Breastfeed, they said. You'll burn 500 calories a day, they said. You'll lose your baby weight quickly, they said. Yes. But do they take into account you eat a WHOLE FUCKING BISCUIT TIN daily because you are always STARVING!!!!! It was always more thirst the first couple of months. You know the kind of thirst after a night out and you wake up and down a pint of water? That type of thirst. And I think I was just too exhausted and stressed about getting the hang of breastfeeding - I almost lost my appetite. I say lost my appetite - I mean, I'd still be hoovering up chocolate like it was going extinct. But literally, these past few weeks I have been absolutely starving all the God damn time. I read somewhere (google again...) that apparently between four and six months breastfeeding, your appetite increases because of hormone changes and your body starts burning fat. Obviously sounds a lot more scientific than my explanation and it could all be absolute rubbish but there's no denying that I could eat a supermarket every day. Does anyone else feel starving? I really need to think of good snacks to have otherwise I'll look like a house end and people will start asking when are you due?
In my desperation to believe I have lost more weight than I have, I seriously thought about weighing my boobs as I was adamant they must be at least a stone. But then I couldn't quite work out how to do it (what a sight that would have been!) and I still have a smidgen of dignity left so gave up and accepted it's the tin of biscuits - not my boobs.
I was full of mum rage this week at stupid people and stupid wheelie bins. Rafe had been refusing all his naps so it had been a fun morning, so I decided to take him for a walk in the pram - with the bonkers dog. It was like navigating an assault course with morons who park right on the path so you can't get passed. WHY?! And then people who leave their wheelie bins in the middle of the path. IDIOTS. So I was huffing and puffing down the street: "Are they fucking kidding me?" And as I was struggling to get up the kerb with pram and dog, I had a bit of a wobble with the pram and some women who was walking behind me actually asked: "oh, is there a baby in there?" No love, I'm just pushing around a fucking banana. That was a good day.
As I said, Rafe has been refusing naps some days and has started being really unsettled during his bedtime feed. (Success with earlier bath time though. Stopped giving a little feed before bath as he was getting angry I'd take him off early but 5.45pm bath time seems to work and we even manage one page of story-time before feed!) This is exactly what he was like during his last development leap. This wonder 'week' can last for a while apparently. It's amazing that he is going through these development changes and I can't believe how much he changes daily but I believe vodka may be needed during this one. Hypothetical vodka of course as still not loving a bottle. Going to try again tomorrow. 🤞Just need to start expressing. 😩
My new health visitor came this week. She seems lovely and I only hoovered the house once in anticipation of her coming. Rafe is now 13Ib 3oz so still putting on weight so was relieved. And was smiling a way at the lampshade for most of her visit so he was happy.
Rafe has a bit of cradle cap and has taken to scratching his head with his razor sharp nails. One. How terrifying is cutting your baby's nails? Two. HOW SHARP ARE THEY? We have baby grows with integrated mitts but when he hasn't got those on - I try and pop some mitts on him if he's a bit chilly and to stop him clawing his face. Which are an amazing invention. They never ever fall off. EVER. You never find yourself asking: "where's your mitt gone?" fifty times a day. (Or where's your sock gone? That's another one).
I loved reading everyone's comments relating to my last post. It's good to know I'm not the only one who had a different image in their head of what being a mum would be like. Loved the comment from someone who said they thought they'd take up volunteering! It's on par with my ambition to take up baking and to write a book. HAHAHA. Because you don't even have time to pluck your eye brows - never mind make a bloody Victoria sponge cake Faye.
Had some lovely messages from people who have been reading my blog for a while and wanted to get in touch to say they could relate to what I was going through. (Husband hate in particular!) I've been totally overwhelmed by these messages - I honestly thought only my mum would read my blog so it's great to hear from anyone who can relate to what I'm writing about. Makes me feel reassured I'm not the only one feeling this way.
