So, it’s been 6 months since a small, damp Grumpy Baby was unceremoniously dumped onto my chest, where she lay looking rather confused.
In those first few hours I think it’s fair to say that I was also confused most of the time, confused and scared. I had no real clue how to feed, burp or change her and I was scared of hurting her when I changed her clothes. I had to beg the night staff at the hospital to show me how to do everything and I was constantly worried that she was spitting up too much, sleeping too much, too awake, crying, not crying… To be honest there wasn’t anything she did that didn’t worry me.
I was also terrified that I wouldn’t bond with her, that I might get post natal depression and that she would be a nightmare, crying 24/7.
As it turned out I needn’t have worried about any of those things. By the time I left the hospital I was smitten with Baby and even now people have to peel her out of my hands to get a cuddle. I was one of the lucky ones that didn’t get post natal depression so I only had the normal insane levels of hormonalness to contend with, and Baby has beet a dream to look after, sleeping well, crying little and being smiley and adorable most of the time.
That’s not to say it’s all been plane sailing. The first few weeks of Baby’s life I was very poorly with dangerously high blood pressure which added unwanted stress to those first few exhausting days.
The first few weeks of Baby’s life went by in a flash, with the constant routine of feed, clean and nap to keep us company. At some points the sleep deprivation was so bad that I would wake up freaking out because I thought Baby was in the bed suffocating. I would rout around in the duvet, throwing pillows around and hitting Grumpy Dad awake… Only to look over at Baby’s Moses basket moments later to see Baby looking up at me and whining for food.
The first time I took Baby out, it was to the less than glamorous venue of B&Q and she was crying so much as we walked around that I decided she needed to be changed. This was an experience! The changing table was in the communal area of the ladies loos, next to the coffee shop. Opening the changing table required you to obscure one of the cubicles and the pram obscured the other two! Thank goodness no one else needed the loo. I was at first baffled as Baby’s nappy was clean but as I put a new nappy under her bum she suddenly let out an explosive poop! It was like a Super Soaker blast. The next 20 minutes were spent with me nearly in tears as every time I put a clean nappy near her she would poop again. I was down to my last nappy and change of clothes by the time I managed to get her clean and dressed. I’ve never felt so panicked in my life!
Slowly over the next months Baby became more alert and energetic. She always hated tummy time and would lay there like a wet rag every time I tried to encourage her. No one was more surprised that me when one day, out of the blue she held her head up as if she’d been doing it for weeks. But then she seems to enjoy doing things in leaps rather than gradually. One day you’re thinking she’s behind on something and the next, out of the blue, she’ll do that very thing with ease.
With that in mind Baby seems to have decided to fit as many of her firsts as possible into the last week before her 6 month birthday. This week she’s said her first word… It was “Dada” the traitor!! She’s rolled over from her tummy to her back for the first time, stood with me holding her little hands and sat without my help (This may have just been falling in extreme slow motion). To top it all off, today she has had her first real food. The puree peas seemed to go down a treat with her gobbling up at least a table spoon after the initial shock of “What the heck is this!”
In the next 6 months I know things will continue to change at a rapid rate as my little baby continues to grow into a not so little baby. Crawling, talking, her first steps and her first holiday are all coming up. As well as the devastating (for me) prospect of mummy heading back to work.
Watching Baby grow makes me prouder than anything in the world but it’s also bitter sweet. She’s already a world away from the tiny baby who wouldn’t go to sleep unless I rested her on my chest and a small part of me misses that, while still loving the little girl she’s becoming.
No matter what happens in the next 6 months, or the years to come, one thing is certain. Her Mummy and Daddy will continue to love her to bits!