October 4, 2013

Newborn’hood. Round two.

 FJC

It’s amazing really, people tell you that no two babies are the same, but I’ll be honest … I went into newborn’hood round two basically anticipating that we’d just be having another Max baby.  Sure, she’d be a female version, & I’d get to have a little bit o’ fun with pinks & florals & other such things, but when it came down to what I expected from a newborn? Well, all I had to go by was baby Max, & so that’s just what I expected we’d be doing all over again.

Nine weeks into life with Frankie Jean, & I can tell you that my eyes have been well & truly opened to just how different two babies can be.  I’m going to make a confession now, & I’m going to admit that the thought of having another ‘baby Max’ left me feeling more than a little bit cool & clammy, & maybe even a little bit anxious.

You see, Max was a beautiful looking baby.  He was all jet black haired, & big blue eyed, & he had these jet black eyelashes to match his jet black hair.  But he was also an angry baby.  And it was my fault, honestly.  It all began in hospital when I was trying to learn to breastfeed, & failing miserably.  Every attempt of mine to get him to latch the flip on would only result in him screaming, & thrashing around in a desperate attempt to simply fill his hungry 9 pounds & 4 ounces newborn body with milk.  But I failed, every time.  There was just no latching on, & I remember saying to Dave ‘my God.  He is just so angry’.  I kept trying, & midwives kept trying to teach me, & they’d be saying things like ‘you need to relax.  Relax your shoulders, or else your milk won’t letdown’.  And if I wasn’t so anxious, I’d have almost laughed at the irony that was advising a brand new Mother to ‘just relax!’ while her all screamin’, angry baby is unable to latch on to the breast.

The anger though, it continued.  We brought him home from hospital, & I pumped like the dairiest of dairy cows, holy shiz, I pumped like a woman possessed, & I was actually managing to pump a lot.  But my chubby newborn Max still managed to surpass my output, & so he was angry.  We topped him up with formula, & he’d settle for a little while, but then the reflux began, & that was a whole new level of angry.

Of course there were smiles, & baby coo’s, & milestones celebrated, & countless photographs taken of his perfect little face, but the photos? They never told the story of my endless expressing, & our need to have him permanently upright to curb the reflux (which ultimately didn’t do much to flipping improve it anyway!), & how we’d put him down (even for the briefest moment) & his crying would be instantaneous ­– so it would be back to holding, always with the holding, & the hours we’d spend rocking him to sleep just to get twenty minutes of sleep out of him.  In fact, for three months straight he actually woke every thirty minutes.

It wasn’t until Max was 7’ish months that the reflux ended, & some of his anger subsided, but his sleeping remained to be pretty awful.  To this day, he’ll still wake multiple times throughout the night & so there will be multiple resettles throughout the night, & then his infamous 5am’ish start that he’s since become reknowned for.

We wouldn’t have him any other way, but as far as ‘welcome to parenthood’ goes? Well, we were welcomed with all the things really; the poor introduction to breastfeeding, the reflux, the all day crying, the all day needing to be held, the sometimes breaking of my Mama spirit, the sleep deprivation, & just … all of the things, really.

In the last trimester of my pregnancy with Frankie, I’ll be honest, I had to have internal words with myself to pep myself up & tell myself that I got through it once, & so I sure as hell could do it again.  And please don’t for a minute think that I didn’t enjoy Max’s newborn’hood, or infancy, or toddler’hood, because I did, & I do.  I’m just also an incredibly honest person, & so honestly? They were some Mama spirit breaking/character building days/weeks/months.  And even now that he’s just shy of his third birthday, I still remember those spirit breaking/character building days like they were yesterday.

Frankie though? Different kid.  She breastfeeds with gusto, she smiles when we put her into her bassinet as if to say, ‘thanks guys! Can’t wait to sleep! See you in a few hours’, she sleeps well, she self settles, she feeds two hourly during the day & then pulls this 8’ish hour stint at night (& we don’t know what we’ve done to deserve such a long stint of sleep?!), she cries for milk & that’s about the most I’ve heard her cry really, she smiles – my God, she smiles all.the.time, she loves being worn in her sling, she is just … content.

