When having a new baby isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

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I had my first baby 7 and a half years ago. Having had another baby since then, my memories of being a new mum are somewhat hazy now. (Several years of sleep deprivation will do that to you!) But there are some things I remember really clearly: struggling with breastfeeding and my massive oversupply issues; my baby crying for what seemed like hours every evening; eating dinner one-handed while breastfeeding; struggling to recover from a difficult birth… There’s loads more, but you get the picture. It wasn’t an easy time!

In 2009 had a missed miscarriage at 14 weeks. I had planned my whole year, and in fact the rest of my life, around that baby’s arrival, and I found the loss much harder to bear than I would have imagined before becoming pregnant. When I got pregnant again 6 months later I had real difficulty in believing it was going to be OK this time. I couldn’t trust my own body and I was terrified of losing the baby. I couldn’t think beyond the birth as I couldn’t bear to get my hopes up again. Physically the baby and I were fine, but mentally I was a mess and I was totally unprepared for life with a baby.

Thankfully, Zac arrived safe and sound, to my huge relief. But it wasn’t plain sailing after that. Pretty much all I felt for the first month was shocked, tired and numb. (You can see how tired I look in the picture!) My physical recovery was slow and painful, and my baby barely slept for more than an hour and a half at a time and was colicky every evening. Breastfeeding was hard work. In fact everything was hard work! Because I hadn’t prepared for this, I didn’t know where to turn to for support. I made a lovely group of friends but I didn’t seek any outside help as I didn’t know where to find it. So I struggled on…

When Zac smiled at me for the first time I started to get it, and began to realise that it was going to get better. It’s much more common than you might think to not feel an instant bond with your new baby, or an overwhelming rush of love. Those feelings can take time, and after a few weeks we were totally and utterly besotted.

It was going through this experience that led me on the path to setting up Suffolk Babies with Jo and Emily. We all have had our own experiences that make us passionate about helping families through pregnancy, birth and the first few years. We are excited to tell you here first that we are now offering newborn workshops, to help and support parents of new babies (up to 12 weeks) with issues they may be facing, and helping them to better understand their baby’s sleep, crying and behaviour. This is an area so close to my heart, and I wish there had been something like this for me 7 years ago!

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