Thursday, 25 August 2016

Tempus Fugit, Baby

The summer months have been flying by and soon it will be time for us to leave the fresh air and mamie's cooking in Brittany and face up to returning to Paris. As September draws near, I'm also getting my head around the fact that in a couple of weeks' time we will no longer have a newborn baby, but a 3 month old one. And while there's lots to look forward to in the next phase, I'm allowing myself to indulge in a little nostalgia as well.

Having a newborn baby is definitely not easy. Your body goes through the massive ordeal that is giving birth, then instead of lying in bed for a week to recover, you have to look after this tiny little being who requires all of your time and attention. I think perhaps I'll write another post about the hard parts of the first three months (that way, apart from anything else, if we ever decide to have a second baby, I'll remember that it wasn't all a bed of roses!) but at the moment I'm going to focus on all the reasons why the newborn period is awesome:

- Newborns really are super cool. I was expecting my baby to be sweet and adorable. (She is.) I was expecting her to cry, loudly at times. (She does, and it can be heartbreaking.) What I wasn't expecting was the sheer force of such a tiny little human - the changing expressions in her face, the determination with which she roots and sucks for milk, the extent of the stretches as she wakes up and her tiny limbs go in all directions, and the force of her cries when she doesn't get what she needs.

- If you're on maternity leave, looking after the baby is your job. Being awake during the night is tough, but at least if the baby falls asleep during the day (admittedly that's a big if!), it's perfectly acceptable to have a little nap. And after three years of 6am starts and long commutes, I think I actually prefer waking up for the baby to the alarm clock.

- You get lots of lovely visitors who tell you how gorgeous the baby is. If you're lucky enough to have had a shower that morning, they'll probably congratulate you, and if you haven't, most people are polite enough to keep quiet about it. When you take your baby out in public, you'll hear people whispering, "Look, did you see the tiny baby!" and old ladies will chat to you at the traffic lights about how lovely this time is and how fast it goes.

Tiny baby with tiny baby hands
- Baby smiles. At first the baby sourit aux anges (smiles to the angels), then gradually starts to respond to faces and expressions. We're now getting the beginnings of little baby laughs, which are just magical.

- The theory of the Fourth Trimester. The idea of the fourth trimester is that, because human babies are born at an early stage in their development compared to other mammals, the first three months are essentially an extension of their time in the womb. All the reliable sources of advice recommend that during this time you sleep in the same room as the baby, feed on demand, provide lots of cuddles and skin-to-skin contact, and generally do exactly what the baby and your instincts are telling you to do. After three months, opinion starts to differ on whether you should continue in this way or start to impose a routine (particularly in relation to sleep) and you have to decide which parts of the very conflicting advice to follow. I'm not looking forward to the stress of making those choices!

2 comments:

  1. I am just so excited for these upcoming three months - I can't wait to see what our little girl looks like!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm excited to hear about your experiences (when you get time to blog, of course)!

      Delete