I don’t generally keep Sam on me if he falls asleep feeding, but today is one of ‘those’ days…
Sam woke hourly for much of last night but I was so exhausted that I didn’t wake for most of them. Poor Carl really picked up the brunt of it. At 2.45 I woke to hear Sam fussing and went ‘oh good, nearly 4 hours!’. I was swiftly corrected by my shattered husband.
I WANT YOUR LASAGNE!
Then Sam wouldn’t nap this morning, he didn’t sleep for long enough once he finally crashed out during a friend’s visit, lunch was a messy-shouty-meltdown filled affair as he put a rusk up his nose, rubbed it everywhere, dropped it, refused butternut squash and tried to get my food. It would have been funny if I hadn’t been so tired!
I needed a break.
So, when he fell asleep mid feed, I decided to leave him lying on me, able to feed on and off as he wished. Not something I would usually do but today is am exceptional day. Thank goodness this has kept him sleeping for over an hour rather than the usual 20-40 minutes. He needs the sleep and I need the peace.
To think that yesterday he was laughing so much that he fell over! More of that when he wakes please…
Our new routine involves Carl taking Sam out for a little walk after work, helping him to have a short nap before he does bath time and I rejoin the action for feeding and bed. This gives me time to ‘de-baby’ the living room and (more importantly) have some time on my own.
It’s not long, perhaps 45 minutes, but it is so nice to have a small window to do whatever I want. Generally, this involves a tidy up and then catching up on emails or sorting out photos – I am determined to get some up on the walls! However, I’m beginning to think this is a great time to start reading again.
A little read every day is just what I need, I miss it a lot; discovering new stories and stepping away from the chaos of life for a few minutes. I have a bookshelf of unread books, maybe now is the time to start – slowly! – working my way through them.
Maybe I’ll even have a small glass of wine occasionally to complete my relaxation time!
First, Sam threw us out with his sleep, choosing to sleep for completely random amounts of time, starting at totally different times every night.
Then we had plans every day Monday to Thursday.
Add to this a teething, unpredictable baby.
By Thursday evening, I had a migraine and felt on the verge of collapse. Taking the (much overdue) hint from my body, I cancelled our Friday plans. A lazy pyjama day was in order.
On Friday morning, I had breakfast before Carl left for work (as usual, since he makes it for me!), changed Sam and we both went back to bed. He fed and slept until 11.45, when we came downstairs for an afternoon of games and more naps. He obviously needed the sleep, clocking up two 50+ minute naps – unheard of.
Neither of us got dressed that day. We both needed rest, playtime and to spend some time with just us.
There are so many activities and classes you can fill your day with when you have a young baby…but remember that it’s important to relax at home together, you don’t always need to be on the go. Listen to your body (and your partner!) when you need to slow down.
I don’t think I’m a completely relaxed and able to with ‘go with the flow’ type parent, but this article really made me laugh…and realise that I’m far more laid back than I thought!
When I held my baby in my arms for the very first time I knew that I would do everything within my power to keep this tiny little human safe.
From that day forward, I would do anything to protect every hair on the perfect head of my Precious Firstborn.
And my husband and I literally did just that.
If they had invented a baby grow made of cotton wool; we would have bought it. If we had found a safety helmet small enough, we would have got one to protect her delicate little fontanel. We took overprotective to a whole new level.
Here a few things we did that only a first time parent will understand:
1. I would wake her if she’d slept too long, too quietly or, somehow, looked too asleep, to check she was still conscious. I would lean over the cot to try and hear her breathing, put my hand next to her mouth to see if I could feel her breathing. Then I would stick a mirror under her nose to attempt to see her breathing. In the end, the only way I felt I could be 100 percent sure was to wake her up.
2. I washed my hair with baby shampoo and deliberately got it into my eyes to check that it really was ‘no tears’.
3. I got in the cot to check that it was comfortable enough for my Precious Firstborn.
4. When I began weaning her I used to squirt breast milk in her baby porridge. It used to take half an hour to make her breakfast.
5. I would make everyone who came to visit my Precious Firstborn wash their hands with anti-bacterial soap before they held her.
6. When my parents babysat our Precious Firstborn for the first time, we left them a detailed, four sides of A4 instruction manual with exact times for everything.
