Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: Breastfeeding

Come on son, let’s bond

Henry standing at chairI’ve always be open about the fact that I find it hard bonding with babies when they are really little. Those first few months when they just eat, sleep and cry I personally find tough. There isn’t that same bond that a mum experiences having grown and then given birth to the child. Plus of course you don’t really get a reaction from your baby, they can’t yet smile at you or hold their arms up to be picked up. Your best hope is a slight grin caused by wind.

That’s fine though, there was never any doubt of loving them, just that the real bond and relationship would be a slow burn. If you see me and Matilda now you’d never know about any of those worries or concerns though.

We’re definitely thick as thieves, the lady of the manor is already warning us no to gang up on her. It was the almost month off that I took when Henry was born that did it. The lady of the manor focused her time on Henry which left the 2 of us with a lot of time together and adventures walking the dog.

Henry cruisingBut Henry is slightly different for one quite specific reason, he’s breast fed 100% and has been since birth. With Matilda I had time most evenings to have a cuddle and give her a bottle, a precious 20 minutes or so to slowly build that bond and remind her everyday who daddy is. Important when you’re a commuting parent who see’s their children for 30 minutes every day.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve done that with Henry. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not complaining or saying we should have introduced formula. The lady of the manor LOVES breastfeeding Henry and I fully support her. There is something quite amazing about the whole thing and how now age 10 months he does pretty much the whole thing himself. But it does change things for me.

Not only do I not get those opportunities to start bonding but Henry is most definitely a mummies boy and if he’s tired or sick he wants her and there is no argument. This also of course also makes it hard for the lady of the manor to get a break from it all.

Henry in high chair with feet up

However in the last few weeks it’s started to change ever so slowly, Henry is now crawling around the house and pulling himself up on every available object and this bit of independence seems to have given me an opportunity.

Now we roll around on the floor playing, he crawls up to me when I sit down and clambers all over me, he smiles and laughs when I get home from work each day. Of course having moved house I now eat breakfast with both little monsters every day and get an hour in the evening before bath time.

It’s fab

My little smiley, cuddly, strong boy is starting to feel like my son.

Now when can I introduce a rugby ball?

P.S. Today is the last day of voting for the MAD blog awards, if you haven’t voted yet I’d love to be your choice in the best baby blog category. Just click here to go to the site and vote.

Breastfeeding, weaning and a distinct lack of sleep

An old friend has made a re-appearance in the kitchen this week; Steve the steriliser had been put into retirement and gathering dust upstairs but has been called back into action. We’ve decided, with a somewhat heavy heart to introduce some formula into Henry’s diet.

It was something we’d been resisting and something that the lady of the manor really wanted to avoid but for a short while at least it’s needed. The problem is this; Henry is almost 7 months old and still waking every 3 hours, day and night, for a feed. He’s a hungry boy and while breastfeeding is working perfectly for the lady of the manor keeping this up while also dealing with both babies during the day is too much.

I help where I can but unless there is some scientific breakthrough Henry is going to be sorely disappointed trying to feed from my breasts. Plus I’m not sure my nipples can take it.

We hoped that when he started having some solids that this would fill him up a bit more and then he’d sleep longer. It seems to sporadically and he’ll only wake up twice between 10pm and 6am but after a few weeks doesn’t seem to have had a real change.

However trying to get solids into him has meant doing puree’s to ensure he gets a good amount which wasn’t our preference and has started to get pretty painful for all involved. Trying to get a spoon into a baby’s mouth is hard enough, but when he spends half the time screaming the house down and straining to get out of his chair it’s just not fun.

Enough is enough. We’re going to give him a few bottles each day, mainly in the evenings so I can help out, and change to baby led weaning. I know the lady of the manor feels guilty for doing this but 7 months of breastfeeding is an amazing achievement and it’s not like she will stop completely. Plus we found it a whole lot more fun doing baby led weaning with Matilda and watching her learn how to pick up foods. In the few days we have done it with Henry he is back to smiling and gurgling at meal times which is lovely.

As seems to often be the case this isn’t the perfect weaning plan that we  imagined, but if I’ve learned anything since becoming a parent it’s that you need to adapt and do what’s best for the whole family.

Frustration

Last week was tough, Matilda was sick and then teething, I was sick with a high fever one day and we had all the worry over Henry’s feeding. Now this week I’m back at work something I really haven’t been looking forward to.

In the last few days there has been something else though, something lurking that was making me grumpy and short tempered that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Then I realised what it was. Frustration.

Frustration at the tiredness a newborn brings to your life which stops you doing things, at how hard it makes it to plan or just get out the door.

Frustration at the never ending battle to keep the house in some sort of order. With Matilda having a tantrum if I put her down to try to do something or trying to climb into the dishwasher as I empty it.

Frustration at the feeling of sprinting to stand still, of not actually achieving anything other than surviving, of being back to square one with a new born after having got used to a 1 year old.

Frustration at almost 4 weeks of paternity leave passing and feeling that we haven’t done any of the things we planned or were on our to do list.

