to finish and then it’s baby time!

She has been one spoiled little girl already and I’ve been lucky to have had not one, but three baby showers thrown for me.

I belong to an awesome group of ladies who I met through Carters school. We started a little Whatsapp group 2 years ago, and that WhatsApp group has turned into real, solid and supportive friendships. These girls remember everything from birthdays to anniversaries, are my sounding board and support system and raise me up on days when I cant do it myself.

A few weeks ago they threw me the most gorgeous baby shower breakfast with stunning decor and food and amazing gifts. It was the perfect intimate morning and I am truly grateful for the attention to detail and love that they showered on us that day.

A colleague at my office is also preggie – we are 4 days apart – and 2 weeks ago the company threw us a little surprise shower at an office function. They had arranged the most amazing cake and goodies and it was such a genuine surprise.

Then, this past Saturday, my friends and family threw me the most exceptional tropical themed bash. As you know, I am a sucker for a good attention to detail event, and this was no exception. My current obsession with all things flamingo was carried out to perfection, from incredible cupcakes and lawn decorations to food and decor. Again, this little baby was absolutely spoiled and I lugged home hundreds of amazing things. My biggest issue is going to be finding space for it all!

I am so so lucky to have the friends and family that I do – I feel completely overwhelmed and fortunate to be a part of this village.

I hope my daughter grows up to be just as good as the people I have in my life.

 

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How LG Saved Me With Pre Baby Nesting Panic

There’s something fundamentally different about having a girl, vs. having a boy. For one, when I was pregnant with Carter I received very few hand me downs for him. He had zero fancy clothes (in fact, the only name brand item he had was a Cotton On onesie I bought for his coming home outfit.). Other than that, his clothes were cute, but oh-so-practical.

Then, I fell pregnant with a girl and suddenly friends were giving me the most amazing bags and bags (and boxes and more bags) of clothing. I have actually been too embarrassed to share just how many clothes we got, because it seems revoltingly unnecessary. The bags sat in the baby’s room for weeks without being touched. Every-time I walked in I would retreat like a beeping garbage truck. There were too many things and not enough space (or energy from me). Then, LG delivered a brand new 13 kilogram Sapience top loader washing machine, and my life changed. I realise how dramatic that sounds, but I suddenly realised just how faster and easier it would be to wash all of this:

 

In this:

I dedicated an entire Sunday to sitting in the room and opening bag upon bag of clothing. It took close to 7 hours to open, sort into size and decide what I was going to use vs donate to charity. At the end of it all I had 4 large, neat piles sorted into season and age. Bravo!

Sadly, I forgot all about the sneakiness of a toddler and had literally left the room for 1 minute when I came back to a disaster zone. My sweet, fun and ‘helpful’ little boy had decided he didn’t quite like my structure, and had decided to reorganise the entire set up.

Warning, this video may cause OCD nightmares:

All plans flew out the window and I literally scooped up thousands of pieces of clothing and shoved them into my top loader. Thank goodness it has a 13kg capacity, because it could have fit in my son should I have needed to.

Thankfully, this machine comes with a Smart Inverter Control – which in laymans terms means ‘won’t lead us to Cape Town water crisis’ any time soon. Great news for me, greater news for my frugal husband. It also has something called ‘SmartMotion’ which means you can wash according to fabric type – perfect for newborn baby clothes which need to be soft on the skin. Lastly, the  TurboDrum™ enables the most powerful wash and removes even the toughest dirt through strong water stream of rotating drum and pulsator in the opposite direction. Basically, just what you need for those sure-to-happen poonamis. 😉

Anyway. All’s well that ends well and I got the clothes re-washed, re sorted and semi-repacked. Apparently the LG Smart Inverter does everything but sort your cupboards. Pity.

 

Want your own lifesaving LG Smart Inverter? Check it out here

PS – the best part of all of this? I finally have a room in the house that smells soft and pretty like a baby. Farewell stinky triathlon room! I may or may not go in there once a day to breathe in the scent.

PPS – Stay tuned for a baby room reveal coming next week!

 

 

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The Ten Commandments of Pregnancy. For Men.

Pregnancy is a glorious time, a time when your body grows a baby, your skin glows and the future seems bright and rosy-hued.

It’s also a time when your boob sweat mixes with 3rd trimester milk, your baby is honest-to-god getting jiggy on your bladder and a full night sleep was last spotted around the half way mark. You are hot, irritable, annoyed and any sudden move from your partner may leave you feeling filled with murderous intent.

