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The Guilty Mammy Blog

Blagging it badly

Month

December 2015

5 things I would do differently..

1) Putting my baby in clothes.. (I wouldn’t)

For some reason and probably in line with what I saw around me at the time I thought that after 1 month my baby should wear ‘proper clothes’ especially when leaving the house. Looking back at photos of her at about 6 weeks old in a pair of jeans and a top and I realise how ridiculous it was.

Doing in again baby would be in a baby grow until 3 months minimum.. maybe 6 months.

They should be as comfortable during the day as they are at night. If they need an extra layer then a cardigan or a jumper is the way to go.

2) Buy a moses basket (I wouldn’t)

She hated it. I hated it by the end. The sleepyhead was the best purchase we made in this regard. Doing it again I’d probably buy a co-sleeper.

3) Sleep on the couch (I would)

Co-sleeping frightens the bejesus out of all new parents. I think we should give ourselves a break here. Practically everyone I know did it at one point or another. Sometimes it’s the only way to get any sleep. Some did it for a few nights, some for a few weeks.. others are probably still doing it but not telling anyone.

If you’ve trawled the internet like I have trying to find out how to do this safely you’ll have realised that no one is willing to help you here. Everything says not to do it. In particular the most dangerous thing you can do with your baby is fall asleep on the couch. I can’t tell you how many times my husband told me not to fall asleep with the baby on the couch. I did it a couple of times.. maybe even a few times.. she slept on my chest in the deepest most blissful sleep possible. I don’t have loads of cushions on my couch and the there is no bit she could get stuck down the back of. I still felt terrible every time it happened. But I was so tired!!

Doing it again I would sit down, put my feet up, baby up, tv on and SLEEP, BLISSFUL SLEEP FOR MANY HOURS.

4) Stay in maternity clothes (I would)

Don’t get my wrong I was more than keen to get my old body back, or as close to it as was possible. But maternity clothes are lovely.. they are stretchy and ACCOMMODATING and there are no buttons to feel bad about not being able to close. I miss my maternity jeans. Yes, pulling them up incessantly was a pain when I was huge but post baby they were perfect. The big band actually made me look smaller (at least I thought it did). No muffin top. Lovely.

Obviously I don’t recommend them indefinitely.. but I’d definitely enjoy them for a bit longer if I was doing it all again.

5) Invest in decent underwear (I would)

I read somewhere that if you are planning on breastfeeding you should spend as much on a nursing bra as you would on a meal out. I thought that was nonsense. I didn’t, I wish I had. I mean the first few weeks when your breasts produce milk as and when they feel like it and your bra smells like sour milk most of the time or is stained from nipple cream etc. then don’t be putting on your finest but once that all calms down a good bra is a great investment. No one should have to get excited when they finally get to put on an underwired bra again. Do your self a favour and sort out the ladies.

Knickers – go big and go comfy is usually my advise. Never wear a thong when you have a newborn. You never know how long you are going to be sitting for in any one day. And your bum may not appreciate the cheese wire in your crack like it once did.

Day Care Disaster

We went to see three nurseries when baby was 4 months old. Living in London you hear all the time that places are limited so we felt we had to get out there early to get into the queue. Plus I used to make myself cry at the thought of her going to nursery. I got so upset thinking about another woman comforting her when I wasn’t there that I could actually get myself into a state.

The one we picked was the first one we saw; it had a fantastic reputation and was really small. There are only 4 babies in the baby room. It felt like an easier step away from me than a bigger nursery where she would be in with the toddlers in a large environment. Once we had picked it and I could see where she was going I immediately felt better about leaving her. Those horrible nagging fears were very much put to the back of my mind once she was booked in.

And then the time comes to get her in there, she was 11 ½ months old. What an enormous thing it must be for a baby. I worried that she had really only had contact with me and her Dad so in order to open up her world a bit I took her to Ireland to my family for a couple of weeks and then to Spain for a couple of weeks, again with family, so she could get used to being around other people and more importantly to get used to me not being there all the time. I know there is no way to prepare babies for nursery but this felt like the only thing I could do to help her.

