newborn easy access vest

I have to say that I’m rather partial to these “wrap-over” style vests from H&M. One of the most difficult things about dressing a newborn is trying to get things over their head without almost breaking their neck. The wibbly wobbly head is nigh on impossible to control as you try to guide it through the hole, and then you have to attempt to get the arms into the sleeves, which is a whole other challenge…

So yes. These little vests from H&M open out flat, sort of one long piece of fabric, and you can then lay the newborn in the middle and wrap the other parts around them. All newborn vests should be designed this way! They are also very useful if there’s been a poo explosion, because you can just un-pop them at the front and lift the baby away, rather than having to drag a vest up or down the body and spread muck everywhere. (I know that mosts vests have those sort of “slits” at the neck, so that you can pull them down over the shoulders rather than having to go over the head, but it’s almost as much faff, I find!)

I bought this little bear vest just before Ted was born – they don’t seem to have it online now (shame, it’s so cute!) but they’re always bringing out new prints. The plain cotton pima two-pack is £14.99 here.

Baby Mori also do little wrap vests, and the fabric they use for their baby stuff is quite literally the softest fabric I’ve ever felt in my life! A bit pricier, but well worth the extra if you can splash out – their website is here.


vbac vs planned c section

A little “there’s light at the end of the tunnel” post for those who are in the throes of newborn baby chaos. If you’re muddling through a life of relentless baby-feeding, non-existent evenings and interrupted nights then fear not: this too shall pass. And then you’ll wonder what the hell to do with your quiet evenings. (You won’t, that’s a total lie. And anyway, I have loads of suggestions for you, in case you’re stuck for ideas.)

So here are five newborn baby things that get better with time. The longlist is – well – long, but I’ve picked my favourites for you, if “favourite” is even the right word. To be quite honest, if these things hadn’t got better with time then I very much doubt I’d be typing this up after my second baby – I’d have contraceptioned myself up to the hilt! Femidom, condom and possibly sterilisation. (Has anyone ever tried a Femidom? Remember when they first came out and they were all the rage? I imagine they must feel a bit like a mini bin-liner inside you. All crinkly and a bit off-putting: discuss.)

newborn baby ted

Baby Digestive Issues

OK, so for me, newborn baby digestive “quirks” cause(d) the most amount of disruption to my life. And they weren’t even serious ones, with either newborn: I’m talking trapped wind for both of them and a tiny bit of reflux with Ted. How people cope with babies that have serious digestive problems I do not know; it’s so distressing listening to a baby in pain and it’s also frustrating when you feel as though you can’t help them and it’s actually very depressing and upsetting having to deal with hours of continuous screaming. Now I know that some people have to deal with digestive issues for longer periods but usually, as the baby gets older and the digestive system matures, things like trapped wind become less of a problem. I had to wind Ted after every feed at the start (sometimes mid-feed) and when you’re knackered and it’s the middle of the night, winding a baby is no mean feat. Especially if they are quite long and you need to stand up to get them into a non-scrunched-up position. And the worst is when you think they’re comfy and asleep after a feed, and you don’t want to wind them because it’ll disturb them. so you slip them into the crib, turn off the light and just start to close your eyes, and then they wake up because they have trapped wind. ARGH!

And the reflux thing wasn’t fun, but it stopped completely on the day that I cut milk out of my diet. Nobody advised me to do this (in fact the doctor at the six week check thought it very unlikely that my milk-drinking was causing it) but it is a magnificent coincidence is it not? And, last week, Ted was a bit sick for the first time in weeks – I’d had a bowl of cereal with full-fat milk!

The other thing that helped with Ted’s uncomfortable tummy (he would grunt and sort of growl-cough for ages after a feed if he was lying down) was raising the head of the crib slightly. This was on the health visitor’s advice and it worked almost instantly. Like magic. I rammed two books under the runners of the Snuzpod crib at the head-end, so that the whole thing was on a bit of a slant (not too much, obviously, just a gentle slope, you don’t want them sliding down to the bottom!) and the grunts ceased to be.

