Self-care with a new baby

Self-care with a new baby

My ‘baby’ is almost two now and I’m still very unsure if a baby number three will ever be on the cards so this is really a reflective post on self-care I wish I had implemented with a new baby. My daughter is now almost five and son was two a few weeks ago and my experiences were completely different, with my first I took to it easily and was back up in no time, whilst with my son I had terrible postnatal depression which I think was contributed to my lack of self-care in the early days post delivery.

If I do ever become a mother again this is how I would self-care better.

  1. I’m a pretty determined person if I put my mind to it and I was desperate to get out and about with the new baby and prove that again I was this perfect earth mother second time around. I was naive to think that two children wouldn’t be much harder and that I would heal in the same way. I was emotional and physically drained and I should have slowed down.
  2. I was pretty strict with my first with visitors and my second I let things slip. It was overwhelming not just for me but for my oldest. Miss J needed time to adjust to a new baby and we didn’t give her the chance.
  3. I wish I had treated my body better. I was so focused on keeping everybody else happy that I neglected myself. I had very low iron in pregnancy and required an iron transfusion after giving birth second time. I wish I had taken Spatone Iron earlier to help with my iron levels. If a third ever does happen I will be taking it throughout my pregnancy.
  4. My first labour was a real struggle and required a fair amount of stitches. The time it took to heal was long and using the toilet was a very scary experience. When Mr T came along I luckily only grazed, but second time I was clued up and had a jug of warm water ready for toilet trips and I took many salt baths which I really think helped make me recover so quickly.
  5. Breastfeeding first time was tough and I spent a fair amount of time crying through the pain.  With my first child I remember desperately waiting for our local shop to open on a Sunday morning so I could send hubby to buy some formula, whilst I was waiting for my milk to come in. I know some people are really against it, but it helped me carry on breastfeeding when I was struggling so much. With my second I had a carton just in case and never had to use it.
  6. Do your reasearch on a good breast pump. First time I went for a brand I knew and it was rubbish, second time I really looked into it and found a great Medela Swing pump which enabled me to pump and store milk.
  7. Close the curtains and air your breasts if they hurt and stock up on lanolin cream, Lansinoh seemed to work best for me.
  8. First time around I was desperate to get back into my clothes and I was ‘fortunate’ enough that I actually lost 20 Ibs in the first five months of pregnancy, so after delivery I was skinnier than before. Second time around I wasn’t so lucky and still haven’t lost it two years on. If there is a next time I will not got hung up on this and will embrace the leggings post delivery.
  9. Accept help if offered and ask for help when needed. I really wish I would have asked for help and accepted in more in the early days with baby number two. Miss J probably would have benefited from some time away from the new baby and I needed time to bond with my new baby.
  10. Make the most of box sets. I loved box sets with my first child, but with my second it was mostly spent watching kids TV. I wish instead of going insane watching Paw Patrol whilst I had a baby stuck to my boob that I had got out my tablet. There is no harm in watching TV and just staying awake.
  11. For some reason with my second I felt that I shouldn’t nap and as soon as my hands were free I would attempt to clean, I wish I had just laid my head down on the sofa and just rested my eyes for five minutes whilst my oldest watched some TV.
  12. With both children as I breastfed I felt like I had to be with them every moment of the day. I wish I had taken the time when hubby was home to pop out for an hour on my own between feeds or even go for a walk. Having a baby is all-consuming and sometimes you just alone time.
  13. I wish I would have expressed how I really felt. I bottled it up and I wish I would have been honest with myself and say how it really was. I didn’t feel confident enough to really start expressing my thoughts until Mr T was 16 months old and I started to write it down in this blog. Once I started to express how I felt, I then could make sense of it and let go of guilt.
  14. I really wish I had known about mindfulness earlier and took time out to mediate, relax and be present in the moment. It’s done wonders for my mental wellbeing and it really is one of the best self-care tools you can use.
  15. Own your parenting decisions and don’t let people make you feel guilt. Do what works for you and your baby and don’t let anyone else try to make you feel guilty. We are all trying to do the best by our children so don’t let someone limited perspective make you feel bad.

