How has the first few months of motherhood been for you?
My idealistic and nurturing ways of being a mummy to JJ whilst also maintaining me were set whilst growing him in my belly. Nearly all of them had gone to pot! I’ve had to adapt and be super flexible.
- Breastfeeding cover. I thought I’d save my dignity and hide those buns away from the public eye by using a cover. I’ve given up now using them. I’m either hiding myself under them trying to assist JJ . Or it’s a distraction or just annoying and in the way. If I need to, then a muslin tucked under the bra strap is the trick which aids in cleaning up any messiness. It’s eating at the end of the day. Would you or I like to be covered whilst eating? Not really!
- Expressing milk. This was amazing the first 3 months. Had perfected when to express and to give JJ the expressed milk. But then it belly’s up. JJ’s feeding pattern had changed to such regular close intervals that there was no time to express. Unfortunately, it’s not as quick as press a button and a minute later the milk flows into a bottle easily and quickly. This then led to JJ being apart from the bottle. He became unfamiliar with the bottle that he just wasn’t interested in taking it anymore. No getaways for me then…
- Breastfeeding There have been so many times I wanted to give up. I never realised actually how hard it would be. There has been forever sofa or chair time feeding, any time of the day. Comfort feeding, clamping, pulling, twisting. Feeding in the dark, feeding whilst walking in carrier, in the car – well almost anywhere! There’s no real routine to feeding. If you can imagine, we all have a nibble, a snack, a feast, a drink. Sometimes we are hungry and sometimes we are not. That is what breastfeeding is, any hungriness and thirstiness that JJ requires, day and all through the night. I’ve kept going and very proud! .
- Frequent pram walking. It’s great for babies to take in that fresh air, but does shopping with JJ in trolley count towards it? Does walking to a class count as well? Seeing those eyes turn sleepy is beautiful when he was younger. Now those eyes are so intrigued in what the environment has to offer. He’s so keen to see what everything is. As much as I adore taking JJ for a stroll, it’s not every day. I will strive to do more.
- Healthy eating. I laugh at this as I thought I would have further nutrients and be all health-ier! To be honest, I did extremely well in pregnancy but now I want that cookie, chocolate, cake another cookie! I will eat anything! At least JJ will get a taste of all sorts of food.
- Still go to restaurants. Instead of going to any restaurants on the whim, now I have to consider is it pram friendly? No more are the days going to Michelin restaurants or packed pubs. But I’m happy I eat out! I’m happy JJ is great at restaurants. I have mastered the skill of feeding him and feeding myself at the same time. Never thought I would see that kind of multi-tasking along with talking to company.
- Social life. Social life is JJ plus I. I am totally lucky that my close friends haven’t stopped wanting to hang out. They have been truly amazing. I can’t obviously ding crazy night outs which I do miss loads, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to handle them. It also helps saving on money. I do have to think if the atmosphere is baby friendly when meeting friends but it all works out. I know cinema isn’t really social but I MISS watching the latest movies on the big screen, with sweet popcorn! I do miss being readily available to go out anywhere and anytime.
- Toys I said to myself I wouldn’t buy much toys until it is right for him. Surprise surprise, I have kept to this! Only the necessities. But instead of saving the money, it has gone to clothes. JJ has a better wardrobe selection than me. He’s only going to grow out of them quickly. Grrrr.
- Becoming a family I really try to ensure we have family time. That’s us three, JJ, Martin and I going out or just playing together. Spending quality time not in front of the TV. These are just precious moments I truly love! When there’s no chores and just pure enjoyment. Martins help is truly undeniable a load off my shoulder – and seeing him when he does the poo nappies – a cracker!
- Meeting other mummies. Without NCT group, and Babycentre group that I truly rely on, the days can be so lonely. JJ can’t talk yet, and having adult conversations and knowing others are going through similar events is so reassuring. I cannot comprehend what it would be without them. You keep me sane!