7. I wouldn’t watch any film rated above PG when the baby was ASLEEP on me.
8. I would wipe my nipples with baby wipes before they touched the lips of my Precious First Born.
9. I would re-sterilise everything my husband sterilised in case he had done it wrong.
10. Protectors of the Precious Firstborn Bottom step 1. To clean the baby’s bum I would use only cotton wool balls and warm water in a sterilised bowl, then pat dry with a sterile soft cloth before applying the cream. For the first SIX months.
11. Protectors of the Precious Firstborn Bottom step 2. We would change her nappy every time she woke up (which was a lot) – even when it was a tiny bit damp. We went through 200 nappies in the first two weeks.
12. Help my child! I once called the 24 hour emergency midwife out at 2am because my Precious Firstborn had sleep in her eye.
13. Bacteriaphobia. I developed an ability to see germs. They were everywhere, trying to get my Precious Newborn. I would scrub our remote controls, mobile phones, door handles and light switches with anti-bacterial cleaner twice a day because I had read these were riddled with germs.
14. Emergency! We took our Precious Firstborn to A & E because she would not stop crying.
15. Room temperature anxiety.
ME: (To husband) Do you think it is warm tonight? Do you think it is too warm for the baby? I think I’ll just go and take her blanket off (go remove blanket).
HUSBAND: Do you think she is too cold now? She hasn’t got a vest on.
ME: Why did you not tell me about the vest? How could you forget to mention it? I bet she is freezing now (get up and put blanket back on).
HUSBAND: But that baby grow is pretty thick so she could be too hot (goes and removes blanket).
This would continue for hours. Every. Single. Night.
16. I sprayed my husband’s clothes with breast milk so when he went to settle her she would still smell Mummy.
17. I would only carry her up or down the stairs sitting on my bottom in case I tripped and dropped her.
18. When crossing the road with Precious Firstborn in the pram I would always stand at least two metres away from the kerb. Just in case a car veered off the road.
19. I was so terrified of falling asleep with the baby on me I would set my phone alarm to go off every half an hour.
20. If our Precious Firstborn went longer than two hours at night without a feed we would wake her up, just in case she was starving to death in her sleep.
Today concludes my first full week at home on maternity leave and what a lovely week it has been. We had our maternity ward tour on Monday evening – we’re booked in to Epsom – which reaffirmed our decision to make use of their new midwife led birth centre if at all possible. It felt ‘right’ when we walked in there. Our final pre-natal NCT class took place on Tuesday night and it was my 34 week appointment yesterday, so it’s been very baby-centred!
The last few days have been a big adjustment to a new – short term! – slower pace of life. Getting lie ins while I can, enjoying freshly made fruit smoothies (I would thoroughly recommend a Nutribullet to anyone, I’ll also be using it to make baby food in the future) and doing odd bits of housework, while generally relaxing and putting my feet up whenever I feel tired or get either belly or back ache.
It is strange not ‘needing’ to do anything during the day; I’m so used to planning my day out with to do lists (re-written each day…while also leaving a couple of items on that can be immediately ticked off! You know you do the same!).
I have long lists of things I would like to get on with but, you know what, by 35 weeks pregnant you just need to take the days at whatever pace you can manage. I would like to be dancing round the house singing my head off while painting, decorating and cleaning the whole place from top to bottom….but I do not have the energy to do so and that is ok. I just try to keep on top of the washing up and clothes washing and have the place neat for when Carl gets home, helping him out where I can. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a lot more help than I was able to give for the first 5 months of pregnancy!
I make small goals for each day, beyond simply getting up, having a shower and getting dressed, so that at least I have accomplished something. Today, it was opening my favourite spreadsheet and updating our accounts so we know what we have to spend on house purchases and the nursery (happy payday – does any other payday feel quite so good as the first one after Christmas?) and, in a minute, I am going to head out for a walk. When I’m back, if my back isn’t hurting too much, I will start cutting material for a patchwork quilt I’m going to make Bud. If my back hurts, I will lie down and read until Carl arrives home. Such is the life of a pregnant woman. It’s tiring and you shouldn’t feel bad about getting rest while you can.
Now…walk time…and it’s not looking appealing as the trees are blowing all round. Fresh air is very necessary though and it is so important to remain at least a bit active; there’s nothing like the feel of wind on your cheeks to wake you up!
Oh, and I will treat myself to a big mug of hot chocolate when I get home; sometimes an incentive is essential!!