It’s been almost 4 weeks since Finley was born and it’s been a whirl wind! I think the usual newborn panic has been amplified for us with Finley coming early and then having his heart problem. In fact we were only home 6 days in his first three weeks. It’s been a huge learning curve for us, as I think it is for all new parents, and I just wanted to share our journey and some of what we’ve learned and experienced.
Breastfeeding and getting the boobs out
Breastfeeding is wonderful but harder than I could have ever imagined. We did struggle at first, but since Finley was a few days old he’s been fine. What has been hard about breastfeeding isn’t so much the act of it, I don’t have any pain and haven’t needed to use any nipple creams etc at all, rather it’s been the uncertainty of knowing he’s getting enough and the challenging attitudes of doctors.
Naturally midwives are very supportive of breast feeding, however the doctors were not, and many times I felt like I had to prove breast feeding was working and defend my choice. Last week I even had to call the breastfeeding co ordinator at the hospital to come and support me. Fin’s jaundice is normal for a completely breastfed baby, but again I felt I had to be very defensive of it.
It is also hard as we are breastfeeding on demand which means that Fin rarely goes more than 2.5 hours without a feed, including at night. As breast milk is easily digested and babies tummies are little this is totally normal. I do think something must be kicking in as the tiredness isn’t as bad as I would have expected for the broken 4 hours I’m lucky to get most nights! We are going to have to introduce some formula at some point to ensure Fin gains the weight he needs for his op, but I’m still committed to breastfeeding as much as I can as I believe it’s the best thing I can do for him. I have started him with the occasional bottle of expressed milk so he doesn’t reject the bottle further down the line and that is going well.
I did get very concerned about my breast milk supply especially after not eating a lot due to stress when we found out about Fins heart condition, but it seems to have been unaffected as he is gaining weight and doing lots of wet and dirty nappies!
As for getting my knockers out, it’s amazing how you end up not giving a toss about it. In hospital I had that many different midwives looking at them and touching them while I was trying to feed Fin, I lost all sense of embarrassment! I’ve breast fed once in public and while I do like to be discreet about it I really don’t care what anyone else thinks. It’s one of the most natural acts after all. Good luck to anyone that ever challenged me on it!
Fave baby things
I was fairly well prepared at 35 weeks but we still had to get some things on the hop. All I can say is thank god for Amazon Prime! Here are the things we’ve found especially useful and effective:
- Naty Nappies – these are a good eco nappy and the new born size fit’s Fin well. They are expensive though, and although I had initially ruled it out I’m now considering using cloth nappies. The washing machine is on everyday anyway and with him being breastfed the nappies aren’t horrendous if you know what I mean!
- Mamas and papas swaddle wraps – I had ordered these to be delivered in the first week of September so we had to wait a while to get them which is a shame as they are great! They are a thin cotton so Fin doesn’t overheat and keep his arms and legs snug so he settles and sleeps better
- Faye and Lou Muslins – I was kindly sent these for review and they are fabulous, love the colours and so handy for lots of things including clearing up baby milky burps
- Gro egg room thermometer with owl cover – I got pretty paranoid a few days after we got home about the temperature in our room so ordered one of these. To be honest I use it as much for the nice night light as I do for the temp feature!
- Coconut oil – Fin has a little bit of dry skin so I’ve just been using some organic coconut oil massaged in to his skin to help
- Green people shampoo – We aren’t using a lot of products on him and he is just bathed in plain water but his hair does need to be cleaned. This is lovely and mild and smells great.
- Little green sheep Moses basket bedding – we are lending a moses basket from a friend, but still needed some extra blankets, mattress protector and fitted sheets and these organic ones are beautiful and such good quality.
- Water wipes – As far as I have (limitedly) researched these are a good natural option with them being over 99% water. They seem to work well and Fin’s skin is lovely and clean and soft.
- Electric steam sterilising unit – Much better than using chemical tablets, this sterilises with only steam. A must for me with trying to express and giving the odd bottle.
- Skip Hop Changing Bag – I did choose this one in a bit of a rush but I’m really happy with it. I wanted something fairly classic and neutral so it would go with the pram and anything I might be wearing. It’s a great size, BPA free and has buggy straps to go over the pram bars.
- Baby connect app – this has been so helpful! It’s a great way of tracking Fin’s feeds, how long he feeds for and from which breast as well as how many nappies he fills. This has been useful for reassuring me he’s healthy, and being able to give the info to doctors when needed.
Coping with the change
It goes without saying what a huge life change having a baby is, nothing could have prepared me for it. Basically life as I knew it has gone out the window, which isn’t as horrendous as it sounds because our new life is just as wonderful, if not more so than the old one. Being the type A hyper productive organised crazy bitch that I am, I have had to take a long hard look at how I live my life and manage my business from now on and that has been very scary but kind of liberating at the same time.
I do think we’ve managed pretty well considering his early arrival and these are the things that have helped me stay sane and as healthy as possible during the change:
- Ilumi meals* – these have been a life saver for me, especially as James likes them as well
- Online grocery shopping – so helpful, I tried to go to the shops on my own (James doesn’t drive) a few days after we got home and was in floods of tears being away from my baby and with the general stress of the shops (post on quick and easy healthy meals and short cuts coming up!)