On Monday it will be a year since I found out I was pregnant. It feels like a lifetime ago. And it felt like the longest pregnancy as found out so early on - literally a couple of weeks. I hadn't missed a period but I had been more moody than normal (poor husband) and felt exhausted. We'd been trying for three months but it still came as a shock. And I didn't believe the test. So I took three more tests as my husband made tea. And all three were positive. I don't know what I felt and don't think I can put it into words to be honest. It's one of those moments I will remember with such clarity I will feel exactly what I felt at the time. I popped all three in an envelope and wrote: "This explains why I've been so moody..." And then I gave the envelope to my husband whose face I will never forget. Then we ran to Asda and bought another five tests - just to make sure! What a year it's been. I feel so unbelievably lucky. It seems like only yesterday Rafe was hiccupping in my tummy and now he's here and I couldn't love him more if I tried. My beautiful baby boy.
Thinking about my last post and routine, I started to think about what I thought my day would look like as a mum when I was pregnant . Looking back now I think I would punch myself at how clueless I was. But I must give myself a break, as a first time mum, you really have NO IDEA what having a baby will be like. How it will affect every part of your life - how you feel about you, your husband, your friends - your future - your day to day life, how often you wash your hair or shave your legs (never). However many books you read or other mums' you talk too - nothing can really prepare you for, as my friend who is a new mum said, the: "what the heck have I done moment?" And that's not to say I, or other mums' question their reasons for having a baby - I have no doubt in my heart it's the best thing I have ever done. But it's by far the toughest and when you've had little sleep for three months and you haven't brushed your hair in a while - you do look in the mirror and ask that very question. Among others that include: "Who is this person staring back at me?" "Why do I have a beard?" "Can I sleep standing up?" But getting back to what I thought my routine would be like. I genuinely remember thinking in my head this would be my routine. Get up at 7am, feed baby, have a shower, eat breakfast, pop in pram, take dog for a short walk. Feed baby, go to a baby class if on that day or if not, head to the gym, take baby in with me. Or workout in the living room. Have a shower, have lunch, feed baby, take baby and dog for another walk - this time a long walk. Get back, playtime, another nap for baby. Try and get jobs done in the house. Once baby wakes, feed, maybe meet friends for a cuppa. Feed then start bedtime routine - bath, story, feed, sleep by 7. Reality: Peel head off pillow between 6.30am-7.30am. Hope for the best.
Thank you to everyone who commented and messaged me after my last post about being stressed the fuck out about getting into a routine and naps. Sometimes I have a slight panic after reading/googling everything about having a baby. "Oh god my baby should be having three hours worth of naps a day, says this book. What am I doing wrong?" But then I hear from other mums' who are going through exactly the same and I realise I'm not alone. Thanks for all your tips too! Deffo need to stress less and go with the flow when it comes to routine and getting baby to nap. Easier said than done though. I'm just trying not to worry if I have to feed earlier to fit in with a class and have become more flexible and less neurotic about the daytime routine. Though it is starting to naturally shape into a three hourly routine around his feeds - he feeds roughly 7/7.30,10,1,4 - then bedtime routine. But I'm aware it can - and probably will go out the window some days. The only feed I try to keep as near as possible is the 4pm feed as can mess up bedtime routine. (I love how I say I'm trying to be more relaxed and less neurotic and sound the exact opposite!) I have moved the bedtime routine 15 minutes earlier (5.45pm - we have been moving this earlier and earlier as was once starting bathtime at 7pm but he was just too tired) and to prevent overtired meltdown, at around 5.30pm I give him some boobie milk for 10 minutes and that's massively helped. We also have a sensory light bulb (couldn't recommend enough) that I pop on during the bath which relaxes the little one. We even managed to get one page of story time after the bath before big feed so progress. He still needs settling to sleep after about an hour of feeding but doesn't seem to be such a battle and more enjoyable for him and me. As for napping. HAHA. What is napping? It's still 30 minute a time - to the minute, and you have to cuddle, shush, sway from side to side, squat, sing twinkle twinkle, whisper Blaydon Races, pretend you're doing a rain dance and hum, walk around in circles, gently stroke eyelids closed and pray (I've tried them all). Or simply pop in the pram and lights out. The other day I was laughing at a video my friend shared of a poor dad trying to get his toddler to sleep by basically lying in her tiny bed, trying not to move with pure panic in his eyes when she stirred. One hour later there was me pretty much with half my body in his SnuzPod, shushing him, scared to take my hands away so I stayed like that for a good ten minutes. My back and posture is screwed from pregnancy and breastfeeding and carrying my giant breasts and nipples (what has happened to my nipples since breastfeeding?!) so what's five more minutes of hunching over in a stress position going to do? But like one mummy said - enjoy cuddling to sleep now as you won't be able to when they're older. So I'm throwing out the rule book with this one. I know the books say you must let them self soothe and get to sleep on their own but at the moment that's quite frankly, fucking impossible. It may come with time. Who knows? So Indian rain dance and stress positions it is until (he will crack naps...) needed.
