The First Week With My Baby Boy

One week ago I had a baby. A week is no time at all, but so much can change in that time. The first week with a new baby is a strange time: a mother is starting to recover from birth, the baby is adapting to being in the outside world, a family is welcoming and adjusting to the change and the world outside your little family pod just keeps on turning as normal. 


Hello World birth announcement of baby boy


Welcome to the Family Baby Boy


Baby number 3 came into the world early on Monday morning at home in our kitchen. I’ll write my birth story up soon, but it was mostly a calm and relaxed event. It took us several days to decide on a name for the baby as nothing seemed quite right, but happily he now has a name and it feels just right for him. It’s funny how names can do that. 

The big sisters adore their little brother although already a bit of the excitement is wearing off. On the first day my youngest daughter wouldn’t stop holding his hand, even while watching TV. Now she will happily play in the room paying him little attention while he sleeps, but at times (particularly when he is awake or she catches sight of him) she will go over and want to play with him. She has developed a cold unfortunately so the constant touching isn’t ideal. 

The biggest sister is no less adoring and she frequently asks to hold him. I am looking forward to Baby Boy having more neck control so this is less stressful for me. I picked M up from an after school club during the week, venturing out on my own which I thought would be a nice thing to do with her. Instead of “hello” I was met with “where’s baby brother?”. It’s good to know where her priorities lie.

A raw picture of siblings meeting their baby brother for the first time

Baby Boy’s First Week


Baby Boy is doing well and has spent most of his first week being held by one person or another. 

The First 24 hours and Newborn Checks


In the first few hours after birth his temperature was 36 degrees, half a degree lower than they would have liked so we spent a couple of hours sitting around cuddling him with a hot water bottle while a midwife patiently waited for his temperature to go up. Fortunately it did so the midwife could go home to bed and Baby Boy and I got to stay at home. 

We eventually decided to go to bed, but barely slept before Little (our toddler) woke up. She didn’t notice the baby sleeping in his cot and she went downstairs with her Dad while I got an hours sleep until Biggest Sister (M) woke up and they were all introduced.

The first day was spent with G and I taking turns to nap and a midwife visit for the baby's newborn checks.  There were no major concerns, but she identified he had a tongue-tie (which she made a referral for) and something that I can’t remember the name of, but basically meant his head was a bit bruised. She said that the bruising would break down to red spots and then to jaundice over the next few days and not to worry. So many newborns have a small amount of jaundice and I knew the drill from my older children: breastfeed frequently and give as much sunlight as possible. He still has a yellow tinge, but no one is worried.

With my girls that first day has been spent in hospital and it was so nice to spend it at home. The baby was relaxed and sleepy, recovering from his birth, and being at home meant I got to rest. Not something I have ever achieved in hospital.

Breastfeeding and Tongue-Tie


Over the first week Baby Boy has gradually spent more time awake and fed more, which has made his tongue-tie, and the associated issues, more obvious. His latch has been really shallow, he couldn’t open his mouth wide and he struggled to stay attached. He also seemed to suffer from bad gas and gets upset if lying flat. On Day 4 he spat up some milk and there was blood in it, I had a small panic before realising it was from my nipple and I had started bleeding. Not ideal, but better than the blood being his.

2nd Midwife Check and Heel Prick Test


On Day 5 we had a visit to the midwives for his heel prick test and for weighing. He had only lost 100 grams since birth (3.96kg down to 3.86kg) and they were happy with his progress. I am grateful that my milk came in quickly and I have a good supply which has meant he has got enough despite his troubles feeding. The milk also means he is having plenty of dirty nappies which is great for the jaundice and always seems to keep the midwives happy.

a baby arm with dry peeling skin

Dry Skin


Like my youngest daughter Baby Boy has been born with very dry skin. We have been putting cream and oils on him (mostly the Palmer's Baby Butter) and his skin hasn’t cracked like his sister’s did. There is a huge amount of dandruff from the peeling every time we take his clothes off though.

The umbilical cord came off on Day 5 which was a relief because we were struggling to put the nappy on without it rubbing against it.

The First Week After Birth For Me, The Mum


My week has been much more up and down. Both emotionally and physically.

Getting Up and About After Birth


From the beginning I have been doing well thanks to a short labour and no tearing. The pain level is so much less than with my previous births where I had an episiotomy and stitches (first time) and minor tearing (second time). It’s still hard work on the body though and I have general aches and pains as well as pressure on pelvic floor. 

