Pip’s birthday swiftly followed Elphie’s and accordingly, I have been reflecting over the past year. It’s true what they say: I don’t think anyone ever thought the first year of their baby’s life went slowly! Of course, there have been slow moments… very slow moments, but on a day to day basis it has gone by in a blink.
I second all of Elly’s advice and have a few bits of my own to add…
I didn’t really expect the first birthday to feel like such a milestone, but it did. It was quite an emotional day, not least because Elphie burst into tears at being presented with her birthday cake. It certainly feels like a good chance to think back over the year and pass on my “wisdom” to those that come after me so they can steadfastly ignore it as we all do.
Ah the heady days before baby, when I could have a few large glasses of wine after work, share a bottle with a meal or finish the night with a wee dram or two; a sudden withdrawal from alcohol was always going to raise suspicions of pregnancy in those around me.
Luckily while pregnant, I just went off the stuff. From occasionally actually craving a glass of wine, I went to not being bothered by it – I would have a sip of Fred’s tipple just so I knew what I was missing, but that was enough. I was paranoid that Elphie would be born with fetal alcohol syndrome as a consequence of the extra drinks I had at Charles and Laura’s wedding following a negative pregnancy test that I mistakenly thought had put me in the clear. Fetal alcohol syndrome has a number of nasty growth and mental retardation symptoms alongside facial abnormalities like the below courtesy of an article by Warren, Hewitt & Thomas. There is speculation that Jade Goody and George W Bush shared these facial characteristics but I’ll leave you to play Dr Google on that one.
One of the first questions people tend to ask you when you have a baby under the age of one is “Is she a good sleeper?” or “Is she sleeping through?” or, more simply, “Getting much sleep?”. I don’t mind these questions, don’t get me wrong, I will more often than not ask them myself as to talk about babies and not mention sleep is like talking about Gordon Brown and never mentioning his little Tony problem. So is Elphie a good sleeper? Well it’s pretty hard to say. Picture credit: Anne Geddes Continue reading →
The babywearing obsession rather came about by accident – I had always intended to use a carrier with Elphie and had purchased the ubiquitous BabyBjörn (more about which later) and had marvelled so much at Alex’s tricks with a piece of cloth with Evan that she had promised me my very own woven wrap almost identical to hers in every way (I couldn’t help it – she had chosen the best wrap designs) and I fully intended to watch youtube videos and occasionally use it. My theory was that slings and wraps would be very useful for long walks and travelling when lugging around a buggy would be too much hassle and while Elphie was too small for an umbrella stroller. For everyday I reckoned I would mix it up and use the buggy as much if not more than the carriers.
When Elphie arrived rather unexpectedly our plans fell into disarray – we had the Björn but she couldn’t use it because it was only suitable from 8lbs; the woven wrap was on its way but only in time for the expected due date not a month beforehand; and as for the buggy – I was still making my final decision, so that was not an option either (buggy choices not being top of my priority list when faced rather early with a newborn baby). So Fred was sent out on a mission to our local high street to find any sling that Elphie was allowed to use so that we could actually leave the house with her in something other than the carseat. And back he came with a Caboo (I will explain what this is later) and the slippery slope to babywearing fanatics had begun.
This video came to my attention just before a furore broke out in the breastfeeding community about a review on Tripadvisor complaining about a pub whose landlady had objected to a mother breastfeeding in their restaurant area and whose landlord had responded to the complaint by saying:
“The Greyfriar restaurant area was almost empty that day, so there were corner tables available, which afford considerable privacy, away from the bar area. Despite this, this party had chosen to sit at the restaurant table nearest to the bar. Moreover, the lady had also chosen to face the bar customers when feeding her child, rather than feeding with her back to them. To cap it all, the purpose made top which is designed to cover everything was, literally, covering nothing. This is why my wife spoke to the lady – she was displaying her entire breast to everyone in the bar, in circumstances where it was entirely avoidable. We have the full cross-section of people visiting The Greyfriar and I’m afraid many are offended by this type of display.”
It really hits home how bizarre our society is about breasts – whipping them out to feed a baby, not ok; showing them on page 3 of a national newspaper, perfectly fine! Facebook is notorious for banning people who post pictures of themselves breastfeeding as obscene images because you might just see a nipple. And there really people out there who view a picture of a breast with a baby attached as pornographic as Facebook only blocks these photos when someone reports them.
Now I will admit that in the past I might have been a bit surprised if I had seen a woman displaying her full breast while nursing in public and probably would have averted my eyes (product of this culture that I was). Now whenever I see anyone nursing in public with their boob on display, I want to give them a badge in honour of their bravery!
Thank heavens for whatever lobbying group did get the breastfeeding clause into the Equality Act so objections like the one above are clearly against the law. Even with this, we still have a long way to go before our society realises that breasts really aren’t just for titillation
There is a belief, which people ram down your throats while you are pregnant, that once a baby arrives your evening social life heads into rigor mortis. From that point you will be stuck at home for the rest of your life until you are willing to give up your child to the care of a babysitter and even then you will only get your pre-baby life back at most once a week.
But it doesn’t have to be like this, at least not in the beginning, because young babies are surprisingly good wingpeople.
As we seem to be on the topic of placentas, I thought I would share with you the concept of the Lotus Birth in case any of you fancied it.
We all know that the standard trick post-birth is to cut the umbilical (preferably after some delay) and then deliver the placenta, either helping it along a bit using a drug which is injected into your thigh while you are giving birth (a managed third stage) or naturally (a physiological third stage) where some time up to an hour after the birth you then push out the placenta like you did the baby, sometimes with help from the midwife pulling the cord to get the placenta out. The managed approach has been shown to result in less blood loss for the mother and is what I had this time round (although I have no memory of deciding this or being pricked by a needle – must have had my mind on other things). If there’s a next time then I think I would go the physiological route, just for kicks really as I am curious what it would be like!
But if I was a true hippy then the lotus birth would be the thing to do – you see the cutting of the umbilical cord is just an unnecessary intervention, so how about you just don’t cut it – leave the placenta attached!