Friday, June 20, 2008

Settling in

On the whole, M and I are managing well as first-time parents. Looking after this little person has certainly not been as alien an activity as I thought it might be when I was pregnant. But Little Planet has her unsettled moments like all babies and when she cries and I know she's been fed, had her nappy changed and has had a cuddle, then it's very frustrating. Like most newborns, she has digestion problems which cause her discomfort, and aside from Infacol or similar and burping her, there is little for us to do until her digestive system matures. She cries and is unsettled and that is dispiriting for both her and us.

Poor little thing. What she really wants is to be rocked to sleep in our arms and for us to never let her go - she wants to be close to us and feel our warmth and be reassured that we are always here for her. We try and do this the best we can but shoulders begin to hurt and backs begin to ache as we find ourselves rocking her or swaying with her for an hour. But as soon as we see her eyes flicker shut and we try and lay her down, she awakes and screams. Not all the time, but enough of the time for us to frantically seek some respite: we pop her into the swinging cradle or a sling, but we're not keen to keep her in these for too long as we think their usage might inhibit her night time sleeps in the moses basket. And surely the swing cradle and sling can't be good for her little body for long durations?

We are lucky in that she still has some 3 to 4 hour blocks of continuous sleep in a 24 hour cycle for us not to feel absolutely shattered, but there are moments when M and I look at each other and recognise shell-shock in each other’s eyes.

She's been out in this world for just 2 weeks tomorrow. No wonder it is all so scary and distressing for her. No wonder she wants only to be fed, and loved and kept protected.

But joy of joys, we took her out in her buggy for the first time yesterday - out and about to the shops for an hour during which she slept and M and I felt refreshed. Today we went to the park. The trick is to get her into her buggy when she's sleepy and can't fuss too much. I am so looking forward to the day when I can take her in her buggy or sling on the Tube and into town - if only for an hour or two's stroll around a gallery or the shops.

Other 2 week notes:
  • Little P is fascinated by... light and dark shadows on the wall, her black and white hi-contrast pictures and Mr Whoozit toy, our faces, my hair, the hair dryer, any blank wall (what does she see there?), her rattle, the view outside through the window onto the garden.

  • She seems nonplussed by music - even lullabies. But she seems to enjoy me singing nursery rhymes to her.

  • I feel guilty when I realise that I hurry Little P’s feed and burping time in order to get her to sleep so I can resume my own life for a few hours.

  • And we are managing “me time”: we’re watching TV and movies on DVD (albeit sometimes only half a movie at a time); we’re cooking – homemade pizzas for dinner one night, homemade chicken and mushroom pie another – and have resorted to takeaways just once since we’ve been home; we’re reading magazines other than baby magazines (well, M more than I); we're surfing online; we’re remembering to take time out just to cuddle – just the two of us.

  • New mummy lessons for me to learn: be patient; stop clock watching; be fully there for her when she's awake.

Thank you all for your lovely comments. Please do not be offended if I do not reply at the moment; I still enjoy reading them so please keep them coming.


Hypatia said...

That hair! Those little tiny feet propped up at the end of the chair! it sounds to me like you're hitting as even a balance as can be hoped for in this first month - two weeks in and you're back to cooking, reading, enjoying each other. That's *wonderful* - and even when it's not, we know from your previous posting about life in your household that it *will* be wonderful.

Olivia said...

There are one-year olds with less hair than your 2-week old baba!

I see you are shedding the businesswoman and becoming a really really lovely Mummy. :)
How sweet!

Yes, sing to her. She will love your voice forever.

SilentOne said...

Oh such a sweetie..she looks sooooo comfortable in her graco chair/sling ?
Like her buggy - very chic and nice..

Planethalder said...

Thank you, Hyp, O and SO!

Priyanka said...

Reading this post was like reading a post about my Little Aashna. She is almost 2 months old now and still has tummy discomfort. Also, during the day time she sleeps only when she is held by me, it can really get tiring at times but still feels so wonderful :) Lovely post !