Persephone: Parent

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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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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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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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Smile!

I just read this blog called Sleep and Smiles, and it dawned on me how much I love my daughter, how much I’m enjoying everything more this time around.

I’m still quite tired. But not as tired as I was with Elvis.

I still quite dislike breastfeeding. But not as much as I did.

I still hate the lack of napping routines and inability to nap alone. Probably more than I did.

I still dislike newborn and can’t wait for 6 months ish. But not as much as I did.

I love her morning smiles. I don’t remember getting them with Elvis. I love her gurgling conversations. I don’t remember them with him.

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The Unknown

I just want someone to be able to tell me that Robin will be just like Elvis. She’s 7 weeks old, Elvis was about 16 weeks old when he stopped needing any over night feeds and he never had them after then. Are we 9 weeks away from Robin being the same?

Are we closer?

Are we further?

I get insomnia. When I wake for a night feed, despite Robin being by my side in a co-sleeper cot, I wake up fully. Despite me relaxing during the feed, drifting off to sleep a bit, too, I wake up when I’m carefully putting Robin down. Then her snuffles keep me awake, questioning if it’s her not fully asleep or just settling herself back down.

It’s tough.

The past two nights I’ve tried side lying to feed. The first night was amazing but did end up with far more co-sleeping which makes me achey. Last night, either due to insomnia or fearing full relaxtion, I didn’t sleep as well.

Oh, and she’s spent the past two nights on a 3 hour routine rather than 4-5.

Is it just a few day phase? Is it because she feeds less when lying down, nursing more sitting up? Do I drift off and pull away when we’re lying down?

And I don’t want her to get used to sleeping right by my side.

If I’m going to wake up fully no matter which position I may as well go for the one that leads to me being more comfortable.

It still leaves me with the unknown – 9 weeks to go? Or more? Or less?

~ P

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Nap Training

Baby Girl Robin is just over 6 weeks old, okay almost 7 weeks old, and so far she’s pretty damn perfect at nights. I feed her to sleep somewhere between 8 and 10pm and put her in her co-sleeping cot. At whatever time she stirs (could be 3 could be 5 hours), I pick her up, feed her and put her back in her cot. We’re having 2 night time feeds at the moment on average and she’s awake for the day by half 7 maybe 8.

So the nights are brilliant.

The days… not so much.

I mean there’s nothing wrong with our days. I’m not at my wit’s end, drowning in depression. Her feeds are still between 2.5 and 3 hours apart and I do try and plan them to fit with Elvis and his routine. She can’t feed at 0930 to want another at 1230 as I leave then to pick up Elvis. So there’s a 2 hour window for the nursery run. Ideally there’s a 3 hour window in the evening where I don’t want to feed her due to Elvis’ nap ending, cooking, eating, bath and bedtime. But that’s unrealistic at the moment.

The problem isn’t her feeding; it’s her napping.

She can fall asleep from a feed but she doesn’t always during the day. I can rock her to sleep either standing up or sitting in the nursing chair. Daddy and Nanny have got her to sleep too during the day. In the evening she prefers me and boobies, but is that an element of her cluster feeding?

She’s also happier awake and “playing” so I can get on and do bits as she lies on my bed taking in her surroundings but it doesn’t last long. Then again sometimes her naps don’t last long.

I guess the real problem is that during an afternoon, as she sleeps on me, I get tired. But Elvis is napping in his cot all afternoon so how do I stay awake? It’s getting to the point when she has to start napping on her own.

With Elvis, we basically co-slept 24/7 and somewhere between 8 and 10 weeks old I just couldn’t hack it anymore and made a stand: I was determined to get him into his Moses basket day and night. And it worked. With Robin we already have the night cracked. That should make naps easier, right?

Or could it screw up the nights?

She’s not in any proper routine yet but I maybe do see a few patterns. Can I recognise when she’s tired? If she wakes straight up is it because she’s had long enough or because I put her down?

Do I know her well enough to force this stress on us both?

Can I keep my brain active on warm afternoons as she sleeps in my arms?

Does she only do a 1.5-2 hour nap on an afternoon as that’s our uninterrupted time?

Is it simple perseverance?

Anyone have any tips?

Or I could sling her, but how practical is that for cleaning the bath or washing up?

I might give her a few more weeks, if I can stay awake!

Help!

~ P

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Breastfeeding: Now and Then

Apparently my grey-tinted glasses have made me forget a lot about Elvis’ first few months. Despite Hubby telling me “Elvis was the same” I refused to believe him, his memory must be failing. Until I read a few blog entries and was pleasantly surprised.