Which is why, at around 3 am this morning, upon returning from my 18th trip to the toilet and having found my husband had removed my 6th strategically placed pillow from the bed, I decided not to murder him in his sleep, but rather write a short, easy to understand series of rules for all partners of preggy women, to hopefully save them the potential wrath mine might have encountered last night.

*Disclaimer* I am not basing the below on anything my husband may or may not have done. Please still speak to him when you see him on the street. Unless he’s sleeping on the street. In which case I have kicked him out for doing something on the list below and you may throw rotten vegetables at his head. 

Just because your wife is now knocked up and on a diet of water and heartburn meds, does not now mean you have a designated driver (insert ‘hey boet’ and high five jokes) for the foreseeable future. Unlike Uber, we do not get to kick you out of the vehicle at any time, charge you actual money for driving you around or give you a rating of 1 – divorce stars after a trip. We also don’t have the 2 am tolerance you do, are more often than not interested in hitting a jol until the wee hours and pretty much hate everything about you when you’re slumped in the passenger seat slurring at us to ‘get pulled over babe! These metro pigs will be in for such a lag when they breathalise you!’.

Pregnancy is an expensive time. The medication, the scans, the checkups, the UIF forms, the future unemployment, nursery decor, meds and a thousand other costs mean that mom-to-be is probably now a walking insomniac stressing about how she’s going to survive. And then, the fact that she will be at home for 4 months (give or take) looking after the baby also means that she will need to get out and about and spend money on things – at the sake of her not becoming a recluse who last washed her hair 18 days ago. You made half this baby, and so the fact that she is carrying it shouldn’t let you off that financial hook. Get the fuck involved, T Rex, and whip out your wallet. Better yet, give her a credit card so she doesn’t have to beg and ask for your 50% of the Doctor visit money or half a pack of nappies. Step up, pay up, give her a break.

Remember that lekker few weeks before you got married, when all your mates convinced you that you were about to end your life and the only thing that could possibly save you from a life time of ball and chain blues was to go out, shag a stripper and get so drunk you didn’t come home for 2 days? Well, this is not the same thing. Having a baby means you’re probably mature enough to accept that your life is going to change, so it doesn’t mean you now need to drink away the fear like a frat student on payday. As much as your pregnant, exhausted, hormonal and smell sensitive wife loves it when you get home at 3 am and vomit in her rose bush, don’t do it due. For real. Grow the fuck up.

Have you ever woken up and your Jack Russel, Roxy, has crawled into your bed and kinda shifted her way onto your left foot, and it’s all dead and you’re sweating a bit because Roxy is heavy and uncomfortable? Well, David, shame, because unlike you, who gets to boot poor Roxy off, we are stuck with a hot-Roxy in our stomachs for 40 weeks. Also, hot Roxy loves our bladder and is so large that she physically moves all of our organs up and away, like a Pixar movie. Hot Roxy doesn’t sleep when we do and loves nothing more than a midnight party in our uterus. This means two things – we wake up and have to wee because she’s bouncing on our bladder and all our food from the day before then erupts from our throats in a bilious volcanic explosion. This also means that we cannot get comfortable, like ever. It takes 12 strategically placed pillows for us to even consider getting into bed, so god help the man who then knocks the cushion fort down in the middle of the night because shame, he’s uncomfortable or has no space. A lesser human would kill you for breaching that safe haven, so don’t do it. If anything, offer her more pillows, my god man, buy out the whole of Coricraft if you must. Build her a fortress so large it could be a Kingdom on Game of Thrones. And if you’re really that bothered by watching your wife look comfortable for the first time in 7 weeks then maybe you should consider sleeping on the floor, or in the garden, or at your mate Steves house.

About anything. Yes, I know that sounds harsh but your wife/girlfriend/lover/one night stand now knocked up is going through a lot right now. She’s terrified, tired, exhausted and overwhelmed. If she does or says something that you don’t love, shut your mouth. Unless it is going to physically alter you in any way then rather bite your tongue and ask her how you can help her. Be the bigger, better person. Do not harp on pregnancy related errors she may make, pregnancy related smells she may poop or pregnancy related outbursts she may display. Trust me, she will remember them for much longer than you ever will. Don’t be a dick, be lekker.

