Persephone: Parent

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Biological Nurturing

Something I never actually tried first time around when it came to breastfeeding was biological nursing. Someone did advise me to, but I didn’t. I don’t think I trusted my body. Second time around and this breastfeeding position was the only thing that got me through the first week or so.

And after bad nights.

It’s essentially lying back and feeding. Not on your side (which I have never gotten to grips with), but reclined although not flat on your back. You let baby find their own way to the milk, too maybe with a bit of guidance and then, suitably comfortable and supported you can chill out.

Initially I found it tricky in bed overnight to try and lie back and feed. My wound and poor abdominals made getting up and down very tricky, especially with a sleeping newborn on my chest. But daytimes on the sofa surrounded by cushions?

Oh my goodness, super comfy!

I know mums that continue using this position for months. And I can see why because it so relaxing and super easy to nap through! How better to recover from a c-section than lying on a sofa feeding baby and being waited on hand and foot!

~ P

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Sleeping Like A Baby

My baby is the noisiest sleeper ever. And I thought Elvis was a noisy sleepy baby. Right now Robin is lying on me as we rock in the nursing chair making her tired noise. She’s bloody loud. She’s also sucking or chewing her finger. The moment it comes out more noise!

The past two nights have featured a lot of snuffling, grunting, noise in general. The past two days have featured a problem with deep sleep napping on me or daddy. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m only awake today as she slept on my arm for 4 hours last night. Due to cosleeping she went 7 hours between feeds and only woke for a feed at 4am because I shifted her into her cot.

I think she has a cold. I hope she doesn’t want to cosleep all the time, it causes all manner of aches and pains in me.

So I can either get no sleep as she grunts away, sleep in the spare bed or cosleep.

Meanwhile, my new decision to get off the sofa and go walking on a morning means she sleeps a lot better in her pushchair but I rarely put her down for other naps at home. I guess I’m worried that she’s losing her ability to sleep alone – she’s not getting into a deep enough sleep unless on me or in a pushchair.

And she still won’t take a dummy.

But, hey, we’re 11 weeks in. Is this a sleep regression?

~ P

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Gift Wrapping – Made Easy!

My mum is a QVC addict and most of my Christmas presents came in these super amazing bags – Gift Mate at QVC. They also do an Everyday set. I think I was more in love with the bags than the presents; it’s just so handy and clever. I hate wrapping paper and the fact that most places won’t /can’t recycle it.

These bags aren’t ideal for every type of present and, although they’d save you money if you could re-use them every year, the chances are you’d give them away to someone else to re-use! They were good for clothes which can be difficult to wrap, and teddy bears. I think I got toiletries in them, too. They drawstring close and are made of a foil type material that seems quite hardy. Obviously the ones I now have, have only been used once and they weren’t handled by children.

I probably wouldn’t use them for children (where’s the fun in that for kids?) But I might even buy my own set of Everyday bags. The small ones are a perfect size for jewellery and the biggest size easily fitted a teddy bear bought for Robin. I think they make a perfect addition to other types of gift wrap in your collection – ideally to also convince everyone else you know to use them so you get a fresh supply!

I love anything that decreases waste!

~ P

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Routine Envy

I frequently suffer from envy and jealousy. Maybe it started during my infertile, TTC, days, watching enviously of all the women that could get pregnant. Or maybe I’ve always been like it. Maybe I’ve always compared myself to everyone else I know. It’s not pretty and I am certainly not proud of it, but it’s me.

Mainly I end up trying to avoid people/places where I can get this envy. This includes me removing or blocking people on facebook – I’d rather remain friends with people than see things that could make me envious/jealous of them.

The biggest envy I have of other friends at the moment is having a bedtime and having sleep. Whilst Robin feeds every 3-4 hours during the day and I try to stick to 8, 11, 2, 5 if she doesn’t want to or sleeps through one, I can’t help it. So she can’t have a bed time. She also tends to do a long nursing session for bedtime. So she can’t have a bedtime.

I could maybe force one. If she has her feed before 6, I could still try and get her to nurse to sleep at 7. But if she wants to nurse for an hour, do I really want to sit in a dark room alone with her for that long? I must have done it with Elvis. Except he rarely nursed to sleep and when he did, he did it at 6:40 and it took 20 minutes. He was in a firm routine.

But which came first? Firm routine or bedtime?

And should I really be jealous of mums with their bedtimes and an evening to themself? What would I do in those 2 hours? Watch TV, talk to hubby? Maybe I should say what would I do in those 2 hours that I can’t have a baby sleeping on me? Chores, eat, go out, go for a run? Okay I would like to go running or swimming but not the other things.

And we have a fantastic morning routine. She feeds about 4 or 5, maybe 6 and goes back to sleep. I get up by 7, Elvis leaves for nursery at half 7 and Robin wakes by about 8, giving me half an hour to do chores. Or to nap if it’s been an awful night. So why should I be jealous?

