The truth about babies…what I’ve learnt so far!

I thought I would share some of the things I have learnt in my first six months (almost) of mummyhood. In no particular order…

1. Your baby will always fall asleep on a walk just before you get home/back to the car, just in time for you to have to wake them moving them into their car seat/bed.

2. Just when you think you have a schedule happening your baby will change things up just to keep you on your toes.

3. Your baby will always wait until your other half has gone to work before doing the biggest, smelliest poo possible (Monday mornings are a particularly popular time for him/her to do this)

4. Whenever you think it is safe to get a hot drink/some food your baby will prove you wrong.

5. Just when you think your baby can not scream any more they will find their second wind.

6. Your baby will save his/her cutest smile for the time he/she knows you are most annoyed/frustrated with them (I’m sure this is a built in survival mechanism!)

7. Your baby will behave impeccably around other people, making you out to be exaggerating everything you say about them. The second those people have left your baby will revert to normal behaviour.

8. Your baby will save their loudest burp/fart for when you are in company (but it’s ok to laugh at baby burps and farts!).

9. You will try all those things you were told not to do, anything to get some sleep (a cuddle or a snuggle can solve many things)

10. Despite and because of all these things it is an amazing first six months (even if it is at times difficult to see this)

Please let me know any pearls of wisdom you might have learnt about mummyhood (or daddyhood) as it is always good to get warning about what might be ahead!

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The baby pincushion

There were tears!

There were tears!

Our poor little boy was used as a pin cushion yesterday, it was time for his six week jabs. Mummy showed him how to be brave first by having her flu jab and then it was the boys turn. Daddy held him while the nurse got on with what she had to do. There was screams but thankfully they disappeared quickly with a good cuddle and all was soon forgotten. As the son of a doctor there was never any question of him not getting the jabs, obviously Daddy has great faith in them (and so does Mummy). Thankfully the others at our antenatal class were in favour of them too and so we managed to avoid what could have been an awkward argument and the loss of some new friends.

Vaccinations are obviously a rather controversial topic between new parents with the debate over whether they are safe or not continuing to rage across the Internet. In fact the Internet has a lot to answer for, it makes information (both fact and fiction) too readily available to people who may or may not fully understand it. The main culprit here is a piece of research done several years ago by a British doctor that supposedly showed that vaccinations (specifically the MMR vaccine) could cause autism. This research was shown to be bad and the findings were discredited. However once something is on the Internet it is there to stay and so this information is still there and still causing people to not vaccinate their children (I do recognise that this is just one reason people choose but it is generally the most prominent).

As with any medicine I recognise that there is a chance of side effects and even a chance that it won’t work and my little one will still get what he has been vaccinated against but that chance is small. The illnesses that he is being vaccinated against are potentially much worse. Something like one in ten people who get measles for example will suffer a side effect which can range from deafness through to death. Those are odds that I wouldn’t want to gamble with (and it’s highly contagious with over 750 people being affected by an outbreak in South Wales at the moment).

A quick cuddle and a plaster and all was forgotten!

A quick cuddle and a plaster and all was forgotten!

I was heartened to see some parents in Auckland advocate for people to vaccinate their children after their son caught tetanus. They had no idea how serious the illness could be and have now vaccinated all their children, hopefully their plea will help prevent other children having to suffer because they didn’t have the “evil” injections. I was also heartened to read that in general New Zealand parents are good at getting their children vaccinated (all be it a bit slowly), as a teacher I am always aware of those children in my class who aren’t protected (even more so last year when I was pregnant).

Now I don’t mean this post as a preach at people, it is simply a way for me to express my views. I know there are people out there who strongly disagree with that view and they are entitled to feel that way. However I urge people to research carefully when making this decision, check where the information you are reading comes from, make sure it is current and credible, after all it is your child’s life you are gambling with.

I found this rather well written opinion piece in the New Zealand Herald, the facts and figures make for compelling reading and the author is right, there really is nothing more persuasive than seeing someone who has suffered the effects of the illness that could have been so easily prevented.

The feeding saga

People tell you that breast feeding is the most natural thing in the world, what they don’t tell you is how hard it is to get started. Feeding the little one has been the most stressful thing about having a baby. There has been lots of crying (and not just the boy), tearing out of hair, stress and Mummy feeling like she is a failure.

Nothing about breast feeding has felt natural to me, it has been a struggle from day one. I have found it painful despite being told it shouldn’t be, I’ve had my latch checked and am told it is fine but yet it is still painful. Several midwives have told me that despite what the literature says in their experience people with red hair and fair skin often find it more painful than others…great! I have ended up with one cracked nipple (exceedingly painful) so have had to use a shield on one side. The shield might help the pain and allow it to heal but it has made the latching harder and I’m sure the little one gets less on that side. I’m totally paranoid about damaging the other side now as well.

To top it all off the little one is not gaining weight, he lost some in the first week which is normal, put some back on and now he has lost some of it again. He has spent the last few days very unsettled so has probably used up all his energy grizzling instead of putting on weight. So despite my best efforts we are now having to top him up with some formula in the short term to make sure he starts gaining. All this has not really helped my mental state one little bit.

Now I am pragmatic about it, at the end of the day I will do what’s best for the little one and at the moment that means some formula on top of breast feeding. We are not giving up on the feeding just giving him a little extra. My midwife has given me a recipe for something called tiger milk (a strange concoction containing yeast, yoghurt and milk) to help increase my flow and I am also taking a herbal supplement that is supposed to help with this, the aim being to get him back onto just breast feeding as soon as possible. I’m also seeing a lactation consultant to keep working on my latch and try and stop any more damage or pain. I guess what I find hard is all the literature that makes breast feeding seem like the easiest thing in the world yet my experience (and the experience of quite a lot of people I have talked to) has been that it is incredibly hard. It is no wonder that people feel so bad when it doesn’t go as expected. I am hopeful we will get there in the end and if we don’t I know we will have tried.