Baby G is…20 Weeks Old

Well, Baby G is 20 weeks old! Wow. Technically she was 20 weeks old yesterday, but teething is making it hard to sit down and write anything meaningful these past few days. Some people say 20 weeks is 5 months old, but I say not yet! She’ll be 5 months at the end of the month. Don’t age her before her time, people!

Here’s a little update on how she’s doing…Baby G sleeping

Weight: Baby G has officially doubled her birth weight and weighs a little over 14lbs. She’s getting too old to get weighed every week, so we’re slowing it down to every 2 weeks now. She’s not due for another weighing until next week. I can really feel the heaviness in her when I pick her up though, it’s crazy.

Sleeping: Ok. We’re not doing so well with sleep at the moment. I don’t know if it’s teething or if maybe it’s time for her to be transferred to her own room but all I know is for the past week (maybe even 10 days) she has not been sleeping well AT ALL. It’s incredibly frustrating because we did hit a good stretch of 6-7 hour stretches and now…we’re lucky if we get 2 hours. Seriously. A few nights ago she was awake every 45 minutes. I almost lost my mind. I’ve heard of the 4 months sleep regression, but that’s just crazy. I wonder if maybe she’s getting ready to start solids? I have no idea…I just hope she settles down again soon!

Feeding: Feeding is still going well. But she’s entered that new phase where she’s easily distracted – sometimes she doesn’t like when I talk. She especially doesn’t like when there’s something exciting happening because she doesn’t want to miss out. It’s making feeding in public a little…awkward to say the least! But generally, she’s feeding every 2-3 hours still. She’s always been a little and often feeder and I think she’ll stay that way (I’m very like that too).

Routine: Routines go out the window when the baby starts teething. BUT – she’s getting very good at putting herself to sleep, so long as she’s not sore at the time. Generally these days she’s awake for 2 hours (sometimes 2 and a half hours) before she needs another nap. If we’re out somewhere, she’ll generally only sleep 20-30 minutes at a time. I guess the noises and movements wake her. But if we’re home and it’s nap time, she’ll sleep for about 40-60 minutes, depending how tired she is. That means we get about 5 naps a day. Sometimes she’ll dose off in the car even if it’s not nap time and that can push sleep times off. Bed time is anytime around 7/7.30pm. But again, some nights she’ll stay down and I’ll dream feed her when I go to bed…and other nights she’ll wake after going down as if it was a nap. We’re still working on this!

Milestones:

  • Rolling over! Right before she turned 4 months old (so 4 weeks ago today actually) she rolled from her back to her tummy for the first time. It was amazing! She’d been trying for DAYS to get it right and couldn’t quite figure out the shoulder thing, but then one day it just happened! And then she napped for about 2 hours haha…it must have been exhausting. She’s still not able to roll from her tummy to her back, so she can get frustrated sometimes and I’m frequently having to get up and show her how to roll back. But I guess she’ll get there eventually!
  • Giggling!! She’s not giggling all the time yet, but she loves to be lifted up above our heads or have her daddy kiss her tummy with his beard. Her giggling starts off like a little old man grunt and then turns into a chuckle. It’s adorable. I can’t wait for her to start giggling more frequently…but the day she giggled for the first time, my heart melted. So precious.
  • Her neck control is getting much better as well. She’s really pushing herself up onto her elbows and looking around, which is wonderful. I’m looking forward to her being able to sit in a high chair soon – she loves being up and seeing what’s going on!
  • Also…We started swim classes!! It is so sweet. We sing songs and they get used to the water. The class only lasts 20 minutes and is once a week but she loves it. She’s not the biggest fan of being on her back and getting water in her ears, but otherwise she’s doing great. I think it’s helping the neck control as well because she’s learning to keep her head above water. We’ve also dunked under water a few times – she’s always surprised by that part! But she doesn’t cry, so I take that as a good sign.

Likes/Dislikes: Her thumb! She loves sucking her thumb and it’s kind of been a blessing because it really helps her put herself to sleep.

