This past June, Livvy and I became parents for the first time to a baby boy. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, but overall a wholesome and enjoyable experience. Seven weeks have already flown by, and I thought it was about time to write a post.
I’m currently sat on the sofa composing this, my wife feeding our little boy, wondering where to start. Between the crying, memories from the previous weeks come in and out of my mind. It’s surprising how these memories are already becoming a blur (lack of sleep, perhaps?). I recommend starting a diary or taking pictures; record these moments.
…a few moments later…
Ha, that free time didn’t last long. It’s now midnight, and my wife has gone to bed. I’ve just finished getting him to sleep after 3 hours of unrest 😴; maybe I’ll start by introducing our boy.
Meet Joshua Noah William Grundy. Born 30th July 2021 @ 10:12 am, 3.4 kg (7lbs 8oz).
Josh came into this world after somewhat a lengthy and traumatic labour. At 7 days past our due date, our midwife decided Josh needed a little help getting into this world. The hospital had recently changed the days for inductions from 12 to 7, so we agreed. In hindsight, we would have pushed to wait a few more days.
Liv went into the hospital on Wednesday. Inductions don’t normally work straight away; they gave us every indication it would be several days. But it started working for Liv within hours. She spent the next 36 hours in immense pain until we finally got that sweet, sweet epidural.
Honestly, it’s an experience seeing your child born. I won’t detail all the labour, but for those who say it’s the best experience they’ve ever had, I feel, have never had a good holiday or any joy 😂. I couldn’t go in until 10am Thursday morning, and Livvy was already on gas and air by then. The following 10 hours before the epidural were some of the toughest I’ve ever been through. Maybe it’s different for other people, but I’ve had more fun in life. When that epidural goes in, though, what a different experience. Our room became tranquil; Livvy was herself once more… well, apart from one thing. You can then hear the screams of other women. You feel like you’re in a madhouse. My advice, get the good stuff as soon as you get the chance. Our midwives in delivery were fantastic; we were there for such a long time, we actually went through 3 shifts. They provided so much support for both of us. I couldn’t imagine being in any other environment to give birth.
By Friday morning, Josh had been born. The midwives do all their essential checks before handing the little one over to your partner. Then you’re stood there, holding your baby, having this surreal moment where it all doesn’t feel real. Eventually, you’re left alone in the delivery room. Just the three of you. That surreal moment becomes a reality. You have this tiny human who’s your responsibility. Welcome to the world, little Joshua. I’m so proud of my wife. She was exceptional throughout, and I have so much respect for her.
I suggest you cherish those few hours you get in the delivery room. The mini mostly sleeps, and you get to have plenty of skin to skin cuddles. It also doesn’t get that peaceful for quite some time after. 😅
The first night home
This was the most challenging experience we’ve had thus far—those first few nights. I arrived at the hospital the Saturday morning to pick them up. Having not recovered from the delivery plus the first night of post-natal with all the other mums, Liv was understandably already tired. Josh was up most of the night feeding, which meant no sleep for Livvy. This was something we weren’t quite prepared for. The first two days for us were non-stop feeding. I would try to let Liv get some rest and look after Josh, only to wake her 30 minutes later and be like, “I’m so sorry, he wants food again”. We both didn’t sleep at all for two days. This was especially tough for her because she didn’t sleep much in the hospital the previous days. Honestly, if you can, get someone to come over and help. Don’t think people won’t; they will. I wish we had.
Our only saving grace was going back into the hospital for an additional check on Josh. While there, Liv had issues feeding him. They decided to keep her overnight in the transitional care unit (almost 1-to-1 care). A lifeline for us; it meant both of us got a full night’s sleep. The midwives fed Josh throughout the night.
We’re lucky he will take a bottle and be breastfed. I know they say not to give them a bottle this early, but if you’re struggling, I would personally try. It’s been beneficial for us. We initially expressed breast milk and then used the premade formula.
Honestly, don’t listen to other people. Do what helps you cope. A happy mum will mean a less stressful time for the baby. We found the midwives put so much pressure on you to breastfeed. That doing anything else is a sin. Ignore them all. Do what helps you.
