One Month of Motherhood & Life with a New Born
My friend who's also a new mum recently shared on Facebook that amongst other motherhood lessons, she has now learned to differentiate between the sounds of baby's fart & baby's poo. I'm not quite there yet in that regard. Sometimes I hear a really loud sound of what I assume to be poo, only to check the diaper and see nothing or just pee!
Anyway, it's one month already of being a mum and parenting. Sometimes it feels like time is flying and I only just gave birth to him yesterday. Other times I feel like I've been doing this forever.
First, I owe you guys a huge thank you for all your wishes when I announced that we'd had a baby! I could genuinely feel the joy and excitement from this community and I appreciated it a million times over. And just maybe I owe you an apology as well for keeping it away. It clearly came as a surprise and some people even said they felt betrayed. Lol! Others said they suspected and were almost certain. I really wanted to share with you at some point, and it was a hard one to keep but I'm sure you understand. But I'm excited to share the events in retrospect and all the details going forward.
Needless to say it's been interesting being a mum and I thought to do a one month update sharing my experience - particularly relating to some of the most frequent questions we got asked, advice we've received and life with a new born generally.
Questions We've Got Asked So Far:
1. How was labour? Did you have a Caesarean?
I know some people take offence to this question but I didn't and still don't. In conversation with friends and in relating the birth story it's bound to come up. It only depends on the motive of the asker. I didn't have a CS but was somewhat voluntarily asking for one at some point just to avoid the pain. So honestly the most important thing is healthy mother and healthy baby. Along with this question also comes related questions like did you use pain relief? Any tears or stitches etc? I'll have to share all of that in the birth story!
2. What are his names?
Understandably this was expected. And although Tee & I had agreed on his names by the time he was born, we couldn't readily share this information until the 7th day after when we had a naming ceremony as is the Yoruba culture - where the names are officially pronounced and blessed. He has other names from family but his official names are: Jidenna Jeremi
~ Jidenna is an Igbo name which means "Hold on to the Father" (i.e God)
~ Jeremi is a Yoruba name which means "Profit from Me"
He has an Igbo first name as his mum is Igbo and we wanted him to be associated with both parts of his culture.
We also got asked a lot who baby looks like. Pretty much everyone thinks he looks like Tee!
3. You Aren't Strapping Your Stomach?
Ok this was asked by my mum. She came in two days after he was born and was surprised to see my stomach bare and not strapped. Now, for centuries, women have been strapping or tying up their bellies immediately after having a baby and this helps the stomach go back into shape. I knew of this and was definitely going to, so I bought the 3-in-1 post partum waist belt recommended by my friends.
However, I didn't take it with me to the hospital as I didn't think I'd be there more than a day. When I realised we'd be there longer, I wondered if it was a bit vain to ask Tee to go home & get it. Well, when my mum asked the question, I got on it. I've been wearing it pretty religiously since then and there's some good progress!
As mentioned in my 38 week pregnancy tag post I almost cried when I couldn't fit into my pants anymore. But hey! I tried on those exact pants and although it's a little snug, I can pretty much fit right back in it! A number of people have advised that weight gain often comes after birth especially when breastfeeding - so I'm trying not to over eat and hopefully incorporate a few exercises once we hit the six week mark.
4. Did you request for BCG vaccination?
We got asked this question by a number of Nigerians especially those who live here in the UK. In Nigeria and some other countries it's a routine vaccination given at birth against tuberculosis (TB). But in the UK it's only given to new borns who may be at risk; and to new borns whose parents are from certain countries were TB might be an issue. Since we are both Nigerians the hospital raised it and asked if we'd like to have it. Unfortunately the nurse who administers BCG was unavailable at that time and so we've had to reschedule that.
5. Are You Planning for his Circumcision?
Male child circumcision is not a routine procedure in the UK, and so one that has to be done privately. We therefore booked an independent private and regulated circumcision clinic in the UK to get it done. It's best when it's done during the early days after birth and so we arranged for this when the lil one was just about two weeks. I knew that I couldn't bear to be in there while the procedure was carried out. So my mum and Tee were there with him. I could hear his screams though from outside the room. He was given an anaesthetic, so didn't actually feel pain, but was just cranky from discomfort. But it's all healed up perfectly now.
That's pretty much it for the questions.
