Monday 25 January 2016

Having a baby the first few weeks

Having a baby
One thing you're always guaranteed on this blog is total honesty. Whilst being pregnant I was selective with what I read, the websites I visited, apps I used and vlogs I watched as a source of guidance and support. 

The information out there is overwhelming and is often contradictory. When looking for information on becoming a parent I went for resources that gave me the facts, research and information but the conclusions and decisions I came to were my own. 
Pregnancy websites
What I now realise post birth is that much of the information available gave me the essentials, but very little about the true realities of the first few weeks with a newborn.

I guess there is a distinct difference between reading about parenthood and living it first hand. The other consideration is that babies are not all the same; so someone might give you suggestions of what the first six weeks might be like, but it is unlikely your baby will follow that path.

I'm sitting writing this post with Noah perched in my arms, he's just been fed so is currently quite content. 
Having a baby
The aim of me writing this post is to help those considering having a baby, those who are soon to be parents and those that have often wondered what parenthood is like. This is a long post, so if you're sticking around grab a cup of tea and a slice of cake (It would be great if someone could make me one too!).Parenthood
I like to consider myself a strong person both mentally and emotionally. Over the last ten years I have had to deal with quite a lot and let's just say that life doesn't always play fairly; so I've had to learn to be strong, deal with some challenging situations and find a way to bounce back. 

But nothing could have prepared me for the first few weeks of motherhood with a new born. A new baby turns your world upside down and it's absolutely gruelling. 

Becoming a parent
Firstly your body has been through a battering, your emotions are heightened through fluctuating hormones which are rebalancing post birth and you're sleep deprived beyond belief. There is of course the additional pressure that you have a small person that relies on you whilst your learning on the job. There is absolutely no let up, you're constantly on the go and your only option is to hold on for the ride. It's like SAS training in hyper speed. 

Did friends share with me how hard it was? Yes a little but to be honest I really could have done with a survival manual for the first few weeks and some serious reassurance that it is a phase and it will get easier with time. 

The first few weeks had additional challenges for us, as I was recovering from labour, my C-section (which developed an infection), not having slept for well over a week,  and Noah having a tongue tie, which made breast feeding a real challenge. In between breast feeding we were topping up with finger feeds (a bottle with special tubing that fits to a finger to mimic breastfeeding so that a baby can have combined feeding with expressed breast milk). 

During the day not so much of a challenge but at night trying to make a bottle up, by performing Blue Peter surgery, by cutting a feeding tube and teat, sticking the feeding tube to my finger whilst holding a baby in pitch black bloody hard work.

Our first few weeks passed by in a absolute blur of feeding, winding and changing, on repeat.
A new baby
In between that I seriously spent hours fretting. Was Noah getting enough milk/sleep, too much milk/sleep? Was he too hot or cold? Was he putting on enough weight? Was he weeing and pooing enough? etc... you get the picture.

You realise quickly that the simplest of tasks becomes a military operation in which you have to consider and plan out all possibilities. 
Having a baby
Why on earth it is named maternity leave in the UK I seriously have no idea, actually I find it quite insulting. Leave implies that you are having a break, going away from it all and motherhood couldn't be further from the truth. There is no leave at all, it is a full time job and as I said before unrelenting. 

Leaving the house takes hours. Yes you might be sitting there thinking why? It's got to be easy to pack up and organise a little baby. A baby requires things to happen at particular times especially feeding and having their nappy changed. Otherwise you will be negotiating these whilst out and with a screaming baby who doesn't really care what social situation you are in. Imagine being delayed on a packed commuter train and the little one decides they have had enough and wants a feed. 

There is no me time any more (not that I really expected it), no pulling the covers over your head for a lay in, no relaxing baths and you can forget about catching up on your favourite programme unless this is watched in 10 min slots. However, Youtube on my phone has been a blessing for late night feeds.

Evenings are spent comforting, feeding, expressing and winding. This also means that you and your other half are passing ships in the night. 

You will become the juggler, feeding a baby one handed, removing the washing from the machine with the other, emptying the dishwasher, folding clothes and unpacking the shopping.

Going to the toilet is no longer a single pursuit as a little person is attached at all times; they go where you go.

Will I ever get to complete a meal without a screaming baby in tow, eat with both hands and whilst it is still hot?

