In a person's career they can think back to defining moments that helped to set the course for the rest of their working lives; whether it was attending a conference, being introduced to someone, giving a keynote speech. There are moments of significance that act as stepping stones to propel us onto our next "big thing". They say "fail to prepare, you prepare to fail" and so often in business we go above and beyond in preparation for those key moments. Why then did I fail to prepare for my most important meeting of all? Meeting my baby.
There were some fundamental things I missed out when prepping for the arrival. If I had followed these simple meeting principles I would have aced the first 24 hours, rather than fumble my way through it.
When attending a meeting you research about the company or person you are about to meet. You look at a person's LinkedIn to see if there is any common ground between you. You get familiar with their working history and you swot up all you can from what you can gather from the company's website.
When preparing for a baby there is so much you can read and so much to learn. During pregnancy I regularly checked the pregnancy app to see what size the baby was and what new developments had happened that week. I attended an NCT day which really helped me to prepare for the birth but I lacked some knowledge about what to do once the baby was actually here.
I had helped to look after my nieces and nephew and friends children before but nothing can quite prepare you for the role of being a mother. As previously discussed in my Breastfeeding Sucks blog, I hadn't researched or given much thought to breastfeeding which given that it helps to keep the baby alive is pretty important to know. If I had done my research I would have found out that breastfeeding hurts, it doesn't come naturally straight away and it is wise to buy some nipple shields to help the baby to latch on if they are struggling (I found Medela the best).
Also, if I had researched, I would have packed some ready made formula in my hospital bag and bought some bottles in case I needed to top my baby up with formula. The hospital I was at didn't supply the milk for those wanting to exclusively bottle feed (which I thought they would) but fortunately they had a supply for those needing a little extra help.
2. Make sure you have everything you need
Whether it is a sales pitch or presentation there will always be some things you need to take with you a meeting (laptop or tablet, a usb with a presentation on it or your business cards etc). Everyone makes a big deal about packing their hospital bag in preparation and making sure they have all they need. In my experience I over packed and didn't use half of what I put in there.
But I did fail to have some essential items with me; clothes that fit the baby! We were expecting a big baby because of the size of my bump and the fact that both me and my husband were quite large when we were born. So when my daughter came out as a diddy 7lb 5oz nothing fit her. She was pretty average size but even clothes for a new born swamped her. Therefore on day 5 after her arrival we were frantically at the shops searching for something to fit her. We found ASDA's tiny baby size (not new born) and some of H&Ms new born were small enough for her tiny frame.
3. Leave the meeting on a high
Every meeting we attend should be meaningful and finish with actions or next steps. You want those in the meeting to feel like their time was well spent and that they enjoyed their interaction with you.
After having to stay in hospital for an additional night (which I wasn't expecting) I was so happy to be finally leaving with my bundle of joy. I had in my mind our picture perfect exit with the new baby dressed in the perfect little snowsuit. It was a cold December night and when I found that the new born sized suit was too big and the picture perfect image in my mind was dashed. We had to improvise and come up with any outfit we could put together and use layers of blanket to keep the baby warm.
A few weeks later, for Christmas we were gifted the perfect solution to our snow suit problem. We were given a Baby Hoodie Travel Wrap which meant no matter what the baby's size you can put them in the car seat with their normal clothes on and wrap a blanket around them. This meant no awkward moments or trying feed little hands through arm holes or trying to force oversized coats on them. The blanket worked a dream, it is safe and can be used going forward too.
When having a baby there is so much to think about that I gave up trying to read everything and just thought I would learn on the job. I have been doing this but again simple tips and suggestions would have made the world of difference. I hope these tips have helped you.