7 weeks ago Dr Puzey and I brought my firstborn son into the world. It hasn’t even been two whole months and already I’ve burnt my baby, bruised him, dropped him, scratched him, suffocated him and choked him. No I’m not a terrible person. No I’m not a baby killer. No I’m not trying to knock him off, get rid of him or do him in. I am just a first time mommy learning to cope with this new extension of me.

They say that when someone loses a limb they get phantom feelings from the missing appendage for a while. I imagine this to be the opposite of that. Suddenly I have grown a whole new body part – a baby – and I have not yet learnt to handle the physical aspect of that extension. My spatial awareness is suddenly confused as I am 58cm’s longer in any given direction, depending on what side I’m holding him. As he keeps moving (and growing) that spatial awareness is constantly tested and my baby and I don’t always come out on top.

He is a part of me 24/7, in my arms, on my chest, along my knees, across my lap – being lifted or put down or rocked or fed or burped or cuddled. But that does not mean I automatically have learnt how to deal with him.

OK, it all sounds very dramatic and I am sure a few people out there are clutching at their proverbial pearls in horror, but those people will be the ones with no babies. I guarantee you that any mother will be nodding and smiling. “Yes, I too almost ‘insert horror here’ my baby, but yes he too survived.

For those who don’t believe me, and think ‘How on earth could you be so clumsy/ruthless/careless with your new born!?’ let me elaborate (skip ahead past the next 6 points if you are in fact a mother and therefore do believe me and don’t have the time for the extra text…):

Burnt him. Running hot water splashed on both of us. But he didn’t cry and it left no mark. Phew! Lesson learnt, never work around the hot water with him. Someone else will just have to do the sterilising/cooking/etc.

Bruised him. Babies don’t know their own strength, and neither do new mommies! When my little boy started moving his body around, he threw himself in sudden jerky movements with no warning. One such time, I was holding him in one arm and he launched himself right out of it. I grabbed at him to stop him from falling, and as I caught him, my watchstrap knocked against his brow line. He cried for a moment and had a little red mark after.

Dropped him. see above.

Scratched him. Don’t ever judge those mommies who go for manicures. Besides a defense mechanism to stay sane, it is necessary to make sure nails are neatly filed away so they can’t scratch their precious child’s new soft skin. I can’t wait to get one.

Suffocated him. Breastfeeding should be a 3 year degree! For those of us who struggled, learning to juggle a wriggling infant, clamping vice-like gums (they don’t need teeth to bite as it turns out) ginormous aching breasts, leaking, bleeding nipples, the need for extra sets of hands to hold breast, head, body and massage engorged mounds of boob to get milk out of the tender tissue, night time in the dark and outdoor discreet feedings, let me tell you, it ain’t easy! Lean over your feeding child for a second to reach for the spit-up towel and you have a suffocated baby. Fortunately their noses are designed to deal with this. Also, in the event that air-flow is cut off they do pull off the nipple very quickly (sometimes taking it with them like a piece of pulled rubber. OUCH!)

Choked him. Expressing milk for the first time and putting it in to a newborn bottle to feed while my nipples recovered turned out to be a learning curve in sneaky baby-product sales. They sell you the infant bottle with teat, only to give you the one with the WRONG sized hole and not tell you! You need to buy the infant teat separately and replace the one the bottle came with. (Why, NUK, why?!) So my baby got his first bottle feed with a hole too big for him and gulped it down like a tequila shot. Choking, coughing and puking ensued. Mommy freaked out. Baby recovered just fine and started looking for the next shooter of Mothers Milk like it was the new Jägerbomb.

So you see, 7 weeks in I have already had a lot of touch and go moments, but if there’s one thing I have learnt from it all, it’s that babies are tougher than they look, so I need to harden the &$^% up. Because there’s no point in freaking out when clearly my baby is just fine.

I’m sure we will get better at this symbiotic dance we do every day, mother and baby, but in the interim, a few bumps and bruises will do no more harm to him than to my nerves and sensitivities.

Deeeeeeep breath, and wooosaaaaaah.








IMAGES: 1. Via Susan Crichton Stuart Photography