The First Two Months

Well, bloody hell. If you want an insight into what parenthood is like, this blog probably sums it up. I've had a blog post lined up for weeeeeeeks. It was titled 'What I've Learnt In The First Two Weeks of Parenthood'. Reader, my daughter is now nearly nine weeks old and I'm still to post it up. In fact, it's been through two further edits, 'What I've Learnt In The First Month of Parenthood' and 'What I've Learnt In The First Six Weeks of Parenthood'. Still, neither made it up. Every time I've gone to edit or add or just make it not sound like it's been written by a woman who at one point was so sleep deprived she felt bad about falling asleep because she thought she was stopping her husband from meeting up with a farmer who was going to give him ice cream (true story - my delirium, there wasn't actually a farmer creepily giving my husband ice cream, unfortunately ), my incredible daughter has done something. Maybe she's rather unsubtly started smacking her lips in my eye line to tell me she's hungry, maybe she's done a fart that sounds like the gates of Hell have a hangover or she's just done something so ridiculously adorable that I then have to gaze at her for the next four hours.

So, there's lesson one - it takes approximately seven weeks longer to do things once you have a tiny person to care for. And it's also very optimistic thinking you can write a coherent blog post after averaging around three hours sleep a night. But here are some other revelations that I've had in these first two months...

1. Childbirth will give you a newfound appreciation for what your body is capable of. Oh no, I already knew my bits were amazing, I'm talking about skills I didn't even realise I was capable of. Picking up a phone charger cable with your toes. Pushing your arm's reach to limits you didn't think possible to ensure you can grab chocolate even when stuck under a blissfully sleeping baby. Carrying that sleeping baby to their crib with the precision of a champion egg and spoon racer. The surprises are endless and...hang daughter is getting frustrated with her thumb...Right, I'm back. Oh no, downstairs slammed a door and she's awake again...hang on...Right, it's now three hours since I started this blog because she wanted feeding, then entertaining, then the health visitor arrived, then she wanted feeding again, then more entertaining, then I had some lunch, then I realised the washing up needed doing, then she wanted feeding again, and now she's asleep. So, here we are. Back to it.

2. Eating a meal with two hands is a thing of the past. It doesn't matter when you time your meal, chances are your little darling one will decide that as soon as you get that plate in your hand, it's time for her to eat too. So while they have a whale of a time consuming their twentieth meal of the day, your dinner sullenly sits by you going cold. This is when one-handed eating comes into play, but not all meals are created equal. And it's not just food that doesn't require a knife that comes to the fore. Cereal? Upsettingly difficult to eat with a newborn latched to your boob as it results in two types of milk spilling everywhere. Soup is another casualty. It needs to be something easily spoonable (hello chilli, rice, ratatouille), something forkable (hiya pasta, chips, roast veg) or something that will patiently wait for you (welcome but not really salad).

3. While we're on the topic of meals, breastfeeding hunger is real. Now, as I've mentioned before, I'm a true glutton and can easily destroy a sharing bag of any kind of crisps within minutes, but even I've been surprised by the constant hunger I've experienced. My primary needs are now ensuring my daughter is safe and that we have enough cereal bars in the house. And the need for sugar. Oh wow. As someone who's never really had much of a sweet tooth, this is a sugar-coated, caramel-centred, chocolate-covered shock. We received a fair amount of cake in the first couple of weeks of new parenthood and I'm proud to say that we ate them all. Couple the gnawing hunger with sleep deprivation and sugar becomes your icing-laden lifeline.

4. I honestly don't know what people did before Netflix. It's 3.23am, you've had precisely 8 minutes sleep and that's only because your partner has become far too efficient at changing nappies. We all know parenthood is exhausting. Oh, parents will delight in telling you how little sleep you're going to get, but those first few weeks are something else. You have to succumb to it, just let it happen with a cake in one hand and your TV remote in the other. You will need Netflix. BBC News will only keep you going for so long. You'll enjoy it at first, you'll feel you're still connected with the outside world, but world politics at 3.23am after 8 minutes sleep is seriously dry. If you're staying up as a couple (which is nice, it's lovely, especially when your baby will only sleep on either of you and you need to share holding duties, but also consider one of you getting some sleep so you're not both entirely useless the next day) then documentaries are your friend. Ugly Delicious on Netflix saved us those first few nights when we had no idea what was going on. I now do night feeds solo and while most of them are now gloriously short, sometimes they like to drag themselves out. For these, I recommend utter trash. You want something that has a story to keep you awake and engaged but not so much of a story that it really doesn't matter if you zone out or your baby starts screaming. Basically, the Dynasty reboot. And yes, the new series of Love Island is making me look forward to night feeds a little more, thank you.

5. Muslin cloths are life. There is not a surface in this house that is free of a muslin cloth. Every arm of every chair, every shoulder of every person, everything is strewn with brightly coloured pieces of material.

6. Stitches are real. I'm not going to go into the details of episiotomy stitches (if you want to know more then please contact me) because knowing about them isn't going to particularly help any expectant couples. However, just know it takes time to recover and, if you're breastfeeding, you'll probably need something more than paracetamol or ibuprofen. What I will do is recommend these cooling pads They're not cheap but, alongside maternity pads and witch hazel, they saved me.

Okay, it's now the next day. The tiny one needed a nappy change, I clean forgot that I was in the midst of typing this, then she wanted a feed, she had a sleep and I faffed around on my phone, then it was time for dinner, she wanted feeding and entertaining, then exhaustion kicked in and somehow it was suddenly midnight. So, we're back again. Let's see where we are.

7. Oh god, I'm so hungry.

8. Waking up at 4:30am after 6 hours straight sleep suddenly becomes a thing of wonder. I never thought I'd be so deliriously happy to wake up to see that time on my phone and be dangerously close to the happiest tears I've ever shed. See also the smugness the next night be dashed on seeing it's 1:30am and your baby thinks now is the optimum time to be utterly adorable.

9. I'm suddenly very aware that we only have one cereal bar left in the house.

10. At some point a fart will reverberate around the room and you and your partner will look at each other and go, 'Was that you?!' and then you'll turn to see your blissed-out-looking baby and you'll never be prouder.


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