Now, at almost twelve weeks in, Ted still gets trapped wind but it’s easier to burp him (chuck him over my shoulder, and I mean right over so that his tummy is on my shoulder not his chest, and then rub his back, then when I sit him upright on my lap he does a massive belch!) and he’s never sick. Those long hours spent trying to make him more comfortable are something of a distant memory.

newborn baby

The Crazy Hours

Does your newborn have a few hours a day when they just won’t be comforted by anything? I’ve had this with both babies and with Angelica I just had to ride it out, listening to the crying and trying to feed her while her face was all red and angry and then feeling helpless and frustrated, because I didn’t know any better. This time around, with Ted, I’ve been a little bit more pragmatic in my approach and each time he’s had his crazy hours I’ve simply worked through a checklist of things to do, which has kept me calm and more detached, which I think has helped Ted to be more easily comforted. I’m going to do a separate post on this, because the “crazy crying evenings” are enough to drive you totally insane, but my self-developed method has basically been to calm him down completely before trying to feed him. Change his nappy, spend some time walking him around on my shoulder and then feed, and feed in a quiet place, not in front of Homeland whilst I try to “still have my evening” and shovel down a plate of pasta at the same time! A few months in and we’re down to about an hour of fussy time each day, which is totally OK in terms of me keeping my sanity.

newborn baby ted


Three weeks in and your eyes feel like hot coals, your brain won’t function properly and you’re averaging around one and a half hours’ sleep per stretch, barely sinking into the pillow before you need to wake up again. This (with any luck, hohoho) is a temporary situation and you really need to hold onto that thought in order to not lose your mind. You won’t always be this tired. People will say to you “oh, just wait until you have two under two/five under six/a new puppy and a baby!” but, just to gift you with a little parcel of optimism, this is probably the most tired you’ll ever be. Nothing compares to the zombified, semi-waking state of life with a newborn. So as you flick through iPlayer in an attempt to stop yourself from falling asleep over your feeding baby (what if I crush him with my gargantuan breasts?!), congratulate yourself on the fact that nobody, ever, has been more tired than you and you’re not even crying about it. (Maybe you are, that’s OK too.)

ruth crilly and baby ted

Lack of Routine

Does your day lack anything remotely resembling a structure? Are you eating cereal at 4pm before having a three hour nap and putting your washing on at 2am? Finding it difficult to plan anything in advance, because who even knows when the baby might next want a feed?

I’d be lying if I said that this situation gets better, because I’ve never managed to really plan anything in advance since having Angelica, but what does get better is your ability to “go with the flow” and have a more flexible attitude. Last week I took Ted on a photoshoot (had to, as I’m breastfeeding and haven’t started expressing yet) and we just had to muddle through the day. He slept for the whole time it would have been convenient to feed him and then woke up each time I was on set!

With Angelica, things improved dramatically once she was in a little routine, but it still didn’t mean that had a good routine going – I just found myself planning things around hers. Just living for the moment. Which is totally against my nature, but I’ve had to accept that this is life once you’re looking after people other than yourself!

Baggy Stomach

My weird, empty sack of a stomach really bothered me when I had Angelica. Not just because it made me look hugely unattractive, both clothed and naked, but because it looked as though it was never going to go down. I mean, there was nothing else inside it to come out (hopefully!) but it was massive and doughy and had an excess of skin and I just couldn’t imagine how it would ever right itself. But – hurrah! – it did. I mean, it was never flat, not by any stretch of the imagination (it was almost there and then I got pregnant again), but at least it didn’t look like a giant flesh omelette. This time around, it doesn’t particularly bother me at all, except when people ask “when it’s due?”. I definitely want it to flatten down a bit, but not enough to sacrifice my nightly mini-magnum. Or sandwiches. Or spicy pasta topped with buffalo mozzarella. Or cake. Because I need those extra calories for the baby, don’t I? Let’s not rush this tummy business – it also makes quite a good shelf when you’re breastfeeding sitting up in bed. No need for a special pillow when you’ve got a semi-solid gut to rest things on…

