Before I went on maternity leave, I was praying for a long, hot summer. I had in my head idyllic walks in the park, picnics, bbqs, lying on a blanket in the back garden eating ice cream…the daydream did not include a baby screaming so hard he was bright red, hiding in a darkened room listening to people having fun in the sun out of the window and lamenting all of this while seeing beer garden pictures on Facebook.
It turns out that my son hates being warm in equal measure to being cold. He fed incessantly while I stripped him down to the minimum amount of clothing (and then spent the rest of the day worrying if it was too few layers or still too much because the bullshit ‘they need one more layer than you’ I don’t think applies in 22 degree heat).
Applying sun cream, I have realised, needs the mastery of a group of sumo wrestlers to stop the baby from wriggling around. And those walks in the park are scuppered by the pram actually being too hot for the baby to lie in so you end up awkwardly carrying him and trying to push the pram with one hand, at times almost catapulting backwards as you hit an unexpected dip in the pavement.
This was all happening for me while weaning the baby from boob to bottle so imagine my delight that we were also back to soaking through breast pads and engorgement again. A helpful hint I’d found for the process was to put cold cabbage leaves in your bra – a tip that actually works a treat…if you don’t mind smelling like an 80 year old woman as I found to my detriment when I sat in a room full of other mums on the hottest day of the year doing a first aid course. One mum apologised that her baby’s nappy stank – really love it’s fine, I smell like mouldy old veg! I doubt the instructor was too impressed that I kept having to scuttle off to the loo to change my milk drenched leaves either.
One thing I will say for the hot weather though – I take back what I said previously about breast feeding clothes – it’s so much easier in the summer. Hello floaty and strappy dresses that hide a multitude of sins and allow you to lob the boob out with minimum hassle (I might even be close to looking like a Charlotte if you squint a little)! And my husband will be thrilled that I’ve finally had a reason to shave my legs again.
Plus, it makes the sleep deprivation a little easier to bear when the sun is shining and your baby is lying there looking the epitome of cute in a little romper and sun hat and there’s always ice cream, even if I am eating it sat looking out of the window.