Yesterday my little Maddison turned 3 weeks old... that's 21 days together already (not including today)! However, since day 18, we've been struggling with the dreaded "C" word that makes all new parents feel helpless and exhausted, and NO I'm not talking about any rude words (which I know is what you're potentially thinking you naughty buggers haha)... I'm talking about COLIC.
Colic. Those hours of late afternoon/early evening, when your baby just cries and cries for no reason what so ever. You've changed them, fed them, burped them, literally no amount of rocking, bobbing or cuddling positions will settle them. It is just non-stop crying as if baby has become possessed for a couple of hours!! Then all of a sudden, they are fine again! As if nothing had happened and they are back to the normal, adorable, newborn that you know all the other hours of the day.
"Colic is the name for excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy. It's a common problem that affects up to one in five babies..." - NHS website
Who the hell can explain the science of this craziness?! Well, I've done a ridiculous amount of research trying to help me understand and find a cure, but it seems that unless accompanied by other symptoms that would suggest something more serious.. that there is no real reason why babies get colic! Or any way to fix the problem! It starts when they are a few weeks old and the nightmare normally ends by 4 months of age. There is one thing for certain though.. and I know already from my few days of experiencing colic so far, that it is exhausting and I completely get why it causes so many parents distress!!
I am so unbelievably grateful that when Maddison started showing signs of colic my mum was with me, and having had 3 babies of her own, she recognised the behaviour immediately and started working her magic of different techniques to try and settle her! She had started crying and refusing to settle at about 6:30pm on Thursday, so I did the obvious checks.. was she hungry? Did she need burping? Did her nappy need changing etc... everything seemed fine! Yet her little face wouldn't stop going red, her vocal cords squeaking and whaling, and her little bottom lip trembling away! I just felt completely useless and helpless!! Why couldn't I comfort my baby? Why could I not work out why she was upset? Then that horrible thought crossed my mind; that I'm sure crosses every first time mums mind at some point... "Does this mean I'm a bad mummy?!?!" I know it is a dramatic stupid thought, I know I'm not a bad mummy, I'd do anything for my little girl! I'm just ridiculously tired and full of hormones!! Anyway, NOTHING worked. And like I said, thank god my mum was here to reassure me everything was okay and this was a perfectly normal thing that many babies go through! It's just one of those things where you have to stick it out, do your best to comfort baby, and stay sane till the crying passes!
Since that day, we've now had "Colic O'clock" roughly between 5:30-7:30pm everyday. And I'm going to say in complete and utter honesty, that from my experience so far, it doesn't seem to be getting easier. Those few hours are SUCH hard work! Please agree with me?! As if motherhood wasn't hard enough already.. I've done everything to try and prevent it, knowing that colic time is creeping up upon us. I've popped her in the pram and gone for a long walk to settle her, not worked. I've tried using Infacol before a feed, made sure I've done a good old winding, not helped. I've made sure she has enough sleep but doesn't nap too long that she's cranky, no use. There is no dodging colic. (Or if there is and you've discovered it, give another mother a helping hand and let me know your secret pretty please?!!) But at least I know WHAT I'm dealing with and that it WILL come to an end, and she's not going to be crying forever!!
Something that I have read and heard a lot of people say who have had colicky babies, is to make sure you have some support or someone to lean on to help you through those difficult hours. (On a serious note..) Being home alone dealing with a crying baby, that will not stop, can be extremely draining and emotionally stressful on top of the 24/7 care babies require anyway! So the best advice I've come across, is to have someone handy that can pop over to help, or be on the other end of the phone for you to rant or cry to, be that your partner, friend, family, neighbour etc!! This is something that has made colic even harder for me personally, because of the hours Josh and I work as Personal Trainers, we always have evening clients. So Josh is normally out during Maddison's colic 'prime-time' (lucky for him!), which can make those hours DRAG even more for me being alone than they would normally. But knowing I have my mum on Facetime standby or Josh's mum down the road, does make it easier! So fellow mamas, try and have someone on call who can help out, because it really helps!
Although being a mummy is the most incredible and rewarding feeling in the entire world. Things like colic do not make it easy. Being a mum IS a superpower! You are constantly putting yourself second to your little one, while trying to still have some sort of social life and attempting to keep a clean and organised household, all while running on very little or no sleep. Adding on top of that, these "witching hours" of baby crying, you do sometimes want to bang your head against a wall! I know there are times I feel like that! Any fellow mummys struggling with a colicky baby... YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It wont last forever but it is okay to admit that it's hard! We can do it!! Oh, and to any mums-to-be that might be reading... Please don't let this post scare you! Being a mum is still the best thing EVER! Doesn't mean it's easy, but it is totally worth it!