Baby G Thumb Sucking

She’s still loving white noise for nap time (hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, music, the car, white noise from my iPhone app).

She loves standing! She wants to be held and she stands up all the time, it’s really cute. But also tiring!! She really doesn’t like sitting on my lap. She’s either being cuddled or she’s standing.

She likes watching things – up until she was about 2 months old, she wanted to held facing me the whole time. But now, she’s taking in everything and, unless she’s sad or tired, she likes to be held facing out. Also, when we’re driving I love looking back at her (we have a little mirror facing her so I can see her while I’m driving) and see her watching everything go by the window. She makes the cutest face as she takes it all in. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be that new to the world and try and make sense of everything.

Baby G watching

She loves her playmat that plays music. If the music is off, she gives out. Actually, the music has started to sound funny the last few times – I think we’re burning ti out!

She doesn’t like farting (haha) and she doesn’t like teething. Poor baby.

All in all though, she’s such a happy lovely baby. I’m loving all the smiles she’s been giving me as well. She really smiles at everything!

Baby G Smiles

Weekend Reading Round Up

I don’t think I’d even notice it was the weekend right now except that Mr. G is sitting on the couch watching rugby with Baby on his lap and it’s the middle of the day. Funny how days just merge together when you’re home with a baby! Anyway, now that I’ve got some extra hands to help with Baby during the day, I’ve got time to read some articles I noticed during the week, but never got round to actually reading. It’s a small list again, but hey! I guess that’s a good sign that I’m starting to be able to read more these days 🙂

  1. Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt – I don’t know how I’d never stumbled across Momastery before, but there’s some really thought provoking stuff on there. Reading blogs, it’s easy to feel like you’re not quite measuring up or you need to work harder to present a beautiful happy front. This article is a nice reminder to be grateful for everything we do have and to enjoy it!
  2. Everything You Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask – I love Abigail Ahern’s design blog. It’s easy to get lost in her unusual approach to interiors. This post is for anyone thinking about or currently starting their own business.
  3. Salted Caramel & Apricot Pots – You guys, when I was about 8 months pregnant I inexplicably got a craving for salted caramel. I wish I could cook as well as Eva, but I can’t. And yet…I have to try this one out.

Any other articles out there worth reading this week?

Introducing….1st Time Parent Podcast

So I’m starting a podcast for first time parents.

Yep. That’s a bold statement. But it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now and hey…if I publish the idea on this blog, it’ll force me to follow through.

Below is the first episode which I’ve just finished. It’s not up on iTunes yet because I still have a few tweaks I want to make. Please feel free to listen and leave me comments! Would love your feedback. Hope you like it…

Episode One: Beginner Breastfeeding Survival Tips

Today’s episode looks at some tips that I found really useful or important when I began breastfeeding my daughter. In short, these tips are:

  1. Food & Water
  2. Breast pads
  3. Sleep Bras
  4. Breastfeeding Positions
  5. Lanolin
  6. The shower is your friend!
  7. Cabbage leaves
  8. Support groups

What did you find most useful when you were starting to breastfeed? Do you think I missed anything?

Almost 4 months old

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, sorry! Life has been very busy lately as I’m sure you can relate to. But things are good. Baby G is doing really well. We’ve had a couple of hiccups along the way, but she seems to be in a good phase at the moment.

Baby G sleeping

Tomorrow, Baby G will be 4 months old. I can’t believe it! The public health nurses are already giving me pamphlets on getting ready to introduce solids to her diet (advised around 5 months in Ireland). I can’t believe it’s time to start thinking about stuff like that already.