- Online shopping – as I said Amazon prime is so helpful we’ve ordered all sorts of stuff
- Netflix and my iPad – seriously, this keeps me sane during night feeds!
Life is different, but wonderful and a bit scary all at the same time. You are the same person as before the birth, but at the same time, completely different if that makes any sense. As I said I will be blogging soon about the changes for me and my body soon.
James has had to go back to work this week (so sad to not have him with us) so it’s time for me and the little man to get settled just the two of us. Looking forward to our adventures together!
If you have kids can you relate to that complete change? If you don’t have kids yet, how do you think you would cope with that kind of life change? Mamas, what are your fave baby products?
I have been reading your blog for ages but never really commented. But things have changed – I gave birth to Alice on 4 September, she was a little bit earlier (36 weeks, 5 days) than expected and struggled with her blood sugar initially. And then she had jaundice… I can really relate to your comments abouy the breastfeeding. I found it very difficult initially because the incubator made her so sleepy that she was simply too tired to feed for more than a couple of minutes. luckily the midwives in St Michaels hospital/Bristol were amazing and helped me ween her off the formula top-ups and I am now exclusively breastfeeding.
We have found a few things we absolutely love:
waterwipes – as you say, no fragrance, no chemicals and so much easier than water and cotton wool when you are on the go
gro egg – I also have the owl cover (I collect white owls…), so good to know how warm it really is in your house. I am planning on using gro bags when Alice is a bit bigger and knowing the exact temperature should really help when chosing your gro bag and putting on appropriate clothing underneath. My husband has become a little but obsessed with temperature monitoring though, I am fully expecting to be presented with an excel spreadsheet and graph soon… ;-)
Clevacushion – absolute life saver! great as nursing pillow and the seat insert was invaluable for taking Alice home: we just popped it in her car seat to give it some additional padding, which at 5lb1 was much needed!
Babymoov Cosysleep – we put this in her pram and crib, makes it much cosier without comprimising her sleeping position or safety
Tesco nursing bras – I was going to buy some before the baby’s due date, but as she arrived on what would have been my last day in the office, I never got round to it so had to order some online. I didn’t want to splash the cash on something that may not fit, I ordered some from Tesco. £14 for two, very comfy and don’t look too bad.
I hope this helps you or your readers in some way.
You are doing an amazing job with Fin and I am going to keep everything crossed for his operation and a speedy recovery.
Sending lots of love from Bristol,
Thanks so much for commenting Ulrike! And congrats on the birth of your little one too. I am definitely checking out the babymoov, that sounds ideal!
Just ordered the babymoov :-)
Laura, I am glad to hear you are doing well despite the 4 hours of broken sleep! I don’t know how I would cope with that!
You and Fin are going to be just fine with James going back to work :)
Thanks Lauren, we have been ok so far this week!
Since I’ve been on holiday, I haven’t been reading blogs as much. I’m sorry to hear about Fin’s heart, but it sounds like it will all be fine. He’s a gorgeous baby, I love his little onesie.
Thanks Sarah xxx
it is shocking how doctors sometimes forget that humans are mammals, we need milk from mama’s boobs, nothing can be better for sweet Finley than breastfeeding, the entire experience goes beyond the milk, it is the contact, the warmth, the sound of your heart, it is vital for him in all ways, even for the future development of his teeth and mouth. Keep the good job and you milk will make him stronger for his op.
However, you must relax! This may sound like stupid advice but: Try not to stress too much. Don’t worry about your eating. Your body have enough storage of goods to offer your baby1 You have all that takes to produce tons of milk.. the stress and anxiety can disturb it all… Keep focus and trust your instincts.
I have breastfed my daughter for 23 months… just before her 2nd birthday we sat and had a talk and she accepted to quit the boobs… It was a long and amazing experience and I totally recommend you try to keep it as long as possible,,,
Thanks Claudia I completely agree, it’s way more than just food isn’t it! Wonderful that you were able to breast feed for so long and have such a good relationship with your daughter. I will definitely try and relax as hard as that is ;-)
Ah, I just love folllowing you Laura! Little F is such a beautiful little heart breaker♥
Enjoy enjoy enjoy, you have so much to look forward to!! ♥w
Oh goodness, you must be wonder woman to survive on that little sleep! How amazing that there are so many products available these days to make life with a baby just that little bit easier.
You’re doing wonderfully :D
Haha, I’m sure there must be something that happens to your hormones to help you cope with the lack of sleep!
I think it’s amazing how you’re coping so well with your beautiful early man. I would have freaked out if I hadn’t got everything sorted beforehand!
Thanks Christina, sometimes you just have to cope as best you can!
Water wipes …. what an awesome idea. I’ve always wondered how something supposedly sensitive enough for a babes bum could get red wine out of a carpet!!!!!!
