Alfie and Mel-A Day In The Life

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Alfie on one of our many walks in the park

I’m always interested in how other mums or dads spend their day if they are alone with their baby, and if they find it as much as a struggle as me. From speaking to mums at the fitness class I attend at Frame Kings Cross, it seems that everyone else is having a pretty easy time of it compared to me. Perhaps this is true, or maybe some feel that they must appear in control? I’m definitely not one of those-I’ve stopped pretending that I am in control with a perfect life and have started telling others how hard I am finding it. It makes me feel a bit better to let it all out!

When my husband is away, I do find it tiring and suffer a lot of anxiety when looking after Alfie. Definitely something I need to work on!

A typical day would go like this (warning-this is a LONG post as it’s a long day):

0500 Alfie wakes up-I think because he is lonely. Manage to pat and shush him back to sleep. I go back to bed.

0600 Alfie wakes up again. Manage to get him back to sleep. I go back to bed.

0645 Alfie wakes up. I try to get him back to sleep so that he can get up closer to 7am, to no avail. I get him up and give him his bottle.

0745 I make a tea which goes cold as I have to get his breakfast of baby porridge ready.

0800 Feed Alfie porridge which he manages to get in my hair by flicking the spoon out his mouth. He is then sick in my hair whilst burping him.

0830  Quickly make smoothie for myself and gulp it down so that I can shower. Have to wash my sick hair which I rush as Alfie is crying at me from his chair in need of a nap.

0900 Manage to leave the flat with still-wet hair hoping that Alfie will nap in his buggy on way to my fitness class. He only manages ten minutes which makes him grumpy throughout the class. I’m freezing on the way there because of my wet hair! Get a takeaway coffee from Caravan in Granary Square. Would have loved to sit down but Alfie gets angry when we sit still.

1000 Start class at Frame. Put Alfie on the mat and he continuously (and impressively!) rolls across the floor. Repeatedly I put him back on the mat; repeatedly he rolls away, narrowly missing other mums. I only manage to do a few squats before I decide to put him in his buggy.

1030 Alfie starts crying. I sit down and feed him his next bottle. After burping him, he is sick down his and my trousers. I wipe it up, try to do some sit ups with him on my tummy, but I have just missed this section of the class.

1045 Do a few planks, but Alfie needs to be sat up in case he is sick again, so I leave and feed him his sweet potato in the reception area.

1140 After feeding, burping and changing Alfie, we rush outside but miss the bus. I walk/jog home with him in the buggy as he is getting whiny as needs his next nap. Get back home at 12pm and put him in cot. After a quick shower, I’m starving but also knackered, so quickly eat some toast and spinach out of the bag then go to bed.

1300 Alfie wakes up before I have fallen asleep. He won’t go back to sleep, so I get him up and do tummy time. He’s grumpy as he’s tired. I make another cup of tea but it goes cold again as I need to sit with Alfie to stop him from getting more irritable, and don’t want to scald him with it.

1400 I feed Alfie his bottle, burp, then we go for a walk. It’s raining, but I need some air and a change of scenery. After half an hour, he starts moaning so I take him home and put him in cot. He goes to sleep, so I try to study some Anatomy and Physiology for Yoga. Manage to have a cup of tea-yay!

1500 Alfie wakes up. He is in a playful mood so we do a bit of dancing to Amazing Radio. He then sits in his highchair at the table playing with his toys until he gets bored so I dance with him some more. I’m completely knackered at this point. He does a massive poo which goes up his top and on my arms. I change him, then have to have a quick shower to get rid of the poo whilst he sits in his chair. Third shower of the day.

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Calorie laden pancakes from Sunday-delish!

1600 I’m getting cabin fever again and running out of ways to entertain Alfie, so we go for another walk to look at the trees in the park. He is quite happy staring at them. We then get a coffee from Sunday, one of my favourite cafes if the friendly staff are working. Sometimes I’m unlucky and get the moody girl, but not today. I get some cake as am hungry, and eat as we walk back home.

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In the lift on the way for another walk….

