Day 19 in the Big (actually, rather small) Baby House

We’ve made it! Three(ish) weeks in and Busby still has all her limbs intact, we’ve retained some form of sanity and neither of us have drowned in a sea of tears! Success! Apparently Christmas and New Year have happened during this time, although it’s all a bit of a blur. We were fast asleep when midnight struck… ah the glamour of being parents! 

I thought I’d write a small summary of the last three(ish) weeks; reflecting on our time with Busby and our first experiences in the land of parenthood. 

Cyanide and Happiness

Sleep
We’d both been warned that sleep would be limited during the first few months in the Parenthood wilderness; horror story after horror story had been relayed, and we feared the worst. However, (and this will probably change as soon as this is published – NB. it didn’t even take publishing for it to change*) Busby has been remarkably good at night. We’re managing to get around 7-8 hours sleep a night – interrupted by 1-2 feeds every 3-4 hours – and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this! I’m putting this down to my period of 10pm-8am sleeps whilst pregnant; I think these have definitely assisted in producing a sleepy baby. *We have the occasional blip (last night) where she decides she doesn’t want to sleep, or she only wants to sleep on me and won’t go in the Moses basket, and I spend the next day considering turning nocturnal for the foreseeable future, but all in all I think she’s generally quite a good baby! 

Initially the Moses basket was a no-go area; Busby categorically refused to sleep in it, opting for my chest because, well, everybody needs a bosom for a pillow. However, at around 10 days in she decided that she wanted some alone sleepy time, and we were both more than happy to oblige! FYI You definitely don’t get the best quality of sleep with a newborn sleeping on you or next to you for fear of squashing or smothering… 
A top tip for new parents struggling to get their newborn to sleep in the Moses basket – take out the mattress and lie on it for about 10-15 minutes before you put baby down; it’s then lovely and warm, and also smells of you. This was a stroke of genius realised by Nick.    

Who needs a cat?

Feeding
As you may have read in my previous post, I’ve been struggling with breast feeding. Since writing that post it has been too painful to feed her, so I’m now expressing as much as I can (moo) and then supplementing. I feel immense guilt for this, but as so many of you lovely readers comfortingly said “happy mum equals happy baby”, and I was getting far too distressed to contribute to a conducive, stress-free feeding environment. One of the Community Midwifes advised me that I could always go back to it – and once I’m healed I fully intend to give it another go!

Baby Blues
Day 3: cue emotions of an irrational 13 year old! I have found myself in tears over the silliest of things; John Lewis snowman advert followed by the Snowdog on Christmas Eve was a killer. I was sobbing from when I clocked that the dog was going to die… and I haven’t been able to work up the courage to watch the Downton Christmas special yet as I hear it’s a sad one! In all seriousness though, I think I’ve been pretty lucky so far with the Baby Blues; I’ve had a couple of days were I’ve felt like a total failure – mostly due to the breast feeding issues – but other than that I’m feeling quite upbeat, and am thoroughly enjoying being a Mutti. 

Poo
Pre-Busby I never understood parents obsession with poo. I remember having a conversation with someone at work who had been texting his wife all day about their baby’s nappy produce and thinking “That’s so gross! Nick and I will never be like that.” How wrong I was; I have never been so concerned about poo frequency and colour variation in my life! Parenthood is a funny thing… And those of you without children frowning and vowing you’ll never be like this when you have children – just you wait!

Daddy’s POV

So, how to sum up becoming a Dad in a handful of sentences? I think the first few moments of Busby’s life were a pretty good indication of what was to come; namely complete elation and tears of joy one moment, to dread and worrying over your baby the next. The past few weeks have continued along similar lines. I have fallen completely in love with our daughter, and when she is lying in my arms looking at me (and not crying) there’s such a wonderful sense of peace and happiness. And I’m sure every father thinks this about their child, but she really is the most beautiful baby girl in the world. The flip side of the coin is that a sense of dread and worry has entered my life like nothing I have ever felt before. I’ve spent long periods of time when Busby is in a deep sleep just watching her chest rise and fall to make sure she is still breathing. There’s no reason why she shouldn’t be breathing, and I’m aware it’s completely irrational, but I still have to check anyway. Pile all this love and worry onto a couple who are a little sleep- and occasionally food-deprived, and it results in huge emotional turmoil. So maybe that’s how to sum up becoming a Dad: I’m exhausted, a ball of worry, completely smitten and over the moon all at the same time, but I’m looking forward to everything the next few days, weeks, months and years bring.

Things we’ve learnt
– The importance of a sense of humour! (Motherhood video: hilarious!)
– Not one person has the right answer when advising you about your baby; listen to the
  advice, trust your instincts and go with what feels right for you (this especially applies to
  breast feeding). 
– Let people help. If someone offers to do your washing up say yes! 
– One incredibly cute look from your baby can disband any feelings of anger and frustration. 

Things that have made us laugh
First World Problems
We experienced a very “first world problem” last week; Busby has rather dry skin, and I asked the midwife what we could do to soothe this – she replied “massage some olive oil into the affected area”… I had to stop myself asking her whether extra virgin or regular olive oil would be best. If you’re interested, Nick and I decided on extra virgin.
Happy Nappy Time
Apparently the only song that stops Busby crying during a nappy change is S Club 7 “Reach for the Stars”. (Un)Fortunately, I know all the lyrics and actions as was once in a panto where we had to sing this. The good news is I will be teaching these to Nick.  

I wish I’d listened when… 
– Everyone told me to rest and sleep as much as possible at the end of pregnancy. I did try
   hard, I just can’t sit still! 
– Everyone told me to enjoy my last few weeks of being alone; I was so eager for her to
   arrive (as you well know readers- Operation Born Free, Still Waiting, Anything?) but
   once baby arrives you barely get five minutes to yourself. You are in constant need. It is
   relentless, but so very worth it! 

All in all it has been an incredibly tough three(ish) weeks; the greatest test of endurance, tolerance and patience you will ever experience, but when your baby falls asleep on you, or looks at you with those big, soulful eyes, you know that the frustration, exhaustion and occasional despair are completely worth it. 
Happy New Year!
Hannah and Nick

A slightly exhausted, but very happy Christmas family photo!

2 Comments

  1. 8th January 2013 / 7:24 pm

    What a lovely, uplifting post. You sound like you’re doing so well.

    On the nipple front; you could try Medela Hydrogel Pads – you can get them on Amazon. I used something similar from the US called ‘Soothies’ when I had Pip and they were amazing. Sorted the pain and problems out in no time. x

    • 12th January 2013 / 2:45 pm

      Ooh I’ll have a search – thank you 🙂

      Yes we’re muddling through 🙂 It’s great fun isn’t it? xx

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