10 things I no longer care about…

… now I have a baby.

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I was thinking the other day, about how my life has changed since Aifric was born. Obviously EVERYTHING has changed. Sure. But in my day-to-day existence what little things do I still care about and what things do I now no longer give a flying monkey sh*t about? I think it’s when I looked in the mirror and saw the state of my eyebrows that I started thinking about this.

There are some things that I will always ALWAYS care about but when writing these two lists, I couldn’t really remember what they are.

10 things I no longer care about…

  1. The state of my eyebrows – sorry pals, it’s true, this is how I am now, deal with it
  2. What goes in the dishwasher – apart from the Tefal frying pan, it’s a ‘free-for-all, chuck it in, hope for the best, we’ll just buy new… whatever if we need to’ kinda vibe
  3. The number of calories in wine – no explanation needed
  4. What glass I drink my gin from – literally any receptacle will do. No. That’s a lie. I will not take it from a thimble. Recently, a pal measured out our gin using the top of her baby’s bottle (the lid can hold up to 50ml). THAT is what I call ‘living the motherhood dream’ my friends
  5. Folding clothes back up beautifully when returning them. Can’t believe I used to do this but I always thought it would help the person at the other end if I folded them nicely. Sorry ASOS, the clothes are just going back in the bag… still folded obvs – GOD, I’M NOT AN ANIMAL – but not ‘shop ready’ folded
  6. Wearing paired socks – there is no time to be wasted on searching for socks that match. Get ’em on, get out the house
  7. Whether you can see my bra – any part of it. Nursing bras are huge, no top can cover them completely, why even waste precious minutes trying?
  8. What milk I use in my tea. Used to always be skimmed. Now I’ll just take it how it comes. Which is never hot but tea is tea chaps and it’s goooood
  9. Wearing shorts in London. These were always ‘holiday only’ attire. Heatwave guys, we’re in a heatwave incase you’re not aware
  10. Whether items of clothing are hung in my side of the wardrobe or Simon’s. It’s a mish-mash now. Neither of us know where anything is. Simon addressed the chaos a couple of days ago. To be fair to him – he’s been patient with it for 8.5 months. To be fair to me – I had a baby. That is the best Top Trumps card you’ll ever get your hands on

 

10 things I still care about…

  1. The state of my fringe
  2. The length of my nails
  3. The number on the volume of the TV – although I must admit I am caring less and less about this
  4. Whether our bed is made up. Messy bed, messy head pals!

So. Turns out that Motherhood and #MatLeaveLife = actually don’t care about so much. Can’t even get to number 5 on the ’10 things I still care about’ list.

I am sure more things that I NO LONGER CARE ABOUT will come up. I’ll keep you posted.

*PHOTOS: semi-beautifully made bed that the little one likes to roll around on. Yes those are my pjs just hanging out on the pillow. REALITY.

Is there space for homesickness…

… when you have a baby?

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I suffer from homesickness when I’m away. I know some people may find that strange at the age of 32, but I do, and I can’t help it. I know when it’s coming, like a grey cloud, and I know that it could be a fleeting feeling or it could hang around for a couple of hours, max. I know that once it passes I’ll be fine again and will still be delighted to be away. But whilst it’s here, I don’t want to be anywhere but home.

I remember the first time I tried to really properly explain it to Simon. We had just checked into a motel room in Monterey, California. We’d been away for over a week at that point, doing an amazing road trip down the west coast of America, seeing some incredible, breathtaking scenery, eating great food, meeting lovely people – having a brilliant adventure. But suddenly I didn’t want to be anywhere but home. I wanted a cup of tea and my bed and my things and familiar smells. And my famalam and my friends. I wanted Simon too, of course, but just to be back home with me. It didn’t mean that I didn’t want to be with him or that I wasn’t having the most terrific holiday. I just, in that moment, wanted to be home.

I think it’s hard to understand if you don’t get it because being on holiday is supposed to be fun and relaxing and adventurous. An escape from normal life – knowing that your normal life is still there, waiting for you back home but that you are getting a little break from it. I still get those feels. I just get the homesick feels too. It happens most holidays for me at some point. I know it will pass but when I’m in it, it can be a little claustrophobic. I think our honeymoon was the only one where it didn’t appear, as I distinctly remember thinking – wow! I haven’t missed home on this trip!

