2 plus more

Our childminder’s on holiday at the moment so the way I’ve found to deal w two little people at home is to..  add more people! for the last two weeks we’ve had my mum, aunt and parents-in-law round. in addition a bunch of friends. My main focus is Lolo, because she is two I know she’d get bored at home w just me and AJ for company especially when I’m sat breastfeeding most of the day. last week included a trip to St Albans on Monday, the local farm on Wed, local adventure park Thursday and the local castle on Friday. this week it was adventure park Monday (yesterday), Danson adventure and splash park today, tomorrow’s undecided, Thursday family birthday and lunch, Friday probably story time at the local castle.

I thought I’d be house bound w two kids but oddly we’ve become super active. all with the help of some extra hands of course. Thank you all!

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#2: 5 weeks & 4 days

AJ starts rolling onto his side’s in earnest. so from flat on his back to either one of his side’s. he’s had a brilliantly strong neck since day one too as well as pushing himself up on his legs. what a clever little boy.

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Lolo in numbers

15 bottles of Neals Yard Pure Baby Oil used on Lolo in her first 26 months
let’s see if Austin can match that

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Breastfeeding: Low Milk supply?

Here’s an interesting article about low milk supply… or not as the case may be. Found it quite reassuring. xx

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#2 is 4 weeks yesterday: the truth about good and evil (a.k.a. to drink or not to drink)

And I don’t mean like totally wasted but I do mean having a few and getting a little merry. And I don’t mean like all the time (well, maybe I do but I don’t actually do it! That’s the point! … no? Anyway…). Back track to pregnancy. I couldn’t WAIT to stop being pregnant and to get smashed. 9 months of sobriety?! It was killing me. With Lolo I had no taste for it, even the smell of wine turned my stomach. But not with AJ. Oh no, craving red meat, wine and all things bad for me. So by the time I was 9 months gone I had a bottle of Bollinger Rose and a magnum of good red wine bought and shelved, just waiting for me to pop and be ready to celebrate. But it all bloomin’ changes doesn’t it!

Once you have a baby there’s this constant exhaustion. You can’t think of anything worse than drinking and being in charge of a super mini person. I can’t handle the crying at the best of times let alone when a bit tipsy… let alone the morning after, or in the MIDDLE of the might when you have to get up, feed them and HOPE they go back to sleep afterwards and do not choose tonight to have a marathon cry off. You feel like you’re staring down the barrel of a gun. You’re scared. Fate is not in your hands. This kid can make or break you and you best have your wits about you. And with a drink in you, your mind goes wondering – what if they never stop crying? What if your ears start bleeding? You’ll have to hold them all night long. And if one position doesn’t work then maybe another will. You have to be quick on your feet. Nimble. Able to adapt to any curveball the little monkey slaps you in the face with at 3am.

And this is why drinking with a teeny tiny baby is a bad idea. It has NOTHING to do with passing on the alcohol. It’s all self preservation. Drs can’t officially condone it – but if you speak with one in confidence they’ll tell you that you’d have to be super hammered for it to get through to the milk/baby. Not that that makes getting bladdered ok – there are other reasons as explained above as to why you don’t want to do it. Hubby and I did it in week 2 and, well, it wasn’t pleasant. Neither was the irritability. ‘So don’t do it!’

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#2 is 3 weeks old: what they don’t tell you about the first few days

The first few days of having a new born are such a mess of emotion, exhaustion and new information that you kind of forget about it all. We’re in week 3 and its already so very different. When you’re pregnant you take each day at a time toward the end, looking forward to the new baby and to being rid of the weight of your massive belly. The lead-up to the childbirth is tiring and you’re already in a different mindset, looking forward to the end. Then the baby arrives. However it comes, you go through some serious pain for it to arrive, even with an epidural its quite likely to be a large life ordeal. Then you suddenly start co-existing with a new person in your life with their own agenda. Here’s a summary of my first few days, maybe you can relate.

Thursday 18th June: Day 0: AJ is born at 2.42pm. AJ is wide eyed and quiet when he is born. He latches on for a mini feed, good latch, but is sleepy. We are discharged from the birthing centre 5 hours later at 8pm and we go home. The grandparents had kindly picked up Lolo so we came home to a full house. Lolo all washed and ready for bed, not quite sure what to do with the new arrival. The midwives tell us the baby should be fed every 4 hours and no longer than 6 hours. We try to get AJ to comply. Nipples start to hurt. I can’t sleep. All that energy spent and I am wide eyed most of the night even though Daddy goes on baby duty. There’s not much crying.

Friday 19th June: Day 1: I start panicking. AJ goes on to the nipple, latches on when he can be bothered but does not suck. He starts waking up more this day and crying. I call the midwives about the feeding as this does not seem right. They tell me NOT to try formula or water or anything (even though I’m sure its not healthy that he’s not eating) its all ok and as it should be. A breastfeeding specialist comes round: the latch is great and he’s eating beautifully – they always do when the health visitor comes round (… the problem of course is that he’s not because he’s not sucking for longer than maybe 30s). Here’s what we find out: The first 24 hours babies mostly sleep and may not eat at all, maybe once evry 6 hours. Don’t stress (that would have been helpful to have known at the start). Day 2 they wake up and start eating furiously but you will only have colostrum at this stage. This is normal and actually the colostrum is like rocket fuel! Full of good stuff. The baby starts building up an appetite but the breasts are not producing as much as they would like: babies tend to get a bit fretful on this day (similar words from Gina Ford!) Then between day 3 & 5 your milk comes in and the baby becomes satiated. I swap with Daddy that night and am up with AJ all night getting him to sleep on me, trying to feed him anyway possible. If I can’t feed him as much as he needs I may as well be there to hug him!

