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Monthly Update: Month 22

Weight, Length, Height: No change.

Routine: No change.

Bedtime: a few hiccups this month but still 7pm.

Naps/Length: 2-3 hours on an afternoon. This boy is all about consistency.

Favourite toy/objects: He loves just running around. Or being chased. Or playing with us. It seems like it’s just happened but maybe my pregnancy aches stopped me seeing it earlier. He’s really starting to like blocks and knocking them over.

Clothing age: Gone up to size 5 nappies and nursery put him in a 5+! He’s outgrowing 12-18 tshirts and I don’t have any 18-24 so he’ll be going into 2+.

Foot length/Shoe Size: still a 6.

Milestones: He can repeat so many words now on first hearing. Or at least tries to. I’m going to put his newest word here. He can say the name of a little girl at nursery. I am so chuffed. It took him forever to start saying mummy and daddy so to pick up a name we haven’t drummed into him is huge! He has also started physically copying a lot more, so mimicking actions including at the dinner table. Under close supervision he can drink from an open lidded cup.

Our swimming ability: The first Friday in March we went swimming again! Elvis loved it. He happily threw the toy in to go fetch, giggling as he fetched, kicking his legs without command. Splashing, clapping, doing song actions, copying, smiling. He loved it. At the end of class we count to 3 and jump in. Not Elvis, he reaches for my hand and climbs in. How sensible is that?

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: His favourite book is a Fireman Sam book from the library. I’m still part way through The 100 and Storm of Swords.

New Foods: none.

Words: Mine – picked up from nursery as we don’t use it at home. Tom, Penny, Elvis from a Fireman Sam book. Minnie and Mick as in Mouse. Bender from Futurama is Benger, Fry is Ry and he says Leela correctly. He told me to wakey wake when I was fake napping. He keeps requesting to go in the “back room” for us to “push” him on his “bike”. He can just copy any word. I love it.

Signs: He asked me to sing at bathtime, I asked sing what and he pointed at the turtle so I signed it and asked if he could sign it. Bless his heart he tried so hard!

Number of Teeth: Still 10.

Fears: Elvis has finally stopped being scared of his frog shaped bubble machine – he didn’t like the noise!

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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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Monthly Update: Month One

Weight, Length, Height: Okay so at 39 weeks pregnant I was 14 stone, and had 2 weeks of growth left. At birth, Robin weighed 9lb 1oz, dropped to 8lb 4oz before starting to gain again. At 4 weeks old she weighed in at 10lb 12.5 oz. And I weighed in at 12 stone.

Routine: Haha! That’s a lie actually we do have some routine. She feeds every 2.5 to 3 hours in the day and is already having a 4-5 hour gap overnight. Nothing else. Yet.

Bedtime: We go upstairs about 9pm,have a feed and are asleep by ten. Other than waking for feeds, she then sleeps until about 7am. Wake up time depends on how light it is outside. Apparently both of my children knew day from night pretty quickly, it just depends on when the sun rises!

Naps/Length: She refuses to sleep properly during the day so she can have very quick naps or mammoth daytime sleeps. Mainly only on me. With a nipple near her mouth. I’m finding it quite difficult really. If she decides she wants to be awake after a feed (which is fine in principal) she can’t make it to the next feed being awake so just screams. I jiggle her, rock her and she calms but fights sleep so much. And she’s so heavy now. Even in a sling I can’t carry her all the time. I might be getting good sleep (we are bed sharing) but I still tire very easily. I find myself crying a lot.

Number of feeds in 24hrs: We’re averaging 8 or 9 over a day with my food intake not having actually increased at all. Unlike last time.

Favourite toy/objects: My Boobie!

What she hates: wet wipes on her bum. I think it’s the coldness of them as she doesn’t scream at cotton wool wipes. She hates when I go for a bath and she can scream for the whole 20 minutes. And other baby basic hates like being put down, mummy taking more than 2seconds to get a boob out and sometimes the scary man who everyone calls Daddy.

Clothing age: outgrown newborn and definitely in 0-3 clothing. And I reckon we’re going to stop size 1 nappies. Just in case she has a growth spurt and then we havea load she can’t fit in!

Foot length/Shoe Size: Born with a foot measuring 8cm, today it is 8.2cm.

