The Time Warp jump to the left, step to the right

Four weeks in and we're beginning to learn how a baby fills a day.

Before Ellie was born, newborn maths never quite seemed to add up. If a newborn baby sleeps for 18 hours a day, how come parents of newborn babies are so notoriously sleep-deprived? Four weeks in, and I think I’m beginning to understand. It is a little joke of nature (or more accurately, of the written rules of modern-day parenting manuals) that newborn babies’ needs are perfectly timed to create an endless cycle. We’re supposed to feed her and change her nappy every 2-3 hours, which sounds fine until you realise it takes 2-3 hours to change her, feed her and, most importantly, get her back to sleep.

So when Ellie wakes up, we change her (5 mins in a F1-worthy pitstop for Joe, 10 mins with some gentle limb-based negotiation for me, or 20+ mins for a poonami, including a head-to-toe wipe down and complete change of clothes for everyone.)

We feed. (An unpredictable 3 to 56 minutes, by current records. The length is, inevitably, inversely proportional to how prepared I am - either propped up with cushions, phone, remote, book and water within reach, or perched freezing and precarious on the end of the bed, in the middle of the night, arms aching and all useful items just out of reach.)

We burp. (An unpredictable 1 to 30 minutes, depending how windy / sleepy / grumpy she is, and/or whether we get distracted patting along to a good bass line on Spotify).

And then, we rock, sway, dance, sing, coo, whisper, sit, stand, bob, swing, step to the left, jump to the right… (An unpredictable 5 to 60+ minutes, before heading to the bathroom to check in the mirror if her eyelids really are closed, and then creeping, still swaying, towards her cot, in a stealthy game of rocking pirate ship meets grandmothers footsteps. before laying her gently down. The initial sense of victory often dashed when, moments later, this sleepy baby screws up her face again in discontent, or just opens those big blue eyes, eager to play…

And by this time of course, it’s been two hours: She’s hungry again. And it’s time to change her nappy. And so the cycle continues.

All that said, we seem to have a very happy baby. She doesn’t sleep too badly, she doesn’t cry very much. She’s often quite content just to gurgle to herself. I’m sure this won’t last, but for now we feel rather lucky that she is easing us fairly gently into our new lives as parents. Our midwife assures us it’s just a newborn thing, It won’t last, but for now we are grateful. Thanks Ellie!