NEW MUM DIARY
Hats off to wee Alfred
You’re here! For everything that has just happened, I would go through it again to have you. You are incredible, strong, so chill and a whole lot cute. You started to arrive on Friday morning. I had a little feeling, but didn’t officially tell family and our midwife until 3pm that day. Your Dad and I went and got vegan ice cream up Mt Eden hill after a walk. He tried to encourage me to avoid the walk, but dammit I wanted that ice cream. By 6am on Saturday the regular contractions that our midwife told us about had been steady for two hours – she told us to stay at home for the rest of the day. We kept trucking along and by 8.30pm Saturday, I started to get tired, over it, and a little bit worried that I didn’t know when you had last moved. To the hospital we go! Turns out I wasn’t that far along, so my midwife suggested breaking my waters, which we decided to do as by then I was getting impatient and felt extremely exhausted. Oh man, my friend. You suddenly wanted to see the world and I felt my body go crazy. Shaking before every contraction and feeling like I was possessed or my body was being taken over. These new full on contractions were so hard to take! Your Dad was amazing, so supportive and caring. You could tell he felt my pain. It was in his eyes. His worry. I pushed you out and tried to do it fast. I needed you out right then and there. You arrived! Your Dad clamped your umbilical cord but unfortunately, you had some trouble breathing. The hospital midwives suggested skin to skin contact, so we chilled out together and your breathing got way better. After we were settled in our room we rang your grandparents and told the rest of your family about your arrival. They were so excited. Your first visitors came, brought us food to eat and gave you loads of cuddles. They love you so much. That night you slept well – I was still getting used to breastfeeding, but you seemed to forget to suck and kept falling asleep. Delivering you and pushing you out was life changing. I am so amazed by what women can bear. What an incredible thing they (me too now) do.
When you were only six days old we drove down via Taupo to Wellington for your first Christmas. Your mum and dad didn’t really know what they were doing, so there was a lot of indecision on the road trip there and back. As you were still really new, we didn’t know what your cries meant, so if we heard you crying we instantly thought you were hungry. We would pull over on the side of the road, feed you for half an hour – and then get back
on the road. In hindsight, you were probably just exhausted and needed some sleep!
You’ve grown so much already, but I still feel like you’re brand new. We’re learning more about you, knowing when you need and want things. You’re like a shark on the boob and love having a suck. We had a bit of trouble getting you to sleep a couple of days ago and found out we can have you up longer for more playtime. You are still so little, so it makes you very hard to hold.
We usually have something exciting on each day and today we braved the mall by ourselves. On the way there you cried as you don’t like the car seat, but once we arrived I swaddled you up and put you in the bassinet, ready to take on the shops. I found it a bit tricky to move in and out of the clothes racks and mostly avoided places where I couldn’t keep the pram moving (or you would wake up!) We also found a magical place at the mall which I never knew existed: The Parents’ Room. In there I was able to feed you, change your nappies and have a little bit of a play with you. You’re staying awake for longer now, which is nice as I’m starting to see little touches of smiles when I talk in a silly voice.
You have just gone through another growth spurt – we think you get terrible wind and that’s so sad to see. It’s really been hard getting you to sleep – so much time in the evening is spent trying to encourage sleep. At the moment, the easiest way to do this is feeding. It’s really quite amazing we have made you. The amount of times your smile has increased and it’s these rewards that keep me going. We had a bit of a breakthrough today – your Dad wore you in the front pack and you went to sleep on him. Hurray! Go Dad! We have been extremely lucky to have your dad with us for six weeks whilst he was on school holidays (yes, we planned this) so when he went back to work, the first day without him was very hard. While you sleep I’ve started a new business – it’s called Match Loves. I loved making beanies for you and had a clever idea to make matching beanies for us to wear at the same time and thought other mums and families might want to do the same (matchloves.co.nz). Although the days have gotten easier and yes, it’s been such a precious time, it’s so very hard. At times I feel really stuck. I love to hang out with you, but my heart freezes when I hear you starting to wake up. I feel so anxious as I know it’s important for you to get sleep. I just want the best for you. Please don’t think that I’m a bad mum. All these feelings of inadequacy... it’s so overwhelming. So hard to think of the
“Recently it’s been really hard getting you to sleep. So much time in the evening is spent trying to encourage sleep, through shushing or feeding. But the amount of times you have smiled has increased and it’s moments like this – these small rewards – that keep me going”
positives when friends ask how it’s going. I need to learn a new phrase other than, “It’s good… It’s going good. Hard but good.” I need to be present in the moment with you. I’m already reminiscing about you when you were even more little than you are now. You’re such a cherub. So beautiful. I love giving you kisses and seeing how you react. You have a cute laugh – well, I think that’s what it is. Like a little squeal or a cooing noise.
