Before becoming a mom, I too had Friends who are Pregnant and Friends with Kids and sometimes I used to feel like an idiot when they used some terminologies that was relevant to being pregnant but I had no idea what they meant. Lactating, was this a new cocktail? Trimester, my little couch potatoes body thought that this was a muscle group that I had not heard of yet! Was a perineum a new sauce from Nandos? Is swaddling a new dance move because it sounds kind of dorky? Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore I went and got hold of a pregnancy book and read up on these things so that when they spoke about it, I didn’t do the blank stare and the conversation would not have to be halted by me asking “umm, what’s that?”
So I when I had Bella, every time I spoke of one of the terminologies, I would stop and explain to whomever I was chatting to, before they asked, so that I didn’t make them feel like idiots. Maybe you don’t have the time to read a pregnancy book so here I am going to explain some of the terms so that when they chat, you too will be informed! I will also give some tips on how to be the best friend you can be when your friend has had a baby or has a kid.
Lactating: this is when milk comes from the mother’s nipples to feed the baby.
Latching: when the mother holds the baby in her arms and moves the baby towards the nipple to encourage drinking. When the baby takes the nipple into its mouth and starts to drink, it’s called latching and it can be quite a difficult process. If someone says that they baby doesn’t want to latch, it means that he won’t accept the nipple and hence not drink.
Trimester: the 9 months of pregnancy is divided into three sections called trimesters! You get the beginning stages of pregnancy which is the First Trimester (this is where most of the nauseous occurs!!!), then the Second Trimester and the Third Trimester which is nearing to the end of pregnancy.
Perineum: This is the area between the anus and the vagina and can be torn or surgically cut during childbirth.
Due date: this is the date that the doctor will advise that the baby is more likely to be born on but there are no guarantees; the baby can come earlier or later.
My friend Santi with Bella
Porridge brain: the oxygen supply that goes to a pregnant woman’s brain while pregnant can become less as the oxygen is diverted to the baby. Your once clever friend might forget simple things like what you where talking about 2 minutes ago or ask you for coffee and not make it. Often they don’t even realise it as it affects their short term memory and so be accommodation and try not to make them feel stupid about it. How would you feel if you suddenly started forgetting everything?
Epidural: this is a needle that has anaesthetics in it and is used during labour as a pain relief for mothers. It is inserted into their backs during the first stages of child birth and numbs the area from the waist down.
Natural birth: this refers to when a baby is born by coming out of the vagina
Caesarean: an incision is made into the mother’s womb via the stomach and the baby is lifted out by doctors.
Antenatal classes: these are classes for parents to be where they can go and learn things like how to wash a baby, how to change a nappy and basically anything that has to do with babies
Nappy rash: this is when the skin becomes irritated in the nappy region and can happen when a nappy is left on too long and the skin gets affected by urine or stools. The area becomes red and the degree, to which it is, depends on how fast it gets treated. If left untreated, it can create blisters and actually bleed. There are many ways to treat it, namely with creams or using Maizena.
Stools: This is another term for faeces. They are very important as the colour, smell and consistency can tell a lot about what is happening with the baby.
Sleeping through: when a child goes to sleep at night and doesn’t wake up until the morning again. This is what most sleep deprived parents crave!
Teething: this can be quite painful for some kids and others just breeze through it. Teething is when the milk teeth in the kid’s mouth start coming out and pushing through the gums
Solids: this is food that isn’t formula or breast milk. this is done in stages so around 4-6 months, babies will start to have baby cereal (just porridge formulated with their little tummies in mind) and purees like Purity or HPPT. As they get older the food becomes more textured and progresses to include more foods and eventually to finger foods that toddlers can hold and eventually feed themselves.
Weaning: this is when parents try to get their kid to drink less of the milk and more of the food. It can also refer to breast feeding moms who are trying to get their baby from not drinking from her anymore.
Tips to help you support your friends
Maritha with Bella
Everyone is different, some people accept help while others don’t but I am going to give you some tips that I found helpful which my friends did and from those that I have heard from other mothers!
1) If you think that you freaked out when you heard that your friends where pregnant, just bear in mind that although you might have seen the happy faces, some or other time there is going to be the “oh s#it!” moment when they realise what is actually going to happen to them. If you start to get some crazy calls at 2am or your friend start to tell you how worried they are and it seems to be that way all the time, be supportive and just listen. It will pass.
2) Know what and how to pack a baby bag for hospital so that if you get a call from your friend to say that they have gone into labour and have nothing with them or packed, you will look like a hero (I speak from experience!) remember that babies don’t always come on their due date, sometimes they like to come earlier!
3) This whole experience will be new to them and they may take over a conversation about it. Also if a mom is on Maternity Leave, she might not see as many people as she used to and with the baby taking up a lot of her time, she might not be up to date on what is happening in the world. Give her time to talk about the baby and get it out of her system and then steer the conversation to something else. If she calls you ranting and raving how this is driving her mad and she can’t cope, let her say what she needs to say and be the friend that you were before the baby!
4) Read up on babies and learn something about them like games to play with them and fun things to do. This will help you too when you hold the baby or entertain the kid. The more involved you become the better relationship you will have with the child!
5) Ask, remind, ask again, keep reminding and all but drag your friend out to go and do something like go for coffee or a movie or something that she used to do before the little one. Often kids can get sick or babysitters can’t be found so bear with her if she says no a few times. Once you have arranged plans, remind them as often with so many things to do, they may forget
All in all the best advice I can give is to be there for your friends, love them, let them rant and rave and speak to them about anything that bothers you. Ask questions and go shopping with them, they are the same people after all! Most importantly, give them time to become parents and understand that things may change but that doesn’t mean your friendship must end, it just needs to adapt!