I wrote about my particularly rocky first week of motherhood here, and found it really cathartic. It was so great to hear from other mums who had been through similar experiences or just wanted to offer a few words of support – so thank you to those of you who reached out. There are two things, though, that people said to me that have stuck in my mind from that first week.
Firstly, I was told more than once that the first six weeks are the hardest, and that after that, it gets easier (apart from one person who told me that it never gets any easier; thanks for that!). And secondly, a very good friend told me that I just need to remember that everything is temporary. I won’t be in attempting-to-latch hell or living a not-sleeping-for-more-than-forty-minutes-at-a-time existence forever.
Well, Little M is seven weeks old today. I’m sorry, where did that time go?! I know I was told to enjoy it because it goes so quickly but my word, it really has! So I thought I’d reflect on the first six weeks (I know, pedants, I’m a week late, I’m sorry!) and see if those people in the second paragraph were telling the truth or not.
Do you know, I think they were? I wouldn’t describe life as easy right now, but it’s certainly easier. The days of stressing over whether or not Little M was taking enough milk, waking her every three hours to feed and recording every feed and nappy contents are over. She’s putting on weight as she should be and we work to her schedule. Obviously this is still not amazing; I still spend swathes of the night awake when every ounce of my being is willing me to be asleep, but Little M occasionally treats us to a five-hour stretch which sometimes falls across the early hours, which helps no end!
I’m still expressing all of Little M’s feeds; I’m proud to say that she’s still been exclusively fed my breast milk since birth. I feel like I’ve settled into expressing now and no longer find it quite such a chore, possibly because I’m not having to do it quite so frequently and am more rested than the early days. I’m fortunate that I’m able to keep up with Little M’s demands although there have been times where the amount of milk I’ve been able to pump in a session has reduced and I’ve had a minor panic that the move to formula might be thrust upon me! Fortunately though I’ve been able to rectify the drop in production by upping the frequency of expressing slightly for 24 hours.
I think another thing that makes it all a bit easier is watching how Little M is changing and growing. She’s started to smile more and more which is just lovely and spends more time alert and awake, making eye contact. As my NCT friend put it, ‘you’re getting some love back’. Those little fleeting smiles really do make all the difference.
Today hubby collected a photo album I’d had made for him for father’s day from the sorting office (I know, Father’s day was ages ago but the sorting office is on the other side of the city!). I’d put together all of the photos we’d taken from Little M’s birth up to her being four weeks old. We both got a bit emotional looking at it and hubby really summed up how we’re feeling now with these words:
We’re actually doing it. We’re raising a human.
Yes, yes we are. And it’s great x