Life with a Newborn
Our Baby girl has just turned 2 months old and is now technically not a Newborn- this brings a tear to my eye. She is still a little dot weighing just under 9lb and has turned our lives upside down since the day she arrived at the start of June.
A first-time Mum’s Newborn experience
I’m sure everyone’s experience of life with a Newborn will differ in many ways but mine swept me up in a bubble fuelled by adrenaline and absolute admiration. Here’s an insight into those first few weeks;
How do I dress a Newborn?
I was lucky enough to have a fairly quick natural birth although I had to be transferred to a local hospital from the birthing centre I had chosen, my labour was an experience I actually enjoyed. Our baby even arrived on the morning of her due date!
After the initial skin to skin cuddles with my baby and when my stitches were complete, the midwife informed us it was time to be transferred to the ward. All we needed to do was to put some clothes on our baby girl. I’m slightly shaky not long after giving birth and Mike’s exhausted having not eaten for hours and helping me through every contraction but the time has come to dress our baby for the first time.
Ok, so nappy first. Now don’t laugh but we had actually opened a nappy out and tried it on a teddy at home just to see how they work. Yes it’s very different when legs are waving away! So now onto a little vest, should I lift the head? ‘You lift the head and I’ll try take it over, no that looks like it will hurt, can we move the arm here, I don’t want to move it too much. Let’s try going from the bottom up’
The midwife then returns to the room and says ”I left you 15 minutes ago!” and all we had managed to do was put the nappy on and half an attempt at her vest. The sleepsuit, hat and mits were still lying there ready to go on. Her amused face said it all and we were told to wrap our baby in a blanket and finish on the ward. It took about another 30 minutes of understanding poppers, getting feet in the right place and very delicately trying to get the hat on properly.
Dressing Summer for the first time was scary, I felt with every movement I was doing it wrong but 2 months on and we can both put her in a clean sleepsuit within seconds without the lights on- practice makes perfect!
What day is it?
For the first few weeks after Summer was born I had no concept of time, what day/date or week it was. In fact the hours just rolled into one long day. The difference between day and night were pretty much none existent and we were lucky the evenings stayed light and the sun rose early in the morning to help with the sleep deprivation. I found it extraordinary how quickly my body could adjust to 3 hours of broken sleep a night.
Before Summer was born I had decided I wanted to exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months. I wanted my life to revolve around her feeding and to give her the nourishment she needed. My feeding journey has been; hard, upsetting, scary, confusing and exhausting.
I will admit I knew very little before my baby arrived, I knew the basics on how to latch and different positions but assumed it would come naturally and the best way to learn would be when she arrived. At day 5 Summer was admitted to hospital due to a substantial weight loss, I was devastated and even more upset when we had to give her formula to quickly increase her weight.
My plan was falling apart, we had no clue on bottles/ sterilising etc and I really didn’t want her to have formula after it had been drilled into me so many times breast is best. My supply was just not enough for her. I received help from lactation specialists and health advisors and was given varying advice but still felt a failure.
My days were spent; putting my baby to the breast every time she was hungry, then bottle feeding formula to top-up, regularly pumping, bottle feeding expressed milk, sterilising bottles, taking herbal tablets to increase supply and then starting the cycle again. After a couple of overnight stays in hospital and countless trips to different clinics, I have finally come to terms with the fact that the best option for my baby is to combination feed. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much your desire to breastfeed is. My supply is just not enough to fully sustain her and what I want more than anything is for her to be growing healthy and well.
Am I doing this right?
Literally everything we did in the first few weeks was followed by the constant thought ‘Am I doing this right?’. This tiny baby is totally dependant on you and all you want to do is nourish and protect them but I was always second guessing myself.
In the first week both me & my husband had night terrors, where we would wake up in the night frightened we had fell asleep and rolled on top of her. I woke one night to find Mike sleep walking looking for her under the covers at the bottom of the bed, I had to wake him up and show him Summer was sound asleep in her moses basket. Summer has never slept in our bed and one of us would always put her into her moses basket right next to our bed but the anxiety at the beginning was terrifying. The night terrors wore off after a couple of weeks but of course the slight worry of first time parents is still present.
What do I do first?
At the beginning there was no routine, I was at Summer’s beck and call. When she would take a quick nap, I was left with the question what shall I do first?
This could be a 10 minute break between feeds or comforting. So, should I try to shower? My hair has been stuck to my head for a week in this bun, or I could eat something quickly. Then before you know it she was awake and I managed to quickly go to the toilet, sip some water and make a cup of tea (the tea never gets drunk). I felt like my mind was on constant overdrive trying fit everything in, like keeping the rooms tidy, putting the washing machine on, putting clothes away, checking nappies are out ready and getting ready for countless doctors appointments.
Who’s coming over?
Everybody wanted to meet Summer and I was more than happy to show off our little beauty. Before she was born, we had agreed to keep visits minimal so we could get to grips with life as a family. The more people asked if they could visit in the first couple of weeks, the more our adrenaline kept saying yes, of course. Our diary was full of appointments and visitors and I loved showing our baby girl to everyone.
How do I dress?
Why did I not think of this before seeing as I like to be so organised but on my first day home I quickly realised I had virtually nothing to wear. I was achy, sore and did not want to wear my maternity leggings for the first week as the waist band was uncomfortable. The maxi dresses I had were pre-pregnancy and too tight around my tummy plus they are a t-shirt design at the top. I had 2 shirts & 2 nursing vests which I wore on rotation for a couple of weeks until I could go to a shop. Most of my maternity outfits hung off me awkwardly or were not easy access to nurse in and my pre-pregnancy clothes were all too small. 2 months on and I still cant fit in most of my trousers as my hips are too wide. I live in comfy maternity leggings and button down shirts.
My experience of the first few weeks with our Newborn has been; exhausting, confusing, emotional, draining but more than anything magical watching our little baby change and grow everyday. She is everything and more than I had expected.