What a newborn really needs
Baby showers. Hen parties with less alcohol and even stranger games.
But the thing that really pushes me over the edge? The gifts.
I watch pregnant friends receive bags overflowing with nonsense gadgets and impractical mini clothes - newborn tights, really!
I know, scrooge-like I spoil the fun. Those clothes are so cute, those gizmos and toys so bright and educational. Who am I to trample all over these tiny baby dreams?
Sorry. My point is just this – a baby needs one thing to thrive and it isn’t a multi-coloured toy butterfly.
It’s a person.
Preferably more than one, but one will do just fine. One person who thinks that the sun rises and sets with them. Someone who is there, day or night, come rain or shine, time and time again.
This is the person to buy presents for. This person who has had her life turned upside down. The person who can’t find time to shower or eat more than a piece of toast.
A person who has never been so simultaneously bored, anxious and overjoyed in her life.
I buy for her because I understand this ancient piece of wisdom.
When we care for mothers, we care for babies.
In my opinion, these gifts should fall into one of two categories; practical or luxury.
Nipple cream and ready meals – practical.
Gorgeous bubble bath and a pricy lip balm – luxury.
Even more important than getting a present? Just go round and pretend not to notice that she’s a bit boring because she hasn’t slept for seven weeks. Hold the baby if she wants you to. Make her a cup of tea and do the washing up.
Because while parenting a new baby can feel and look like doing a whole lot of nothing, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
A new mother has made space, physically, emotionally and cognitively for her baby. Her body is changed. She holds an entirely new person in her consciousness. Her relationship with those around her and with herself is altered. By caring for her and meeting her needs we create the space she needs to be a mother.
The very least she deserves is a fancy lip balm.
Who are Mellownest anyway?
We're Claire and Nneka.
You might be wondering whether we're worth listening to - after all, we don't know your family.
But we do know a lot about psychology, child development and how little brains work.