Mum Friends

There is something that happens when you become a Mum that means you suddenly find yourself needing a new network of friends. You are off alone on maternity leave while all your friends and family are at work and you are just at home with this little bundle of 'joy'. I say 'joy' because sometimes they do not bring you joy at all, sometimes they just bring frustration, anger and sorrow and no one understands that more than other new mums. 

During my pregnancy I was able to talk to one of my very close friends who had been there before and was able to answer all of my crazy questions such as how many baby grows do I need to buy? What is it like straight after giving birth? I swear our what's app conversations when I was pregnant was just me asking her a million and one questions. Also during my pregnancy someone from work and my cousin were also pregnant so it was nice to share the pregnancy journey together. 

The after birth experience though was very different. I had signed up to birthing classes but was unable to go to any due to complications in my pregnancy, so after my OH's paternity leave finished I had one mission and that was to find some Mum friends. 

I entered my first class full of nerves and apprehension wondering who I would meet and if any of them would like me. We started off doing baby massage when our little Layla-Rose was just 8 weeks old. I met many Mums there but only 2 other first time mums. The others had been there, done that and got the T-shirt. One Mum in particular (Mama V) caught my eye as she was also bottle feeding and had a baby that looked small like Layla. We got talking and it turned out we had a lot in common; we both tried to breast feed but couldn't, our babies were both small and had problems and we both worked in schools. I went out of that class feeling better than I had done in days excited about the possibility of having a new mum friend. Thursdays soon became my favourite day with the promise of the baby massage class and my chance to mix with other mums. All to soon it was coming to an end though and I must admit I had a little panic about what I was going to do. One of the other Mums (Mama L) at the massage group mentioned about a library group that met every Wednesday so once again I braved this class in the hopes of meeting some Mum friends. 

I had varying degrees of success in my attempts to make Mum friends with one incident that sticks in my mind. I was discussing sleeping with 2 other mums and they looked horrified as I told them about our co -sleeping arrangements. One of them even told me that I mustn't do that because of the risk of death and the other one piped up that she would never put her child at that kind of risk. I was so embarrassed I back tracked and said that when I said co-sleeping I meant she was still sleeping in the room with me. I thought there and then that I need to have Mum friends who I can be honest with and who won't make judgments on my choices.

After a few weeks of chit chat I was offered an olive branch by one Mama (Mama L) who invited me out for a coffee after one of the baby sessions. She had been the one to invite me to this baby session and who I had been chatting to for a few weeks. It took a lot for me not to jump up and shout YES! We went and met up with 2 other mums Mama A and Mama S who Mama L had made friends with at a breast feeding group. I was nervous but I kept to my vow and was honest. We discussed all things mum from birth stories to feeding and sleeping (or lack of) and I felt comforted in the knowledge that I wasn't alone. Mama S told me that she too co-slept.Thank goodness I wasn't going to get a lecture off these mamas!

Along the way we have been joined by Mama V (the mum who I first spoke to at baby massage) Mama Se and Mama Lo. We have a what's app group (yummy mummies) and we must message each other at least 10 times a day about all sorts; rants, tips, advice, comfort, laughs and the coffee shop meeting? It's become a regular thing with all of us meeting for coffee, cake and a chat. The other Mums have also been great in opening up doors to other things going on in our area and thanks to them me and Layla-Rose are able to fill our week with lots of wonderful things. 

One of the best things about our group is that we are all first time Mums and have little ones around the same age, which means we are experiencing the same milestones and will continue to for the rest of our lives. These Mums are now my friends, my friends who have seen me through some of my toughest of times as a parent. 

I am so lucky to have met these ladies so I urge all of you if you haven't already to go out, be brave and meet some Mum friends! 

Why won't you sleep?!

Co-sleeping like many other things pre baby was something we definitely weren't going to do. I felt so strongly I refused to even consider buying a co-sleeping cot and opted instead for a second hand stand alone moses basket. 

