As I sit and begin to write this post with an almost seven month old baby. I’m wondering whether I can still even use the title “new mum”. Whilst those of you with babies just days or weeks old might think that I must have it all together by now, those of you with older children will know just how much of a novice I still feel. Honestly, it feels as though her birth was just a couple of weeks ago. Hearing from other mums about a “normal day” with their children always reassures me that I’m not the only one that feels the way I do. With that in mind, here is my version of a day in the life of a new mum.
On an average morning I will wake up anywhere between 4 and 7, normally to the sound of Charlotte blowing bubbles to get my attention. We have a quick cuddle and a nappy change. Then I’ll feed the bubble machine before she starts shouting at me for milk. Whilst feeding, sometimes afterwards, I’ll have my own breakfast in bed made by Mike. Hopefully I’ll even have time to enjoy my cup of tea too while Charlotte happily wriggles in bed next to me.
Whilst she plays (safely in the centre of the bed while I watch her) I then get myself ready for the day. Sometimes this means a full shower if I can, hair washed, moisturiser on, the works. Other days I quickly change from PJs to clothes and hope to get a shower later. I always manage to at least wash my face and brush my teeth. Those two tiny things help to set me up for the day.
Then it’s Charlotte’s turn. A fresh nappy and a new outfit for the day and we’re ready to go downstairs.
Depending on how long we’ve spent awake upstairs, Charlotte’s mood and any number of other things, as is the way with babies, we’ll either have a bit of a play or go straight to a second feed and a nap. At the moment, she tends to have half an hour of sleep somewhere between 8 and 9. Then another half hour between 10 and 11 each morning, but our routine is forever changing.
When she’s awake Charlotte loves to play in her bouncer, have a wriggle around the floor and have a good chomp on a teether while we watch something on television. Some days we’ll be really active, playing with every toy, dancing around the living room and going for long walks. Other days are really relaxed and we just go from one toy to the next, adding some book time or a video call with family in occasionally. I try not to be too concerned about doing too much with Charlotte right now. As long as we don’t spend the whole day in front of the television and she has enough variety in her day I’m happy.
Similar to the first nap of the day, she will settle on me for a feed and, all going well, snooze for around a half an hour. Some days it’s far longer and some days it doesn’t happen at all.
Although I still essentially feed Charlotte on demand at the moment, I have started introducing small feeds into her day. At six months a lot of babies are already well on their way with weaning but I haven’t felt the need to jump in before now and honestly I find it all quite overwhelming.
Around lunch time I offer Charlotte some baby rice, made using my milk, as well as some water. I’ve also started trying toast some days. She’s only taking small amounts but it’s helping her to get used to new flavours and textures, and building my confidence as well. Once we’re all cleaned up I offer her some milk and she’ll normally have a short feed.
Once we’ve finished eating it’s back to play time. Sometimes for a long stretch and sometimes very short. Again, I don’t worry too much about what we do. If Charlotte’s happy I’m happy.
At around two in the afternoon I’ll try Charlotte with another nap and this is where I often luck out. On a good day she can fall asleep on me for three solid hours. I might be pinned down on the sofa, but that opportunity to recuperate not just physically but mentally too is worth its weight in gold.
I’m sure if you provide any sort of care for someone you’ll understand fully that sometimes the most draining aspect of it is having to be switched on all of the time. Being lead entertainer on top of all the other demanding parts of being a parent is hard work and this afternoon rest is something I treasure.
Sometimes I’ll spend the time doing a bit of writing or drawing as being creative is something that I don’t have much time for at the moment and miss terribly. Most of the time however, I’ll either read or pop something easy to watch on the Tele and play some free games on my phone on the site, plays.org. The absolute classic Tetris is one of my favourites. Even better though, they have snake. Those of you born in the 80s and 90s will understand my excitement when I found that one!
No matter my choice you can guarantee that no matter the sort of day I’m having, if I can find some time to switch off my brain like this I’ll feel so much better afterwards!
Much like lunch, we are slowly introducing Charlotte to the world of food and try to have her munching away on something while we eat our evening meal. Often she ends up playing, as is the way of things with a baby. I’m just happy to have her sitting at the table with us and getting used to a new way of enjoying dinner time.
Having Mike home with us by this time of day means I always get a rest and some time to myself before or after dinner, should I need it. Mike always makes dinner too, which makes my life so much easier as I focus on getting Charlotte ready to eat.
Bath and bed time
Currently we’re heading upstairs at around 7pm for a bath and it’s probably a time we’ll stick to as Charlotte gets older. During her first few months we followed advice not to worry about routine too much and so this is one which we have just naturally settled into.
After a quick play on the bed whilst we wait for the bath to run one of us hops in with her whilst the other does all of the washing. This used to be a calm part of the evening, but now that she’s getting bigger it’s turned into more of a visit to the water park!
We get her into PJs, with much protest, and then I settle down to feed her to sleep. Until recently I was then just staying in the room with her, often going to sleep myself around 8.30.
This week we’ve taken the big step (for me) of setting up a baby monitor and heading back downstairs once Charlotte is settled. It feels so strange to me but I know I’ll soon get used to it, and oh my goodness it feels nice to have an hour or two with Mike in the evening again.
All going well, we now head to bed at our old normal bed time of 10pm.
If you’re a parent you know what I’m going to say here. There is no standard night.
Sometimes we are incredibly lucky and have a sleepy girl who goes down at 8pm and doesn’t wake until 5am or later. Other nights we can be up five or six times with tears and feeds. She’s still little and every day is a growing, developing, learning whirlpool for her. No wonder she needs some extra cuddles sometimes!
To any new or soon to be mums, please don’t worry about comparing my day to your own. I have friends whose little ones sleep all day and seem to develop quickly and with ease, whilst others refuse to nap at all and spend their days in tears. All babies are different, all mums are different and every day is different. No matter how yours goes, you’re doing an incredible job.