Dave & I, ever the pessimists, are wondering when it will all change though? When will we start having to deal with … y’know … all of the Maxie Boy things? But deep down, I’m quietly hoping & wondering (& touching every piece of wood while I’m hoping & wondering) if perhaps we just won the baby lottery? And I’m hoping & wondering if the stork has just thought to himself, ‘these guys have done the hard yards – let’s give them a Frankie for their efforts, shall we?’.

And so we say to that stork, hey … thanks for our Frankie.  And thanks also for our Max.  Because we love our children, & we love all of their (already obvious) differences, & we wouldn’t have them any other way.

… I’m just secretly grateful that we did Max before Frankie, ha!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Tessa - Down that Little Lane October 4, 2013 at 7:54 am

Thats so funny as I was thinking.. I did it the other way around!.. I had no fears going into have Harrington as Kitty had been a settled bub and boy was I wrong. I have to admit it was only for about 8-12 weeks where he had issues with wind but he wailed and wailed for hours.
I had a 16 month old to look after also and no immediate family to help and boy did that break my Mama Spirit.. by 6 months old he was awesome again as he got onto solids and was sitting up and content, so it was brief but it was a doozy!
So glad you have a Frankie, if not for you but for Max as you still get to be with him whilst your angel sleeps x

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Raising Master Max October 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

See, that would have been TOUGH!

We’re honestly glad we had Max first, because although it was tough, we only had him to contend with; so he had our undivided attention, & I had respite the (FEW!) times that he slept.

Having a little toughie, PLUS a 16 month old?

Kudos lady! ;)

x

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Reannon October 4, 2013 at 8:19 am

Gosh Chez, so timely you should write this as just yesterday I finally admitted to myself that Blake is who he is. He’s not like my two other boys & it’s ok.
You see my eldest slept through at 7 weeks. He also only breast fed for that long as my supply was just not enough for him. But from 7 weeks old Zane was the best little sleeper there ever was. He was in a routine & stayed that way forever. Two & a bit years later when we welcomed Isaac I thought ” right I know what did & didn’t work with Zane so I’ve got this sorted .” And I kinda did. Isaac never latched on so was a bottle baby from the get go. I never really felt guilty because I had watched Zane thrive on formula so we just did what we had to. Isaac was a great sleep too & fitted into the routine I already had for Zane.
Fast forward 10 years & Blake arrives. In my head I think ” I’ve got this. We will be fine.” And for 3 months we were graced with the most perfect baby on earth. Breast fed like a champ. Slept no worries . Was happy & content ALL THE TIME! We’d hit the jackpot I thought. Baby number 4 was a certainty because Blake was damn perfect how could we not have another one ? But then things changed. Blake is almost 6 months old now & is waking at twice, if not 4 times a night. His day sleeps are not long. Three weeks ago I was convinced he was weaning himself from the breast as feeds had become a nightmare so reluctantly put him in the bottle. Feeds are still a battle & I wish I’d just stayed with the boob. We have no routine. Sometimes Blake has 2 sleeps a day, sometimes 3. For how long & what times- who knows?!
After weeks of questioning myself ( & my friends & family) as to what I was doing wrong yesterday I finally realized I’m not doing anything wrong. Blake is a different kid. What worked with the other two does not work for him & that is ok. He happy, healthy & growing. He lights up all our lives & makes us smile & laugh a million times a day. What more could we ask for ?
You’d think at the ripe old age of 34 & the fact this is my third kid I would have figure out the whole ” each baby is different” a little earlier hey? But, better late than never right?
Enjoy the differences Chez cause life would be pretty boring if we were all the same xx

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Raising Master Max October 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Oh, Reannon!

I had no IDEA?!

See, I think it’d be such a shock to the system (& the maternal instincts) when you have two relatively chilled babies & then bang … little Blake.

I think you can follow the same recipe, but all it comes down to is entirely different mini humans … & you’re right, how boring would it be if we were all the same?