Yoga was much more of a success this week. Managed to almost do the full class without a Rafe meltdown. He even did a few poses which was so cute. I'm still as flexible as a tree stump but it actually felt really good. At the beginning of the class you need to go round the group and say anything you like about your week. One woman said she had cracked sleeping and her 9 month old slept for TWELVE HOURS. TWELVE HOURS. WHAT SORCERY IS THIS?!!! Imagine? I was speaking to my friend who said that I need to stop stressing about when he will sleep through the night - it might be a long time yet. And to stop counting how many hours I've had to sleep (I was obsessed with this in the early weeks. I remember when I got two hours straight and it felt like a dream) as it makes you more exhausted. And she's so right. I'm still absolutely, painfully exhausted but less so - and dare I say less obsessed with Rafe sleeping through the night. But would love him to do so. Soon....
Baby brain is real. Some days I can't even put a sentence together and struggle to find the right word. The other day I was trying to describe where the keys were but couldn't think of the word. It was table. The word was table Faye. And before my husband left for work he was searching everywhere for his laptop which had some really important documents in. He was adamant that I must have put it away as I did the unpacking. He literally searched my mum and dad's house - his mum and dad's house multiple times and even went to the storage place where we have all our furniture and riffled through there. And I kept saying: "I 100% have not seen your laptop. I would know if I had seen it." Which after being questioned for the 50th time turned into - "I HAVEN'T SEEN YOUR FUCKING LAPTOP. I'M NOT AN IDIOT." (Calm and rational are my middle names.) Just as he was about to head to the storage place he asked me whether I had put any of his things away underneath the stairs. It was like a light bulb moment. "Your laptop. I put your laptop under the stairs." Cue husband telling the world this story over and over again and me apologising. But it was his fault for not unpacking with me obviously.
It's been hard not having my husband around. But I only had one meltdown moment this week when I'd taken the dog and Rafe for a walk and the pram got stuck in the mud and my dog's (Yankee) golden coat was black with dirt and I had to try and hose him down in the garden while Rafe was crying in his pram and the dog was running away from me. Living the dream. The neighbours must think I'm mental. I think Rafe's first words will be "for fuck sake Yankee."
Rafe is coming on so well and is a proper giggler. He finds the light shade in the front room HILARIOUS, so he's easily pleased. He can hold and shake a rattle now and he rolled over on to his tummy but he got such a shock he has not tried it again! But he hates tummy time. We have a tummy time toy which is great but he doesn't like being on his tummy for very long. Any advice on how to make it more enjoyable for him? I lie next to him and make funny faces - maybe that is hindering rather than helping. 🙈 It's gutting for my husband who is missing out on some of these milestones but thank God for camera phones.
Rafe loves his hartbeeps class - and so do I! At first when the woman started I thought oh God - this is cringe. But five minutes into it I was singing along and loving life. Who knew I'd get so excited about a cat puppet that has its own theme tune to Footloose? It's my happy place. If there's a class near you - I'd deffo recommend going if you can.