Settling in day 1 – two hours and I stay with her. Easy. She loved it. A room full of toys and me and another adult playing with her.

Settling in day 2 – two hours on her own. She is fine, two hours of playing flies by and a pick her up and she is happy to see me and I feel happy that she was ok.

Settling in day 3 – 10am to 2pm on her own. Day went well. She ate and slept and seemed to have a good time.

She does 3 days a week at nursery. I am lucky I am back to work 3 days only. But after what felt like a good start she picks up a virus and starts going in to nursery exhausted from a few nights of bad sleep and I novelty of all the toys starts to wear off. There are tears at drop off every morning and even on pick up. It is heart wrenching. Being back at work has its up side, I am enjoying so many parts of it but the guilt and sadness at leaving her is hard to deal with at times. And then it steps up a gear..

Her birthday and she is sent home sick. Again. Birthday party postponed and I take her home. Luckily that was her last day that week. The party is reorganised for the following Monday. The deal is I am to show up at 3pm for tea time and bring cake. I can’t deny I was really excited about it.
I get there bang on time and she is already sitting in the toddler room. The tables have been changed so it’s one long table and she is sitting at the top of it looking down the line at the other babies. I sit in a miniature chair next to her. I am there a fair amount of time before she turns around to see me. My heart breaks when she turns around. Her eyes are full of tears, she has been sitting there silently crying and no one was comforting her, no one seemed to notice. My heart aches. I don’t want to make a huge deal of it so I just start chatting with her and help her eat her crumpet. She keeps putting her arms out to me to pick her up. Eventually I do and she sits on my knee. I can see she is trying to work out what I am doing there and why we are not leaving.

The party starts, it’s a bit of a damp squib I have to say, bit of music and she wears a hat and gets to see her cake. She doesn’t get to eat it but I don’t think she understands the joy of cake just yet.

At some point early on in the party she starts cuddling in under my chin and acting all shy. I say aloud that she isn’t normally shy and ask her what’s wrong. Her key person says that she is the shyest kid in the nursery. She goes on to tell me that she doesn’t take part in any of the activities. She sits back and watches on her own. She would sit quietly with the cuddling toys all day if she was allowed to. They have to really push her to play and she never joins in the group activities.

It was like hearing someone describing another baby. None of what she said sounded like my kid. My kid is bubbly, laughs all the time and has a wicked sense of humour. She laughs when other people fall over. Her key person then says she has not seen anything of the baby that she was the day I stayed with her during settling in. Don’t forget all of this is happening during her birthday party while I am sitting in a miniature chair at a miniature table with several miniature people around me.
I was gutted. I picked her up and got her out of there. I bumped into my mum friend on the way home and burst into tears. I couldn’t relate what she had told me with the baby I knew.

In the weeks after that going to work was harder because I felt so bad about how she was at nursery. I longed to go home and get her out of there.

The worst thing was I started to notice that when I brought her to play groups and baby classes she WAS shy. She wouldn’t stray too far from me and she was definitely a lot more introverted that the other kids.
I couldn’t help but think that leaving her in nursery had damaged her, made her weary and shy. I didn’t remember her being like this before nursery and as the weeks went on I saw more of the baby that nursery saw than I did of the girl I thought she was.

I can’t tell you if she was always shy or if nursery changed her somehow. In my heart I feel sad because I do think it has made her worry about the world. She now knows that she could be left and that has made her, well, sad.

It’s been 10 weeks now and she still cries on drop off every morning. She is still reluctant to join in all the activities. She walks well at home but only takes a couple of steps there. She chats and babbles incessantly at home but never makes a sound there. At 13 ½ months she seems self conscious and lacking in confidence. Could that even be possible at that age?

I’m sorry to say I don’t have any answers on how to fix this for her. I have to work and we can’t afford to hire a nanny to look after her. Nursery tells us that she is getting better. And we have to trust and believe them.

But the guilt I feel every day is palpable.

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