The first few weeks with a newborn: what wasn’t in the text book.

The first few weeks with a newborn: what wasn’t in the text book.

I started writing this post with, “I can’t believe Jack is two weeks old today.” However, by the time I’ve managed to finish the post due to stopping and starting because my newborn needs me, he’s now over three weeks old. That in itself is insight into having a newborn. I can see my usual couple of posts a week is going to go out the window!

I honestly don’t know where the month of June has gone. When I walked outside for the first time on week two of Jack being here I saw England memorabilia up everywhere for the World Cup and said to my husband, “Gosh when did that creep up?” I felt like I’d missed a whole chunk of time. I’m putting a lot of the loss of time down to the fact our first two weeks were such a whirlwind and the only concept of time was when Jack’s last feed was and when his next one was due. To be honest my days are still based around feeding (Jack is a very hungry boy), but I’m starting to master multi-tasking again and have managed to squeeze in a few other things into my day other than feeding, changing nappies, winding and rocking to sleep.

It’s now nice to say three weeks in that looking back I don’t think I thought I’d ever get the old me back. I’d often look in the mirror and not recognise myself with huge puffy eyes, pale skin (I fake tan…a lot!), greasy hair tied on top of my head, and don’t even ask about the hairy legs! But I can confidently say the old me is starting to creep through, I’ve even managed to shave my legs and have a few St. Tropez fake tanning sessions.

In my previous post I mentioned our first week with little Jack had given me plenty of writing material. Well three and a half weeks down the writing material just falls off my notepad. But I don’t want to bore you, so here are some snippets in bite size chunks. I hope they make you smile! And if you’ve been through the ‘newborn experience’ (I make it sound like a ride at Alton Towers!) feel free to add more in the comments box below. As I’m sure there’s more, much more…

What wasn’t in the text books:

1. Sleep deprivation.

I’ve had to put sleep deprivation at number one. Simply because when someone with a baby used to tell me they were tired, I did sympathise, but what I thought that ‘tired’ feeling was for them, I so needed to times that by at least infinity. I’m sorry to all my mum and dad friends in the past that told me they were tired and I replied with, “Me too.” You can now give me that punch in the arm you probably wanted to at the time!

Sleep deprivation killed Pete and I in the first few weeks and we had the weirdest hallucinations that have certainly given us some giggles.

The first set of hallucinations started when one day everyone I saw had the same mannerisms as baby Jack. I had to double take when looking at my husband that night as he looked like Jack and was pulling Jack’s expressions in his sleep. Of course this was all in my mind. But in my head every time I looked at someone they would turn into Jack! I panicked. How the hell was I going to look after all of these babies?

Our second hallucination came from Pete. One night whilst wearing a t-shirt in bed, he started tugging at the bottom of it and actually started questioning why his baby grow wasn’t done up at the bottom. That one I think is my best!

The final bout was actually quite scary. I woke up from a nap early one evening feeling really poorly and went to cry out for Pete but couldn’t remember his name. That night we did end up with an ambulance arriving at our house. The diagnosis? Exhaustion. But the good news is all was well and we can now talk about these moments with a huge smile on our faces.

2. Forget the phrase ‘Yummy Mummy’

Pre-birth I thought I’d be so much more yummy once Jack was born. Why? I wouldn’t be waddling. I’d be able to see my toes again. And I’d be able to move at a faster pace and hopefully start on the road to getting my figure back. Who was I kidding?

One week in and while up doing a night feed, I caught a glimpse of myself in our full length mirror. What did I see? Greasy hair falling down my back, puffy eyes from the lack of sleep, a bra with cabbage leaves falling out of them, and huge granny knickers stuffed with the biggest sanitary pad you’ve even seen. Sorry hubby, this mummy is certainly not yummy!

The funny thing is before giving birth they tell you to stock up on sanitary pads, so I went out and bought a pack of ten. Surely that would be enough? Fifty later, and I’m still buying all of the stock on the shelves at our local Boots. If I’d know I would have bought shares in Bodyform.

3. You’ll try anything, and I mean anything, to make yourself feel better.

So when I said cabbage leaves falling out of my bra, you probably had to re-read that sentence to make sure you read it correctly. Well I can confirm you did.  Why, you ask. Because a midwife, who I want to give the biggest hug next time I see her, told me to.

After a week of breastfeeding my boobs were very sore, red and swollen. The cure? Cabbage leaves. The greener and the colder the better. I thought the midwife was mad when she advised me to stop at the shops on the way home and pick up a large, dark green cabbage. But after giving it a go I was cured and I couldn’t go an hour without a cabbage leaf stuffed down my bra. The funny thing is because my boobs were so hot from all the milk production every time I went to take the leaves out for a feed I’d see that I cooked them! Boob-steamed cabbage anyone? I swear I’ll never look at cabbage in the same way again.

Women who’ve been through childbirth will also know that you’ll try anything to relieve being uncomfortable down below. I was advised by a friend who had her baby a week before me to mix a few drops of tea tree oil with milk and pour it into a bath. My initial thoughts were, “A bath full of milk, really?” and “I’m sure I used tea tree oil on my acne when I was a teenager.” But willing to try anything, I gave it a go. And guess what? It was the dream! Thanks Gill.

