Unless you have ever experienced looking after a young baby, it would be easy to assume from the outside that whilst nights are sleepless, days are just filled with cafe trips and strolling around pushing a pram. Now, admittedly, I do do those things on a regular basis. However, fitting them in to my day is much harder than it seems. The reason…H. Every day, for almost the entire day (well between approximately 7am and 7pm) whatever I want to do is determined by what H is doing. Either that or I have to pre-plan what I will do with her to make sure I can get out of the house on schedule.
During the day, I work under the assumption she’ll want feeding every 3 hours. But sometimes it can be more regularly and sometimes she’ll decide to sleep and will end up feeding after a longer period of time. When we go out, I have to work out her feeding schedule to see if I need to feed her earlier, or if I’ll have to feed her when she is out. If I have to do the latter, I then need to work out where I’ll feed her; I have even fed her in the back of the car before with the sun blinds pulled up, but it’s not the most comfortable experience!
Now she’s a bit older she will often entertain herself on her play mat or sit in her chair, but if I leave the room for more than 2 minutes she will make me aware she’s not happy about it. If she falls asleep in the morning and I can’t easily move her (which I usually can’t) then I have to either sit in my PJs until she wakes up, or get dressed in 100 stages, going up and down the stairs in between so she doesn’t wake up because she feels abandoned. The same goes for making lunch or getting a snack.
Then of course there is the time when H is awake. It’s not just carrying around a baby. In addition to the feeding, there are regularly nappies to attend to. I have to make sure she has several periods of ‘nappy off’ time every day; I spend time chatting with her to help re-enforce her sounds and her development; We are introducing ‘tummy time’ to try and build up her arm strength; We go for walks so she gets plenty of fresh air; We have cuddles to ensure she feels safe and protected and on many days she’ll often fall asleep on me afterwards rendering me relatively immobile for a while.
So, whilst I have spent some of this afternoon sat on the sofa enjoying some episodes of Dr Who and drinking tea, between 8am and 8:30 this morning when H nodded off unexpectedly, I dealt with a whole wash load, tided up the lounge, made our bed (dashing up and down stairs of course!) and packed away some old boxes that we’d dumped behind the chair. When I have a few minutes spare, I get whatever I can done before the feeding, winding, educating and nappy changing starts over again. So I am busy, it’s just a different kind of busy!