How My Days Have Changed. 

Having a baby has certainly changed the way my day looks, not to mention my priorities. Before, my biggest worry in the working week was whether there would be traffic on the roads on my way home. Now, it’s whether I’m going to have regular toilet breaks or a shower.

I watch more day time telly (it really is awful) and I can’t remember the last time I woke up after 6am. 

As a shift worker no day was the same, but there was always a routine. Now, there isn’t. Here’s what my day now looks like (based on a typical 8am-5pm shift).

Before Baby – 6am – Wake up, shower.
After Baby – 6am – Was already awake at 5am feeding T, the ride to 6am was a cat nap. No time for a shower. S is getting ready for work and I’m expressing some milk before T wakes up.

Before Baby – 6:30am – Prepare lunch. Have breakfast. Walk dog.
After Baby – 6:30am – Coffee. Twitter. Get dressed. Housework (that doesn’t require noise).

Before Baby – 7.30am – Off to work.
After Baby – 7.30am – T is awake and chatting away. After a chat, I get him dressed.

Before Baby – 8am – At work.
After Baby – 8am – Place T on his playmat and depending on his mood I’m allowed a proper breakfast of toast or cereal, with a smoothie. On a bad day, I’m allowed breakfast biscuits and a coffee.

Before Baby – 8:30am – Coffee at work.
After Baby – 8:30am – Third feed of the morning (second if you don’t count the 5am feed).

Before Baby – 9am-12am – Work.
After Baby – 9am-12am – Play, Change, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. If I’m lucky, I may be able to do some washing and have a cuppa during naps. If T is having a clingy day I have to wear him but this makes certain household tasks, not to mention toilet breaks, harder. On Mondays I meet with the mums from my post-natal group, Wednesdays I have swimming, and Fridays I have playgroup – making the mornings a military operation.

Before Baby – 12pm – Lunch consisting of a salad or a sandwich; with a yogurt and some fruit. Lunch is usually an hour.
After Baby – 12pm – Lunch consisting of quick and easy food I can eat with one hand. Healthy is not always an option. Ten minutes is all I need. Indigestion? I laugh at the pain of indigestion.

Before Baby – 1pm-3pm – Work.
After Baby – 1pm-3pm – see 9am-12pm

Before Baby – 3pm-5pm – Work, including a coffee break.
After Baby – 3pm-5pm – T’s longest nap period. Now is the time for longer pieces of housework like hoovering, as well as preparing bits for dinner. I may even fit in some blog stuff that I haven’t been able to do on the phone… shit, my phone’s battery is about to die.

Before Baby – 5pm – Finish work.
After Baby – 5pm – To make up for sleeping so long, T now cluster feeds. I’ve tried dream feeding halfway during the nap to stop this but T still cluster feeds although with long gaps between feeds.

Before Baby – 6:30pm – Been home 90 minutes already. I’ve put a wash on and prepared some dinner (at a relaxed pace) which is now in the oven or simmering on the hob.
After Baby – 6:30pm – S is going to be home at 7pm. Time to prepare dinner – quickly! (S has never ever stipulated for dinner to be “on the table” it’s just my personal preference to have it ready – I don’t want our evening to spent eating a late dinner). On a good day, I can prepare dinner quite calmly, on a bad day I have to wear T throughout cooking; limiting what I can actually cook.

Before Baby – 7pm – S is home. I serve dinner. We chat about our day.
After Baby – 7pm – S is home. Takes on nappy duty. I finish and serve dinner. We chat about our day if T is happy with that. If not, it’s cold dinner for me and onto another feed.

Before Baby – 8pm – Wash up. Settle down to watch an episode (or two) of recorded telly.
After Baby – 8pm – I wash up, S goes to get T ready for bed.

Before Baby – 8:30pm – Still watching TV. Off to bed between 9:30pm and 10pm.
After Baby – 8:30pm – Give T his final feed and it’s bed for us. We may watch a bit of telly in bed but we’re generally ready for bed as well!

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change one bit of this, I love being a family, but it’s interesting to see how our lives have changed.

How do your days differ with kids?

K

Reminiscing With Toys

I was in T’s room the other day, putting his clothes away, and I noticed that his toy drawer was open. After realising that the wife had probably had her own play session and forgotten to shut the draw, I looked inside.

Soft toys, hard toys, toys that play music, toys that react to movement. Bath toys, pram toys, garden toys. We’ve got quite a few already.

My favourite toys, however, aren’t the fancy toys that can tell you your blood type by the way you call it’s name – it’s the toys that I used to play with as a child. Not the actual toys – they’re probably in my mums loft, still covered in spit and god-knows what, but the toys that have never stopped being good.

Here are a few of my favourites.

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The Fisher Price Phone. Not exactly the same as the one I had but it’s still there in spirit.