So there you are then – a few things about having a newborn baby that will make you want to spoon out your own eyeballs with a soup ladle, but that will get better with time. Even if it does sometimes take a while – you have to retain a sense of optimism in this life! And before you know it, you don’t have a baby anymore, you have a toddler wearing dungarees shouting “NO” and throwing their plate on the floor. So, y’know, try to embrace each stage of the journey!


new mum skincare

Skincare for New Mums (or Dads, let’s not discriminate) – but the sorts of products I discuss, here, are suitable for virtually every skin type. Knackered skin, stressed skin, sensitive skin, dull skin – basically the sort of skin that you start to get when you become a parent. Ha! If your skin has gone slightly haywire during pregnancy, or after giving birth, or if it’s just suffering under the new baby regime then this is the video for you.

It’s actually the first video I’ve done for The Uphill in ages – I need to record some sort of “life update” for the Youtube viewers who don’t read this blog, as it must have looked as though I disappeared off the face of the earth after my 39 Week Pregnancy DiaryI feel a bit bad about it, but time has been short and it’s been enough of a trial trying to get videos done for A Model Recommends.

This video was originally supposed to be for A Model Recommends, but then I thought it would be more relevant – and useful – here. So I hope you’ll forgive me this little indulgence, because I do love to prattle on forever about skincare and I’ve really enjoyed picking out my favourite face soothers/brighteners/calmers.

I didn’t realise when I was putting together the video, but a whole load of the products have a whacking great discount on them at the moment if you look on – I’ve put the individual product links below the video pane.

If you have any questions then please do leave a comment – if it’s something quite general then you might be able to find the answer using the search box on A Model Recommends, but I’ll endeavour to answer the specific queries on here when I get a moment.


Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored or paid-for post or advertorial.
Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Products are press samples unless otherwise stated in video or description and are provided with no obligation to review.
If possible please test products for suitability before purchase and be aware that what suits my skin may not suit yours!

Denim Dress, AND/OR at John Lewis

First Aid Beauty Cleanser:

Neals Yard Remedies Cleanser:

Weleda Cleanser:

L’Oreal Micellar Water*:

FAB Serum:…

Alpha-H Vitamin C Serum:

Vichy Idealia Peeling:

Bioderma Hydrabio Cream:

Darphin 8 Flower Nectar Cream:

Toleriane Fluid:

MV Organic Skincare Rose Moisturiser:

Darphin Intral Cream:

Kyrpis Moonlight Catalyst:…

Pai Blemish Serum:

Freederm Spot Gel:

Liz Earle Eyebright:

Eye Cream Reviews:…


EvoMove Nomi Highchair Review

If you’re after the world’s most luxuriously stylish highchair then this – possibly – is it. The Nomi highchair has more in common with a modern sculpture than a piece of functional baby equipment, but it’s by no means a matter of style over substance – this chair is infinitely practical and, though pricey in terms of initial outlay, adapts to grow with your child until they’re around twelve years old, making it actually rather good value for money.

EvoMove Nomi Highchair Review

Now so far, I’ve only tested the Nomi as a newborn highchair, with the cushioned reclined seat that you see in the photos. My intention was to quickly test it in its baby incarnation and then switch to the toddler seat so that I could do a full review, but as I use the newborn version constantly (a testament to how bloody brilliant it is!) I’m loathe to go without. Even for a day.

So I’ll have to do another review of the highchair proper once I get a chance – for the moment I’m just blown away by how useful the newborn part is. Ted sleeps in it happily, when we’re downstairs and having meals, but he will also be quite content just to sit there when he’s awake, and because it’s raised up he can see everything that’s going on.