As mentioned above, any mums who have experienced colic and found ways to cope, please feel free to share! Not only for me but for anyone else who might be reading that can relate and might need a boost!! We should always support and help each other, united motherhood! There is far too much judgement out there to be criticising mums that are learning and trying their best! Every baby is different and it's always important to remember that.
Either comment below or contact me via the Social page! Love x
So last night Josh and I had our first date night as new parents!! Which was amazing to have some quality time together (although a lot of our conversations did end up being Maddison related.. what can I say, we just love her so much!!) As much as it was lovely to have those few hours together not in pjs or covered in baby spew and poo... it was agonising leaving her!!
Being someone who panics and gets anxiety easily I knew that leaving Maddison, even just for a few hours, was going to be surreal and a struggle. Of course she was with family so I knew she was perfectly safe and in good hands, but that still didn't make it any easier!!
Our first week home with Maddison, I really couldn't even bare to not have her in the same room as me! During the day Josh normally has some daddy time with her, meaning I can go upstairs and grab a few hours snooze, as I'm normally the one up in the night so Josh has slept well enough to function for work! This routine works so well for us.. but the first time I went up for a nap, I woke up crying because I didn't have her with me or in my sight! I panicked and just remember shouting down to Josh getting completely worked up over nothing (as of course she was absolutely fine)! I mean, the amount of crazy hormones running around my body probably didn't help with the emotional outburst.. BUT if you think, after carrying her in my belly for 41 weeks and then her not leaving my side for her first 48 hours in the world, it was a shock to the system to not have her at least in the same room as me so I could see or hear her! This happened for a couple of days in our first week home with her. I'd go to have my nap, knowing she was 100% safe and content with Josh, yet every time I'd still wake up with tears in my eyes, feeling like I couldn't breathe properly till she was back in my arms or sight!! These were obviously nowhere near the sort of big dramatic panic attacks I've had before in my life (like in labour!), but it was that chilling anxiety of being apart from my baby. I think for me personally it goes back to the need of "being in control" that I mentioned in my labour story blog (CLICK HERE TO READ). As when I'm away from Maddison, I can't be in control, I can't feed her, or cuddle her, or change her. And that is why I get my anxiety. (God I'm making myself sound like a complete control freak! Promise I'm not a total nightmare to live with, or I reckon Josh would've run away when he could have - haha!)
Saturday 1st July, was my middle sisters birthday. Maddison was one week old, and the family were all going out to dinner to celebrate. Of course initially I had said yes I'll go, I couldn't miss my sisters birthday! My sisters and I are super close, they are basically my best friends and we tell each other everything!! (LOVE YOU GIRLS!) But as it got nearer and nearer to the evening on that day.. I started to freak out again, baring in mind this would also be my first time out of the house since arriving home from hospital!! I think I barely put her down most of that day and could feel my heart rate increase and getting wound up at the thought of leaving her. I genuinely didn't want to go, (sorry sis!) I just didn't want to leave my newborn baby!! I know there's the option of taking her with us, but the restaurant we were going to we knew was very noisy and in the middle of town, it wouldn't have worked for a newborn baby and just didn't feel right taking her. Again, I knew she would be perfectly safe and happy at home with Josh's mum and sister, but I still couldn't relax about it. In the end, I did go, but was so distracted and agitated I couldn't enjoy the evening properly. Think we only lasted an hour before racing home to get to Maddison.
Looking back, that evening probably wasn't helped by the fact I was still sore down below! So sitting on a hard restaurant chair was agonising!! (Thank god my mum had a cardigan I could borrow to roll up and 'cushion' my lady area haha!) And also my back was still very bruised and sore from my double epidural! For me personally, I know it was a bit too soon to be going out to dinner and leaving Maddison. The combination of anxiety, being a control freak, crazy hormones and killer lady bits.. should've been enough for me to realise, but I didn't want to bail on my sisters birthday, even though I know she would've understood.