In terms of life with a newborn this basically involves feeding, bath, diaper change & sleeping - round the clock! And a few concerns about health and well being.
Breastfeeding can be tough - and that's the sad reality. I hoped that once the baby comes out, breast milk would literally flow so easily. Well well, few days in and couldn't quite get up to 50ml pumped! So ofcourse I've received a lot of advice about breast milk supplements and tips to enhance flow including drinking lots and lots of warm water.
In terms of feeding though the lil one is such a star and his latch was awesome from day 1. The nurses were impressed. So he does feed very well. I find myself feeding him from the left boob more as it's more comfortable and allows me to use my right hand. I need to consciously switch to the right! I do love the bond with him while breast feeding but still have to think up creative ways to maximise breastfeeding time.
I had a drip attached to my arm post birth & Tee did the first diaper change without any help. I actually kinda like them. They aren't too bad at all. Except that one has to be quick to avoid been peed on - as Tee has been rather too often. That's because he spends half the time playing & laughing before putting on a new diaper. I'm often much quicker. Old paper out and new one in as fast as I can!
Again, as we were in the hospital for about a week, we didn't have to bathe him during that time and only just wiped his body. Plus, in the UK, the midwives preach that babies do not have to be bathed for the first few days and the vernix which covers them at birth is great for their skin and is to be absorbed. Despite this, we were looking forward to giving him a bath as we just knew that he'd feel and look better. And yes we did that as soon as we got home!
I haven't bathe him myself yet since my mum's being around and been helping with that. As babies are in water before they're born you'd think they'd love the water. Sometimes he does and totally looks like he could sleep off in the bath... other times it almost feels like war. One thing that's working for us is making sure he's just eaten before a bath. So he's all calm!
He literally slept through the first night at the hospital and Tee & I were like "Yes!". Looking back now he was probably just tired from his arrival and journey into the world. Personally the night seems to be the toughest part; considering how much I love my sleep! For now he sleeps quite a bit during the day and then we're awake feeding through the night.
People often say "sleep when baby sleeps during the day". But that doesn't always work because there's so much to be done during the day. Or basically one just wants to chill and catch up on other things. Plus no matter how much I sleep during the day it's still tough to be awake at night. I'm looking forward to a set routine when we sleep through the night!
Health / Well being concerns
I know new mums worry about every little thing! For some reason I don't fret a lot. Another new mum friend asked if our lil one hiccups a lot as she finds it scary! I said he does, but as I mentioned in my 1st - 3rd trimester diary, he had been hiccuping from the womb. My mum suggests putting a piece of white cloth on his head. I tease her that it's an old wives tale and really doesn't work.
One thing that got me slightly worried was the rash he seemed to have on his face as I couldn't tell if it was an allergic reaction or not. It's all clearing up now thankfully; and everything else seems fine. He's also had bouts of stomach upsets - but again that often happens and gripe water or similar solutions often help.
That's pretty much how our month has been! We've gone out a couple of times - to church, clinic appointments, photoshoot, birth registration etc. But other than that I'm spending a lot of time indoors and watching too much TV! My mum has been such a huge help as well - with cooking and holding him when I need a minute. And of course, Tee's always ready to do so much.
I wouldn't say it's been an overwhelming month. I think it's important to have the right mindset before the baby arrives. I consciously prepared my mind and disposition to the fact that I may be getting less sleep and be stuck in camis and joggers all day. It's not been a breeze, but this has sure helped.
Generally, we're trying to appreciate each moment and capture them with lots of photos and videos! Because as they say in the blink of an eye, and by God's grace we'd be planning his first birthday!
He's also generally a very calm baby - once he isn't hungry! I'm super fascinated by him. I think that's the word - fascinated. The expressions he makes with his mouth, the way he stretches his body, his little cries and coos and how he gazes at me like he recognises me! I know I'm smitten, and definitely glad month one has been conquered. Hopefully it only gets better from here.
If you're a momma how was the first month? Overwhelming or you just eased into it easily?
pS: Photos above are from his 8 day photoshoot which we had with Sheree of Sheree B Photography. She was amazing and if you need a new born photographer in the Buckinghamshire area in the UK, do check her out!
ppS: I haven't had enough time to reply comments lately but I'm reading & loving them! So please do share your thoughts.