And those mums who have the audacity to complain that they only got 7 hours of sleep the whole night as a 6 hour block and then 1.5 chunk when I can barely get 3 hours in a row to make maybe 7 in total a night, well, maybe I am envious that the dads can do that for the mum as they’re bottle feeding, but we could do it if I could be bothered to express, if Robin would take a bottle and only if hubby would be willing.

Or the mums who’ve already left their bubbas overnight, I guess I’m envious that they can even though I wouldn’t want to leave Robin yet. I blame a lot of my jealousies on that I’m breastfeeding. I could express. I could try Robin with a bottle. I could do formula as I’m not anti-formula. If I did any of these things then perhaps we could have a bedtime routine, perhaps I could go out. But I don’t want to. She’ll get there.

Elvis did and Robin already has herself a morning routine. It’ll happen.

Now if we could get past the 4am gruntathon!

~ P

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New Year’s Resolution. In April

It’s an easter resolution really, I guess. And not truly official yet.

I don’t remember feeling like this with Elvis. I have a burning desire to exercise. Possibly because I can’t. And I feel really ugly and fat. Possibly because I had a baby ten weeks ago and keep eating chocolate to make me feel better about being stuck in a nursing chair (it doesn’t make me frel better).

It’s spring. It’s sunny and I sleep relatively well at night.

I’m going to go on walks with Robin. Power walks. I’m going to stop the eating of chocolate. I’ve got out my mum’s left behind sit up thingies and I’m going to use them.

I don’t want to weigh 12 stone anymore.

~ P

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Birth Affirmations

Through attending yoga (which I have to credit with changing my mindset so much during Robin’s pregnancy), I found myself far more positive for most of the end of the pregnancy. I’m writing this at almost 41 weeks by the hospital dates and I have my wobbles, but am generally positive still. I’ve removed people and groups from my social media feeds for the time being if they cause me to react negatively and I have a list of birth affirmations scattered around the house to keep me positive.

I found them mainly through a facebook VBAC support group and then pinterest. I picked and chose my favourites and then ordered them to make one page in larger print. I printed the list twice, one copy is for my notes so that I can have access to them during my labour. The other copy has two pages in the lounge, one in the kitchen and one in my bedroom near the nursing chair where I often read to Elvis.

I’m not sure if the font will copy over, but I decided on Kristen ITC:

My body knows how to deliver this baby, just as my body knew how to grow this baby.

You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.

Every wave brings me closer to my baby.

Women’s bodies were designed to birth. I am designed to birth naturally.

I release anything that is holding me back from birthing this baby.

Millions of women have birthed for millions of years, I can too.

I am a strong and capable woman. I trust my instincts to know what I need for my labour.

My body will relax and allow the birth to happen.

My body will give birth in its own time. I am excited to give birth to this baby.

I do not fight the birth in any way. My body is relaxed.

My body and my baby are the perfect team.

I give thanks for this pregnancy.

I am grateful for my ability to grow this healthy beautiful new life inside of me.

I am deserving of an easy, uncomplicated labour and birth.

I can see my baby moving gently through the birth canal.

My body is made to give birth.

I have courage, faith and patience.

I trust my body.

I trust in my baby’s ability to be born.

I am at peace.

My pelvis is releasing and opening, as have those of countless women before me.

I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby.

I feel confident, I feel safe and I feel secure.

I will succeed.

I breathe correctly and eliminate tension.

The toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head.

A due date is an estimate; my baby will come when they are ready.

I use this time to relax and do what brings me joy.

As I am still waiting, 6 days past the Due Date at time of typing the final two are repeated often in my head at the moment. I really do identify with the statements and believe them. It’s just a case of breathing deeply as I read them, to remain positive and calm. Whether these will help during the birth, at the moment, is irrelevant. These are designed to get me to the birth in a calm, happy and positive state.

~ P
Added Note – this os a scheduled post from January, obviously, and I just wanted to add as it posts in April that they did help me get to the birth in a positive state. I read the affirmations, I believed in them. I stayed clear of anything that could bring negativity – facebook, family messages and fights. But I did not reach the birth positively due to work based stress and the rupturing of membranes that I put down to stress.

These affirmations did get me as far as they could. Job done.

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Wacky Warehouse: Netley Grange

We have a Wacky Warehouse very local to our house and I’ve used it multiple times with foster children and on under 1 mornings but haven’t gone since Elvis became fully mobile (I was heavily pregnant) but we got invited to a birthday party at the Wacky Warehouse at Netley.

Current prices are £50 for a party of ten kids with access to the play area. This is not private access so it can still be busy with strangers. And, as with other Wackies, they have offers for daytime play, membership cards and you can collect points on the Fayre and Square pubcards inside the Wacky.

