35 P'S OF PARENTING
Raising children is probably the most rewarding experience in anyone’s life, but it can also be the most challenging.
In this article we touch on 35 of the most common features that you may encounter in your parenting journey.
1. Pregnancy test
Home tests are generally reliable and are most accurate after you were supposed
to have your period. You can do a home test before your period is due, but it can give a false negative if it is
still too early. A false positive is also possible, so be sure to follow the instructions on the home-test pack.
You can repeat the test, but it’s best to visit your doctor for a blood test, which is the most accurate method of
confirming the results.
Check with your doctor whether your prescription is safe to use during pregnancy
if you’re on chronic medication.
Take supplements such as folic acid, multivitamins and omega oils to support your body during pregnancy.
Choose a pregnancy and childbirth specialist with whom you feel comfortable. Research
the various options available and canvas your friends who have had babies.
Choose a hospital that is close to your home. You don’t want to have to navigate your way across town when you’re
in labour. Test a few different routes to the hospital, so that you have a plan B (or C) if you run into traffic
problems en route.
Babies born before 36 weeks are considered premature. No parent expects or
wants their baby to be born early. Preterm babies generally need more medical intervention and are likely to spend
a longer period in hospital after birth, but rest assured that there is support available during this challenging
The Mediclinic Baby Prem Pack is especially designed to meet the special needs of these babies during their first months.
It is formulated on developmental care principles and is aimed at reducing the incidence of complications and expensive
There is an abundance of baby products on the market, and you can easily become
overwhelmed with the choices available. Take a deep breath and get advice from other new parents on what’s
necessary and what’s not.
Draw up a baby budget and stick to it. If you know that your friends are planning a baby shower, provide a wish list of what
you would need. Request hypo-allergenic baby products, rather than the perfumed baby washes and lotions.
Your suitcase should be packed and standing at the front door by the time you are
30-weeks pregnant. For a full list of what you should pack, click here.
This is the last opportunity for a while to have alone-time as a couple, so go to
the movies, walk on the beach and visit with friends while you still can.
Your body is designed to keep your baby safe from harm during pregnancy, but you
still need to be careful. Wear non-slip shoes, slow down, don’t take unprescribed medication, and keep away
from smoke, whether active or passive.
Your body undergoes radical changes during pregnancy. You could experience strange
and worrisome pains from early on until the end where intense contractions will help bring your baby into this world.
Trust your instinct and always contact your doctor or the obstetrics unit if a pain seems different or abnormal.
If you start bleeding, do not hesitate. Go straight to the hospital.
An antenatal course will prepare you for childbirth and parenting and make you
feel less anxious about the experience. It will also provide you with valuable insights so you can make informed
decisions during your time in hospital.
You and your partner should start attending a course from when you’re about 26-weeks pregnant. This is the ideal setting
for you to discuss your fears with each other, particularly if you have concerns that requires professional advice.
Most pregnancies are trouble-free, but prevention is always better than cure.
If you’re concerned about anything discuss it with your healthcare provider.
Don’t listen to old wife’s tales and urban legends. Run strange theories or notions past someone you trust rather
than referring to the internet, which can give you conflicting opinions.
Pregnancy photo shoots are very popular at the moment. It’s a lovely keepsake
of this memorable period. You can even do it yourself, or with the help of a friend or your partner.
As your pregnancy progresses, your feet will disappear from sight and reach.
Treat yourself to a pedicure or add it to your list of baby shower gifts. You may experience swollen and painful
feet during your pregnancy, so a foot treatment can provide much needed relief.
14. Perineal shaving
Shaving your perineal area is no longer a standard procedure for vaginal
delivery. But if you decide to wax,to prevent any uncomfortable regrowth, it should be done about a week
before your due date by a professional therapist.
Piles or haemorrhoids during pregnancy are caused by the growing uterus and additional
blood flow to the pelvic floor. It can also be aggravated by constipation. Drink enough fluids, adapt your diet,
sleep on your side or use a ring-shaped pillow when you have to sit for long periods. In most cases, they will shrink
after the birth. If not, discuss treatment options with your doctor at your six-week check up.
A positive attitude can make a tremendous difference in your pregnancy experience.
Believe in yourself and surround yourself with positive people who will build your confidence and support your decisions.
17. Paternity leave
Your partner should enquire about these benefits with his employer, so
that you have support when you first bring your baby home.
18. Pelvic floor
Pregnancy and hormonal changes have an effect on your pelvic floor. A weakened
pelvic floor can cause urine leakage or affect your sexual experience post-partum. Start strengthening the area during
your pregnancy by tightening your pelvic muscles - as if you were stopping the flow of urine midstream - between
8 – 10 times a day.
Your perineum is the muscle between the vagina and anus. During labour, your
perineum stretches to make room for the baby’s head. Your doctor may have to perform an episiotomy, or a surgical
incision to the area, to prevent uncontrolled tearing during the delivery. Chat to your doctor about his/her protocol.
