Monday, 7 April 2014

life lately - paternity

One week paid paternity leave simply isn't enough. Adi had two weeks off, using annual leave for the second week, plus the weekend, making 16 days leave in total. For me it felt like two months, but for Adi it went way too quickly.

We're incredibly lucky that I didn't need much time to recover. We were out and about from 3 days after the birth and haven't stopped since! I can't imagine how people cope who have had caesareans or other complications which require more recovery, I guess that's when the support of family and friends is vital. 

I perhaps should've milked it a bit more and be waited on hand and foot, but I felt the more I did by keeping on top of housework and getting out and about, the quicker I healed, even if I did push myself to my limit somewhat. It also meant that Adi could be focused on Hugo rather than me.

We packed so much into the first two weeks, so here's a bit of a summary with some would haves/ could haves along the way.

First day:
On the lead up to the birth it's impossible to know who you'd like to visit you and when, as you can't imagine what it'll be like. Lots of people warned us that we'd be bombarded with visitors and that Adi should keep on top of it to ensure it didn't get too much for me. 

As much as we wanted time on our own, having my family around on the first day turned out to be fantastic. I knew I could speak my mind and tell them all to bugger off if needed, but having them around was a great support. 

I was high on adrenaline and couldn't contemplate resting, I just wanted to focus on the baby, feeding and relaxing. Adi was shattered, so while I had company downstairs, he was able to go and have a good sleep. I was cooked for and waited on, and managed to have a sleep while Hugo was in the best hands.

By the time my family left in the evening, we were rested and ready to go it alone. I couldn't sleep much that night, so if I hadn't had the 2 hours and if Adi hadn't had so much sleep we would have been exhausted, but that support got us both off on the right footing. It was also special to have my family there on the day he was born. Adi's parents also saw Hugo when he was a few hours old and his brother and family came the following day.

My top tip would be to try really hard to get some sleep during that first day. It can be tempting to just spend hours staring at the baby but you'll need all the energy you can to breastfeed constantly over the following days and weeks. On that first day the baby required very short feeds and not much else, so sleep and be woken by someone each time the baby needs feeding!

Each day onwards was filled with visits from the midwife, breastfeeding advisor's, family and friends. I was so proud and still had all of the endorphins flowing, so I wanted to show Hugo off to the world and didn't mind visitors at all. I knew all of them would take me as they found me and I was confident enough to breastfeed in front of everyone.

The only thing I would do is ensure there was time in-between visits and not too many in one day so that Hugo wasn't passed around too much. It didn't matter while he wasn't feeding much, but as the week progressed and his appetite increased, I was trying to juggle feeds with passing him around for cuddles, which stopped me from ensuring he had a proper full feed each time.

Too much, too soon:
The times that we didn't have visitors were great to chill out, but we also wanted to get out and about. While Adi was off, I wanted to go to normal places and do normal day to day things so that I could do trial runs for when I was on my own. 

On the third day we went to the White Rose centre to shop, then popped in to Adi's mums and back to ours for visitors. For the first trip out, I had totally overdone it. Because Hugo was asleep throughout the shopping trip, he'd been too long between feeds and wouldn't settle to feed at Adi's mums. We learned from this and I realised that I now have to go at Hugo's pace, not mine! That was hard over the first few weeks because feeds took so long and it seemed to be all I was doing!

Hugo's first two weeks:
By the time Adi went back to work we:
  • had been shopping to the White Rose centre 
  • registered him as a proper person in Wakefield
  • had a baby photoshoot
  • walked to the cafe in the village for lunch
  • walked to the pub for a drink
  • travelled to see family in Nottingham twice (due to a poorly Nanna)
  • popped over to Adi's parents three times
  • had a day out at West Bridgford Park (where I grew up)
  • took Hugo to our friends house 
  • ate out twice (Hugo's first Nando's and Pizza Express experiences) 
  • had four visits from the midwife, three visits from F.A.B. breastfeeding charity and one visit from the health visitor
  • enjoyed a picnic at Rufford Country Park 
  • had visits from lots of family and friends!
So, I think maybe we overdid it a little, but I loved the chance to introduce Hugo to so many people and do normal things. Yes I was incredibly tired, but the hormones and endorphins helped. I was also sore but I just went at my own pace and had a bit of a waddle! I think doing so much has helped us to have a placid baby who is used to going here, there and everywhere.. or maybe it's having a placid baby that helped us!

(24th March - & 6th April 2014)

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