Saturday 20th June: Day 2: AJ becomes lathargic, his lips are very dry and his cry is hoarse and exhausted. My mummy alarm goes off. this is not right. But I’m caught in a rock and a hard place. AJ is tired and visibly dehydrated but according to the midwives he’s doing ok with the feeding (except he was not) and my milk has not come in yet. Coupled with not sleeping all night, I break down crying for about an hour. I’m exhausted and my baby is not eating. When they are this small and are not eating, I don’t want to be over dramatic, but it’s not good. You end up in a little world of hell of trying to do the right thing – but there’s nothing you can do. You have to wait. And I do. He had no wet nappies all day. This in baby terms is bad, very bad. By the evening my breasts are feeling a bit heavier- I start expressing like crazy on the off chance. I manage 30ml TOTAL after expressing 15mins each side (yup 30mins total!). We start feeding AJ with a syringe.

By Sunday 21st June, day 3, I’m expressing pretty much every 2 hours and producing about 30-60mls at each session which is fine for such a tiny tummy. It feels good to be feeding him any which way I can. He still won’t take the boob and I give up on the syringe and give him the expressed milk in a bottle which he takes to immediately. Am I worried about nipple confusion? Of course I am but he’s eating! But he may never take to the breast anyway (oh yeah, in addition he’ll only latch on to the right breast and not the left one… you know, when he latches on and pretends to eat!!). I also notoriously hated breastfeeding Lolo for all 8 months as I was in pain for the full 8 months so I’m not holding out hope for AJ.

Interestingly mums only recently started being sent home so fast. Back in our parent’s time mums would stay at hospital for the first 10-14 days. They are unlikely to have experienced a lot of this. Midwives coming in and telling you when to feed, on hand for advice, checking the baby over. In a strange way its like we’ve regressed a bit because they need the hospital beds back. back home in a flash.

In short, mums – use your instinct. You HAVE to use logic, you won’t always be told what to do much like the rest of motherhood. In amongst the mist of all the exhaustion, guilt and pain, you still need to figure out how to keep this little person alive and well. The first few days are hard.


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Week 3 + 3 of baby number 2: The first 3 weeks of sleep

So there’s no way to deny it. AJ is at week 3 + 3 days and he’s fantastic. He’s put himself into a bit of a routine which is great but the big achievement for me is that after day three he started differentiating night from day and sleeping longer at night and being easier to settle (touch wood this continues). So last night for example I think he went down at 11pm and then got up at 6am, then 7am for feeding. The night before he went down at 8pm and up at 3am! So I can’t complain on that front. The daily naps also arrange themselves into one in the morning, one around 12 and the sneaky one in the afternoon around  4-5pm which he’s not always a keen bean on taking but is the one that stops him being SUPER tired and gnarly in the evenings. Have we done anything specific to help achieve this? I guess no lights during the night time feeds and no eye contact. We always change the nappy first so he knows when he cries food is not the first thing on the agenda. We’ve also been super careful to make sure that we’re not waking him up. What I mean by that is that he makes noise through out the night but it doesn’t mean he’s necessarily awake. He’s in a moses basket in our room so its easy to have a look and check that his eyes are open. If they are not we leave him be! The only time I will wake him up is at 7am when the day starts (although Lolo’s normally attacked him by 6.45am) and after the naps if he’s not up, to make sure he doesn’t sleep too much during the day. AND I guess quite key, we try to make sure he consumes as much food during the day as at this age it also seems to be about overall calorie consumption.

The three things I have taken from Gina Ford.

  1. General structure of the day and nap times. Up at 7am. Nap at 9-10, 12-14, 4-5pm. Down at 7pm. I use these as a guide roughly but will be led by him if he needs to go down earlier or if he gets up earlier etc. Haven’t cracked the down to sleep at 7pm yet although often he’ll be down by 10pm which we’re happy enough with at 3 weeks! With Lolo I didn’t really give her a nap structure until 3 months and it seemed to solve a few things as she got really over tired in the evenings.
  2. He sleeps in his room, not in the day light in the middle of the living room. With Lolo I kept her in the living room with me and would just put her down in her moses basket eventually, in the living room. Everyone tells you to keep them in the daylight so they get used to the difference between night and day. But with AJ I have swapped this so he sleeps in the dark in the moses basket. What this seems to have done is that he’s more used to going to sleep in his cot at night so its not half the fight it was with Lolo and I think probably the quality of sleep is better so he’s better rested for the rest of the day.
  3. The introduction of the 4-5pm sleep. I have yet to get this down correctly but the afternoon sleep helps him be less ratty in the evenings. Maybe its the 3 week growth spurt but at the moment he seems to get frustrated a lot. All I can do is make sure he’s not over stimulated after 2 hours of being awake, his nappy is clean and try to get him down for his naps but at the moment he’d rather knacker himself out and just be over tired for ages. But when I can get him down for it and in his moses basket (you know, when Venus is in the orbit of Mars) it works a treat. Then its on to getting him down for the 7pm. We still have some work to do but at least I know where we’re headed.
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