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

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A Great App For Life With A Newborn

I have to share this app I found a few months ago with you, it’s brilliant. It’s called Collect and is part of the Project 365 journal initiative.

When I was pregnant, I had the best intentions of documenting everything. Writing myself notes and letters; taking photos of my growing belly. I even bought myself a beautiful notebook to write it all down in. But then I was too intimidated to mess up the pretty book because I wanted it to be perfect…and then a couple of weeks had passed and I told myself I’d start my backdated thoughts one weekend when I really had the time and then before you knew it I was 6 months pregnant and taking quick selfies in the bathroom mirror while scribbling thoughts down on a scrap of paper with the best intention to finally collate everything into that book before the baby came.

And then the baby came.

And I decided that OK, I hadn’t done the best job of documenting my pregnancy (1st pang of mother’s guilt?) but now I’d document EVERYTHING about my precious daughter. Only, I was so tired and I never had a free minute let alone a free hand to write/type with. So I took quite possibly a billion photographs on my phone and my camera and used “Notes” on my iPhone to get things down quickly before I forgot.

And then I stumbled across Collect. It allows you to take a photo a day (or 2 or 3 if you want!) and save it like a photo calendar. You give it a descriptive title (something like “Baby’s first smile!” or “3 months old today!” and then if you want you can give it a tag (like “family” or “milestones”) and you can even add notes if you have something more you want to write down. It means you can search later on for certain memories by browsing the tags. You can even upload to dropbox etc if you want to share your photos with others.

It gives me a reminder at 18:05 every single day to upload my photo (I always have plenty to choose from) and know I have a cool visual calendar of everything important over the past 3 months. (I missed it the 1st month – but maybe one day I’ll go back and enter in photos…)

I love it. It’s so easy to do and it makes me smile to flick back through photos even just 3 months ago. So much has happened in that time and you know what? Baby G has changed SO much in that time too.

You can download it for free from iTunes. You can upgrade to Pro for €1.79.

I’m using the free one.

Let me know if any of you are using it too? Or if you have any other app recommendations for quickly capturing little life moments.

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….

 

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

Two Month Vaccination (I Wasn’t Prepared For That!)

Today Baby G had to get her two month vaccinations.

I’m not sure who was more traumatised by the experience – me or Baby G.

Sure, I knew there would be tears – two needle pricks in your legs when your that small is bound to hurt. But my god, I wasn’t expecting the wails that came out of her. She cried one of those long, silent, bunched up cries before gasping for as much air that could possibly fill her lungs so she could tell me just how terrible the whole thing was through her sobs.

I almost started crying. It was awful. The doctor had to keep reminding me that all babies cry like that and that I was, in fact, doing a good thing for her.

But I’ve never wanted to cuddle her as much as I did at that point in time and tell her that everything was going to be ok.

She’s pretty much been asleep ever since – waking only twice, once to feed and once for a nappy change. I don’t know if this means she’ll be wide eyed and bushy tailed for the night or if she’s going to sleep the whole experience off. But man am I glad that appointment is behind us.

I have infant calpol at the ready, just in case.

Weekend Round Up

Saturday was a day spent indoors…the weather here has been nothing short of miserable. I was really hoping for a lovely summer – I’d pictured going for walks in the park, having picnics just sitting in the sun, reading a book and playing with my baby…but it seems it just wants to rain the whole time. Typical! There’s still time for it to pick up though…

So a friend from work called over for coffee and brought cupcakes with her (nom)…we spent an hour or so catching up, which was great. Mr G then went for a cycle up Howth Head (the rain stopped just long enough for him to make it there and back) and Baby G and I stayed behind and bounced around the apartment because she still does NOT want to be put down.

I then decided to do something I’d be waiting my whole pregnancy to do….make carbonara for dinner!! It’s one of my favourite meals but I had it when I was about 8 weeks pregnant (didn’t make the slightly raw-egg connection) and threw up EVERYWHERE after. Safe to say I learned my lesson and spent the next 9 months (actually 10 if you think about it) craving carbonara. I also made some cheesy garlic bread…and it was all SO GOOD. I went into a major food coma after.

I should probably start taking pictures.

Yesterday we went over to Nana and Gilbert’s house for lunch. They always serve really healthy food…so I felt good after. We had a big salad with smoked salmon and freshly baked brown bread. When we got home, we attempted to make our own 3D moulds of Baby G’s hands and feet. Mr G had ordered a whole kit from amazon and it finally arrived…

Except it’s not as easy as the instructions made it sound. The idea is so simple…getting a newborn to keep her hands and feet still while gel moulds around her limbs? Disaster. It tooks us about 4 attempts before we managed to get something resembling her feet.

Here are the results..

photo 2

photo 3

We just need to tidy them up a little and add a splash of paint, but I think they look pretty good.

We were too tired to attempt her hands. That can be for another evening this week!

Once we’d done the casts, we gave her a bath and tried to get her settled for bed. It was another difficult night, she was waking every 90 minutes again. But I think she might be coming down with something because her left eye is looking a little gloopy.

Will need to keep an eye on that.

Friday’s Fussy Baby

Yesterday was one of those days where Baby G just wanted to be held the ENTIRE day. It didn’t matter how deeply she fell asleep in my arms, she’d wake up the second I put her down.

I had to go to my parents’ house to mind their dog for a few hours and we basically just bounced around the living room the whole time. By the time we got home, I was so tired! We were having friends over for dinner last night so we decided to just order in because both myself and Mr G were too tired to cook something.

Amazingly, she fell asleep before they arrived and basically slept through most of the time they were here. Last night was another decent enough night – but she was awake at the crack of dawn this morning.

I ordered my ERGObaby sling though (from koalacubs.ie) – it should be with me by Wednesday, I can’t wait. My back and shoulders are in bits.

What I wouldn’t give for a bit of time to go get a lovely deep tissue massage….

At least that’s something to look forward to!