Five Times I Wish I Listened To Advice From Others…

And times I wish I didn’t!

Pregnancy makes you a magnet for curious children, other mums and the older generation, with the latter trying to offer you ‘helpful’ hints and tips whether you want to hear it or not. I’ve thought back to those little snippets of advice, some I dismissed and should have actually listened and then the really unhelpful ‘wise words’.

Five pieces of advice I wish I had listened to.

Never wake a sleeping baby.

The go to baby tip that I thought people told me when they didn’t know what else to say. Or so I thought.

As it turns out, babies really DO NOT like to be woken up. Not even for feeding. So all of those times I was watching the clock and worrying that our little tike hadn’t been fed for two whole hours and considered waking him up, I should have just let him sleep. Looking back on the first few weeks, Milo never lasted more than three hours before needing to be nursed again and this time reduced to hourly feeds in the day and two hourly feeds at night as he got older. I’m not saying this is because I would disturb his sleep to feed him but I do wonder whether this was a contributing factor to the numerous wake up calls at night. (I am aware babies are meant to wake up through the night, but sore nipples that are attacked hourly are not welcomed with open arms.)

Make freezer meals for when your little bundle arrives

I was (un)lucky enough to have about 8 weeks off work before Milo arrived so I did manage to make a few freezer meals in between my daily walks to get ice cream and creme eggs – crazy pregnant lady life. However, we ate them all by the time Milo was 4 days old and I spent a lot of time telling people that we didn’t need to use them because we had plenty of time to sort our dinner out. Then came Daddy’s return to work and the realisation that those freezer meals really would have been handy! So next time, I will have meals in the freezer that have been stashed in secret so that when Daddy comes home from work, he really will think I’m super mum and I get shit done.

Express your milk at any opportunity

I didn’t do this and it is my biggest regret. Milo struggled to latch on to my left side whilst feeding in the first few weeks and I struggled to get milk when I first started expressing from it too. If I had started expressing from day one, I know I would’ve had more milk for Milo to feed. If I could go back and start the breastfeeding process again, I would have expressed as much as I could to increase my supply and become a milk machine for my very hungry baby!

Make the most of having your other half at home, by resting

Of course you want to rest after having a baby, you deserve it. But, Daddy’s home! Two whole weeks as a little family and you expect me to stay inside and sleep? I wanted to get out and about and show Milo off to the world. We did a lot of that. I remember packing our bag and leaving the house at midday and returning at 10pm when Milo was 3 weeks old after visiting a castle and spending the evening out with family. It was one of my favourite days but I was definitely exhausted. Three weeks post cesarean section and a long day of walking and socialising really took it out of me but at the time I didn’t know why I was thought of as crazy. I do now. I’ll definitely use Dad’s paternity leave as my nap time when we do it again!

Spend time at home in the first few weeks

Again, we did not do that. We didn’t find our feet as parents at home and my recovery was probably longer than it needed to be because I wanted to walk everywhere. Of course I did, it was summer and Milo was born at the hottest time of the year (the hottest and driest Glastonbury Festival in years too). But yes, we should have just enjoyed they summer from our back garden.

And the pieces of advice I wish I hadn’t listened to…

Feed your child every three hours, even if they are sleeping

This may or may not have been the reason Milo was always awake for the first 12 weeks of his life. Next time, as long as our baby is putting on weight from being fed, I am happily going to let them sleep for longer periods of time if that’s what they want to do. (I will forever be grateful for the baby safety feature that makes them wake up during the night, but at least two hours of sleep at a time will always be welcomed!)

Get your baby in a routine from day one

No. Not happening. Don’t feel the pressure to have a perfect clockwork baby. Especially if you are breastfeeding. Breastfed babies are fed on demand. You might see a pattern after a few weeks where they are going for longer periods of time between feeds and then a growth spurt happens and everything goes out of the window. Just expect to feed your baby when they are hungry and you won’t feel like you are failing at finding a routine. It will happen. Just not as a newborn, no matter how good your best friends mums cousins baby is at this routine crap. Lucky them. If your baby is happy, healthy and responsive then you are the best at your job.

Switch to formula to help your baby sleep through the night

It did work. But within a month, Milo rejected breastfeeding and I wasn’t ready. My milk disappeared without any feeling as Milo gradually refused his feeds but guzzled a bottle of formula milk.

Dream feed

For us, the dream feed didn’t work. It just meant that Milo had an extra feed at 10pm before waking up again at midnight. The dream feed could be a god send for some but Milo obviously thought it was an opportunity to get an extra feed. In some ways, I’m glad I listened to this piece of advice because I found out that it didn’t work for us but it could have worked and I would then be promoting this method.

I guess advice comes from generations of mothers who found that these little things all worked for them in different ways.