Milestones: She can track me/my finger and can now turn her head left to right whilst lying on her back. She also has moderate neck strength already. I also, honestly, think she’s trying to smile. She likes looking up at her dragonfly swatter on the Fisher Price rocker. Major milestone of having had 3 baths in a month! Already within 4 weeks she’s awake slightly more and happy to be under her gym, in her rocker or on her change mat.

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: She fell asleep to me reading Tabby McTat one night. I’m nowhere close to reading anymore of Storm of Swords at the moment but am about half way through The 100 which is on my Kindle. I’m really enjoying it, but it’s making me torn on my “ship” in the show.

Parenting Revelation: It is soooo odd going from routine to none at all over night. Because we have a toddler in tow and I can’t seem to remember the first few months at all. From 4 months, Elvis had formed a routine that I worked with. I have no idea about the first 4. It’s so odd to still have Elvis and his patterns and then Robin who sometimes dozes for 10 minutes and then is ready for another hour. I can only hope that she falls into his routine!

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Monthly Update: Month 21

Weight, Length, Height: Still 2 stone by our inaccurate scales, 78cm tall so there’s been a little spurt!

Routine: Up at half 6 or 7, when there’s nursery, home by half one and nap by 2. Later wake up on weekends but napping by 1. Dinner between 4 and half 5, bath at 6.15 and bed at 7.

Bedtime: 7pm but he can talk to himself for a bit. Or go straight to sleep.

Naps/Length: Two-three hours in the afternoon. He wakes and often has a tantrum now which could be because he’s tired still but he can’t have longer due to nursery. Maybe it’s a blood sugar issue and he needs a snack before napping.

Number of feeds in 24hrs: three meals, 1-2 snacks and a second breakfast at nursery!

Favourite toy/objects: NiNi his bouncy horse, his desk which he calls a car and climbs under to drive it.

Clothing age: mainly 18-24 but still in smaller for trousers due to his waist, not his leg length.

Foot length/Shoe Size: size 6 but he refused to be measured properly!

Milestones: a three word sentence – baby sit chair. And loads of other speech ones. His imaginary play is improving too. I guess his desk/car is roleplay and he loves his little doll house and putting animals/people in bed, on the toilet, cooking dinner, driving a car. He can also walk pretty much all the way home from nursery (a 15 minute walk for me).

Our swimming ability: he hasn’t been since before Robin was born. I haven’t since September!

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: He loves Bizzy Bear books, Tabby McTat and Gruffalo. I’m still reading Storm of Swords and also The 100.

New Foods: He tried pulled pork and, bearing in mind he’s not too keen on meat, he ate some and went back for more!

Words: Sleeve, sheep and numbers up to 10 (not in order) are some of this month’s new words. He also now calls our family friend MoMo. He can also name most of the main crew of Thomas Trains. Except Thomas. And he copies quicker now – money after I said it and also “funny haha”. He says night night but with this amazingly funny accent so it sounds like noight and Daddy and I laugh so he says it more!

Signs: he can sign zebra after I showed him it once!

Number of Teeth: No new ones – still 10.

Fears: nothing in particular. Or at least nothing new or that scared him this month!

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Poxy Chicken Pox

When Robin was 5 dayd old we noticed that Elvis had an odd spot on his shoulder. Then there were more and more spots. It was clear that he had chicken pox. I didn’t bother, or even consider, taking him to the doctor. I rang nursery, they told me how long he had to stay off and then Daddy took him to a local pharmacy and came home with Piriton and Eurax – antihistamine and soothing cream. We already had bath emollient from my pregnancy rashes but baths didn’t seem to relieve his itching.

I also rang the midwfery center where I was reassured that Robin was covered by my pregnancy plus I’m breastfeeding.

Yep. Well, at 21 days old, we noticed a few odd spots in her hair. I hoped they were simply some hormonal thing. I knew they weren’t.

Sure enough the next morning she was pretty much covered and some had already blistered. After her first feed, I rang my GP where the receptionist told me I had to come in for a walk in appointment, waiting up to an hour. I tried to explain to the incompetent woman with zero medical training that I had surgery 3 weeks prior, walking is difficult, that my newborn was contagious, that my newborn was susceptible to all the other patients germs. Tough luck, I was given the option to make the walk in clinic or wait a day to get a GP phonecall.

