I can’t believe that little AJ is 4 weeks old already, time really does fly when you’re having so much fun. It really feels like he has always been a part of our lives now and we’ve got to know and learn about each other over the past few weeks. In this short time we’ve managed to work out what he likes and dislikes and what some of his signals mean, food being the main one.
My introduction to mamahood has been a steep learning curve. We’re quite isolated where we live and both of our families live about 2 hours away in different directions. Originally the plan was for each of our mothers to come and stay for a few days to help us find our feet, but seemingly being able to cope as new parents this never happened. To be honest, I’m rather glad that we did it alone as we’ve found what works best for us as a family unit and are learning on the job. The past 4 weeks have been a joy, but that’s not to say that they have been easy.
Every day life
Each day is different in the amount that I get accomplished and this is very much dependent on AJ and his needs and when he sleeps. I revel in the fact that I’m super organised and like to get things done, crossing things off my to do list is so satisfying. Life with a newborn is very different, everything has to be done around my baby.
I’ve had to learn to become more flexible in my approach to everyday life as I can no longer attack things like I used to. Looking after my little man is my main focus, however there have been times where I’ve felt like a complete failure because I haven’t been able to finish things that I had planned to do. I’ve realised that life with a baby means that I can’t do it all and now I try to prioritise what needs to be done with AJ’s care being at the top of the list. Most of the time I leave things to the evening or weekend when Alfie is home to help out. We have a great tag team system set up that is working great for us at the moment. Most days I’m still getting up at 6 am to make sure that I can have a shower, get ready and get some stuff done before Alfie leaves for work.
Like I mentioned in a recent post, it’s all about the small little victories for me now. No matter how great or small the task that I manage to get done it’s an accomplishment and I shouldn’t feel guilty about the things that I’ve had to let slide. A neighbour of mine wisely told me that ‘the house work will still be there in 6 weeks time, but Aiden will not remain this small forever.‘ The house maybe not up to my OCD standards some days, I may be late in replying to emails and have to turn down certain opportunities but my baby boy comes first and I’m cherishing every moment with him.
I knew that I wanted to be a breastfeeding mama before I even fell pregnant and it was important to me to try to exclusively breastfeed. After giving birth and Aiden was all cleaned up my midwife helped me with my first feed and he seemed to know what he was doing straight the way establishing a good latch. With following feeds in the hospital however he struggled a little, latching on but not actually feeding. Obviously this was quite worrying as he wasn’t actually taking any of my milk. We even bought some organic formula if he didn’t take to breastfeeding again. The midwives were very supportive and suggested that we tried skin-to-skin breastfeeding, which we had done when he was just born and it seemed to do the trick. By day 2 or 3 we were well established with breastfeeding and things have gone well in this department since.
One thing that I wasn’t ready for is how sore your nipples can get from feeding. Most of the soreness that I experienced was in the first week when we were still finding our feet. Aiden would latch on, but my inexperience meant that I wasn’t sure if the latch was correct or not. A bad latch is the main culprit for soreness and can take time to heal. The first moments of consecutive feeds can be painful, but this soon subsides after a few minutes in to the feed. Things got much easier for us both when my milk came in on day 5, this was also when we noticed that he had breastfeeding jaundice, but this soon disappeared. Now that we’ve found our breastfeeding groove I’ve just started to express my milk and bottle feed AJ once a day. He has taken to the bottle so well and doesn’t get confused between the boob and bottle at all.
To be honest, I did fear the worst when it came to my body post pregnancy, but after coming out the other side I’m content with my new mama shape. It has been a surprise to me that I didn’t put on as much weight as I thought I would during my pregnancy. I never weigh myself and just assess changes in my body according to how my clothes fit. A few days after coming home from the hospital I was back in a pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans, albeit my wide leg jeans and they were snug in places. I can definitely see changes in my body and I’m enjoying my new curvier curves. My baby bump has disappeared due to all the breastfeeding, but I have been left with a jiggly belly.
Weight loss seems to be the main focus after having a baby, but my attention is more drawn to regaining my strength and muscle tone. My abs are completely wrecked and I can definitely feel the strain on them when getting out of bed or getting up from the sofa. After my 6 week check up I will slowly start to ease myself back into exercise with lots of yoga and more walking. At the moment I’ve gone out for short walks with the baby and have really enjoyed getting out the house and move. I would love to do some exercise now and do feel up to it, but will hold off until I’ve been signed off by my doctor.
Nothing could prepare me for how exhausting mamahood can be, but generally I think I’m handling it well. Roughly I tend to get between 3-6 hours sleep in the night, although it’s the constant nights of broken sleep and not the lack of sleep that makes me feel tired. Aiden tends to wake once or twice in the night to feed, which I hear is pretty good. He does take a while to settle after a feed and he loves to sleep on his mummy’s or daddy’s chest afterwards, which is a habit we are trying to break. Although on days when he is struggling to nap it’s far more easier to leave him sleeping on your chest rather than transferring him to his moses basket.
The majority of the time I go to bed before Alfie who stays up to look after Aiden so I can get some rest before his first night feed and this is working great for us. When I can I also try to nap at least once during the day when my baby is sleeping, but there is always the temptation to use his nap times to catch up with other things other than sleep.
Update on baby Aiden
We feel so blessed that AJ is a happy and content baby, he’s such a chilled out little dude. All of the health care professionals are really pleased with him and he is gaining weight like a trooper, which is reassuring for me and my breastfeeding.
Everyone always comments on how alert Aiden is for his age. He’s been extremely inquisitive from day one and likes to look around at his surroundings and take it all in. Also, he is incredibly strong and likes to clamp his little hands around your fingers and has developed strong kicks, air punches and can hold his head up unaided if still a bit wobbly. Recently he has really found his voice and I adore listening to his incoherent baby babble and cooing.
One thing that has become more obvious now that Aiden is bigger and eats more is that he’s a very windy baby. He guzzles his milk so fast which means he tends to take in a lot of air. This is a common problem for most babies, but the ensuing discomfort is hard to watch and makes you feel so helpless and has led to many sleepless nights. To help we have tried to give him Infacol before feeds and now that he’s reached the 1 month milestone we are trialling Gripe Water which seems to help soothe this problem, but not alleviate it completely. It’s something that he will grow out of as his digestive system develops.
How did you find your first month with a newborn? Do you have any experience with windy babies?
Are you good at dealing with very little sleep?