Unfortunately, parents do have to find things out for themselves and for us, as Milo’s parents, we are grateful for any piece of advice that has been shared and feel honoured to share what we find helpful when we have been asked. So thank you for the advice, it has all been used – if not in everyday life, then most certainly for blogging material! Carry on supporting each other as parents, and we will all have days when we feel we have smashed it!

Operation: Straight Feet for Milo

How prepared can you be for your baby’s first ever operation? Whether your baby is 16 years old, 16 months or 16 hours, as parents you will have the same anxieties, worries and emotions no matter what age it may happen. No matter how big or small the operation, watching your child go under general anaesthetic isn’t pleasant. 

We always knew operation day would happen and we knew that Milo would still be very little and this was a lot to deal with, emotionally. For the first two weeks of Milo’s life, we felt like we were left in the dark and given very basic information about his condition. However, looking back, we were clearly just being concerned parents and the professionals were doing their jobs and following procedures. 

We were first told about the operation, in detail, at our first appointment with physiotherapy. It seemed straightforward and small. Milo would be put under general anaesthetic, he would have a small incision at the back of each ankle to snip the Achilles’ tendon and then he would get stitched up and plaster casted for recovery. Simple. The procedure is very simple and low risk, but Milo’s still our baby. 

When we had confirmation of the day of the operation, we felt relief and anxiety all in one. It was exciting to know that we were moving onto the next phase and Milo was making good progress. The next phase just meant, operation. 

The date was hanging over our heads, but it didn’t feel like a gloomy black cloud. It was more like the bright and positive sun, with a black cloud passing by occasionally. We are a positive family, so we were looking forward to the big day more than we were worrying about it but talking to others about what was going to happen to Milo was introducing a little bit of fear every time we spoke about it. This was partly down to how our family and friends would react to what we were telling them and partly because we had repeated the procedure so many times, we had started to think in more detail, what could go wrong?

Our trip to the hospital seemed to be the longest one to date, when in reality, it was probably one of the more straight forward journeys we had taken. We were very organised on the day and reserved a parking space in the car park where we had become members, to get discounted rates every time we had to go to hospital. We even turned up to our appointment early, which we probably couldn’t do if we were bribed with free food! 

Once we were set up to take Milo into the hospital, it all seemed very real and the sicky, worrying feeling was well and truly present. The hospital corridors were long and I started noticing worried looking parents walking by, when before I only noticed happy, smiley children. 

Once we were on the ward, I could only see positives, which was a relief. The staff were all very friendly and parents in the waiting room were all dealing with children getting hungry due to being nil by mouth so I knew I wasn’t alone. For that reason, and that we had support from Milo’s Nan too! 

The wait to be called into theatre was long, poor Milo hadn’t been fed milk in five hours, the pain I was feeling from my chest was almost as unbearable as the wait itself. As a family, we were all getting impatient, there were quite a few huffs and puffs and groans. Then out of nowhere, we were called through. There was a tiny hospital gown waiting for Milo and we had him swaddled in a blanket, relaxed and content, just how I wanted to keep him. We were talked through what was going to happen as we were holding our little baby tightly in our arms and in no time at all, they were holding a mask out, ready to put him under the general anaesthetic. Milo was held by dad, sat on a stool, with me stood closely behind. The mask was put over Milo’s nose and mouth and after taking a few breaths his eyes started to close and he started to fidget a little bit, which is expected. He was then put into the operating table and had a kiss from mummy and daddy. Then came the tears, the ones that all theatre staff expect but you still feel like you’re the only parent to cry and you don’t have your shit together. The reassurance I got was from another mum on the ward tell me that the first time is always the hardest. This made me realise that parents go through this regularly and there are so many brave mums, dads, siblings and grandparents and this is something to admire. We were lucky to be in a hospital which spread so much positivity in their community. 

The 45 minute wait for Milo to come out of theatre was long and boring. I sat holding his Muslim cloth for the duration, wiping away tears whenever I thought about what was happening to our little boy but I also took the opportunity to enjoy a hot cup of tea! 

After 45 minutes of pacing the waiting room wondering what to do with myself, the nurse called us into recovery. The room was empty, just Milo being cuddle by a nurse and a few others stood around. He was handed back to us straight away and the knots in my stomach released immediately and I felt like everything was better again. We had about an hour and a half to cuddle our little boy before heading home and getting back to reality. It was definitely a time to cherish after such a long and tiring day. 

We were told that the operation went well and Milo’s feet were in the position that they should be in so you can imagine how excited we were to take the final plaster casts off and see the result! It has all been worth it so far and now Milo looks like a super cool snowboard kid in his boots and bar! 

Milo post operation. 

And Milo’s straight little feet!