River Arthur Vincent Mead was born on November 18th at 1:11am, exactly one week early. That means that it’s been over one whole month since I became a Mum now, and it’s been quite a whirlwind! If you haven’t already, you may want to check out my birth story; but be warned I’ve been told it’s put one or two people off having children. Oh dear! I can confirm it was definitely worth it though.
So I’ve had almost six weeks into this Mum thing, and I thought it was a good time to report back.
I kept wondering how it would feel to have my own baby, if it really was ‘indescribable love’ like so many say. I’d say, think of the person you love most in the world, like really, truly love, who means more than yourself. If you have a person like that, now imagine this tiny version of them, much more vulnerable and needing constant protection. It maximises that love, and sort of terrifies you how much you feel this animal need to protect them; all the while making you feel like the luckiest person alive. So yeah, it’s weird and scary and lovely – all in one.
His little smiles make my heart burst, and when he sits staring at me I feel like we have this special connection that needs no words. I’ve always been a bit scared of babies because they’re so delicate, and I probably still will be with other peoples. But holding mine feels like the most natural thing in the world, and I can easily scoop him up and hold him with one hand, while getting things done with the other now. I’m a multitasking expert!
One of the biggest joys I’ve had so far is seeing Gary with River, it’s made me fall even more in love with him. Seeing him be such a great Dad, so loving and dedicated, makes me ache. I have my own little family now, and they are perfect.
I’m also really grateful that I get maternity allowance. It’s a very small amount which is hard, but it means I get to take the next few months off to just concentrate on looking after my little boy. I have so much respect for single Mums, or people who go straight back to work; because I have no idea how you do it. You’re brilliant, as it must be so hard. I actually can’t wait to get back to work, but I just don’t think I’d have the energy in me right now!
The most obvious downside to a newborn is sleep deprivation. It’s such a cliche, but for good reason. I’m exhausted ALL THE TIME. Even now as I type this, River is fast asleep beside me and I know I should sleep too. But I also know he’s due a feed in half an hour and there’s no way I can nap for that short a time (if I get less than an hour it actually makes me feel worse, so I’d rather power through until later when I can get a solid two or three hours between his feeds!). So you plan ahead, and try to use your time wisely. For example since I put him down to sleep; I’ve put a wash on, put laundry away, tidied the house a bit, made up some bottles for him, had some food, and I’m now writing this blog post. And I know after his next feed, once he’s settled again, I’ll indulge in a nap then.
I try to nap during the day like this when Gary’s in work, and I know I’m going to be doing the night feeds; because I’ll feel like HELL if I don’t. It makes me grumpy and so so impatient. When Gary’s off work, he takes over the duties and I have so much more sleep, thankfully.
So yeah, planning your day is a must I’d say. When I don’t, it’s like I’m just constantly putting out fires and getting nowhere. I end the day feeling even more tired, the house looks awful, and it’s like I’m chasing my tail a bit which can be overwhelming.
The other downside is that I feel like I can NEVER relax. Even if River is fast asleep and content, even if all the chores are done, and even if I’ve had a great sleep – I constantly feel like there’s loads I could be doing. It’s like the days go by so fast, and I’m SUPER forgetful too. I’ve still not quite got the hang of looking after a small human, while also doing all the normal life things like shopping, seeing friends, paying bills, putting the bins out, keeping appointments or remembering what day it is. So if you’re one of my pals I haven’t made time for yet – PLEASE FORGIVE ME. I so, so, so want to see you! I’m probably just busy being half asleep, feeding a baby, forgetting my own name to text/call/chat/make plans. My social upkeep has been truly rubbish the past few weeks, and I hope people understand when I seem AWOL.
Okay so here are the things I wish I’d known, or the little tips that I truly think might help anyone else expecting their first baby! –
Stock up – Nappies (in different sizes), wipes, muslins, and formula (if not breast feeding). Get LOTS and act like you’re preparing for an apocalypse. It’s easily the best thing I did, being so prepared. Six weeks in and we still haven’t run out of our supplies, and it’s so handy when you already have a million other things to think about.
Settle in – Having a drink, a cushion or pillow and my phone handy wherever I go around the house is so useful. There have been countless times already when after a crying sesh, I’ve finally calmed iRiver down by rocking him in my arms; only to realise I’m then stuck in one place and can’t move for fear of upsetting/waking him. So have whatever you need to hand before settling down!
Don’t panic – This one has been reaaaallly hard for me, but I’m slowly getting there. When we first brought the baby home I kept panicking over little things. I worried I was doing everything wrong, or that I wouldn’t know how to keep up with the demands of a newborn. But trust me, if I can do it; anyone can. Crying is okay, worrying is normal, and you basically figure things out as you go. So try not to panic too much, it’ll all end up okay!
Shop around – The amount of people I see spending HUNDREDS on prams, sleepyheads, or new fads for babies is unbelievable. I’m so glad we didn’t give into the pressure of guides telling us we need X, Y and Z. I got a Joie pram for around £160, and its amazing. It comes with the car seat attachment, and has everything we need, I love it! As for those sleepyheads everyone raves about; we got Aldi’s own version of a sleep nest for £25, and it was one of the best things we’ve bought. He LOVES it, it truly does soothe him to sleep when nothing else will, and I can’t believe some people pay over £100 for the same thing. Especially because he’s already almost grown out of it. So we got six or seven weeks out of it which is great. Not sure I’d be so happy if I spent a lot more on it though. So basically my point is, shop around guys!! You don’t have to get certain labels or fads, so it’s worth researching around. Having a baby is already so expensive, so don’t make your life harder than it needs to be.
Overall it’s been quite a whirlwind, and I have loved every moment. I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring! 🙂
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