If you read my last blog you’ll know that I’m working my way through my experiences in the first six months of my baby girl’s life. I am just starting back at work and she has just started daycare, so things are sort of getting a routine about them… life will never be normal again, don’t get me wrong… but I like a bit of order amongst the chaos and there is definitely more order now. And certainly some free hours for me whilst she trials daycare and before I head back to the office… so what better time to get back into the blog.
One thing I forgot to mention in my last blog was this weird feeling I had about basically just wishing Baby OC was back in my womb. Not because I didn’t want her, or didn’t love her – but because I felt bad that she would basically be so overwhelmed by this new world when her world for nine previous months had been so much less complex and all she was used to. I remember playing her womb sounds to try to get her to sleep when I wanted her to sleep – and, like everything, it worked like a dream the first few times but then things changed. Like they always change, and then change again, and again… just when you think you know how to solve something.
Anyway, these womb sounds made me cry the first time – obviously because I was really hormonal, yet, I just felt sad that she was no longer in her safe place and that she probably really missed it.
And, similarly, when my mum left after two weeks, to fly back to the UK, I felt sick to my stomach – partly because I was going to miss her so much as she’d been with us solidly for a month, but also I was unsure how I’d cope on my own with bub and trying to get things done at home. I had been in a safe place and I knew the tough bit was coming but it doesn’t make it easier. I also had Mr OC’s mum around too – which was nice. But deep down I wanted to be able to cope on my own. I wanted to get to grips with things. I wanted to take control again.
Although we’re still in the fourth trimester (the transition period for baby between womb and outside world where they are adapting to the new lifestyle), I felt braver, stronger (physically and mentally), and also started to see a few rewards instead of constantly feeling like a milk machine whose heart is completely lost to a small being that can only love you back in a most basic way.
Some people love that helplessness of the newborn baby. I found it hard. I found I was looking forward to her developing a smile and interacting with me. So when that started to happen in month two I felt like the hard slog of the first six weeks was finally totally worth it.
By month two you’re starting to get the hang of things that are back up plans when it’s just all ‘nope, baby doesn’t want to do that’ – because let’s face it, you’re no longer in charge: your child is. For example, I would learn that on the days she didn’t want to be put on the floor, or in her bouncer , or the pram, or her bassinet or anywhere except on me to just go with it. I’d do what I could with her in a baby sling/wrap (advice to all new parents – get one. In fact, get two for when one’s in the wash), and when she slept I let her sleep on me and just chilled out with a book or watching TV. It was the days I’d be fighting to get things done that hurt more. If I was able to drop it and just accept that she was having a developmental leap or a day when she needed more physical contact then that’s OK.
I think that was the main lesson of month two – acceptance. Acceptance that just when I think I know what she wants or how to handle a situation, she’ll change. Acceptance that it’s OK if things don’t get done in the order we used to do them in… if at all. Acceptance that if I just relax a bit, everything will be OK.
And it was.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning that I can’t just leave the house. I can guarantee you even if you’re super organised there will be a pooey nappy just as you’re about to walk out the door!
The other thing that started happening in month 2 was that we started to realise Little Miss OC was never going to take a dummy. Which at the time used to drive me scatty. I’d constantly wish she would in her unsettled periods or when she just wanted to get on the boob for comfort alone so I’d be tied to her for hours on end and exhausted as result. But to be honest it turned out to be a good thing in the end as I now don’t have to worry about weaning her off it!
I also started expressing my morning milk and Daddy would give a bottle in the evening which meant I could be free to do dinner and have a break after a long day and he got bonding time. We had also read that my milk would be better quality in the morning and overnight so it was nice for her to have that milk and might help settle her in the evening. It sometimes worked… eventually around 2-3 months we switched to a bottle of formula before bed which definitely worked!
For the first six weeks of her life she didn’t much like baths so we would just shower her with us. Which in hindsight is so strange because she is such a waterbaby now. And this is exactly what I mean about how everything changes all the time.
Month two they are still in this precarious fourth trimester but confidence grows on your part as a parent and also you start to see rewards for the hard slog. You will also start to see them grow out of their first clothes and realised how quickly this time is going to fly by. Precious moments to be savoured mixed with moments of feeling completely helpless as they still won’t settle for the night! It all passes…