Having a new baby whether it’s your first or fifth is difficult and a big transition for you all. Be kind to yourself and remember unless you look after yourself first you can’t look after your baby to the best of you abilities. If anyone has any other self-care tips to add please let me know in the comments.

A special moment with both my children
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17 Top tips for a happier life with a new baby

17 Top tips for a happier life with a new baby

A new baby is something really special, they smell gorgeous, are tiny and cute and they completely over haul your lives for a while. It takes some to time to adjust to a new baby in your home, as you get to know them and they get to know you. It’s hard work, exhausting and emotionally draining. I’ve written some tips I would have given myself as a new baby arrived.

 

  1. Trust your instinct it’s usually right.
  2. If in doubt ask for a second opinion. Always feel strong enough to ask for a second opinion about your baby, see another doctor or see a health visitor and make sure you feel comfortable with the advice you’ve given.
  3. Sleep when the baby sleeps and don’t feel guilty about it. A tired mummy is no good to anyone.
  4. Breastfeed your baby and if that isn’t what you want to do or it doesn’t work out, then bottle feed your baby.
  5. Own your parenting decisions and don’t be made to feel guilty. We all have to make difficult decisions around are parenting choices and we need to be confident in them.
  6. Let the other stuff slide. cooking, cleaning friends can all take a bit of a backseat whilst you adjust to motherhood.
  7. Make sure you still do stuff you enjoy. If that’s getting out with some friends then so be it or if you’re a home bird and not ready to leave the baby then have a nice bath or read a book whilst someone watches the baby.
  8. If you don’t already have them, make mum friends. Join a group on Facebook or go to a local mum’s group, these women need you as much as you need them.
  9. Your baby probably wont sleep for a long time and that’s normal. Try and ignore anyone who says that their 2 week old sleeps through for 12 hours as the chances are when that baby is teething, sleep will once again be a distant memory.
  10. Hold your baby, let time pass by, breath in that smell and remember the perfect moments.
  11. Every mum 1st, 2nd, or 6th time will make a mistake so don’t let it upset you. Your baby won’t remember and guilt is every mum’s worst enemy.
  12. Take everyone’s opinions with a pinch of salt. Take your time to make up your own mind.
  13. Don’t compare your baby to another baby.
  14. Sometimes are own mother’s and grandmother’s want to pass on their words of wisdom, but please remember advice has changed hugely over the last 20+ years. I’m sure the advice is meant to be helpful, but please make sure the advice you are given meets current guidelines. No babies sleeping on tummy or thickened formula please.
  15. Muslins clothes are amazing and you can never have enough. Great for all sorts of spit up and mess and also double as handy breastfeeding cover tucked into your bra strap.
  16. Ask for help. You don’t need to be a hero and you won’t get an award. If you need help, please ask for it.
  17. Always have baby wipes around. I honestly don’t know how mum’s managed before baby wipes, as they really are amazing for cleaning anything! If you don’t fancy shop bought ones you can always make your own.

Little babies don’t stay little for long so try to remember those special moments as when you look back this is what matters. The night-time feeds, screaming, baby sick and tears from you and baby will fade much quicker over time, but those little moments of happiness will last a lifetime,

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A mothers unconditional love for her baby

The day I met you, my darling baby, everything changed. I would never be able to just think about me anymore as my actions would directly affect you. I will be the role model to you and I will be the first person in this world that will show you what love is. There has never been anyone like you in my world before and I still can’t believe how instantly I fell in love with you. When someone says they don’t believe in love at first sight they must not have been lucky enough to become a parent like me.

I will never forget the way you smelt as you were laid on my chest for the first time. I felt exhausted, relieved , overwhelming emotions of love and fear of how I was now responsible for this tiny person for the rest of my life. From that day I became a mother which is something I will cherish dearly until my dying day. I had to learn quickly how to wash a baby, dress a baby and how to feed, which was hard to begin with and nothing like when I had played with dolls as a child. You needed me and were relentless with your needs, but I sacrificed it all as I wanted to do it all for you.

