(If you’re not expecting and reading this, here are some great gifts for family members or friends who are)
Expecting a baby whether it’s your first or third is a wonderful experience but it can also be a stressful one. Planning ahead can make things a little easier but from my experience I found that by ‘winging it’ and improvising along the way yields near enough the same results so why add on the extra stress? It’s a bit harder to not stress when it’s your first baby – I remember when I was pregnant with LO I made plans and notes constantly. 1) because of baby brain, I could hardly remember anything and needed constant reminders and 2) I became a little OCD with planning because at the time it felt like it was making a difference and made me feel more in control of my pregnancy.
If you’re a mum to be, you can use this post as a starting point for your wishlist… gifts are what baby showers or baby sprinkles (mini showers for 2nd, 3rd babies) are for! Don’t be shy ladies, everyone who has children knows how hard and expensive raising a child/children can be and we all need a little help from time to time and showers are the time they should be accepted without arguments. Just don’t go crazy and extravagant with your wishlist or your guests may not turn up! 🙂
It was announced in August that a London hospital decided to pilot a scheme that has been a part of the Finnish maternity scheme for over eighty years. I first came across the post on the Baby London website and thought it was such an interesting topic. Upon digging deeper into the article, I came to realise that the Finnish have been supplying new mums with a ‘baby box’ that is filled with mum and baby products. The baby box is used as a sleeping place for the newborn replacing the need for a cot, crib or moses basket.
Apparently, the baby box has been proven to be a really safe place for newborns to sleep as they cannot roll in the box. It’s something that the Finnish have been doing for over 80 years so it’s a big surprise that the UK has only decided to start implementing something like this now. The baby box is also filled with many things a new mum may need from nappies to baby bodysuits to money-off coupons and vouchers for all things baby.
If the pilot is announced as a success, we may see this new maternity scheme rolled out across the UK.
Even as a second-time mum there are still things that I am learning about second time round. LO is what you’d call the “perfect baby”. He breastfed well, hardly ever cried, didn’t cry or get a fever at all when it was time for immunisations, he slept good and didn’t suffer from colic or reflux or other little niggles like that. Baby Girl however was the complete opposite.
She was constantly crying. She had colic from day one as well as silent reflux and the midwives at the hospital didn’t notice it. We got meds for her later on. She constantly had hiccoughs which I think was due to the reflux because she would never burp after feeds. Even after five or ten minutes patting her in every direction to get her to wind, it wouldn’t happen.
She also didn’t breastfeed well as l my nipple was too big for her mouth so she had a terrible latch. Then to top it all off… She was constipated and it made her extra fussy – like WTF?! I thought exclusively breastfed babies never get constipated? Well, I can tell you know from experience that it’s definitely a lie. Exclusively BF babies are just as susecptible to constipation as formula-fed babies. The good thing was that she continued to gain weight well so I just had to cope and manage with it.
Three months on…
Now baby girl is three months old, it’s been much better. Her fussiness is at a minimum. We stopped giving her the reflux meds and her colic just disappeared as she got older and so did the reflux. I think it’s because when babies are newborns their stomach is so immature therefore they get colicky really easily and can become sensitive to everything.
She burps by herself after most feeds and when I pat her there is always a satisfying burp afterwards. Music to my ears! 🙂 I also started combi-feeding (breastfeeding and formula feeding) and it’s really sorted out her constipation. She now has regular bowel movements so for us, this worked really well. I love breastfeeding and wish I could’ve exclusively breastfeed Baby Girl longer but I didn’t want to be selfish. She needed more and upping the feeds was still not satisfying her so I had to supplement with formula.
