Kick, kick, splash, splash!

We took Hector for another swim on Friday after having such a lovely time last week. The pool is heated to the perfect temperature for tiny bodies and feels like climbing into a bath. Hector absolutely loves it: he looks at the surface of the water, fascinated by the ripples and jumping light and he lays back in our arms and has a good old kick. The first week we went, I was able to have a little swim whilst Edward played with Hector and it was simply delicious to be back in the water, stretching my limbs out and easing my stiff back (lifting and carrying a growing baby is not good for the old back bones). This week we were unfortunately kicked out. No, we weren’t up to no good ‘heavy petting’ or ‘dive bombing’ or anything like that, we had just timed it badly and ended up clashing with a swimming lesson. What is it about swimming instructors? Every time I have been at a public pool when a lesson is taking place, I have been very rudely asked to leave, they have no charm whatsoever.

Anyway, Edward complained to the man on the desk and he eventually gave us vouchers for two free swims, quite right too when he should have told us before we went in. He said ‘half an hour is usually long enough for most people’, but he has obviously never had to undress both himself and a little baby whilst trying not to let his clothes fall onto the wet floor…we will persevere though and go again next week, it’s so good to get Hector feeling happy in the water. How lovely to have a real water baby 🙂


Bend and stretch

This week Hector discovered his toes. As we use re-usable nappies, he is rather bulky in the bottom department, so can only really engage with his toes during nappy change time. He is loving it! Every time we take off his nappy he reaches straight for his feet, and yesterday he managed to put them in his mouth, much to his – and our – delight.

We went to yoga yesterday and I did some gorgeous stretches but Hector got a bit frustrated towards the end for some reason and wasn’t too keen on letting me enjoy the relaxation bit. Hmmmmm. I came away feeling way too stressed for someone who had just done a yoga class. I noticed that he was doing his own little ‘bend and stretch’ sequence whilst I did mine, something he has also developed in the past couple of weeks: when we do a nappy change, I like to do ‘kick-kick-kick’ and ‘bend and stretch’ with him and he has started doing in by himself now. A little future yogi?!

This afternoon we are going to go swimming, his first proper swim in a big pool. How exciting!

The kindness of strangers

Hector and I went to our mums and babies yoga class earlier and when we came out of the tube station it was pouring with rain in a sideways direction. I just looked up and said ‘oh no!’.  A woman who was going into the station offered me her umbrella, not just to share, but to keep! At first I refused, but she was insistent so I took it. What a kind person, thank you!

The class was good. We had a different teacher today and the focus was more on the babies than the mums. I liked this because we learned some new moves to do during a nappy change and Hector seemed to enjoy it, although he spent a lot of time staring at the other babies and mums!  I realised just how stiff I am when we were stretching, I need to sort that out!

Nappy change

Time flies when you have a tiny little man to look at all day!

I thought I should write about nappies. Hector has washable nappies and, as they are so obvious, (‘does my bum look big in this?’ ‘Yes’) people often comment on them. People say things like ‘Well done on using re-usable nappies’, ‘It must be a real pain’ etc, so I want to put the record straight – washable nappies are not difficult! I have been adamant from the start that I would not use disposable nappies, I don’t want Hector having a big carbon bum-print after all! When I first looked at all the washable options I was totally overwhelmed and didn’t know what to buy, but soon realised that it is made more complicated by the sheer range of ‘models’ available, so we opted for some ‘shaped’ nappies and lots of traditional ‘terry squares’ and we are also using washable fleece liners.

People seem surprised that we have used them since day one, but it’s really not that hard. Being someone who likes instructions and who is into origami, I was excited at the thought of some complicated nappy fold, but we use a simple triangle, then smaller triangle fold at the moment (with the fabulous ‘nappy nippas’), which is good for boys as the thickest part is at the front. One concern that people have is that they will be doing lots and lots of washing – we put the dirty nappies in a bucket with a lid (along with some tea tree oil to freshen it up) and wash a load every other day. Now, we are not big clothes washers anyway, so this is more than usual for us but, listening to the noise from our upstairs neighbours, they seem to use their washing machine at least once a day and there are only two of them! We have been looking into using ‘eco-balls’ to lessen the impact, so I’ll report back on those later on.

What about when you leave the house? One of the best things about re-usables is that you can easily feel when the nappy is wet, so do a quick change and avoid nappy rash (disposables advertise how absorbent they are, but this can prevent you realising your baby is sitting in a wet nappy).  If we are going out for a few hours, we take his changing bag with a clean nappy in, some cotton wool and a bottle of water (no perfumed wipes for his delicate skin). I must say, the easiest places to do a change are outdoor spaces (as long as it’s not raining!) as shops and the like really haven’t got the hang of catering for everyone in their toilet facilities…there’s no way I could put my baby on the floor of a public loo! I have realised that I will have to get used to the idea of going into places and asking if I can change my baby there – I went into a hotel the other day and used their nice disabled toilet with changing table!