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The Tomy Egg Family. Remember these?

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Stickle Bricks. Technically not stickle bricks, and these are apparently S’s set but they’ll definitely be in T’s collection when he’s old enough.

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Play-Doh. It still smells the same. It still feels the same. It’ll probably still get stuck in the carpet if you dropped and walked on it. I. Love. Play-doh.

Lego / Duplo. Apart from my collection, T will have so much Lego it’ll be coming out his ears and likely under my feet to cause Lego related injuries.

These toys were so simple, some not even needing a battery. So where did these toys go? I can’t wait to introduce T to some of these toys, I really hope he enjoys playing with them as much as I did.

What were your favourite toys as a child? What are your favourite toys now?

K

Alone For The First Time

For the first time in 3 months me and S were alone. Albeit in a barbers, and I was getting ragey because there was only one barber working because the other barbers decided to go out the previous night and drink far too much, and there were two kids in front of us getting their hair cuts and telling god awful knock-knock jokes, but we were alone. It felt weird.

We had dropped T off at his nanas, my mum’s, because last time we went to get our hair cuts it was hit and miss whether T would wake up and need a feed, and I didn’t fancy feeding him underneath a hairdressing cloak or on top of the cloak with tons of hair dropping on him. It was also a good opportunity for a practise run (for us, not mum) of mum having T. It also meant we could have a morning to ourselves where we could do coupley stuff like drink coffee in booths that weren’t pram friendly, hold hands whilst walking side by side, and visit shops that don’t have ramps! It was amazing.


I think my biggest worry was the feeding. Although I had left 2 x 5oz feeds with mum I was worried it wouldn’t be enough or T suddenly wouldn’t take the bottle. But it was fine.

The biggest hiccup (although not really) was when a comical (for us) accident happened down below despite telling his nanas that it wasn’t due until Monday. That’ll teach me to drink orange juice! Thank god we packed him extra clothes!

In total we were gone a total of 4 hours. I probably would have gone back sooner if a) we didn’t live so far from the barbers meaning a wasted journey if we left and b) I didn’t desperately need a haircut.

After our haircuts we couldn’t resist popping into the local bookshop and getting a book (or two). They always have books I remember reading as a child, and they always stock ‘alternative family’ books which is always nice to see. The children’s section is in the basement of the shop and is a lovely cozy place with cushions everywhere to sit and read – I can’t wait to take T there.


I thought I would be upset or at least bothered at the thought of leaving T, as this was the first time I would have left him, or at least longer than the 20 minutes I usually take to walk the dog, but I wasn’t. Not at all. I know I wasn’t completely relaxed, as I was worried T would be bothered with me leaving and cry the whole time but he didn’t give a monkeys, not one bit – charming!

K

 

3 Month Update

T is now 3 months old. 3 MONTHS!!

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Time is going way too quickly for my liking, although I’m still very guilty of saying to myself “ooo I can’t wait until T is doing this…”. I’m forever looking for the next milestone that I’m forgetting that I can’t then rewind once the milestone has been reached! I can’t wait until T is sitting up or grabbing toys – we have so many of them – but I’m also enjoying how he’s still small enough to lay on my chest after a feed, or how he doesn’t protest when we lay him down.

Milestones-wise we are in full smile mode, and not a day goes by that we haven’t had genuine¬†smiling and sometimes something that looks like a lead onto a laugh.

T is also self-soothing with his fingers or a whole fist, and often sticks a few digits in his mouth after a feed but before going to sleep.
It’s very cute hearing him suck and slurp away on his porky fingers, but it’s not so cute when said finger is wiped across your face accidentally or after a 30 minute feed when someone doesn’t know how to remove said finger from the back of their throat and throws up the whole feed. Yeah. That.

Speaking of feeding, or certainly thanks to feeding, T is now comfortably fitting 3-6 month clothing. No more newborn or even 0-3 month clothing. Although T is obviously still a baby, he doesn’t feel like a baby-baby. You know?


He’s a big, fudgey baby now and no longer a teeny, tiny baby that can be scooped up and cradled. He has to sit over my shoulder so he can have a look around like the nosey Parker he is. With this, he’s now also awake for longer periods during the day, which is great as it means I get to play with him more.

Because of the longer awake periods, we’re now in a really nice bedtime routine and T is sleeping through from 8:30pm to 6:30am. He’s put himself in that routine and often starts demand feeding from 7:30pm until he falls asleep at 8:30. When he wakes at 6:30am he then has a 30-40 minute feed and is off to sleep until 9:00. Not bad! This gives me a good excuse to sit in bed with a coffee and express/tweet/blog/nap/all of the above.