EvoMove Nomi Highchair Review

Last year I reviewed the Babymoov Swoon Up and commended it for the same thing – raising the baby up to “human” level, rather than being stuck down on the ground. It means, also, that you don’t have crazy toddlers tumbling onto your newborn, or inquisitive pets licking their face or whatever it is that they are wont to do. For me, with my live-in circus of animals and toddler, a raised chair like this (or a “cushion on a stick” as one person called it on Instagram!) is actually a necessity.

Read the Swoon Up review here.

(If you’re looking for a Babymoov/Nomi comparison, then I’d say – to keep it short – that the Babymoov is great because the seat swivels and bounces and the chair is easy to fold up and transport, making it a good one if you travel. It’s also cheaper than the Nomi. But if you want a cleverly-designed chair that can be used for longer than about 4-6 months, one that adapts as your child grows, then the Nomi would be the appropriate choice.)

EvoMove Nomi Highchair Review

The Nomi is also, as I mentioned before, ridiculously stylish. The curved wooden stem is a thing of utter beauty. And the customisation options are endless – I chose a chair to match the wood on my kitchen cupboards, for crying out loud! There are so many fabric and wood options, there really is a combination to suit any interior – you can build a Nomi to your own specification on their website here.

The Nomi chair costs £250 – that’s the whole chair (stem and moulded seat) that will last until the child is about twelve. The newborn part is extra, with the mattress and harness combination coming in at £119.99. So quite a hefty initial outlay, but I suppose that you’re getting two pieces of equipment in one. I’ve just read that the Nomi is designed by the same person behind the Stokke Tripp Trapp, which is something of an icon when it comes to both baby equipment and furniture in general, so it looks as though Evomove, the makers of the Nomi, are going in for the same market. (The Tripp Trapp is cheaper, with the chair coming in at around £170 and a newborn add-on for £75, but the design is quite a lot more basic and – what would the word be? – utilitarian.)

evomove nomi newborn highchair

I can’t stress enough how handy it is to have something raised up to table level when you have a newborn – floor bouncer chairs are great if you have no pets, cribs are wonderful if you have the space (and money) for another crib just to have in the kitchen, Moses baskets on stands are fine for as long as your newborn wants to lie down in one, not being able to see anything… For me, being able to plonk a newborn down somewhere safe and comfy while I get on with cooking or toddler-maintenance makes a massive difference to my day.

FYI: I’ve been doing some research into more highchairs suitable for newborns (raised beds, I suppose you could call them!) and I also very much like the look of this one from Phil and Ted – with a one seat-suits-all design, it reclines for a newborn and then positions upright for a baby. I’ll try and test it out and report back – it’s £199 here.

Evomove Nomi High Chair


Baby Bjorn High Chair Review

I’ve been meaning to get started on my baby equipment reviews for months and months, now – I have about seventeen-thousand double pushchairs to test, loads of car seats and various cots, chairs and gadgets. All of which are stacked in the hallway of my house or stowed in the loft or (because we’re fast running out of space to accommodate my ambitious gadget-testing project!) packed into the shed. I really need to get on with it, not least because I started drafting the first review about a year ago. Look at how young Angelica is in these photos!

Baby Bjorn High Chair Review

But we’re starting with a good one, in terms of testing “thoroughness”: we use the Baby Bjorn High Chair multiple times a day and there’s not much we haven’t done with it. We’ve travelled with it, throwing it in the boot when we’ve been visiting friends (it folds up surprisingly flat!), we’ve had babies and toddlers of varying heights and weights sat in it and we’ve had dogs, children and one hefty house cat throwing themselves at the high chair legs.