1700 Alfie is moody but it is too close to bed time for his nap so I feed him his pureed mango and then wash and change him into his pjs. I practice saying ‘Mama’ with him, but he is more interested in blowing raspberries, which makes me laugh. He then keeps trying to grab and eat my feet, so I let him as he seems to be enjoying it! Tickles though.

1800 Feed Alfie his last bottle, read him a bedtime story. I feel something land on my foot and hope it is not what I think it is. It is. I look down to see a sloppy poo on my right foot. Luckily I have got my socks on, although I can feel it seeping through. I’m amazed that it’s missed my legs, seeing that Alfie is sitting on my lap. I wash and change him, then put him in his cot whilst I clean the carpet. I notice that there is indeed some poo on my arms which means another shower. I say goodnight to Alfie, turn out the lights and wait for him to fall asleep.

1920 Fourth shower today.

2000 Am really hungry but too tired to cook much so I have a random meal of oven chips, avocado and some pre-cooked chicken. I then have a look online to see how to get 6 month olds to nap more.

2130 Go to bed. Worry about why Alfie doesn’t like napping.

2300 Finally fall asleep.

Sleep is such a luxury…

I love Alfie so much and reading this through again, I do see that he is just a normal sociable baby! However, lack of sleep can make things feel ten times worse, which is something nobody could have prepared me for. Still, little Alfie is a legend.

I LOVE Child’s Pose

 

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Now, THIS is yoga…and sleeeeeep

Wow, it’s HARD being a mum. I actually used to (inwardly) roll my eyes when I heard people at work go on about how little sleep they were getting, and how their baby was going this or doing that. I couldn’t relate, so generally switched off. In fact, I found the subject boring. Now, of course, I try not to bore other people with talk of sleepless nights, feeding routines and post-pregnancy tummies. Now I realise that those parents at work needed an outlet, and that the easiest way for them was to talk about their problems, even if the listener had no clue as to how they were feeling.

Using yoga as an outlet

So I only talk about baby stuff to those who may relate to what I am on about. Otherwise, my other outlet is through yoga. Whenever I have been going through hard times in the past, yoga has helped me focus on something else, and I have always felt better after my practice. The problem does not go away but I find that I am more equipped to deal with it after yoga. I’d like to share with others this way of helping ourselves deal with emotions. For this reason, I am embarking on a Yoga Teacher Training Course with the YMCA. I don’t exactly love the YMCA training so far, mainly because I called my tutor and he didn’t even know who I was/ask if I needed any help. He only seemed interested in taking my money for another course. Anyway, more on the course in another post. I am aware that the yoga teacher market is pretty much saturated within London, and that everyone knows someone who is training to become a yoga teacher. I would still like to give it a go though, hopefully without becoming a cliché! I am not suddenly going to call myself a Yogini and wear yoga clothing All. The. Time.

Unfortunately, procrastination is fun.

The YMCA blended learning consists of online theory covering Anatomy and Physiology. I’ve always found it difficult to motivate myself to study without being in an actual classroom. When needing to learn online, I find that Asos is much more fun, as is the Topshop Lookbook. And Instagram. And then there’s that Whatsapp message on my phone I need to reply to. What makes it even more difficult to sit down and study is needing to look after my six month old son. I try to read when he is napping, but as those with babies may know, sometimes naps can only last half an hour-just enough time to have a shower! My son just LOVES to catnap, just like a cat. I have, however, managed to complete some of the online work which I have been able to do when my husband is home. He is my saviour!

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This is currently my version of  Wheel!

The hardest part has been getting back into my physical practice. My core has become significantly weakened since pregnancy and birth, as have my inner thighs, making poses difficult which I once used to find easy. These are poses such as Wheel and any plank variation. In a public class, I spend a lot of time in Child’s Pose, something I used to be embarassed about doing, but have no idea why.

 

 

 

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One day I will jump back into plank.

Sleep deprivation makes it difficult for me to actually get my yoga clothes on in the first place. Seeing as I am so incredibly tired anyway, I have resorted to waking up an hour before my son at 6am as that is the only time I seem able to practice. Actually, I have only done this once (this morning) but I will try to continue this. The practical side of the course doesn’t start until January, so I am hoping by that time that I can at least hold a Wheel without wanting to cry!