Apparently on clinic days with a walk in, GPs refuse to do home calls. Even for an at risk, vulnerable, 3 week old? According to the stupid woman who refused to budge and even try to ask a doctor, yep. It’s a joke.

So, I sped my way there to not miss the end time of the walk in slot. Then had to fill in her paperwork as Robin isn’t even registered. And I’m in floods of tears – worried about her. And what if she wakes, feeding no longer hurts but she’s dribbly and it’s awkward still.

55 minutes of germ exchanging and we get to see a doctor. Robin stays asleep during the exam and everything! Then the doctor starts talking to herself about possible treatments. Out loud she’s discussing how Robin might need oral medications. Or even intravenous ones. Now I’m trying to stay calm.

She calls the hospital, the consultant paediatrician says nope, no meds needed. So I leave and head to my mum’s as Robin is about ten minutes away from a feed and my boob has felt like exploding for over half an hour. Half way there the doctor calls me. The paed changed their mind due to Robin’s age and I need to get to the hospital. Take a change of clothes she says. For both of you.

Well, that’s nice – I’ll be allowed to stay because I was already panicking over feeding her. I continue to mum’s – Robin needs a feed – and call my husband to get what we need and come get us. I ask mum to get Elvis from nursery, ring the nursery, feed Robin, have a cuppa and then head to the hospital.

I hate hospitals.

We got seen very quickly and shown to our own room. Well, Robin was contagious. We saw a nurse and then a doctor. Both of them made it clear that, even in a newborn, chicken pox is not a huge problem itself. Obviously it is a viral infection so she would be tired and fighting it even with my immunity but the problems are side effects. I believe pneumonia and brain swelling were mentioned.

Then the doctor started describing the 2 to 5 days course of meds that she’d need. Two days of IV drugs via a cannula in her wrist and then see how she’s responding. And off went the doctor to check with the consultant. At this point, her temperature and heart rate were all normal.

I lost it, however.

I was relatively ok with the thought of being in hospital for two nights. I didn’t want to go that long not seeing Elvis but Robin needed it. I’d already discovered that a parent is encouraged to stay, they get free parking, there’s free TV unlike on the maternity ward and breastfeeding mums get three meals a day (luckily I got a lunch as I was starving). But she mentioned cannulas. And how small her veins are. Now, I’ve had cannulas at both c-sections and they hurt.

And I had two this last time as the midwife couldn’t find a vein. How wete they going to find hers? The doctor even started looking at Robin’s ankles. She said it would be best for us to leave as they did it because Robin would take no comfort from us and she wouldn’t remember. We would.

I kept trying to reassure myself that at least she wasn’t actually ill, at least we knew what was wrong.

But a cannula… she’s too tiny.

The doctor came back. She and the consultant had done some research. Apparently the recommendation for IV drugs is when the mum catches chicken pox close to birth. I guess because the baby wouldn’t have any immunity through the pregnancy. That wasn’t our case. The doctors decided that when awake, Robin was alert and happy. Clearly she was fighting the pox relatively well. Or my body was for her.

So they agreed to discharge her, after taking my bloods to check my immunity (although 2 days later and they haven’t told me my levels) so no drugs, no overnight stay and no cannula, but a kind of wasted day. It left me knackered! But it was emotionally draining and how much am I fighting the pox for her without me having the virus?

We’re snuggly at home, she’s spotty and blistery but generally okay. I’ve gone back to co-sleeping as she was mucousy at night. It sounded awful, like she couldn’t breathe. But it doesn’t seem to be hurting me. Yet.

I hate chicken pox!

~ P

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Mummy and Daughter Mornings

There comes that time after every baby is born that everyone fears, everyone expects and maybe very slightly some people look forward to. Daddy has to go back to work.

With Elvis, I was petrified. I was so sleep deprived and was in some form of denial about being a mother, I hated being a mum at the beginning and didn’t want to be alone with him. Especially not for whole days! I think it didn’t help that Husband’s hours at work then were awful. He’s been in a new job for a year and it is much better!