Baby Bjorn High Chair Review

I can tell you that it’s pretty sturdy. It also looks incredibly good. So beautifully designed, with a curvy moulded seat and slim legs that have something of the modernist about them. Perhaps, though, the biggest selling point for me is the compact size. Behold:

Baby Bjorn High Chair Review

Next to a “normal” sized high chair, the Baby Bjorn almost looks like a miniature! It’s unobtrusive and easy to stow away in the corner of the room, so perfect for people who are short on space but also people who simply don’t like to have a house full of primary-coloured baby stuff. (Each to their own. By the way, there’s nothing at all wrong with the Cosatto chair above, I inherited it from my sister, it’s just here as a comparison!)

Baby Bjorn High Chair Review

Despite the Baby Bjorn High Chair being about 30% smaller than most of the traditional chairs I’ve looked at, it absolutely ticks every box when it comes to practicality and functionality. It’s harness free; the clever table  holds the baby or toddler in place with no need for fiddly straps or buckles. When the table-top drops down, there’s space for the child to get in, when it’s locked back into place, the child can’t escape.

Baby Bjorn High Chair Review

The table-top has a lift-off tray which clips on very easily and quickly and can be cleaned in the dishwasher. We clip and unclip the white tray numerous times a day and it’s very robust- I’d have thought it would have cracked somewhere by now, or that one of the clips would have gone, but it’s as perfect as the day it arrived. After each meal, when there’s food all over the place, we simply lift the entire tray off and stick it in the sink. We have tested it in the dishwasher, but it’s quite large and takes up a load of room so we just rinse it off in the sink, dry it and clip it back on.

Baby Bjorn High Chair Review

The only potentially fiddly thing is the mechanism for dropping the table up and down to let the child in and out – if you look at the photo above you can see a pink round handle (I find it hard to write the word knob, it’s an immaturity thing) and you have to squeeze this (the knob, lol) and turn it to the side at the same time as letting the table drop forwards. I worked this out within about five seconds, but most visitors seem to struggle with it for a bit, until you’ve had enough of watching them suffer and show them how to do it. Hohoho.

So: compact, brilliantly designed, easy to clean (no fabric or wooden parts, you could hose it down in the garden if you needed to!), lightweight (I often chuck it into position with one hand if I have the newborn over my shoulder) and deceptively accommodating – it’s good for children up to about three years of age. The table slides in and out to various locking positions, depending on the child’s size and although the footrest doesn’t adjust, as it’s part of the moulded seat, it seems to be suitable for different heights. Angelica has the longest legs in the world and seems very comfy, still.

You can find the Baby Bjorn high chair on their website for £199 or the white version is on Amazon for £155 here*. The white is actually very funky and unisex, though the pink is so sweet! I would absolutely buy another for Ted when he is “of age”, though I have a whole load to test still so I can’t imagine I’ll get around to it. Gets my wholehearted recommendation, though – I can’t think of anything I don’t like. It’s pricier than some, but impeccably designed and easy on the eye.

*© 2017 The Uphill®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an “AD” in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. Outward links to retailers are affiliate links.


Toddler, Baby and Me: The Two Month Update

I’m writing this in a snatched bit of time before bed; New Baby Ted has dropped off unexpectedly early and so I’ve been racing through a long list of admin so that I can go to sleep with a clear mind! So let’s not spend too long on the pleasantries and cut straight to the chase: the two month update for Angelica, Baby Ted and Me.


Angelica, now 21 months, seems to learn a new thing every day. It’s absolutely fascinating and a constant source of amusement – everything from impromptu, crazy dance moves performed in public to little garbled sentences executed with such enthusiasm it’s impossible not to smile. Her vocabulary is growing in size and she has started to pronounce quite a few words properly – it’s always a surprise, like making alien contact, when she comes out with a perfectly spoken new word. “Hair Mama,” she said, the other day, and pointed at my hair. I almost fell off the bed with shock!

