Sunday, 27 April 2014

Hush little baby

This week will be week 11. Whilst I wasn't too bothered at the start about getting Harry into a routine, the time has come to try and get a little regularity into his sleeping & easting pattern.

Whilst in theory this is an excellent idea, my little boy is rather strong willed and won't be told what to do. Don't get me wrong, he's very well behaved and from day one basically formed his own little routine (eating in the day every 3 hours, between 100 & 180 ml a feed and sleeping roughly 6 hours in the night).

Whilst I'd love him to take a big old feed before bed, he rarely does.. this tends to be when he is least hungry which is a little heartbreaking but what can you do? The boy has a mind, and tummy of his own and won't be told when or how much to eat.

The big change came when he got too big for his Moses basket and so had to be moved to his big boy bed.... 

The first night was the most... interesting. He'd been out of our room in his nursery for a few days but had of course been in his basket which we placed in the cot. 

We tried initially to use cellular blankets to tuck him in nice and tight. He had a lovely warm bath, a nice big feed and fell asleep in my arms before I had a chance to put him down. A few hours passed, the hubs and I had dinner... watched some telly and got ready for bed, all the while we of course were obsessively watching our boy sleep in his big boy bed terrified that he'd wake and be utterly confused about his surroundings.

At 1am it happened. I watched him wake-up, stretch out his arms and totally freak out. For the first time in his life he was in a sleeping situation that included space!! You can understand his shock. This shock of course led to a very restless night for all members of the family. The cellular blanket was quickly replaced with a grow bag for fear that his intense wriggling would result in suffocation. 

The next night was just as bad... he was asleep for a few hours but by no means was he in a deep sleep... tossing and turning and working himself into a bit of a state.  As this was Friday night, it meant that Daddy was on the night feed (I live for Friday & Saturday nights these days!) anyway a couple of moments after he went in, armed with a bottle of delicious warm milk I heard a shocked screech... "come & see this!" 

I of course sprung out of bed and rushed into the nursery. This night was the first in his grow bag as we felt that he'd feel more secure and compact and a little cooler than he would be with a blanket. As I looked down at my little boy in his cot, I was rather surprised to find that he'd completely swivelled himself round so that his head was no longer facing up with his feet close to the bottom of the cot... his head now was against the bars and his feet against the other side. I am sure this is pretty common but we didn't know that! Of course my little boys flexibility and hyperactive sleeping meant that once again, I was faced with a sleepless night obsessively watching him on the monitor for fear he'd bash his head against the side of the cot. I know people say not to use bumpers but surely they are better than a damaged head? Any thoughts on this particularly topic are more than welcome!! 

Tonight is night 4 in his cot. Last night was a little better with a 3 & 6.30am wake-up... here's hoping that tonight is even better. It's funny watching Harry react to all this change, it really is a bit of race where more and more hurdles are placed in front of you as you near the finish line...

I just can't imagine how I'll cope with potty training or the dreaded move to a "real" big boy bed! Lots to look forward to!! Thank the Lord for coffee eh?! 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A new scent...

Every noticed that you smell of your baby? It's a funny smell, a mixture of the delicious baby scent, poo, wee & a little vomit thrown in for good measure.

I remember climbing to bed with the hubs when Harry was just a couple weeks old, after an early morning/late night/who the hell knows at that point feed. As the hubs snuggled up to me, he quietly whispered in my ear... "You smell of the baby". He wasn't being anything but honest. I totally did and I totally loved it.

The other day a friend (this friend doesn't have any babies) visited. During his visit there were as you can imagine several feeds to contend with.

Harry is currently going through a "sicky" faze which inevitably means that feeds almost always finish with an encore of white liquid all over mummy.

I suppose I've become somewhat immune to this as I barely flinch when it happens... I simply wipe it off, or out of my hair with a muzzy and carry on whatever it was I was doing.  As this happened over the weekend, my friend looked horrified. When I eventually noticed the horror on his face (I was winding at the time) I questioned him. "You're not going to change immediately?!" he asked. To which I responded... "No? I wasn't actually planning on changing at all?"

Now. I don't know whose right or wrong here. What I do know is the following.

1. Due to the fact that I had a baby just shy of 10 weeks ago, my wardrobe options are fairly limited (put simply, very few things a) fit me b) look good.

2. Baby sick (only a little) comes up at almost every feed. I'm already doing more washing than I can begin to contend with. Surely I can't be expected to add more garments to the mix?!

3. "I" don't think it is gross.... It doesn't look "that" bad and is in my opinion (and that's what really counts) odourless.

Taking into account these three perfectly valid points, no... I don't think it's necessary to change ones clothes more than once a day (unless we are talking about the rare & unexpected protectile vommiting situation, in that case comfort has a part to play as you do get quite wet!)

