So after 3 weeks off, S finally went back to work. We knew it would happen, maybe not so quickly, but it would happen.
We had made preparations before hand such as cooking a few dinners to stick in the freezer in case I wasn’t able to sort dinner out due to feeding, and made sure larger tasks that couldn’t wait until the weekend (like picking up dog poop in the garden) were done. We were all set.
From around the end of week 2, however, I started to feel a little nervous about the prospect of being alone with a baby. It sounded ridiculous, as I dealt with plenty whilst S was around without needing help, but I started to think about the times when I would genuinely need a hand; like when I needed a wee, cooking (a decent) dinner, answering the front door during a feed, etc. I was nervous about it as I had no idea how to approach those scenarios without S. Thankfully, I quickly learnt one thing… Babies won’t hurt themselves crying. It sounds stupid, I know, but as a new parent you don’t want your baby crying for too long so when nature calls and all of a sudden baby starts crying you kinda put going to the toilet to one side. I’m not saying or suggesting leaving your baby to cry whilst you cook a full on roast, or leave them mid meltdown. I’m just saying that leaving them during the first niggles/grumbles for the time it takes for you to go to the toilet won’t hurt (as long as they’re safe!). Saying that, still try and time your breaks and go before the crying even starts – it’ll make the experience a lot easier and you won’t drop your phone down the toilet.
We’re quite lucky that T is quite a calm and content little boy – we rarely (at the moment) have full crying melt downs where he won’t stop crying or we don’t know what’s wrong, so I was pretty confident that I would be able get on with my day once T was fed into his usual milk coma. Right? Wrong.
Newborns don’t come with a schedule, although I thought I had a pretty sweet one set up with T. The day starts at around 5am with his first feed (although technically the day pretty much started at 1am, but you know what I mean) and I feed him every 2-3 hours. I change him before a feed so he can go straight to sleep, and after falling into said milky dream, I put him down in his travel cot so I can get on with tasks around the house. Perfect. This schedule worked well as I could get on with stuff like washing, preparing bits for dinner, even blogging.
My “perfect” day soon went off piste from day 3 of my first week between 2pm and 3pm when T suddenly wanted to cluster feed every 30-40 minutes until 6pm. I had no idea why. I imagine it’s because he has a massive nap from 10am until 2pm, and upon waking is incredibly hungry. You would think his body would just keep his 2hr feeds going but no, he stays asleep from 10am. I’ve tried waking him for a dream feed at 10am to keep to the 2hr schedule but this doesn’t change a thing – it’s bizarre. I’ve left half made sandwiches on the side, washing up half done, and clean clothes half hung. On top of this, dinners have been hit and miss as I can’t guarantee T won’t want a feed or that he’s not already feeding by the time S comes home. It’s certainly taking some getting used to.
Apart from the feed timings, I’ve been really lucky. As long as T is fed, I can pretty much take him with me (apart from the toilet) and he’s happy. I’m really tempted to get a wrap so I can do even more, like walk the dog (I haven’t quite grasped walking the dog with a buggy). I’m also slowly learning his limits re stimulation. Some days I can get away with him on my pregnancy pillow whilst I put clothes away, other days I can’t.
Most days I also sit with him whilst he’s on his play mat for stimulation and/or tummy time but it’s completely up to him whether he wants to be there, however nowadays it’s more often than not that he does want to be there – it’s great.
It’s only been a few days but I can already see changes in T. He’s more alert and he’s even holding his head up for longer periods of time. His eyes are bright, and he chats quite regularly. I’m also sure that he’s starting to smile that isn’t gas/urine related!