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Month 1 of Parenthood: All the Things That Surprised Me & a Few Confessions

By Eemusings @eemusings

I barely had time to prep for labour, let alone baby's first few weeks. And so it's been a learning curve!

The first couple of weeks were easy. He slept a lot and only fed for 10 mins at a time, going straight back to snoozing after. Cries were easily soothed by a feed or a nappy change! I managed to get in a bit of freelance work and house cleaning along with the daily dishes and laundry.

Then he grew bigger, and more alert, and the trouble started. Right around his original due date in fact. We went from 3-4 hour sleeps to maybe 1-2 tops, constant crying, extended feeds and terrible gas! He spits up, burps and farts but none of it seems to come easy, so that's what we spend ages trying to coax out of his tiny body. Routine has been totally thrown out the window ... just as I was thinking I'd like to try to stick to more of a schedule going forward.

The first week at home, with T
Oh, you're exhausted? Oh, you're sick of loading the dishwasher? I'm the one who just gave birth and spent nearly a week in hospital!

The second week at home, solo
Oh, this is when you have to start to change their outfits constantly! Oh, this is what it's like to get peed on, and watch him pee on his own face!

The third week at home
Oh, that's what people mean when they say their baby is noisy at night! The sounds he makes in his sleep now are crazy.

The fourth week at home
Oh wow, how much wind is in this child? Each cycle is so much longer now that I have to try and get the gas out of him.

Things that have surprised me so far

No period for nine months = awesome. More than making up for that in the weeks post partum = ugh.

The fact you can collect colostrum off your nips (and then syringe it into baby's mouth). Not something I ever ever ever could have fathomed doing.

How long it takes Spud to latch on sometimes. Watching him play with my nips is equal parts hilarious and frustrating.

The first time I started leaking milk when I heard him cry. WTF.

How long adrenaline keeps you going. The hormones got me through those long nights the first couple of weeks (though during pregnancy I surprised myself with how well I managed on reduced sleep even then).

So thirsty. All the time. Feeding another human is seriously draining!

Time is flying. We just hit six weeks and took him for his first shots ... Christmas ain't far off and I feel like May (when I go back to work) is going to be here in no time...

Confessions from the trenches

I sometimes fall asleep during night feedings - I know, it's terrible.

Related: when he won't settle after a night feed, I used to bring him into bed (I've stopped now).

They say you'll know... but I honestly couldn't tell if I was in real labour. My contractions started 5 mins apart and stayed that way for over 12 hours. Up till the morning I was wondering if I should suck it up and go to work. Then I thought okay, I'll stay home but T should go to work and I'll call him if anything progresses. (Thankfully he decided to stay put in the end!)

I was set on equal parenting and splitting duties evenly. The reality, especially to start, was nowhere near. The first couple nights I did all the night wake ups; he wasn't managing the sleep deprivation well at all despite talking a big game. Not looking after himself while we were in hospital meant he was in worse shape than I was (thanks hormones) on the first night we finally came home.

With him working and me breastfeeding (along with some expressing and the odd bottle of formula) the scales are still tipped pretty far towards moi. Throw in the fact Spud is feeding so often now (my friend with an even more prem baby finds the same) and for so much longer, and I'm spending literally hours and hours of the day attached to him.

That said, when I'm at wits end or totally drained - usually at 3am - I'll hand off once in awhile. And if T's having an insomniac night, he'll take the wheel - he's given me a handful of full or part nights off, which have been glorious. I may have the milk, but he's got the burping and swaddling magic.


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