Highlights over the last month:

  • Baby G gave me her first giggle last week! She’s only done it a couple of times since but my goodness, it’s the best thing in the world to hear your baby laugh. She does silent laughs a lot, where she just opens her mouth in a big toothless grin, but to hear that little baby chuckle makes my heart pang!
  • She just rolled from her back to her tummy for the first time yesterday! I have a million videos on my phone of her trying so hard and not quite getting there, but yesterday she managed to overcome the shoulder and get on to her tummy. Now we have to work on her being able to roll back over because once she’s on her tummy she gets stuck there and after a few minutes she gets frustrated and starts crying.
  • She’s so much more alert! She’s watching everything and taking everything in. These days she’s generally napping for about 40 minutes at a time and tends to be awake for about 2-3 hours in between in each nap. There’s still no predicting it though, she’s very much a “I’ll do what I want when I want” kind of baby.
  • Baby clothes. Once you hit the 3 month stage a whole new section of clothes opens up. She’s not in onesies so much anymore (mostly because it’s warm and her feet are too big for them anyway!). It’s been so fun dressing her up in big people clothes.
  • Mum and dad lunch date! Last weekend, myself and Mr G were able to leave Baby G with my parents for 2 whole hours while we went for lunch ALONE! It was really lovely. Typically, I missed her the whole time (especially when we walked the pier after) but I didn’t know myself not having to think about where would suit to eat with a buggy and possibly having to stop eating to feed the baby during the meal. I’d like to try that again soon, maybe we could even manage a cinema date next time…
  • SWIM CLASSES! I’ve signed Baby G up for a Water Baby swim class not too far from our apartment. She loves it. We’ve done 3 sessions so far – the classes only last 20 minutes – and it’s about getting her comfortable with water. We’ve even managed to submerge under the water twice and she didn’t seem to mind. So that’s exciting! I want her to be confident around water.

Lowpoints over the last month:

I don’t want to dwell on these too much because mostly we’ve been having a really great time, but….

  • Trip to the emergency room. About 2 weeks ago, Baby G had real trouble with constipation. She didn’t poop for 9 days. I’d read that it can be normal for breastfed babies to not poop for up to 10 days, but I’d made an appointment to see the doctor just in case. Apart from not pooping, she seemed to be in great form so I wasn’t too worried. But then, as always happens, the night before we were due to see the doctor, things changed. It was about 7pm, so all pharmacies had just closed, and she started roaring crying and her stomach suddenly felt hard and swollen. We called an on-call doctor who advised we take her to the ER room so they could check her out. I wasn’t too worried, I knew it was mostly to get her comfortable, but still, being in an ER room with my baby was tough going. They gave her some laxatives and two suppositories and that seemed to help. I was just SO grateful to leave there with a healthy child. I can’t imagine there being anything seriously wrong her. We’ve had a couple other moments requiring suppositories to help her bowels along, but she seems to be doing much better now.
  • Sleep regression! I don’t know if it’s the so-called 4 month sleep regression starting or if it’s the July heat but we’ve gone form sleeping 5-6 hours at a time during the night to waking every 2-3 hours again. It’s so hard waking that often to feed after having a few good weeks of semi-decent rest. But I’m hoping it’s just another short phase and won’t last too long.

That’s about it for now! Hope you’re all doing well….

 

Baby Bedtime Problems

Ok.

When I was pregnant I read quite a bit. Books like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “The Happiest Baby On The Block”. I enjoyed reading about everything I was going through, what the baby inside me was going through and what I could expect for the first little while after we brought her home from the hospital. But I was so bombarded with all the pregnancy and delivery stuff (I was pretty scared about going into labour for the first time) that I kind of had no room for all the stuff that came AFTER the delivery. I figured I’d be able to do my reading about that when I had my baby beside me and could actually put into practice what I was learning.

Good joke! Who has time or free hands to read a book when they have a newborn?!

Anyway, one of the ideas I came across before I gave birth was the ‘4th Trimester’ in “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Karp. I really loved this idea and knew that was something I’d want to follow from the beginning. Dr Karp believes that all human babies are born 3 months before they’re fully ready to be part of the outside world unlike any other animals who are born ready to survive. The reason behind this is because the human brain grows so rapidly in those final 3 months that if the baby stayed inside the mother the head would be far too large to be birthed naturally. He believes we should treat the first 3 months of a baby’s life essentially as the 4th trimester of pregnancy. This means responding to them when they call (or cry) for you.