Development-wise she is smiling a lot more, she is babbling away non-stop which is so adorable. Sometimes I wish LO would stop talking and Baby Girl would start haha! She is also really good on her front – I’ve been trying to increase her tummy time but already she seems to be holding her head up well which is fantastic. 🙂
She’s also very good at kicking her legs…sometimes to a point where she actually moves from where she originally was. LO says she’s ‘peddling’ – bless him! 🙂 He gets so excited when she kicks her legs and occasionally joins in with her…
She’s also so dribbly now and constantly biting on her hands – I really think she’s teething so I’ve already bought her a few teething toys but she doesn’t really know what to do with it yet. I’ll wait a little longer then hopefully she’ll just start to figure it out.
I just can’t believe how fast they grow… soon before I know it, it’ll be her first birthday! *gasps*
Experts and medical professionals will tell you that the safest place for a baby to sleep in the first six months are in a moses basket or a cot. While this is good advice, sometimes you need something more convenient – this is where co-sleeping can become a new mum’s favourite way of sleeping.
As soon as my little princess was born the midwives encouraged skin-to-skin contact which I gave without hesitation. Babies love being close to their mothers so why should this have to change at night? I remember Baby Girl’s first home visit with the health visitor. She went through all these leaflets about how to care for baby, feed baby, sleep with baby and touched on co-sleeping. Here are some of the co-sleeping safety rules which can also be found on the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) website.
Make sure your baby can’t fall out of the bed or become trapped between the mattress and the wall
Keep your baby cool by using sheets and blankets rather than a duvet.
Ensure bedding does not cover your baby’s face or head
Always put your baby to sleep on their back rather than their front or side
Babies don’t need a pillow until they are at least a year old. They should also be kept away from parents’ pillows
Never risk falling asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair
Never co-sleep with your baby if you (or your partner) smoke/drink/take drugs that affect awareness
I DON’T co-sleep with Baby Girl when I am overly tired because it’s really dangerous to do so (suffocation, rolling on baby, etc). Who knows what could happen when I am in deep sleep that’s been spurred on from being exhausted and sleep deprived.
If you’re not confident about sharing your bed with your baby there’s really good cots and bassinets you can now buy which you put next to the side of your bed like an extension. I have a standard cot and have one side of the rail really low and next to the bed for easy access.
When co-sleeping is carried out safely, it can be a fantastic way for mother and baby to bond and you get to catch up on your sleep and get decent rest. If you breastfeed then you can do so easily and conveniently. If you think that co-sleeping is right for you and your baby, definitely give it a try if you haven’t done so already..
Now looking back, these past 4 weeks have just flown by! I’m now in what mums might call the “fourth trimester” – the period straight after birth where new mums can expect ‘niggles’ like postpartum after-pains and contractions, sore nipples, sleep deprivation and exhaustion… alongside what feels like a daily emotional roller-coaster ride.
The first two weeks were really the hardest – I’m not going to sugar-coat. To be honest, I don’t know how I got through it without catching a bit of the baby blues like I did first time round with LO. I am very lucky to have such a smooth (ish) labour and birth, I didn’t have to worry too much about my own physical recovery. Now feeling a little more energetic I want to share my experience so far as a new-mum with you all.
Remember that every woman and every pregnancy is completely different so take everything on here with a pinch of salt. Your experience may be like mine, it may not – it’s good to learn about other people’s experiences but not rely on them as an indication of how your experiences will be like.
My postpartum body
I gave birth to Baby Girl at 11:19pm and was discharged the next day around 5pm. You can read more about my birth story here. I think the hospitals tend to get you in and out as quickly as possible now if you don’t have any complications during/after birth.
My after-pains didn’t last for long – the pain down below disappeared by day 5-6 which was sooner than I expected. The post-pregnancy contractions were intense at certain times but passed by the end of the first week. My bleeding (lochia) subsided around day 4-5 and I was able to ditch those horrible maternity pads for normal sanitary pads and opted for the night ones when I thought the bleeding was a bit heavier.
I cannot thank my shape wear enough in terms of helping my belly return back to its pre-pregnancy shape and size. After I had LO, it took my belly around 3 weeks before I stopped looking pregnant after birth. This time round, it took me 5 days and Baby Girl was a slightly bigger baby than LO.
