Maria and Luca

Name: Maria 

Child: Luca, 9 months

Location: Manchester

Expectations of Motherhood: I thought I would be a real ‘Gina Ford’ mother! Eg. Baby in his cot, in his own room on the first night at home! Breastfeeding on a routine. Letting the baby cry.

Reality of Motherhood: I don’t think I put him down for the first month. I fell in love with him as soon as he was born. He seemed so grateful to be fed and cuddled. I was reluctant to let his dad hold him. I would feel jealous and empty if I wasn’t holding him! I feel like I’ve always known him.

Taking your child home for the first time: I was desperate to take Luca home. We were kept in hospital for 5 days because he was jittery when he was born. They were injecting him with anti-biotics every 12 hours but couldn’t give me a straight answer as to why. We were on a ward with 3 other new mothers and their babies screamed all night. I didn’t sleep for the 5 days. I was so worried about Luca. By day 5 I was frantic for an explanation and we were discharged when they couldn’t provide one. When we got home I was worried sick. I thought I had made the wrong decision but the jittering soon stopped and I began to feel more confident.

The best/worst advice: The best advice I received was from the midwife re breastfeeding. I had read the Gina Ford book and had my head filled with routines etc. The midwives advice was to feed on demand. Me and Luca were both much happier when I started to do this. So I suppose the worst advice was to try to put a breast fed baby into a ‘routine’.

The hardest parts of being a mother: Tearing myself away from Luca and leaving him in the care of other people. I found it so hard to even leave him with his grandparents (and still do!). The worry never seems to go away. Now I am back at work and still breastfeeding, I find it a real struggle. I express milk whilst I am at work but it takes me nearly half an hour and that is all I get for lunch. I have to express in my classroom which locks but when kids are running past and banging on the door, it is nerve-wracking!

The best part of being a mother: Breastfeeding. I am so glad I tried it. Luca took to it straight away and we have become so close because of it. I think of us as our own little unit; it is so special between us. Another thing is the laughter and smiles. It is amazing. I love taking him places and showing him new things. I love dressing him up.

Hopes for your family: My only hope at the moment is that he stays healthy and lives a long and happy life. 

What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums:

I would say read the Gina Ford books if you must but keep an open mind and don’t feel that it’s the only way! Breastfeed if you want to and stay strong when family members tell you your baby needs a bottle etc. Get involved with your local Sure Start (whilst you can) – even just voicing your concerns to other mothers can really reassure you. Explain to your partner that although you are not at work, you now have a new job which is much more important that the washing up! Enjoy every minute of your maternity leave because it goes by in a flash. And, DO NOT let any man talk you out of having an epidural if you want one. I did.

Having a baby is the single, most important, life-changing and happiest thing I have ever achieved in my life.

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