Week 11-13: Short naps and long baby slings ...

by Veerle

15 weeks of maternity leave, that’s what most women get in these parts: one compulsory week before the due date of birth and 14 after, or if you like, you can take up to 4 weeks before and then have 11 left afterwards. Simple math. There are many systems available to lengthen your time at home with the baby, for both mother and father, but they obviously have their financial repercussions.

If you ask me, 15 weeks is shockingly little – long live the Scandinavians on that score! - but I’m sure not everyone will agree with me. I know of many women who are glad when the time comes they finally get to go to work again, and it’s their good right to feel that way.

I have never been one of them, until now. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t WANT to go to work again. Not for a long time. But with a baby who actually allows me to sleep at night I can see myself as an enthusiastic full-time teacher and a good mother at the same time, and in that image, I don’t look like a wrung dishcloth. Which is nice ;-)

The above opinion is how I feel in week 11. After having had a house filled with family last week, I feel up to a gathering with some of my friends to celebrate my 30th birthday with ten days of delay. It’s a lovely evening and we all thoroughly enjoy it, apart from Isolde. Apparently, she doesn’t mind a bit of hectic (see christening), as long as you leave her in peace at night. No chance of that tonight: each time she has dozed off, she’s immediately woken up again by the laughter of the guests and the clinging of glasses one floor below her. I don’t manage to calm her down until everyone has gone.

Apparently, organizing two big events in our house in such a short timespan may have been a bit too much for me: all of the following week, my stomach – my eternal Achilles’ heel – bothers me more than it has done in a long time and I feel extremely tired. Going back to work in this state? I don’t think so (anymore)!

While Isolde’s nights haven’t changed, lately her days are mostly spent awake. She does nap, but in short stretches of no more than 20 minutes, unless when she’s in the pram or the car. The baby slings come in handy more than once.

When Daphne was born, I bought a set of two slings you were supposed to wear as a cross, one on each shoulder. I didn’t like them much as they divided the weight of the baby over the shoulders only, which would become painful after a while, and also they didn’t allow many different ways of carrying the baby.

So when Alexander came, I bought a new wrap: one long piece of stretchy cloth. You can fold and twist them any way you like, and position the baby in them in at least 8 different ways, depending on the age of the baby, and even your own mood. Love them! One of my friends got me a new Oxfam set for my birthday: same one-piece system, only the fabric is a lightly woven linen, dyed in bright summer colours. They’re ideal in this season. They require a slightly different technique as they don’t stretch, but I soon use them as often as the other ones. Apart from the fact that they keep your hands free for light household tasks, which can be very convenient, I love the slings because they make you feel at ease only by knowing your baby is at ease in them, and also they automatically make people smile when you’re out for a walk. Always nice.

Ok, now that Isolde has reached the age of three months, my next reports wil be organised in months in stead of weeks. So next time you’ll be able to read all that happened in Isolde’s 4th month!

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