So we’ve just come back from our first family holiday as a three. And I have to say – I got those feels. The homesick ones. We’d been having a marvellous time – swimming in the sea, eating cinnamon buns, drinking coffee, laughing, reminiscing, catching up, and having proper chats that weren’t centred around whether the bottles and pump had been sterilised and how many poos Aifric had done that day (obvs we still spoke about the poos because, c’mon lads, we’re only human… but we spoke about other stuff too).

I sent Simon off to the spa and said I’d get Aifric down for her nap. We were in a new place, she was a little out of sorts and on this occasion she needed rocking to sleep. And that’s when I felt it arrive, my homesickness. And with it, a thought. As I’m cradling my 8 month old daughter: I don’t know if there is space for homesickness and a baby.

I am the adult now. The responsible one. The grown up. And I am home to Aifric. Wherever we are, we represent home and comfort and love and stability for this little thing. It doesn’t matter if we’re in a new place and the smells are unfamiliar and the noises are unfamiliar and everything is out of sorts, because we’re there. And we represent home to her. And that’s all that matters.

So maybe there isn’t space for homesickness anymore. Certainly not my homesickness. Can I allow myself to yearn for home and my creature comforts when someone else needs that reassurance? Is there space for two of us to be crying for home? Plus I just don’t think Simon could deal. It’d be like when I stubbed my little toe and broke it at the exact same time that Aifric started crying for her nap and the Ocado man rang the bell with an enormous shop. Simon had to make a choice as to who to attend to first.

I think I will probably still feel homesick on occasions when we’re away. I think it’s in me that I love the normality, reliability and reassurance that ‘home’ provides – whatever that may be. But now I have someone else to worry about and to comfort. I have to provide that ‘normality, reliability and reassurance’ to someone else. I have to be that. So I can welcome it, accept it and acknowledge it when it arrives – appreciate that it is a real thing and I can allow the feelings to come and to pass. Aifric has given me a little perspective, on what home is and what it should be. Maybe when I get the feels and recognise they’re here, I can then give homesickness a bit of the cold shoulder. And say – hey old friend, nice to see you again but we’re done.

*PHOTO: Us as a famalam of three on our first holiday together.

It’s been a while since I wrote a piece…

… because life just seems to get in the way.

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I was super excited when I set up my blog Not-So-Showbiz Mum. I was all:

‘This is going to be great! I’m going to keep up my journalism skills so when I go back to work I won’t be rusty. I’m going to be all creative. I’m going to write about things that matter to me. I’m going to write about how different my life is now I’ve got a babe. I’m going to write about the great times. I’m going to write about the difficult times. I’m going to write about the in-between times. Hopefully other people will read it and get some comfort from it or get some lols from it or just enjoy it for what it is. Also maybe it’ll make me feel better about not replying to people in my new mum-haze as they can all just read this like some sort of weird public family newsletter. I’ll put Aifric down for a nap, pour a cup of coffee and write. Oooh maybe I’ll be like those people on Instagram who are all super chill with their flat whites and laptops/iPads in coffee shop gardens wearing the newest trends with their baby’s feet sticking into the corner of the photograph.’

Hahahahahahahahaha Faye.

Oh Faye.

Faye Faye Faye Faye Faye.

Come here for a cuddle.

Because you know why I haven’t written for a while?! Because, life pals. LIFE.

Let’s talk about what happens when Aifric does go down for a nap, shall we?

Well. First of all it’s an absolute race against the clock, Crystal Maze styleeee. Because who knows when Sleeping Beauty will wake from her slumber. So each day I have to prioritise what jobs to do first – what HAS to be completed and what can wait – and how quickly I can do them…

Cleaning up her breakfast / lunch. One day I decided that I’d do this after expressing and showering. FYI Weetabix and broccoli stick, guys. They stick fast and they stick hard. Do them later, do them at your peril. Because there is nothing that shouts FUN PARENT LIFE like getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing them off your kitchen floor.

