When a new baby arrives in your house, whether it is your first or third or more, there are a number of things that suddenly change. That tiny person can take up so much time and energy, add to that the sleep deprivation and when you have other children to take care of sheer exhaustion too. There really did not seem a moment where I was not either looking after the needs of someone small or trying to keep on top of the mess and laundry that 3 children create in those very early days.
So in the early weeks when life is pretty manic, there is a small person permanently attached to your frontage, you are madly trying to brush toothpaste out of a 3 year olds hair while insisting to your 5 year old that she is capable of putting her school shoes on herself five minutes after you should have left for school, there are a few things that take on a whole new meaning (just for a little while, until everything settles into place).
A balanced diet- Forget the five main food groups, my diet as a mum of a new baby plus two consisted of toast, lots and lots of cold buttered toast and bananas. Toast can be made in minutes with one hand (you'll be surprised what you can do while jiggling a hungry baby when you realise you haven't eaten since yesterday). It might not be gourmet but it is better for you than cake and the toddler seems happy to have toast for lunch as well as breakfast. The bananas are there just to balance everything out, you'd really love to raid the biscuit tin but there is baby weight to shift and bananas tick the box for getting some sort of nutrients too.
As for an evening meal- I think we all got rather fed up of pasta bake! I promise we are eating much better now.
Me Time- Ha ha this is now almost an impossible concept, having three children and breastfeeding too means currently I am very rarely alone. The closest I get to me time is going to the loo! But it is only a matter of seconds before someone is banging on the door or I begin to hear crying or bickering, so much for a minute to myself.
Feeling Pampered- These days the luxury of a leisurely bath or time to stand in the shower and relax is practically non-existent. A shower is an in and out job while Daddy holds the apparently starving baby despite him being fed 5 minutes before I jumped in. Pampered these days means not having to rush, having time to shave my legs and maybe even use that lovely leave in conditioner I had for christmas!
Staying Up- This currently has a whole new meaning, evenings are currently spent tied to the sofa cluster feeding waiting for Little 3 to decide he has had enough milk to see him flake out in some sort of milk fueled coma so that I can put him up to bed. Then be it 8pm or midnight when this is achieved I have to make the decision- do I go to bed with him or do I stay up a bit and spent time with Daddy or do some blogging that is seriously being neglected right now! Mostly I opt to go to bed, generally the nights I have stayed up (just until a normal 10pm or so) are the ones where Little 3 decides to feed all night or wake 10 minutes after I have fallen asleep leaving me wishing I had gone to bed earlier! oh the joys.
Good Nights Sleep- In the newborn days a good night was being able to get in 4-5 hours of broken sleep, one where Little 3 would feed and not throw it all back up the moment I laid him down despite having winded him half an hour resulting in a soggy baby and moses basket. These days with the reflux under control I am getting more sleep, a good night is one where he sleeps for a decent chunk of time (we have had 6 or 7 hours a few times now), only wakes twice or sometimes once, a night where the night feeds are short and his eyes do not ping open again as soon as I lay him down.
Lie In- This is where Daddy is fab. Since Little 3 was born I am the one doing all the night feeds as Daddy sleeps soundly beside me (how he does not wake with the light and snuffling is beyond me), he gets up at the weekend with the girls, is handed a baby with a full tummy and I go back to bed. He then returns an hour or so later with a cup of coffee and a hungry baby- allowing me this extra sleep has definitely helped me catch up and maintained my sanity, although the house does look like a bomb site when I get downstairs!
I started writing this post a month ago whilst in the midst of the blur that is life with a newborn and other children, it has taken me that long to find the time to finish it! However I am pleased to say that things are settling down and getting better slowly, the crazy newborn days are behind us and each day it does get a tiny bit easier. The next bit is the fun bit- teething!!