I do have to make a conscious effort to start looking a little better. 

BH (before Harry) I wasn't exactly a vain person but I did take a lot of pride in my appearance. These days I'd say my efforts are around 5%.... And really there is no excuse, Harry sleeps well... I am rested enough (even though I type this at 4.46am) and I have sufficient time on my hands.

I can imagine that there are a number of women out there who disagree with me and think it unnecessary to spend time beautifying oneself when there is a little bubba to look after.

The thing is. I'm 28, I've not been married a year yet so I do think I have a point and whilst I won't change every time Harry is sick on me going forward... A spritz of perfume and a good shower now and then are most certainly on the agenda going forward!!!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Baby weight

No, this isn't a narcissistic post about how I'm going to try and shake off my baby weight (although I really need to get on with it as our first family holiday is just a couple months away). This post is about the shocking pleasure, satisfaction and sheer joy that comes when ones baby starts packing on those pounds (well grams) in the early days.

When Harry was born, he was pretty ickle. Weighing in at 2380 grams (that's 6.2lbs) he felt ever so fragile & and small. Like when I was pregnant, people felt it necessary to comment on his size, questioning his health which of course was a little upsetting given that he was perfectly healthy and extremely happy.

Thanks to the lovely people at Salter, I'm the happy owner of my very own baby scales (the MiBABY scales to be specific), an ideal asset for any mother as I'm quite sure we are all as obsessive as each other (well I hope so anyway) when it comes to our babies weight & growth!

Whilst it is, I am sure advisable to weigh one's baby on a week by week basis to accurately (and normally) track growth... I of course weigh Harry everyday. In fact, I actually look forward to our nightly weigh in (yes, I know how this sounds)

In the early days, Harry's weight took sometime to "turn" and start increasing as oppose to staying the same or, decreasing (I am fully aware that this is normal but being a new mother  I couldn't help but feel sickened by the thought of it!)

I remember feeling particularly cross after one of the early midwife visits when the unexpecting midwife arrived with a different brand of scales to the midwife who'd visited previously. Anyone who deems themselves particularly knowledgeable on the topic of weighing people (me of course) knows full well that as well as time of day, wees & poos effecting one's weight... the brand of scales make a big difference too. 

I remember suffering a non-baby related sleepless night before the "signing off" health visit... i.e. before I was officially signed off by the health visitor as she was happy with "baby's" weight (just on this, I don't know about you but I found it increasingly annoying how any medical professional referred to my unborn, or refers to my born child as "baby". We knew the sex and he now has a name, why they can't use it, or couldn't refer to him, as "him" I'll never know. 

Anyway, it turned out that my monitoring and obsessing paid off as on the dreaded "signing off day" Harry was (despite poo'ing just before she arrived which almost reduced me to tears) signed off. WOOHOO!!

Since that day, I don't know about you, but I feel ridiculously proud every night pre bath time, and every time I take Harry to the clinic for a weigh-in (I like to double up... yes again, I do know how this sounds!)

Today he weighs 10.5lbs and honestly, I couldn't be prouder of us. By us, I am of course referring to "Team Harry". "Team Harry" is of course made up of three people. The two "feeders" (aka Mummy & Daddy and the very important "eater", our little angel Harry. 

From what my own mother tells me, obsessing over children's food never quite goes away. I noticed the other day a shred of concern in my Mums voice when she asked what I had for dinner that night and I responded with... "a bowl of Crunchie Nut for the third night in a row"

I guess, worrying comes with the unique, wonderful and very special title of Mum, for now I will happily continue to obsess and track my little boys growth.... 

I can't wait for tomorrow's weigh in ;-)

Monday, 7 April 2014

First after first

One of the greatest things about motherhood is the series of firsts we get to experience.

Some firsts are a little scary (the first night at home alone), some firsts are a little shocking (the first explosive poo), some firsts are ridiculously cute (the first time they get the hiccups), some are meaningful (the first time they look into your eyes and you know they know who you are) and some are just perfect... the first smile.

Now, it did take a while to distinguish between an actual smile and wind, but after a while, his eyes did the talking and we knew he was truly smiling at us... especially when his beautiful smile was met with a wee giggle... is there anything more amazing?

It's crazy how quickly time flies. Thinking back to "the early days" (which were only 8 weeks ago), it's unreal to think about the firsts that we not take for granted... the first time he fell asleep in my arms, the first time he cried a tear, the first bath.

Considering I am someone who has always sort of rushed through life, too excited about the next thing to truly appreciate the present... I am sort of surprised at how upset I am getting at how fast my little boy is developing.

