Q&A First Few Months of Motherhood

Alexandra and Zachary

Alexandra and Zachary

You may have noticed if you’ve read a few of my posts that my sister Henrietta had a baby in May this year. Zachary is now nearly five months old and, as we did a question and answer post while Henrietta was pregnant, we thought it was time to update on her experience of motherhood so far.

How would you sum up your first few months of being a mother?
Tiring, lots of crying and lots of poo! But great overall.

What’s been the biggest surprise for you in terms of becoming a parent?
I feel like I sort of knew what to expect because of being around a newborn baby a lot when Alex was born. I prepared myself for the worst of everything and so far there’s not been any massive issues with him so I don’t think anything came as a massive shock to me.

Zachary was diagnosed as having silent reflux when he was six weeks old, what advice would you give to parents who think their child might have it?
Don’t delay getting them checked out. When we noticed there was something wrong, we went to get him checked within 48 hours. You know yourself if there’s something up and they’re not going to turn you away because you know your baby best and you know if there’s a problem. Also don’t trust everything you see on Google, they will be fine!

What’s been the best thing so far?
Smiles and laughs! Also newborn cuddles.

What did you buy which you’d recommend for any prospective parents?
The Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep has 100 per cent been the best thing. At night time, it makes everything so much easier. You don’t have to put up with a screaming baby for long. Also the bouncer we got, the Baby Bjorn one, was quite expensive and he didn’t really like it at first but now he does it gives you five minutes to get on with jobs you want to do as he’s quite happy to sit in there for a while. And muslin cloths. We’ve bought loads and they’ve been a daily essential.

When we talked about your pregnancy in a post back in January (here), you said you thought people treated you differently because you’re fairly young. Have you found this to be true since having him?
I think a little bit, more from older people to be honest. When we go to get him weighed or see midwives or health professionals they always comment how well he’s doing and that we’re doing a good job with him; so I think that proves you don’t have to be older to do well. I do sometimes miss the freedom I had before but I’ve got a good support network to have Zach when I’m ready to start going out again without him.

Harriet and Alexandra (and Henrietta and Zachary!) x

A Day In The Life

13450908_1199744843391977_6366577046684638305_n

Now I have a tiny little nephew it’s become even more apparent to me not only how much your life changes when you have a baby but then how much it continues to adapt and evolve as that baby passes through various stages. Even though Alexandra and Zachary are both still babies, the differences between them are staggering – maybe they should create a ‘mobile baby’ stage in between newborn and toddler.

Long gone are the days when I could put Alex down on the sofa or bed and she would happily lie there or just drop off to sleep. Long gone are the days of sleepy cuddles (except for one night a couple of weeks ago when she fell asleep on me. Not good if it becomes a daily habit but simply delightful as a one-off). Now she’s crawling and pulling herself up to standing, I can’t even put her on the sofa and build a fort of pillows around her to contain her while she has a nap. She would simply get over the pile and throw herself off the sofa.

But also long gone are the guessing games of the first few months – is she hungry, tired, just wanting fuss, all of the above? Now she’s a definite creature of habit and there are set times for meals, milk and sleep. We probably have one day in a month where she has a complete meltdown for a couple of hours and I can’t work out what to do with her. The rest of the time we can usually soothe her very quickly which makes life infinitely easier.

Yes we now have to be extremely careful about where we put her, what she’s messing with, whether she can fall off wherever she is. But she’s also excellent at occupying herself, playing with her toys or just amusing herself by crawling round.

So really, while some aspects of parenting her have become harder since she was Zachary’s age, others are just so much easier. Now my maternity leave is over I feel a little more like a real person again and not just a mommy. As she’s finding her identity and her way in the world, so too am I in a weird way. When your life changes so dramatically, you have to figure out a lot of things you thought you’d got sorted a long time ago. But that’s me off on a tangent and probably a whole different story!

Harriet and Alexandra x

A Labour Of Love

13263716_10157005201760232_6969445116015030641_n

I want to start this post by saying a massive congratulations to my sister Henrietta and her other half Ben on the birth of their son Zachary. He made his grand entrance last Friday and I could not be prouder or happier! I am so excited to be an aunty and to watch the relationship between Alexandra and Zachary as the cousins grow up together.