After our baby flew into the world we soon discovered that people were not kidding when they say babies don't sleep and ours was certainly no exception. After a week or so of having pretty much NO sleep at night our midwife informed us that our baby must have day and night mixed up as she slept beautifully all day (we even had to wake her for feeds) and then from midnight she was wide awake! We began sleeping in shifts. One of us would have a few hours in bed and the other would stay downstairs with the baby, ride it out and hope for the best and then when the non sleeping person couldn't take it anymore we would swap.  

This went on for what felt like forever. You see we didn't have any trouble getting her to sleep, we just had issues getting her to sleep in her moses basket. She hated it. We tried everything and I mean everything to entice her to sleep in there. We even had one blissful night where we wedged the change mat in the moses basket and another where she slept in a massive fluffy blanket but when we would go and try and repeat this for the following day it wouldn't work. 

We found more and more that when we were putting her to sleep we were falling asleep ourselves with her in our arms and on more than one occasion we awoke with her in the bed, with the fear of SIDs and with the health visitors advice ringing in my ears I was in horror with what we had done frantically googling and scanning mums net for anyone else co-sleeping. 

We fell into a pattern of Layla sleeping in bed with us but because of the taboo surrounding co-sleeping we were reluctant to tell anyone and the the people we did tell? Well we were met with a frosty reception. Lots of people told us we were making a rod for our own back by letting her sleep in bed with us but in truth she was sleeping and we were not only finally able to sleep in the same bed but also get small chunks of sleep! These chunks of sleep however were not the comfiest and I was so conscious of both mine and the OH's position in bed I still was unable to sleep further. By this point I was ready to revisit the co-sleeping cot. 

In a sleep deprived daze I made my way to mothercare to purchase the next to me cot. I asked the women serving me if this would guarantee my baby to sleep. I was desperate to get her out of our bed and into a cot to sleep. It wasn't immediately the miracle cure I had hoped for. I spent many a night hanging inside the cot trying to get her to sleep in there. 

All this time we had been trying to get her to sleep on her back but she would forever wake herself up by jerking her arms about. I had begun placing her on her front to sleep during the day when I could keep a close eye on her as a quick google will tell you again this is something not to do due to the risk again of SIDs. I was too scared to place her on her front at night even though she slept so much better on her front during the day. After speaking to several family members and friends about placing her on her front to sleep at 14 weeks old I spent a string of sleepless nights watching over her sleeping on her front but do you know what? She slept and she slept in her next to me cot and only woke for feeds! 

We discovered some more tricks to her sleeping, we played white noise for her, she prefers a blanket to a sleeping bag and needs it to be pitch black at night time with nothing in her cot. She also needs her dummy to help her get off back to sleep. 

Layla is now 6 months old and still sleeps on her front in the next to me cot beside the bed. She still wakes once a night for a feed but I can cope with that. Sometimes we have to place something of ours in the cot to help her sleep and sometimes like all babies she refuses to sleep. We are not quite ready yet for her to move into her own room but I am hoping the transition will be a smooth one! 

A right to refuse a mum to bottle feed?

A recent encounter has got me thinking:

I went into my local branch of Natwest for a scheduled appointment and needed to heat up Layla's bottle as she was due for a feed. I didn't forsee that this would be a problem as I had requested this in many different places; salons, leisure centres, cafes, shops and it had never been an issue. However, when I asked for the hot water to warm her bottle up I was told due to health and safety reasons that this was not allowed. I was baffled. I reexplained that my daughter was unable to have her bottles cold so there was no way I could feed her otherwise but I was met with the same response. What I really couldn't understand is that they routinely provide customers who have a scheduled meetings, like myself, a hot beverage. I had no choice then but to leave and walk my now screaming daughter home in the pouring rain to angry and embarrassed to go into somewhere else to ask for hot water, As soon as I got home and fed her I rang Natwest to complain it took them 3 weeks to get back to me but I was told that they had every right to refuse me the hot water I required to warm my child's bottle. 

Was I wrong to be so annoyed withe this verdict? Is this as bad as a refusal to breast feed? After all by not supplying the water I required to heat the bottle I was unable to feed my child. 

Post Comment Love

Guest blogs/features

The butterfly mother guest post- Why breast isn't always best