The best part of any pregnancy, according to 99% of men surveyed, is the actual conception. Unfortunately, some of the stuff after that just isn’t as fun. Crazy hey? Things like admin and forms and booking beds and medical aid issues. These don’t all happen by the wave of a wand. There is a lot to do when prepping for a baby and most of the time the mom-to-be is lumped with the tasks fo prepping everything. Help her out – you will be making a huge difference and assisting her in a very important way. You will also be assisting your way to a longer life and therefore promoting a better future relationship with your unborn child.

“Hey Jimmy, where’s your dad?”

“Shame, ya, he’s dead. My mom killed him when I was in utero”

“Holy hell bru, why?”

“He didn’t paint the baby’s room when he said he would.”

If, like us, you are highly social people and tend to always have functions at your house, perhaps now would be a good time to re-assess your life a little bit. No-one, especially not your wife, enjoys making guests feel uncomfortable in her home, so she is going to be very reliant you to do that for her. Entertaining towards the end of pregnancy is awful for the mama-bear-to-be. She’s sober, exhausted and more than likely so deep into her nesting phase thats she’s wiping down the toilet seat everytime Brendan goes for a slash. She really doesn’t want people overstaying their welcome and is going to need you to understand that, and assist when guests overstay their welcome too much. Better yet, try cut down on the entertaining entirely and keep visits light and brief. I promise you, the ‘fun’ wife you had hasn’t died, she’s there, but she’s gatvol and probably just wants to fart in her home, alone. Bonus tip: Save the guest list and the good booze for when baby is here and she can join in on the fun She will thank you for it. I promise.

Your pregnant vagina: Critics are calling it ‘The Exploding Lotus’, The Loose Volcano’ and the ‘what the fuck did I just witness’. Please don’t ask for sex, ever. Unless your wife (and lucky you) falls into the 0.1% of females who actually enjoy intercourse while pregnant, just accept that she is sore and uncomfortable and making sweet sweet love to you is the furthest thing from her mind. Like ‘fun Sally’ your wife will be back soon enough. Grab a porn mag, find a free bathroom and stop your moaning.

So there you have it. Consider this your weekly public service announcement gents. Share with your mates to save them future pain, and while we’re at it, grab your wife a bunch of flowers on your way home. From work. Not your way home from the pub. You bloody muppet.

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Pregnancy – The Difference Between The First and The Second

The day after I found out I was pregnant with Carter I dragged Barry to Baby City and we spent close to an hour in the store, looking at and touching each and every product whilst gushing on repeat ‘OhMyGodICantBelieveWeWillBeNeedingTheseSoon!’. I am now (on Saturday) 8 months pregnant with ‘Pip’ and have yet to step foot in a Baby City, or do anything else for that matter.

I used to be so judgmental of parents who slacked off with their second and third pregnancies, and now I am one of those slackers.

So, what are the biggest differences between the first and following pregnancies?

