Mummy stuff

Having a baby – initial observations

When you are about to have a baby, everybody is trying to warn you about sleep deprivation. But I didn’t really understand what they meant unless I got there. And maybe this is a good thing; as to me having very disrupted nights feels like constant torture, like someone hitting me constantly on my head.

Cross eyed and pale, I constantly have to prioritise time; slicing life into very little chunks and rating my rather primitive and essential needs (i.e. sleeping and eating) over the more grown up but equally important needs (i.e. blogging, getting my nails done or having a bath).

Little L wants feeding ALL OF THE TIME, i.e. every three to four hours. Which for me feels like ALL OF THE TIME. For little L life at the moment must be like studying, getting married and buying your first house all together at once. Her big, dark blue eyes seem to soak up the world around her in no time at all. Wouldn’t you want to be breastfed nonstop, too? But still, having been more or less self-determined for the past 32 years, I admit to having a little bit of trouble getting used to the idea of having another human being dangling from my breasts for the next six months to come. Talking about breasts, let me share some newly acquired mummy wisdom with you: putting breast pads with the sticky side in your bra rather than on your sore nipples, makes it a whole lot less painful.

I feel like I have lived behind the moon for the last two and a half weeks. I missed Darling’s new budget – o.k. I didn’t miss much here – and the last three episodes of Gossip Girl. Not that I could really relate to skinny girls with tiny waists and large fashion budgets anymore.

I am surprised by the amount, the variations and the volume of noises our little bundle of joy produces in her sleep – sleeping next to a dozen hamsters sounds like a tantalising idea. When reminiscing about those first nights with her firstborn, a friend told me half of the time she was wondering, if he was dying; and if he didn’t make a sound, she was wondering if he was dead. I get the point.

18 Comments

  1. Ha ha! It’s good isn’t it?! Quite honestly I think I’d be prepared to go through 9 months of pregancy and childbirth again just to miss dear Darling’s budget! You’re doing a great job.

  2. Sounds like you’re doing a great job. Enjoy it as much as you can – as everyone says, these early days fly by.

  3. You do sound to be coping brilliantly. You’ve even managed to write a blogpost. And it sounds as if you have had a bath. Enjoy the cuddles.

    PS – if you knew about how bad the sleep deprivation was before you had a baby you would never have one. Nothing can prepare you for it. And then you forget it and decide to have another baby. As Iota says, believe it or not, these days will be gone so fast.

  4. Feeding every 3 to 4 hours?? I hate to say it, but girl you are lucky!!! Mine wanted a bit of booby every bloody hour…and that was during the night as well. Christ it was torture. And I don’t envy the sleep deprivation – it is truly hideous. But you will get through it. Just looking at your little one makes it all worthwhile… I’m so happy for you x

  5. I have to agree with MT, you are lucky she’s asking to feed every 3 to 4 hours. Breastfed babies often ask for more, or so I heard. I went for the easy option, bottle feeding. Bad mummy I am to not want to share my boobs with my babies… you will soon get back to some sort of normality, if that exists once you have children… as for doing your nails again I am not sure when that happens…
    You’re doing great anyway and it is nice to hear from you again!

  6. I actually went for a pedicure last Saturday whilst Big M comforted our screaming bundle. So nails-done-box ticked.
    Peggy, you are not worse any other mummy, you are just way too honest 😉 Last night I imagined myself walking to the cupboard, grabbing the formula tin and preparing a huge bottle for little L – I’ve almost done it; again it was Big M who comforted her and limited losses (as in tears) on both sides. I guess I owe this guy a post or two…

  7. Oh yes, I remember that feeling (Brit in Bosnia – I really haven’t forgotten. It was BAD). Cubling fed at least every 2- 2.5 hours until I introduced solids. And she ended up dangling from my breasts until only a couple of months ago.

    Can I say this? I’ll probably be flogged by the breastfeeding police, but if things get desperate, a bottle of formula can help you keep sane. (I think having breast-fed through to almost 2 years, including sacrificing every lunch break to pump at work for 4 months and being woken at night at least every 3 hours for 17 months, I kind of earned my right to say this 😉 )

    Oh and yes, it WILL pass. And you’ll get used to less and interrupted sleep, honest. Augen zu und durch.