Frustration that I’m even feeling this way and not excited about being a dad again. What sort of idiot does that?

I know this will change and quickly, I know it’s not about what we haven’t done but rather what we have achieved. That having a beautiful healthy son putting on weight after 4 weeks is a huge achievement.

But this period I find hard, I did with Matilda also, the lack of interaction with him, that he won’t lie down on his own for long. You need to bond but don’t have that same relationship that a breast feeding mum does. Changing nappies is hardly the same is it? I don’t have that feeling a mum has that he’s part of her. The lady of the manor has had 9 months to bond, I get the time when he finally falls asleep after crying.

This week we start the next chapter in our family story, we have to find new routines now that I’m back at work. It’s going to be bloody hard, more so for the lady of the manor at home. But we just have to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. In a few months we’ll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

Worry

I’d forgotten about all the worrying you do with a newborn. Of course I still worry about Matilda, that’s never going to end is it? But it’s different now with her, the fundamental things I know are ok. I know she’s eating well, sleeping, is happy, is developing. Instead I worry she’ll fall and hurt herself or I’ll lose her when she starts walking.

With Henry it’s different, he’s so small and vulnerable. These first few weeks are so important to his development and yet you have to try to interpret his behaviour to know if he is happy or not.

So we worry, is he getting enough to eat? Is he too hot or too cold? It’s been really hot so is he getting enough liquids? Does the lady of the manor’s milk have enough calories in? Is he crying because he has wind? Or is he still hungry? Or just tired and grumpy?

Seriously even a sensible person can send themselves mad can’t they? And there was me thinking it would be easier the second time around. But aside from having more tricks and techniques to try it really is starting afresh. Having to relearn what he does when he’s hungry, what the cry for change my nappy is rather than I’m tired. With Matilda it’s second nature and that not knowing with Henry is horrible.

But right now we are worrying about one thing. His weight. He only lost 5% in the first 3 days which is great, feeding seems to be going well and he’s sleeping as much as any newborn does. But he hasn’t put a single gram of weight on since then, hasn’t lost any either mind.

So now we worry, is there something wrong with him or is he just a slow grower? Why isn’t breastfeeding being effective if it looks like it’s working? Why? Why? Why?

Today he’s being weighed again, if he still hasn’t put on weight then the doctors start getting more concerned. Until then I’m getting as many calories as I can into the lady of the manor and hoping. We’re also topping him up with some formula to help him along, not what we wanted but needed.

So please keep your fingers crossed for my little dude. I’m desperate for this to work out for the lady of the manor, she loves breastfeeding too much for it not to.

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You can’t do that, you have a baby

The pregnancy process for us has been exciting, nerve wracking, jaw dropping amazing and a roller coaster of ups and downs. As you probably well know it’s also something that EVERYONE has an opinion on. Now I don’t mind this, it’s fun chatting to people about their experiences and telling them when it’s due etc; but there are 2 particular reactions from people that quite honestly piss me off.

First is when people say “you’d better get your sleep in now then”, I mean seriously, what are we supposed to do? It’s not like you can bank your sleep is it? Or did I miss that lesson at school where the secret was shared? Perhaps they are thinking of grizzly bears? Plus of course if the lady of the manor is breastfeeding then there’s no point me getting up is there, I might as well get my sleep 🙂

Ursus arctos middendorffi /kodiak bear/ Kodiakbär

Image via Wikipedia

The second reaction is when you mention doing anything in the next year other than staying home tending to your babies every need. I have heard on numerous occasions a response of “you can’t do that, you’ll have a baby”. Ok, I get it, life will change somewhat, no more taking hard drugs or night clubs until 2am (like I did that anyway) but life goes on. Maybe I’m being a little naive and will think differently in  a month or 2, but you can’t stop doing things just because you have children. In fact it perhaps justifying doing more so your child can see what’s out there in the world.

My brother and I have started planning our holiday for summer 2012, he had his first child in November so will also have a toddler by then and friends of his are also due this week. So the 6 adults and 3 toddlers will hopefully be going to France for a couple of weeks, which is just perfect really, cuts the cost down and we’ll all be looking for the same things from a holiday. But when I told some colleagues this they were horrified; is it child safe they asked, plus how will you transport all your stuff there? Well, there aren’t any fast flowing rivers and the house doesn’t appear to have knives everywhere so I think we’ll be alright. Plus we all own cars which may well get packed to the ceiling but I reckon we’ll manage. I know that the children will be active by then, but we’re not exactly going to just leave them on their own are we? We can take stair gates if we need them and travel cots pack down small enough these days.

But that’s not all to cap it all off we’re going to New Zealand in September for 3 weeks. The bean will be 5 months old, as long as the flights go ok I think we’ll be fine and just think of the adventure, might take some Calpol though…..

So what do you think? A disillusioned first time parent who has no idea how hard it’s going to be or a realistic parent who isn’t going to stop living just because they have a baby? What adventures have you had since becoming a parent? Any top tips for keeping normality to life?