My reflection on how I coped during both of my children’s first few months.
Isn’t it interesting how with every baby we have, we have different ways of raising them? I look back on my first born and I wouldn’t let anyone cuddle her with the fear she was going to crave attention. I bought everything brand new, not a second-hand item in sight. I gave her warm bottles as I was told it was better for her tummy. Woke her religiously every three-to-four hours for the first six weeks. I ran to the doctor with a sniffle. I didn’t do proper research my buggy and ended up buying a new one at 24 weeks old. Kayla never had tummy time, to be honest I didn’t know what tummy time was. She’s so picky with her foods now, as I never experimented with flavours and textures. She won’t eat most vegetables and it’s my own fault!!
During my pregnancy on Frankie so many people offered clothes, blankets, swings, sterilizers etc. This time I wasn’t too proud. I accepted anything and everything bar his cot. I bought Frankie four sets of clothes during my pregnancy and I have only bought him three outfits since he was born. He’s fourteen-weeks-old now. They live in baby grows for the first six-weeks. Friends and family buy you so much, mainly clothes. If I didn’t like them, I exchanged them for something I did like. I always give a credit note for this reason. We don’t all have the same taste. I spent hundreds on Kayla, money which I didn’t have on little dresses that were not comfortable on a new baby.
Anybody who offers any hand-me-down baby items now, I jump at the chance. I though on Kayla, no way. The thoughts of hand-me-downs reminded me of my childhood. Money was tight, most clothes came from family, friends and charity shops. Hems were lowered, trousers cut into shorts. Now I just think gimme everything you got. A wash, an iron and as good as new. Why waste money on something that is perfect?
Cuddles? Hmmm, I was told ‘don’t have that baby in your arms she’ll just get use to it, wait till your on your own’. I don’t know if I didn’t bond with Kayla at first like I did Frankie l, I just fed, changed, put her down. My pregnancy on Kayla was a shock. I was sick one month, pregnant the next, then all of a sudden I was responsible for this little person. It was all so quick and to be quite honest, I didn’t know what I was doing. Force feeding Gripe water and infacol, telling everyone she was colic and had bad reflux, but to be honest looking back, I don’t think I was winding her properly.
If I remember correctly Kayla was on five antibiotics the first year of her life. I ran to the doctor with a sniffle, sneeze or a cough. I’m pretty sure I left the surgery one day thinking ‘how stupid she’s just teething’. Frankie had a cough a couple weeks ago. This time I chose to let his immune system kick in. A baby should not be on antibiotics at six-weeks-old. My determination worked, he was perfectly fine after 2-3 days.
I never want to see a warm bottle ever again. Running though the Square S.C, looking for a microwave or praying the bottle would heat up quicker sitting in a tea-pot of hot water. Dragging my feet down the stairs during night feeds just to warm a bottle up. This time it’s room temperature. Best tip anyone has every gave me. Makes life so much easier and the night feeds quicker.
I’m certainly no chef. Although I make a mean vegetable soup. Kayla eats potatoes and gravy. Gravy, potatoes and cold sausages. Beans, potatoes and gravy, oh and did I mention potatoes? The odd fish fingers, pasta and soup of course. She’s such a fussy eater. She’s allergic to eggs and is lactose intolerant aswell.
I’m currently looking at magazines, books and websites for new adventurous recipes to make for Frankie. Butternut squash, sweet potato, cucumber, hummus and sweetcorn. All things I would never dream of giving to myself never mind a baby. It’s all changed now. I won’t be freezing my mam’s left over stew or casserole. I’m so excited to experiment with all these new foods.
If I remember correctly I bathed Kayla almost every night. In products I knew nothing about just because they advertised them with a picture of a cute baby smiling. She ended up with awful baby eczema and nothing seemed to stop the flare ups. Why do we choose to use creams, lotions and potions on our babies? Warm water is perfectly fine, without parabens, preservatives basically adding crap to our children’s baths. I choose wisely this time. Infacare ultra mild. It’s light, moisturizing and you only need a drop in each bath. A bottle should do six months.
I never accepted help. I thought I have to prove to everyone I’m a good mam. I need to do everything for myself. So stupid of me. I was exhausted. I came home from the hospital with Frankie, sat on the sofa and I didn’t move. Anybody who said if you need anything done, want me to take Kayla for a few hours, overnight, make bottles, hoover your floors etc. I held them to it and took up their offers. I spent the first two weeks looking after myself, bonding with Frankie, enjoying his first weeks.
On Kayla I was up out, window shopping, anything just to get out of the house. Looking for a job when she was only three months old. Now I’m thinking, gosh I’m back to work in less than four months. Six months just isn’t enough time.
All I remember is Kayla crying, her getting sick, the tiredness, exhaustion, applying for jobs. Some family and friends disagree with me on Kayla’s first year. They felt guilty feeding her as she fell asleep whilst drinking bottles, that she was one of the best babies ever. So why don’t I think that? Makes me wonder… Did I have post natal depression? I am one for pretending everything okay when it’s clearly not. Did I know? Did I try mask it? Did I lose some of the most precious first moments of my babies life?
I lived at home with my mam, dad and little brother, sharing a room with Kayla for her first year. My mam is so particular with her home, she’s house proud so I felt I was stepping on toes a lot. My dad was up for work at five or six and with Kayla’s two night feeds, until she was eight or nine months old, I can imagine he couldn’t wait until I moved our to get a good nights sleep. Then I had a hormonal brother preparing for the leaving cert too. It was a lot of pressure to try keep everyone happy.
I couldn’t wait for ‘me time’. I’m pretty sure other people had her more than I did as she got older. She spent lots of time with her godmother, her parents, my cousin, my Aunty, my mam and her very fraternal nana. Basically anybody who answered the phone to me. I just wanted time to be Kellie again, even if just for a few hours. Maybe that’s why I started looking for a job again when she was only 3 months old. I think my pregnancy was such a shock that I wasn’t prepared for motherhood. This all changed after settling in to our new home. I wouldn’t dream of leaving Frankie with anybody right now, maybe I am finally ready to be a mammy.
All I can do know is take it as a life lesson, do everything different. Learn from my mistakes. Me and Kayla are best buds. She’s my little sidekick. Where I go she goes. We both have our moments like everyone. I’ve made up now with what I lost when she was so small and cherish every moment I get with her now.
I hope you get some advice from this blog, its very personal to me. Not many people believed I struggled with Kayla as a new baby. It has taken me four years to actually open up about it. If you have any worries, concerns or feel like you can’t cope, please speak to a family member or close friend. I hate thinking someone out their is hibernating their post natal depression. Speak up, get help and be the person best you can be.