‘Baby blues’?

I haven’t posted in absolutely ages as was busy giving birth to my now six month old son and have been completely preoccupied with looking after him! It was tough at first, but things have got easier due to us managing to get him into a bit of a routine. He is, however, exactly like myself when  was a baby (so I’m told), in that he is demanding, attention seeking, and generally hard work! That said, he is anything but boring, and is massively affectionate and intelligent.

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Heavily pregnant at baby shower and yet feeling alone.

I hated being pregnant. There, I said it.

It’s funny thinking about how much I am gushing about him, as I certainly did not feel like this at the start. In fact, controversially, I disliked being pregnant, hated the way my body looked, and felt it was completely out of my control. You wouldn’t have thought it, though, from looking at photos of me, or talking to me, as I was always trying to hide how I felt. If I did try and explain it to someone, they would think that I was crazy: “what?! How can you not be excited? How can you not like being pregnant?” Most of this came from those who had not had babies, but also to a lesser extent, those who had. This made me feel guilty as if something was wrong with me. I did go and see a Perinatal Counsellor, but this again made me feel worse. I felt that I would need a lot of help when the baby was born, but the counsellor suggested that he would not know who his mum was if I let other people look after him. So I stopped seeing her.

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Days before giving birth.

Post-childbirth is not always all hearts and flowers like in films.

Fast forward to the birth. It was not all smiles and celebration when he was born; it was a long 48 hour labour and I was absolutely knackered. It was more relief that I felt; relief that the pain was over and that perhaps I could rest. Little did I know that babies do not allow you to rest! Being a spirited baby, my son cried A LOT. I couldn’t get the hang of breastfeeding either.

Getting help

I ended up breaking down in my GP’s office whilst attending my son’s 6 week check. She offered to prescribe me antidepressants. I was so desperate, I agreed. I had been scared to take them before in case of addiction or scary side-effects, but I was at the point where I didn’t care. I couldn’t seem to bond with my baby, I was sleep deprived, I couldn’t breastfeed and I felt that nobody understood. Another doctor got me an appointment with a family psychiatrist whereby I was to go and speak to her with my baby. Leaving the house with him on my own freaked me out as I hated doing this. I was always anxious that he would start crying and that I wouldn’t be able to cope. I managed to go it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I felt proud that I had made it to the appointment. The sessions were helpful in that they helped me to empathise with my son and see why it was so frustrating not to be able to communicate with words.

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With Alfie in the midst of post-natal depression.

The only way he could tell me what he wanted was to cry. I made an effort to talk to him more and involve him in what I was doing. I started to feel less anxious around him and really started to miss him when I went out to run errands, ironically because I was spending more time with him as opposed to avoiding him. However, I did find that the counsellor kept advising against other people looking after him. My parents would look after him when things got too much, especially when my husband was away working. She said that this was not a good thing and should be avoided where possible. So I felt guilty for doing this and stopped, leaving me depressed again and completely shattered. I decided to take what advice I needed and to leave the rest, which really worked for me.

I still ask my parents to look after Alfie as I love having time alone with my loving, supportive husband and sometimes I just really need to catch up on my sleep! Alfie loves seeing his grandparents too, and I no longer feel guilty about this as it helps me feel so much better physically and emotionally.

These feelings were not just ‘baby blues’; I felt too anxious to be alone with Alfie, I cried most of the time, I couldn’t sleep and wouldn’t eat anything. I was scared to leave the house with him, and was scared that something bad would happen to him if I wasn’t constantly prepared for the worst. I have to say, I wish I’d started taking anti-depressants earlier, and speaking to someone professional sooner. Friends didn’t understand, and I didn’t want to bother my family with such worries. I just wish women didn’t feel such pressure to be the perfect mum!

If anyone has similar feelings postnatally or even during pregnancy, I would definitely recommend speaking to a professional and possibly opening up to another mum as she may be going through the same thing. Also, don’t compare your baby to others; they are all individual. I used to ask myself, “why can’t Alfie be quiet and calm like that baby?” but now I feel blessed to have such a lively, happy and expressive son.