Parenthood: The First Two Months

As I'm writing this, Charlotte has just turned nine weeks old, so I thought I'd sum up the first two months of parenthood and share my thoughts with you here!

The first week of parenthood was by far the hardest and we were so sleep deprived that we felt mentally and physically exhausted and now, whenever we feel really tired or we're having a tough day at being a parent, we think back to that first week and remember that it can never be that bad again!
So on Wednesday, day four of being new parents, we had a visit from a maternity assistant due to Charlotte's jaundice. She was to be weighed as a precaution. We were briefly asked how breast-feeding was going and we explained that it could often take Charlotte quite some time to latch on and feeds could last just five minutes but on one occasion lasted forty-five minutes! Charlotte's weight had dropped significantly, but was still within the expected weight loss percentage. This maternity assistant said we need to get food into this baby and asked our permission to give her a top up of formula milk. We had allergy related concerns about dairy due to Ian's family history but felt we had no other option as we didn't want Charlotte to lose any more weight. She gave Charlotte some formula and I expressed some colostrum - my breast milk wasn't in yet - which was given by syringe to Charlotte. I was told to maintain skin to skin contact for the next 24 hours, breastfeed every three hours, express breast milk (it had just come in later that day) and top up with formula if required. We managed to get a few decent breastfeeds and the duration was better also. We didn't feel that a top up of formula was required and I didn't see the point in expressing if Charlotte was already breastfeeding.

The next day she was weighed again and had lost more weight. More than she was "allowed to" according to the guidelines. We were made to feel inadequate and basically felt like we were unknowingly starving our baby. The same assistant made some calls and said we were to be re-admitted to hospital and they'd be expecting us so don't take too long. I never spoke another word to that woman and I was so fucking angry. She promptly left and I took my sweet time to enjoy a decent shower and get our stuff together. We arrived back at the hospital late afternoon and saw a pediatrician who said apart from being jaundiced, Charlotte seemed healthy and content. As a precaution, bloods were taken to check for any other underlying issues. We were happily surprised to get our own room and even a camp bed for Ian. All the staff were so friendly and helpful this time around. Later that evening we were introduced to Heather, a breast-feeding expert.

Over the next 48 hours, we tried everything - we were breast-feeding, giving my expressed breast milk and formula by bottle every three hours, we tried various breast-feeding positions and a nipple shield. It was all-consuming and absolutely exhausting beyond belief. Finally we all came to the conclusion that Charlotte was a sleepy, lazy eater and liked an easy life when it came to food - even the bottle teats designed to mimic a nipple were too fussy! She just couldn't or wouldn't latch properly and tired herself out from trying, meaning she'd fall asleep without getting what she needed. Her bloods and health checks were all fine, apart from being slightly jaundiced. We made the joint decision that we would bottle feed Charlotte and although I wanted to use my breast milk, unfortunately my supply was drying up due to all the stress and other factors, so we chose to use formula. Luckily she has had no adverse reactions so far! I must admit that it was pretty heart-breaking to conclude that I wouldn't be able to breastfeed because the bond I felt on those very few occasions when she fed really well from me was indescribable. I have found bottle feeding to feel like quite a chore at times and a bit of a hassle but our baby girl is getting fed and gaining weight steadily and really, that's all that matters! I just wish we'd had more help from the beginning.
Since that first week from hell, my body has recovered well (except my unpredictable high blood pressure), we get a decent night's sleep most nights, Charlotte continues to awe us with her beauty and growing personality, we've attended birthday parties, been on shopping trips, gone for lots of walks, enjoyed a child-free dinner date and spent lots of precious time with our families.
We've also experienced sleepless nights, shitsplosions, getting pee'd on, getting vomitted on, being late for appointments, congestion, baby acne, cradle cap, conjunctivitis, feeling overwhelmed, vaccinations and feeling hungry because you can't get a minute to yourself!

Being parents is hard work and it will test you in every way possible, but it is also very rewarding and enjoyable. I love being a Mum to Charlotte and I can't wait to continue making more special memories together as a family!

How did you find the first two months of parenthood?

Emma xxx

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