This was originally the blog of a first-time Mum to remember the ups and downs of my pregnancy - and chart the first year of my daughter's life. But I've kept it going, and am now a mother of two! More than anything, it helps me to get to sleep once I've emptied my brain of issues and concerns and emotions onto the laptop.
If you're reading this and also a mum- or dad-to-be, first time parent, or just someone who's thinking about it - I hope it gives a little insight into one person's experiences - good and bad....

Thursday, 30 June 2011


It's very hard to believe we've only been home five days and that Charlotte is still less than a week old. It feels like she's been with us for far longer - which makes it hard to cut ourselves some slack on the few issues that aren't quite going right.

The first night passed much as I think we expected it - a lot of feeding, a couple of hours kip as she slept in the Moses basket next to us, and yet more feeding. But by night two it changed dramatically, and she would not get off to sleep and never seemed full from feeding.

It really wasn't helped by the heatwave - our flat was in the high 20s Celsius - and I think a perfect storm of that, me only having colostrum still, and her thirst in the heat made for a horrible night. In the end we cracked and gave her a tiny bit of formula because I just couldn't seem to quench her thirst or hunger, and it put her right out to sleep for a good couple of hours.

We didn't beat ourselves up about the miniscule bit of formula we gave her - and she's been feeding very well on me since then (so far... please don't make that a famous last words moment). The following day/night - when my proper milk still wasn't fully in - we reverted to a tiny bit of boiled, cooled water - once she'd had all she could from me. Again - we know it's not recommended and we haven't had to resort to it since, but the heat and not having my proper milk put us in a really difficult position.

Looking for advice on the internet and in magazines/books we had lying around really didn't help. There's so much militant "you must not do this and that" and so much conflicting advice, it started to drive us mad. So from now on I'm making a point of banning myself from internet forums and so-called expert books, and listening only to my parents, in-laws, close Mum friends and my instincts.

And it's not just the internet posse who can't decide on what's the right thing to do in certain circumstances. As experienced throughout my pregnancy, even the health professionals within the same NHS Trust can't seem to make their minds up. We've had so much conflicting advice from our various midwives on issues as far ranging as the big 'water issue' to whether to use a mild baby cleaning product in the bath. What one has told us in the hospital, another has disputed on a home visit. It's truly ridiculous.

But the feeding seems to have been going well since my proper milk started coming in, so that's good progress. Charlotte seems perfectly satisfied after a good feed most of the time - falling fast asleep or seeming content if she stays awake, and there are plenty of wet and pooy nappies (thanks to OH for dealing with these most of the time!).

The one big problem we've got at the moment is where she'll sleep. She's refusing to go down in the Moses basket since that first night, and will only sleep on one of us, which is really not ideal. We're working in very much of a tag-team shift pattern, so there's always one of us with her while the other snatches an hour or two of sleep. It's something we're already trying to address by trying various tips to get her to settle in the basket, but for now we're thinking 'one step at a time' and if we can get the feeding and other things right first by the end of week three, then we'll concentrate on getting her to sleep anywhere other than on us, as that's a really bad and hard habit to have to break.

However, ten years of shift work - including nightshifts and six years of starting at 4am - means I'm quite happy and comfortable being up all through the night with her. And surviving on the odd hour of sleep here and there. In fact I've really enjoyed the middle of the last two nights - between 1am and 4am it's dark and peaceful and I just stare at our wonderful, beautiful daughter trying to make out all her little movements and needs, thinking she'll never be this tiny ever again - while she feeds and sleeps on me.

So for now - we just have to keep reminding ourselves of all the positives steps we're making every day. The two midwife visits we've had have been absolutely fine; she's lost her small bit of jaundice; the feeding's going well; we've given her a bath; we've had two successful trips out of the flat - including a full hour in her pram this morning when she was as good as gold.

Tiny baby steps - we'll get her sleeping somewhere other than on us eventually, but we really are doing OK considering it's just the first week.

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