Plus with Elvis being off nursery with Pox, Husband’s paternity leave wasn’t as bonding between us and Robin. But with Husband’s paternity leave ending so does Elvis’ being home bound. I’d like Husband to have some alone time with his girls, but I can’t change Elvis catching pox! And due to my emergency section, he is taking afternoons off where he can so he can help out with Elvis after nursery.

Who knows when I’ll be able to lift him?

I feel plenty of guilt about that.

Well, on the first girls only morning, I got up to help make lunches and then went back to bed for an hour until Robin awoke. Then I sat in the nursing chair, feeding as I used my Kindle to read The 100. Robin was content after that so I got washed, dressed, sorted some washing. When she started to grumble I took her downstairs. The change of scenery made her happy enough for me to eat breakfast, make a cuppa and grab the cake tin, setting up the sofa.

We set up camp on the sofa until Daddy got home and then we walked (very slowly) to get Elvis from nursery. His chants of mummy! as he runs to me when I turn up helps me feel better regarding my inability to pick him up.

Second day of being just the two of us and I didn’t sleep too well so Daddy let me stay in bed. Robin had other ideas and didn’t want to stay asleep. She was however happy lying there wide awake as I got washed and dressed again. Robin very kindly let me have breakfast and make a cuppa. We then had an hour of feeding/napping (as I drank tea) before we needed to head off to our first baby group – a breastfeeding support group that we both enjoyed.

She screamed the whole way home so feeding her was more important than feeding myself and then Daddy arrived for the nursery run. Again, Elvis ran to me across the room chanting mummy! I love it!

We do quite well, the two of us.

Tomorrow we get the morning alone and then the afternoon with Elvis and without Daddy. I am petrified. He won’t be able to nap, I can’t lift him into the cot and I’m scared he’ll have one of his new temper tantrums.

Wish me luck,

~ P x

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Days 11 and 12

Day 11and Baby Robin finally seems to have some awake periods, some times she can go in her rocking chair and lie happily staring. It’s only for small periods, but it’s more than just sleeping. Last night she finished her bedtime breastfeed at 11pm and didn’t feed again until half 6. It beats the 2 mornings of 4am cluster feeds, but will be a one off. She’s changing day by day and does some independent sleeping during the night  – by independent I mean next to me and not on me.

Daytimes she can be put down asleep but it doesn’t last long. She has an almost constant need to suckle during daylight hours. But even with night wakings she’s a far faster eater than Elvis was at this age so I’m pretty rested.

I have a shoulder pain, I got it with Elvis, too. From holding her, sitting and feeding her. I’m a tad resentful of breastfeeding at the moment. Meanwhile my scar is hurting pretty much whenever I move. It makes night feeds even worse. Perhaps she realised his and gave me last night off. I’m trying the biological nursing or laid back feeding position more to try and stop her incessant dribbling and decrease my shoulder pain.

She gained weight again today – 8lb 13oz up from 8lb 4 but still not at birthweight of 9lb 1oz.

Elvis’ pox are clearing up, they’re all scabbed over and he’s not on as much medication any more. But he’s still not himself. He refuses to walk anywhere and we’re not sure if it’s because he’s tired still or used to it or jealous of the baby. He has taken to Robin very well, careful around her, kisses her and tries to share his toys so it isn’t all bad.

He doesn’t seem to mind sitting next to me as I feed or at least just nurse. But we watch far too much tele to keep him calm (maybe more due to him being ill) and feed him biscuits. So I feel guilty.

Perhaps if we were formula feeding I’d feel less guilt towards him. But more to her.

Well, the 11th night made everything worse. I woke up at 1 with diarrhoea and vomiting. Of course, I’m the only one who can deal with Robin. This has then led to back cramps and dehydration headaches. I am so tempted by formula.

The only things stopping me are I remember it all getting better last time and then it all just became easy. She’s already starting, slowly, to fall into 3 hourly feeds with periods of alertness in between. So things are improving, but I feel like crap. Utter, twisty, cramping crap. I need to figure out more comfortable ways to feed in bed and sleep either with Robin or figuring out a way to put her down.

The only really comfortable places I can feed are the nursing chair and reclined on the sofa, but can we stay there all night?

How do you get a baby to stay asleep in their Moses Basket?

~ P

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