Toddler, Baby and Me: The Two Month Update

And her understanding is just brilliant – or I should say her misunderstanding? I love the way that she sees everyday things with completely fresh eyes, things that make total sense to an adult but must just seem bizarre to a child who is still learning how the world works. The latest thing is baby bottles – she has a plastic baby with a bright pink bottle, and she feeds the baby its pretend milk. She also has milk herself in a bottle (I know, I’ve tried to change it to a cup but to no avail!) and so she’s now associated babies with bottles. So yesterday, when I said “I need to feed Baby Ted”, she took her little plastic bottle, pulled down my top a bit and tried to put the bottle at the end of my nipple! She obviously thinks I have little mini-bottles inside my bra and that’s what Ted’s nuzzling away at…

So sweet. But at the same time incredibly demanding. I’m not sure whether bringing a new baby into the fold has accelerated certain behaviour – not bad behaviour, necessarily, just… boundary-pushing. “No” is the favourite word, and has been for some time now, and Angelica knows exactly what she wants to do and when she wants to do it. Thank God my husband is the most patient person on earth, because I am really not patient at all, especially when I’m trying to calm a screaming newborn at the same time as catching a bowl of pasta that’s flying from Angelica’s highchair!

toddler fairy wings

I really enjoy my time alone with Angelica, when Ted is asleep and I can concentrate on her fully. It was a massive source of guilt for me when Ted was just born and I was stuck in bed recovering – I could hear Angelica, but I couldn’t really see her, because I was so tired and felt so ill and just wanted to sleep. So being able to pick her up and swing her about and take her to Tumble Tots is just brilliant, I love it. Hard work, especially when you’ve been up with a newborn for half the night, but incredibly rewarding to be interacting with a little human who’s soaking up all of the things going on around her and processing them in weird and wonderful ways.


New Baby Ted, two months old today, has turned a bit of a corner in the last couple of weeks and I’m getting far more sleep overnight. Hurrah! Often he sleeps for six hours in a row, which apparently is almost considered to be sleeping through the night. I’m sure, thinking back, that Angelica did the same and then regressed at four months, then woke every two or three hours until she was eight months. I’ll have to look back at my diaries! And I must also do a post on things that feel depressingly permanent when you have a new baby – sleepless nights, constant winding, difficulties feeding – but that soon change without you even realising.

newborn baby asleep

I was having problems with Ted getting loads of trapped wind, but it is a lot better now, and he hasn’t been sick properly in weeks. Had I mentioned that he was being sick? Not all the time, just once (but a lot) every other day or so. It stressed me out loads, because I felt I couldn’t really go out with him in case he vommed all over me, or someone else, or in the pram or car seat, and so I did some research (and health-visitor-questioning) and made two major changes. The first was to raise the head of his crib so that he was lying in a slightly raised position rather than totally flat. This was the HV suggestion – I just wedged two large, heavy books beneath the runners of the Snuzpod. And almost overnight, Ted’s weird croaks and throat-clearing stopped. And he settled far better after night feeds – no three hour grizzle sessions!

The other major change I made, after reading quite a lot of articles and comments online, was to cut out milk. I’d been drinking tonnes of the stuff, because I did during pregnancy and simply didn’t change the habit. If you’re a long-term reader of A Model Recommends you’ll remember that I cut out milk after months of suffering with adult acne, and my breakouts stopped almost instantly. Now I don’t know whether it’s a coincidence, with Ted, but the day after I stopped with the epic milk consumption, he completely ceased his vomiting. I mean, he hasn’t vommed properly since. Can that really be a coincidence? It definitely wasn’t with the adult acne – I still get spots now if I have too much proper milk. (I seem to be fine, skin-wise, with drinking that Lactofree stuff!)

Has anyone else found that cutting out excess milk or dairy has helped with their breastfed baby? I’d be interested to know…

two under two

What else to report with Young Ted? He’s a lot more alert, and has started to make those lovely cooing and gurgling sounds. I am completely smitten, he’s just so cute. And, for the most part, very calm and chilled out and quiet. He just has his one crazy time every day, for a few hours, and my husband and I both go a bit potty, but we get through it and we know it’s just a phase. (Tell me it’s just a phase! HA!) I remember that Angelica had precisely the same manic time every day – from around 6pm until bedtime. Quite trying when it’s right over your relaxation period, and when you eat your evening meal, but it’s better than having the same fussy period happen overnight! Thank God for small mercies!