  8. Think of the sleep deprivation as practice for baby number two (he he). Or, like me resign yourself to the fact that this is the amount of sleep you can expect for the next 18 years…
    On the BF front (excuse the pun), the best thing ive done is to bottle feed my two. They get the monst benefits in about the first two weeks, then everything else is an added bonus and I decided a happy mummy was better than being BF for them. The day I used a bottle I felt a weight was lifted from me and I started enjoying my baby. I found it hard to appreciate them whilst they were permanently attached, but thats just me…

  9. @ zooarchaelogist no, it is not just you! I felt exactly the same and both my boys have been very settled from day one. I put it down to the fact that I felt relaxed bottle feeding and therefore enjoyed them better, and I am adamant it helped them being relaxed and settled themselves. Now I definitely hear the breastfeeding police coming 🙂
    MM don’t let this put you off breast feeding but like cartside says if you feel desperate a bottle of formula won’t hurt and will keep you sane.
    oh and well done with the pedicure! look at you little M is not even one month old and you manage to do this. Here comes a Yummy Mummy in a flash 🙂

  10. At the time, I remember feeling like I was going mad with the sleep deprivation (actually, nearly 4 years on, I still sometimes/often feel like that but let’s gloss over that). People kept telling me how special these early months were and not to wish the time away. In my sleepless state I, on the other hand, frequently used to daydream about fast-forwarding the baby years to the teenage ones when we could all go back to long lie-ins. Now though, I look back on those days as golden and ache when I think of my nearly school-going daughter as the tiny warm bundle that I used to carry around in a papoose on my belly. Subsequent babies are special in their own way but your attention is divided so you can never luxuriate in your baby as in those first-time Mama months.

    To join the breast-feeding debate, I fed both mine til they were 1. For me, it was a combination of nutrition (maternal antibodies and micro-nutrients that formulas can’t hope to emulate) and ease – I just couldn’t be bothered to mix up some powder and warm everything up to a non-scalding temperature when I had it all on tap. BUT but but…if I had another, I would almost certainly opt for mixed feeding (ie: bottles at night). Rightly or wrongly (although I am training as a nutritionist so have some idea of such things…), I think formulas tend to keep babies tummies full longer, therefore they don’t need feeding as frequently, therefore Mummy gets more sleep. I don’t think I need to tell you what a lifesaver this can be at times. So long as you get a bit of breastmilk here and there, baby is getting the best of both worlds. Food for thought…

  11. Looks like I was too lucky too early on… Have been running around the house semi nude for the past two days. Breastfeeding is so much less romantic than I imagined. Little L chose to opt for the 2-hour-rhythm rather than the 4-hour-rhythm. Mixed feeding? Something I need to look into if things remain like that…

  12. PS @cartside: Augen zu sounds great. Not sure about the durch bit though 😉

  13. Everyone FREEZE! Breastfeeding police here!! Hand over the bottles and no one will get hurt!

    Ha ha..No, really though. I hate that term, does it have to be used? It’s rather derogatory. I don’t go round calling bottlefeeding mums ‘Formula Fascists’. Meh. I think it just serves to divide and alienate us as mothers even more. But that’s not why I’m commenting…

    I just wanted to say that the first six weeks can be bloody tough, I know. If you can get through them and try to hang onto the bigger picture, things will start falling into place. You and Little L will fall into a rhythm and you’ll get better and better at reading her cues. She’ll start to go longer between feeds and they will get shorter as she gets more efficient at getting the milk and her stomach expands to allow more in one feeding. Hang in there, you’re doing a fantastic job!

    As for the sleep deprivation, have you considered sharing a bed with Little L? That’s the only way I got any sleep when mine were tiny. Saved my sanity, without a doubt, though I’m sure the Crib Police (yuk yuk!) would advise you otherwise.

    Also, a sling, if you don’t have one already. Let me know if you’d like to borrow any of mine, I’ve got a plethora. I’m a total sling whore.

  14. Noble Savage is right the sling can be a life saver! I didn’t breastfeed like I said but I used a wrap around with Victor and my god I loved it! I regretted not using one with elliott. At first I was worried baby would become clingy if I was carrying him constantly, and you might have understood already that I am the independant type and that was a rather scary idea for me. I was wrong. The sling was the best thing ever. I was able to get on with my life with a peaceful baby sleeping soundly in his sling. And slowly as Victor became more mobile we detached ourselves from my beloved wrap… It is a bit daunting to tie at first but before you can say it you are able to tie it with just one hand! 🙂
    If you want some more info I have a load of websites and videos on how to tie it, so just let me know!

  15. I love my slings too, I have a baby bjorn, a Kari-me and a tomy freestyle. The Kari- me is the best.
    I also have a hot sweaty patch on the front of my t-shirt at all times though…

  16. Yes, I do have a sling – a so called hotsling (I guess they named it that way because of the wet patch…). And a baby bjorn for when she is a bit older and doesn’t want to be squished and squashed into the hotsling anymore.

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