4. The growth spurt

Why the midwives, doctors and NCT leaders don’t pre-warn you about your baby’s first growth spurt is beyond me. Pete and I learnt the hard way. We went from having a lovely little boy, that yes kept us up at night and was demanding, but he was sweet with it and we wanted to do everything for him to make sure he was happy and content. So when one day and night we were met with a cranky, grizzly, grunting baby that wanted to feed every hour on the hour we caved and Mummy, Daddy and Jack fell out big time. I do wish we could have filmed that night, as now we can look back and have a good laugh.

Picture this. It’s 3am and Pete and I are slumped on the bedroom floor at the end of the bed. There are muslins, dirty nappy bags and endless of Sleep Sheep type toys messily scattered everywhere. Jack’s in Pete’s arms noisily guzzling his fourth bottle of the night (I’d given up on breastfeeding at this point, the only thing that could have filled this hungry man up was a good steak and chips. In milk terms this meant the formula had to come out!). Me, sobbing with my head on Pete’s shoulder too tired to keep my head up. And a very frustrated Pete saying, “Jack can be an only child right? It’s ok to have just one child, isn’t it? I mean one child will get all of our attention so surely they’ll be fine with not having a brother or a sister?”

We both used to feel like fit, healthy and in control people, now we were a mess!

How did we snap out of it? It soon occurred to me that Pete and I were much bigger than Jack and that we could not let a little, not-even-one- foot-tall person tip us over the edge. That certainly made us smile. Three men and a little lady came to mind.

Bring on the next growth spurt…we’re ready for you next time.

5. Let’s talk poo.

Sorry to lower the tone. Actually, I’ve probably already done that in point two. But let’s talk about a newborn’s poo. You’re told constantly about the first ‘black tar’ poo and how to change a nappy, but I honestly think the NCT classes should have a session on learning the tricks of the trade to clean up projectile baby poo (sorry!).

I’ve now had two experiences of Jack giving me a look and then covering my legs in the messy stuff. Why oh why am I always sat on our cream sofa every time it happens? I bet you any money the sofa is gone and replaced with a wipe clean leather sofa by the time the year is up.

Luckily the first time we experienced Jack’s over active bowel movements Pete was around to rescue Jack from my lap and start the clean up, while I peeled myself and the poop off the sofa. The second time though I was on my own. My main concern? Our cream sofa of course! But with a crying baby, and poop all over your legs, arms and hands, looking after that cream sofa takes skill. I’m yet to learn that skill.

6. The baby blues.

You’re warned that the baby blues might make an appearance on day three, five and ten after giving birth. What they don’t tell you is that you might also experience them on day four, six, eleven, fourteen…and I’m sure there are more to come. Don’t worry about them girls, just cry it out. It’s amazing what a little cry can do.

My most recent was while trying to get out of the house to the baby clinic this week. It was the first morning appointment where I’ve had to get out of the house on my own. To make sure I was prepared I got up at 6.30am. I was going to do this.

This is how my morning went: get up, feed Jack, wash Jack, and then feed Jack, wash myself, and then feed Jack some more, change Jack into his outfit, get my outfit on, put everything in the car, transfer Jack to the car seat, oh wait Jack has wet himself everywhere.

By now it was 9.50am. Oh Jack!

Quickly, I changed Jack and transferred now a screaming Jack into his car seat. What did I do? Cry! I couldn’t believe we wouldn’t get there on time when we’d be getting ready for four hours.

The good news is, I’m getting better at getting out of the house and nothing underestimates how a crying baby in a car seat can quite quickly be soothed by a moving car and a bit of Radio One.

Now I could go on and on, but one post pages and pages long is not going to be a fun read.

So finally, it sounds so cliché but no one could’ve prepared Pete and me for the arrival of our beautiful baby boy, Jack. I’ll admit there were times when I considered trying to squeeze Jack back in. But new mums going through this for the first time, I can now say three and a half weeks in I am starting to feel more normal and adjusting to being Jack’s mummy. Yes our lives have changed, and yes it still takes me until midday to get washed and dressed, but tending to our little boy and watching him grow and develop really is the best thing ever and makes it all worthwhile.

Love me xxx

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2 thoughts on “The first few weeks with a newborn: what wasn’t in the text book.

  1. There truly is no one who can prepare you for a baby and it still happens the second time as you have to juggle a toddler and a new born. I am holding onto them so tight as they have grown to quick and look back at pics and cannot remember them being so small. Enjoy every inch of him,even when he has projectile vomited all over himself and you and you start the process of where shall I put him while I strip off. I’m loving your story because it is so similar to mine. I cried a lot and felt that was so over whelming. Truth is I was trying to hang onto my life when there was no child. I admit now I cannot remember what that was even like. Don’t you feel like someone needs to create a super light car seat as dragging that to the car after birth and weeks after, along with the overflowing nappy bag, is just back breaking! Lol

    One of my fave TV adverts is the smallest one where as you are just about to put kid in car or pram,you realised they’ve pooped! As the advert says ‘mums, you’re doing great!’

    • Love it Lou and thanks for your words of wisdom to say enjoy the projectile poop and sick 😉 I’ll make sure I always think of your comment when it happens! So true about the car seat. Why oh why are they so blooming heavy? And for trying to hang onto your life pre-baby, it’s hard to let go isn’t it! Not sure I have yet 😉 Hopefully we can catch up soon xxx take lots of care xxx

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