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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2 weeks 4 days: the do I don’t I dance

you can’t help it. even with your second baby you play the ‘ do I put them down and risk waking them up or don’t I?’. It’s risky business but as every mum knows with a new born you don’t want them sleeping all day but by the same token you value the silence. when babies cry it really isn’t nice. but a girl’s gotta eat breakfast and have a shower!

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A brand new baby: 1 week and 4 days old…. Childbirth and Contractions

We had a baby boy 1 week and 4 days ago! Baby AJ… a bouncing baby boy born 2.42pm on Thursday 18th June 2015, 7lb 7 ounces. We were expecting a girl so this really was a surprise. For those of you asking for the grisly details, see below. For those of you who have given birth before, enjoy reliving the memories. And for those about to give birth you can skip the contractions bit at the end :) This is actually the 4th time I’m writing this post… maybe I should take it as a sign. But I’m doing this for posterity as much as everything else, so.

The order of events:

9.30am contractions start. When I had Lolo these started 3 days before hand so I was totally sceptical. I drive hubby to work as he’s nearby that morning. Contractions continue but get a little more frequent. Me: ‘I’ve had these pre labour contractions post coitus before so I take them with a pinch of salt.’ I have a contraction whilst going through a width restriction, hahahaha, you try concentrating on doing something whilst you’re in pain. I drop hubby off and on my journey back have to pull over during a particularly fun contraction.

10.30am I am home. I have a sudden pang of hunger and stuff all the carbs I can into my stomach, literally handfuls of bagel. I have a feeling I know what’s coming and I know I have totally no appetite during labour. I pace around our living room. Gravity helps. Not to ease the pain, but with the labour. I start taking note of how frequent the contractions are. I start noting them down on my little yellow note pad that looks like a gold bar. This is what I’m focusing on as the pain of the contractions start to ramp up. Hubby has an important meeting at 11.30am so I’m trying not to call him back unless I’m sure.

11am I call the birth centre. I have tried to hold out as long as I can and although I know these are not THEE contractions, I know they’re pretty strong and that most likely these are the ones I’ve been waiting for. Midwives at the birthing centre talk to me, ask questions to find out a bit more about me and ultimately to assess if it sounds like my contractions are strong enough. As it’s baby number 2, contractions are very regular (every 2 mins) and because I was 3 cm dilated already on Monday (3 days previously) they ask me to come in.

11.15am I text hubby. I can’t wait any longer unfortunately. I send hubby a text to ask him to come home so we can drive to the hospital together. He has to grab the bus as there are no taxis but it only takes him 20mins so we’re good. In the mean time I continue to pace. I also pack some food and drink for the hospital and get hubby some shorts, flip flop and t-shirt as it was a particularly hot day. Great for me as I’m still the coldest person I know but not great for the rest of the population. I also pack my Mexican Pink Fleecy Poncho which made an appearance at Lolo’s birth as I went into uncontrollable shivers and shaking. 11.35am Hubby arrives, gets changed and off we go. Thankfully the birthing centre is only a 5 mins drive down the road.

11.45am we arrive at the birthing centre. We park up and I start making the walk to the centre. I have to pause during contractions. Up the stairs we go. We wait for about 20mins  to be seen, I continue to pace. I focus on my breathing. The poor older lass that let us in keeps looking at me and eventually brings in a wheel chair… just in case. The midwife comes in to see me and gives me an examination. My heart sinks, apparently I am STILL only 3cms dilated. WHAAAAT!!!!???  However I am fully effaced which is a very important factor in getting ready to give birth. She gives me another sweep for good measure. ‘Is she always this calm.’ Well thank you Madam midwife, how very complimentary. I’m just focusing on breathing and not screaming like a mofo. She suggests I might go for a walk along the corridors, but I’m at that point where fine yes I’ll do some walking but I want to keep in close proximity to my room.

12.30 noon get to the room. I start pacing my room. I start getting cold again. Poncho on… poncho off, poncho on, poncho off. The pain is starting to get quite intense.

1.45pm I get into the birthing pool. I’m in the water but contractions slow down a little although still strong. I stand up to help keep the contractions ramp up, then sit down for pain management. Then up again. Eventually I stay sit down with my tummy fully emersed and enjoy the pain relief from the warm water.

2.42pm baby was born. Its crazy it took something like 12 pushes in total for baby to pop out: about 6 for the head to come down and come out and then just the one for the body! It was quite funny, the head came out and started bobbing – who knows what for. But out he came and he was passed to the front and ‘It’s a boy!’, next sentence, ‘thank God I don’t have to do this again!’

Contractions. I can’t lie. They hurt (the handles on those tubs are really secure) and the worst bit is you really have no idea how long it will all last. Having said that, from the 2 experiences I have had, the pre-labour (where you’re contracting hard and the midwife’s looking at you saying you’re close but you’re not quite there yet… you can still talk!) seems to be the longest part (for Lolo this was 3 days but for AJ this seems to have taken only about 4 hours). The actual labour (ah yes you’re breathless, speechless and you’re wondering if it’s even fathomable that these can get stronger? Surely not!!! Is the c-section and epidural still an option?) wasn’t that long in either case (Lolo 4 hours, 80mins for AJ). So if you are reading this about to give birth – remember that, I found it gave me hope whilst managing the pain. Speaking of which, how to describe the pain. Contractions come in waves, you feel the start of one and then the pain magnifies and magnifies until it peaks, it’s like a white heat at its strongest. Mine started in my lower back, knowing that they’re opening the womb the pain makes sense as gut’s a wrenching pain. I try to manage the pain by breathing through each one. As they get more intense, I’m still pacing the room. I have to stop at their height and rise up on my tip toes looking for any other sensation that can distract me. I start counting to give me something to focus on and to give me hope frankly, that each one starts and ends in a given time frame. I count slowly to 10 and Elliott counts the actual seconds (about 25). Contractions do not last forever. But they are exhausting. It takes all my energy to work through each one. I try to sit on the bed for a couple but my contractions seem to spread out yet feel more intense- maybe because I have nothing else to focus on. I keep walking because I know gravity is helping. It’s the only situation where I know the greater the pain the better it is for me because it helps me get closer to the end. But the downward pressure on my cervix is a real bugger and maaan does it hurt. They get so strong that you genuinely have no idea how you’re going to carry on. At their peak, I decide to give pushing a go because to be honest, these contractions have got to be leading somewhere! So I push during a contraction once I’m in the pool and at the end I get that odd sensation to push, to bear down. These are the worst contractions now and the worst pain but you know fairly soon you’re about to see your baby. This is what you have been waiting for. So you keep pushing. You think that everything down below is shot and that you’re going to have problems for the rest of your life but you keep pushing. You push with the pain. You can feel something moving inside and then go back in again. Yep it’s the head. You have to push the baby beyond what feels natural and then the head stays, half out, no more disappearing. The midwife tells me to breathe to allow stuff to stretch. The next push we have the head, after that the body.

It’s an unbelievable experience because it is so totally raw. I can’t say I’ve forgotten it or am under any illusion about the pain. But at the end you do have a totally wonderful little human being.

All mine. Welcome AJ. Watch out – here comes the huggin’ and kissin’!

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