I would like to start this blog post with a big shout out to all the new mothers out there because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few weeks it’s that being a first time mum is bloody hard work. So go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back and pour yourself a stiff drink coz god knows you deserve it.
Bringing Dexter home was one of the most natural things to me; I felt like I was sailing through the first few days wondering what all the fuss was about. I was clearly born to be a mother. The midwives came and went and seemed pretty impressed with my ability as a new mum and one was even shocked at the fact I hadn’t cried yet. I felt invincible.
Then it all changed.
By the second week I was a mess. The baby blues everyone had been talking about had arrived and hit me with full force. All of a sudden I couldn’t stop crying, I didn’t want to hold Dexter or be around him and I relied on Rich to take him whenever he could. I felt as though I’d made a huge mistake and I longed for my old life and the old me.
On the days where Rich worked a late he wouldn’t come home till 10 and I spent most the evening full of anxiety with a baby I couldn’t settle. And worst of all, I didn’t feel anything toward him.
When the health visitor came I cried. Every time we had to take him for any medical checkups I cried. I cried to my mum, my sister and most of all, i cried to Rich.
The feeling was overwhelming and something I didn’t expect, mainly because I’d wanted a baby for so long but also because I’d sailed through the first 5 days as a new mum.
My health visitor mentioned post natal depression and suggested medication to help me but I wanted to wait it out, after all, the baby blues are extremely common in the first few weeks of motherhood and I didn’t want to make any rash and unnecessary decisions.
And I’m so glad I waited because on one particular Sunday something inside me shifted. I suddenly felt a rush of love for this little baby boy who was so dependant on me and even though when darkness fell anxiety would rear its ugly head again, I felt like I was on the mend.
And here we are now, 2 months later and those early days seem so far away, which I can honestly say I’m extremely happy about. I know they aren’t newborns for long and no bad period in your life lasts forever but during those dark days I felt as though I would be stuck there for eternity without the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I don’t think the traumatic labour helped with how I was feeling and having a forceps delivery meant Dexter had quite a bit of mucus during the first week and that made sleeping almost impossible due to him choking when he was on his back. I found he slept so much better if he was propped up slightly and I ended up putting him on a breastfeeding pillow for a few nights until we purchased the sleepyhead and chicco co sleeper.
These two purchases combined have been the been the best money I’ve ever spent. The co sleeper can be raised one side meaning Dexter doesn’t have to sleep completely flat and with the sleepyhead placed inside, he’s super cosy and safe.
My plan to combination feed for a few months quickly came to an end after 3 weeks when I decided I’d had enough of Dexter bringing my breast milk back up. He seemed to be able to keep formula down a lot easier and even though I was gutted that I would be giving it up so quickly and I would no longer be looking down at his gorgeous little face whilst he fed from me, I couldn’t cope with all the sickness. I never knew how much milk he was getting and I worried it wasn’t enough. He seemed a lot happier with formula so we made the decision to cut out breastfeeding altogether.
This change also meant Rich could join in with the night feeds and this was a game changer for me and my mood. Breastfeeding is really hard work, especially during the night when your baby is feeding every 1.5 hours and you’re exhausted. Dexter didn’t have the best latch so it was a bit of a battle every time I woke to feed him and I can still remember the frustration I felt during those night-time feeds when all I wanted to do was sleep for days.
After that everything became a whole lot easier to be honest and I’m happy with my decision to make the switch, even if it is frowned upon by some people.
As times gone on, and we’ve got used to this new way of life, I find myself really looking forward to the next day and taking Dexter out with me. From early on I made sure I was going out and about, with and without Dexter as I felt it was important for my sanity. I left him with Rich during the first week whilst I popped to the shops or to my mums and by week 4 I left him for a few hours whilst I went to a friends baby shower.
Being a mum certainly comes with its challenges and it’s true what they say; no one can prepare you for motherhood. And though there are days where I still cry from exhaustion as I mourn my old self, it only takes a smile from my baby to make me realize he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
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