Expressing. This has to happen. It’s a priority. Aifric has one boob in the morning now she’s on solids. And we use the other boob for half of her evening milk. Sometimes I do wonder if all I spend my day doing is preparing meals for Aifric. Girl’s gotta eat. (In the heatwave she’s having two boobs and the time it has freed up for me in not having to express… JOY)

Showering. Again. This has to happen. 99% of the time it’s during nap one. 1% of the time it’s during nap two. 100% of the time I hear fictional crying whilst washing my hair. I often leap out of the shower in a suddy mess, dripping everywhere, just to check the monitor. Fictional crying… and the sound of her dumper truck or train – the tunes of both are embedded into my brain. ‘Screwdriver!’ ‘Put the rocks into the hole!’ ‘Chug-a-chug-a-choo-choo. Chug-a-chug-a-choo-choo. Here. We. Goooooo.’

Tidying the kitchen. If I can get this done, it’s ideal. Because it then sets us up for the rest of the day.

Preparing Aifric’s lunch. Needs to be done, ideally before she wakes up so it is ready. We’re doing majority baby led weaning with some purées / pouches. But this does mean courgettes and sweet potatoes need to be roasted (OMG having the oven on in the heatwave makes me want to put my head in the freezer) and broccoli needs to be boiled.

Making a coffee. Can be done whilst other things are being done. Multitasking my friends, multitasking. It’s an absolute necessity and there is no getting around it.

Having breakfast. Not sure if you have experienced me without food. I could take this moment now to issue a public apology to those who have.

Making the bed. Now I have bought us some fancy bed cushions (superfluous bed cushions), I like our bed made up a certain way (sorry for the direction you got this morning on that Simon!). And when the bed is made, the day feels like it can start.

Washing. It’d be great to get a wash on when she’s snoozing. You know what’s even greater? Getting a wash on and getting it out during one nap. Living. The. Dream.

Pelvic floor exercises. These take 15 minutes. They need to be done. But that’s 15 minutes when I could be doing all of the above. As I am no longer numero uno, they go to the back of the queue. Don’t tell my physio. Please.

Nothing. Sometimes I’d like a breather for 5 minutes just to do nothing.

And all this has to be done whilst she’s snoozing. She could wake at any time. Sometimes she stirs and I hold my breath and stand as still as a statue. As if she can sense any movement through the camera and monitor. I swear they can.

So chaps, I’d love to be sitting down writing to you all, but the above, ALL OF THE ABOVE, has to be completed first. How the bloody hell do others do it?!

Oh and also. There’s Love Island on catch-up to fit in now too. I never stood a chance.

*PHOTO: here we are, trying to get sh*t done.

It took me completely by surprise…

… when I had to tell a woman that she should be supporting other women.

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It’s funny – I had been totally preparing for one situation when suddenly out of nowhere, I was confronted by something else.

I have been lucky enough to be able to breastfeed Aifric – it was a hard slog, we were using nipple shields for the first 13 weeks of her life but we got there. But I know that it doesn’t work for everyone and I am appreciative that it worked for us. Whenever I have been feeding her out in public, I have always been 8.5% on edge, expecting someone to say something negative to me about it. Probably because one of my dear friends had that very unpleasant experience herself. I hadn’t worked out in my head if I’d launch into a tirade about how it is 2018 and that view is archaic and oppressive. Or whether I’d try to be super chill about it – all like ‘ok cool, think what you like, I don’t care, it’s your issue’ and then imitate the whatever emoji.

But what I didn’t anticipate – was that I would have to launch into my tirade because of the speed at which I change my baby’s nappy.

So, sit down a moment, let me tell you a quick (don’t you worry, I know time is precious) story…

Last week I broke my phone (it was under the oven glove and slid onto the floor as I lifted the glove to use it. Honestly. Could have screamed into a tea towel). So I booked an appointment at an Apple store to have it fixed and off we went into town. Aifric – ever the exhibitionist – was showing off her ‘standing’ to the Apple man. Suddenly her face became really red. Her eyes started to water. She was concentrating very hard. I knew what tricks she was up to. And I could smell what tricks she was up to. I distracted the man with my wit and my charm and bundled her back into the buggy to try to keep the smell localised. Whilst discussing email receipts and what-not, I was mentally working out where was the nearest place I could change her. Got it. Pret on Shaftesbury Avenue. Off I wheeled the disgraced little madam.