How am I, two months in? Well, the caesarean scar is healing very nicely indeed, perhaps thanks to my silicone sheets (see post here) or maybe because it was sewn so neatly? I also feel very lucky that I haven’t – touch wood – had any problems at all with breastfeeding. I think I’ve used the Lansinoh cream twice and both of those times were right at the beginning. So after a pretty shitty first few weeks, when I felt that every part of my body had something wrong with it, I now feel very much back in the swing of things and I’m getting stronger every day, gaining great satisfaction when I do something new like push the pram up the hill or run up the stairs to fetch something. It’s great having full mobility again, being able to bend down to pick things up or load the dishwasher, being able to change the baby’s nappies without getting backache or worrying about pain in my abdomen. I have to say that I’m in a great mood. A far cry from how lost and overwhelmed I felt at the beginning – I’m really enjoying even the smallest achievement, and I’m more at peace with how the whole “two under two” thing works. Basically, you just have to get on with it and take it one day at a time. Have no – or low – expectations and if you have to have a to-do list, don’t put more than three things on it!

Toddler, Baby and Me: The Two Month Update

Right, I have loads more to say but I must go to sleep as it’s going to be midnight soon and I’ll be kicking myself tomorrow when I’m knackered and looking like an old hag. I’ve jotted down the things I still want to talk about and I’ll cover them in other posts. Stay tuned!


newborn baby sleeping

I feel as though I should add a disclaimer to the start of this post, because so many people have written to me  recently saying things along the lines of  “oh my God, I’m so worried about giving birth/having a newborn/getting pregnant now that I’ve read your posts!”

This is absolutely the opposite of what I want my posts to do. I really can’t abide scaremongering and so I’ve always tried to report on things with a relatively jolly and optimistic lean. That said, one has to get the balance right; fluffy head-in-the-clouds posts are boring to read, and they’re also not entirely truthful or realistic, most of the time.

So, writing about birth and babies is one massive tightrope act: I want to write honestly, but I also get that things can come across far worse when you start writing them down. Being covered in baby poo in the middle of a restaurant as your boobs squirt milk over a man on the next table sounds fairly horrendous, but it’s a fleeting moment your (hopefully) long and eventful life – you get over it. Throwing up an hour after you’ve had your stomach stitched together post-caesarean may sound like the worst possible thing that could ever happen, but – again – you forget these things quite quickly. They’re all just moments in time. (Some people, unfortunately, have it very rough indeed; I’m not by any means suggesting that the above applies to them. It’s hard to forgive and forget when you’ve been through something very traumatic, or you’re depressed, but luckily I haven’t and so I do try to report back on things with a touch of levity and self-deprecating humour.)

Please do remember when you read my insane ramblings that a) it’s my experience, which will not be the same as your experience and b) I enjoy writing things that make people laugh, or touch them in some way, or at the very least keep them relatively engaged. Oh, and all of this should be set against the fact that – genuinely – having babies has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Intense, but utterly life-changing and so unbelievably joyful. And on that note, let’s talk about all of the things I’d forgotten about newborn babies!

newborn baby

After you’ve given birth, being handed the baby is like being handed an alien. Newborns (I mean freshly newborn) look like aliens, they move like aliens (I’m thinking the ET kind of alien, just in case you need a reference point) and they sound like aliens. Also, depending on what sort of birth you’ve had and how long the baby was “cooking in the oven”, (NOT LITERALLY!), it’ll have weird skin or a strange shaped head or funny wrinkles. Like an alien. Ooh – and sometimes their eyes look like tiny jet-black alien eyes. Ted’s did. When I was off my tits on morphine I started actually believing that he was an alien life-form. Thank goodness I got off it quick!