I cherished my time feeding you, taking you for walks and rocking you to sleep, as you are not just my child, but also my friend. I would sometimes get you out of your cot, still asleep and sit with you in a chair rocking you and stroking your face, desperately trying to remember the way you felt in my arms. You soon grew, much quicker than I had anticipated and were soon toddling around my house, causing destruction. We started going for walks to the park, just us two, to feed the ducks and I can honestly say I was so happy in your company. We spent many a day cuddled on the sofa, playing dolls and painting together, then the day came where you had to leave me.

You ran off without a second look back through your classroom doors and began a life away from me. I wasn’t there all day to help, guide or teach you right from wrong and I missed you terribly. I still had your baby brother at home, but I missed having my darling little girl with me. When I collect you from school my heart fills with love and I’m so happy to hear your stories and what you have learnt today, but I’m secretly jealous that someone else gets you. I loved the day you told me about the dinosaurs and how they were ‘stinct’ and then asked if I knew any of them.

The days we have together are not as often now and when I reach for your hand to hold, you soon let go to be free, ready to explore the world on your own. I know at bedtime no one does bedtime stories as well as me and that you will make any excuse to keep me in your bed just one more minuet longer. I will hold you as long as you let me, kiss you on the forehead, stroke your hair and breath you in. You will never stop being my little girl and the promises I made to you when you were born will be forever. You are my love, my darling, my baby and I will be with you forever.

 

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Pigeon Pair & Wanting a Third Baby

Pigeon pair & wanting a third baby

I have been very fortunate enough to have two children and I can tell you now that I didn’t care what gender I had, I was just grateful that I could have children and that they are healthy.  People especially the older generation don’t seem to understand why when I have a perfect pigeon pair I would want to add to my family, but I do. I am certain that our family will not be complete until we have a third child. I have no preference on what gender we have and I’m pretty sure we won’t even find out, but I feel our family is still missing one tiny person.

Why do I feel the need to add to our brood? To be honest I am not sure and practically it probably isn’t the best decision, but then I see that it’s more important to have a big enough family to fill our hearts than money. I feel my decision has been slightly influenced by missing out on the first five months of Mr T’s life as I was crippled by depression and I had blocked out so much of it. I wish I could have appreciated the baby stage more with him, but now things are better I feel like I get so much from him.

I was one of two children and have grown up incredibly close with my older sister that I class her as one of my best friends. We share friends with each other and have even shared a couple of the same bridesmaids, but we couldn’t be more opposite if we tried. Not only do we look nothing alike are personalities are different, but one thing we do have in common is that we both have the most silly laugh and we can have each other in fits of laughter in seconds.  I hope my children can be as close
what we have become.

As a very small child I had dreamed about having children of my own and was always playing and caring for my dolls. I actually looked forward to turning 30 as that was the age my mum had had children and that’s all I wanted. I didn’t manage to wait as long as my mum and got pregnant at 23 with Miss J. It really was the most amazing moment in my life knowing that I would be starting a family of my own.

One thing I will not be looking forward to is pregnancy, I don’t do pregnancy easily and can say besides loving having a rounded tummy and feeling the kicks I find pregnancy a massive pain in the back, hips, legs etc. The 9 months of pain are all worth it though and something I would be willing to go through again. I think I still need a couple of years to block out the pain of pregnancy and labour before I’m mentally prepared to put myself through it again.

I do have a real fear of getting PND again and how I would cope with three children and this is why I want to wait a few years first to make sure I’m mentally prepared for it. I do hope that as I have been through this, that I will recognise it earlier and be able to get the help I need before things get too much. I can’t let it be a deciding factor in my future as that would mean I have let it win and take something else from me.

I’ve found parenting difficult and I’m certainly not the earth mother I had imagined myself to be. I’ve had PND, had a breakdown and have come out the other side, but I can confidently say I’ve been a good mum, caring mum, loving mum and my children are flourishing. I want another baby, not yet, but in a few years’ time and this baby will complete our family as five.