And finally, and probably my favourite milestone, T has found his voice and is often heard cooing and chatting on the changing mat, in his Moses basket, in the pram, in the car, or when he’s just being carried around the house. It’s adorable and I find myself copying the noises or pretending we’re having an intellectual conversation about the economy. I’ve also been known to tell family members off if they haven’t heard the fact that T is talking to them. Cue incessant babbling from nanas, aunties, and uncles.

I’m loving this stage at the moment, and not just because T is only pooping once a week, but because he’s really interacting. He smiles and chats to most people and is quite happy being left looking at the fish tank or by the window. He’s a genuinely lovely little boy and I am so proud of his developments and achievements. I couldn’t be happier right now.

K

The Self-help Guide to Baby Brain

You get it when you’re pregnant and I can almost guarantee you it won’t ever go away. Baby brain.

  
For me, the most extreme case of it was when I was pregnant and I put the kettle in the fridge after making tea. More recently, I’ve walked half way to my mums to find I didn’t grab the changing bag. There was also this one time I tried to hand S the baby but there was no baby in my arms and was therefore cradling nothing – but I think that was linked more to sleep deprivation.

To help me (somewhat) combat baby/mum brain here are a few things I now do on a regular basis.

Lists. I cannot get enough of these. Paper, the blackboard in the kitchen, even the notes section on my phone – there are lists for lists. Shopping, housework, even where I have to go in a day are all written down.

Planning ahead. S knows it’s no good springing something on me that needs doing last minute. I won’t remember. So now we have to make sure either a) she asks me a week in advance, or b) she tells me that morning and then sends me a reminder text that day. I also make use of the family calendar/planner to write… Everything. .. Down.

Alarms. Like said lists, there are several alarms on my phone reminding me to do something, not to mention apps that note things down for me like; when T last fed, what his nappy looked like, what boob I used last. It’s all written down.

Talk about your day. It’s so easy, especially whilst on maternity leave, for days to blend into one. Talking about your day; no matter how dull it may have been, will help differentiate the days from each other.

Overdoing it. If you all know me well enough by now, you know that I rarely just chill out and sit down. I have to do something in my “spare” time. Now, however, I’m learning not to over do it otherwise I run the risk of forgetting something. I burnt the steamer the other day by letting it burn dry – all because I thought I’d be able to steam some veg and also “quickly” change T – but this then turned into a poonami and full clothing change. Awesome (!).

  

Baby brain is no laughing matter (it’s hilarious). If you know someone with baby brain, love and support them… They’ll get through it… Hopefully. If they don’t, get used to burnt dinners, late pick ups, and someone who thinks it’s still Tuesday when it’s Thursday.

K

Sleep

Sleep has been a big talking point in our house. Even before T arrived we were losing sleep. From the third trimester I was losing it thanks to just being pregnant and S was losing it because we had a beansprout on the way.

So when T arrived we were both pretty tired, but things didn’t start out as bad as we’d expected. T slept through the night on day two (which scared us more than anything as it was unexpected) and by the end of the week we were on blocks of feeds every 2-3 hours, sometimes 4. Perfect. I’ll take that. 


But then a tongue tie was found and cut, and from then on we had several sleepless nights, T often only sleeping for blocks of 40 minutes as soon as I put him down in his moses basket. We don’t think it was related to the tongue tie but it was a funny coincidence. He just didn’t want to lay flat anymore. We tried him in his travel cot (an hour max) and his carry cot (an hour) – nothing was getting us any sleep. On top of this, T then developed a cold.

T never had any issues sleeping on our chests, but we didn’t want to co-sleep at night, so it was 40 minute blocks for us.

One day, however, we read somewhere about putting a wedge underneath T’s Moses basket mattress to raise him into an angle slightly. I don’t know what prompted us to check but we always knew he was always happy propped up; whether it was against my pregnancy pillow or nursing pillow, or our normal pillows.


So we purchased a “wedge hog” to put under his mattress. Annoyingly, apart from firmness, it’s no different to the wedge I had during pregnancy for my knees!

Anyway, we tried it out and I can honestly say it’s the best thing since sweet red peppers stuffed with cream cheese. That night, T slept through from 8pm to 5am!!!! He then had a feed and went back to sleep until 7am. We couldn’t believe it, but as someone kindly reminded us…

“once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three times is a routine…” (@pollianicus)

So onto the next night… 8pm to 4am, feed, back to sleep until 7am. The next night…. 8pm to 4am, feed, wake at 7am. We’ve now had 2 weeks of this and can’t believe our luck. We fully expect it to come crashing down once something happens; like teething, but at the moment we’re very very happy.

Of course I still wake up every now and again to check on T, but that’s expected as I’m so used to waking every 2hrs, but I soon go back to sleep. Hopefully, that habit will drop and I’ll sleep right through one night!

K

We are in no way sleep experts, so if you’re having baby sleep issues please only take what we did/do as a suggestion, and not actual advice.

We purchased the wedge hog with our own money.