I got us set up in the toilet – everything ready as if I was about to undertake an operation. Lucky I did – as what had been contained at Apple, had now escaped at Pret. Aifric’s started on solids now BTW. Not fully established but started on them. Make of that what you will but I was in for a TREAT. A full outfit change was needed. So I began.

A knock on the door. ‘Hello? Is someone in there?’

Crikey, I’d only been in there a couple of minutes. ‘Yes that’s right, I’m in here.’

‘Ok, good. Just checking.’

A few minutes later. ‘Hello? HELLO??’

A different voice.

I thought to myself – what on earth is going on here? So I opened the door mid-change to see a pretty impatient American woman standing outside. I said – ‘I’ve only just come in here, I am changing my baby.’

‘Well, I changed my babies fast.’

Honest to God. Red rag to a bull. I lost it.

‘OK. Well, she’s done a poo. I am a new mum. You are a WOMAN. Women should SUPPORT other women.’

(I don’t know if you can call someone with a 6 month old a new mum but I still class myself as one, on many occasions I feel like one, and anyway, it doesn’t matter how far down the line we are, does it?)

She said – ‘well I need to use the bathroom and this is the only one.’

‘Ok cool. You’ll need to find another one then.’ WHATEVER EMOJI.

Honest. To. God.

Did she think I was taking my leisurely time in a tiny hot public toilet with poo all over Aifric’s trousers for the sheer utter joy of it? Yeah sure, having the absolute time of my life here love.

WHERE IS THE SISTERHOOD?!

Where was the – oh no worries at all, totally understand, good luck!

Where was the – oh goodness, we’ve all been there, completely understand.

Also. What if I was just taking a while to go to the loo? Maybe I was doing a big poo? Or having period drama. Or changing. Or had just had a row with someone and wanted a little cry. Or perhaps I just wanted 5 minutes of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of London life and people like her?

‘Well, I changed my babies fast.’

THAT is exactly the sort of comment that could really send a new fragile mum over the edge. And I absolutely won’t have it. Not on my watch.

 

*PHOTO: Changing Aifric on a changing table when she was much much younger. Turns out I haven’t taken a photo of her on a changing table for a while. Probably because people like this woman are all up in my grill and not letting me mess about in public toilets which obviously I LOVE doing.

I am not sure I can be a good Mum and…

… have a (justified) extreme fear of wasps.

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The realisation came to me on a Hen Do (another post for another time). I am still breast-feeding Aifric so time away from her means I still have to pump to keep up the flow and also to prevent me leaking onto strangers. Which is a thing that can actually happen. It’s not cool.

We’d just completed our Spice Girls dance class (we were excellent FYI and as a group of 18 women, we WILL be the Next Big Thing) and I was due to pump. So out they (the boobs) popped straight into the pre-prepared pump (no way was I going to waste any time putting all that together when I could be guzzling gin).

It was a warm day in Bath – the bedroom was hot. We opened a few windows. There was a breeze. Life felt pretty sweet (apart from the fact my boobs were being dragged and compressed into a tiny little funnel and my friends were chatting over the incessent hum of the pumping machine). Suddenly, out of nowhere (actually it was just through the window but I like that phrase for suspense), came a giant wasp. It flew in the window and headed straight for my vulnerable, restricted, milky boobs.

‘Oh my God, oh my God, get it away, what I am going to do, oh my God, OH MY GOD, please someone help, OH MY F**KING GOD’

Now. If you have used a double breast pump before, you’ll know that unless you have one of those magic bras with holes in them, your hands are holding both pumps and you cannot do anything else but sit there, boobs out, defenceless. So there I was, top down to my waist, holding my two bottles of milk, machine contentedly humming away, boobs oblivious of the unfolding drama.

My good friend Katherine leapt to attention and jumped in between me and the wasp, as a human barricade to protect my sweet nectar (and me). She began a little dance moving back and forth as the wasp did, whilst I just sat there barking orders – ‘left, right, right, right, left, it’s going to the left, oh my God it’s coming for me, left left, Katherine, thank you, oh my God, it’s close, it’s getting close’ – like a peculiar game in the Crystal Maze.

This couldn’t go on. I’d have to stop the pumping. Hurriedly I detached myself from the pump – boobs hanging dejectedly in a ‘WTF woman?!’ pose. And I jumped over the pumps to cower by the door.

