You haven’t lived until you have a sickness bug and you're taking your baby and mad Golden Retriever for a walk and you keep needing to stop to almost be sick - and your baby is still wide-awake after an hour (obviously) and people are looking at you with slight judgement as if to say: “tut, tut – is she hungover?” “I WISH I WAS HUNGOVER LOVE.” Pass the wine.
I said last week that I was going to be more Zen-like and I promise I had good intentions. And it started off well. If Rafe didn’t nap for longer than 30 minutes – I didn’t get stressed about it, just cracked on with the day. There was even one day that he slept for an hour and a half in the pram. WHAT?!!! I wanted to skip down the street and shout at passersby: “Look he’s still asleep – he’s still asleep!!” However – I may have been lulled into a false sense of security. You see, on Sunday I thought I would have a go at making banana pancakes. Rafe is still really used to puree and finger foods but thought they were worth a try. He managed a little, Yankee and I hoovered up the rest. I didn’t think much about it being the first time he had egg….He had been a bit off his boobie milk and food in the morning and the rest of the day – but I just put it down to him being a bit fussy. Then I was giving him his 4pm boobie feed and shit the bed. I have never witnessed projectile vomit like it. It was like something out a horror movie. Literally covered me, the pillows, my bedsheets – himself. He didn’t seem bothered at all! Stripped the bed and him – and me. Then he was sick again – and another time. Then had diarrhea over the newly clean sheets the following day. I thought it was because he had tried egg as I remember my friend telling me when her little boy tried egg for the first time, there was a projectile vomit incident. Rafe seemed a bit off but not poorly. But then a few days later – me down. My mum down. My brother and his girlfriend down with a sickness bug. So don’t know whether it was a bug that he had – rather than food related. So I'm thinking maybe that joyous moment of skipping down the street because he slept longer than 30 minutes was down to being poorly. But has anyone else have something similar with egg? Luckily whatever we had was just a 24-hour thing but having to look after Rafe while being sick is as fun as the four-month sleep regression. I just wanted to spend the whole day in bed but it’s not like I could phone in sick. “Oh hi Rafe. I’m not feeling very well, I can’t mum today. Hopefully be back tomorrow.” Nope, no day off. But to be honest, because I just had to crack on as normal, I actually felt better than I would if I was in bed all day. So I tell myself. I did almost cry when I had Rafe and Yankee out and I was retching into bushes and he still hadn’t fell asleep after walking for flipping miles. (And breathe.) But I am going to stick to being less stressed and relaxed next week when I’m not feeling like death and Rafe isn’t projectile vomiting. Another mum sent me a link with some tips on getting babies to sleep longer and I had a quick glance and one of the tips was to gently stir baby just before he normally wakes – so he then falls into a deeper sleep and doesn’t wake after 30 minutes and not get back to sleep. Not sure whether this will work or not – slightly terrifies me as I just had visions of him having 20 minute naps – rather than 30. Anyone else had success with this method? Also someone else recommended the 2,3,4 schedule - has anyone had joy with that? I say I'm going to be less stressed but still looking for that miracle!!
Self-settling has gone a bit of the window with us both being a bit under the weather. Plus, his teeth are really giving him bother. I can see two shooting up but have still not quite appeared yet. Why do they always seem to teeth before bed, in the middle of the night and 5am? Bedtime has been quite a struggle. He just seems to scream when put down and I think a lot of it is teething but he's overtired too. He’s been loving a 5am start at the moment too. But like I said last week - sleep is for the weak! (But I love sleep so so much!) My husband was home for the weekend though and I can't tell you how good it is to get some help during the night to change nappy/get Rafe to settle. Although my mum and dad would help in a heartbeat, I never want to wake them and I've always felt I need to get used to being on my own with Rafe during the night for when we get our own house. (Offer has been accepted - keep your fingers crossed it goes smoothly!)
I’ve been in touch with work to let them know when I’m going back. Going to return mid-August, so not taking the full year – but just a little over statutory. It’s still a few months away but the way this year is going I know it will come around so fast. I feel quite nervous about it. Our parents can help out with childcare but I also want to try and get Rafe into playgroup for a day – just so he can interact with other children. I went to look round a nursery which was so lovely. They have a special baby room and even a room with cots in for the little ones to nap (hahahaha – good luck). I did start to feel emotional after being there. Just the thought of leaving him. Even though I'm sure he would love it. Going from spending every day with him - to just after work and of course weekends makes me nervous - and worried - and emotional. But know my husband has it harder when there could be times he won’t see Rafe for months on end. And I know I'm not exactly sending him out into the big wide world yet but I just feel so protective of him, I do feel quite emotional about going back to work. So in the meantime I vowed to enjoy everyday I have left of maternity leave! I’m sure there may be some not so fun days...but I just can’t believe how fast it’s gone. I just wish I’d kind of cherished the time off in the beginning but I think you are so consumed with exhaustion and “what the fuck am I doing?”, you don’t stop and realise how lucky you are and think: “I’m never going to get this time off again.” Will keep putting the lottery on though - you never know!
As we get closer to me going back to work, I do worry about Rafe - and getting him off the boob. My goal to start with was to reach six months’ - now I think I’d quite like breastfeed till he is one. But I know that will be difficult when I’m at work so know I’m going to have to try and introduce a bottle/cup again soon. So I'm thinking feed him when I can/in the morning and bedtime feeds. But don't know if that will be possible as worried about my milk supply completely drying up. What is everyone's experience of breastfeeding and going back to work? I also keep thinking I should have dropped a couple of feeds by then but he still wants food and the same amount of milk feeds at the moment. I know I mentioned it in earlier blog posts but I really just don’t know when to drop a feed, which one and how to go about it. I was thinking either the 10am - or lunchtime feed?? (I know they say milk is still the most important up until they are one so not in a hurry - more for a guide). We tried a bottle again and he had 3oz but just bites the teat more than drinks from it. He’s really good with the sippy cup (with water in it) so don’t know whether to just use that and pop expressed milk/formula in that as people have previously suggested. He’s still quite messy with it and I feel like it would take about an hour to drink from! Has anyone avoided bottle and went straight to cup? And if so, how did you manage say a night feed if you were having a few drinks (the first girls’ night out at Bongo Bingos is at the end of June!) and using a cup? Or did you just try a bottle then? Another mum contacted me and said she tried the bottle with the dream-feed, when baby was still half asleep and that worked so that may be worth a go.
Has anyone used the Mush before? It’s basically tinder for mums’ as someone I met last week put it! It’s an app where you can meet up with other mums in the area with babies similar age - older, younger. I’ve never done anything like it before, but thought why not? So I met up with a few mums in a coffee shop and it was really good. Even though I have close friends who are mums - I think it’s just great to get out and meet more people who are just as exhausted as you. Being a mum can be at times, incredibly lonely so anyone you can meet who you can share a coffee with - or a bottle of tequila then it’s a good thing.
It’s so reassuring to know that I don’t have the only baby that catnaps - or doesn't nap at all. Someone messaged me to say they hope if I ever crack naps, I would share my wisdom. Don’t worry - I will be shouting it from the rooftops! In the meantime, Namaste….
And one more of Prince Rafe!
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.