Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas

from the Pudding Club

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Advice needed (to potentially be ignored)

Another mother was telling me how when her 4 month old son was having difficulty calming down her great-aunt who has never had children told her to take him for a walk in the garden to help him settle. So she's holding him, bouncing up and down up the garden walk, both she and her son freezing as it starts to rain and suddenly it dawns on her that she has just blindly taken advice of a woman who has not only has no hands-on experience with babies, but made an active choice NOT to have any.

It's incredible how us new moms latch on to whatever advice is thrown at us in the first few months. Some of the advice is good (Vaseline to get rid of cradle cap? Works like a charm) and some is ridiculous (like my mother telling me over skype that Eloise is crying because she doesn't like the sweater she's wearing).

Slowly and surely I'm starting to gain my confidence as a mother and know when to take advice given and when to tell people, thanks and all, but since I spend more time with my baby than I have ever spent with anyone. ever. I think I know what she needs - and a frozen brandy-pop to help with teething is not it. However I will have two.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Just a couple of changes then...

My life a little over a year ago:

Favorite Cooking show: Saturday Kitchen, hungover in my pyjamas eating yesterday's pizza.
Hobbies: I'm going to be honest here: drinking. I was once at a business course were we all had to introduce ourselves and give our hobby - I lied and said photography.
Clothing: Lots of black with bright accessories.
Perfume: Anything by Dior
Bed-time: anything after midnight
Social life: The pub.
Newspaper: CNN and BBC online. The Guardian a couple times a week.

My life now:

Favorite Cooking show: Cbeebies I Can Cook
Hobbies: Dressing up my daughter and taking pictures of her. Nibbling on her ear and making her laugh. Learning new songs to sing to her. Buying her stuff.
Clothing: Anything that has easy access to my boobs so Eloise can eat wherever whenever. If it hides milk vomit stains that's a bonus.
Perfume: Milk
Bedtime: I'm impressed when I make it past 9:30 these days
Social Life: Day-time groups with other mothers and their babies.
Newspaper: The Saturday Guardian which takes me all week to finish. Some weeks I only read the Family section.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Paris bound

So Eloise and I are flying to Paris tomorrow - at 6:40 am. Just the two of us. Me and a 5 month old baby. Who screams. A lot. That sound you just heard? That would be the sound of the brick that just fell out of my butt hitting the ground.

I'm sure it will all be fine in the end, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get all of her stuff and mine into one suitcase.

How insanely cute are these ruffled baby shorts? To pack or not to pack.

We're away until after the New Year. Giant family reunion for baby's first Christmas. Highlights include having to explain what a vegetarian (my sister) is to The Frenchman's very carnivorous family and seeing my mother and father in the same room for the first time since I was eight.

I have a few posts set up and will hopefully be able to write from over there.

Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Take your Mama out

Last week I went out for the first time in what felt like ages. Some of the women I have met in our baby groups and I decided to put the kids to bed and rush out to a late night cafĂ© for a drink leaving the babies in the care of the men folk. It’s funny how taking on this new role as Eloise’s mother has made me appreciate the smaller things. Like being able to walk out of my house not just without a baby, but without a nursing bra on. I got to wear a top that was in no way conducive to breastfeeding, plenty of perfume and eye-shadow.

Me very pre-Eloise.

I was so excited for a little adult time. Walking out of my house at night, heels clicking on the pavement. Cute purse replacing the bulky changing bag. Finally some freedom from the adorable beast. And what do we talk about once we’re there? The color of our babies’ poo. What times they woke up in the night. How often they spat-up on us. So sure. It will be awhile before I’ll be able to talk about much else. Awhile before I can actually “escape”. My job is my daughter and the breaks are few and far between. But despite the fact we only spoke about our kids in some capacity or another, it was so invigorating to get out of the house. Good for the soul. And sure it was only 2 hours. And I only had one glass of wine. Before Eloise it would have been 6 hours and 8 glasses. But this was so much more rewarding. I’ve never worked harder in my life (20 weeks slave labor) for one glass of Malbec.

Although I do feel bad that we loudly swapped war stories about giving birth and only afterwards did I notice the pregnant woman with her parents at the table next to us. Hope we didn’t scare her too much, but we all decided it was better that she know what’s coming!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

breast is beast

There's been a new wave of mommies that have joined the weekly groups Eloise and I go to. Their babies are barely a month old and seeing the tiny limbs and sleepy eyes (on both child and mother) brings back memories. I know Eloise is only 20 weeks old, but the difference is so immense between 4 weeks and 20 weeks that we might as well be talking years.

With this new influx of newborns we've all been retelling our birth stories and there seems to be one thing that we all agree on. We were lied to. We were lied to by every mid-wife, gynecologist, health-visitor and pediatrician going. They all told us, if you breast-feed correctly it will not hurt. Completely pain free they said.

Bull Shit.

In the hospital, Eloise only hours old, we attempted breastfeeding for the first time. Tickling her nose and lips with my nipple, encouraging her to latch on. Making sure she's parallel to my body, her mouth wide open, her lips curled round like a fish. I did everything I was told to do - everything the books and classes told me to do. And it hurt. A LOT.

So I pressed the little buzzer button and a fresh faced mid-wife came in who looked like she was all of 12 years of age. I told her that breastfeeding really hurt. She said it shouldn't. She said if I was doing it right then it should not hurt. She checked if Eloise was properly latched on. Yup. You're doing everything right. Looks good from here. Well clearly miss pre-teen who was closer in age to someone who gets their nutrients from a boob than someone who is in a position to feed a baby with their boob had no clue what she was saying. She was just regurgitating what everyone else in the profession has been telling us. It is a big pack of lies.

Let me just set the record straight: Feeding a baby from your breast is really quite painful. Add the insane cocktail of emotions that is bouncing around in your tired body and there will most likely be a point in the first few days where your baby cries to be fed and you will feel a weight of fear drop in the pit of your stomach and tears will come to your eyes. And you will think you are a horrible mother because the last thing you want to do is nurse your poor defenseless hungry child.

Now it does get better, and I'm very very glad I stuck with nursing. I think after 15 or so days the pain when Eloise latched on was pretty much gone. Now I don't feel a thing when Eloise eats (except when she hits or scratches me mid-meal of course). And being able to nourish and comfort my baby with her own tailor-made cocktail of boob juice is wonderful. *
But had I known that the first few weeks of nursing would be painful I would have been prepared as opposed to doubting my ability to care for my child.

I suppose they don't say anything because they are afraid that if we know how painful breastfeeding can be we'll decide to go straight to formula. Well, we are all aware of how painful childbirth is and yet we all decided to get ourselves into that little pickle.

* For the record I'm not a fan of how heavy handed the health services have been with the 'breast is best" campaign. All it is doing is creating a world of guilt for women who cannot or choose not to breast feed. As if formula is some sort of evil juice. As if mothers need more guilt in their lives.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Did you know I have a baby? Cause I wasn't sure that was clear from this blog.

Somewhere along the way my newborn turned into an infant. A proper chunky little baby ready and willing to discover the world in front of her. It's amazing to think that at one point she couldn't hold up her own head. Now she's grabbing, she's standing (with my help of course) and she can manage a total of 2 seconds of sitting before wobbling over.

I never understood parents that could go on and on about their baby who had just learned to do basic things like eating from a spoon, rolling over, getting on all fours. I mean I've been doing those things for ages - some of them in heels and lingerie - and you don't hear me boasting. But when you go from being the prime witness to someone who started out life as essentially a wobbly headed blob that can't poo and breathe at the same time these milestones are incredible to see.