I also knew that Baby G would sleep in our room – but in a co-sleeper. I was worried about the dangers of her being in the bed with us. We bought a crib and assembled it next to our bed, but honestly she was so tiny inside it and reaching in and out constantly in the middle of the night was just not working. So after losing my mind a couple of times (and hurting my back and knocking my head once or twice) Baby G began to end up in the actual bed with us which made me very nervous. So I did some research for actual co-sleepers and came across the SnuzPod. This seemed to be the perfect solution – it fit perfectly with our bed, was a better size for our tiny little baby and it easily transforms into a stand alone crib for when we want to start establishing some independence. So I bought the pod hoping it would be the answer to my prayers and well…it kind of was but it also really wasn’t. Feeding became so much easier but Baby G still wanted to sleep mostly beside us in the bed. It’s like she could tell the difference between her mattress and ours and she’d rarely want to go to sleep in it. It was becoming impossible to get her to go to bed on her own. She always wanted to be with us and sensed the second we wanted to put her down and would start crying. She was happier (and quiet) when she was with us.

I also have to say that it’s been this way since day one. I tried to get her to sleep in her own crib beside us from the very beginning but she always hated being on her own.

So then I went looking for ideas. Everyone was telling me over and over that we needed a proper BEDTIME ROUTINE. But how do you establish a bedtime routine with a baby who is different every single day? Some days she’s sleepy, other days she’s active. Some days she’s constantly hungry, other days she just snacks. Some days she’s fussy and other other days she’s so easy going and happy. But we were slacking on a proper routine – but that’s part of being new parents right? So we decided to come up with a real routine to follow.

Our current bedtime routine is this:

  • Bring Baby G into the bedroom and close the curtains. Turn on her night light which plays some lullabies to signal it’s bed time.
  • Feed her. (If she’s hungry at this point. Sometimes she’s not interested in anything other than a snack).
  • Change her nappy and put her into a bedtime onesie. Every other night we also give her a bath.
  • Read her a story.
  • Rock her a little and then place her gently down in her crib to sleep.

But here’s my problem. Once I get her into the bedroom, she may or may not start crying. And crying. And crying and crying. If she’s crying I can’t read her a story and we tried to soothe her with a bath once but it just made her worse. Sometimes her crying can last 30 minutes and other times it can take me 3 hours to settle her. She doesn’t have collic, and she isn’t a baby that usually cries unless something’s wrong or she wants something. She’s normally very placid.

But for whatever reason, the evenings seem to be our problem. Some evenings the bedtime routine works easily and really makes my day. But on those other evenings, pacing around the bedroom, putting her down and picking her back up to soothe her and trying to put her down again repeatedly for 3 hours is just not sustainable. My back and neck are in bits and it means we have no time together in the evenings. It’s also not fair on her because she spends her evenings before bed so upset. But there’s just no telling what way the routine will go. (You know, I think she might be starting to teethe but everyone’s telling me she’s too young at 10 weeks).

So I went looking for better ideas. Another blogger, Amie from Bump Baby & Me, suggested I check out Tracy Hogg’s “The Baby Whisperer”. Knowing I couldn’t really find time to read a full book I decided to buy the audio book. I listened to it the first night through and went through everything she suggested (pick up to soothe and then put back down once they stop crying). And you know what? That night was the first time she slept through for 6 hours. I thought I’d hit the jackpot!

Until I repeated the routine step by step and almost word for word the following night and all hell broke loose. Nothing I did would help her settle and it took 3 hours for her to just tire herself out and go to sleep. She was awake every 2 hours that night and she hasn’t slept for 6 hours solid since.

