Since I’ve been so ridiculously slack lately (something to do with having a baby, I think!), I thought I’d give an update of the last 2 months. I can’t believe Birdie is already 2 months old! It seems like no time has passed at all, and yet she’s already changed so much.
To describe the first month in a word, hands down I would say “sleep”. Or lack of it. Baby B slept like a champion for the first 2 days of her life, then obviously decided that was boring. So she tried no sleep. Which meant I tried no sleep. Here’s a tip: it sucks. Don’t do it. The biggest reason for this was that Baby B didn’t like her bassinet. Hated it, in fact. From the copious research I did at 3am, this is very normal. Newborn babies have just spent the last 9 months surrounded by everything Mum – smell, warmth, feel. So it’s not surprising that suddenly being dropped into a cold, hard bed is not going to be their first choice. So Baby B would very happily fall asleep on my chest, but would wake as soon as I transferred her to the bassinet. This meant that as it wasn’t safe for her to sleep on me, I would stay awake all night, and then pass her to Mr Nester for a few hours in the morning. I was surviving on about 3 hours sleep a night, plus a nap in the afternoon if I could manage it. Something had to give, and it turned out it was me. I started falling asleep with Baby B on my chest. Each time this happened, I would wake with a start a few hours later, panicking that I killed the baby. Every time, there she was, still fast asleep on my chest. Now, I’m certainly not recommending this, as all research shows babies should be on their back in their own bed, but it was my only option for a while, in order to stay sane. Baby B loves it, and while she’s now sleeping a lot more in the bassinet (just a matter of time – from about 7 weeks she suddenly didn’t hate it so much), occasionally we still have a nap together, and it feels ridiculously natural.
Other than the sleep, just watching Baby B unfurl over the first 4 weeks was incredible. They start their lives so squished up – squashed face, eyes shut tight, hands in tight little fists, legs and arms all curled up in a ball. Then, slowly, they start “opening up”. Their eyes start focusing (although sometimes in different directions – freaky stuff!), their hands open up, and their body stretches out. They very quickly stop looking like a newborn, and start developing their own little characteristics. It’s mesmerising.
Baby B was a great feeder from Day 1, even if she did butcher my nipples in the process. It took about 2 weeks for my nipples to heal to the point where I wasn’t wincing in pain when she latched on, and I put the recovery down solely to Lansinoh and Multi-Mums compresses. They’re awesome. After those 2 weeks of hell, breastfeeding was suddenly a lot easier, and I actually started enjoying it. Apparently, so did Baby B. In the first 2 weeks, she put on only a couple hundred grans, back up to her birth weight. Nothing more, and the midwives who checked on me were starting to express a little concern, asking me how often I was feeding (every 2-3 hours) and if she took both breasts in a feed (no, there was so much milk she was full just from one side). I felt like a failure, until her 4 week check up, where she had put on another kilo! I was still only feeding from one side at a time, which was obviously sufficient.
In terms of coping with it all, we’ve been very lucky that B is not much of a cryer, which really transforms sleepless nights and days. I think a lot of this is just sheer chance, although we have been very on top of her grizzles, attending to her as quickly as we can. She spent most of the first month on either me or Mr Nester, and I think that security went a long way to reducing her discomfort. Also, I used a wrap a lot. I mentioned in a previous post that I bought a Hug-a-Bub wrap to use, and bloody hell has that been a good investment!! B loves it, and once you get the hang of the wrapping technique, it becomes such an easy tool when we’re out and about, or even at home if I want to get a few things done. I’ve cooked dinner with B strapped to me, cleaned the house, walked the dog and gone shopping. By far the best use though is at meal times. It means I can actually sit at the table with Mr Nester and eat, instead of having to eat in shifts so someone can hold the baby. It’s been invaluable for being able to feel normal again.
Mood wise, I certainly had my off days in the first month. The baby blues are real: day 4 had me sobbing over nothing, really, but still I needed that cry. I had other days throughout that first month when I broke down, usually due to lack of sleep which just makes everything harder. I yelled at Baby B once at about 4am, when she’d been unsettled and crying since 11pm. I had to put her down on the bed as I was so frustrated, for a second I didn’t trust myself. Almost instantly though you check yourself, your better instincts kick in, and all you want to do is help the poor, squawking, helpless human. They are so reliant on you, which can be incredibly frustrating, but also overwhelmingly beautiful – all they want is you, and for you to help them because they can’t do it themselves. It makes my heart melt every time.
So that’s Baby B, month 1. She’s just hit the 2 month mark now, which I’ll recap in a separate post, and I’ve also got a cloth nappy post in the pipeline (here’s a preview: I’m still using them, and I love them!!). Apologies again for the delayed update, I’m hoping to return to more regular posts now life has calmed down a little!