I always had a feeling I'd be a mess the first time leaving Maddison. I just know what I'm like by now!! Maybe I would've been better if it hadn't been quite so soon? Who knows?! I guess there is no 'right time' for going out without your baby for the first time, and it completely depends on you and when you feel ready!! But fast forward a week later, having been discharged from Midwifery care, been out the house for a couple of walks with Josh and Maddison in the stroller, it just felt so much easier going out last night. Maybe it would've been harder if I hadn't had the bad experience the week before? Or maybe I'm just getting more confident and comfortable being a mummy?
I have to admit, it did feel good putting a dress and lipstick on again and not feeling like a whale now I'm not pregnant!! I felt like I could relax and enjoy myself again without worrying if I was eating right and drinking enough to help my baby grow strong and healthy in my tummy. And it was soooo nice being able to sit throughout a dinner without having a foot constantly kicking me in the ribs haha!! (can't say I miss that!!)
Although I'm getting used to the idea of going out and getting family to baby sit Maddison, I doubt it's going to become a regular thing for these first few months or even year!! Or at least till I find a way to cope with this "separation anxiety!" I just feel deep down I don't want to miss a single moment with her. And I know it's mainly a mental thing, but how can I be 100% sure she's safe and okay when not in my arms?! (I don't think it's helped by all the horrors that are happening in the world right now, and all we want to do is protect our children!) I know how everyone tells you that it goes so fast, but it really does! And I'd hate to miss any of those special first moments or bonding time with her!! I know it's a case of working out the best balance - having time for you and your relationship, as well as your baby - I'm sure I'll get there eventually!
So how soon did you guys get to go out as a couple and have some quality time without baby? How did you find it, did you struggle as much as I did?! Any ways to cope with separation anxiety?! Love to hear from you as always! Either comment below or message me via the social page! x
Wow, what a whirlwind these first 12 days have been as a new mummy. In some ways it hasn't felt weird or surreal in any way.. motherhood has just felt totally natural like it was always meant to be a part of mine ans Josh's lives! I have to say though, I do feel pretty lucky as Maddie is such a well behaved and sleepy baby! (Touch wood I haven't spoken too soon haha!) I can imagine I wouldn't be quite as high on cloud 9 if she was constantly screaming the house down! Anyway what I want to chat about today is breastfeeding/feeding your baby in general and my experience so far. This is a topic I feel someone will always have an opinion on, or think they know everything. In all honesty, I believe as long as you do what is best for you and your baby, then you're doing great!
I had personally always known I wanted to try breastfeeding my baby, there was never a question of what to do for me. However I have always stayed very realistic in knowing that it might now work out for whatever reason, my hormones might not agree with me or I may not produce much milk, I might not like it etc.! So as much as I wanted to breastfeed, I knew not to beat myself up if it didn't workout, the main thing is I tried!
The first few hours in hospital once Maddison was born I felt like superwomen. She latched on straight away and it just felt comfortable and easy, maybe this breastfeeding thing isn't so complicated after all? WRONG! 48 hours later, my milk had come in properly which meant overnight I'd woken up with a Pamela Anderson boob job! (Seriously, these boobs were unreal!!) And because my breasts suddenly ballooned and had changed shape, I just couldn't get Maddie to latch on anymore! She would just shake her head around like mad, pull away (sometimes with my nipple - OUCH!) and she would squeal, it was just horrible and heartbreaking seeing her that distressed, and frustrating that she couldn't settle on me. I felt so incredibly guilty and that it was all my fault, I just broke down and cried! Luckily I do have a breast pump so ended up pumping my milk and bottle fed her so at least she was getting something! But it just wasn't the same as having that initial skin-to-skin feeling and connection when feeding her. After hours of us battling each other my nipples were in AGONY. They had even started to form these little blisters! (sorry if too much info but its true!) I was even crying just trying to rub nipple cream on them! At this point I just rung the Midwife and asked her to come out and help.. a few hours later with some different positions and techniques under my belt, it was like we'd never had a problem! And Maddie was happily feeding away!! Although my nipples did take a good 24 hours of cream to feel bearable again!
Ever since then, we've had no problems at all! (back to my lucky well behaved baby!) I've actually found I produce a LOT of milk, so I am always having to make sure I've got the glamorous nipple pads in my nursing bras - oh how times have changed from my little Victoria's Secret numbers haha!! And I didn't realise how painful boobs could be if left too long without 'milking' them! There's been times when Maddie's been sleeping and I've just had to pump to take the pressure off!! We've actually got a good routine going now, with me breastfeeding Maddison throughout the day, then Josh will give her a big pumped bottle before bedtime which sends her off till about 2 am for a nighttime feed! Then we also always have an emergency bottle of expressed milk for in the night. Just in case my nipples aren't quite up to another feed or if I'm super struggling from tiredness so Josh can help again!