That said, can’t they just make them all fairly chilled sleepers? ;)

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Marnie October 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

I am you, but in reverse. Bubs #2 is due in 3 months, and I am secretly wondering if we hit the jackpot with #1, and that we will be punished with #2. #1 is the happiest of little guys. An awful sleeper – and still is, but only sometimes these days, not always (it used to be always be always!) – but as a newbie he fed well, was happy to go out anywhere, and he always dropped off to sleep well. And he was, and is, always so happy. I cannot help but fear that #2 will be the angry bubs you describe of Max. I have suffered PND, and do fear a return of that too. And then there are my fears relating to the health of the baby, potential disabilities, etc etc etc… I suppose it is natural to worry, and to wonder…

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Raising Master Max October 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Marnie,

NO! Stay positive, I’ve heard of friends just having chilled babe, after chilled babe, after chilled babe :)

I subscribe to the theory that a relaxed Mum makes a relaxed babe, so maybe you’re just one of those relaxed folk? Me? I’m not, ha! But I’ve still somehow managed to fluke it & score a pretty chilled babe!

I hope the next 3 months are non eventful & comfortable for you!

Big love x

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Melissa October 4, 2013 at 8:30 am

Im glad Frankie has been the angel baby and i can assure you, if shes like that now she most likely will keep it up. (Dont wanna jinx you or anything!) My son sounds like a Frankie and every day i was wondering ,surely hes going to turn into a little devil soon! But hes still the ever relaxed little 2 year old so much so im the opposite of you and scared if we have a second, he might be like your little Max! We surely cant be blessed twice haha.
Soak that little Frankie in. Shes so precious!

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Raising Master Max October 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Thanks Melissa!

I really hope you’re right, ha!

Believe me, we’re crossing all fingers + toes ;)

You’ll be blessed twice, I’ll say a little prayer for you ;)

x

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Née October 4, 2013 at 10:14 am

It’s certainly true, no two babies are the same. I completely understand your feelings of apprehension facing the newborn stage third time around. After not one, but TWO reflux babies (both also very different experiences), I was braced for the worst. A week and half in, I’m still holding my breath. So far so good! Fingers crossed for both of us that our little angel babies stay that way xx

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Raising Master Max October 4, 2013 at 1:49 pm

TWO reflux babes?!

TWO?!

Good lord – reflux Mamas deserve medals (& their babes).

It’s not that you don’t love your babe any less, you just … it takes a little degree of JOY out of that early round of Motherhood, that’s for sure. I remember reading the blog ‘my heart your home’ by Jess during her second babes reflux journey, & she just WROTE the story so well!

I literally wanted to squeeze her through the screen.

PRAYING your third stays non reflux-y, because it’s just … spirit breaking!

x

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This Jen Day October 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

My twins were like chalk and cheese (and, still are, actually). One was the happiest baby ever, surely! NEVER cried. Truly. Not unless something really awful was wrong. They both had horrible reflux, and he didn’t even cry then. His twin brother? Well, let’s just say we started calling him “squawk” from pretty much the minute he was born, and four years later, tears and tantrums erupt from his tiny face as frequently and laughter and smiles. It’s a valuable lesson I think. They are who they are. Their personalities are firmly stamped on their DNA. You can influence their values, the way they manage and control their emotions, you can teach them about boundaries and expectation, but influencing their personalities? Forget it! It kind of lets you off the parenting hook a bit don’t you think!?! xx

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Raising Master Max October 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm

WOW! TWINS, & polar opposites! That’s actually incredible.

It really does come down to DNA, doesn’t it?

Who are we to change the personalities of our littles, eh? Although, I wouldn’t mind injecting a whole heap of sleeping DNA into the newbies ;)

ha!

x

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Renee October 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

You give me real hope for round 2 … Max’s early days were my E’s early days without the bf drama (which only meant he was glued to my breast 24/7) and the reflux didn’t settle here till 13 months. Love him dearly, have loved every minute but there has definitely been spirit breaking days xx

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Raising Master Max October 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Have hope, my friend!

13 months of reflux, far out!

See, I wish I’d blogged sooner, or perhaps through Max’s reflux journey; because they were some long, lonely, isolative days (I didn’t like to take him out, because of his SCREAMING – people would always assume he was hungry, despite his just having been FED – so I ended up staying home a lot!).

But it would have been nice to know I wasn’t so alone in my reflux battles, & that others battle through reflux for even longer, wowee!

