So, it’s been a big week for us. We are finally making use of the special room that we spent ages getting ready (and then haven’t actually set foot in for six long months!).
Reminder: This blog is the work of a sleep-deprived, first-time parent (IN LOCKDOWN!), trying to talk frankly and honestly about his experience. I make no apologies for the language used.
Baby Moves Out
So, in line with the current advice from the experts, m’boy has been sleeping in his cot in our bedroom for the first six months of his little life. Note that what I did not say there was “the three of us have been sleeping in the same room together”! You’ll be amazed how every little cough or creak will make you instantly wide awake, and that’s without all the times he wakes up crying because he’s hungry or whatever.
Anyway, this was the week that we finally decided to move the cot out of our room and finally start using the fucking nursery!
It was a little bit weird to spend our first night without him. We’re now relying on the baby monitor to relay the screaming and crying, plus we have the added excitement of navigating the tricky landing in the middle of the night to get to him now. But we were pleasantly surprised that at least he didn’t sleep any worse in his new room than he did with us.
M’wife is still dealing with most of the nighttime wakes, as the easiest thing to do is to feed him back off to sleep (and faffing around formula in the middle of the night is a pain the arse). Plus she’s still on maternity leave and doesn’t have to be up for endless Zoom meetings every morning.
Daddy’s First Feed
That being said, I did my first successful feed today. That may sound a little odd, nearly six months into m’boy’s life, but that’s just the way things have worked out for us. M’wife has been breastfeeding him since we brought him home and I’ve had to go to work (albeit from home, because Covid!), so I don’t really see that much of him during the day. Plus, he’s been refusing every bottle and dummy we’ve offered him so far, but we keep trying every so often.
Anyway, today was the first time that he has actually sat in my arms and drank a whole dose from a bottle without kicking the fuck off, which was a really nice experience for me. Plus it is hopefully a good sign that I will soon be more useful when it comes to the actual parenting stuff.
I should also mention that feeding is no longer as painful and exhausting for m’wife as it was in the first few weeks. Very few people talk about how difficult it can be to get started and I make no judgments about people who decide to use formula instead. I don’t think things would have been as bad if we’d had access to grandmothers, midwives and health visitors, but the lockdown meant that we had to work it out without any external support. It was hard watching her struggle and not being able to do anything about it, but at least all that pain and discomfort is now a slowly fading memory. M’wife is a big damn hero for persevering with it and it turned out to be worth it, in the end.
Life Hacks – Cleaning Up
I promised that, unlike new mums and dog owners, I wouldn’t forget the role that poo is supposed to play in polite conversation. However, it’s something that is hard not to talk about in the context of babies. Anyway, we’ve developed a few techniques and hacks for managing the cleanup process and I wanted to share them with you.
First, we bought a cleaning caddy (pictured above), to keep nappies, wipes, nappy bags, various ointments and other paraphernalia together in one place. It works really well and it makes it easy for us to clear the dining table – which has been baby-change-central for the last six months – so that on the rare occasion when we actually have time to sit down and eat together, we can quickly turn it back into a table again.
We also bought a Tommy Tippee nappy bin (which we got at a massive discount because there’s no way we would have paid full price for it!). It comes with cartridges that automatically bags up the nappies as you put them in, which was a pretty nice idea. However, once the cartridges ran out and we discovered out how much the replacements cost, we decided not to bother! Now we just use the regular, cheap nappy bags (usually from Aldi or Lidl), but we still use the bin because it’s got two lids which act as a handy little airlock and means we don’t have to take everything straight to the outside bin every time (which is just as well, as we often have to do half-a-dozen changes a day!). So, it was still a good purchase, but you can probably get something similar for a fraction of the price.
Anyway, these things make managing the whole thing much easier and help control the chaos. Finding little hacks like this really takes the edge off, especially when it comes to this particularly unpleasant part of the baby-rearing process. It’s also important to find ways to regain some semblance of normality after the little bugger has gone to sleep!
So, a big day with the baby finally moving out. I’d like to think that this is the start of things starting to return to some sort of normal and we might start to get some more actual sleep, but at this point, I’m not exactly optimistic. Let’s see how the next few weeks go…