Yesterday your Dad and I went out by ourselves for the first time. Your grandmama and great aunty babysat whilst we went to see one of our favourite bands play. Leading up to leaving, it’s like you knew that we were going out. I eventually got you to sleep in the knick of time and we rushed to the venue. The thing that I was most looking forward to was dressing up in something that didn’t need access to my boobs! I wore a pretty dress, put my hair up in a ponytail and used all my fancy makeup. Turns out I was totally overdressed for the event, but I didn’t care. It was my one chance to get ready like I did before you arrived. Last night was full of mixed emotions – I was happy to have some free time without you, but I felt my mind wander during songs to think of you and I kept getting teary eyed. Having you has given me this huge love I never knew existed.
I’ve been doing okay, though I had a major meltdown around week eight. You weren’t sleeping. I think this was a catalyst for me to try and learn a different way to settle you other than feeding to sleep. It was draining and didn’t give me any time to myself as I’d have to feed you when you woke and feed you to sleep. I guess the positive of feeding you to sleep is that you have put on all the weight you need. Initially I had scoffed at my Plunket nurse when she suggested putting you in the cot awake when you were six weeks old. I didn’t try that until recently and wish I had started sooner. I used the Dorothy Waide technique: I place you in the cot when you seem tired and then if you start to cry out, I leave you for one minute and go back in, pick you up, burp you, calm you down and then put you in the cot. If you grizzle, I let you do this for five minutes (I usually leave it for three minutes as I hate to hear you like this) then I go in and shush/pat you for half the time you grizzle, usually about a minute and a half and then leave the room. If you don’t go to sleep after three rounds, I feed you to sleep and try again the next nap time. Having a video monitor when doing this is so helpful as I am able to keep an eye on you – to see if you being quiet is actually you asleep!
When you were only little in my belly I asked on a vegan Facebook group if there were any other expectant mums who’d like to meet. I didn’t have any friends who were pregnant, let alone vegan! Four of us meet every week at different cafes. We talk about how we parent and our hesitation to go back to work because we will miss seeing you grow. We know it’s important for our children to have us at home in the early stages of their life. We give each other tips about travelling with a baby, such as taking headphones, extra formula, blankets and remember to book a bassinet on long haul flights. How will our children handle being vegan – what will they eat at birthday parties? We recommend reading-books for vegan children. We are thankful that we know each other and that our kids will have friends brought up with the same beliefs. You like to look around at your surroundings; trees moving in the wind, pot plants and the texture of the couch enthral you. Yesterday you touched our cat, Neko when you were lying on the bed. Neko jumped up onto the bed, meowing for attention and walked past you. You reached out your hand, grazed her fur and Neko ran off. I don’t think you knew what you were up to and how you frighten our usually brave cat.
We went camping for the first time at the weekend and you did a great job. Especially since you had a cold. Sometimes I wonder whether I should wrap you in cotton wool a bit more and if I should have a ‘gentler lifestyle’. I spotted you a couple of days ago smiling at a fly! It’s not often that I manage to get everything done on my list. Usually at the start of the week I’m all guns blazing, but today I bought you a Grobag sleep sack and made a couple of Match Loves beanies. I’m about to put the washing on the clothesline to dry and then I’ll start making the rocky road for your cousin’s Easter present. All whilst you sleep.
I can’t believe you are just four months old. It has been an experience all right. I’m so glad that I had you, Alfred. You are turning into a curious, cheeky and calm human being. You are perfecting the roll from back to side and you love holding your hands. You do this weird thing where you grab the front of your top or sleep sack and suck on it. We have seen you roll from your tummy to your back, but only occasionally when you’re in the right position. I’d like to think you understand the concept of turning the pages of your books as you grab the edges and act like you want to see the next page. You are so patient with me when I take photos of you wearing Match Loves beanies for my Instagram page. Before you were born, your Dad and I went to Bali. Sitting at a bar, watching the sunset, we wrote down what we hoped you would be like: empathic, creative, confident, enjoys reading, adventurous. As parents, we visit libraries, read to you, travel, immerse you in the community. We love you so much and want to bring you up in an environment where you can become all we wished for.
Little Alfred is born, and has a snuggle with Mum before the arrival of his first visitors. Such a beautiful moment
Kirsty glowing during pregnancy – before her world turned upside down
At one month old, Alfred is growing so much and visiting new places but he still feels brand new to Mum and Dad Little Alfred charming in a hat and yellow trousers, ready to be placed into his buggy and tackle the shops with mum, Kirsty
Mum and Dad with their new bundle enjoy a day in the garden as a family. This little boy is already surrounded by love