Conversations with a brand new mum

One month ago little Ira Joel Quicke was born. Taranaki Community News caught up with his mum Hannah to find out about those newborn cuddles and those night time feeds.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your new addition?
My name is Hannah and my partner is Martin, and we’ve recently welcomed our first child into the world, a beautiful little boy, Ira Joel.

I’m a fully registered ECE (early childhood education) teacher and professional face painter, and Martin is a gaming technician. We are both involved in the local theatre scene, we love getting outdoors, going on adventures, and scouring the country for New Zealand’s best dumplings.

Our son was born on January 20th, so this week he will be a month old! He was born at 8.20am in the birthing pool at Taranaki Base Hospital, after a rapid labour and only 50 minutes of pushing. He weighed 7.4 pounds at birth, so a pretty average size, but he felt much much bigger during pregnancy and labour though!

Martin and little Ira sharing a nap.

What’s been the best thing about being a new mum so far?
The best thing would be waking up next to that tiny little face, and just feeling pure love and admiration towards this tiny new person that until so recently was growing inside of me.

The love you feel towards your child is unlike any other, and having that in my life every day is just so beautiful.

Also watching him slowly change from the newborn we brought home is pretty amazing. Watching him notice more of the world around him, and having little moments every day that make you stop and think, “Oh wow this is new”, and knowing we have years of that to come is so special, and exciting!

What’s been the most unexpected thing?
Probably the loneliness of night time feeding, dealing with LONG bouts of inconsolable crying, and navigating the health system to try and help our newborn with what seems to be extreme digestive pain or discomfort.

Our baby is solely breastfed, so feeding him is a job just for me at this stage. Waking up every few hours all throughout the night to a silent dark house, and sitting up in bed with a hungry baby feeding, and trying so hard to stay awake yourself really is one of those things where the idea of it is easier than the reality.

Little Ira

The hours slip by while feeding, changing nappies, and settling back to sleep and it’s easy to lose your sense of time and rhythm when you almost become nocturnal yourself.

In the early weeks we had a few long bouts of crying which we couldn’t bring our baby back down from. We tried everything from giving him a bath, taking him for a drive, playing music, swaddling, rocking and singing, still he cried. After a 16 hour long stint of crying with only short naps throughout that time, we ended up in hospital for a night, and left the next morning with a diagnosis of colic. Being back in hospital 18 days after leaving with a newborn was a bit sobering, but we managed OK.

How was your pregnancy?
My pregnancy was generally really good, I had some challenging moments with my health, but never any concerns for the health or development of our boy.

I had really bad morning sickness for about 12 weeks, which saw me actually vomiting every single day, often more than once. Martin was so amazing with helping me through this, doing all he could around food prep and getting me what I needed, when I needed it.

Once the morning sickness naturally eased on it’s own, I developed REALLY bad heartburn, which then became acid re-flux. By the end of the pregnancy I was on prescription meds for it, and I couldn’t ever lie down, so I would go to sleep at night sitting up in bed against pillows. Some nights I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep until after 1am, as even with sitting up in bed the burning like pain from the re-flux was so uncomfortable that sleep just wasn’t an option. It was a really hard few months, but ultimately so worth it in the end!

Ira Joel Quicke, born January 20.

Do you have advice for people who have new mums in their life, who they want to support? Or any advice for mothers-to-be?
My advice to those with friends or family members bringing new babies home in the near future, would be to bring them food in those first few days and weeks, as prepping food for yourself when sleep deprived and living through that newborn haze just isn’t priority or something they’ll want to be thinking about.

For breastfeeding mothers, eating well is so important so that first week especially really isn’t the best time to be eating takeaways night after night!

My biggest piece of advice for mothers-to-be would be to make an effort to maintain continuous and meaningful communication with your partner once your baby is born and you start to figure each other out, and get into a new groove of normal.

Everything changes when you bring your baby home. The way you imagined things may go will be different, and every single day will come with new challenges and it’s so important to talk about how you feel towards what’s happening, and to make little contingency plans with your significant other, to help you both manage.

Watching Martin blossom and grow as a father has been such a beautiful thing to witness, but there have definitely been moments when he’s needed support too, and the chance to openly discuss how he’s coping and experiencing it all.

There’s a lot of awareness around the mental health of new mothers, and I think the Dads need to know how they feel is just as important too!

You can follow Hannah’s professional face painting on Facebook. It’s something she will be doing more and more of as the year slowly progresses and their little man becomes not so little.