And finally. I had my first night out since Rafe was born. I say night out but I went round to my friend's house after Rafe had gone down for the night and we had pizza and a glass of wine and it was bloody marvellous. I haven't laughed like that for a long time. It wasn't a late one - I was back at 10pm as Rafe's normally up at 12ish for his first nighttime feed and my friend has two boys - and was equally as tired as her two-year-old enjoys coming into her room at 5am and pulling her eyelids open and screaming "BREAKFAST. BREAKFAST!" (It doesn't really get easier does it?!) and my other friend has one-year-old twins so as she put it: "I have never been so tired in all my life." (They are both superwomen to me.) Next time I plan to not be checking my phone every five minutes and maybe next time I will have a whole bottle of wine. Now that would be the dream.
Until next week....
Well mum and baby yoga was as relaxing as sticking pins in my eyes. I naively had this image in my head involving Rafe and I being at one in Zen like relaxation. Him lying on the yoga mat asleep or awake and content, with me doing yoga poses without falling over. Reality: Managed five minutes of wobbly stretching then spent the rest of the hour trying to shush Rafe to sleep while he screamed in a very non Zen like way. When it was time to properly relax and I finally had Rafe to sleep, the teacher turned down the lights and I lay my head down in quiet thought. When I say quiet thought, I mean listening to screaming babies for five minutes. To be fair, the teacher was amazing - and the class isn't just about doing yoga it's about meeting other mums. Other mums like me - other mums NOT like me. During the class I started to think about different types of mums. There's so many articles about: what type of mum are you? (The gym mum, the PTA mum, the competitive mum...) Well during this class, I felt like the inadequate mum. All the women looked incredible, all slim (some only six weeks postpartum and were back to pre-baby weight) with WASHED hair. WASHED hair. And I looked like a lump and smelled like dry shampoo. It got me thinking. If these women can look amazing and can brush their hair and have two eyebrows, why can't I? But I genuinely am not making up excuses. You know, “I've had a baby so....” I just genuinely have had a baby and I don't have the energy to not look half disheveled! Oh - and one woman in the class was actually doing squats and breastfeeding AT THE SAME TIME. THE SAME TIME. And there's me still with a hundreds of pillows. 😩 I actually met a real life Mother Earth goddess!!! I was in awe. So I told my mum I felt rather inadequate looking at these mums’ who looked amazing and I looked like a disheveled version of my old self. And she said that I was doing a great job (thanks mum) and not to compare myself to others. There are women throughout life, with baby or without who always look amazing - and then there are some women who (like me, look like shit) - well not quite what I meant Faye. But it made sense to me. So maybe there are actually just two types of mums? The dry shampoo mums’. And the washed hair mums’. Both as equally fabulous as each other I must add. (Don't think I need to tell you what club I'm in.) Namaste. 🙏
I dragged my disheveled self FOR A RUN this week!!! Yes, that's right. And you know what? I feel pretty chuffed to be honest so please feel free to congratulate me. It was just a quick 25 minute run with the dog and I was hanging out, looked like a tomato and I had to stop a few times to make sure my uterus hadn't fallen out. But it felt really good. It felt good to have 25 minutes to myself, doing something I enjoy (kind of) - and it was a time to clear my head and recharge. Just me (and the dog). Hopefully my wibbly wobbly jelly belly will be gone in no time....although to reward myself I ate a huge bar of galaxy chocolate. It's all about moderation right?
