Saturday, 2 July 2016

So, what's it really like?

As we mentioned in our breastfeeding post, there are lot of beautiful magical moments posted on social media when people have a baby. And while those beautiful moments definitely happen, a lot, we also want to post about the other side of having a baby, 'honest parenting' if you will. So this is what we've learnt about having a newborn!

You stare at them a lot. 
Ok, all the time. This tiny little person enters the world and doesn't realise that they have just tipped yours upside down. They become your world. Everything you do now becomes about them. You literally cannot take your eyes off them, and other people, their Grandparents for example, are exactly the same. We, particularly Sarah, weren't the hugely maternal, coo over every baby type. We admit, to getting tired of people who talked about nothing but their babies. We were adamant that not everyone is like that when they have a baby. We now realise they are. Erm…sorry about that.

The love you feel is something else.
 We both feel like the day Oskar arrived in to the world someone came along with a few sackfuls of love and dumped it over both of us. The love you can have for something so tiny takes your breath away, but the love you develop for each other is something new and unique. We have so much love for each other, but since becoming parents together and entering this magical journey, it's like we added an extra layer of love, that transcends anything we felt before. It's so strong, so special, so powerful. Most people who you love so much, e.g. your partner, you grew to love over years - with a baby, its instant, powerful love. And it's intense!

Breastfeeding is hard work. 
Really really hard. It's the most natural thing in the world and get really difficult. It's not really talked about, and we guess like us, a lot of women assume to pick the baby up, put them to your breast, and they feed. Sadly its not always like that, and we have published in depth feeding diaries to show that. We still aren't at the point of breastfeeding completely working for us, but we are getting there slowly. Lauren had helped thousands of women learn to breastfeed their babies in her career, so she never expected for us to find it difficult. But we will continue, for now. 

Breastfeeding also takes so much time! 
Oskar can feed for up to an hour at a time. Usually when our dinner is ready or just as we are preparing to go out! On top of this, there's the expressing and bottle feeding. Not to mention the time it takes to wind him afterwards. We literally do not do much else some days, but we are a team, and whilst Sarah can't breastfeed him, she can take him to bottle feed him and wind him, and even then we seem to spend a good proportion of our days focusing on getting milk in to Oskar!

Broken sleep makes you a new kind of exhausted. 
The first few nights at home we were surprised that we didn't feel too tired. We have now realised that it's the culmination of repeated nights of broken sleep that all builds up to mean that we are both pretty exhausted right now. Babies feed every 2-3hrs, so after weeks and weeks of having a max of 2-3hrs sleep in one go, you pretty much feel like a zombie. There is no fix for this, but we have had a few lazy mornings of napping together instead of rushing to get up early!

Babies sleep a lot.
 Oskar is beginning to have more awake periods, but he still sleeps for most of the day, so we use this time to shower, tidy up, do the washing etc. We are pretty house proud women, and whilst a lot of people warned us this would stop once our boy arrived, we have managed to easily keep on top of chores and washing so far. When he's bigger and doesn't sleep so much we will put him in his sling and carry on!

You will be able to think about little else
Or talk about little else. It really is like you wake up one morning with a different life. Yes it mainly involves milk, nappies, and being vomited on, but it's the best thing we've ever done!

Shops are not meant for babies!
I used to get irritated at women with buggies taking up my precious shopping space. Now I realise they are tired, cabin fevered women who either need a break from the house! Many shops are not baby friendly, and trying to manoeuvre a large pram through shops, especially busy or ones crowded with rails or shelves is a skill in itself! Oh and always know where the lifts are! 

Days go by so fast. 
Today it is 4 weeks since Oskar was born. Those four weeks have gone quicker than I ever would believe possible. Days roll in to nights and then it's daytime again! We desperately want time to slow down but vow to try and enjoy every little second of his precious life. Even when it's 4am and he's wee'd all over his clothes again!

Baby poo- you will need to talk about it! 
A bug bear of ours pre baby, especially Sarah, was parents who talked about baby poo. She found it gross, inappropriate, and had the general opinion that people that spoke about it openly were way too into this whole parenting thing. That was a common view she had with many things regarding parenting, and has been proved wrong on a lot of them! 
Whilst we still would never in a million years discuss baby poo on social media, or with someone who hadn't specifically asked, you will need to talk about it! Doctors, midwives, health visitors etc will constantly ask about the frequency, colour and consistency of your babies poo, and you will need to share info with your partner too! 

Babies are noisy
We have had quite a few sleepless nights of rocking him and constantly picking him up when he has been vocal, only to find he is in fact fast asleep and making normal baby noises. Who knew something so small could be so loud?! Now we are able to tune out to his sniffles, grunts and dreamy hums and have worked out which noises mean he is awake and needs us.

Babies like to sleep next to you
Or preferably, on you. We have always agreed that our parenting style will be to follow basic attachment parenting theory with our own style. Gina Ford style routines have no place in our minds, and instead we will respond to his needs. Right now all he knows is that he needs to suckle for hunger or comfort, when he feels wet and uncomfortable, and that his mummies make him feel safe. Therefore he doesn't feel safe being away from us, in his bedside crib or rocking chair, during the day he is held by one of us pretty much constantly, and at night we muddle through in a combination of him sleeping on our chests, in bed next to us, and occasionally in his bed nest in a swaddle.

Everyone has an opinion. It seems that everyone, regardless of how well you know them or how often you speak, has an opinion on your style of parenting. We have already had comments such as "leave him and see if he'll settle by myself" (he's a newborn baby, no), and "he can't be hungry again, just give him a dummy" (he's a newborn baby and all he knows is he wants to breastfeed. Again, no). We've had comments on anything from the fact we plan for him to be vegetarian (well, we are!) to the fact we won't be in a hurry to take him to football matches just because he's a boy. It seems anyone and everyone has an opinion on the way we are, or plan to, bring up our son!

 You become a person you never knew you were. 
The instinct, the way you literally cannot take your eyes of them in case they do something new, in case you miss something special, a new expression. Oskar looks different every day. We take pictures all the time to remember it all. We never thought we would be the kind of parents who stare at our baby all day, don't mind getting various bodily fluids on us, and take constant pictures of our baby. But we are, and its wonderful :) You cannot describe the love you have for a child, or how many hours you spend staring at them, wondering what life will hold for them. We've been on a lot of a adventures over the past eleven and a half years, but none so exciting as our Oskar.

1 comment:

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