There is no conclusive evidence that perineal massage prevents tearing or the need of an episiotomy.
Having a comprehensive birth plan will give you peace of mind. By discussing your
needs and wants with your doctor or birthing specialist beforehand, you can clarify any issues that may be concerning
you. The critical factor is to remain flexible and to trust their expert input.
When new parents hold their newborn in their arms for the first time, they are
in awe of the miracle of the event, as well as being overcome by the responsibility of taking care of this precious
bundle. It is important that you don’t get so caught up in the responsibility, that you don’t take time
to revel in the wonder of becoming a parent.
22. Parental fears
Bearing the responsibility of taking care of your newborn once you leave
the security of the hospital can be overwhelming. Trust your instincts and don’t second guess yourself when
it comes to your baby’s safety. It’s not necessary to use every single gadget on the market to keep your
baby safe. Keep it simple. Keep your baby close to you, maintain a constant room temperature, prevent contact with
small children and don’t allow people to kiss your baby on the mouth.
23. Postpartum depression
New moms can be teary from day three due to the birth, hormonal
changes and fatigue. If this lasts longer than six weeks, it might be postpartum depression and will require professional
intervention. It is often the partner who first notices that something is wrong but is afraid to mention it. Symptoms
include sleeplessness (despite being tired), loss of appetite, crying spells and feelings of guilt or shame. It is
easily treatable with excellent outcomes. Discuss your feelings and options with your doctor or healthcare provider.
Although your newborn seems helpless, he or she can already indicate when they are
interested in interacting with you. As they grow older, playtime will become longer and baby will encourage you to
engage with various toys. Use everyday items to stimulate and entertain your baby. Make him or her part of your daily
routine. Let them smell spices while you’re cooking, make music with spoons and touch and feel various textures
such as grass, leaves and wood.
25. Pre-conceived ideas
So many pregnant couples are determined that a baby will fit in with
their lifestyle. This may be the ideal, but as any parent will tell you, it doesn’t often happen that way.
In the beginning, mom and dad need to find a routine that is comfortable to maintain. Although you might have to
sacrifice a few pre-parenthood habits initially, it won’t take long before your baby can be included in most
of your activities.
You can’t plan significant moments, they happen spontaneously when
you are actively present in your child’s life. Allow yourself to become a child again, and take part in your
child’s peek-a-boo games, crawl around on the floor or have a make belief tea party. All these activities not
only stimulate your child, but will also create loving memories.
27. Pep talks and discipline
The key to good discipline is to be consistent. Apply the age-old
adage that yes means yes and no means no. Believe it or not babies manipulate from a very early age and it is crucial
to establish disciplinary boundaries from the outset.
A good trusting relationship will develop between you and your child if you allow and encourage conversation and answer questions
honestly and at the appropriate level.
There is no such thing as perfect parenting. This is the one life chapter where
you are guaranteed to make mistakes, so give yourself permission to be human.
Remember that as long as your choices are in the best interests of your child, they will not be wrong. When dealing with
complicated issues rely on your judgment, instincts and if necessary, ask a mentor for advice.
Babies love the rhythmic quality of poems and songs. This is a developmental tool
that stays with them for the rest of their lives, and most adults remember the nursery rhymes from their childhood.
This interaction also creates a legacy that is passed down from generation to generation. Make bedtime a ritual of
storytelling with your child.
Although it’s hard to believe, newborns have their own personalities
from very early on. When you look back in later years, you’ll see behaviour patterns in your child that have
been there since they were tiny. Your parenting style will also play a role and you have a profound influence on
the development of their character and temperament - they learn through imitating your words and actions. This is
all a part of them growing into their own little person.
With our demanding lifestyles, we sometimes need to cancel appointments or rearrange
our schedules. Where our children are concerned, we need to be extra careful and not be tempted to promise to be
at an event or function when you are unsure if you can keep the commitment. These ‘dates’ are important
as they instill trust in your child. Arrange your diary so that you are able to attend as many of your child’s
events as possible. This will give your child a sense of security and reassure them that they are an important part
of your life.
Family portraits create a sense of history and belonging. There are many professionals
out there who provide such a service, but it can be a lot of fun to do it yourself. Decide on a theme (summer, the
beach) every six months or so and spend a fun afternoon taking photos of the children and your family. Use special
occasions such as milestone birthdays or weddings to create a family heirloom. (Remember to back up your digital
images as devices might get lost or be stolen.)
Children grow up so fast, so take lots of photographs and videos as reminders of
significant or funny moments.
There is a wealth of information available on every possible challenge that you
might experience as a parent, but it is important to choose your resources with care. Find a friend with the same
values who has been through a similar experience or a mentor who can give impartial advice and support you while
you are experiencing difficult patches.
We spend a lot of time planning and developing our companies and careers, but
it is just as important to uncover the potential of our families. Read up on parenting tips that is relevant to your
situation and adapt it to suit your lifestyle. Parenting takes effort but your investment has a guaranteed success