7 months was enough for us! I still remember when he came good with it, & suddenly there was a little more quiet, & everything just sounded a ga-zillion times more quiet because there was no screaming babe any more.

That’s when I knew parenting was going to get a little easier, & I could have wept for joy :)

x

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Lucy October 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Yep, two terrible sleepers for me! Two reflux babes. Yet they’re sooo different personality wise! My three year old is Mr Intense, Mr emotional, sensitive, empathic, plays it safe, born to entertain, people person. My 17mth old Mr is Mr Action man, Mr snuggly, independent, prefers toys to being entertained, slow to talk, fast to walk. They are complete opposites and it surprised me too how different they were from the start! And yet they’re best mates, just as my sister, my polar opposite and I are.

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Raising Master Max October 5, 2013 at 10:48 am

Lucy,

It seriously blows my mind that we can generally follow the same recipe, & have COMPLETELY different kids. DNA really is a powerful thing, isn’t it? ;)

My sister & I are both polar opposites, & best mates – so I’m hoping the future is looking bright for Max & Frankie :)

x

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Astred * Designcherry October 4, 2013 at 4:54 pm

My one and only was like your Max and I doubted myself so much as a mother that I am reluctant to go through it again. Even though toddlerhood is the most fabulous thing, I don’t think my mum spirit could cope. Glad you lucked out with Frankie

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Raising Master Max October 5, 2013 at 10:49 am

I can honestly COMPLETELY relate to what your comment.

At one point, my Mama spirit was so battered, I honestly said to Dave that perhaps we should just consider one child, & that I’d be entirely happy with that. In the end, I quit working night shifts & my Mama spirit recovered enough to consider another child :)

And here Frankie is :)

x

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Hannah October 4, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I love reading your posts. I remember mothers saying to me in the early days “don’t you just love being a mother?” And I would lie and say “yes”, but in the early weeks I loved my daughter but I didn’t love being a mum. It’s tough. Xx

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Raising Master Max October 5, 2013 at 10:50 am

HANNAH!

Oh my gosh, YES!

Yes yes yes yes yes.

That was me in the early days. Even when I replied ‘yes’, my eyes felt dead.

Motherhood is such a HUGE change in a woman’s life, & I think it’s too early to ask ‘are you loving being a Mother?’ in the early days, because it just takes so much time to … adjust!

x

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Mother Down Under October 4, 2013 at 8:50 pm

She is so lovely!

Our first year was rough…some days I feel like I am still recovering from it!
And like you, even though it was almost three years ago, I still remember those days like it was yesterday.
Although I struggle with it and think about it nearly every day, I don’t think I am ready for number two. Even though I know it could be different, I don’t think I could go back there. I need more sleep first!

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Raising Master Max October 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

Caitlin,

I think our eldests are verrrrrrrrrry similar!

Get all the sleep you can, & need – because sleep is just so damn important (I’ve really learnt that).

Eventually I caught up on enough sleep to consider another babe :)

x

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Amanda October 6, 2013 at 9:34 pm

I love your honesty,, I really wish more mums were like you instead of the ‘lets pretend everything is perfect and keep up appearances’ most mums do or feel like they have to do. Every child is different and every mum/ dad is different. My eldest was a text book baby but I was too young to appreciate it, my very long awaited second baby is completely different, we have had a lot of ‘ I don’t remember this from the first time ‘ conversations :)

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Sass and Spice October 9, 2013 at 2:17 am

You inspired me to write a similar post as Lily and Nyla are SOOOO different. Lily was much harder work as she screamed blue murder before going to sleep – a high pitched screaming that just went on and on…Nyla would whimper and then pause and then she would self settle.

It’s good to hear you are having 8 hour sleeps! That was the one thing Lily did well but unfortunately her sister isn’t doing it yet…

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Bel October 12, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Oh Cherie, so true! Ramsey and Phoebe are so very different, although maybe I am too! Motherhood first time round I second guessed everything I did with my refluxy, catnapping girl and I wished away her entire first year. With Ramsey, we had the so similar issues but I handled them differently and more confidently, listening to my motherly instincts!

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