So 3 months in and what have I learnt, what’s new? What continues to flabbergast me, what makes me smile, what makes me cry and what at times feels stupidly stupid!
All I know for certain is that my life doesn’t really look like it did before but in a wonderful, rosy and talc scented way.
1. Sleep: sleep is the key to all things. It can revive you and make you feel strong again. It allows you to press reset and go again. It allows you to digest things and not be able to remember things as well, which can be highly beneficial. It can make things seem less invasive and prudent but over the last 3 months this has been the hardest adjustment and unfortunately there is absolutely nothing you can do about it nor prepare yourself for, it just is. Having a baby means limited, broken, sleepless nights, thats just the way it is. All those well meaning people telling me to 'sleep before baby arrives' or 'enjoy your sleep now' used to make me roll my eyeballs because the arrogant, naive pre-baby me thought 'yeah right' but they were right because you feel tiredness in a new way, tired to the bone, eye lid shudderingly tired, cross eyed tired, hysterically tired. However I think I am lucky enough to put myself in the ‘good sleeper’ category at the moment, but that doesn’t mean to say that I can’t count on one hand the number of nights where I haven’t had to get up for feeds. But this is the point we are at presently, three months in (I have heard a huge amount about the 16 week sleep regression which we are headed straight for and I know this will totally change) but baby will sleep for 8 hours straight when going to bed around 7 or 8 ish and then wake around 3 or 4 in the morning for a feed before going back to sleep until around 7am. This has been the routine from around week 10 and at present I would say this is absolutely joyful as nothing can prepare you for those early, early days, minimal sleep and midnight parties, when you don't know if its day or night and neither does baby. Everything becomes very hazy, foggy and teary. Sleep alone and lack of it is the one thing that can totally and utterly derail me because the crazy fog starts to descend and the simplest of tasks feel impossible. Around the three week mark I screamed at the washing up liquid bottle because I couldn't stand it up, not rational, not logical, not enough sleep!
Reality check; pre baby I always thought that if a baby was asleep in the night they would be crying. Not necessarily true at all, some nights my little girl would just be awake but happily so, just lying there for hours on end with with her big wide eyes staring into the night. What to do then? Nothing really apart from ride it out and take great satisfaction in sleep when they finally close their eyes and know that it will get better. Babies, need to develop their circadian rhythms and this takes as long as it takes. But parties in the early hours are really tough. Routine or predictability are absolutely unheard of and you just have to keep going and I totally agree with the notion of ‘sleeping when they sleep’. Definitely in those first 6-8 weeks and still now if you have a rough night, grab a nap when you can, even if its when you're at a friends house for a summer BBQ and you borrow their sofa for an hour! Yep, did that. Sleep is crucial. I look back on those foggy first weeks and thank the human body so much for the power of adrenaline. It is the wonder drug and one that allows you to keep going through the night. Sleep, sleep whenever you can and if you are lucky enough to be on maternity leave like me take the lie ins when they come because tomorrow may very well be different.
2.Feeding: I am still breastfeeding. In my previous post I discuss in detail the painful first few weeks which we are very much past now and I’m so thankful for. My supply has also settled down in the last couple of weeks which has meant less powerful let downs and less squirting boobs which again I am very grateful for. Less leaking and soaked tops helps to lower the wash load a bit! Next stop, learning about weaning and solid foods. Every day's a school day!
3. Vaccinations (controversial as they may be): we have ticked off the first two lots and I will very openly say that I cried before the first one! I cried before we even went into the room, I thought my heart was going to break as I couldn’t bare the thought of sticking needles in her and making her cry, but also crying because I didn’t know how she would respond afterwards, would she be ok? Would she get a temperature? All the thoughts. Thankfully with the support of calpol as directed by our GP she had no horrible side affects and instead slept for 10 hours straight. Wonderful. Round two appeared pretty quickly though, this is slightly less needles and by this time I’d managed to get my head around the whole thing so there were no tears from me this time and only a few from her. Whatever your stance on vaccinations I went in with the mindset of protection the second time round. This was my reason for doing it and that helped calm me significantly. I don’t want her to get poorly in the future and so by vaccinating her I am protecting her. I am her mummy and this is what I need to do to protect her, this is the one thing I can do. I can't stop her from getting poorly but I can get her vaccinated to offer some defence against those nasties. This was something I had not managed to get my head around at 8 weeks and could only focus on the pain she might suffer. Anyway the third and final lot are booked in for a few weeks time and although I will not be crying I certainly will be glad to not have to do them for a while.
