Category Archives: Babies

Our first 8 weeks

As Finley hits the 2 month mark the newborn haze has finally lifted, my hormones have settled and I have found a few minutes to actually reflect on how it’s been. Plus I’ve managed to write this post! *Pats myself on the back*

The first thing I have to say is that despite having done this before I have been on a crash course in newborns yet again. Clearly I’ve forgotten everything from last time (well it was 8 years ago!!) but also, and I’m sure you’ll be as shocked about this as me, it turns out that all babies aren’t the same. Who knew! Seriously – Finley couldn’t be any more different to my daughter so even when I thought I remembered things it hasn’t helped.

So, what has my crash course taught me?

I can ‘go with the flow’
Despite my being a self confessed control freak I have actually managed (with some struggle I admit) to go with the flow. I am amazed at myself. I haven’t tried to get a routine and I haven’t given myself the opportunity to worry about what problems I’m storing up for the future (It’s the ‘best not to think about it too much’ approach). In fact, I’ve done all sorts of things I never thought I would! For starters I have enjoyed rocking, feeding and cuddling Finn to sleep. A lot. I have breastfed him for comfort and shocked myself by being ok with it. I have also driven out in the car for no reason other than to get him asleep and I don’t care because he slept!

Crucially though, we have survived the first few weeks, Finn is doing well and even finding his own flow to the days and nights.

March 11 - sleeping at last

It’s the hormones!
In the first 5 ish weeks I was incredibly emotional – crying a lot and feeling very much like I was mad to do this again. I had totally forgotten what I’m like when I’m hormonal and sleep deprived.

With the passing of time, support from some amazing friends and family, the settling of my hormones and a little more sleep, I am now on the other side of those mad few weeks.

I have also stopped feeling guilty about the fact that when people tell me ‘time flies’ I’m actually ok with that! Having a newborn is bloody hard work so as far as I’m concerned it’s ok that the first few weeks fly by – it really is possible to enjoy them at the speed they are without feeling the need to slow it down. I for one have enjoyed watching Finn learn to control his limbs, learn to smile, learn to coo and ‘chat’ and learn to to bat things … see I didn’t miss anything.

crying

Cluster what?!
Whilst I had never heard of, or experienced, cluster feeding before, Finn was apparently born familiar with it and every evening all he really wanted was to be latched on for a good couple of hours. Is this about hunger and him getting lots of food? Well maybe a bit, but I’m pretty sure that it is mostly about comfort when he’s tired at the end of the day and the fact that he just likes it. My initial instinct was that there was no way I was sitting with him chomping on me for hours in the evening but there is no denying that when I went with it, I had a happy, sleep boy who goes to bed really well and when I didn’t – well it was a more stressful, screamy type of evening. I can now say that as he turns 9 weeks old this has started to slow down a lot.

So there you have it – my reflections on our first 2 months. I wonder what the next two will bring!

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A photo shoot from heaven

This is Finley – just short of 4 weeks old – taken by the fabulous photography by Sinem.

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I hadn’t planned on writing a post about this at all – I mean, thousands of parents take their new baby to have special photos taken. It’s nothing unusual and certainly nothing new – I took my daughter when she was little and lots of my friends have done the same.

This photo shoot however, was different. I was really fortunate to be able to take Finn for a newborn photo shoot with an independent photographer based near us (Birmingham) and the whole experience was quite frankly a little slice of heaven.

This was one of our first trips out after Finley’s arrival. I have to be honest and say that I very nearly rang to cancel that morning because I was tired, Finn was needing a sleep but (as always) fighting it and I felt totally stressed about how awful it was going to be. I’m so glad I didn’t.

On arrival, Sinem (the photographer) gave me a huge smile and took Finn in his car seat through to the room where we would be. It was warm, relaxing and inviting. Five minutes later I was sat with a cup of tea, some biscuits and empty arms! Finn was being soothed and snuggled by Sinem who, with the patience of a saint, proceeded to carefully and gently sort Finn into the outfits and positions she wanted for the pictures.

For over 3 hours I sat back and relaxed – really relaxed. This was not just about the photos but about the whole experience and the calm I felt for the first time since Finn was born. The fantastic pictures produced were the icing on the cake! Of course the other aspect was the fact that I watched a total stranger soothe and comfort my little boy with amazing expertise and most crucially relaxed patience. I truly believe the latter are the two key words and remembering this in some of the tough moments since has really helped.

So when I look at these beautiful pictures of Finley I not only think about how gorgeous my little boy is (yes I’m biased!) but I also remember how wonderful those 3 hours were.

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A letter to the lady in the cafe

To the lady with the crying baby at the cafe,

I saw you the other day when you were meeting your friends for afternoon tea at the cafe. With at least 7 new babies there it must have been your antenatal group getting back together to catch up.

I was on the table next to you and we didn’t even speak. It would have been a bit weird if I had suddenly come over! But I did really wish I could because I wanted to tell you this…..

