Hard to believe a month has already passed since my baby girl was born. I love her with all my heart – hard to imagine there was enough of my heart left to share. So how has this first month been? Let me share the highs and lows…
The first two weeks were so easy. Little one slept most of the time, waking only to feed and only waking once in the night. I was able to catch up on sleep during the day, and made the most of the break watching movies and chilling, which was great in aiding the recovery. Then the fussy evenings started and what I now affectionately call ‘the twilight zone’. An evening of crying (screaming) and wanting to feed every hour! With every feed lasting nearly an hour the evenings slipped by in a feeding frenzy and by the time I went to bed I felt like I’d run a marathon (not that I’ve ever run one to know what that would feel like!)
That fussy period lasted about a week, and I set about starting to plan how I would spend my days. Sad I know, but I actually got excited about my newly devised cleaning schedule and the thought of being able to get a load of washing washed, dried and ironed in the same day 😳! But madam had other plans, and having sensed that I was planning my time and it didn’t involve her, she quickly switched the fussy period to the mornings, hindering any plan I had to keep myself busy with anything but feeding and cuddling! So now we spend the morning feeding, but the upshot is that once she’s accumulated enough milk in that little tummy of hers she seems to settle down to sleep for the afternoon. We have a few catch up feeds during the evening, but no fussiness, and get a reasonably good nights’ sleep, being woken at 3am and/or 6am for feeds.
I’ve noticed a real change in her little personality this last week. She seems to be really looking at things now. Smiles come easier and are clearly different to the ‘smiles’ we now know were just wind!! She has developed into a bit of a diva. During the fussy hours she is only quiet when she sleeps (5 minute power naps) or feeds (which is often). When she wakes, she wakes angry, generally because she has wet or dirtied her nappy (diaper for my American readers!), and when she’s been changed she becomes immediately angry that she hasn’t been fed since the last time (which was most likely less than an hour before!) A friend told me about a great app The Wonder Weeks which tells you all about the stages your baby is likely to be at, describing all the developmental leaps your baby is taking. My little one apparently entered the first developmental leap today – I’ll keep you posted on the accuracy of the information, but it makes for interesting reading nonetheless.
I’ve had my first night out with the girls! Boy it felt good to let my hair down again! However, waking the following morning with immensely painful engorgement was no fun and I couldn’t wait to feed little one for some relief. Except following the health guidelines, I had to wait for 24 hours before I could feed safely so I spent the day expressing my valuable milk just to see it tipped down the sink 😢. They say don’t cry over spilled milk; I think I cried tears of milk that day!! The jury seems to be out on whether alcohol is transferred to your breast milk, and there is a lot of conflicting advice. Here in the UK the NHS advises complete abstinence but that if you do drink, you should leave 2 hours for every unit of alcohol before feeding your baby. Expressing milk does not help the alcohol to dissipate any more quickly. Some will argue that alcohol doesn’t transfer – given the size of my baby’s liver at this stage, I’m not taking any chances. If I want a drink (which I most definitely will!), I will abstain from feeding my baby directly and she will be fed expressed milk or formula from a bottle. I am now combination feeding and it is working pretty well so far.
As for the family, how well have we adapted to the new addition? Me, I go from absolute adoration for this beautiful little being, to sheer exhaustion from the ‘constant’ screaming. My son (he’s 5) gives the little one a cuddle every day but is way more interested in playing Minecraft on the iPad. My husband is mourning his daily gym attendance (he’ll get over it). My daughter (she’s 10) has been amazing up to now. Like a second mum! But yesterday she sent me a text message (yes, I know!!) to tell me that she feels left out, and that she feels that all I am interested in is the baby. We’ve had a chat about how impossible it is for me to change how much time I have to devote to looking after our new family member and I’ve made a mental note to try and spend more time with my very sensitive, emotional and hormonal eldest daughter (remind you of anyone?! 😳). The apple never falls far from the tree does it!
Well, that’s a few of the highlights of month one. I’ve been writing this whilst feeding, and seeing as little one finished some time ago and it’s now past midnight, I guess I really ought to get us both to bed. In the meantime, here’s a picture of my beautiful daughter at one month old…