Looking back on week six, with Ruby now a seven week year-old, I feel like we’re slowly turning a corner.
Don’t get me wrong: this week has been super tough (like last week and all the weeks before!) and included one of her worst night’s sleep to date. For at least a couple of days, too, she’s slept barely two hours in total during the day. And the sling, which we’ve become reliant on for getting her to sleep in the afternoon and evening, has not been ‘working’. This has put the fear of God in me, as it’s one of the few ‘tools’ we have.
However, for the last couple of days she’s been napping more frequently in the day, even though she’s resisted the sling. She’s still a complete pickle, but this is a distinct change from previous weeks when her only sleep from 6am would be at 2pm or 3pm. The change seems to sort of coinciding with me feeding her expressed breast milk in a bottle from the Haakaa pump.
I used to feed R top-ups when she wasn’t gaining as much weight in her first few weeks, but stopped as soon as she put back on. I wanted her to get enough on the breast and I was worried the bottles would mess with my supply (even though I’m only collecting and feeding her what would otherwise have been wasted). But I read something online the following, which struck a chord: a hungry baby just won’t sleep. And I wondered: is she still hungry, despite all my best efforts of non-stop feeding? Is this why she won’t sleep during the day? Perhaps she sleeps at night because she’s exhausted as well as my supply being better.
So I started offering top-ups again a few days ago. That was around the time we had two days of next to no sleep from her and I was at my wits’ end. However, in the last two days I’m seeing a real difference. I’m only really giving her one big bottle (4-5oz) around 9am/9:30am once she’s breastfed a couple of times already and I feel like I’ve got no more to give her. But that seems to be enough to send her off in the morning. Today the bottle only ‘worked’ for half an hour, but then I offered her a feed on one breast, and she soon went to sleep after, which is almost unheard of.
More day-time naps
R has never really napped during the day, except for an epic three or four hour sleep in the sling in the afternoon. But today, right now, she’s on her third nap, it’s 4:20pm and she’s been asleep for two hours! And what’s really amazing is she’s not ON me, meaning I can DO stuff. Even though the sling frees up your hands, I never feel like I can really do an awful lot because her head always ends up in a funny position and it’s easier just to sit on the sofa.
It’s much better that she’s sleeping on her back. It’s meant this afternoon I’ve made a cuppa (first thing I did), done the washing up, sliced and eaten an apple, sterilised the Haakaa and Tommee Tippee cup, sent a text and typed up this blog post. I can hear her stirring now, but the fact that I’ve been able to do some normal stuff today feels unbelievable. I feel like this is ‘normal’ – this must be how most new mommies live – and I could weep with relief (although it’s early days, I know).
Perhaps it’s coincidence but R seems more content, even before she was getting more sleep. Most times that she wakes up, she smiles. Even on the changing mat, which she used to hate, she’s cooing and grinning at me – it just melts your heart. And even though she doesn’t love the pram, and I’ve had plenty of meltdowns in it this week, she is more tolerant and has laid awake in it for 10-15 minutes at a time without screaming, which feels like a result.
Baby R’s always been a good night sleeper, but last night she went in the sling (as she typically does) with my husband at 8pm. She fretted a bit, but went to sleep eventually, and he put her down at 10pm, zonked out. She woke at 1:30am and 4:30am to feed, but crucially, today, she went back to sleep until almost 8am (yesterday she was up and awake from 4:30am, which is far too early). I was able to wash my face, brush my teeth and put some make-up on ready to go for when she woke up. It was the best night/morning ever – she practically slept 12 hours (-ish… OK, perhaps nine with the feeds, but that’s still incredible)!
Old and new friends
I’m also feeling good because yesterday one of my oldest friends came round. She’s randomly moved really near us, just a 10-minute drive away, which is a complete coincidence but I’m super happy about it. Baby R slept during the hour she was here, which was bliss, and we had a really good old natter. She brought me a pamper box, full of goodies (a magazine, hand cream, posh vegan soap, chocolates, milestone cards…) and a beautiful personalised handmade sign for the baby. I felt utterly special and spoilt :-).
And today I met with a new friend I’ve made on the app, Peanut. We’ve been exchanging texts for a few weeks now and we finally took the plunge to meet up. I was quite nervous but we got on so easily and I felt completely energised afterwards. You just never know if you’ll get on with people in real life, but there were no awkward moments and we just clicked (at least I think we did!). I’m over the moon, because we have loads in common and she’s only a five-minute walk away. Today is a good day.
I’ve read in loads of places how six weeks is when a lot of new moms feel they turn a corner, and I didn’t think it would happen to me. Baby R has been more challenging than a lot babies, I think, and at times I’ve felt overwhelmed and quite simply incredibly sorry for myself. Don’t get me wrong, things aren’t all sweetness and light. I had a complete meltdown yesterday at my husband and cried uncontrollably as I couldn’t face the prospect of another long day trying to manage R by myself. But, I dunno, a few more things are going right now, and at times – like today – I temporarily think I’m nailing it.
It’ll all change again soon enough, no doubt, and R will find some new ways of challenging me, no doubt, but I’m going to cling on to this feeling of wellbeing for as long as I can!
Other things I’ve managed to achieve during week six:
- Made Deliciously Ella protein balls, in an attempt to cut down on all the rubbish I’ve been eating. They’re pretty good actually!
- Went for my first run post-pregnancy (which was super hard and my tummy hurt… am going to have to take it fairly slow and steady after the c-section)
- Wrote a letter to my friend – it took about three attempts, but I did it, and even posted it too!
- Mopped the floor
- Remembered my friend’s birthday and managed to get her a card and a present
- Bought a electric baby rocker on eBay – hopefully we’ll pick it up this weekend, and I’ll let you know how it goes.