Our second time home from the hospital was much better. We had slept and were more prepared. Really, do get grandparents to help. Even if it’s just for an hour’s kip. Liv was still too sore to feed for the 3rd and 4th day; we entirely fed him with a bottle. He’s been okay with mainly breast and the odd bottle ever since. I’ll stress this again, do what works for you. We ended up giving him a dummy on day 4 because nothing else would settle him. It worked, and he still didn’t have issues with breastfeeding (although annoyingly won’t take a dummy now, haha).
All the visits
We initially told the family to not call us until we were ready. But truthfully, they’re dying to see the baby, and you end up needing the help. By the second week, you have so many people visiting. It may have been better to spread it out with the previous week.
Furthermore, the midwives time their visits at the worst moments. You’ve just got the little one to sleep, something you’ve spent hours doing. You think, finally, I can have a nap too. ding dong…oh well.
I recommend you don’t buy any clothes (even nappies for us). People bring so much stuff. We had gifts that we didn’t get around to opening that he doesn’t even fit in now. Seriously, everyone will want to buy cute little outfits.
Getting out of the house
Seems simple, but this was a very anxious and stressful prospect for us. We were just getting to grips with this bubble in the house. The thought of taking him outside was damn scary.
Liv was actually going to her friend’s baby shower, the end of our first week. We thought about not going, but both decided that you need to get out at some point. Honestly, it was okay. You do have to just do it. No one cares if you have to feed your child or if he’s crying, especially in a family environment.
It massively helped us be a bit more outgoing and helped Josh be around noise and other people. We still worry that he’ll be a pain when out, but I think that will always be there. Minis mostly sleep for the first 3 weeks. Enjoy it 🙂.
One month flies by
It’s crazy when that one month mark comes up. You both look at each other and think surely not. Where has that time gone? You’ve started getting out more, but you’re still in that little bubble. I managed a few gaming nights with friends, but it’s still challenging to find the evening time. You don’t care, you have this little one keeping you busy.
Week 3 and 4, for us, became much more manageable. We started getting more sleep and a routine. Josh began sleeping from 10pm to 3am, then having another feed at 6am (we’re still mainly on that pattern now). We continued doing a mixture of breast and formula; I do the evening/6am feed, while Livvy does 3am.
We also didn’t do the first bath until midway into week 3. So, don’t feel bad if you’ve not done one yet. We didn’t have any problems with waiting. In the end, we were lucky with Josh—he enjoyed bath time. We did stop using the bath support after the first use, though; we just held him in the bath. I can see it being useful if it’s just one of you.
Countdown to month 2 Around week 4, we started getting our first smiles out of Josh. This moment is fantastic, and it starts becoming more fun. The first weeks are good, and you love them to bits, but they are a bit boring. They eat, sleep and poop. Josh now loves doing his tummy time, and he loves mirror time. It’s honestly ace during this period. They’re still small enough and aren’t on the move that you can visit places, and they’re starting to show their personality.
The only negative we have at the moment is the “witching hour”. It’s real! No one warns you, but every parent you talk to goes, “Oh yeah, we had that too! It’s totally normal”. For us, from 9pm till 11pm-midnight, he’s a right shit. He’ll cry and moan; won’t take any food or go to sleep, even though he’s hungry and tried. Eventually, he’ll just suddenly take a bottle and go to sleep around 11pm until 3am. We’re hoping we don’t have this for months.
If you can afford it, get the sleep suits that zip up instead of the buttons. Having to faff around aligning the buttons at 3am isn’t fun!
Don’t buy many, if any, clothes. People will gift you so much!
Don’t be put off trying a dummy or bottle. Don’t listen to other people dictating how to raise your children.
Definitely get some sensory cards. We lined the Moses basket using them. It stimulates them and keeps them happy.
That’s been the first few months of a newborn. Josh has already changed so much, and it’s flown by. As I said, it’s been such an experience, but not without its ups and downs.