Gosh I know it’s scary isn’t it! Glad there are so many natural options available now :-)
I love the idea of cloth nappies. The Never Home Maker blog writer, Ashley, (who I know you also read) did loads of posts ages ago about it and I’m fully set on attempting to use cloth nappies when I have a baby. Obviously who knows what will happen with all the stress but I really hope to go through with it. Apparently nappies are one of the biggest parts of landfill sites and that really concerns me!
Fin is adorable. And a big “girl power!” (in a very uncheesey sense…maybe?) for breastfeeding in public – nothing wrong with that at all!
Ooh I’ll have to revisit her posts on that! Thanks for the girl power ;-) we did it again in public yesterday successfully!
Cloth nappies have changed a lot if you compare them with old-skool terry nappies – bamboo, org cotton, easy to wash(pre soak). Tots Bots do a trail pack which includes a lovely bamboo fitted one to try. I’d wholly recommend that plus Kushies & wonderoos(bit bulky so ideal for a young babe:).
See if your LA has real nappy incentive schemes as they can help with cleaning them and keep cost down.
Yep, your right Laura Motherhood is kind of overwhelming initially especially and a huge lifestyle shift, you sound like your doing brilliantly(Fin’s so fortunate:), Super-mummy!
Love waterwipes & Naty too!
Thanks for that recommendation Karina, I’ll check out the trial pack from Tots Bots. Thanks for the encouragement too!
Worth mentioning on here that you purchase bamboo popper baby suits and very snuggly-soft nappy liners at very reasonable prices from eBay(seller id: baby bamboozo sp incorrect or something like that), a lovely seller based in Scotland.
Also try to get a saving on the TotsBots trial pack be keying in ‘totsbot promo code’ in the search engine(lovely real nappies but pricey:).
I have to say, I absolutely love your posts so much Laura, even though I don’t have a baby and don’t plan on one anytime soon (or if ever…). I guess it’s just nice to read something honest about the whole having a baby thing other than the usual stuff you get in books and I do genuinely find it interesting and inspiring. You are doing so so well as a Mum like we all knew you would and your whole outlook on life is probably once again, changing for the better like it has done in the past. I can relate to that whole being stuck in my routine, always being productive, always being active and for that to change..I think I’d find it incredibly hard, especially the being active thing because for me, that’s kind of my stress relief. But I think if it ever did happen, it would make me look at how I dealt with things in life and business and probably help me to chill out a bit and realise that the things I stress about now, I might not do then.
Thanks Nicky, I was worried all these baby posts would be a put off haha! The change really is hard, like I said I don’t think anything could have prepared me for it at all and I really do miss exercising – even getting out for a walk is hard when I’m trying to fit in other things like visiting people and his sleeping patterns. You are right though, I think it has changed me for the better, I’m a lot less stressed about business and blog stuff, it’s totally changed my outlook on it all.
Glad to hear you & James & Finley are doing ok & well done on sticking to your guns regarding BF – I can definitely appreciate how this would have been difficult to do but I’m glad you got support from the BF advisor/midwives. I’m with Nicky – I don’t know if I will have a baby in the future but I’m finding your accounts of what’s been happening an interesting read as you are being very honest about your experience. As for products, I’ve heard parents rave about the all-natural pure potions products/baby skincare range!
Thanks Lucy it has been hard but I definitely think BF is worth it! Glad that you are enjoying these posts still!
Just wanted to say that it is great that you are finally getting settled as a family. A few friends had bad experiences with breast feeding- eg tongue ties not being diagnosed and doctors pushing formula, which is such a shame as it is the most natural thing.
Thanks Maria, we have luckily had Fin’s tongue tie fixed this week, I think it’s terrible that babies can have that and not get it sorted and have it affect breast feeding.
You a superwoman getting by on four hours of broken sleep a night – feeding every 2.5 hours can be no mean feat! Sounds like you are doing brilliantly Laura and well done for sticking to your guns about the breastfeeding, such a shame the doctors weren’t fully on board and supportive. I love reading your posts about Fin, he’s gorgeous and I can’t wait to read about the adventures you’ll go on together.
It is pretty challenging but I’m sure that there must be something in our hormones that helps us cope! Glad you are enjoying these posts :-)
I’m guessing that was a male doc then(ignorance is bliss)? The world and ignorant so called professionals like him desperately need to read Veronika’s gift to the world(referring to the compassionate and supportive ‘The Drinks Are On Me’, it’s my go to mummy’s companion(not just for mummys). I think you’ll really enjoy it, Laura:)
I second what your lovely commentators are saying about you, your very frank and honest parenting posts are a joy to read!
Leaving you to enjoy your beautiful, baby boy:)
well funnily enough it was mostly male docs but there was this one female doctor that really rubbed me up the wrong way! So glad that you are enjoying these posts!
To say I’m so happy for you guys and little Finley is an understatement. Congratulations and can’t wait to hear about his progress as I attempt to get back on the blog-loving wagon that I had to park as life took over! :))
To know what you have been through to get to this point makes it particularly poignant – well done! Xx
I really love that sleepsuit with the arrows and turquiose trim, would you mind sharing where it’s from?
Of course, it’s from Mamas and Papas :-)
Sounds like you have things sorted lady! I dread to think how I would cope to be honest but I am sure I would one way or another!