Here’s a thing I wrote one-handed on my iPhone yesterday while the baby drooled down my shoulder – it’s not really good advice, just a document of What We Did to get through the frankly dreadful first two months of Ada’s life. Ada, if you’re reading this in the future, you are in no way to blame for the madness, it was purely us being crap at life:
For the first two or three weeks of Ada’s life, one of the three of us would burst into tears at least once an hour. This led to a coping strategy of ‘Eat your feelings!’ – we’d shout this at each other while forking down mouthfuls of Belgian chocolate cake every afternoon, openly weeping. Of course, you can’t do this forever without feeling awful, so Chris put a massive bowl of dried fruit and nuts in the hall for us to grab at when we’re melting down, missing a meal or up in the night. Magic! We still have emergency cake, though.
App the naps!
In the fourth week, we had no idea why Ada would be a lovely baby until about 5pm, then start screaming the walls down. Turned out we weren’t letting her nap enough – we are idiots. She was yawning, rubbing her eyes and doing everything except holding a banner saying ‘Please put me to bed, I don’t want to watch The Hairy Bikers’.
Now I have a nap timing app, and every two hours she gets put in her crib to chill the hell out. The app shows me a graph of when she sleeps each day, so I can predict when she’s likely to sleep and when she’s likely to scream her brain out of her nose.
Hot diggedy damn
I was very weary and warm for a few weeks after giving birth. Like, sweating-through-sheets warm. ‘Its just hormones!’ said the health visitor, ‘Eat lots of chocolate – this is just what being a mum is like!’ said the midwife.
It was Chris who, when I started claiming the walls had moved and we’d sold the baby to the Mob, took my temperature and suggested we go to the doctor. Who suggested we go to casualty because I had developed a raging infection. Keep a thermometer handy, people! And don’t sell your baby to the Mob.
Take a break from the old routine
For ages we kept trying to eat dinner at roughly dinner time, while the baby napped angrily on a cushion near the telly. She would wake up and cry, one of us would wolf down dinner or abandon it completely, and no one got to watch The Hairy Bikers. Sad times. Now we have a big lunch and eat dinner in tag-team shifts much later at night. Not ideal, but better.
Phone them numbers
I never call helplines – until now! I called the hospital number to ask if my comically swollen feet were normal. Chris called the midwives’ office to ask if I could come back to hospital for feeding help. I texted the health visitor to ask if it was okay that our baby eats until she throws up and them some. Call the numbers! It’s free help! God bless the NHS!