Read all about the reality of life as a mummy, the brutal honest truth in all it’s sick covered glory.
The First Days At Home
Once we had got through the first 24 hours of Harley’s life in the hospital, we were just grateful to be heading home. Everything takes so much more planning, care and consideration when you have a small person in tow. That first car journey was nerve wracking for all of us, even though H slept the whole way. Then the fun and games began; sleeping arrangements, making bottles, changing nappies, dressing and undressing him 8 times a day due to wee, sick and poo. We decided to camp out in the lounge so that we could see him sleeping in his moses basket, sofa sleeping was not the most comfortable thing but it gave us peace of mind that we were close to him as he slept. The first few days they literally sleep, eat, wee and poo. Newborns don’t really do much else with their time. H was drinking 2oz every 3 hours, so we cat napped in between feeds and rotated keeping an eye on him or letting him sleep on us if he wouldn’t settle. Having James there to share the work load of a newborn kept me sane, I could not have processed all of the work and all of my emotions all by myself, I would have lost the plot. During this time of keeping this small person alive, I had to still keep myself going, eating, keeping my stitches clean, sleeping and welcoming the never ending stream of visitors and guests. I didn’t realise quite how tired, in pain and emotional I would feel once I was home. It’s hard work having a newborn, they take all of your time, attention, energy and emotions, there is no room or time for anything else. Amongst all of the tears, the lack of sleep, lack of food, bleeding, drugging up on painkillers and trying not to kill one another, there is the overwhelming love for the little person that you go through all of that for. That person who is half you, makes everything in life worthwhile, you don’t mind waking up every 2 hours, you don’t mind being thrown up on or getting wee all over you, you don’t mind the messy house you now live in, none of it is anything to worry about, as long as your little peach is clean, fed, warm and happy, that’s all that matters.
First Poo In The Bath
27th August 2016.
Second bath for little H, the first one was not very succesful, he hated every minute of it, screaming at us for the whole 5 minutes we dared to keep him in there for. So we braved this second bath and psyched ourselves up for the screaming. As we put him in I waited for the tantrum, none came, he was looking around and kicking his legs. Success! We had cracked bath time at 15 days old! I was washing him, pouring water over him to keep him warm and talking to him as he wiggled around. He then went really still and stretched out (this is his pooing stance) I looked at James and said, “Oh no, he’s going to poo, oh god what do I do?” But before either of our brains had registered what was about to happen, he started to poo straight onto his bath sponge. Instead of just having a baby to clean, I now had a bath to clean, a bath sponge to wash out and a pooey bum to wipe. Passing him to James, he wrapped him in his towel, making sure he put a muslin inside of it because the last thing we needed was for H to poo all over the white towels. Seconds after James wrapped him up H made another poo face, followed by the hugest poo straight on the muslin. All I could think was “get a nappy on this child fast, how much more poo can he produce?!” 15 minutes and 3 nappies later we had a clean baby, a clean bathroom and a poo free bath sponge.
Nappies, Nappies, Nappies
As a Childcare Professional I have spent many hours of my life changing nappies over the years, on children from the age of 6 months to 3 years old. Unfortunately I was lulled in to the false sense of security that 1 baby would use hardly any nappies compared to the amount I was used to going through at work! Well, I was very wrong! As a new parent I would recommend buying shares in nappies, and start buying packs from the minute you take that test, because you will be amazed at the rate you go through them! How can such a small person make so much mess?!
That first meconium poo is like someone has smeared Marmite all over your newborns bum, I think I used a whole pack of wipes on that first poo! (something else to stock up on in the hundreds). The rainbow of poop that seems to come out of a newborns bum in the following weeks is baffling! Be warned, H loves to wait until he’s just had a fresh nappy put on before he decides to poo, so each bum change consists of at least 2 nappies, and this happens up to 8 times a day!