- Becoming my mummy. Garden trips, and further sightseeing. I am definitely becoming my mummy. I’m trying to recall how mum would treat me, and what she would do in certain scenarios. I now ask a lot of advice. Obviously some are outdated, and she is learning from me! Love mum!
- Spare time. Why on earth did I think I would have loads of spare time? Maternity leave is not a holiday! I am not in an office or out in meetings, nor getting great pay with lunch. Being mummy is 24/7. I don’t get a spare time to have a break or have me time. My time is playing, feeding, calming, soothing, changing nappies, teaching, and encouraging JJ. Then if there is spare time, stuff something in my mouth to eat, clean the clothes, clean the flat. Can I fit in a shower? Wash my hair? Do I have 10 minutes to take a nap? I don’t have a clue what’s going on in the world unless someone sends me a quick whatsapp message. TV? Its just on in the background as white noise. Yet somehow I manage to get things done. Maybe not in the time I want, but eventually things do get done.
- Pacifer . . Its meant to help with SIDs but I said I would not give one – only because I can’t be assed to ween JJ off it. Guess what? I tried to hoping JJ could use it to sooth himself to sleep easily, so I could capture some zzzzzzzz. It didn’t work !
- Sleep for me. Who the hell said sleep when baby sleeps? That is the time to do the chores, fit in 5 minute shower, sort the baby bag, arrange paperwork, skim through advice on being a new mummy, searching for tips and tricks. Oh and on the subject of sleep – my gosh! During pregnancy I didn’t sleep well. Now this is a new world! Waking up every hour to feed or be a soother. I am a zombie. Those long shut eye exist no more. They have faded far away, leaving heavy eye bags. I’ve only had very few naps with JJ during the day past these 5 months…if only they could be more!
- Beauty – Beauty regime dissipated. There’s muff, lack of nail varnish, bun hair, hardly any make up. Ahahahahahahahahaha! That’s all I got to say. Poor Martin! It’s an effort to make an effort but I do try sometimes!
- Travel I can’t just park anywhere anymore. I have to make sure the back side door opens so I can get JJ out. And the same for the boot. I need to get the pram out. Long gone are those days fitting in the last tight space. Going to London on public transport? Blimey! Word of advice: Plan your route. Make sure there are lifts at stations. Try not to go on peak times. Some people will help you get on a train, bus, escalator but others will disregard you. If I could slap them across the cheek I would! 7 hour drive to the Lake District? That consists of frequent stops, and feeds and packing the car with everything. It doesn’t take 7 hours now. It’s much longer! Ahahahaha!
- Carriers Whoever stole the idea of carriers/slings from material being wrapped fround the body from the third world, well boy are you making money! These are just amazing! JJ seems to be content being next to me. Don’t have to lug around the pram all the time
- Night routine. I’m not sure why the emphasis is so high that lil bubbas must sleep through the night. They are babies! They still have a lot to learn. I’ve given up on focusing on a real night routine and trying to keep JJ sleep peacefully throughout the night. He will wake normally because he is generally hungry. He will wake because he wants to be next to me. All I can do is encourage sleep but not be fixated on a routine. When he is ready he will sleep longer than hour or 2. He has done so before and he will do again. For now, co-sleeping is a beautiful and easy way of sleeping. He loves it. I love it.
- HobbiesI can only try to do them, cycle, read comics, keep up with blog and so forth. Rarely occurs. One day I’ll get back into it all and travel the world. Hopefully some of these will be shared with JJ.
The good, the bad and the ugly. No matter how hard things can be. I soldier on. Through the hardships of losing my dad, JJ is my saviour. Seeing that smile, hearing that innocent laughter and witnessing his milestones, gives such a heartfelt delight. Every struggle is totally worth it. I’ve learnt in these short months that I need to be flexible and open to anything. I’ve learnt I can be a mummy my own way, and still somehow incorporate my values and still be me, Laila. I wouldn’t change anything.