Henrietta being in labour has reminded me of something: I am terrible at waiting. Even more so when it’s for something as important as a baby.

I’m the kind of person who is always early, I’ll get the train before the train before the one I need to be on, I’ll hang around for ages waiting for people, I’ll set my alarm super early if I know I need to be out (this is counterbalanced by Dylan who lives in a different time zone to anyone else in the world, his family actually look puzzled and shocked if he manages to get somewhere on time). If someone’s coming round I hover by the window waiting for them. I can’t help it.

So transfer that knowledge about me to the situation last week: Henrietta went into hospital on Tuesday morning, Zachary was born on Friday morning. A whole three days. Now clearly this experience was about three gazillion times worse for her than me as she actually had to do the whole ‘pushing a baby out your hoo har’ business. But at some points I genuinely felt like I’d rather go through labour again than be waiting for the news! At least during my own labour I knew what was going on (most the time. Pethadine is wonderful). During this one I had no clue.

I tried not to be that person that texts and calls every three seconds for an update because clearly that’s about the most annoying thing you could do. But I couldn’t help myself. If I hadn’t heard anything for a few hours I normally ended up messaging my mom who was one of her birthing partners.

I spent the whole three days jumping every time the phone went and then getting sorely disappointed when it was only Pizza Hut texting me about their latest deals (it’s always damn Pizza Hut even when you’ve opted out of their messages a dozen times and you have no clue how they even have your number). Then when I knew she was in active labour it was even worse! Having been through a labour myself it made it all the more nerve wracking for me, knowing much more than I ever did pre-Alexandra about all the potential pitfalls and complications.

But I guess those three days of being on edge made the good news even more sweet and all of a sudden I felt like the whole world had lifted off my shoulders! And getting to see him on his first day in the world was amazing, plus he was born on our nan’s 84th birthday so that is truly special indeed. It’s like it was meant to be.

Harriet and Alexandra x

 

Now My Sister Is Growing The Bump

Alex looks just like Aunty Henrietta as a baby!

Alex looks just like Aunty Henrietta as a baby!

I think I may have mentioned in a previous post that my little sister is having a baby! I am very excited about having a teeny tiny nephew in May (or June if he stays in there after his due date!). I asked her a few questions about her pregnancy for today’s blog post and shall keep you updated as things progress:

I guessed I was pregnant while I was on holiday at the start of October, really early on. It wasn’t confirmed until we got back.

My reaction at first was shock, even though we suspected it. Now I’m excited!

I’m due on May 30 but I think the baby will be late.
When we went for our 20 week scan I thought it would be a girl as I’d dreamed I was having a boy and everything I’d read said you’d have the opposite to what you’d dreamed about.
I’ve always wanted a boy and a girl so I would have been happy either way.
I was excited when we found out it was a boy and glad to finally know as I can’t understand how people don’t find out!
We’ve already bought the travel system, some clothes, steriliser and perfect prep machine. We bought some things early on after finding them on offer.
Next we’ll buy the cot and a co-sleeper crib as well as sorting the nursery out.
I think my boyfriend Ben will be a fun dad and he’ll want to take him to football all the time.
He’s already thinking about teaching the baby chat up lines and techniques to get all the girls!
Because I’m only 20 I think people treat you differently. Although I’m not that young to have a baby, certain people when you go to places and even midwives can be a bit patronising.
But I’ve moved out of home and have a stable relationship so I’m not reliant on anyone like my parents, which most people assume if they see me on my own without Ben.
The first thing people always ask me is ‘what did your mom say?’ Or ‘were you parents upset?’
It’s been helpful having Harriet only recently going through pregnancy, although hers was very different to mine.
I’m around a baby (Alexandra) a lot more often than I was before but I’ve always been confident with them so it wouldn’t have bothered me if I hadn’t been.
My advice to anyone else would be don’t listen to the old wives’ tales and don’t get yourself worked up. I was getting really worried at first about everything but there was no need.
Harriet and Alexandra and Henrietta x