Right now I’m itching to implement a proper bedtime routine that works but we haven’t been able to find a consistency that works for us. I’ve even considered letting her cry it out – but I don’t want to do anything like that until she’s at least 3 months old. Even then, I’m not sure I’m strong enough for it. Maybe I have to be. But really how can you rely on a bedtime routine for someone so new to the world? She’s growing and changing so much – some days she’s more alert than others. I can’t really expect her to do anything she doesn’t want to do, right?

In the meantime, I’ve started keeping a baby sleep diary trying to track her routine (I’ll do another post on that soon). I have a few weeks before she is officially 3 months and out of the 4th trimester. Until then, I’m reading small bits when I can, I’m listening to podcasts and audiobooks and I’m watching the baby for any sleep patterns she might have.

Has anyone had similar experiences to me? I’d be interested to hear how you are all getting on with your own bedtime routines. Any and all suggestions welcome!

 

Weekend Reading – For New Moms

Being a new mum you, like me, probably find it hard to find the time to sit down and read things or just peruse the internet. Here’s a list of some interesting articles I’ve come across and hope to get through this weekend!

  1. Things To Do For a New Mama – I love this list put together by Erika over on To The Sea. I’ve been thinking about doing a similar post myself and this just gives me more motivation to do so!
  2. I Am Not a Human Pacifier – a must read for all breast feeding momma’s out there! Sometimes it’s easy to feel drained by being boob on demand, particularly on those days when you’re really tired. But this piece really puts it all in perspective and reminds just how wonderful an experience breast feeding is.
  3. The Day I Left My Son In The Car – something to be learned by everyone (parents and non-parents alike) in this piece posted on Salon.com

I wish this post could be longer, but unfortunately I don’t have that much time to even find things to bookmark that I’d like to read for later on! Also…it’s about quality, not quantity 🙂

Got any other articles worth reading? Please share them with us in the comments below!

Coping with Mastitis

Breastfeeding for the first time is hard. At best you’ve got one hungry little newborn who just wants to feed, feed, feed and at worst you’ve got a battle on your hands of trying to get the baby to latch correctly and not hurt you or your nipples any more than is necessary.

I was incredibly fortunate that Baby G had a good latch straight from birth. It turned out that I had a fast let down and my milk came in within the first 48 hours. By all accounts, that was great! I recognise half the battle was won based purely on luck.

However, with a fast let down and full supply of milk and one hungry little baby very quickly came heavy engorgement followed by a dose of mastitis. If you don’t know what this is, you’re lucky. It’s an inflammation of the breast tissue and can be caused by a number of things (infection, milk not being drained properly etc.) You can read more about it here: http://www.babycenter.com/0_mastitis_251.bc

After giving birth, I went from being a humble 32B to a 36DD in the space of 3 days and I can tell you that the pain, not just from the raw nipples and constant feeding, was unreal. I had been SO excited towards the end of my pregnancy about being able to sleep on my stomach again…but no such luck. With those huge and solid boobs planted on top of my chest, I could barely roll over without hurting. They were solid as rocks. Lumps = not good.

Not only were they sore but they were HOT. And I don’t mean sexy. I mean seriously warm. I looked like a much less glamorous Pamela Anderson and couldn’t get comfortable or cool no matter what I did.

And then came the red patch on my lower left breast. This is the first proper warning sign of mastitis. Soon my temperature began to rise and I started to feel unwell. My midwife had warned me of the symptoms since I was a good candidate for mastitis (with my big milk supply) so I knew it was developing. I didn’t like the idea of taking drugs while I was breastfeeding, unsure of what it would mean for Baby G, so Mr G got a non-toxic pen and drew around the area on my breast to mark its size. We decided that I’d sleep on it and if it had gotten any bigger by the morning that I would get to the doctor and get some drugs. I hopped in the shower to hand express after she’d finished feeding to try empty out my milk and then went to bed and hoped for the best.