Drinks bought at the main bar need to be in plastic cups but can then be brought into WW, food can be ordered an eaten inside too.

My two biggest problems with any WW are:
1. Hot drinks in proper cups. So your beer has to be in a plastic cup in case of breakage but your scalding hot drink can be in a breakable cup filled to the brim. Doesn’t make sense to me.
2. Older children. There’s a height limit but I’ve never seen it be policed. Even the taller children allowed in are drastically different in age to 1 year olds.

This particular WW seems kind of in the middle of nowhere but is very separate from the pub. I consider this distance, and completely separate entrance as a very good positive. It helps to distinguish for a child if you’re only going to eat. This WW had only the one entrance/exit (which is monitored so children cannot open it) which did cause some queue issues at times. I also couldn’t figure out where pushchairs could be kept to one side despite information on the website stating there is a buggy park and an under 3s section. The photos also didn’t all look like the WW I saw earlier today!

My local WW has an in and out gate (both monitored) and a pushchair area.

In the seating area there were about 4 comfy chairs and maybe 6 tables seating maybe 4 chairs. At the party table end there was more space for tables. Both ends had in/outs for the soft play so both have children running madly everywhere. Hence my hot drink issue. It seemed a bit oddly organised. As you enter there’s seating, then the soft play. Past the soft play is the party/seating area. Children can run in and out at either end and then between them. There are three main veins of play heading up – one at one end, 2 at the other. As a parent of young ones, which end do you sit at? How do you keep an eye on your child? I fully appreciate that as Elvis ages, I might become far more lax in constantly following/watching him. But he’s not yet 2 and I have the baby to monitor.

I couldn’t watch both and my possessions very easily here.

The play area was massive, covers at least three levels, has tunnels, slides, ball pit, hangy “punch bags”, spongy cushions, mesh netted walk ways and more. It was so tall. I think I got a bit of vertigo. I also got a bit claustrophobic, but it really isn’t designed for me!

The toilets designated for WW have a boys, girls and disabled/changing room. The cubicles in the girls were tiny which is a problem with a toddler in tow. There was very little room to get us both in and close the door. Meanwhile there was room in the disabled/changing but why would I use that when it was me who needed the loo. I used the changing room twice. For Baby, it was ok but I found the table quite high. Pethaps I’m a shortie. For Elvis, it really wasn’t long enough for him. His legs were dangling off the edge as I changed his nappy. There could definitely be improvements.

Personally, I don’t think it’s designed for under 2s. Maybe even 3s. Elvis couldn’t get into anything but the ball pit as he’s too short to climb up the steps. He’s about 80cm and not short for his almost 2 years of age.

There was also an outside play area which we didn’t look at due to it being grey outside and we were there for a party.

It was generally clean and well maintained; I didn’t notice any dirt. However there was a section of exposed wood which could be a hazard if a child fell the wrong way. I really liked the height and variety of things to do, however I would prefer a separate toddler area and easier adult vantage points. It isn’t somewhere I’d go out of my way for and I possibly wouldn’t rush back in the next year or two until my children are a bit more independent at playing.

~ P

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Craft Corner: All That Artwork

In my few weeks of maternity and annual leave waiting for Robin to arrive (currently on 40+6, one week into maternity after 2 solid weeks of holiday), I tried desperately to fill my mornings whilst Elvis was at nursery. Surprisingly, it was quite easy! As we moved house in the August of 2014, come January 2015, there was still some unpacking to do! But I used my “free” time to completely sort out the Junk Room (it’s now a spare reception room with our computers in) and the back door is no longer blocked so the garden can actually be accessed!

And then I ran out of tidying/unpacking/sorting to do. So, I cleared out my dropbox folders and my phone, maximising space for taking new pictures. Then I caught up on making some scheduled posts on to here (currently up to two months ahead!). Then I emptied out the VTech video camera Elvis found at my mum’s, backing them all up and creating space for more of his photos of blurry toys. Then I scanned in all of the artwork he had brought home from nursery up until Christmas. Then, finally, I made Thank You cards!

Elvis isn’t actually that arty a child. Neither I nor Daddy are in all fairness. Apparently at nursery, where he has free reign in to the craft room, he only ever goes in there when forced! Haha! So we don’t actually get that much art work coming home, but I still don’t know what to do with it! Then there’s the fact that it is a struggle to get him to do art at home. I gave him two thank you notes to decorate. He barely scribbled on one. I gave him two Christmas cards to “sign”, he barely scribbled on one. And then he remembers he’s done them and refuses to go back to them! My stubborn little boy!