The day after Baby Boy was born I decided I would have a shower and we would go for a walk. By the time I was washed and dressed I didn’t think I would be able to walk beyond the end of the road, but I put him in the sling and we headed out. I surprised myself that by walking slowly I felt able to go to the local shop (about a 10 minutes walk away). I had a long sit down afterwards though.

A few days later we all managed to get out of the house to do the school run. That was an interesting challenge and I definitely need a few more goes before I do it on my own. It was Baby Boy's first car journey and we aren’t really sorted for trips out yet: his snow suit is too big and there isn’t much for him in the changing bag.

Despite the few trips out I have been taking it pretty easy. I have at least one nap a day and go to bed early. I have been doing a few bits around the house, but there was been a lot of sitting around too. 

In the sling for the first trip out

After Birth Pain and Cramps


The midwives warned that the After Pain would be worse this time as it tends to get worse with each baby. I remember them being pretty bad last time so I’m not sure if this true, but they were painful. It was good to be able to take painkillers without feeling bad, problem is I tended to remember I needed them when the baby was feeding and the pain was worse. 

The after birth pains eased after a couple of days, but a few days after birth I had intense stomach cramps when I woke up in the morning. I hobbled downstairs took painkillers and was crippled with pain for about 20 minutes, and then in pain for another 10 minutes before it eased. I got G to call the midwives and they weren’t sure what it was as I had no other red flags, but they said I should be seen by my GP (or go A&E) as ideally they would like me to have an ultrasound to check for retained membranes. 

I called my GP at 8am, but they had no emergency appointments left. They said I could have a doctor call me so I left it at that and then went to bed for a few hours. The pain was gone when I woke up and I didn’t have any other problems so I decided not to go to A&E. When I eventually had a rather rubbish doctor call back he wasn’t bothered because the pain had gone and he decided it was a “gut spasm”.

Bleeding after Birth


My bleeding (lochia) had been slowing down by the time I saw the midwife on Day 5. Within half an hour of getting home though I felt something strange and checked my pants. A big blood clot fell out on to the floor, about 10 cms across.  I got some advice and went to lie down for a couple of hours, but I felt absolutely fine. A day later and my blood loss became very light so I think it was just my body sorting itself out and possibly related to the cramping the day before.

Breastfeeding


My milk came in around 48 hours after birth and I quickly became engorged because Baby Boy wasn’t able to take much milk with his tongue tie. I also had a few patches which were hard with milk where the milk wasn’t being removed because of the bad latch. I had to use lots of different feeding positions and eventually managed one which cleared it.

Breastfeeding hasn’t be enjoyable because of the tongue tie and bad latch. It has meant that every time Baby Boy latches has been painful, literally toe curling pain. It has meant that I avoid feeding whenever possible and try everything else to settle him first. It has inevitably meant the baby has been crying more than I would like, also added to because I need to look after other children as well. The crying, tiredness and pain has made me pretty snappy at times and emotional, obviously hormones have played a big part in this too. A couple of nights ago I had a pretty major meltdown at bedtime.

The changes in the baby in the first week

Getting The Tongue-Tie Cut Privately


At the 5 day check with the midwives I asked about the referral for tongue-tie and the said they would follow it up on Monday (the next working day). By then I was in pain and really starting to hate feeding Baby Boy so when we got home I decided I would call a local private midwife who is repeatedly recommended for cutting tongue-ties. She said she could come round the next morning (yesterday) and for only £150 I decided it wasn’t worth waiting to see how long it would take for the NHS to get in touch.

The midwife came and assessed that Baby Boy was 100% tongue-tied. His frenulum extended to the tip of his tongue and was very tight so he had very limited movement of his tongue. It took seconds for her to cut the tongue free and then I fed him straight away. As soon as he opened his mouth to latch on I could see that he could open his mouth wider. The feeds have been less painful too, but we still have some practicing to get a good latch.

The midwife showed us some exercises to do with Baby Boy each day to encourage him to move his tongue around more and fingers crossed it will all be ok now. The whole appointment took less than half an hour and most of that was general chatter. He cried after the snip, but no worse than my children have when they’ve had an injection and he’s not been in noticeable pain since. There wasn’t much blood, but it’s made a huge difference to me.

Postpartum Headaches


After Breastfeeding the biggest challenge for me this week has been headaches. I tend to be prone to headaches anyway so add in the hormonal changes and probable dehydration from the breastfeeding and it's not surprising. Once mine take hold they can be very hard to get rid of and I have been fighting to make sure they don't turn into full blown migraines. Painkillers have taken the edge off and while they haven't been constant I have had them for around 3 days of the week. Hopefully everything will settle down soon. 

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