In comes another friend – bear in mind now, there is now just ONE wasp and THREE humans in this room. Mellissa is super chill. Over she goes to the window, and between her and Katherine they usher the wasp to the window. It’s now got itself stuck down the gap in between the sash windows (it was a LUSH hen do house). Meanwhile I have clocked that my bottles full of breastmilk are just standing precariously on the carpet – where I haphazardly placed them in order to get away from my waspy assailant – very very close to where Melonator and KG were at work.

So now I begin shouting once more – from the corner where I am crouching – ‘guys, guys, GUYS! my breastmilk! please be careful of my breastmilk – oh my God – I need that milk, please don’t knock it over, oh my God, guys, GUYS, the WASP!’

In true superhero style, they extracted the wasp and released it back into the wild. My heart rate went down and I slowly walked over to my bottles and the pump, and resumed my position. The bride walked in – ‘hiiii guys!’ – with no idea of what drama had just occurred.

But. BUT. What will I do if I am with Aifric? Will I be able to put her before my fear of wasps? Will I be able to stand between her and the wasp as my dear pal Katherine did for me?

We were nearly tested on this when walking back from the weigh-in (Aifric’s, not mine. Please. One drama is enough) when a wasp flew in my direction – I did what I normally do – close my eyes. If I close my eyes, I can’t see it and it’s not real. I closed my eyes. I ducked low and I pushed the buggy really really fast.

We survived. But they’ll be back. It’s only May. There is a long, long (ha! It’s England. Again – please) summer ahead of us.

*PHOTO: Aifric hanging out in summer aka WASP SEASON

It’s happened again…

… and AGAIN, it came out of nowhere.

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You’d think I’d have got used to it by now. Aifric growing up.

She’s in her big girl pram. I don’t know what else to call it… her little girl pram was called the bassinet. This is… I don’t know – we’ll stick with her ‘big girl pram’.

It was after a trip to Clapham Junction. Super-pram-friendly Clapham Junction with its flashy Willy Wonka lifts on each platform. It was going to be a chilled day out. After meeting a friend and her baby for lunch – #MatLeaveLife – we made our way to the station. Now, for those of you who haven’t gone ‘lift only’ at the big CJ… you have to begin your lift story at one end of the station – and if you enter the station from the shopping entrance end – my WORD there is some distance to trek. Once you eventually make it to the lift in question, up you go to the footbridge and then have to find the corresponding lift to get back down to your desired platform. It sounds complicated. It isn’t. And I am extremely extremely grateful to CJ and its many lifts. It’s just when you have a baby who wants to be upright, looking out at the world, it’s a little bit of a struggle…

Aifric had increasingly been getting more and more irritable in her bassinet. She is a curious little thing and wants to look around, peer into other people’s business – if she could offer an opinion – or advice – she would. It was as we entered the station that she started to kick off. Big time. Nothing was calming that baby down. So I made the ill-informed decision to carry her through the entire station in one arm whilst pushing the pram with its nappies and shopping hanging off the side with the other. She’s a baby – how heavy could she be?! Turns out, pretty heavy. She was living her best life. I was not.

I got tendonitis in my left arm and that was the end of the that.

So big girl pram, here we are. I don’t know what I was expecting. What I wanted from the last ride in the bassinet. I didn’t know it would be so soon after that.

Actually I know exactly what I wanted. I wanted to ceremoniously parade my bassinet pram through the streets of south London for one last time. I wanted a fanfare. I wanted to soak up the sympathetic looks from the general public that I was a new mum. I wanted to get that knowing, understanding smile from other mums – the one that says – well done you for recently pushing out a baby. The one that says – I feel for you that you may have had a sleepless night. The smile that KNOWS you haven’t put on any make up or brushed your hair for a REASON. I wanted people to look at me and think – there goes a lovely young woman with a newborn baby.

But now. Now we are in the big girl pram. It signifies that I am old hat at this. That I know what I am doing (I BLOODY DO NOT). That I have a grown-up baby. A baby who can hold its own head up, whose neck muscles are STRONG. And now the reason I haven’t brushed my hair is because I dropped my hairbrush down the loo. The reason I haven’t put any make up on is because, quite frankly, I literally cannot be arsed.

