This time last week I’d just had a baby. It’s been seven days of life with a newborn – a life full of things that have slipped my memory since last time. I’ve been shocked at how much I’ve forgotten about these first few days of new motherhood.
Time takes on a new quality
While the night hours can stretch on into an interminable length until you crave the daylight, the daylight hours can pass in a blink of the eye. The effect is that time kind of blurs into one until you forget what day it is and have no idea if it’s morning, afternoon or evening. It’s disconcerting, especially when you realise your baby is already a week old and has changed so much already. It probably answers why I can’t stop taking photos of her, I want to freeze every image before it speeds on by and she’s at school already.
Breastfeeding a newborn is hard work
My memories of breastfeeding Frog are mainly happy ones. It was relatively easy and hassle-free for us. I fed her for just over a year and by the end of it any early day niggles had long since been forgotten.
I’m quickly remembering how tough the early days of breastfeeding are though – both physically and mentally. It’s exhausting breastfeeding a newborn, from when they’re suckling for colostrum, to when the milk comes in (bowling ball boobs, anyone?) to the constant night feeds and that overwhelming feeling of responsibility that you’re the one keeping this little creature alive. And second time around the after-birth pains were pretty intense for a good few days – especially during breastfeeding.
But it’s pretty amazing too. Aside from the fact you get an excuse to sit around doing nothing much other than cuddling a baby, you also get a huge sense of satisfaction. At her first weigh in at three days old we discovered our baby girl had only lost 10 grams of her body weight. Today, at a week old, we’ve found out she’s gone from 6lb 13oz to 7lb 5oz – my midwife tells me that level of weight gain is quite unusual for a breastfed baby. Explains why I’m so knackered then!
Days pass without getting anything done
My main achievement today has been to sit on the sofa breastfeeding my beautiful baby and gazing at her tiny nails. I probably spent a good half hour looking at her fingernails and another hour after that soaking in the curve of her ears. I’m not sure how many hours have been spent over the past week just looking at my baby, but I’m pretty sure it’s a lot.
It can be frustrating though, especially when you’re a bit of a neat freak like I am. I see washing that needs to be done and toys that need to be cleared away and I want to do it, but then the baby will fill her nappy or need feeding. I’m trying to channel my inner zen and ignore the mess – and, of course, “sleep when the baby sleeps” (I wish I had a pound for every time I’ve been told to do that this week!).
The washing basket has no bottom
You know that fairytale where the porridge pot goes mad and keeps on spewing out porridge? I can’t remember the name (another side effect of life with a newborn – my brain has stopped working) but that’s what my washing basket is like. From muslin squares to newborn garments that got the wrong side of a game of nappy roulette, the wash basket is full to the brim, no matter how much washing we do. Of course Frog does her bit by adding grubby spaghetti covered school uniform and mud-soaked weekend clothes.
Getting dressed properly is a big deal
I’ve spent most of the past week in my pyjamas. Occasionally I’ve got dolled up for a trip out of the house (I wore proper clothes – actual maternity leggings!) but my wardrobe is still very much of the lounge-wear variety. And you know what? That’s OK. There’s plenty of time to wear proper clothes. I’m embracing the new mum look at the moment and dreading the end of the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine’s paternity leave where I’ll have to leave the house at least twice a day to do the school run.
Unless… can I do the school run in my pyjamas? Is that a thing?
Tell me, what can you remember about the newborn days? Have I missed anything?