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There’s no use trying to pretend, being a mama is hard, probably one of the hardest things I will ever do in my lifetime.  Second guessing every decision in fear that you’re not doing right by your baby; trying to interpret every cry and going through a process of elimination to find out the cause; the sleep deprived nights and general feeling of exhaustion.  These very early days are testing and perhaps motherhood always will be as the years roll by.  Just over 2 months in now and although things don’t always go to plan some days, I finally feel relatively settled in my new lifetime role. I now trust my instincts and feel like I’ve got a better grasp at what I’m doing where AJ’s concerned. I’m much better at distinguishing one type of cry from another…and there are many cries. I no longer helplessly cry at night at seeing my tiny baby in distress as I watched him writhe and cry out due to his digestive issues.

There has been a couple of times, even now, where I’ve felt like a failure because I can’t do it all. And then the comes guilt because I want to blitz the housework, which takes me away from precious time with my baby.  Now I feel that we’ve reached a compromise and I’ve learnt that some days my little man is needy and doesn’t want to nap, which means that I can’t get things done, but that’s OK because I’m a mum now and this little life that I’ve help bring into the world needs me more.  There will be a time where he doesn’t rely on me or want to sleep on my chest, so I’m soaking up these moments whilst I still can.

All in all, we’re both doing well, coping and finally figuring out how our new lives work:

Sleep deprivation

We really seem to have found a pattern with Aiden’s sleep now as he tends to wake up for feeds a maximum of twice in the night, around 1am and 4am, sleeping in 3-4 hour stints at a time. What we have found that helps us is helping him distinguish between night and day when he feeds.  I never turn on the main light on the night feeds, only using the light on my iPhone and I also try to not to speak to him that much too.  If I turn on the main light he thinks it’s play time and smiles his big beaming smile at me rather than trying to settle back to sleep.  This technique doesn’t always work, but most of the time its successful.

One trouble that we are having with Aiden’s sleep is his daytime naps.  A lot of the time he fights his naps, despite doing the biggest yawns possible.  There are some days when he will only nap for 30-45 minutes in the day, which can be just as tiring as not getting any sleep at night. Some days he will sleep for hours during the day, it’s all very unpredictable in the daytime at the moment. 

Aiden still likes to sleep on our chests and in our arms as opposed to in his Moses basket, he’s even spent a couple of nights sleeping in between us in our bed.  I’m always scared that he’s going to roll out of the bed or get hurt. Generally he spends half the night in our bed and the other half in his own bed.  Since he’s sleeping for longer periods in the night it means that I get a better quality nights sleep, although it’s not as always as straightforward as it sounds.  I’m a much lighter sleeper now as I feel that I need to keep an ear open to listen out for him.  Now that his wind/reflux issues have settled down significantly I feel that I can rest more easily in the night.  Over the next few months I would like to establish a proper sleeping routine, which I know is going to be one of the hardest things, but it would be nice for Alfie and I to have a few hours to ourselves in the evening. 

Breastfeeding

We have come on leaps and bounds in the breastfeeding department and have really found our groove.  Aiden has an expressed bottle now and then, especially if we are going out for a longer trips as sometimes finding an appropriate place to breastfeed in public can be hard.  We’ve started to go to our local Baby Cafe, where you get to chat with other breastfeeding mums, breastfeed and have tea and cake.  It’s also nice for my little man as he gets to socialise and see other babies.  It’s reassuring seeing other babies behave and make the same sounds as your own baby, especially as a first-time parent.  Also, I’ve found it interesting discovering why babies do certain gestures and behaviours from the midwife at the Baby Cafe, it’s definitely helped me understand AJ more.  

There have been a couple of times when Aiden has missed a feed because he’s napped straight through, leaving me with a third boob under my armpit because they’re so full with milk.  On these occasions, I find it better to express the milk because the flow is so fast when they’re so full and Aiden tends to choke on the milk, which is never fun. 

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 4 weeks postpartum

Body

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, last week I went to the gym the first time since giving birth and it felt great.  I felt like I needed to lie down half way through, but I loved being back at the gym none the less.  I haven’t got my rose-tinted glasses on, I know that it’s going to take time to regain my fitness.  I’m definitely more forgiving on my body after having a baby as it’s been on a massive journey this past year.   I’m looking at nourishing my body and taking care of it and not in a rush when it comes to regaining my pre-pregnancy fitness.  I emphasise the word fitness and nourishment here because this is my main focus and not losing any extra baby weight.  I’ve lost so much muscle strength, especially where my abdominals and pelvic floor is concerned that this is more of a priority to me.  I’m back in my pre-pregnancy jeans now and although my body will never look how it did before getting pregnant, I’m surprisingly happy with how it’s looking, mummy tummy and all!

Mind

I definitely feel more confident as a mother at this stage in our journey and feel that we have a bit of a routine going.  It’s not perfect, but it’s working for us at the minute.  I’ve now resigned to the fact that it takes twice as long to get anything done and it can take an entire week to clean the house from top-to-bottom and by the time I’m finished it’s time to start all over again, but that’s OK.  My mindset is slowly changing and I am getting there, yes I like to be super-productive and organised and I’ve realised that even with a baby I still am, but just in a different way. 

My anguish and vulnerability as a new mum is still there.  Like I said earlier, I feel that I need to sleep with one ear open to listen out for Aiden during the night.  Getting out and about to baby groups has not only helped with my sanity, but seeing other babies with similar behaviours as Aiden has reassured me that he’s perfectly well. 

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Baby Aiden’s Milestones

I’m loving this age and would seriously go through labour all over again to see my baby boy’s big gummy smile, he’s such a smiley happy baby!  Little AJ is coming on in leaps and bounds at the moment and it’s wonderful seeing him learn new skills each week.  He’s packing on the pounds well and growing rapidly, he has the cutest chubby cheeks and plump legs.  Now he turns his head to your voice and in the direction of sound; reaches his hands out to touch different textures on his playmat and swing; he’s the king of tummy time; can hold his head up unaided and put weight on his feet.  I can tell that he can distinguish between my voice and others now as he responds with his gorgeous smile when he looks at me.  He’s really found his voice now, engaging and responding when you talk to him, even though neither of us understands what the other is saying it really feels like we are having a conversation. I love it when his squishy hands grasp my fingers tight and pull on my clothes.  

This post is so bittersweet for me, I can’t believe that we’ve reached the 2-month mark already.  Of course, I’m so proud that my baby is flourishing, but it’s also sad that he’s growing so quickly.  He’s definitely lost that scrunched up newborn look of his early days.  I’m really looking forward to our first Christmas together as a family and cannot wait to see what Aiden gets up to in his next month. 

What was your favourite part of your baby’s development at this stage? 

Are you a super-productive person?  How do you feel when you can’t get things done?