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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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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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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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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Ever Improving

Things are definitely getting better. Elvis slept last night, so did Daddy. Robin and I slept as normal, well, a bit of a cluster feed at 4am that I found annoying, but it was only for an hour. And some of that hour was taken up with me wrapped tightly in the duvet having one of my cold shivers as Robin stared intently at the lamp. Before and after that we co-slept as normal but with some side by side sleeping, not just tummy to tummy.

Robin has had a weight gain. Elvis is warming back up to me – he cried when I left the house today and wasn’t bothered by Daddy leaving so much. But he then had a meltdown when I picked up Robin for a feed. He is still ill with chicken pox but I really just want a bit of normality for the 4 of us. Robin will only suck to sleep and will only stay asleep on or next to me.  How am I supposed to give Elvis any time?

I might have to break out the Moby Wrap a friend gave me.

Daddy,  Robin amd I went out today, leaving Elvis at home with Nanny. We needed to get Robin’s hearing checked at a local pre-school for hearing impaired children so we couldn’t take Elvis there even if he is past the contagious phase of chicken pox. Robin passed both ears. Then we cheekily headed into town so I could buy new bras.

None of my old bras fit at all. Not even the sleep ones, although maybe once my ribcage goes down a bit. There’s no point in me wearing bras, or clothes in general at the moment. I haven’t had any mass leaking today, but Robin still guzzles either too much,  it’s too fast or she gets milk when she just wants to suck to sleep – whichever, I get mass leakage from the boob she’s feeding on.  Elvis quickly decided he wanted to suck to sleep but kept getting unwanted milk from me, hence why we intrpduced a dummy for him. So far, Robin could be similar with regards to my supply, but she seems happy to waste it! And chew me as she gets sleepy.

I’m not used to that in a newborn! How do I stop it?

But at least now I have a bra to wear when I have to leave the house, I’d rather stay at home right now with the milk dribbles! Tomorrow it’s the registry office and hopefully no milk dribbling followed by Daddy going to work for the afternoon despite him being on paternity leave. Luckily Nanny’s coming over to help! I still feel rubbish that I can’t do lots with Elvis, but I feel better. My boobs seem to be calming down and I’m either going to try putting Robin down for naps, to play with Elvis, or ise the wrap. She sleeps a lot right now.

One week left before Daddy goes back to work!

~ P

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My Planned Mummy Moments

Back in August of last year, I wrote a blog about things I desperately wanted to do — it was written in a sleep addled, desperation for some sort of normality in those first few months where suddenly you are no longer a person in your own right – you are a mum and that is all!

Here’s what I wanted to do:

1. Attend Hogwarts. Of course I mean the studio tour. As I’ve toured all the major studios in LA, I really need to do the Harry Potter ones. Not managed that one yet. I started to think about doing it this Autumn, either leaving Elvis with Nanny for a day away, or taking him with us, but I can’t survive a whole day like that, especially not with Elvis in tow. My body sometimes aches before I even get out of bed!

2. Go on the London Eye. I promised my mum a trip on the Eye when she had foster children. Well, they left as I had my IUI so we still haven’t been. Not even really considered that one, still really want to do it and maybe in another year or two. I like the idea of a weekend in London with my mum. See the Christmas lights from up high and visit all the Christmassy tourist things!

3. Have a pedicure. Or more than one. This might be doable sooner than a lot of others. Done. Just before Elvis’ first birthday in time for our first family holiday.

4. Visit a spa. This mummy needs a day of pampering! April of this year (actually around the time that I conceived), a friend invited me for a day of jogging, cycling, swimming and saunaing it up! I loved it!

5. Enjoy an afternoon tea. Some friends recently went to a local hotel for afternoon tea and it looked so yummy. It may have a spa there too. Still considering this as a pre-Christmas thing, either with a bunch of friends as a kind of second baby shower thing, or just me and hubby as one final date. I really want scones, cream and all the other fancy cakes. I’d love the spa aspect, but I can’t use half of it so there is very little point.

6. Have a lie in! Can’t remember how frequently this happens! There have been a number of occasions on the weekend that I have had to go and wake hubby up as he’s still asleep, as is Elvis – I try not to wake Elvis up on weekends as we often have to on weekdays. I think this Mummy Moment was written when I was listening to everyone’s horror stories about never sleeping ever again. My first child is a very good sleeper. My second? I hope to God s/he will be!

7. Sleep 8 hours with no interruptions! Has definitely happened, but with my pregnant bladder issues, I can’t remember what it feels like. I definitely got there, and not just the occasion I got a stomach bug.

8. Have a date, or two, with my hubby. Our wedding anniversary last February was the first date since Elvis arrived. It probably won’t happen at the next anniversary, Robin will be far too little. We’ve also had a few Sunday Cinema dates and evenings away for parties.

9. Go to the cinema. With me only managing to get in Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 before giving birth to E, there are many other geeky films that I missed. I’ll settle with most of them on DVD for Christmas though. I didn’t miss a single Geek film that I wanted to see. Thor Dark World, Captain America Winter Soldier and the X-Men film. We didn’t get to the Spiderman film or Guardians of the Galaxy, but we only watched the first Spiderman film on DVD this year! I watched them all in the cinema, and even took Elvis to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 2.