Naps. Please help!!! Rafe really really keeps fighting his naps to the point he is so tired at nighttime he is difficult to settle and sometimes he just doesn't feed well for a while as he is so upset. He can also only get to sleep by someone shushing him or my dad singing Blaydon Races (no joke). I know in all the baby books they say put them down sleepy and don't shush them all the time as that will be the only way you can settle them but Rafe will categorically not sleep unless shushed. I've been reading about the four-month sleep regression (send help) so don't know whether he has started this early. It's just a minefield of what I'm supposed to do with so many people saying different things. Leave him to cry - don't leave him to cry. Let him settle on his own - settle him yourself. Get out and about - try and keep the routine similar. You can go out during nap times - don't disrupt nap times. What am I supposed to do?!!! My husband made a good point when he said nobody has written a book on Rafe - only you could do that. But it's just hard when you're singing Blaydon Races on repeat for an hour and then as soon as you put your baby down he's wide awake again. As well as nap time stress I am starting to stress about routine. They say (well Holly Willoughby in her book) that a routine should really start taking shape now. We have tried to get some sort of routine very early on - especially around bedtime (bath, boob, bed). Try to get a story in there at some point but he just cries throughout so not the most enjoyable of times. And trying to get him down at the same time and up at the same time and follow a three hour feeding routine but things change daily. He wakes earlier. He won't sleep... And one thing that makes me worry is that the classes I go to can interfere with feed and nap times. So I normally have to feed him earlier than normal to fit around the classes and then his nap time changes. I read somewhere that you should try not to disrupt nap time as can force bad habits but that would mean staying in all day. And to feed on demand - which I have always done. Honestly it's doing my bloody head in. So I'm going to try an earlier bedtime routine to see if this stops him from being so upset and overtired. Then he should wake early and should fit in with class times without me having to feed too early on and keep to his needs. I say should….I'll try it and see what happens and hope for the best. Any help/advice I will love you forever. Oh and he also seems to get quite distracted during daytime feeding and can be quite fussy during some feeds. Sometimes he just feeds for ten minutes each boob - other times longer. Is this normal? I guess it's like us - we don't eat the same amount every meal - unless you're me right now and you eat anything you can find. So maybe he just wants a little snack some days? Or he is getting more efficient feeding? How long does your little on feed each boob? It’s a fucking minefield I tell you!
My husband is going away on Sunday. Trying not to think about it to be honest. Been so lucky these last two years when living on the married patch as apart from a long ass five months away and three months when I was pregnant, he's been home most nights. And apart from the husband hate now and again, he's got me through these first few months. He'll be away for around nine weeks so not months and months but will be hard. But I'm lucky to now be back home - and at the moment living with the parents so I'll have support around me when I need it. But who is going to put up with my crazy ass moods and go and get me chocolate at 10pm at night? But seriously, I'm dreading not sharing a bed - just me again. And putting his slippers under the bed (a bit of a ritual I have when he goes - makes getting them out exciting) and then not seeing his toothbrush in the bathroom. (It's the little things you miss). I'm sure he will be running out the door to get away from his hormonal wife but I feel for him missing Rafe for those couple of months. Think it's going to be really hard for him. Especially as he will have to miss Rafe's next hospital appointment and now he has started properly laughing. Not a belly laugh but a goofy little giggle. And my husband seems to be the only one who can make him laugh like this. He doesn't find me funny one bit. 🙈
Finally, if you haven’t already I would really recommend signing up to baby classes. I can’t tell you how good it’s been to get out, have fun with Rafe – and meet other mums. Sing and sign is fab and Rafe seemed to really enjoy that, yoga was an experience – but I know I will enjoy it once I start to stress less and then today I have Hartbeeps which my friend said I will love the most. A mixture of singing and sensory so I’ll let you know how I get on. Hopefully there will be a few dry shampoo mums’ in that class!
