28 week check up was very straightforward. My neurosis about the appointments has ebbed away. They did the usual pee, blood and blood pressure test and listened to the baby’s heart. The midwife said her heart sounded happy, which makes me happy. She asked about patterns of movement but I haven’t really discerned a rigid pattern. It just seems like every time I stop what I’m doing to check on her, she moves eventually. And of course there’s the body popping at 4am – which I probably have my own genes to blame for. She generally moves after I drink or eat and if she doesn’t, I press my hands on each side of my belly and move them into the centre until she stirs. Probably not very polite towards her but it’s temptingly reassuring.
A community nurse came round to my flat on Tuesday to talk about breastfeeding, post-natal depression, cot death, colic, how happy my childhood was, whether the baby was planned, vaccinations, controlled crying, temperatures, baby weight loss and gain – oh, and she gave me a crap colour chart. I don’t mean a poor man’s Dulux spectrum, I mean a visual that literally depicts the different colours of baby faeces that we need to witness passing through her during her first weeks in the outside world.
I am starting to see why some mums feel upset if they can’t breastfeed, as you are lambasted with information on how ‘breast is best’ by the NHS. Of course it’s the desired way – and cheaper, but I’m not going to beat myself up if for any reason I can’t. I wasn’t breastfed and was a very healthy baby and child.
I learned that interestingly, your boobs deliver ‘starter, main and pudding’ courses throughout the feed – in the shape of different consistencies of milk with varying nutrients. And the baby has it’s own instinctive drinking settings for each course. Impressive.
The nurse asked if I had heard of ‘controlled crying’. I said I had. She said she did not recommend it, and to respond to the baby if she becomes upset. Apparently they will not understand the ‘lesson’ in being left alone when they are very young, and will become flooded with Cortisol (a distress hormone), which can be detrimental to their development.
There is a lot to take in, but we are enjoying researching everything and entering into this new, crazy territory of fluids and infant behaviours. The next big thing we need to research and come to a consensus on is vaccinations. A very controversial area at the moment. I’m more inclined to have everything going, as I always did as a child and am fearful of the repercussions if vaccinations aren’t given. Jake is more cautious about giving the baby vaccinations without researching the effects, and fears corporate, money-making motivations behind the administering of some of these drugs, so we will have to research and come to a decision together somehow.
Other than that, her little boudoir is coming together:
And we are gradually working through the list of things that we’re told newborns need.
I’ve decided to try and make homemade wipes in bulk before she comes, and perhaps some gentle soap for her – without chemical nasties in it. The wipes are easy – and some women just mix up an oily, lemony concoction and spray it directly onto the arse – but the soap production requires safety goggles and what looks like some Breaking Bad shit, so we’ll see if my current ‘earth mother’ inclination stretches that far, or whether I just end up squirting a load of Johnson and Johnson on her in a haze of exhaustion.