I turned 30 at the end of August, and in the run up to my birthday I found myself pondering everything that I have achieved in the past few years.
Life has changed immeasurably since I was 20; I have a wonderful, supportive husband, we had an incredible wedding which we organised with a toddler in tow, I’m living in a different part of the country – and for the first time in my life I feel something that resembles settled – and I’ve had two beautiful children.
The children are (obviously) the achievement I’m most proud of. With Busby having started school this year, and turning five in December, I can’t help but look back on my time as a Mother, and to be honest, I often wonder quite how I’ve survived!
The first three months with a baby are hard. The fourth trimester is all about sleep deprivation, establishing feeding (whichever way you wish) and routines, and healing from birth; whether it’s baby number one or baby number five.
It’s also about getting used to having someone highly unpredictable around, who is entirely dependent on you 24/7.
Both of my children have been so different, and if we’re lucky enough to have a third, I can imagine it will be another three months (plus) of juggling twenty tasks constantly throughout the day on minimal sleep and an encroaching caffeine addiction.
The phrase ‘winging it’ springs to mind!
I always find it fascinating looking back on those first three months with both children:
Busby slept through the night for the first time at around 10 days old. She didn’t sleep through every night, but generally she let us have a few decent snooze catch ups! She was a ‘sicky’ baby (which I now think was possibly active reflux), but she was happy. She gained weight well. And she was independent – even as a baby!
H-Bear didn’t sleep through the night until we introduced a dummy at 10 months! The biggest chunk of sleep I had in that period of time was 3 hours, so (as you can imagine) by 10 months, I was ready to try anything. He suffered from silent reflux and was diagnosed with a cow’s milk allergy and soya allergy. He didn’t gain weight well. And he was everything but independent!
With Busby, (sadly!) I had read every book under the sun about ‘clingy’ babies, so I was eager for her to be passed around lots for cuddles. With H-Bear, I was desperate to establish breastfeeding, so I therefore enforced a sort of ‘babymoon’, where we holed up for a couple of weeks at home without any real routine and I fed on demand while we got to know each other, without too many interruptions.
One thing that I found worked with both children was creating a grab pouch for leaving the house – in fact, I found it so useful that I still use it now; just with less things in! It’s such a handy size to fit in whichever bag I choose and I always have it ready to go – full of nappies, travel changing mat, nappy bags and Bepanthen.
We used Bepanthen at every nappy change as it protects against the causes of nappy rash. Nappy rash can be a difficult experience for both mum and baby, so it’s important to protect against it occurring rather than just treating when it arises.
Other things I couldn’t have lived without in those first three months include:
- Ewan the Dream Sheep – Ewan is a miracle worker! This sleep aid has a soothing pink light, which is accompanied by white noise and music. He’s supposed to mimic the womb, and both children have loved him.
- Our Snüzpod bedside crib – which was perfect for safe co-sleeping and having H-Bear within arms reach for night feeds.
- The Papoozle sling – for those days where baby doesn’t want to be put down… which was every day with H-Bear!
- A Vibrating Chair – Busby loved hers, and would happily doze in it when I needed to get jobs done – or just have a hot cup of tea!
- A copious supply of tea and cake – The tea drawer is always stocked up high with a newborn in the house – and using the mixer to bake a cake is a fantastic way to soothe colic because of the white noise it emits.
- The tumble dryer! – All jokes aside, installing a tumble dryer was a life changing moment! You go through SO many clothes in the first three months thanks to spit up and poonamis, so you need to be able to turn the washing pile around quickly before it takes over your house.
All of these things made life easier in those first three months. In fact, the grab pouch continues to make life easier now; I always know that I have our essentials ready to go if we need to leave the house quickly.