Therefore I knew, the 6 cards I wanted him to make would take weeks and would never look good enough. However, the artwork that has been adorning our walls since June means something to me (probably from looking at it all day long!) and felt far more special to make thank you cards with. After scanning them, I resized a few on the computer and then printed them off before sticking them to some blank cards. I’ve seen some amazing things on pinterest about all that art work including printing them all on a small scale and framing them, cutting out shapes from each piece and making a new piece of themed artwork, or simply scanning them all and then making a huge photo book. I can’t bring myself to cut them up. Yet. He’s only done one term at nursery, we only had 15 pieces of art come home. I just can’t destroy them. Not yet. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. If I could have brought myself to cut them up, I would have used the originals to stick on the front of the Thank You cards, but I printed copies instead!

In the future, I do plan on adding scanned images to the photobooks I plan on creating. I can also see myself using the artwork not only on Thank You cards, but also in the Smash book that I will start on! But if you ever needed something to do with the art your toddler/child brings home and they are reluctant to create their own cards, Thank You cards are an option:

 

~ P

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Mum of Two, Surviving Tonsillitis

At least I’m assuming I have tonsillitis. It started on a Saturday night, the night of the clocks change, when I started to just feel really hot. I guess I’d had a bit of a headache all day, but didn’t know what to put it down to. Saturday night the fever started, the all over head pain and sore neck. Sunday I tried to rest.

I still had a fever.

And how easy is it to rest with two children?

Luckily it was the weekend. Hubby let me sleep in a separate bedroom and woke me for the one and only feed Robin needed. He took over Elvis during the day as much as he could given the toddler’s current clinginess to me. And Robin let me have some decent naps (she still only sleeps on me during the day). I was still feverish Sunday night and Robin was a bit more of a pickle with needing longer feeds overnight which I really, really could have done without.

Luckily, I awoke Monday in less pain and not quite so feverish but my throat was swollen as were my glands but my neck hurt less so I assumed I was fighting it.

The problems were:

* I just wanted to be alone. You can’t with two especially not one so young.

* I desperately considered doing formula for the nights so I could sleep but who knows if she’d take a bottle and I don’t want to compromise her immune system now. But I want stronger drugs!

* She’s too little for set naps and sleeping alone so I could barely get any respite from parenting from wake up until bed.

I am so thankful for my husband helping so much and that I had the worst of it (hopefully) on a weekend.

Now, I’d just like to eat food without it tasting absolutely foul!

~ P

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Monthly Update: Month 2

Weight, Length, Height: At 7.5 weeks, she is 58.5cm long and weighs in at 12lb 11oz. A little late, at 9 weeks her feet are 9cm long.

Routine: By just over 5 weeks, Robin had a clear night routine – all her. Anytime from 5pm her cluster feeds started until 8 or 9 when she could happily be put down asleep, stay asleep in her own bed until her 3 over night feeds (all with easy put downs) and then waking between half 7 and half 8. At 5 weeks, she goes between 2.5-3 hours during the day for feeds. Daytimes naps are random. Three weeks later and the cluster feeding is less and has 1-2 overnight feeds. She likes to nap after her 8am feed so I might try and form a flexible routine over the next month.

Bedtime: Last feed about 8 or 9, which was a feed to sleep by about 9 or 10. I go up to bed at 9 to either feed her or dress her in her sleep and go to sleep myself. At 5 weeks anyway. Pretty much the same at 8 weeks the fact that if she wakes after the last feed she self-settles. Elvis self settles with a dummy not truly on his own! The clocks change soon, once they have I’ll see how she is and try and get a bedtime routine in place.

Naps/Length: At 5 weeks, no pattern really. For a few days she napped 12-1 whilst I did the shopping/nursery run, and then 2-4 when we sat alone in quiet. At 8 weeks, the 12-1 is still there and she’s awake-ish from 0800-0900, 1400-1500 and 2000-2100. The rest is feeding/sleeping. Although I have decided that she needs to start staying asleep elsewhere during the day and not just on me.

Number of feeds in 24hrs: At 5 weeks, 3 middle of the night feeds, breakfast, 2 in the day, dinner and then clusters from 5 or 6 until 9. Probably 8 if you take the 3-4 cluster feeds as 1. 8 at 8 weeks. Sometimes 7.

Favourite toy/objects: She loves to watch the dragonfly batting toy on her chair and I watched her eyes follow Elvis across the room! At week 6 or 7 we put batteries in the mobile Elvis loved and Robin loves it, too. She also likes her playgym more than a few weeks ago. Especially the mirror!

Clothing age: At 5 weeks, 0-3 clothes and size 2 nappies. But we’ll be moving up very soon.

Foot length/Shoe Size:

Milestones: Definate smiles! Hundreds of them. Cooing and the cutest noises ever! Her head control is much better and tummy time is easier.

Our swimming ability: At 5 weeks and 5 days, Robin spent an hour being rocked, pushed etc by Daddy as Mummy took Elvis swimming!

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: I still haven’t read to her independent of reading to Elvis and I haven’t read anything the whole month!

Number of Teeth: Thankfully still none!

Fears: None.

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