I’m sorry, whoever turned the dial to speed up time, would you kindly slow it back down please? I know I’m just echoing the words of every other parent on the planet but how on earth is Pickle already one month old? I have so much to write about and finding the time to do so is increasingly difficult these days – I just want to document every tiny thing so I don’t forget any of this precious newborn stage.
Of course, there are also some things I think I’d probably rather forget (especially my Day 5 hormonal breakdown over breastfeeding that left me with puffy eyelids for about two days afterwards!), but it’s all part of this crazy new lifestyle adjustment and I’ll happily take the rough with the smooth at the moment.
My situation right now pretty well sums up what life has been like for the past month: it’s 12.30pm and after a night of little sleep, Pickle is dozing now quite happily, head resting on my boob leaving me terrified to move in case I wake him. I’m sat on the sofa, next to a plate of crumbs (so addicted to toast!) which has been there since breakfast and a cold cup of tea. I have one exposed boob (the smaller one, this breastfeeding malarkey is currently highlighting my preference to feed from the right-hand side with a noticeable lopsided size difference!) and my bum is going numb from having sat in the same position for so long. The copious amounts of cushions I keep surrounding myself with aren’t helping. My phone is on the sofa arm, ready and primed to take another baby photo, although they never quite capture his scrumptiousness entirely. I’m keeping an eye on the clock as even though we don’t have to be at baby sensory until 2.45pm, getting there on time requires hours of preparation and I’m already starting to think I should get a move on… Oh, and the nipple tingling has just started indicating that Pickle will probably be after a feed again soon. Again.
The past month has been a haze of visitors (friends, family and at one point an endless stream of midwives). I could write a whole post just on newborn baby visitors, and the lessons I learned the hard way – I vividly remember how exhausted (both Pickle and I!) were just a few days after he was born when we had a 5 hour stint of constant visitors. It was far too much, too soon and next time (What? NEXT TIME? I can’t be contemplating doing this again!?) I’d definitely be more strategic about when we have visitors over. On the flip side, there is something magical about introducing your baby boy to your nearest and dearest, and we have been very lucky to have had understanding guests who haven’t minded when I’ve had to whip a boob out to feed or he’s been unsettled and not allowed them to have a very long cuddle. We’ve even had offers to vacuum the house and have gratefully eaten many a meal cooked for us (BEST PRESENT YOU CAN GIVE NEW PARENTS!).
Both Pickle and I took a while to be signed off from the community midwife – him because he lost a lot of his birth weight and took his time to get back up to a weight they were happy with, and me because I had to take a course of antibiotics for my c-section scar. At the time I found waiting in for the midwife (who could visit any time between 9am – 5pm) really limiting and frustrating but looking back now – it was probably a bit of a blessing in disguise. I’m not usually one to keep still and actually, waiting in the house and taking it easy probably prevented me from gallivanting around, which would have made it even more difficult to recover from the c-section. Another lesson learned the hard way: it takes rest and relaxation to recover from major surgery like that, and walking around garden centres for hours can wait until fully healed, even if there’s an attached Hobby Craft to peruse.
I’m proud to report that I am still breastfeeding (something I didn’t think would be possible during the aforementioned Day 5 meltdown), and I’m getting very close to introducing expressed feeds into the mix. I’m looking forward to being able to tear myself away from Pickle, safe in the knowledge that there will be breastmilk ready and waiting for him in a bottle should he need it. I do feel very tethered to him at the moment – where he goes, I go. I’m obviously enjoying the time I’m spending with him and not 100% sure how well I’d cope with being separated from him just yet but the prospect of having a little break or some time to myself is also increasingly appealing. At least knowing it’s an option would stop me feeling so resentful every time LPD heads to the shops hassle-free. A quick trip to the shops for me has now become akin to some kind of expedition, requiring careful packing, preparation and specialist equipment. One does not simply ‘pop to the shop’ with a newborn.
In a month, Pickle has really experienced a lot! He’s been on a bus – twice. He’s been swimming a couple of times as we’ve been taking him to a special Waterbabies class at a nearby therapy pool and he helped me when I volunteer marshalled at parkrun last week. We celebrated National Breastfeeding Awareness week at a local breastfeeding group with cake and balloons. He’s also been for afternoon tea, a lovely get-together organised by one of my lovely NCT Mummy friends.
In just the space of these few weeks, his development has amazed me. Every day he seems to be a little bit more alert and aware of his surroundings. He sometimes laughs or cries in his sleep (I much prefer when he does the former, rather than the latter!). I can tell that his eyesight is improving as he’s definitely recognising me when I’m much further away than I used to be.
All in all, it’s been an unforgettable month. Way better than I could have imagined. Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, it’s exhausting. But it’s all kinds of wonderful too. I definitely want to share more of it in better detail so look out for future blog posts on my experience of:
- making new Mummy friends
- using our Kiddy UK car seat
I’m going to finish this post (and I might start finishing all my parenting posts this way now) with something known as ‘Puddle of Mud, Ray of Sunshine.’ A simple way of sharing something that’s been rubbish this week (my puddle of mud), and something which has brought me happiness (my ray of sunshine). A nice way, I think, to honour the topsy-turvy world of being a parent and acknowledging that sometimes you’re going to have puddles of mud, and other times – rays of sunshine, and that’s perfectly normal and okay.
Puddle of Mud: Getting completely splattered in poop after one of Pickle’s poonami attacks.
Ray of Sunshine: Realising that I actually 100% didn’t mind getting covered in poop and was weirdly proud of it – it was definitely a Mommy-Milestone.