baby

"It's 4 months since I had a baby. There are 5 things I always get my husband to do."

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Thanks to our brand partner, QV

It’s no secret women carry an unfair share of the mental load, particularly mothers.

Have I paid that bill? Should I add the new baby to my health insurance? Better log on to Centrelink and sort out the Partner Pay.

You’re registering the birth, chasing up Medicare for your new card, wondering what TOG sleepsuit you should buy next, reading ALL the books and subscribing to all the apps, to make sure you’re giving your baby enough tummy time and stimulation (is it feed, sleep, play, or play, sleep, feed?). Is rocking my child to sleep really that bad? To pat or not to pat?

It doesn’t help that most apps are telling you that your baby should be composing a classical musical masterpiece by the age of 8.45months.

qv baby
Us three. Image: Supplied.

On top of these thoughts, promising yourself you will make more of an effort to eat a nutritious breakfast because the four chocolate-covered scotch fingers at 2pm really aren’t cutting it anymore. And tomorrow you definitely won’t have One Tree Hill on TV in the background because you’re bored out of your brains.

All while navigating a new body and receding hairline (thanks, postpartum hair loss). But I digress.

Did I mention this was all before the coronavirus pandemic? It’s... a lot.

Something I learnt in the first few weeks of motherhood was that as much as you think and want to do everything, it’s not possible. So, you delegate some of the many, many jobs you suddenly have thrust upon you.

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Here are some of the ways I've lightened the mental load of mothering just a bit.

1. Bath time.

Papa does the wash, mama takes the pics. Image: Supplied.

My son is four months old and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve bathed him.

Hear me out.

I’m capable, but it’s not my domain. I’ve outsourced it to a very willing subject: my husband. And I’m not talking about the type of outsourcing that happens in backyard barbecues (ahhh remember those times? Too soon?). Where the women do all the preparation, and the men get all the credit for turning some meat and chewing the fat.

It’s completely my husband's domain - he fills the bath, puts in the QV Baby Bath Oil which disperses into the water, uses the rubber duck thermometer to make sure it’s the right temperature, gets our baby out, uses QV Baby Moisturising Cream to give him a relaxing baby massage and pops him in his nappy and dresses him in an outfit he (generally) picks himself.

I love bath time so I often make a guest appearance - it’s fun to pop in and out without any real responsibility.

There are thousands of baby products out there and it can be really confusing, but for us, we chose QV because it's free from fragrance, soap, and common irritants. I wanted to make sure we're using gentle and quality products to care for my son’s skin. The QV Baby Bath Oil, QV Baby Moisturising Cream, and also the QV Baby Barrier Cream help to protect against nappy rash, are all recommended by paediatricians, which as a first-time mum gives me that extra piece of mind.

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Stay moisturised, buddy! Image: Supplied.

2. The nappy bin.

Living in a complex, our bins are downstairs and quite far from my unit so it’s a necessity. I don’t know how it works, it’s magic, I put the nappies in and they form some type of weird nappy sausage and magically disappear every two to three working days. It's barely even a blip on my mental load, that's how easy it is.

3. Cutting nails.

I’ll admit it, I’m too scared, I can’t bring myself to cut them or bite them as some people suggest. Everyone will tell you that babies aren’t as fragile as they look, but tell that to a parent who has accidentally cut the top of a finger while trying to cut their child’s nails.

Their hands are so small and whenever I think about even attempting to cut my son’s nails, I break out in a cold sweat. No thanks.

Hubby, who is so delicate during bath time, definitely gets this job.

4. Batteries.

All new and existing devices, whenever we get new toys or devices, my husband is in charge of having to get the batteries.

Everything is child safe so you have to use a screwdriver to remove the latch, so it's one of those finicky tasks that don’t take long but are kind of annoying nonetheless.

5. Dream feed/night feeds.

qv baby
Oh you're tired? Me too. Image: Supplied.
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I will preface this by saying that many women choose for either mental or physical reasons to bottle feed their babies, whatever you do to make sure your baby is fed, is best.

For the mums who are bottle feeding with either formula or expressed breast milk, outsourcing ‘the dream feed’ can be a game changer. It is well documented that sleep deprivation is a method of torture, designed to ensure the victims (lose their will to live?) submit to their captors. Your partner might stay up with you for the first few weeks, but then when they go back to work (if they are the one going back to work, that is), you feel it is your duty, your responsibility to continue doing the night feeds.

As the primary carer, you never switch off. And although your partners are out working, in your average 9-5 you get scheduled lunch breaks, and adult conversation, and maybe even the opportunity to drink a coffee while it’s hot!

This job is 24/7 and you deserve some reprieve. Chronic sleep deprivation is extremely damaging to your mental health. I outsource the dream feed and then on the weekends, my husband will do the 3am feed one of the nights.

If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you could also ask your partner to stay awake with you for those feeds, so you can doze off, or to keep you company.

Midwife Cath also suggests in her book The First Six Weeks that you can feed your baby a bottle of formula at this feed so the mum can climb into bed early and get a decent stretch of sleep.

Whatever you decide, will be in the best interest of your family.

How do you handle the mental load of parenting? Share with us below.

QV

QV Baby is Australia's no.1 baby skincare range*. Originally developed for the Queen Victoria Hospital, the QV range is free from fragrance, soap and common irritants. Still family owned and made right here in Australia, the QV baby range can be used from tot to bot on even the most sensitive and problematic skin.

*Data sourced from IRI MarketEdge Scan MAT 04/08/2019 based on data definitions provided by Ego Pharmaceuticals

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