10. Go shopping for new clothes. And I mean when I know what my body’s like and normal tops that don’t need to be nursable. Ummm, yeah, did this and then discovered I was pregnant. I did not get back in to wired bras and I only wore my new wardrobe for a few weeks, including our May family holiday. Next time, eh?

11. Attend my conventions. Now, I’ll happily take E to most of them, but he probably can’t do the Milton Keynes ones due to the distance and cold location so I’ll do those alone. Hopefully! I tried in July, it was an organisational disaster, but I did get there, just never got in. But I went to one in London, October whilst 6 months pregnant and I loved it. I needed lots of breaks and seeing other mums with their toddlers made me crave a cuddle with Elvis (who coped perfectly fine not seeing me all day), but it was really nice just being me!

12. Spend a night in my bed. Maybe with my hubby, but certainly without E! When do night feeds stop???? It’s so strange that I wrote this at the beginning of August, within a few weeks, I had made the decision that I could not handle it anymore, that enough was enough, and Elvis transitioned into his Moses basket by the side of the bed with perfect ease — we had maybe a week of partial co-sleeping. As for his night feeds stopping, well, that was only two months later at the beginning of October. We’ve bought a co-sleeper cot this time to try and keep hubby in our bed!

Is there anything I would have added? No, and, yes, in retrospect, a lot of the above didn’t matter when it came to it. But they did matter at that time. I read somewhere the other day that, once you become a mum, you are never, ever the same person ever again and it is completely true, but I do think that you can start to feel like a new normal. Some mums seem to jump back into their life, have nights away within weeks of giving birth. Some mums still desperately miss their child a year later or refuse nursery places because they can’t bear to be separated. There is no right or wrong. I’m pretty happy now with the balance I have in my life (aside from the pregnancy pains) and I do worry about those first few months when Robin, like Elvis, will depend on me and I will simply, only, just be their mother. But I also know that the day will come when I can spend a night away, go out alone with hubby, socialise with work, be an adult. It might not be at 4 months when Elvis started sleeping 9 hours for Robin, but it will happen.

Hopefully that thought alone, that sentiment from this post will keep me going through those months where all I am is a milk machine. I can remember wishing for 30 minutes to do my hair, pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs and have a relaxing bath. It was so important to me to be able to do something so normal as paint my toenails. Now? I get a bit bored sometimes and really couldn’t care less about painting my nails!

I do, however, have a few pregnant mummy moments that I’d like to plan in!

1. To have a glass of cider. I don’t enjoy alcohol at all whilst pregnant, not even a sip, and I spent all summer wanting a nice icey cider. Hello, next summer!

2. The above mentioned afternoon tea and/or one final hubby date before Robin comes along, or as a first date after Robin’s here.

3. To go swimming and actually swim rather than be in pain and feel utterly inept at simple breaststroke. I may never pay for a swimming membership again, but I will go swimming again. Hopefully next summer.

4. I’m going to say a jacuzzi which obviously I can’t do whilst pregnant, but I only actually really want to do it because I don’t fit in my current bath and I can’t submerge myself in it. A jacuzzi I could. This desire will probably wane, especially if we get the bathroom redone in the next 6 months (yes, I might be crazy).

I’m going to call these 4 things my New Year’s Resolutions and that I will do them all at some point in the New Year. I know I can and will, because I did the equivalent last time!

Happy New Year!

~ P x

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Goodbye To You

Honestly, in the past year or even more, I have been such a push over. I have let people judge me, my friends and my family and never said a thing. Simply stewing in my resentment in private. And when I have ever said anything, it has been dismissed as if what I think, what I feel does not matter.

Do you know what actually angers and upsets me most about all of this though? It isn’t that I let it all happen to me, it isn’t that my family and friends have so little regard for me that they treat me like nothing, no, it’s that I can already see it all happening to my son.

And I refuse to allow that to happen.

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Daddies Don’t Exist

I remember a few months ago, probably quite a while ago actually, getting really annoyed with a bunch of mums in a forum who were discussing co-sleeping and their partners. The first Mumma had said that their OH wasn’t happy with her co-sleeping anymore – he wanted back in the bed or to be back with her. I have no idea of the child’s age. The general advice to her: do what’s best for you and your child, it isn’t up to him.

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Grey Tinted Glasses

Rose tinted glasses are those things things that make you look back on evwnts in a more positive light than they were at the time, right? Well, I think I must have a pair of grey tinted glasses.

When I see mums of younger babies, newborn type of age, I wonder how they seem so with it and functioning.  I met a mummy of a ten week old and wondered how she seemed so awake and alert. I remember barely being conscious, sleeping every single time that Elvis was asleep. I remember months of feeling constantly attached to him, months of bed sharing, months of only sleeping on me, months of me eating every meal over him, months of me being permanently stuck on my sofa with Elvis in my arms, months of hiding biscuits and bottles of water around the sofa so I wouldn’t need to move. It was months of being physically tied to him 24 hours a day.

And yet it wasn’t.

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