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First pregnancy compared to second

Being pregnant is such a magical wonderful time for some, but for me I just found it exhausting and quiet dull. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it at all as there were some lovely bits to it so I thought I would share my comparisons of my First pregnancy compared to my second.

1st pregnancy: being able to have a nap as soon as you got in from work and laying in till 11am at the weekend after multiple trips to pee through the night.

2nd pregnancy: exhausted beyond belief and if you’re lucky getting half an hour nap with the toddler in bed with you. Finding yourself nodding off when watching Frozen for the 20th time.

1st pregnancy: writing a detailed account of how your pregnancy is going week to week in your journal whilst reading the updates on www.babycentre.co.uk to see what size fruit your baby is this week.

2nd pregnancy: not even being able to remember how many weeks pregnant you are as they now merge into one. Pregnancy journal has a few short scribbles of details in, but mostly forgotten about.

1st pregnancy: everyone sympathising with you with your morning sickness whilst passing you ginger biscuits and telling you to take it easy.

2nd pregnancy: you should have known what you were getting yourself into so no sympathy this time, and you better just suck it up when having to sort the toddlers breakfast out whilst being sick in the bin.

1st pregnancy: counting down to each scan and midwife appointment wishing the time would hurry up.

2nd pregnancy: completely forgetting you have a midwife appointment and hoping it’s as quick as possible as you have your toddler in toe and you’re unable to hear anything your midwife has to say.

1st pregnancy: watching your tummy jump as the baby is kicking with your partner lovingly holding your stomach. Enjoying the special times in bed holding your stomach whilst baby kicks around.

2nd pregnancy: telling your partner the baby is kicking whilst he shrugs and puts his hand on your tummy for a moment. Gently asking your baby to stop kicking you, as you really need some sleep before the toddler wakes you up again.

1st pregnancy: carefully planning and browsing all the different bits of baby equipment in John Lewis whilst hardly batting an eyelid to the price as you have two full time wages coming in.

2nd pregnancy: begrudgingly buying anything that didn’t last the 1st child and making sure it’s on sale. Besides the changing bag, you definitely deserve a brand new one of them.

1st pregnancy: spending hours in Next buying so many newborn baby clothes and lovely outfits.

2nd pregnancy: buying a big pack of newborn baby grows and accepting that those really cute baby outfits are just not pratical and won’t actually be worn.

1st pregnancy: having that beautiful glow about you and wearing pretty maternity dresses.

2nd pregnancy: looking exhausted and not having a glow. If you’re out you wear leggings and if you’re at home pj’s.

1st pregnancy: eating everything and anything in sight without feeling guilty.

2nd pregnancy: remembering how hard it was the 1st time to lose and being a bit more careful.

1st pregnancy: going on maternity leave at 35 weeks and spending the time sleeping or going for lunches. You then go 8 days overdue so your are bored out your mind resorting the hospital bag for the 6th time.

2nd pregnancy: working until your 37 weeks and then waters breaking at 37 weeks so you have to pack your hospital bag there and then.

1st pregnancy: begging for pain relief or to be listened to whilst being ignored and told you have hours to go still.

2nd pregnany: everyone listens to you, but no chance for pain relief as the baby shoots out.

1st birth: holding this beautiful tiny newborn baby whilst your heart fills with love and knowing life will never be the same.

2nd birth: holding this beautiful tiny newborn baby whilst your heart fills with love and knowing life will never be the same.

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Advice I would have given my first time pregnant self.

I was so scared about the possibilities of bringing a child into this world and how I would cope as a parent. What kind mum did I want to be? How would I parent? Would I try and breastfeed? I found all the information from parenting books, NCT antenatal groups and other people’s advice overwhelming and confusing. I wanted to be the best mum I could be, but I was unsure what that actually was?

I wish I could have told myself to just follow my instincts and that if something didn’t feel right then to just try something else. Whichever way I turned I was made to feel like a failure as a mother especially by Health visitors. I was told I shouldn’t give my daughter a dummy as she would refuse my breast and when I gave in and gave a bottle of formula when I was still waiting for my milk to come in and my nipple were bleeding that I had failed and wouldn’t be able to get back to breastfeeding. I spent so much time crying and made to feel like I had given up already, but I was lucky enough to have a supportive mother who reassured me and gave me the support to keep going, if it wasn’t for her I would have given up a week in.

