Of all the chaos that comes with a new baby, one of the things that took me most by surprise was the effort that goes into leaving the house.
A simple enough task to someone on the outside looking in but, for someone who prides themselves on being a moderately organised individual, I was not anticipating just how much organising stepping out our front door would take.
Getting ready for that first trip out was nerve-racking enough without worrying over what to take with us so I opted for a simple outing to the Metrocentre. We could catch Carl’s bus on the way there so Daddy was on standby in case of emergency, I could quickly drop by and see the girls at my old work place and then we’d be home, easy as that. Plus there is ample places for feeding in a shopping centre.
I was excited over the prospect of having some extra space in my changing bag due to not needing bottles and such (one of the factors of breastfeeding that appealed to me). I rolled up a short vest and a onsie, a spare hat and some socks in the pocket, a handful of nappies, packet of wipes, changing mat and a muslin. I put my half empty bag in the pram basket and felt a sense of accomplishment wondering what all the fuss was about and convinced we would be there and back in no time.
I got Kaiber changed into a fresh nappy, his little all-in-one tuxedo and blue knitted cardigan finished with a white woolly hat that said ‘prince’ on the front. He pretty much stayed sleeping the whole time which I figured I should take advantage of, quickly strapping him into the pram and off we went..
Never again would I leave the house so ill prepared.
The journey there was roughly 40 minutes and thankfully he slept through it, not even disturbing when we went to shops or took him to see my work friends but that, in itself, was part of the problem. My boobs were engorged and sore not to mention the fact they’d already soaked through the pads and I could feel patches seeping through, instantly recalling how I hadn’t packed spare breast pads or clothes for myself.
Even though he wasn’t due, I knew I was going to have to wake him for a feed for my own comfort if anything and my hopes of getting home before he awoke diminished.
Too scared yet to feed in public, I found the feeding area near the toilets but to my horror, when I reached in to get him out his pram, there was poop all over his next onsie, meaning a change into the spare ones I had packed whilst dealing with a wee stream that went all over the changing mat and all over me.
I got cleaned up the best I could with water and baby wipes, cursing myself for having nothing to put the dirty things in. I had the overwhelming urge to wee on the way past the toilets but took a wide birth because of course I had forgotten maternity pads and we all know the state we’re left in those few weeks after birth.
A quick feed (which meant more milky patches on my tea shirt) and I realised as I so often become whilst feeding that I was ravenous and so so thirsty but I really couldn’t face going anywhere but home.
We caught the bus home which thankfully was a smooth a sleepy journey. Sweaty, stressed, nursing a headache and slightly defeated, I let Kaiber continue his snooze and I sat and wrote a list of everything I was going to pack in my bag from that point on.
The bad is now packed as follows:
This section consists of rolls upon rolls of spare clothes. Short and long sleeved vests, a long sleeved onsie, two spare outfits (pants and a t-shirt and a short-style romper), a hoodie and/or cardigan and even some leggings, a vest top and a t-shirt for myself.
Middle Layer No. 1
Here lives my little S.O.S pouch which is basically a toiletries bag full of things I may need like pads (noonie and breast pads), the ‘Cool it Mama’ spray from Boots, hand cream, vaseline, deodorant, a comb, some bobbles, an assortment of pain killers and occasionally a mascara. Next to it lives a mesh zip up bag full of nappies, nappy bags, sudocrem and cotton wool.
Middle Layer No. 2
This layer literally just has a packet of baby wipes, the changing mat and a stash of carrier bags for dirty or wet clothes. I keep seeing online this idea of putting full outfit changes into Ikea food bags so that you can just swap them for the dirty ones and this is definitely something I’m going to do.
Here we have the tiniest bit of space for any additional items. Now that Kaiber sleeps less when were out, I like to have a rattle, cloth book or a few other stimulating toys or objects to entertain him with. I also like to stash a bag of nuts or something similar here and his sunhat or cream just in case.
Nothing to see here, just a couple of hats and spare socks and booties.
Here’s where I keep my spare mini packets of water wipes and tissues, headphones, hand sanitizer, a stash or cereal or raw fruit and nut bars and the occasional bobble, penny, wrapper or starburst that may find it’s way in there.
The bag lives in the bottom of the pram unless I fill that with shopping bags or nappies and wipes in which case I carry it and the thing is heavy!
In there I also have the rain cover, our baby carrier and usually a lot of bottled water.
Under the cosy toes near the bottom of the pram I keep my purse, phone and book (which sadly will soon no longer be an option because Kaiber is almost the length of the pram) and I have a bag clip on the side for carriers that won’t fit in the bottom although more often than not it’s easier to tie them on than to play around with that.
Occasionally I will hang my trusty flannel shirt or jacket over the handle when its too hot and if were going on a long trip I may even have my canvas bag on my shoulder too. I really do feel like I’m going on a mini holiday when I’m preparing our bags the night before the day ahead, seemingly squeezing in everything but the kitchen sink!
One thing I’ve learned since becoming a Mama to a eating and pooping machine is that you never can be TOO prepared and I can only imagine the list will grow as my little man does too.