Monday, 17 July 2017

Baby Blues & Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression has always been something I've worried about since finding out I was pregnant. Having depression in the family already made me incredibly weary I was likely to suffer from it as well as the many stresses of having a premature baby; but luckily I think I've managed to avoid it so far and am hoping I can keep it up as it's not something I would wish upon anyone. That's not to say I haven't had my down moments over the past 2 and a half weeks though, also known as baby blues. Here are some of the things that have given me crazy anxiety since Cassius has been born and how I've attempted to handle them without losing my mind and thinking I'm a bad parent! 🙈

Firstly I'd just like to clarify that being a mum has been an amazing experience so far and I don't regret it one bit. Seeing his little smile every day and having long cuddle sessions is the most incredible feeling, nothing beats it. However, it's been far from easy to say the least. I feel like I've unintentionally put a lot of pressure on myself to be the perfect mother and follow all the 'guidelines' that the midwives and healthcare professionals recommend when ultimately I believe he will tell me if and when he wants something and my instincts automatically kick in when I think something is wrong. At the end of the day, every person I've spoken too, professional and not, has had different opinions on the different aspects of looking after a newborn so you've just got to go with what feels right for you. After all, nobody knows your baby better than you do!

The main bane of my life, as a lot of other mothers suffer with too, has been breastfeeding. Oh my god. Nobody warns you about this shit. Honestly, it's almost as painful as labour, no joke. The start to my wonderful journey into breastfeeding was Cas immediately struggled to latch on at the hospital thanks to my flat ass nipples. After a few brutal hours of midwives teaching me positions and tricks, he finally passed their observation of being able to latch on but I'm telling you now, he still doesn't latch on properly and it is genuinely so upsetting. There is no worse feeling than believing you are failing to feed your baby naturally. So, much to my midwives dismay as she was always preaching how exclusively breast feeding is imperative, I bought an electric pump and have been expressing my breast milk and topping him up with Aptamil on the rare occasion which has been working a dream. It's not what I had originally planned for him but when you develop Mastitis in the first week and feel like your boobs are gonna explode and your nipples are going to fall off, it seemed like the only option to keep myself healthy and sane. I even tried nipple shields in a last hope that he would be able to suck the milk out of me easier, but it seems both of us got too frustrated too quickly and our feeding sessions always ended up with both of us crying over spilt milk, literally! I know it's a super controversial subject with mums online and I'll most likely get backlash over it but in all honesty, as long as my baby is eating well and gaining weight at a healthy rate then I'm happy, you know? Whether it be breast or formula, milk is milk and women shouldn't be judged if they can't/don't want to breast feed. 

The next thing that played with my mental state was the fact that within the first week of his life, he got thrush on his tongue and had a sore armpit - which ultimately ended up being a little fungal infection from left over protective 'gunk' from my womb basically and cleared up within a few days of applying cream from the doctor but still - it scared the crap out of me which led to a rough panic attack in the middle of the night one night. I couldn't help but think I was doing everything wrong for a little while and with him being so tiny and fragile, it worried the life out of me that I wouldn't be able to take care of him properly if this was what was happening after just one week. But thanks to Dane being a boss at calming me down and reminding me that it's not my fault and we were doing the best we could, it faded and I got over it within a couple of days. Unfortunately I've come to realise that I can't put my baby in a bubble to stop anything bad from happening to him and I just have to be strong for the both of us when things get hard. Thankfully, everything has cleared up now and he's healthy as healthy can be which makes me one relieved mumma bear 😀

His sleeping habits have also been a bit of a nail biter for me as not only does he sleep for England and forget about waking up for his feeds sometimes (he totally gets that from his dad btw 😉), he also sounds a lot like Darth Vader whilst doing so. I've done lots of research and asked the midwife about it and everyone has assured me it's totally normal for a newborn's breathing to vary and make all sorts of funny noises, but nothing is comforting about trying to nap when your baby sounds like a villain. Once again though, it's just one of those things I have to take on the chin and not panic about as I can't control every little thing he does. As long as he's breathing safely and isn't struggling then all is well in the world. I swear, don't have a child if you're a naturally anxious person, every little noise they make will freak you the fudge out and you'll be googling it trying to self diagnose like I do 😅

But anyway, despite all these bumps over the past 2 and a half weeks and the extreme lack of sleep and food on my behalf (naughty mumma, I know), baby Cassius has been such a blessing and I'm content knowing that we're both new to this and are learning together, at a snail's pace, but we will survive another day as long as we have cuddles and a hell of a lot patience!

Are you a mum and have similar worries or have advice on dealing with baby anxieties? Let me know in the comments :)


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