Me again and this time I thought I'd share some thought about what keeps me relatively sane, of course some days I feel like I've completely lost the plot but no day will ever be the same and tomorrow is always a fresh start.
My name's Kate and I'm a stickler for a (flexible) routine. This all came about after Oscar was born and we were still in what I consider the 4th trimester where you and your baby are getting used to each other and we didn't do a routine for the first 3 months. He was a cluster feeding little pickle and he would feed/snack constantly, he loved going for walks in the sling and buggy but would scream in the car even if he was tired and especially during the witching hour (between 7pm-10/11pm every evening). All this generally made me feel like I wasn't doing anything right. I know now that I was, but because I had put so much pressure on myself to be a perfect Mum, I felt like I was failing. After day 10 when my ever so lovely midwife discharged me, I cried! I cried because there was a very high chance that my hormones were going crazy and making the baby blues a reality, but I was worried that I wasn't going to be a good mum, to which she replied "The fact you are thinking and worrying about this means you are already a great mum!". I still cried after she left but part of me felt better and that we would be ok.
I bought a lot of books, perhaps I should have done this prior to having a baby rather than reading about what size fruit or vegetable my baby was! Because then, I wouldn't have been a walking zombie with boobs like rocks that dripped like a leaking tap (sorry, TMI). But none of the books were appealing to the type of parent and parenting I wanted to be/do. Then, a friend recommended The Baby Book by Rachel Waddilove, I liked the flexible routine Rachel suggested and took aspects of it to work with our lifestyle, she spoke utter sense and came across with a calm and relaxed approach to enjoying the first year with your baby and this worked for us.
I managed to get Oscar into a 3 hourly (and then 4 hourly) feeding, which helps you with weaning later on. His power naps improved and so did his sleeping during the night. And when things weren't going as well as they used to, I'd consult the book and look at what might have changed (usually them getting older) and what I could tweak and then after a few days we were back on track. It gave me the confidence to go with my instincts and trust what I was doing was the best for our baby, but most of all Oscar was happy and healthy and so were we.
And then little Squidge came along. I was a lot more relaxed and confident in what I was doing and almost immediately started to implement a very basic routine for feeding and making sure Alice didn't get over tired and she was a very content and happy baby who loved her sleep. Sure, the witching hour was still tricky but I made sure that she wasn't too over stimulated in the evenings and yes sometimes I ate an hour after my husband and it was cold but we settled into a routine a lot quicker, which suited our lifestyle and family.
So now, when dinner time carnage has finished and if little Squidge hasn't flicked her yoghurt up the wall, they are straight into a lovely bubble bath using our favorite Childs Farm products. These are great as Oscar and Alice get very dry skin/mild eczema and we love their selection of award wining products. We are now onto the big push pump bottles (which have to be kept on the shelf so that Oscar doesn't make recipes and potions in the bath and uses a whole bottle to do so!!!), but these last ages as a little goes a long way.
And then it's less than a hour until they are tucked up in bed and it's my time, which I will inevitably spend tidying, cooking, re-washing a load of laundry from the day before that I forgot about and then finally getting absorbed into some terrible reality TV and losing an hour on social media, just to switch off.
So what I'm saying is, this worked for us because of our lifestyles but find what works for you and make sure you do get some time for yourself, especially if you have Littles, as it helps you survive the rest of the day and gets you ready for the next day. You can't pour from an empty cup and if you've had a really terrible day, eat that sharing bag of Cadbury's Giant Chocolate Buttons, tomorrow is a fresh start and you have totally got this!