Baby tips

I'm no expert on babies. But here is what I think I know.

As the due date approaches, prepare a few extra meals and freeze them. The extra stock of quick meals will be useful when things are a bit hectic.

Water birth appeared to be much more comfortable.

Midwives can be pushy, some can be stupid, some can be brilliant. Most are trying to do their job. Bear in mind that being pregnant isn't an illness and their word isn't law, and it gets a bit less stressful. Also the word "no" helps occasionally.

Breastfeeding is normal, and if it hurts at all or there are any problems then help is available and should be sought immediately (though you may have to really push to get competent help).

Carrying with a proper sling is both good for the baby and convenient, and isn't hard to learn. A proper sling is one which supports a baby's weight correctly. I'm told that is a good site.

Instead of battling to put the baby down during frequent naps, let them sleep in your arms (both of you). So find plenty of books to read. Don't fall asleep on the couch with the baby on you, this is very unsafe - hence the books, to keep you awake. Or TV, but a slightly older baby will be woken by voices and so on. When reading books, a Kindle is handy since you don't need to hold the pages open - no hands required.

At night, co-sleeping is best. My own terrible track record for sleep is utterly unrelated.

Minor axe to grind: A baby is not an object to be controlled or put in a corner out of the way while you get on with your life. So "crying it out" and all that BS that revolves around scheduling a baby like it's a bus is a load of horse crap. A baby is a person. A trainee human. They rapidly develop their own personality, drive, preferences, thoughts. They can't communicate yet but if you watch them very closely you can try to follow what they are doing and try to help accordingly. They tend to, but don't always, want frequent close contact - from both parents. That means you have to pay attention to them. A lot. Your life will change. It's not bad.

A tip heard third hand: If someone offers to help, accept but be specific. For instance if you are holding a baby and your mother-in-law asks if they can help, say something like "yes please get me a glass of water" or some other specific task, and say exactly how you want it done. Otherwise you're going to get help that doesn't help, like putting extra laundry on when not asked (shrinking clothes or whatever).

Another tip heard about: If someone offers to buy stuff, ask them to put the money aside so you can use it when you have worked out what you need. Otherwise you'll end up with 20 outfits that fit for 5 minutes. And a good car seat is expensive.

Get second opinions for anything a health visitor says. They aren't very good at reading graphs.

As the baby gets older, start introducing simple signs (e.g. milk, eat, more, all gone) while speaking - one sign per sentence or fewer. This allows the baby to communicate a little before speech is available, and seems to reduce frustration. It also seems to help speech development. Obviously I'm biased, but it has been very useful.

Baby-lead weaning is brilliant. No messing about with purees and all that. I'm told that the book should be consulted as there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet.

Anyway, that's all I have at the minute.