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....

Monday, 4 July 2011

Putting a label on it

When I originally started writing this latest blog in the middle of the night I had written: "Charlotte's been going a bit longer between feeds compared to the last couple of days - so perhaps this is her first growth spurt over...? Until the next one".

Famous last words - this morning she's been a nightmare. Absolutely nothing, apart from being on the breast for 55 minutes every hour, will settle her. We've tried making sure she's totally full by making sure she's not lazy snacking, we've made sure she's clean and dry, we've comforted her, left her to cry - everything.

It's got to the point where my OH has taken her out to scream the neighbourhood down to give me half an hour's break. The health visitor seemed to think we were doing well when she came this morning, and gave us more tips on feeding and trying to get her to sleep anywhere than on us. But even that reassurance isn't getting through to me at the moment.

I don't feel especially tired - just exasperated that we can't calm Charloltte and get her to sleep. EVERYONE keeps telling us it'll get easier in a week or two - but it's getting increasingly harder to believe and focus on.

The health visitor did suggest that as breastfeeding is going so well - too well, almost - I could try expressing already so my OH can help with at least one feed a day. I'm now worried Charlotte's become so attached to my breast, she might refuse a bottle. But we'll give it a go.

Life has become an endless game of second guessing her every need, her every cry and grizzle. And just when you think you've got it sussed, she changes the rules. But I think we are getting better at recognising her cues. I'm definitely recognising the hunger ones - rooting, hand in mouth, headbutting etc - more easily. And her uncomfortable "I'm trying to wee or poo" face.

The big problem comes when she's trying to tell us more than one thing at a time - I'm hungry and wet and overtired all at once. Then she'll come out with howling screams that cut right through us. My OH is amazing at calming her down though for which I'm hugely grateful.

I wasn't surprised that Charlotte got overtired yesterday afternoon though. We ended up having quite an ambitious walk around the local park, then the shops (including giving her a feed in Mothercare) and lunch at another pub, all with the other set of Grandparents this time. And she.was mostly as good as gold.

The funniest thing in her 9-day life happened too. Well it made me laugh lots. I know people always say kids are happier with the cardboard box than the toy that came in it. Well that was proved today. Forget expensive mobiles and toys to hang over her pram, Charlotte spent the best part of an hour this lunchtime utterly transfixed by the label on the sun parasol that we'd just bought. It was just in her eyeline within focus and she just stared and stared at it, keeping her totally occupied. I think we may be keeping that.

We had had a minor bit of progress with the Moses basket yesterday too. She managed an hour in it - albeit she'd already been asleep for an hour after being totally knackered from this morning's adventures. She had another 20 minutes in there last night too. But today we seem to have taken two steps backward on that issue as well.

I think the really tricky thing is to judge when to try to put her down. Too soon and she wakes herself really easily; too late and she's waking for a feed or change anyway.

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