I started to go to baby groups as soon as my husband went back to work and felt so overwhelmed with the competition with who’s baby had smiled first or slept through the night. I was one of the youngest mums going to the groups and felt bit out of place whilst they talked about their new BMWs and recently renovated kitchens, whilst I was driving a 3 door Fiesta living in a rented two bedroom terraced. I felt our world’s were apart and was unsure how I could make friends with these women when all we had in common was a baby. The truth is I did make friends with some of these women and the support and help they have given me over the years have been invaluable.
Something that took me a long time to realise was that us first time mums are all as clueless as each other and just trying our bests to be good mums, just some are better at pretending they have their shit together than others. We’ve all been out with a baby who won’t stop screaming no matter what we have tried, we have all done stuff and felt judged for it whether that is breast feeding in public, formula feeding or giving a dummy, but at the end of the day we have done what is best for us and our babies and what we needed to do to get through the day.

I have been a loving mummy, a patient mummy, a happy mummy, a yummy mummy, a shoutty mummy, a grumpy mummy, a sick in my hair mummy, a crying mummy, a lost her shit mummy, but most of all I have been a muddled mummy and that is fine with me.

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the muddled mother

My favourite purchases with a second child.

One thing I really enjoyed when pregnant with a second child was buying the little special extras I couldn’t afford first time around and updating stuff that I didn’t like with Miss J. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite purchases and the reasons why.

Babymov Cosy dream

This product was amazing for a peaceful night sleep and especially for a baby with bad reflux like Mr T. I loved how he was cosy and his legs were raised upwards to help ease discomfort that reflux caused. One of the best bits about this is that its machine washable and dries pretty quickly and I can vouch that it last well after washing it most days and using it for six months.

Joie Mimzy Highchair

I wish I had bought this product sooner and not tried to manage with my old one which just wasn’t practical. This highchair is amazing and so comfortable. Not only can you adjust the height, you can take off the whole tray to clean, it folds down for storage and the plastic has an almost velvety texture so even cheese spread wipes straight off. I love how you can recline this so you can have baby up at the table before they are ready to start solids.

Medela Swing Breast Pump

If you do plan to breastfed I really do recommend this breast pump. I went for a cheaper one with my daughter and it was useless compared to this. Its easy to use, clean and transport. I used it everyday for six months and it became my breast friend.

Mam Bottles anti Colic

At first I had my reservations with these bottles but after I was sent one free and Mr T refused any other brand I tried these and he loved them. I was put off my all the bits, but they really do work well and didn’t seem to aggravate his reflux too much or cause nipple confusion. Its great that you can self sterilise the bottles in the microwave.

Breathablebaby Cot Mesh Liner

I know not everyone likes cot bumpers but after having a good look around I found these mesh liners that Velcro on. I didn’t use them when Mr T was newborn but I used them when he went in his own cot from six months and they are great at keeping his legs and dummies inside the cot at night.

Ergo Baby Carrier

I have no idea how I would have managed without this carrier. It was great for holding a reflux baby upright when I needed to do some jobs and so easy for doing the school run. Mr T is 16 months old and we are still using the carrier everyday for the school run.

Milton Travel Sterliser

This was so handy on holiday that I used it when I was home for doing his dummies, rather than having to put them all in the steam steriliser every 30 minuets.

Milton Mini Soother Steriliser

These make life so much easier when out and about. Easy to set up before you go out and also handy to take up to bed with you with a spare dummy.

Nursing Chair

I love my nursing chair and couldn’t be without it. I’m still using it 16 months on for good night feeds and a story.

Mamas and Papas Armadillo City

I bought this when Mr T was 10 months as I wanted a small pushchair that I could keep in my downstairs toilet. This pushchair is lovely to push, folds easily, look good and fully reclines. my only regret was not buying it sooner.

Please see links to Amazon to the side for current prices.

 

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