The battle is real, having a baby turns your world upside down. So your probably thinking would I trade places with my old life?

Absolutely not! We are besotted and in love with our little man. We can't imagine our lives without him and we are blessed to have him in our lives. With each day we get to know each other a little bit better and it becomes easier.

The trick to remember is nothing lasts forever and as soon as a phase starts, it is very quickly passed and replaced by something else. So if you hit a rough spot try and remember this.

Yesterday we had our first smile; it's moments like these that make it all worthwhile.
having a baby
Survival tips:
  • Cook and store food in the freezer before the birth; make these easy meals that can be reheated and taste delicious.
  • Have a food shop order on standby.
  • Every mother worries but stop, you are doing a great job. Stop fretting. Googling everything is a waste of your energy. 
  • You will need another pair of hands so make sure your partner, husband has at least three weeks off to support you.
  • If you don't want to be totally sleep deprived you have to sleep when the baby sleeps which means heading to bed at all hours and early evening. 
  • The sleeping baby trade off. You have a moment of peace, what will you do, options run through your head: sleep, breakfast, shower, hair washing etc. You can't do them all so choose very wisely.
  • Get dressed and get out of the house. Yes it might well take you a good few hours but it will do wonders for your sanity.
  • Look for groups to meet other mums, sharing your worlds and tips will mean a lot.
  • Set up a WhatsApp group so you can keep in touch with new mums. Especially important for the early morning feeds.

The baby bump website has loads of additional ideas on surviving the first few weeks here.

As a family we're really looking forward to the next adventures to come and sharing them with you as we go. If you have any questions do ask.

Have a great week.

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Monday 11 January 2016

My Little Box

My Little Box
Motherhood is keeping me very busy so bear with me whilst I get back into some kind of routine. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. Share in the comments below what you got up to and any highlights. 

Christmas for us passed by in a blur of sleepless nights, nappies, feeding and getting to grips with a new little addition to our family. It is for this reason that this post has been a little bit delayed. 
For well over a year now I have purposely resisted the urge to indulge in the subscription box epidemic. Not because I don't like the idea of trying out new products every month, but more to do with that I'm not that great at spending money on myself. 

For Christmas one of my presents from the other half was a six month subscription to My Little Box.
Subscription boxes
To be honest it was a brilliant and well thought out gift. With a new baby I won't really have the opportunity and time to be wandering around the shops looking at and trying out new products for a while. This way the new products come to my door. 

Each month I will be sharing with you what I think about the current months box and the items enclosed inside. 

Before I talk about the items in the December box, one thing to mention is how great the illustrations are on the packaging. 
Subscription boxes
Considerable thought has gone into My Little Box which each month offers beauty, fashion, lifestyle accessories and a magazine "My Little World". 
My Little Box
As a first box I was really impressed with the quality of the different items enclosed. 

First out of the box was a pair of sparkly black gloves with gold flecks. I absolutely love that they have the option to be full or fingerless gloves. 
As someone who uses their phone constantly whilst out and about being able to use my fingers is very much needed. These gloves are not only a fashionable addition but practical also. 

The four beauty items enclosed: 

I haven't tried a Nars Blusher previously but was impressed with the sample size that had been given. 
As someone with a pale complexion blusher during the winter is a must as it adds a bit of life back into my skin. The shade is also perfect for my skin tone and complexion.

I love shower gels with a wonderful aroma and that bring both the senses and skin to life. Rituals has been a favourite of mine for a number of years, but I hadn't tried this product previously. 

I have really enjoyed using this product as not only does it smell wonderful, it is also very moisturising with the addition of rice milk. This is a definite repurchase.

During the summer I love wearing nail varnish and matching it with clothes, but it is generally banished for winter. Opening the My Little Box and seeing these beauties however got me excited and within seconds I had painted my nails. 
Nail Varnish
They are the perfect shades for adding some sparkle to the rainy days that we have been experiencing here in London. 

The last item in the box was Kusmi Tea Anastasia the perfect accompaniment to sitting down and reading The My Little World magazine. 
Kusmi Tea
The bergamot, lemon and orange blossom make for a wonderful refreshing drink. 

Overall a wonderful first box and I am really looking forward to the next five. The My Little Box is £11 a month plus £3.95 postage and packaging. 

Do you have any subscription boxes? If you could make up your perfect box what items would you include?

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