I wrote this post when Clara was just under 5 weeks old, and had planned to type it up into a blog post soon after. In my sleep deprived state I forgot about it, until I recently came across it in an old notebook (almost 3 years later!). This is my account of 24 hours as a Mum to a 5 week old and a 3 year old… it involves sick in my bra, 12 breastfeeds in 18 hours and a good old dose of mum guilt.
3:45am – Woken up by Clara crying for a feed. I’ve had 3.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep which is something of a record, probably the most I’ve had since before she was born.
4:35am – Wake up suddenly, realising I’ve fallen asleep feeding Clara, who herself is now happily asleep in my arms. Put her back in her moses basket, hoping I won’t see her again until 7am.
5:10am – No such luck. She’s awake for more food.
5:30am – Back to bed for both of us.
6:15am – And back up again for another feed. Resolve myself to the fact I have had all the sleep I am getting today.
7:00am – Izzy is now up. She has spent her first full night without a nappy and no accidents, so I’m feeling proud. She does a jigsaw on my bed while I feed Clara (again).
7:30am – Change Clara’s nappy and clothes, strip our bed and the moses basket. Everything has baby sick on. Yesterday I went through 3 changes of clothes as Clara kept being sick on me.
7:50am – Downstairs for breakfast and a cup of tea while Clara is in her bouncy chair. Steriliser on. Wash up from breakfast.
8:50am – Clara is hungry again. After feeding she snuggles into my shoulder and falls asleep while I watch the end of Pocahontas with Izzy.
9:25am – Leave Izzy watching TV and Clara in her moses basket while I get a shower.
9:45am – Clara has been sick. Contemplate changing her clothes and decide against it. It’s only a little bit.
9:55am – Clara’s been sick again. This time too much not to change her clothes. Pleased I didn’t bother changing them ten minutes ago now!
10:00am – Argh, British Gas have arrived. I totally forgot they were coming. Remember at the last minute to whip the towel off my head before opening the door but haven’t put my contact lenses in so aware that I’m squinting at the guy. At least I had got round to putting clothes on. Power is off so TV is no longer an option. Izzy is now putting bracelets on Clara while I put some makeup on to try and hard the dark circles and effects of sleep deprivation.
10:45am – Get Izzy dressed for pre-school. Clara has woken up from a short nap and I’m desperately hoping she doesn’t need fed while the gas man is still here.
11:00am – Time to make dinner for Izzy, although limited without power.
11:30am – Clara wanted another feed, but luckily the gas man was busy in the garage the whole time. Power is briefly back on so I make a second cup of tea – doubt I’ll get to drink this one while it’s still warm either. Izzy is playing nicely and sharing her Doc McStuffins toys with Clara, though I do have to keep an eye on them as she keeps giving her little things which she could put in her mouth. Of course Izzy doesn’t understand, she just wants to play with her little sister.
11:40am – Clara has just done something unholy in her nappy. My brew is getting cold.
12:10pm – Power off again while the gas man finishes up in the garage, which means I haven’t been able to dry my hair. Quickly get ready for the school run.
12:30pm – Drop Izzy off at pre-school with hugs and kisses, then head to Tesco. Clara sleeps in the trolley while I grab a few bits and bobs.
1:30pm – Back home, grab a sandwich for lunch and manage to eat it without interruption. Clara is asleep and I watch TV while I express some milk, then feed her when she wakes up.
3:00pm – By the time I’ve washed up from lunch and put the sterilizer on again its time to pick Izzy up from pre-school.She’s had a great time playing outside and drawing pictures. Back home for milk and brioche and more Disney Junior while I express yet more milk. Feel guilty that the sun is shining and we haven’t made the most of it, and also guilty that I haven’t done any housework or done anything fun with Izzy.
4:00pm – Just found myself falling asleep on the sofa while still expressing milk (6oz now). Clara is still asleep since before we went to pick Izzy up, and Izzy is tired and lounging on the sofa watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Clara wakes and another nappy change and feed. Then I’m watching Clara, wondering if she is smiling for the first time of if it’s just wind. I soon get my answer when she is sick down my top. Even my bra is wet.
4:55pm – Make some pasta for Izzy’s tea and dash around trying to get some housework done – put a wash load in, take out the recycling, put some stuff away and run the hoover around the kitchen and dining room. Hubby comes home from work just long enough to change into his football kit and heads back out again.
5:30pm – It’s warm and Clara is getting restless so I sit down with her while Izzy is eating her tea.
6:30pm – Still haven’t moved off the sofa, been feeding Clara and reading blog posts. Now I have more sick down my top. Finally drag myself off the sofa and start making tea for me and Hubby and tidy and hoover the living room.
7:00pm – Bedtime for Izzy – pyjamas, milk and biscuit, story, teeth cleaned and her Daddy is back in time for family hugs.
8:45pm – Fed Clara while Hubby finished making tea. She settled in her moses basket long enough for me to eat for a change but then she wanted yet another feed.
9:30pm – And another feed! Have demolished a chocolate champagne bottle we were given when Clara was born. Putting off going upstairs as know we will have to make the bed that I stripped this morning after it got covered in sick.
11:00pm – Give Clara 4oz of expressed milk as I physically didn’t have anything left to give after 12 feeds in the last 18 hours! It’s been a long day.
5:00am – By some miracle, Clara has slept for 6 hours, another record breaker!
Reading back through this I initially felt guilty about how much I resorted to distracting Izzy with the TV – then I reminded myself that those early weeks and months with a new baby and older sibling are not easy, and sometimes we just have to do whatever we need to to get through the day in one piece. Even if that means having a nap on the sofa while the kids watch cartoons.
Clara is 3 now and those sleepless nights are (mostly) a distant memory, and I’m pleased to say our house doesn’t constantly smell of old milk and baby sick anymore (although we are now potty training so that’s been replaced with other odours!) If you are feeling like you just can’t face another night with no sleep, are going through cluster feeding, or are feeling deflated at the thought of sitting hooked up to a breast pump for the next hour of your life, all this will pass. The housework will get done eventually, and all that feeding is actually a great excuse to stuff your face with cake and catch up on box sets. Before you know it you will be running round all day after a boisterous toddler, so embrace it while you can, and enjoy those sleepy newborn cuddles.