Happy weekend! x
Hope everyone had an amazing New Year! My husband cooked a lovely meal and I was in bed by 9.30pm. We said Happy New Year while my husband changed Rafe's nappy before the first night feed. So very rock and roll. As with every New Year, all the resolutions come out. Except mine have been going on for weeks. Every day I say, today I will go for a run, I will do 'proper' exercise. Or today I will wash and straighten my hair, today I won't wear the same nursing top and will pluck my eyebrows and look presentable. When I was pregnant and I remember thinking once baby comes I'll be exercising every day, fitting in a workout whenever I could - okay love, you do that. It’s funny how you think you're going to be as a mum when you're pregnant compared to the reality. I thought being pregnant was hard but sweet Jesus nothing compares to these first few months. Hats off to those mums’ who head to the gym and look half human - I just don't know how you do it. Some days I can't have a poo in peace - never mind having time to go to the gym. Also I still feel like my uterus is going to fall out if I do more than a slow walk. But in the spirit of New Year's resolutions I've been adamant this week to go for a run and to not look like a mess of a woman with a monobrow. So I got up yesterday in my normal exhausted state, peeling my eyes open but I tried to be positive - I can do this I thought! So I washed my hair with conditioner first so that was a good start. Couldn't find tweezers. Didn't have time to do my hair so just put in French plaits. Put on a new nursing top, rather than old one (winning) but couldn't bring myself to wear jeans so hello maternity leggings - again. As the day went on and the rain pelted down and exhaustion really kicked in - was I really going to go for a run later? Was I shite. I ate chocolate fudge cake and almost a full pack of biscuits instead. I'll start on Monday.
So what else have I done this week? Braved soft play for the first time. SEND FOR HELP.
“Welcome to hell,” my friend said as I made my way through soft play during the school holidays. Children everywhere. Screaming children everywhere. Excited, screaming children everywhere. Excited, screaming, snotty children everywhere. Excited, screaming, snotty children charging around everywhere. No escape. Pure carnage. Even in the baby area you weren't safe from the 'bigger children' who were ready to invade. Lucky for me I had my no bullshit friend with me who told them politely to go away. Is this my life now? I laughed at how much our lives had changed. One day you're sneaking into bars in Whitley Bay at 16 and drinking 20/20 - the next minute you're sniffing your child's bum to see if they have pooed. "Can we please go out and get mortal soon?" "We are ready when you are." See nothing's really changed....Just will avoid 20/20 and won't be looking for Sixth Form boys. Although I think a bottle of 20/20 would help me get through one hour at soft play....
Rafe slept from 8pm to 3.30am the other night. This is not me gloating - this is me sharing my joy, shock, disbelief. I remember when Rafe was a few days old and he was cluster feeding through the night and I got a solid two hours sleep and I felt amazing. I got around 5 hours straight that night so I felt like a new woman. Although I must say I didn't maximise his 7-hour stretch. I woke up at 2.30am in pain. FUUUCCCKKKK MY BOOBS!!!! They felt like they were going to explode. He still wasn't awake so I had to hand express a little into a nappy to relieve the pressure. I say into a nappy but it was dark and when I turned the lamp on it was all over my pj bottoms so looked like I wet myself. Rafe still wasn't awake at 3am so I obviously woke my husband up and whispered: "He's still asleep." "So why am I awake?" Good question. Then instead of trying to go back to sleep I pretty much watched Rafe stir until he finally woke. I wish I'd gone to bed at 8pm. Imagine that. I would have had SEVEN HOURS SLEEP. I hoped the following night he would do the same but he was up at 12.30am then 4.30am. I know he can do a much longer stretch as he doesn't always have a full feed (both boobs) in the night but I know he's still young to sleep through. I just wish he was a little more consistent - very selfish of him to not stick to my ideal sleeping patterns. One of my friends said her son didn't sleep through till he was FOUR. FOUR! I'll have none of that nonsense please. I am in two minds about trying to do a dream feed - some people have told me yes - others no. I'm just scared to wake him! Especially if he's in a deep sleep. Any advice from others would be great! Another reason Rafe is not sleeping is he is so windy. After trying everything we have gone back to Infacol. It seems to work well during the day but during the night he seems to be extra windy and nothing we can do helps. Any advice?
I start my baby classes next week which I'm excited about. On a Monday we do sing and sign, a Thursday baby yoga and Friday is Hartbeebs - sensory and singing. Looking forward to meeting other mums - just hope they all have monobrows too.
Happy weekend! Faye x
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.