Establishing breast AND bottle was another thing I knew I wanted to do as soon as possible. My mum had said that when she had me, there was so much pressure for her to just establish the breast and bring in bottles later, that by the time she tried a bottle I just wouldn't take it! So for my sister, mum established breast and bottle straight away and just made life so much easier! So I knew that's what I wanted to try and do! I couldn't imagine not having the option of Josh helping out, it would be so much harder! And at the end of the day, she's still getting my breast milk, be it from a bottle or straight from my boob!!
BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC
One thing I am yet to try is feeding in public. I'm actually quite nervous because when I'm feeding at home I couldn't look more inelegant if I tried haha! I'm usually slumped over tons of cushions, legs crossed up, boobs and belly hanging out on show, nipple pads everywhere... I have tried to cover up with a muslin to "practice" saving some modesty but then I really struggle getting her latched on initially if I can't see where she is?! I've seen some women make it look so easy, just popping their baby onto the boob and carry on chatting away with friends while having their coffee.. Ladies, please give me your tips/secrets?!
For now, I am pleased that I have my pump so I can always carry a bottle of expressed milk on me, in case she does need a feed while out and about, till I can build my confidence up with feeding in public without flashing the entire world my boobs. I feel for now until I'm super confident it's just not worth getting unnecessarily stressed about it. I'll also try and time outings around feeds.. but that probably sounds easier said then done (baby's gonna eat when baby wants to eat!)
I am 100% all for feeding you baby WHEREVER and WHENEVER that baby needs feeding. As soon as feel I can easily breastfeed in public I will! I didn't realise till reading an article on the BBC the other day, about the backlash to Baby Dove's new advert, but it is actually ILLEGAL to tell a women breastfeeding to leave a public place, such as a cafe, shop or public transport in England and Wales! (CLICK HERE to read the BBC article). Knowing that, it gives me even more confidence and pride knowing that I can and I will feed my baby whenever she needs to be fed.. (Just hopefully looking a little more elegant then I do now with some practice haha!) Breastfeeding is such a beautiful and natural thing to do, I can't even comprehend why anyone would ever disagree to it?! We are made to feed our children! So why fight nature and make a women feel embarrassed about what her body is designed to do?! I feel this is going to be one of those topics that someone will always have something negative to say about it, us mums just have to stick together through it and carry on doing our thing!!!
BREAST IS BEST?
I bet you've all heard this saying thrown around a lot right? How nothing can beat the nutritional content of breast milk and its the best thing for your babies development?
Scientifically, yes, there are many pros for breastfeeding your baby. For example, breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria and it helps lower their risk of developing allergies. There are also benefits for mother too, such as it really helps with loosing the 'baby weight' gained as breastfeeding burns a lot of calories and it releases the Oxytocin hormone to help shrink your uterus back down. But despite that, I really do feel that it is up to each individual to determine what is best for them.
I am so 'on the fence' about whether women choose to breastfeed or use formula. I am neither for or against either! Some women don't even have the option of breastfeeding (for various reasons), so I feel it's really unfair to make them feel bad about not being able to breastfeed their baby or to turn your nose up at someone using formula! As long as our babies are getting fed and cared for, surely that's the main thing right? Plus there are so many formulas these days that are actually very good! And I guess when we are older.. who can tell if you were breastfed or not!! When do you ever look at someone and think 'I bet they were breastfed?'.. you just don't! I think it's also unfair to judge women who could breastfeed but choose not to. If it's not for them then so be it! Going back to me personally, I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, if it didn't work out obviously I'd be upset, but I know I shouldn't beat myself up as it's not the end of the world.
At the end of the day, I'm not preaching one way or another, and I feel society should let mums get on and make their own decisions of what works for them, without feeling pressurised to do things a certain way. To me, a happy and healthy mama = happy and healthy baby, simple!
As always, I'd love to hear your stories and experiences on this topic. Did you breastfeed? Did you have any problems? Any tips for feeding in public?! Was breastfeeding maybe not an option for you? I always believe the more we talk the more we can help each other out!
Either comment below or contact me via the Social page! X
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