Right, where do I start? I have never written a blog before, as I have never felt passionate enough about something, until now. 15 days ago my amazing wife Nicola, introduced our perfect Isabel into the world.
I am currently sitting on my sofa at 4.45pm watching daytime TV (Tipping Point is actually quite good) whilst Nicola and Isabel sleep. I haven’t been watching TV all day – before sitting down on my sofa, I have changed our bed, done the washing, filled up the dishwasher, hoovered and cleaned the bathroom. This brings me onto the reason I have decided to write this blog – I have managed to do all of this because I slept during the night. So selfish!!!
Now, I am not here to preach to people, just put across my point of view. What I have found in my first fifteen days of being a Dad is that every person you speak to has a different view on parenting, which is fine, but what has bothered me the most, is the way people judge you on your parenting skills. I also started to feel guilty about what I was doing, which was wrong, and if this stops one Dad feeling guilty then it has worked.
So, like I said, 15 days ago, Isabel, our first child, entered the world. We had always thought breastfeeding was best, for as long as Nicola was happy to do so. The moment Nicola doesn’t want to do it anymore, we will stop and move to expressing or formula milk. Until then, we carry on with straight breastfeeding.
Back to my point about me sleeping during the night. The first night we brought Isabel home, we both stayed up all night watching every single little movement she made. Since that night, we both help get her to sleep, and once our heads finally hit the pillow, I sleep through the night and Nicola does all the night feeds and dirty nappies. Men need to sleep right?!
I am sure lots of people are looking at that last comment and thinking how selfish I am making Nicola do all the hard work in the night, whilst I just sleep. Let me explain to you how that works for us. Like I said earlier, Nicola is currently breastfeeding. This means in the night when our little bubba wakes up wanting food, I am absolutely no help to her what so ever, if I could grow boobs I would! In Isabel’s room, we have a feeding chair that Nicola uses to feed Isabel, and during the night, Nicola takes herself to that chair with baby and whilst breastfeeding, she sleeps on that chair. If I get up with Nicola, I am either going to be chatting away to Nicola keeping her awake, or sleeping on the floor.
Nicola sets her alarm for half hour later, quickly changes her, burps her and then either goes back to breastfeeding or back to bed. Throughout the night, Nicola is probably awake for 3 or 4 hours (her words not mine). Yes I get 3 to 4 more hours sleep at night than my wife.
I have also been told by people who are judging our night time situation, that I am missing out on precious moments with little one.
Now let me take you to the day time. We both get up with her first thing in the morning, and I do all the nappy changes throughout the day, and for anyone who hasn’t got a baby, sometimes those poos are worse than mine after 10 beers.
I get her changed in the morning, washed in the evening, have cuddles with her during the day, have a bath with her and give her little massages.
In the mornings, I will do the washing (by the way, how is there suddenly enough washing to do every day just because we have a baby), fill up and empty the dishwasher, clean bathrooms, do the hoovering and do the ironing. I do all of this, so in the afternoon, Nicola can have an afternoon nap. She will sleep on average 2-3 hours every afternoon. Yes, this still means I get slightly more sleep than her, but it also means that everyday chores get completed in our house.
Next week, unless I win the lottery, I am back to work L. Yes, things will probably change, for a start, I won’t get to watch Tipping Point anymore. But, all the time Nicola is still breastfeeding, I will continue to sleep through the night, and make sure at weekends and evenings I complete the housework that needs to be done.
Seeing as I have spent the past few hours writing this, Nicola will probably now decide that it is time to go to formula milk and I will be getting up in the night to feed bubs.
Like I said at the beginning, I haven’t written this to tell people what to do, just writing what works for Nicola and I, and if it stops one Dad from feeling guilty that he doesn’t get up and do the night feeds, then my work is done.
Anyway, on that note, Nicola is now awake, the baby needs changing and I can hear the dishwasher and tumble dryer have just finished!!