So we’re expecting our second child any time now. Our first is 2.5 years old now, and it seems simultaneously like yesterday and a million years ago that I was writing this blog about her. Now we’re expecting her little brother, and I can hardly believe we’re going to put ourselves through all this again! They say boys are better sleepers, right…? And at least this time the breastfeeding let down pain won’t come as a nasty surprise, and chances are labour won’t be 44 hours and result in a ventouse delivery with episiotomy. So I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to enjoy this little man more easily, more confidently, and quicker than with our first. I suffered a little from some blues after the birth, and sleep deprivation compounded it, so I’ll know to look out for that too. And the midwives are on high alert to look for tongue tie again this time & support me with feeding if he does have it, too.
The only thing in not happy about us my own family. Somehow, my mum, who I asked to look after our toddler when we go into hospital for the delivery, got totally confused & lost what’s left of her mind & booked a holiday to the Galapagos Islands, leaving 2 days before my due date, and returning a week after. Apparently this is my fault, too, because I asked my mum to bring her holiday forward from the originally suggested departure date of a week after my due date. Baffling. I’m just grateful that my partner’s family are considerably more thoughtful & are coming over from Ireland instead, and that we have a very maternal childminder who is desperate to help. My mum still refuses to try to understand why I’m upset, and my dad & sisters think I’m being dramatic & over-emotional (as usual). I’ve given up hoping for apologies from any of them; if something doesn’t make sense to them personally, then it simply doesn’t make sense – these people have no idea what empathy is. Oh well, it’s not the first time my family have disappointed me since I started my own family, & nor will it be the last.
All this stress has made me think about how close modern families are, emotionally and physically, from their wider families. Not so long ago, everyone would live in the same town, on the same street even, and helping out with kids for siblings, cousins, even neighbours, was the norm. Our society now with its emphasis on working families paying for childcare, social mobility & being culturally less altruistic & community-minded I think, means families like us – for whom the nearest member of immediate family is a 2 hour drive away – are much more commonplace. We’ve raised our little girl just the two of us, with occasional visits from grandparents. And one of my sisters has only visited her niece twice. The woman is a stranger to her.
In some ways this isn’t so bad – my family would have more opportunities to drive us both crazy if they lived closer – but I think about what our little girl misses out on, having a very narrow range of people & ages in her life. I grew up seeing grandparents annually, and it wasn’t until we moved into the same town as my mum’s parents when I was eleven that I finally got to have a proper relationship with my Nan. It was something we both cherished.
Tell me about your family’s role in your lives – would you like to see more, or less, of them? Has our society changed? Thanks for reading.
As an attachment parenting convert with a serious mistrust of the ‘crying is not stressful for babies’ belief, I’ve not been convinced about the belief that babies should learn to ‘self-settle’. I honestly can’t begin to imagine our little girl doing that without a giant battle – when she wakes during the night it’s instant rage! So next time the health visitor tells me that to avoid the 2-4 hour bedtime sleep fight that I need to put her down while she’s still awake, I will quote some of this research at her…
Our little pumpkin is what you might call ‘sleep-averse’ at the moment, as in, it takes me 2, 3, even 4 hours to get her to go down to sleep in the evenings, and sometimes nap times are met with a great deal of shouty resistance too, so this blog post really galvanised me and just lifted a weight off me in terms of stress about baby’s nightmarish sleeping habits right now.
I have Sarah Ockwell-Smith’ book BabyCalm after reading all its good reviews on Amazon. And I’m a total subscriber to her instinct & baby-led attachment parenting-type support.
I’m disappointed I only just heard about this on the news this morning, but in aid of Bath Fashion Week’s chosen charity, Kid’s Company, the town is being yarnbombed with crochet roses. The Bath Fashion Week’s page describes it as ” Yarnbombing, graffiti with wool is an urban art that humanises public spaces. It’s an interaction between materials and places and at its heart lies an intention to awaken people to their surroundings often injecting humour into everyday objects. It’s an old craft with a contemporary twist.”
Workshops have been held for weeks in the premises of sponsors The Porter, Carluccio’s & The Royal Crescent Hotel, with yarn & crochet hooks provided free of charge by organiser Emma Leith. For every rose created, IT company Cloud Direct will donate 10p to Kids Company, who reach out to abused & vulnerable children. According to the Bath Chronicle, they ‘must have over 2,000 roses’.
Bath Chronicle article
Bath Fashion Week page
Breastfeeding research can start explosive discussions!
Personally I think breastfeeding is best – nutritionally of course it’s designed for them, and (when you’ve got the hang of it) it’s easy & cheap. It is of course a personal choice but I suspect a lot of women who stop or never start would have liked to have breastfed, reading between the lines on comments on forums, etc. There is a lot of support available but as I know personally, it can be bloody hard work & very painful so I have total sympathy for women who stop because of problems. That being said, I think stopping because you want ‘a bit of me time’ or giving up too easily is selfish. You’re not breastfeeding for you – it’s to give your baby the best possible nutrition.
Saying all of this though I should mention that I was formula fed as I was adopted, I turned out okay although I did suffer badly from tonsillitis as a baby – may or may not have been from not gaining a better immune system from being breastfed.
So I find any iinformed research & discussion interesting, as I find myself on both sides of the fence. I would never tell anyone what they should or should not do – it’s not my business – and it’s rude & disrespectful.
‘Vicky Park’ has become my favourite walking place now as it’s so huge I can do different laps each time & keep it varied, plus it’s so beautiful. I walked sleeping baby round the botanical gardens last week, it’s the first time I’ve been there in years and I forgot how gorgeous it is. I should come every month chronicle the changes in landscape & plants.