What I do remember is:

  • Pain – bleeding nipples, multiple milk blebs, pain for at least 3 weeks. Latch damage.
  • Sleep deprivation – for at least a month before I gave in and safely bedshared for another month-ish.
  • Long feeds – this was the reason for the sleep deprivation. Until Elvis got super quick at feeds.
  • Fainty let downs – on my left boob only. When feeding on the right side only. At night feedings only. In the first few weeks only. One per feeding only.
  • Refusal to suck my boob to sleep – from about maybe 8-10 weeks old.
  • Leaking in the first week only and then only as night feeds fell away.

Well, this is different.

There was barely any real pain at the beginning. I had an existing nipple injury that Robin had to heal for me which was agony and I did get some beginnings of blisters but cream, air and watching the latch prevented bleeding and blisters. No milk blebs at all.

Robin was a quicker feeder quicker than Elvis. Her only long feeds are during cluster sessions really. This made the nights easier and there was no sleep deprivation in the first few weeks.

The let down is the biggest difference. I never felt faint with Robin and I felt it on both sides. Some feeds I actually felt let down multiple times. Followed by long slow gulps. Brand. New. World.

Everyone keeps telling me how similar they look (I rarely see it) but they seem so different. Maybe it’s just these grey tinted glasses.

~ P

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Mothering Mates

Have you ever considered the term mothering soulmate?

I possibly just coined the term. Maybe it’s like normal soulmates, some people simply never find their mothering soulmate. What I mean by the term is finding that perfect other mother where you both just… click. You parent the same, you think the same way, you understand each other and each other’s children without trying. Perhaps it doesn’t actually exist and just a facade that some mums give off.

I certainly haven’t found my mothering soulmate. Sometimes I feel like even mummies with children the same age as Elvis don’t understand. How does that work? Am I that non-understanding to them? How come I know some mothering soulmates, two mums who are completely sharing their journey, who’s children reach every step at the same time? They understand each other’s sleeping issues, food problems. They freely discuss these things and help each other.

I don’t have those same parenting problems. So I feel silly telling them my problems. Why can’t I find someone who’s on a similar path? Why am I surrounded by mums who have their mothering soulmate or mums who never have any problems, or at least never admit to any? What seems to make it worse is the mums who were my friends before children came on the scene, who don’t ever have any problems. My problems are trivial compared to some mums, but the other mums have none. Maybe mums think I have no parenting problems just like I feel others don’t.

Is it me who should open up more? Even to those who never ever open up? Is it just me being over-sensitive? I think more mum’s need to be honest, not to complain or seem moany and whingy, but to share. Nothing puts me off a mum more than someone who gives the air of perfection, someone who never speaks of any issues.

But then, part of my complaint is mums who don’t seem to understand where I am in the parenting journey, or pregnancy journey (despite them having already done both) yet I’m not telling them my problems! I keep getting invited to a mummy get together and I know I can’t walk there, despite it really not being far, but I don’t want to complain and tell them that.

How can I expect mums to understand, be sympathetic and share their own bumpy journies when I can’t?

~ P x

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Irresponsible Mothers

On the 10th January, I took Elvis to a birthday party and the next day I was informed that someone at the party now had chicken pox. About 19 days later, Elvis got them and about 17 days after that so did Robin. From my understanding you’re contagious the few days before spots come and maybe whilst you have the spots. So for those 19 and then 17 days neither child was contagious until maybe day 16 and 13.

How was I supposed to know that?

The moment Elvis came into contact with pox, should I have kept him at home just in case?

Should I have kept him at home for those 19 days and then a further ten for the spots to clear? Should I have taken a month off work?

Just in case he had it and could pass it on at nursery?

Should I then have not allowed Robin out of the house, just in case, and despite medical professionals telling me she’s was protected against it?

Was I irresponsible in both cases?

I rang the nursery immediately to tell them. I cancelled all plans for both of them in the week they each got pox. I rang/contacted everyone that had visited/seen Robin.

Was that irresponsible?

Yet I then get told by a friend that a bunch of work colleagues were unhappy that I was joining them for a lunch. Because of Robin and her pox. Uhhh, except I’d already cancelled. Despite how she probably wouldn’t be contagious by that point, I’d already cancelled.

Was that irresponsible of me?

It’s really upset me. Mainly because I was already upset that I’d let people, babies, come into contact with Robin at her contagious times. I feel awful about it. We’re not talking the toddlers at nursery, we’re talking babies – some under a month old. And I feel awful that I could be responsible for making those babies ill. I really don’t need someone making me feel worse.

Especially not a mother so irresponsible that they can make another mother feel so awful.

It’s made me paranoid that the group I went to, allowing Robin to potentially infect other babies, will never allow me back because of my irresponsibility. That they will make me feel awful and unwanted, too.

The mother in question might just simply have been worried about her own child but perhaps she should have spoken directly to me rather than make me feel like crap and irresponsible.

~ P

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