He's now got an insatiable appetite, is incredibly long (even more noticeable as he was totally curled up for his first 3 weeks), his so alert and constantly smiles. 

We are a generation of photographs, videos and of course the Internet which provides the means for sharing every aspect of our lives. So much so, that it is almost impossible to live in the moment, I am sure that many people experienced their babies "firsts" through the lens of a camera or the glare of an iPhone. 

It's sad really.

Yes we get to document every second of every day, but I want to see and enjoy all these moments for what they are... before I know it he'll be all grown up and I'll be sat wondering where the time went.

Motherhood/parenthood really is so special. 

Let's not forget that.

Motherhood... the early days

Who would have thought that a new born baby would take up so much of my time?? 8 weeks into motherhood and thus far, I have only found time to write one blog post!! 

First things first, to all new mums out there... well done. This mothering lark is not as easy as it looks... don't get my wrong, it's wonderful, fulfilling, magical and so on but it ain't easy! Every second of my day is consumed with watching, worrying, thinking, timing, planning, playing, loving and generally being there for my little boy.

Being two months in, so clearly a pro (as if!!) I can now reflect on the chaos, panic and sheer amazement that is caring for a newborn baby. 

I read all the books in advance, purchased all the necessaries, spoke to a million people but it is true what they say... nothing can prepare you for motherhood, it is utterly unexplainable and the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

*quick stop for a nappy change*

Below are a few home truths, the things that would have been useful to know in advance that I've picked up along the way... there will of course be more of this as time goes on and I learn more and more but for now, here are my top 4 learnings...

1. Midwifes.

 No offence to any midwifes out there, you are wonderful BUT talk about mixed advice! I didn't know if I was coming or going after each home visit. One would say one thing, one would say another and I ended up feeling utterly overwhelmed and a little lost. The greatest advice I received was from the hubs who basically told me that they are sharing their "advice"... "advice" not facts. Everyone has an opinion about how to raise babies, the truth of matter is, every baby is different and mothering instinct is worth a million pieces of advice. I have shocked myself at how well I know my little boy, and how strongly I believe that I know what's best for him. Advice is fab, as long as you remember it is advice not fact and it is your choice whether to take on or not. 

*quick stop for a cuddle*

2. Breastfeeding.

First things first. No one mentioned that the day "my milk came in" I'd be an insane emotional wreck. I mean, I was uncontrollable, crying (well weeping) and pretty much inconsolable. This lasted for about two days, and was the last thing I (or the hubs) needed with a 3 day old baby!!! Onto the big breastfeeding debate. I don't care what anyone says, breastfeeding isn't for everyone. My experience was hard, very hard. Harry and me struggled massively. We tried everything, lactation consultants, special chairs, pillows, nipple shields, the full shebang, I was desperate to do it, but it just wasn't working. He wasn't tongue tied, but he was early so purpose this was the reason why he just could not pick up the knack. This was hard, it was disappointing and it was frustrating. Thankfully I had milk, so against all the professionals advice (who said to keep trying) I decided to express and feed my son that way. Yes I had to top up with formula but my boy was finally happy, content, and gaining weight so for me it was the right thing. My belief is, do what is right for you...

Happy mummy = happy baby.

3. Sleep.

What can I say? It's bloody hard functioning on zero sleep. This is a fact. The positive spin is that I've found that we actually don't need THAT much sleep. A couple hours of unbroken sleep did and does me fine. Now, I am not the type who can nap during the day despite trying many many times. Just try not to let it get to you and try not to be like me... utterly neurotic. When Harry did finally get to sleep in the early days I'd stand obsessively over his Moses basket to ensure that he was breathing!!! These days things are much better, Harry is getting bigger so sleeping for longer meaning that now we only have to get up once in the night to feed him.

4. Visitors.

I can't say I wasn't warned about this in advance, because I was. But it's only when you're "in it" that you realise how exhausting & stressful it is having a house full of visitors. Perhaps my C Section meant that I found this particularly taxing? I don't know but it led to periods of tears and exhaustion on my part. I guess the trick is, keep it to one set of visitors per day and in the early days limit who comes round... it is easier said than done though. Of course immediate family takes precedence, but then you have close friends on both sides, cousins, uncles, "good friends" and so on. The one thing we did do which I found helpful was putting the task of negotiating visitors and timings totally on the hubs... he knew who was coming round when which at least took one thing off me. Just remember it's all about the baby and if you're running on zero sleep, trying desperately to breastfeeding whilst negotiating a room full of visitors you're bound to get a little stressed out, so just take it easy!!!

Time for a feed, but plenty more to come in the coming weeks on my 'experience of motherhood, the early days' so please stay tuned!