So, I would recommend using washable nappies, and save yourself money and save on adding to the landfill. Also, you might find your local council encourage their use – ours offers £54 as an incentive, to help you recoup some of your money from your initial investment! Go for it!

Oh, and to dispel another of those baby myths that people like to tell you – baby poo doesn’t smell horrible at this stage, it has a unique sort of sweet smell when they are breast fed…it’s when they move onto solid food that the smell makes an appearance!

Back in action…sort of

Hector is six weeks old today – where have those weeks gone?! Yesterday we went to the post-natal yoga class. I was pretty chuffed to get there after trying last week but failing at the first hurdle: getting out of the door! The class is very chilled, with mums and babies doing their thing: you are free to stop and feed your baby or walk around if they are crying and so on. At first, Hector was fast asleep in his sling, but soon woke up wanting a feed. After a ‘top up’, he was quite awake and we did a move where you lay your baby on their tummy over your knee. He seemed to like this, so much so that he threw up all over my trousers, himself and the yoga mat. Oh dear.

We will try and go again next week and will hopefully have a less messy trip.

So, six weeks on from his birth, my life has really changed, nobody can prepare you for just how different things are with a little guy in tow. He is truly gorgeous and a real delight to be around, but we have had a difficult couple of weeks where he has been suffering from a gurgly, painful tummy after feeding. This could be called colic, but he doesn’t scream inconsolably, as with ‘colic’, and you can see it’s definitely relieved by wind or filling a nappy. It’s heartbreaking to see him crying though, his little eyes looking up and his voice sounding like a plea of ‘owwww’. 😦 Our midwife suggested trying cranial osteopathy, so we have an appointment, but not for another couple of weeks.

The past six weeks have been a time of ‘firsts’ for our little boy: his first trip out (to Hampstead Heath), his first Tube ride, first gallery visit (to see Anthony Gormley at the Hayward), first smile/laugh (these were very early, around the second week)…and this has been a time of firsts and unexpected experiences for me too.

Things I would not have imagined six weeks ago 

– Being able to manage on just a few hours sleep – I am normally so grumpy without sleep, but Hector doesn’t cry in      the night, just wants lots of feeds then goes straight back to sleep. People say you should catch up by ‘sleeping when baby sleeps’. Yeah, right! That’s when I put the washing on, cook food, tidy up, check my mail…

– Talking to so many complete strangers: people stop us on the street, on the Tube and so on, so they can ask how old  he is, what his name is and say how gorgeous he is 🙂

–  Breastfeeding in unusual public settings. When we are out and about and Hector wakes up, he generally wants feeding straight away, and there’s no way you can carry on. This has resulted in a whole new approach from me: ‘he needs feeding, so I will stop right here, right now, whatever’. We have fed in many crazy spots: on the bus, on the train, at the check-out at Sainsburys, in a furniture display at Ikea, in the park, at the bus stop…I’m quite proud of myself for getting over my nervousness about this.

– Looking into the eyes of my little chap and crying with joy. It can’t be described, but it’s the most overwhelming feeling I have ever had.

Thumb Twiddling

This is a strange and exciting time. Edward said last night that it feels like we are twiddling our thumbs, waiting for something to happen. When you have a set date to work towards, it’s so much easier: you cram everything in over a period of time, pacing yourself and timing things just right. Apparently only 5% of babies are born on their due date and 75% are late, so this thumb twiddling could go on for some time!

I’m incredibly excited about meeting our little guy, seeing what he looks like, feeling the body that has made lumps and bumps against my skin, touching the little elbow that currently sticks out near my belly button. I do have moments of nervousness though, wondering if I will cope with the pain, hoping that all is well, wondering if we’ll know what to do with him when he arrives, if it just comes naturally.

I have been keeping a book: ‘eric’s book’ which is full of text and images, telling him all about his journey. Something to pass on to him in the future. It’s interesting looking back and reading about how we felt when we knew he was coming, seeing how my bump has grown. It’s an amazing time.

In miniature

(to follow on from the last post, I did catch up on some sleep: I went back to bed and had a little lie-in, then I have had a couple of good nights since. It helps that the neighbours have been away for the weekend, no door slamming at 2am!)

So, I am now enjoying my rest before the arrival/delivery. I have been swimming, done some serious gardening, a bit of reading (but it sends me to sleep!) and the whole house looks spick and span. I have also been preparing eric’s clothes – you need to wash baby clothes before they wear them because their skin is so delicate. Ahhhhhh.

baby vests

baby socks

So, I am now 39 weeks – a week to go but he could really come at any time. This is a strange stage: we are accutely aware of every little thing: ‘is it a sign?’ ‘is this it?’. We are also aware that he might decide to stay put for another couple of weeks, so I need to distract myself a bit! My midwife came by on Friday and it seems he has positioned himself even better: he is now lying towards my left, which means less of a distance to turn on his way out. Unfortunately Marijn (our MW) is now on holiday for a couple of weeks, so it would be good if he holds on a bit because I would really like her to be there.

Right, off to put my feet up 🙂