The next morning, I woke up sore and unwell and saw the redness had almost doubled in size so I knew I had to get to my doctor straight away. She prescribed me antibiotics that were safe for breastfeeding and told me to keep taking my painkillers to help with the pain. Luckily I was still taking the painkillers to help recover from birth, so the antibiotics were just another couple of pills to be popping.

I was surprised I had to take the drugs for 10 days though. It took about 3 days before the redness started to disappear but it wasn’t fully gone for about a week. I watched Baby G like a hawk, wondering if there was any change in her while I was taking the drugs, but she didn’t seem to be affected by it at all thankfully.

So the lesson here is: mastitis is a bitch. It’s sore and it’s exhausting and it can be really serious (sometimes leading to hospitalisation). If you think you’ve got it, get yourself to a doctor ASAP and get treated.

But, the good news is there are things you can do to help yourself. And it doesn’t last forever. It can take 3 weeks after delivery before your milk supply is regulated properly to match your newborn’s needs. Some days will be better than others. Some days will be emptier than others and a lot tougher to keep up. (Did you know newborns tend to feed more at night because that’s when the hormone prolactin is produced which helps your milk come in faster? Clever little babies!)

This is not an extensive list, just a list of the things that I found helpful. Hopefully it’ll be of some help for you to!

  • Cold cabbage leaves. The dark green kind. If you buy some cabbage and put them in the fridge (towards the very back) they will be nice and cool. After every feed, or any time your breasts start to feel warm and full, reach for a leaf and place it over your breast. If you place it inside your bra it’ll help keep it in place. The cool touch of the leaf will help relieve the warmth and soreness and the cold also encourages the ducts to close which slows down your milk supply. (It doesn’t stop it, it slows it, which is a godsend for those of us who produce waaaaay too much to begin with). FULL DISCLOSURE: you will smell like Christmas dinner as the leaves heat up from the warmth of your skin. It’s not particularly nice, but it works. My midwife also told me there was no need to wash your breast or nipples before feeding again, but do what makes you comfortable.
  • Learn how to make different positions work for you. This one is SO important. I never knew that certain positions helped drain certain areas of the breast* and I am so grateful to the midwife who taught me that (seriously, I must have seen 5 different midwives but only 1 told me about this!). If you position the baby’s lower lip/chin so it’s over the affected area (or even just your fullest area) then this will be the main part of the breast that the baby drinks from. This means the baby will get the most out of the feed but it also means the area will be drained and relieved quickly and you’ll feel so much better. Just look out for a really fast let down, when I get quite full, Baby G tends to splutter a lot because the milk just pours into her mouth.
  • Cold face cloth as a compress. This is the same idea as the cabbage leaves but less smelly.
  • Cool showers. The cool water running over your breast will be a relief, though the rest of your body may not thank you for it. Might help wake you up a bit though 😉
  • Hand express. This one you need to be careful with because you don’t want to overstimulate the breast and trick it into thinking it needs to provide MORE milk. You just want to relieve the pressure building up a little or after a feed, drain the breast. Sometimes the baby doesn’t get it all out and this can lead to mastitis. Gentle rubbing motions from the outside in towards the nipple will help break up those lumps and move the milk along towards the nipple ready to be drawn out. TOP TIP: Don’t squeeze your nipples! They’re already having a hard enough time adjusting to your newborn’s needs. Gently pinch the area around the outside of your areola and this will push the milk out.
  • HEAT! I know this contradicts the first few points but trust me, if you heat your breasts up with a hot water bottle (or warm face cloth) right before a feed it will open all your ducts and allow the baby to draw down the milk that bit easier and help them to properly drain them. (Finish the feed then with a cold compress to close the ducts down).

As a side note, I also found the Multi-Mam compresses a God send for helping heal my nipples during the whole establishing-breastfeeding routine. They’re pricey, but worth it. Keep them in the fridge too for added effect! http://www.multi-mam.com/multi-mam-compresses-more.html

*You can read more about breastfeeding positions here: http://www.babycenter.com/0_positions-and-tips-for-making-breastfeeding-work_8784.bc