How has it been nearly three months already? George is settling in nicely to our little family; he’s been the perfect addition. It’s one of those funny things where time has gone fast since he arrived, yet also gone slow. We actually can’t imagine what life was like before he came into our lives – specifically, what the heck did we previously do with our free time?
Getting out of the house
The majority of our time over the first month or so was spent in the house. I was particularly nervous the first few weeks about taking him out of the house – I was getting to know him and his ways. What was I to do if he suddenly needed feeding or a nappy change? What if he had a melt-down in public? Would people think I’m a terrible mother? I soon learned how to manage these “terrifying” scenarios. It was all about routine and understanding his cues for getting hungry mainly. If he was crying, it was because he was starving to death (or so it sounded).
Now, we are out of the house probably four or five days out of seven. I take George to mother and baby groups, which gives us both a social life and bit of fresh air. I strongly advise mums to go to these for your own sanity if anything. It’s nice talking to other mums going through exactly the same as you or similar. I remember the first time George cried at one of the groups. The reaction wasn’t like in town where everyone just stops, turns around and stares at you like they’re about to call social services. Instead, the Mums just smiled and “awwwed”. That wasn’t the reaction I was used to – it’s such a relief to be somewhere I don’t need to worry about the natural event of George crying. I soon learned to ignore people who might stare, after all, my baby is only expressing what he needs like all other babies!
Becoming a new version of you
I struggled the first few weeks because no one really tells you what it’s like to raise a baby and the time it takes up.
Sleep? What’s that?
Food? Only what I can grab!
Time alone? Fat chance!
I no longer had time to do my two hours (yes, two hour!) morning routine involving hair and make-up, I could no longer just “pop” to town or spend time with my husband without George being around. As I’m writing this I almost hate myself at the way I felt, I sound rather selfish, but becoming a Mum does mean you lose a little of the identity you had. You may have heard it before, but it’s true, babies are a full-time job. I now cherish the times even more that I can spend alone with my husband, dolling myself up or chilling out. I’m starting to spread my wings and come out of my post-pregnancy shell, especially as George gets older.
Up until we decided that formula was the best for George (around week 12), I was a milk machine. Day and night, I would have George stuck to me, each feeding session as if he hadn’t been fed in weeks. It was beginning to get me down. I saw the lactation nurse various times, who was amazing, but I just knew something wasn’t right. He was never happy and that resulted in me being unhappy. I used to look at his fists, wrapped up tight as if he’s about to throw a punch in a boxing ring; he was always so tense during feeds, never relaxed. I have to admit I felt quite upset having to give up breastfeeding, as all negatives aside, I enjoyed the closeness and bonding that breastfeeding seemed to bring. But once we had swapped to formula, the difference in George was crazy. He’s now a happy chap filled with love who loves life – seeing him like this is much more important than putting up with breastfeeding just because of the cuddles. I’m extremely proud of myself for doing it as long as I did – it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – but I was determined to make it work for as long as I could.
Cries to smiles
As a newborn, the world is completely new. Imagine being all crouched up and warm in the same place for nine months and then one day coming out into this big, wide world filled with all sorts of noises, colours and smells. Typically, newborns cry. A lot! It’s the only way they can communicate with you, but as they get older, the smiles come out and suddenly everything seems brighter. I’d say around week eight is when we started noticing the smiles and George spending larger amounts of the day playing. There is a light at the end of the tunnel after all!
George now smiles from ear to ear when he sees us in the mornings. Even his bath times and nappy changes, which were once Hell on Earth, have become a time to play. It melts my heart seeing him enjoy himself and hearing those cute, happy baby noises that he makes. It’s these things that reassure you that you must be doing something right.
Up until week 11, George wouldn’t take a dummy. Me and Greg were intially completely against the idea, however after speaking to various people and the benefits of him having one (specifically preventing SIDS), we soon changed our minds. Before he had a dummy he was restless, would cry for 80% of the day and would find it hard to settle on his own. Now that he takes a dummy, he is SO much more content. We can put him down in his car seat, pram or cot and he will send himself off to sleep no problem. We were safely co-sleeping as this was the only way we could get him to drift off, but since the dummy has come into his life, he’s gone straight into his own bed with no issues. The dummy has been a god-send!
I am constantly amazed and full of love with the way George is developing and interacting with us. I almost can’t put it into words. He’s turning into a gorgeous, little character who enjoys his food and play-time. I can’t wait to see what changes and developments happen over the next few months.
This article was first published by Mumma in Training