Yours was the baby that was crying and nothing seemed to help. All the others were all quiet and restful but that wasn’t the case for you. Now I might have this totally wrong but I instantly thought ‘That was me with my little girl when she was a baby, and I completely know how you felt’. For me, it was colic you see – real colic – not just a bad day or night. I don’t know if that’s the same for you but if it is I hope this letter helps.

screaming ellie

I was lucky with my group because there were actually two of us with babies who suffered colic so I had someone who really understood. That’s the thing you see – unless it happens to you, you don’t really get it. People whose babies don’t have colic just can’t understand – although they so often think they do.

I’m not going to give all the standard practical advice because an internet search can give you that, but I just wanted to tell you that you aren’t crazy and you aren’t alone. It is awful but you will get through it and your beautiful baby will settle down. I can’t tell you when but it will one day be just a distant memory. Until then just know how amazing you are and that you are doing all the right things. Please try not to give yourself a hard time – there’s no need.

Best wishes and good luck,

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All ready for baby – but am I?

At 36 weeks pregnant everything is just about as set as it can be for our baby boy and my previously shared checklist is pretty much done – the room is ready, we’ve stocked up on the nappies etc, Christmas presents are wrapped, Christmas cards are written, birth plan done and hospital bag packed. I’m feeling quite organised, which as anyone who’s read much of blog will know, is how I like to feel.

So when a close friend gave birth to her gorgeous baby Son last weekend and I found myself looking at this tiny baby in my arms I was a little taken aback when I realised that there’s one thing I’m not sure is ready….me!

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As I held him my brain went into overdrive and followed a pattern of thought something like this;

Oh my gosh – I’m having a baby
I wasn’t great with the baby bit last time
Eeek – I’m having a baby
I can’t remember anything about the baby bit – it was almost 8 years ago
Shit I’m having a baby!!!!!!

Now I can obviously tell myself all the usual things – I have done it before, Ellie survived and flourished with me as her Mum so I did something right and I’m definitely a more relaxed and happy version of myself than I was before. All these things are true but of course when it comes to my brain, logic isn’t necessarily the thing that leads.

So the other night when I was awake (again) at 3am my brain did was it so often does and started producing it’s own little checklist for me – things I want and don’t want to do this time around. Here are some of the key ones….

I will not worry in the early days about cuddling my baby too much – I won’t be storing up problems for sleeping in the future – he won’t remember but I will and I want to remember cuddles!

This time around I will accept help from others (in fact I already have accepted help this time from friends who have done the school run for me to given me a chance to rest, helped me clean some of the baby stuff ready and so on.)

I won’t expect myself to simply know what’s wrong when he cries – I will just work my way through the standard list of possibilities and know that at some point he’ll stop.

I won’t worry about how I look for the first few weeks – I will just be pleased pleased we got there on time to start with.

I won’t give myself a hard time about feeding my baby – I will do what works and what feels right…whatever that is.

So now I’ve written it down I guess I’ll have to see whether I manage all, some, or any of these once our Son arrives (of course I’ll let you know!) but if nothing else just by putting my thoughts out there hopefully my brain will switch off a bit now.

I wonder how many of these things other parents have thought when they’ve had subsequent children? So come on – what things did you want to do differently second time around? Please comment and share.

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Getting ready for our baby

Despite the varying views people have (and often quite forcefully share) on when you should get things ready for your new arrival – not too early so as to tempt fate, not too late so as to feel stressed etc – practical issues like time, cost and energy levels mean that we have been gradually getting things sorted for a while.

The room is decorated, the cot is up, bedding ready and, courtesy of some wonderful family and friends and a few careful purchases, much of my ‘must have’ shopping list items are here.

 

Having said that, getting those key items is of course just one of the many things that need to be done before our little one arrives so, as I am now only a few days away from my third trimester, I’ve decided it’s time to write a list of what’s left to do. Obviously I couldn’t resist sharing, not least because I’m sure somebody will spot something crucial I’ve forgotten…

  1. Stock up on disposable baby items i.e. nappies, wipes, nappy sacks and so on. I think I’m making good progress (see above picture) although I suspect the stock pile won’t last long! 
  2. Decorate the room for Ellie and the baby (they’re sharing) – done with a little help from some friends. Whoop whoop!
  3. Get ready for the birth – not even started but hey there is plenty of time for this right?! Includes: Read up on hypnobirthing (fascinated to know more!) / Talk to Richard about it and write birth plan / Buy a birthing ball (and blow it up) / Get hospital bag ready (do not forget arnica and toilet wipes)
  4. Spring clean the house – all of it. Absolutely no inclination to do this so far but I am almost sure my nesting instinct will kick in.
  5. Sort Christmas presents and any birthdays that are before the end of January. Making progress but lots more to do
  6. Think of a name for our baby boy – really starting to freak out because we just can’t think of one we are both sure about. Our current reference to Chew Bacca simply won’t do.
  7. Work out how the pushchair/car seat work – have absolutely no recollection of how this works and am utterly clueluess. I’m sure it will all come back to me and there’s enough time. Deadline of end November (just in case of an early arrival).
  8. Make bunting I decided to make ages ago for above the babies cot – insignificant progress. I doooo really want to do this….must find time!

    So there you have it. Now come on…what have I missed? All advice welcome!

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