The first week at home with our bundle of joy would have made an amusing reality TV show, i can now tsee where the writers of the "Look Who`s Talking" Movies got their inspiration from, while Boyfriend and I ran around tending to Tilly`s every need and whim i often felt she was staring at us thinking "what a pair of whoppa`s, Ive got them wrapped around my little finger and am only a week old, god help them when am older!"
It is well known that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, and for me with my love of snoozing this was set to be my biggest challenge. My memories of the first week are mostly of Boyfriend and I squinting at each other as I turned on the night-light for yet another feed. The only way to describe the routine of broken sleep is liken it to someone waking me up blowing a whistle down my ear every 2hrs, forcing me to stay awake for approximately 40 minutes then starting all over again 2hrs later.
We quickly decided a 2 man tag team was the best course of action for coping, If a nappy change was particularly messy we would call for help or "back up" as we called it, and as we shuffled around like Ozzy Osbourne, the tiredness left us bereft of humour and unable to see how hysterically funny the whole thing must have looked, its like Tilly is the most demanding A-list celebrity and we are her loyal slaves.
"Feeding on demand" is the phrase used to describe how often you breastfeed your newborn baby, which means when baby cries or indicates hunger you feed her. Tilly is now a month old and only now am i able to say this out loud without getting very tearful and a little embarrassed, I struggled to breastfeed. I admit i am no earth mother but as i have said before I wanted my baby to get all the nutrients and antibodies from my breast milk as well as the bonding and closeness breastfeeding encourages.
Once i got over the shock and discomfort of engorgement (the word to describe your boobs when filled with breast milk) we attempted to master "latching on" (this simply means baby is latched onto your breast in the correct way to ensure they can extract your milk and to minimise discomfort for you) I lasted just over 2 weeks in total, in those 2 weeks i cried more times than Tilly, tears of frustration and feelings of inadequacy, I couldn't understand why something that should have come so naturally was so difficult.
My emotions sent me crazy, I would go from feeling like the master of the universe when we managed a successful feed to the depths of despair when Tilly would feed for 2hrs in the middle of the night and still cry out in hunger, i can laugh at my lunacy now, but i cut a pretty sad figure desperately propping myself up on dozens of pillows (with no top on) dripping big fat tears onto Tilly's head, pitifully wailing, mid sob, to the Boyfriend that i was barren, when i wasn't doing this i was attempting to express into a bottle. The whole episode was overwhelming, and even though Tilly is now a very contented baby on formula milk, i still feel very envious of those who find breastfeeding a breeze.
After breast came bottle, which presents its own challenges, i sustained several bottle related injuries in the first fortnight including burning myself with steam from the steriliser, and catching my finger in the lids of bottle causing a very, very small but painful blood blister.
Bottle feeding requires military precision planning, ensuring all bottles and all the related paraphernalia (teats, lids etc) are sterilised for the day, for the night feeds i make sure i have everything i need to hand to get through till 6am, i have a rather fetching little thermo-bag (cross body, pale blue) i carry up stairs to bed which contains the next feed, i have morphed into a Roy Cropper character trudging up to bed with my little bag, and my bedside table is like a milk themed cocktail bar (bottles, formula, ready made cartons, dozens of muslins and scissors) last night the Boyfriend wore ear plugs, not to drown out the baby but to avoid being woken repeatedly by the sound of me dropping something in my frantic rush to grab my feeding apparatus and the inevitable profanity which follows the sound of yet another thing crashing to the floor.
Ive also developed a disturbing obsession with bottle lids, if i am not looking for them, i am asking boyfriend to look for them, its developing into a paranoia that people are hiding them from me, Ive decided to buy twice as many lids than i have bottles, just to make sure.
On a more fashion orientated note, apart from being rather a long way away from fitting back into my skinny jeans, Ive also amassed a list of things i now cant wear for reasons other than my weight. Number one on this list is Silk, silk and babies don't mix, it isn't machine washable and if a silk blouse and a bottle of formula get into a tussle, the bottle wins, hands down.
I have also started to compile a list of articles i would like to see in baby magazines rather than the mundane and repetitive Top 10 of buggies, i would like to read articles that help me maintain as much normality in my life and avoid turning into a complete frump, i suggest .."How to perfectly blow dry your hair in 5 minutes" or how about "Healthy foods you can prepare with one arm while holding baby in the other"
Thats all for now, I`ve got lids to look for.