  1. No one really cares as much. And it’s totally OK. When you’re expecting your first, your bump is an automatic talking point. It’s expected that people will always ask you how far you are and what you’re having. It’s like there’s an invisible neon sign on you that reads ‘I’m new here, make me feel welcome’. With number 2, it’s almost as if even complete strangers can sense that your womb is used goods. It’s safe to say that a drop off interest rate of atleast 75% will occur. Hell, I’m not blaming them. I often go days without remembering I’m knocked up. In fact, if it wasn’t for my heavy reliance on wine, I think sometimes I might altogether forget.
  2. You are slow off the mark. With baby 1 you have Googled your gynaes CV before the pee is even dry on the stick. With baby 2 it takes weeks to book that first appointment. The one commonality however, for me atleast, is the excitement that comes with each scan. I don’t care how many baby’s I bake, the thought of knowing I have a visit with them is still always the highlight of that month. I still haven’t booked the hospital bed and just yesterday had to ask someone to ‘remind me’ how to have a baby. For the life of me I cant remember the logistics that lead up until D-Day.
  3. The nursery goes from Glamour! to YOU. Carters room was featured in a magazine, and I feel, rightly so, It was gorgeous, personal and entailed hours and hours of blood sweat and tears from me. I would trawl the shops for the perfect addition and Pinterest was my go to reference for all things baby. And with number 2? We may or may not have even taken the cot out of the garage. It’s not because we aren’t excited, it’s because you just never find the time. Which leads me to…
  4. You never have the time. With your first pregnancy you are allowed the luxury of down time. First trimester nausea can be handled with a relaxing TV session on the couch after work. Exhaustion can be treated with early bed times and late weekend lie ins. With a second kid, unless your first is a teenager, you have no such luxury. Time waits for no one, and nor does your toddler. They could not give two tiddly shits if mommy is tired, puking into her cereal bowl or her back is so sore that she cant see straight. You need to get home from work and make dinner and play with them and sort the house out and remind them how to stay in their bed and do this every single night until your second baby is born.
  5. You are so distracted. Things like taking monthly belly pics, filling out UIF forms and other such necessaries and niceties fall by the wayside as you’re just too busy trying to keep your other kid alive.
  6. The preciousness of it is gone. Not that pregnancy is an ailment, and god help me when I’m around those delicate flowers who treat it as such, but the general rule of pregnancy is that you should never really exert yourself too much. Again, whoever wrote that rule book forgot one vital thing – toddlers weigh a lot, and toddlers want to be carried all the time. So if I can hoist my 15 kilogram son on my hip you can sure as hell bet that I will now be called upon to help with other every day tasks around the house as well. Just last week I was helping my husband remove a fridge off the back of his bakkie.
  7. You don’t do the research. Second time rounders live in a bubble of false security. With Carter we attended pre-natal classes, did a hospital tour and I would greedily inhale app data, articles and chapters from ‘What To Expect’ every night. I could, at any given time, tell you how many weeks I was and what fruit-size the foetus was. I am under no illusion that I have forgotten pretty much everything about bringing a newborn into this world. I really should be reading and researching but I can’t, because, time.
  8. Money becomes even more of an issue. I always said I would take longer than 4 months maternity leave the second time around. Dropping Carter off at school at the age of 16 weeks broke me, and I wasn’t ready to leave him. This time round though, the reality is that if I thought I was poor then, I really am going to kak off financially now. I’ve already agreed with my boss to start working after the first month (luckily from home) and am only taking time off shoots for the first 30 days. You gotta do what you gotta do, so a lot of my maternity leave will be more hustling and less cuddling.
  9. You feel so guilty. Because all of the above. Because as much as you looked at other second time moms doing it, you swore you would never be that mom who treated baby 2 differently, just because they were number 2. This baby has maybe one new outfit waiting for her. We have been so fortunate to receive some amazing hand me downs, but already – she’s the second-hand-baby.

That being said, she is no less loved. She may be sleeping in a cardboard box for the first few weeks of her life, but it wont mean too much in the bigger picture. I don’t know who is more excited to meet her at this rate – but I think it’s Carter who keeps asking me to ‘open my tummy and take the baby out’ so he can see her. Not long to go my boy, and then it will be mommy’s turn to ask a nice Dr to open her tummy and stitch it up niiice and tight. And maybe fix her boobs at the same time 😉

PS – Everyone has however, been commenting on how I’ve been carrying this baby compared to my first. And by ‘commenting’ I mean telling me I’m not nearly as fat. ha! I thought it would be fun to compare the 2 pregnancies, month by month. The first pics are all Carter and the second pics are all baby #2. Apart from how far my photographic skills have improved, I also think the 2 babies look extremely different. What do you think?

Announcing Carter & Announcing Pip
12 weeks Carter & 12 weeks Pip
16 weeks Carter & 16 weeks Pip
20 weeks Carter & 20 weeks Pip
24 weeks Carter & 24 weeks Pip
28 weeks carter and 28 weeks Pip
Carter at 7 months vs. Pip at 7 months
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Brace Yourself. School Holidays Are Coming.

Yesterday was day 1 of school holidays. I was working from home as I had taken a days leave to photograph at a birth, but it all happened so quickly that I was home by 8:30 and decided to just work from there instead of heading into the office.  Every year Carter’s school closes for the full month of December, and like every other parent out there, I shit myself. 30 days is a very, very long time for a small human to be at home. Lord, coming out of a long weekend with a kid feels like a scene from Braveheart.

This year we have had to hire full time a nanny just so she can watch him for one month of the year (most expensive salary, ever, right?). She started with us a few months ago and is absolutely fantastic, so I am feeling slightly better about leaving him alone as she’s great with him, and he simply adores her. But still, she could be Chicco the Clown made of actual ice-cream and he would still get bored after a month.

