So it’s taken a while to sit back down with my laptop because who knew taking care of a tiny human would be so damn hard?! Don’t be fooled by that innocent little sleeping face, it’s been the hardest 6 weeks of my life! Here’s a tip for any woman expecting, when your friends, family, neighbours tell you that all the cliche’s about having no sleep and literally not having time to go to the toilet…Don’t scoff! Take your last few weeks of freedom to get as much sleep as you possibly can! I scoffed, and now I want to salute every mother I’ve had the privilege of knowing because anybody that can raise a child needs to be saluted! IT IS DAMN HARD!!
The first few days were just a big blur of no sleep, a constant stream of visitors and a tiny human sucking my nipples raw. As it took about 3 days for my milk to come in he was constantly trying to fill himself up on colostrum and not settling – long story short we ended up giving him a bottle for all of our sanity and he ended up sleeping for a mammoth 6 hours! I think our whole breastfeeding journey deserves a whole separate post of its own!
After the first few days, when he had his first weigh in at home with the midwife we found he’d lost some weight, at birth he was 6lbs 3oz but a few days later he was 5lbs 8oz. And because we’d had some issues with breastfeeding I instantly felt guilty. Welcome to the world of mum guilt! I felt guilty about struggling with breastfeeding, I felt guilty about giving my baby a bottle, I felt guilty about not giving my baby a bottle sooner! Pair that guilt with sleep deprivation, a broken body from giving birth and raging hormones and by the end of the first week I was exhausted and wondering how I was ever going to get the hang of motherhood.
By his second week though Adam had gained 10oz! I was ecstatic! Finally I was doing something right and although he was constantly feeding every hour, we must have been doing something right because he was gaining weight. By week three however I took him to the local children’s centre weigh-in clinic where he’d dropped back down to his birth weight. I was mortified and informed that I should take his straight to the GP which I did and he told us we’d have to start supplementing him with formula for the extra calories twice a day. This made me angry because since the day we bought him home I’d had a feeling that feeding wasn’t going well but was told by every midwife that visited us that this was normal, that his latch was fine and that his frequent feedings were just him building up my milk supply. So then why was he still losing weight and only producing dirty nappies every 6-8 days! (Another thing I was told was normal for breastfed newborns).
So as you can imagine feeding has been a roller coaster and I will write a separate post all about our feeding journey but as of now (I’m writing this on Adam’s 7 week birthday) Adam is having expressed breast milk during the day and in between I’m still trying to latch him on the boob. He’s also having a bottle of formula at bedtime and one in the morning. Sometimes if we’re out I’ll keep a carton of formula with me just in case he gets hungry but he very rarely does.
At 4 weeks Adam ended up being admitted to hospital and treated for sepsis. Those four days he spent in hospital were the worst days of my life. We were given our own little room and I was given a breast pump I could use to express milk as he was just too week to feed directly from the breast.
Now feeding issues aside he’s actually been a very happy, playful, clingy little boy that just loves to be cuddled. When given a bottle he settles almost instantly and will sleep generally for 2-3 hours. When breastfeeding he can take an hour, sometimes longer to feed and will settle for 1-2 at the most. At night he can go 4-5 hours which would be great for me if I wasn’t putting on an alarm to get up and pump milk. Recently he’s been projectile vomiting on everything and everyone in sight and we think he may have reflux. He has his 8 week check with the GP and his first lot of immunisations booked for a week’s time which I’m dreading. I think mummy will find it harder than baby but daddy has taken the day off to be with us.
As for myself I’ve found myself suffering from a lot of anxiety. I did get very anxious taking Adam out for longer than an hour or so as I was petrified he would wake up hungry and I wouldn’t be able to feed him properly. And because he was feeding for up to 2 hours sometimes I just couldn’t imagine finding somewhere in public where I could comfortably settle and feed him for hours on end. It’s for this reason that I just hibernated with him for the first 5 weeks or so. Now that I’ve come to terms with the fact that giving my child a bottle is not the end of the world I’m finally getting back to normality and enjoying my beautiful little boy. I wont be out for longer than 3-4 hours though as I will need to get home and pump for the next feed, but it finally feels like we have a life outside our home. I was sending all day in bed or on the sofa. I had a very unsettled clingy little boy who would never be satisfied and just didn’t want to be put down but now that I know he’s being well fed, he’s a happier baby and I’m a happier mummy. I’m finally enjoying being mummy to the most amazing little boy who fills my heart with so much love I feel like it will burst!