As I am writing this piece, I am reflecting on my very new journey into motherhood. I recently gave birth to my first child and I am amazed at how complicated and yet simple caring for a newborn is. I am savoring these tiny moments all the while researching, learning, practicing, asking, and trying the best ways of being a parent. So far, I have learned the importance of going back to basics.
Preparing for the arrival of a baby can be quite daunting. There are constant conflicting messages about what you need and what you don't, what you should do and what you shouldn't, and who to trust for advice and who not to trust. For example, when we completed our registry, we were given a checklist of "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves" that spanned several pages long. Being a diligent and efficient individual, I registered for most of the-let's call them- mandatory items and several of the suggested items. Several hours later, we completed the task and returned home. Over the next several weeks leading up to Baby's arrival, we learned that we did not in fact need many of the mandatory must-have's after all. Some of the items, in fact, are actually unsafe to use. In thinking about what we really needed, we learned that a certain amount of staple supplies, and not three of everything (for example, we didn't need 3 types of strollers) are a good start.
All of this preparation led up to Baby making his world debut! We were so surprised in the hospital to learn how basic supplies were to be used with our newborn. The "wipes" for example reminded me of dinner napkins. It turned out, they were, in fact, like napkins. We were taught to take a napkin and wet it with water and (ta-da!) you have your baby wipe. So, I didn't need to use (and still can't use) any of the store made baby wipes that we stocked up on. The same goes for diaper rash cream. The hospital supplied us with petroleum jelly to use, which is still the recommended product to use until he is 1 month of age. All we need is a diaper, a paper towel (yes-the pediatrician said to use a wet paper towel as a wipe), and some plain petroleum jelly to change Baby.
Bringing a baby home is such a blessing. We, as parents now, put our needs after Baby's. We are programmed to check that Baby's basic needs are being met all day and night. Since our needs are not met first anymore, we need other people to help us. Family and friends have helped meet our needs by providing food, cleaning the house, and running errands.
There is a related point to sharing these thoughts. When working with clients, kids and adults, it is vital to make sure basic needs are being met. If you are a parent, a teacher, a provider, a spouse, a co-worker, or a friend, we can ask: are you hungry? thirsty? tired? not feeling well? need to use the bathroom? need shelter? need clean/warmer/cooler clothing? If I would like to read Baby a story, I need to first make sure he is full, clean, well-rested, and calm. If not, Baby won't benefit from the book. If your child/student/client/patient/spouse/co-worker/friend appears upset, check that basic needs are being met before delivering an intervention. This will help them get the most out of your help.
I hope you will join me on my motherhood journey back to basics.