Category Archives: Baby Stuff

Change

This was my morning, 7am to 9am:

MJ wakes. He is soaked in wee. Change his clothes.

Get Will out of our bed. He is also soaked in wee, as are our sheets. Change him.

Feed Will porridge, much of which  ends up on his clothes.

Pick up MJ from his swing to discover that he is dripping a combination of wee, poo, and vomit.

Change them both.

Get poo on self. Change self.

Decide MJ needs bath. Undress him. Running bath water encourages MJ to wee all over me. Change self.

Bathe MJ. Change him.

A change is as good as a holiday right? No wonder I feel so well rested.

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My Newest Man

I’m not going to write a post about MJ’s birth because there isn’t much to say. I made it to full term without any signs of labour and at 40 weeks 2 days we arrived at the hospital for our back-up plan c-section. The operation went smoothly and at 9:41 am Matthew James was born.

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I do, however, want to record some of my thoughts about the early days of MJ’s presence in my life before it all recedes into a haze.

There’s no denying that for many reasons I found this pregnancy more difficult than my first. Every pregnancy is different and with a toddler and a very demanding job life was already pretty challenging; the addition of an unexpected pregnancy really amplified those difficulties. I was physically uncomfortable, and didn’t really feel that healthy ‘pregnancy glow’ I experienced with Will.

Although the pregnancy was welcome and cherished, I wonder whether it’s unexpected nature contributed to my less positive experience. The first time around I worked for the pregnancy; I spent months planning for pregnancy and imaging how it would feel. The second time around the opposite was true – the pregnancy required me to change my view of what my life would be like. If I’m honest, I’m sure that coloured how I experienced the pregnancy.

All that aside, however, this pregnancy was physically more difficult. Surprisingly my pelvic instability, although starting earlier, was actually less problematic than last time. However I experienced 20 weeks of significant morning sickness, followed closely by significant abdominal pain and discomfort which I endured for many, many weeks. My first pregnancy felt natural – I felt like it was something I was good at. This pregnancy, despite occurring ‘naturally’ (that term makes me cringe) felt somewhat unnatural. Like many women by the end of the pregnancy I was ready for it to be over.

A tiny part of me was concerned though; I admit that I wondered if my comparatively negative experiences would continue once the baby was born.

Interestingly, during the pregnancy I never worried that I wouldn’t love this baby as much as I love Will. I was sure that I would love my second son just as I did my first. When MJ was born however, I admit it felt a little anti-climactic. Yes, I loved MJ, but it didn’t feel like the powerful, all-encompassing in love that I feel for Will. I was scared that I would never feel as much love for this new, unplanned baby. I spent a day feeling oh-so-happy but also slightly anxious; and then I realised something. I was comparing apples with oranges. I was comparing the love I felt for MJ, this new, somewhat unformed and unfocused being, with the love I feel for Will, the rambunctious, hilarious toddler of today. The toddler that I know, and that knowing is the difference. I didn’t love MJ less, the quality of love was just different. I love Will for being Will; I loved MJ solely because he was my baby. I’m sure, in retrospect, that it was the same with Will – I simply didn’t have anything to compare my love to.

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I still haven’t discussed any of these initial feelings with anyone – with the exception of a couple of conversations with my mother in which we talked about the differences between first and second births, the fact that the second time around it is no less wonderous but doesn’t have the same life-changing quality. I haven’t kept quiet out of guilt, rather it just doesn’t seem important now that I understand my feelings.

Once I reached that understanding I relaxed and just allowed myself to enjoy MJ. I still compare the two boys, but now it’s done out of curiosity rather than fear. Already, at 7 weeks of age, I can feel my love for MJ changing; I can feel myself starting to love him for who he is. And I know that my love will only grow with each and every day, each new trait he reveals to me will deepen my love for him. The well from which that love springs is infinite, for both of my sons.