*PHOTO: Aifric hanging out in her big girl pram

I am livid…

… I just knew this would happen.

 

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It was the other morning – when I was taking advantage of shower time without worrying if the crying I could hear was in my head or was reality. (I also hear the noise of Aifric’s jungle gym in my head too).

I had made a vow that I would remember our pregnancy (9 months of nauseous joy) – and our labour (forceps, episiotomy, blood loss – another post for another time). That I wouldn’t be like everyone else – ‘oh you’ll soon forget, nature does that to you, you’ll want another one pretty soon.’

NO! I was going to be different. I would not forget. We would not be forgetting any of that any time soon.

So I was not at all amused when I was lathering up and thought ‘huh. That’s interesting. We could have another baby. Sure’.

I lept out of the shower which was SUPPOSED to be a relaxing and chilled experience. Flung open the bathroom door and shouted at Simon ‘I JUST KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN.’

Simon – bewildered at what he could possibly have done wrong in the very short time between me getting into the shower and leaping out of it in such rage, and in his new-Dad fog looked at me uncertainly ‘whaaat?’

Rant ensues. All of the above. I was going to be different, I wouldn’t let myself forget. Etc etc etc. Blah blah blah.

But it’s true. Apparently it’s a thing. I haven’t entirely forgotten everything about that year. I haven’t forgotten vomiting into a Sainsbury’s bag in Leicester Square or running to the toilet just before interviewing David Baddiel. I certainly haven’t forgotten using up all my emergency carrier bags and vomiting into an empty breadstick box on the tube (FYI – not waterproof but my aim was ON POINT). Nor have I forgotten the fear I felt during labour when that emergency button was pushed and 15 people ran into the room to get Aifric out. But a switch did flick in my head. I could literally* see it flick.

But whilst nature may be playing tricks on me, let’s hold our horses… there are a few things I’d be keen to do before the light fully comes on… namely run more than one mile and drink a lot of gin.

 

*Apologies to Simon for using the word literally incorrectly. Although the Oxford English Dictionary does state that I can use the word for emphasis rather than being actually true.

**PHOTO: hanging with the hilarious little lady that makes me want to do it all over again.

Let me just take off my wrist splints…

… oh, talk dirty to me.

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Lots of things happened to my body when I had Aifric… but one thing I didn’t expect or prepare for was the possibility of getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) from holding and breastfeeding her.

It totally took me by surprise in January. In the same week that I discovered it would take me a lot longer to recover from our labour that I had initially thought, I started getting pins and needles in my thumb, index and middle fingers on both my hands with shooting pains in my forearms. I found it increasingly difficult to hold Aifric each day and feed her – sometimes my fingers were so numb that it felt like they were rubber. I was completely thrown… it was not our best week by any stretch of the imagination. There were a lot of tears. From me.

As I had been doing for the past 8 weeks of Aifric’s life, I turned to Dr Google for advice (I did also go to my GP, don’t worry)… and turns out there is actually not a huge amount of information about getting CTS from breastfeeding on the internet. I found this article which was helpful but apart from that, not a lot.

So I came up with various ways to cope with it and keep feeding Aifric myself. Some days are good, some days are more tricky. But I thought it might help others if I write down the things I have been doing to make life a little easier.

So for anyone else who is suffering from CTS since having a baby, and finding it hard to manage, here are the things I have done to try to navigate through it:

