As of today I have been a Mum to two for exactly 12 weeks.
12 weeks of extreme multi tasking, adapting to a life that is even more chaotic than it was before, and Mum guilt when trying to split myself equally between two children; not easy when one of them is intent on spending half her day on my left boob!!!
It’s also been 12 weeks of sheer joy at the mere sight of my beautiful baby girl. I mean how could it not be, look at her:
I’ve overcome a second major operation, the hellish pain that is breastfeeding with a tongue tied baby, and I’ve even gone to a supermarket with BOTH kids on my own TWICE! Sounds small but anyone who is Mum to a toddler and a newborn will appreciate that is a huge achievement; thank God for my baby carrier!
So the point of this post, is a little update on Holly. I suppose we should start with feeding.
I am loving breastfeeding. We got Holly’s tongue tie fixed when she was a week old and instantly feeding became a lot easier and more pleasant. Once Holly was around 6 weeks she started going longer between feeds; initially she was feeding every 2-3 hours but I didn’t mind as it’s such a comfort when they’re banging the weight on. As I write this I’ve no idea how much she weighs – she was last weighed 6 weeks ago and was 11lb 4oz. Next week she has her 12 week check and will be weighed again and I can’t wait to see how much she’s put on. She’s a chunky little monkey so I am confident she’ll have put on a decent amount of weight.
During the night she only tends to feed once, occasionally twice if her first feed is an early one. But generally she doesn’t wake for a feed till around 4am. Considering we go to bed at 9pm I consider myself extremely lucky! I usually go to bed with her at 9 so I am getting a really decent amount of sleep. Most of the time she goes back to sleep quickly after her feed which never lasts more than 10 minutes (she’s always been a really fast feeder and nurses for 5-10 minutes at a time).
But of course things aren’t always perfect. One word…. Colic! What a relentless bitch it is. Holly has, like clockwork, had colic since she was about 8 weeks and from 5pm until she goes to bed, she is basically angry at the world and screams for no apparent reason. She’s fed, burped, changed, bathed and cuddled but still she is one mighty pissed off baba. Again, the sling acts as a complete God send in this instance as does my husband who I have secretly nicknamed The Baby Whisperer! Somehow he always manages to soothe her.
My sister in law noticed Holly has started manically sucking on her hands, whoever’s shoulder she is resting on and basically everything in sight. Her exact words were “this baby would love a dummy”. However I am reluctant to give her one. I know how lucky I am to have a baby who is, for now, sleeping pretty darn well (please God don’t let the 4 month sleep regression fuck that up) so I don’t want to have a baby who goes from sleeping to waking every time her dummy falls out.
My solution…. a woo! To all normal people, this is a muslin. Josh became hooked on his muslins at around 12 weeks and sucked on them for comfort and still takes one (OK, three) to bed with him. The other night Holly was busy in the middle of a colic fuelled screaming session when Sam suggested I put the muslin over my finger and pop it in her mouth. Problem solved – Holly was asleep within 5 minutes and I didn’t lose the plot. Wonderful. So at the moment I am giving her a woo (sorry, a muslin) when it’s time for a nap and trying to guide it to her mouth so she can soothe herself rather than having her chew her own hand off!
Holly is a little nosey parker. I remember from very early on the Health Visitors commented on how alert she is when she’s awake and I’ve got to say, it’s true. She loves to be upright and staring at the face of whoever is holding her and she gives out lots of adorable smiles. In the last week I’ve even heard a couple of little giggles and some cooing. Just when you think she can’t get any cuter. This week I went and got her a couple of black, white and red baby books to read to her. I loved reading to Josh from an early age and I can’t wait to get started reading to Holly (although I can’t see Josh wanting to share his copy of the Hungry Caterpillar with her any time soon)! She’s also absolutely loving her baby play mat and staring at the lights on it. I am tempted to buy her a little light show for our room at night but then I thought it might defeat the effort I go to making sure she gets used to going to sleep in the dark.
Holly is still sleeping in our room and will do until she is 6 months. She is in her cot already but in that she is in her Sleepyhead (they are brilliant – if you’re considering buying one, do it). I love having her close to us and it’s crazy to think that now she is approaching 3 months she is halfway to going in her own room! Right now I can’t even imagine that.
I can’t lie, Holly is an absolute joy. She has slotted into our family nicely, and although Josh has taken a bit of time to get used to sharing me and his Dad, he’s not too bothered by the change. We’ve had a fair bit to deal with with Josh and looking into speech therapy and other avenues for him to help him along with things (something I’ll write about separately) but he’s been a really good boy with Holly and we’ve only had one instance where he got a bit bad tempered with her but thankfully I was in the room and it amounted to nothing. He has even gone up and gently stroked her head a few times which doesn’t sound like a big deal to most parents but to us it was a really proud moment.
As for me, I’m doing well. I seriously took my time with the C Section recovery; I didn’t over do things and set myself little goals for when I started driving, lifting and generally doing more. I am so glad I did things this way as I am convinced it aided my recovery. My scar has healed well and I am back to thoroughly enjoying bubble baths again (complete with all manner of Lush bath bombs; I have a fairly serious addiction). Weight wise, I am at a size I am really happy with and thank breastfeeding very much for. I feel like I’m not doing too badly at this Mum of Two business. Don’t get me wrong, some days are so hard and I cry or lose my shit or eat a box of Ferrero Rocher in the downstairs toilet out of desperation. And on a more serious note, in the last week I’ve suffered two very unpleasant anxiety attacks so I am making a conscious effort to try and relax, not put too much pressure on myself and accept not everything has to be done in a single day.
The key to this Mum of Two (and more) malarkey is simply survival. Every day you’ve got to remind yourself that you have survived the day with the kids despite all the whinging, puke, poo, colic, tantrums and demands. Everyone is fed, watered and in one piece! At the end of each day you’ve got your little ones who think you’re a super hero. It makes me feel outstandingly proud to know I make my children feel happy, safe and loved and their little cuddles help me through every moment of anxiety, self doubt and tiredness.
And the odd packet of biscuits is an essential part of that survival too!
I’m a bit tired, sometimes bit stressed, and still a bit battered. But I am also outrageously lucky and the happiest I could wish to be. Holly and Josh make me who I am, and I am very happy with who I am for that very reason.