Newborns poo and wee loads. Sometimes they do a poo and a wee when you’re still cleaning up the last poo and wee! The poo actually smells really nice, I think (is that weird?), at least breastfed poo does – like a caramel sort of smell. Is formula poo the same? New to me, though, is cleaning poo from a miniature scrotum. (That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.) How the hell are you supposed to efficiently and thoroughly clean something that’s as wrinkled as a mini scrotum? It’s like trying to wipe peanut butter from a deflated balloon!

Newborns can poo so violently that forces its way out of the back/legs of the nappy and into all surrounding areas. If the baby is being changed, and the bottom is dangerously exposed, the poo arcs into the air like some sort of modern, vivid yellow fountain. Then it lands on you and you spend thirty minutes trying to compose a tweet about being covered in shit that will make people laugh but also not offend people. You never tweet it because, ultimately, being covered in shit is not that funny. Especially at 2am.

Newborn babies are REALLY REALLY NOISY. Sharing a room with one is worse than sharing a room with a snorer! Grunts, massive trumps that vibrate the room, continuous noises of straining and gurgling.. People wonder why you get no sleep when the newborn baby clearly sleeps loads – this is just one of the many reasons. But, see below…

People tell you to “sleep when the baby sleeps” and it makes you want to smash them over the head with the baby monitor. Because if you’ve had a baby then you know that half of the time you can’t sleep when the baby sleeps. This is because a) the noise thing mentioned above, b) often the baby will soak itself, its mattress and all of the blankets in wee and you will have to spend an hour making everything good again, by which time you’ll need a wee yourself and then the doorbell will go and then you’ll be hungry and need food and a glass of water, then another wee, then perhaps a shower because you’re covered in wee/poo/sick, c) if you sleep all day and don’t see anyone it makes you feel depressed, d) we are programmed to sleep at night and wake up in the day, there are only so many naps a person can force on themselves. Phew.

newborn baby sleeping

There is no rhyme or reason to what newborns want, and they have no routine. Hard to get used to again when you have a toddler who goes to bed at seven pm sharp, naps from 11.30am-1.30pm and has meals at roughly the same time every day. Ted the Newborn is just random! A few things are predictable though: if you need to go somewhere in a hurry then he will puke. And then need feeding again. If you are incredibly tired then he will be restless and awake through the night, and if you’ve just changed the bedsheets then he will do a poo explosion. It’s the law.

They have really sharp nails and sometimes, when they’re being particularly fussy and won’t latch on to the breast properly they’ll use them to scrape at your irritated, wet nipples. And about that “fussy” time, when they do a cry-feed-cry thing for hours on end; you’ll think to yourself that there’s no way they could possibly need a feed again, but try it. Ted has a few hours a day when nothing will make him happy – I just have to feed, wind, feed, wind and try not to lose my sanity. This is usually the time when I like to pass him over to my husband and eat a Mini Magnum and pretend I’m on a desert island.

five things that happen after giving birth

Nobody can prepare you for just how intense a feeling it is to suddenly have a baby in your arms. I say intense, because for some people it’s not immediately all roses – it’s not always love at first sight, even though it perhaps sounds terrible to say that. I think that the first few weeks can be a blur, when you just keep your head down and try to keep the baby alive and yourself sane, and then when things settle down you realise just how magnificent and all-consuming your love is for this tiny little creature.

Newborns change really quickly. They grow at a phenomenal rate, and after a few weeks you can’t even remember how small they were when they were first born. And their stomachs mature, so they settle better, and they get the knack of feeding so your boobs feel better, and suddenly they’re not an alien anymore but a smiling, gurgling baby. One that sleeps better (hopefully) and cries less (hopefully) and makes you feel more and more confident every day that you have a handle on things. That you can DO THIS! And you forget everything that went before – which seems to be the case with every child and baby stage, doesn’t it? Sometimes I think that parenthood is 90% forgetting everything that has happened previously.

Anything I’ve forgotten? Comments below!