Yesterday was hectic. I take my hat, and all other items of clothing, off to stay at home moms. As for creche teachers? My god, they should be paid in Bitcoin and rainbows. Apart from trying to work and get my job done I was also trying to entertain a very busy, very active and very bored toddler. We filled his pool and swam, we cleaned the big pool we swept and mopped and scrubbed. We puzzled and read books and made dinosaurs out of playdoh. I took him to the shops to get baking ingredients and then we mixed and battered and rolled and cut out intricate Reindeer shapes and then decorated those and then we showered together because we both looked like a unicorn had sharted food colouring on us and then we cooked supper and ate fruit and fed the birds and played with the dogs and spoke about ‘Chippy’ our Elf On The Shelf and built pillow forts. And then it was only 6pm and I felt as f I had been hit.by. a.bus. What made it even harder was that his usual 2-3 hour nap just did not happen, so that felt like another eleventy hundred hours to fill.

And flip, after he went to bed and I cleaned and got back to my study and worked some more, I reflected on what a flipping fun day it was with my son. Fun, but not something I can repeat daily. Sorry, new nanny.

So now, back at the office until Christmas I’m in a slight state of anxiety about how I’m going to fill his time until 2018. I know I may sound like one of those moms who’s kid cant entertain himself, but its more just trying to keep his busy brain and body stimulated enough so that he’s tired enough t fall asleep at night. The biggest issue is that I’m not home and Kelly, our Nanny, cant really do much with him apart from in the house.

I popped over to the Crazy Store earlier and bought my body weight in arts and crafts supplies, playdoh, paper, paint and pencils. But let’s be realistic, that’s going to cover him for 2, 3 days tops.

Help, moms. What are your holiday solutions for keeping kids busy? Would love for you to share them in the comments section, and perhaps you will also be helping a fellow bewildered mom with some fun activities to do with their kids (or, for someone else to do, because, grown-ups have jobs) over the holidays.

PS – No moms were harmed (too much) on day one of school holidays.

‘Honest Dad! All I said was school holidays!’

 

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My Number One Maternity Leave Worry.

Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of joy and downtime, of calmness, retrospection and fun. With Carter, it was. He was out first child and I therefore had a lot of time to Pinterest nurseries, buy booties and literally put my feet up after a long days work. The second time around – and as much as people tell you – it really is so very different. Firstly, any money you thought you didn’t have before baby 1 is now well and truly not there. Secondly, there is zero downtime – one does not simply get home after work and put their feet up. One fetches kid from school, goes home to play, cook, clean an then work some more when everyone else goes to sleep.

We are having our Pip in exactly 92 days. And we have done absolutely nothing. Not a frame has been purchased, not a onesie has been folded and not a name has been decided. Life is just so hectic, and every single spare minute I have is taken up with me furiously trying to save money for maternity leave. I am shooting my ass off and when I’m not shooting each and every weekend I am editing late into he night. You see, unlike the first time round, I wont be getting a full maternity leave payout and it is safe to say, I am freaking.the.fuck.out.

As we stand, I have enough saved to see me through 2. 7 months. And it’s breaking my heart to consider that I wont be able to take the full 4 months (which is revoltingly little as is) like I did with Carter. If anything, I was hoping for 5 or even 6 months, to well and truly bond with my baby daughter. I have booked shoots up until 2 weeks before I give birth and have a wedding 29 days after she is born. I will also be working my corporate job until the day of her birth. This will all help, but it still wont get me to where I need to be.

This is before the payment for the actual birth, which medical aid doesn’t cover (not even close) and all the other expenses that come with being at home with a newborn.

I’m genuinely curious as to how other women do it – It rarely comes up in conversation and the majority of my peers don’t seem to be too fussed about how they will afford to live – salary free- for their maternity leave. UIF is a joke, and even though I will be claiming, it will be a minor addition to what I’ve already saved. Do your hubby’s help out and pay you a ‘salary’ while you’re at home, do you have savings, does your company pay you in full? Perhaps you’ve had to go back to work early, take on freelance work or maybe you’ve managed to cut down on expenses over that time?

I honestly can’t go another day (and sleepless night) without a cold skeletal hand of financial fear grip my throat. I can work a bit while I’m on leave but I also don’t want to end of my limited time with my newborn resentful that we had, actually, no time together at all.

Advice and ideas, moms?

 

 

 

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