Conor has been in our lives for 4 weeks already! In a way it feels like time has passed by so quickly but in other ways it went very slow – like at 4am when he’s whinging and won’t sleep! It’s been a complete roller coaster of emotions and a huge learning curve for both myself and Chris. There have been times where I’ve cried from frustration, cried from happiness and cried just because I’m goddamn tired but you know something? Give me 30 mins away from my little baby and I’m pining for him like crazy. That’s the insanity of motherhood – this little person keeps you awake every night, places demands on you and your body, prevents you from doing most usual daily tasks and yet when they do fall asleep, you kind of want to wake them up just so you can have a cuddle or see them smile. Craziness.
Milestones: Conor has been holding his head up pretty much since week 2 – he is such a strong little boy! He has definitely been responding to my voice and when we lie on the bed for breastfeeding, he gets the biggest smile on his face! ha ha. I took him out for a day trip for the first time on week 2. It was so great to get out and about because I was beginning to feel like a hermit! Every day his hair has been getting lighter and so have his blue eyes.
Sleep: This has been the hardest part of having a newborn in the house – the lack of sleep! In week 1 and 2, I was only getting about 2 hours of sleep a night which was so difficult. I wasn’t even able to nap during the day because he was generally being so demanding when it cmd to feeding. Into week 3, he seemed to start sleeping for slightly longer but it was so difficult to get him settled at night. I could be going to bed at 10pm or 1am, depending on when Conor settled down. Week 4 has been a little better in that he is now sleeping for longer periods of time. For the last couple of nights he has gone to sleep at about midnight and slept through until 4am, which believe it or not is great! At least it means I get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep and he tends to sleep well in the morning, giving me an opportunity for a bit of a lie in. I have had trouble getting Conor to fall asleep in his cot – he seems to much prefer sleeping more upright in his bouncer chair so I’ve had to compromise by letting him fall asleep in the bouncer, then VERY carefully transferring him over to the cot!
Best Moment: Seeing his cute little facial expressions – seeing him smile is the best thing ever and the faces he pulls when he is upset kind of make me laugh too…does that make me a bad mother? ha ha. He pushes his bottom lip so far out, you can’t help but giggle. He also makes the cutest noises when he’s sleeping and he sometimes quietly laughs as if someone is whispering jokes in his ear. I could seriously stare at him for hours – every mother out there reading this will know how captivating your own child is.
Worst Moment: My worst moment DEFINITELY came in the very first week of being a mother. My community midwife came out to check up on us and to weigh Conor halfway through week 1. It turned out that he had lost 12.2% of his body weight – so about 1lb. It all came down to the fact that I was so low on iron after losing so much blood during the labour that my body was still struggling to produce enough breast milk to sustain Conor’s weight. I had no idea I wasn’t producing enough milk so naturally I had a complete emotional meltdown, went to the bathroom and burst into tears. I felt like it was my fault, that I was starving my child and the midwife had said if he had lost 0.3% more then he would have to go back to hospital. That devastated me. I felt like a failure as a mother – that I had to have my child taken away from me because I wasn’t caring for him correctly. However, after some time to collect myself and think rationally, I realised it wasn’t my fault. I was new to this and that’s what the midwife is there for…to educate you and put you on the right path. We got a feeding plan in place for Conor and decided to top up his feeds with Aptamil until my body had fully recovered. Once we had spoken about that, I felt so relieved and much more positive that there was a plan in place t get his weight back up.
Health: As I said, things weren’t great in the first week with regards to the weightless but once the feeding plan was in place, Conor quickly put the weight back on! He has a very healthy appetite…I would go as far as to call him a greedy baby! He did go through a spell of being sick after each feed for a couple of days but that soon passed. It seemed like he had an upset stomach which I’m told is very common in newborns. Other than that, he is a really healthy baby which I’m so grateful for.
Eating: I’m still breastfeeding every day and expressing whenever I can. I have actually found breastfeeding relatively easy now the volume of my milk has gone up. He latches on easily every time and the fact that I top him up with Aptamil sometimes doesn’t seem to have put him off breastfeeding. Many people told me that he would go off the boob and become confused but that’s never happened luckily. I am going to keep using the Aptamil in small amounts because he can be so demanding, I want to make sure he’s getting enough. I plan on breastfeeding until the 6 month mark all going well.
Things I want to remember: I definitely want to remember those little whimpery sounds he makes when I hold his head against mine. I want to remember the feeling I got the first time he focused on my face and looked me straight in the eyes because it was incredible. I also want to remember how I felt when he was born and they first laid him on my chest – it was a moment that changed my life forever.
* I am incredibly lucky that Conor seems to love the car and the pushchair – any kind of movement just sends him into a deep sleep within seconds. He loves being in the carrier we have from BabyBjorn which is so handy to put him in for walking the dogs in the countryside. He also ALWAYS sleeps when I take him out in public which is just absolute perfection because it means I can nip out and have lunch or a coffee with friends without worrying if he’s going to scream the place down.
* I have found these first 4 weeks extremely demanding physically and emotionally but I know that just the norm. No one ever said this was going to be easy and there’s a reason why they say it’s the most difficult job in the world! I felt like I was floundering a bit in the first couple of weeks and really had to rely a lot on family to help out with housework and just taking the pressure off by minding Conor for half an hour while I had a nap. But in the last couple of weeks I’ve felt my confidence building. I am much more comfortable taking him out and about, I’m getting to know all the signs of knowing what he wants and I’m generally just becoming more relaxed.
* Having a baby is something that is so challenging for your relationship with your husband/partner because those sleepless nights and baby crying spells can cause both of you to be crabby and impatient. It’s tough at first when you realise that you never get any time alone together. You really have to work together like a tag team and make sure you’re both giving each other time out to decompress. It’s important to remember that you’re not just parents, you’re lovers and taking time out to enjoy each others company is so very important. I’m so lucky to have my parents, my brother/his girlfriend and numerous friends living nearby who are chomping at the bit to babysit. We will definitely be taking them up on their offers so we can have monthly date nights, get our glad rags on and spent some romantic time together.