In the first 2 weeks we had various nappy leakages where his nappy moved, we didn’t do it up tight enough or he’s just peed so much that its overflowed! Having a boy, we are no strangers to the sprinkler attachment that they come with and are very used to being covered in wee on a regular basis during nappy time. Then there’s the never ending poos! He can fill his nappy, make us believe he is done, then as soon as the nappy is off he starts to poo again! I’ve had to be quick thinking and creative when it comes to catching all of the extra poo before he smears it all over the change mat. These tests of parenthood are the things that no one could prepare you for; we’ve had wee on faces and poo on foreheads, but we never would have believed anyone if they had told us that these things really happen.
Night Feeds & Sleep Deprivation
Before I was pregnant I couldn’t have thought of much worse than willingly getting up at least once every single night. It was bad enough staying awake until 2am on a night out, and even then it would take 3 days for me to catch up on my sleep! But when you have a newborn, night feeds are one of the harder things that come with them. I must admit it takes me a while to wake up properly, I’m surprised I haven’t dropped H or given him tea or Diet Coke instead of formula, but so far so good (touch wood).
Some nights are easier than others, as everything is with a newborn, sometimes we have good days and sometimes we have bad days. The thing I have found is just when you think you’ve sussed out timings and feed patterns, the little munchkins decide to have a growth spurt and feed every 5 minutes! The nights where we have to get up every 2 hours to feed have been the hardest so far. This is because it takes at least an hour to change, feed, burp, feed, burp, settle and put H back to bed, which means less than an hour of sleep until he’s up again. But if he’s not happy then it can take anywhere up to 2 hours, and by this point I’m running on 2 hours sleep or less and contemplating locking myself in the bathroom and taking up residence in the bath tub. But after 1 night of this, we are usually lucky enough to get 2 nights of 4 hour gaps between feeds, at least I’m not quite so zombie like after those ones.
During the week I am obviously primary carer and do the night feeds as James is working. This means that if H is awake and not settling or not wanting to go back to sleep then I am also wide awake to keep him quiet until he does eventually fall asleep,or decide he wants to feed again. In theory when you say “I’ve had 6 hours sleep”, people think “Oh that’s brilliant, having a baby isn’t that bad at all!”, they’re very wrong. 6 hours is all well and good if you’ve slept solidly, but its usually anywhere from 1 hour at a time to 3 hours at a time. If youre lucky to get 3 hours sleep in one go, it’s a miracle, it’s like winning the lottery. At the weekends I have James to help which means I’m not wishing for 8 arms, as I’m not balancing a baby in one hand and trying to make a bottle with another.
All in all, I can’t complain because 9 times out of 10, H sleeps really well and I usually get between 6 and 7 hours of sleep a night. The sleep deprivation has’t kicked in yet, but at 2am I feel like I’ve not slept for about a year and I do contemplate running away to a sunny beach on a desert island, I’m sure all mums feel the same. As for the advice that people always like to tell you, “sleep when the baby sleeps”, that’s all well and good if you don’t mind turning into some sort of homeless person as you won’t be eating or washing. I’m one of these mums that cooks, cleans, showers and stuffs my face whilst H is asleep, because to me sleep is the easiest thing out of those to miss out on. I even managed to dye my hair, wash it,dry it and get ready all during one nap, days like that I am winning at motherhood.
Being Thrown Up On. YUCK.
I have laughed many times when baby’s have thrown up on my colleagues, family and friends. But I’m not laughing now, I am the main victim of H’s sicky outbursts, I seem to change outfits more times a day than he does! The first time he did it was the middle of the night, I was half asleep sat on the sofa feeding him. I sat him up to wind him and he projectile vomited all across my lap, the sofa and the floor. Since then he has sicked on me plenty of times, usually on my jeans or hands.
Tonight was the first time I have managed to change my top 3 times within 15 minutes because of a sick episode! I had him on my chest and he threw up all down my top, in my bra and it ran all the way down my tummy, super disgusting. Unfortunately no one tells you how gross baby sick really is until you’re covered in it and find out for yourself. I’m currently waiting for the next lot of sick even though I’m running out of clean tops, looks like another wash load needs to be put on for the 4th time today.