I once explained myself to a similarly anxious friend in the following evolutionary terms: “100,000 years ago, I would have been an ideal village lookout.”
When you have a bub, you want to make sure you can manage your anxiety so you can put it to good use, and ensure it does not ge in the way of enjoying your bub, as much as you can. So I thought it might be a good idea to list the top tools I have found useful in making my anxiety work for me. To become as much of a warrior as a worrier, so to speak.
1. Angelcare baby monitor. Either the AC401, which detects movement and sound, or the AC1100, which also has video, and does infrared video at night. I originally bought a Philips sound only monitor, which was great until bubba started rolling in her sleep and couldn’t get herself back again. SIDS was my main concern. So, after talking it over with my husband, who sensibly said to get whatever would stop me losing sleep, we bought the AC401, reasoning that the main worry was to know bubba was still breathing. The monitor instantly relieved me of some anxiety, allowing us allto get a better night’s rest.
2. A baby capsule with four or more stars, if possible, from the CREPS website. I got the Safety First infant carrier. I also got the Meridian Tilt and Adjust for when she is bigger. This would have been fine as a capsule too, except that it didn’t fit our car in capsule mode, so I had to also get a capsule.
3. A firm cot mattress. I tested quite a few and settled on an inner spring mattress from IKEA, for about $90.
4. A SwaddleMe swaddle. It velcroes the baby in so you don’t have to worry about bubba breaking out of her swaddle when she is still little. I bought two in different sizes online. They are a bit pricey but if she keeps getting out of her wraps it might be worth trying one.
5. Sleeping bags when bubba is past swaddles. I got the standard bag from Merino Kids, which was pretty costly, but I was also given a couple of Grobags of different weights, and that has been great, so bubba has summer, fall, and winter sleeping bags. These are great because when bubba is bigger she will start rolling everywhere and you don’t want her to get caught in blankets.
6. Some mums recommend Safety Mesh for the sides of the cot to stop bub getting caught in the bars. I have not needed this…yet…
7. Relaxation tracks on your ipod for you which can help your tired, busy brain wind down. I use Sarah Edelman’s Magic Moments.
8. Meditation tracks for when bubba is bigger and you aren’t going to fall asleep the minute someone talks in a soothing voice. I use Kabat-Zinn from The Mindful Way through Depression. Helps anxiety too.
9. Lots of DVDs for the early months. I favour Gilmore Girls, cos no one ever raises their voices and nothing happens you can’t pick up on a few episodes or series later. Also Modern Family and Scrubs for some well needed laughs.
10. A nice, big digital clock so you can always see how long bub has fed for, or slept for. Put it where you can see it when you are nursing. We also kept a notebook and recorded feeds and poos and wees in the first twelve weeks.
11. A copy of “Baby Love”, by Robin Barker. For me, that has been the best book of them all. Non-judgmental and practical advice. Not all of it may be spot on for you, but a lot of it might be reassuring nevertheless.
12. A copy of “Weaning”, by Annabel Karmel, for when bub is ready to start solids and you haven’t the foggiest how to go about it. (Thanks Rachie for your copy!)
13. A copy of “Is Breast Best,” if you are thinking of bottle feeding and want some reassurance that your baby will be fine and not grow up to either hate you or have low IQ.
14. The Tresillian phone number if you are in NSW. It’s 02 9432 4000 at Wollstonecraft. You might need a referral from your early childhood centre. I found the counselling with Marg Booker, their resident social worker in Wollstonecraft, to be absolutely unbeatable in helping me manage my anxiety for good and not for evil. If you are not in NSW and you think anxiety might be getting out of hand, go to your local GP and get it sorted. As Marg said to me, anxiety can be your best friend – when you are on top of things, not sleep deprived and using it to fire up your engines. It can be your worst enemy when you are tired, stressed and under the pump of expectations and things to do.
That is all for now…..I am sure I will think of more as she starts crawling! If anyone has anything to add, please do.