4. 1 month. 0-3, 3-6 clothing: it breaks my heart when she grows out of things and it has happened so quickly. Before she was born my mum said ‘they grow so quickly, you don’t need huge amounts’ and she was right. How am I suddenly scouring eBay for size 3-6months because her toes are right at the end of all her 0-3? How can this be possible, how is she getting so big? My baby is not a newborn anymore and I only just blinked. These are the days when you wish time would slow down because she will never be this small again. I think I have mentioned time in all my previous blogs but its so fundamental and something you just can't put a price on. Some days feel like they fly by and others the days feel so incredibly long time just seems to crawl by. But three months have passed in the blink of an eye since she was born and even though for me I am glad that we are not in the teeny tiny newborn stage anymore I am acutely aware that she is only this small once and I will miss it. But you can’t catch hold of time or make it stop so it’s just about savouring the moment; what I have loved and would recommend to all new parents is taking as many photos and little videos as you can so you can look back at them in future weeks and see how far you've come.
5. Parenting: just like our baby is three months old we are three months into our parenting journey and goodness me what a shift. Some days I find this new job so utterly overwhelming I feel paralysed by the notion of it, looking after her and loving her indefinitely seems like too big a job, I can’t possibly do this and do this well can I? But other days I thrive off it, when she starts doing something different or showing interest in something new it’s so heart warming and fulfilling, I literally skip about. Your patience is tested in an infinite number of ways from day one; from knowing how to fit the car seat in correctly to making sure the correct poppers are popped at four in the morning following a nappy change and it’s learning how to manage that. I think I cried at one point because I couldn’t stack the washing up!! Your relationship with each other changes over night and you both now have a brand new focus, one that ultimately takes you away from each other. This is one of the things I’ve found the hardest as you don’t have as much time for each other anymore and I miss that. I know that in the future it will come back but it is a hard and sudden adaption and one that I hadn’t really prepared for. Some days I feel so ‘touched out’ from holding, nursing, changing, bathing the baby that I don’t want to hug my husband but at the same time I want to be held. Its just different and takes a bit of getting used to. Making choices and decisions become more heightened and with no definitive outcome; if we do this for this reason then this will happen? Right? You do everything with the best intention but yet sometimes it doesn't work out the way you want it to, which can lead to frustration however if it does go wrong always remember that you made the choice that you thought was right and if the outcome wasn’t what you thought it would be then go again but with a little tweak!
6. Leaving the house: this scared me so much at first. The idea of having this tiny person out and about with me, I can’t do that. I can’t even put the pram together on my own, I don’t know what to do, how do I put the baby carrier on, how do I do it on my own? Paralysing! But bit by bit you find out what works for you and what doesn’t through the process of elimination (which is a tricky process and one that I still find unsettling). So our baby has so far always loved travelling in the car, great but plugging her in, taking the car seat in and out, attaching it to the pram all seemed impossible to me at first I was so anxious and nervous and of course you don’t want public screaming, which you get used to slightly but it’s still not great. Then came the pram.....this was a no go at first, she is better now but still not overly keen, so after one particularly ‘scream-y’ trip out in the pram we ventured for a baby carrier. More clips, buckles and straps plus instructions and guidelines around how she should be in it. So much change, so much to learn and on not much sleep, my sleep addled brain would tell me it was too much. But baby carrier; total life saver, she loves it and now I’ve worked it out I love it to. Plus hands free. Just keep going, this is all I could do and three months in we go out all the time, car seat, pram, carrier, sorted. Everything just takes a little practice.
7. The baby bag! Always a point of contention, I’ve just come to face the fact that it doesn’t matter how organised I think I am there will always be something I’ve missed because if you didn’t know babies are the most unpredictable beings on the planet plus the British weather always likes to throw a curveball in there. Sun hat, yes, sun cream, yes, waterproof overalls or a jacket that is splash proof, no, no, no because it was boiling hot yesterday! Yesterday she went through 2 bibs with dribble, so I pack 2 today as well as the one round her neck, turns out I should have packed another 100, cue eye roll and sigh! Never mind! Nappies, wipes and a change of outfit are crucial, think you can style out most other eventualities.
8. Love: unconditional. The love of a child is like the love of no other. Nothing compares to it and nothing will ever change it, you just love them, they are yours and that's that. Your heart feels like its a million times the size, bound together by this incredibly powerful emotion, love. I love you little one, always will.
The journey is far from over and there are many other things to discuss but for now I'll leave it here. Life is much more of a roller coaster now than ever before and yet quieter and slower at times. Baby you've changed my life in the most forceful and eye opening way and I couldn't be more grateful for it. Love always Mummy.
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