  • Wear wrist splints at night: when you are sleeping your wrists fall into unusual positions – I found the more I bent my wrists – and kept them bent – the worse the pins and needles, the numbness, and pain – so wearing these every night help keep my arms straight when sleeping and let my wrists rest. They are from Amazon, are great and cost £8.99 each. I got medium. When you’re sleep deprived and miserable, you’ll throw money at anything that makes your life better and these are WELL WORTH it… plus compared to the price of everything else you pay for when you have a baby, these cost pennies
  • If you have a partner, ask them to do the first lift of the day: Simon picks Aifric up in the morning whilst I take off my splints and move my wrists to get them going again. Picking Aifric up first thing was hard initially and I was worried I was going to drop her, but this way it means I can feel confident that I will be able to hold her and also Simon gets the lovely first smiles of the day – and the first nappy!
  • Don’t worry if you are on your own solo-parenting: the times that Simon was away or had to go to work early (before the two of us got up) I just set my alarm 10 minutes or so before I knew Aifric was going to wake so that I could take the splints off and move my wrists. This is if you know when your baby is going to wake up… it’s a total lottery so the times that she woke before my alarm… well, she just had to lie there for a couple of minutes… much better that she’s a bit (!) grizzly than I try to pick her up when I could drop her. Going to the toilet is a good thing to do as you are away from your crying baby for a couple of minutes and warming up your arms!
  • Pile up the cushions! I use a load of cushions to breastfeed Aifric – then use this one from John Lewis on top of the cushions and Aifric on top – so she is literally elevated, lying across me and I don’t have to use my arms at all… she’s just lounging and feeding – like a Queen – it’s incredibly decadent
  • Bring a blanket with you when you go out: keep one in your baby bag so when you’re feeding out and about you can put that on your lap and pile it up with your coat/jumper and create your own makeshift cushions to continue the decadent feeding in public
  • Limit writing long messages on WhatsApp or iMessage: the more I used my thumbs to write messages, the more uncomfortable my hands and arms felt. If you have a computer, use web WhatsApp then you can use your fingers to type your long messages to your pals (when you get a spare moment to write all those long messages… I roll my eyes at this)
  • Use your fingers to scroll through Instagram and Facebook rather than your thumbs: same as point above – seems obvious but when you’re breastfeeding, I bet you’re on your phone…!
  • Manage the way you carry your baby: I used to carry Aifric around the place in one arm – using my hand as a seat… this exacerbated the whole thing. I loved carrying her like this as she could sit there watching the world and watching what we were doing but no, carry your baby in the most comfortable way that isn’t going to have your wrist bent for a long period of time

That’s what I have been doing so far… if you have any tips or can think of any other things that would help then comment below as I would be super keen to know them!

One final thing is that it will get better: it took about a week to two weeks for the initial pain to go and now it’s just tingly and sometimes achy so I am going to continue doing the things that make it easier, and continue trying to feed Aifric myself. It’s working for now, but if it gets too much then we’ll look into other options… happy mum, happy baby and all that.

xF

*PHOTO: my sexy wrist splints

So Aifric’s in her own room…

… and I am bereft.

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It happened suddenly and without warning. I thought it would be the kind of thing we’d talk about, we’d prepare for, we’d work up to, I would talk her through it, Simon would talk me through it, we’d get there together. As a unit.

Then suddenly, on a Friday night, she went and did it all by herself. Simon and I ate spaghetti on the sofa, watching District 9 whilst Aifric slept in her Sleepyhead in her room. For a number of nights we had been trying to get her down by 8pm. She’s a social animal and only happy when hanging out with the grown-ups. The plan on this particular night was the same as before – milk, story, settle, sleep – and then wake her in a few hours to feed her again and put her down in OUR room in her Moses basket for her long sleep. Except we didn’t wake her for her final feed – not because we’re bad parents but because she was sleeping and we felt maybe she didn’t need that last feed… at some point before she’s 18 she’d have to drop that 10pm feed (the milk feed… I am sure by the time she’s 18 she’ll be doing a different kind of 10pm feed). I JUST DIDN’T REALISE IT WOULD BE THEN, ON THAT FRIDAY NIGHT.

And she stayed sleeping. We discussed what we would do – we quickly made a plan. I’d go to bed, Simon would have a few games on the Playstation, he’d see what would happen, and if she were to wake, he’d get me and I’d feed her and if not… then happy days.

Apart from… NOT HAPPY DAYS. Because now she’s left. She’s moved out of home. She’s saddled up her horse and is riding west into the sunset, silhouetted against that golden light in her tiny grobag like in an old western movie. Basically she’s gone slightly down the hall into the room next to ours and I am left standing alone at our bedroom door, forlorn and weepy. I can see it all happening before my very eyes. She’ll be drinking in a park with BOYS before we know it and then going to University and I’ll be left crying my eyes out driving back down the M1 after dropping her off.

I need to calm down, have a glass of wine and embrace the fact that our evenings are finally ours.

xF

*I still worry she’s too young (read: I am not ready for this) but Simon tells me she’s an independent woman and so who am I to argue with that?!

**PHOTO: Aifric catching all the zzzs in her own bed

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