Don’t be fooled though – my ‘mum tum’ may look flat but as the muscles are still stretched and slack, I still get the rolls when I sit down or eat too much. Nothing will get rid of this apart from exercise which I plan to start very soon. I will take up proper exercise once I’ve got the all-clear at my 6 week postnatal check-up.
Feeding and supply
Baby Girl was exclusively breastfed since birth so she received her intake of colostrum and my milk supply came through around day 3-4 (sometimes it can take up to 5-7 days). During this time, my nipples were sore (Lansinoh nipple cream is a life-saviour!) and my boobs felt like rocks due to the engorgement. Up until a few days ago, I didn’t realise that they weren’t supposed to feel hard like that. The engorgement went away when I started to fully empty the breast before offering the other one. I remember some nights I wanted to cry because of the pain; Baby Girl was cluster-feeding (feeding every 1-2 hours throughout the day and night) and doesn’t have a great latch because my nipple’s too big and her mouth is too small.
By week 2 I wanted to stop breastfeeding entirely – I was ready to give up. Daddy P encouraged me to continue and suggested me to express to offer me some relief physically and emotionally which I did and boy did it make a difference. Week 3 my boobs felt much softer and my milk supply was starting to match up with her feeding demands. Now, I think I milk supply is established and I have started to express more so Daddy P can take over some of the feeds which has helped me stay sane. I also occasionally co-sleep with bubba at night which makes feeding a little easier and I can get some shut-eye.
I never liked giving LO the dummy when he was a baby and only started when he was around 3 months but have to confess that I’ve already started Baby Girl on the dummy. As she’s a really colicky baby (since day 3) her crying really started to drain me and I made the decision to give her a dummy about a week ago. I make sure that she only has the dummy after a feed and nappy change. She’s been good with it and the dummy hasn’t interfered with the breastfeeding at all. She’s also able to switch from bottle to breast fine but I think that’s because only Daddy P gives her the bottle so she associates the bottle with her dad.
Sleep (or lack of it)
On average, I think I get about 3 hours sleep a day -if I’m lucky and manage to get some rest or have a nap when she’s sleeping that bumps up to about 6 hours a day at the most. Sleep is what I struggle with most at the moment because it’s so hard to do all these new-mum things and have sleep when I have a super active 2.5 year old toddler to keep happy and included. LO is so loving and affectionate toward his sister it’s not hard to get him involved with doing things with her such as nappy changing, entertaining her and comforting her when she cries. It’s trying to find time, or make time shall I say, to give LO his own space and time with mummy. He was the centre of my affection before and now it’s shifted slightly as I now have his baby sister to care for too.
I think the sleep deprivation properly kicks in around 3-4 months so I have all that to look forward to. *a sarcastic yay* A mummy friend advised me to ‘train’ my body to nap which sounds ridiculous but it’s really hard because as a new mum it’s very difficult to shut-off on cue especially when you know that in an hour or two, you’ll need to feed baby again.
Being a second-time mum doesn’t exclude me from feeling all those emotions I did first time round. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I did suffer from mild baby blues with LO. With Baby Girl, I did start to feel overwhelmed – I don’t like using the word ‘depressed’ as I don’t think I got to that stage yet but everything did feel like it was getting on top of me. This pregnancy was unplanned and all the “what if…” questions started to cloud my mind. Luckily, by mid-second trimester I started to feel much better about myself and the pregnancy.
It’s been difficult to manage a newborn baby and a toddler especially when Baby Girl has colic so she cries constantly and LO’s testing my patience with his mischievous antics. Despite these small hiccups I am very glad to have friends and family around to offer me their help and support.
Having a baby is a wonderful thing and further along the line I know these post-pregnancy niggles will become a thing of the past and only the good memories will remain. Come on, if having children was that painful, stressful, etc I am sure we women wouldn’t be doing it to ourselves again and again. 🙂