Category Archives: Baby Juggling

Out on the town

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.
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Fitness first

Now I’ve passed my six week check and have finally been officially discharged after a lingering infection (best not to ask), I’m keen to start getting active again. It turns out I gained a lot more weight than I thought during pregnancy – I shouldn’t have listened to all those people who told me I looked “well” as in reality they meant “lardy”! No idea of the exact figure, but considering Pip’s weight and my huge placenta I expect it was around three stone. Ah well – je ne regrette rien – I enjoyed every cupcake!

Now for the reality check though of potentially not being able to fit into any of my old clothes. I haven’t attempted jeans yet (although pleasingly, a maternity pair I bought late on in pregnancy that were too tight at the time now fit perfectly, with the added bonus of a nice tummy-flattening belly band). Along with the scales, they are staying in the loft for now as I figure what I don’t know can’t hurt me! Before trying to squeeze into anything or for that matter buying much of anything new, I want to clock up some proper exercise. My doctor told me to stick to gentle activities, then went on to say I should listen to my body. My body is telling me to strap on running shoes and sprint, so I feel a happy medium is needed. With gym workouts ruled out for now, I’m going to have to get creative, especially as with a baby in tow things become somewhat more complicated!

If all else fails, I can just gaze lovingly at my feet: one small but significant positive is that after suffering from enormous cankles in late pregnancy, that whole area has never looked more svelte! In the meantime… here are my plans for how to apply myself this autumn:

Yoga/Pilates

I have signed up for an NCT-run class called “Relax and Stretch with Baby“. As far as I can tell, this will involve learning baby massage while incorporating Pilates for the Mums. My doctor wholeheartedly approves of Pilates so even though I’ve never tried it before it seems like a good place to start. We’ll see how it goes… there will be music and singing involved which could go either way (fun and uplifting or rather embarrassing)! Hopefully it will be better than my pregnancy yoga experience at least.

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Shop ’til you drop

So I thought I would pop into Sainsbury’s; just a few things – a box of cereal, some toothpaste, a bottle of wine for a dinner party that evening and maybe some cat food. I could manage that – I had the baby in the Björn, an overstuffed changing bag and the portable breastfeeding pillow, but an extra carrier bag would be fine. No drama.

But then again it made sense to get dinner for the next night, we were out in the afternoon and a friend was coming round for dinner – there would be no time tomorrow to buy it. And maybe something for the next night, just for us.
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Alex Reid manxplaining how it’s done
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I can’t get no sleep

It’s a myth that you can “bank” sleep. Mr Cath and I spent the months before Pip was born going to bed at 10pm most nights and waking up at 7am (to be fair, we were pretty boring before I got pregnant too!) Getting at least 8 hours’ sleep a night means that you end up NEEDING 8 hours’ sleep a night. So when that lovely long sleep stops happening, it hurts. As one parent noted in the recent BBC article “30 tips for first time parents” (kindly sent to me and Elly by Hester):

“Never underestimate the power of sleep deprivation. It can turn the most pleasant of persons into a raging psychopath.”

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Feed me, Seymour

Feed me! Feed me! Feed me!
Feed me, Seymour
Feed me all night long
That’s right, boy
You can do it
Feed me, Seymour
Feed me all night long
‘Cause if you feed me, Seymour
I can grow up big and strong

I empathise with Seymour, I really do. Not that my daughter is a carnivorous plant from outer space, but there are parallels. Since Monday, Elphie has gone into overdrive – from averaging over 3 hours between feeds with a nice 4 hour break during the night, to an average 1 hour 45 mins to 2 hour 15 mins measured from the start of one feed to the start of the next. The number of feeds has risen from 8-10 to 13. I am a feeding machine.

The huge intake of food is also making her windier and, as a result, crankier. Midnight to 3am on Thursday morning was a bad time. I felt empty, my breasts felt like they had no more to give; I was down to my last 100ml of expressed milk and I was considering the maligned formula.

Welcome to a growth spurt, population ravenous.

Mumsnet explains: “babies often have intense growth bursts that last two to four days. They have about five in their first year – roughly (very roughly) at between one and three weeks, another between six and eight weeks and then at around three months, six months and nine months.”

At seven weeks it seems Elphie is ignoring adjusting for her preemieness and coming in bang on schedule.

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Home alone

Babies appear to have a sixth sense about when would be the worst time to kick off, and decide that that would be the perfect time to do so. It has not been an easy weekend. She was left in Daddy daycare while I helped Celine flat hunt – apparently she screamed or griped throughout with a brief half hour snooze to revive herself for the next bout. It was slightly gratifying that on my return her grizzling reduced which could suggest some recognition (she barely noticed when we returned from dinner earlier in the week) or it could just be the standing and rocking that did it. All this screaming had quite exhausted her – she slept through our walk in the grounds of a local stately home with Mark and Harold, his seven month old, and continued sleeping into the evening only vaguely waking to be fed and not even being woken by the dreaded nappy changes. We thought this was probably a bad sign for things to come but it was nice to have an evening to ourselves and to watch a film together without interruption (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was our movie night choice and what a fabulously bizarre movie it was!).

And what happens to babies who sleep through the evening? They think the day starts early and the day means feeding frenzies are fair game!

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Date night

When Elphie was first born and having her official visits from everyone, a few foolish souls offered to babysit her if we wanted a night on the town sans baby or rather sans risk of baby meltdown. Unfortunately for Anna we decided to take her up on the offer for our anniversary.

Initially we were going to go out near our flat and Anna & Gwilym were going to come round to ours to babysit Elphie. But the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed for their summer holiday so I decided on a more cunning plan which was to go to a restaurant near Anna & Gwilym’s flat and bring Elphie there. So I dutifully booked the restaurant – a great Italian trattoria which we had been to before where you have no choice in the 10+ courses you are given
(unless you are a veggie or celiac or something proper like that). All was prepared for my first night or any time really without Elphie.

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To be is to do

Initially I had grand plans of what we were going to achieve in a week, what I would do when my Mum turned up, all the things that would be done. Now I start the day with two objectives and generally it has been a good day if one is complete by the end of it. I feel like I am living my life in slow motion, everything takes forever – my never excellent timeliness is now non-existent.
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So what does this ever-growing to do list consist of?

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