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With all that said, it feels like the comparative difficulties of pregnancy have continued into the neonatal period. Like his older brother, MJ is a champion feeder, but in the early days his latch wasn’t as easy and I suffered with painful grazed nipples and a mild case of mastitis. Although I felt almost back to normal by two weeks following the caesarean, the recovery period (although quick compared to most) didn’t feel quite as painless. And MJ hasn’t been an easy baby. In retrospect, Will wasn’t the easiest baby either (although I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time), but caring for MJ has felt more difficult. I’m sure that balancing the needs of two children contributes to the difficulty but both my husband and I have agreed that MJ can be a challenge. He is unsettled and suffers from some reflux. It can be very difficult to settle him to sleep and during the day he tends to only catnap for periods of 10 to 20 minutes. He hates being put down and tends to fuss if I’m not holding him – something that I simply can’t do all day while also caring for Will.

I’m lucky that as far as toddlers go Will is generally easy-going. Yes, he throws some epic tantrums, and he’s a bossy, opinionated kid, but he is supremely good at entertaining himself and is pretty understanding that I can’t always play with him when he wants. He also loves MJ and has never shown the slightest resentment towards him. (I make a point to say thing like “Mum is busy” rather than using MJ as the reason Will can’t have what he wants, but I’m still quite aware that there will be periods of resentment or rivalry in the future.)

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In the last week or two MJ seems to have settled down somewhat. We have made some changes to help with his reflux and either those measures or his age seem to be improving the situation. He has, on occasion, actually settled himself to sleep, something that makes me irrationally proud and was something Will was never able to do until we sleep trained him at, I think, seven months.

Although we still have some very difficult days, lately they have been fewer and further between. One thing I learnt from Will’s babyhood is that these changes often occur with no clear explanation and are unpredictable in nature. With that in mind, I want to neither court disappointment nor allow myself to worry about what may not come to be, but simply enjoy those times that MJ is easy and not allow myself to feel hopeless during the difficult times.

That would be a valuable lesson to remember throughout their childhoods.

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Filed under Baby Making, Round 2, Baby Stuff, Labour/Delivery

Interior Designing

I’m supposed to be studying, which of course means I’ve been hanging out on Pinterest and Polyvore far too much.

We’ve started working on ideas for Will’s room once we transition some of the baby items out for his sibling, and of course I’ve been thinking about the baby’s room too!

I have come up with a few hastily thrown together mood boards which I thought I’d share, with the aim that eventually I’ll post before and after pics.

Will's Big Boy Room

Will has a couple of beautiful, colourful handmade quilts that I really want to show off on his new bed. I’ve also been searching high and low for navy and white striped bed sheets but to no avail.

A few items have already been decided on or purchased (like the bed and the posters) and some others are still a work in progress. I’m not sure about the bunting – I need to something on the wall or ceiling above his bed to replace the baby mobile which has already come down, but I’m just not sure if bunting feels right. I plan to recover the chair in his room (which has been yellow since I recovered it for his nursery) in either navy blue or kelly green, or a combination.

The quilts contain lots of colours so really any colour will go in the room, but I want to focus on the slightly more grown up navy and dark green that you can see in this board.

 

Baby girl nurseryBaby boy nursery

The new babe will be inheriting Will’s cot and changing table, and the Ikea chair which is the partner to the chair in Will’s room and is currently packed away in storage. There really aren’t any furniture decision to be made, so these boards focus on the colour schemes I’m currently contemplating. Nothing will get purchased until we find out the baby’s sex in a week or so – but then I might go online shopping crazy!

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Filed under Baby Making, Round 2, Baby Stuff, Non-IF Stuff

The Shortest Video in the World

I can feel a blog post bubbling under the surface; I need to vent about the stress I’m feeling at the moment, how hard it is to juggle conflicting roles. But taking the time to write will only increase my stress.

Instead, I am posting the world’s shortest video. It’s short, but manages to accurately illustrate what raising my son is currently like.

He’s a cheeky monkey, and I love him for it.

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July 9, 2012 · 9:57 pm

New

New

I found this photo on my husband’s computer tonight; I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.

It made me feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I hope I get to do this again one day.

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April 7, 2012 · 10:04 pm

Photo Post

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Here are the long-overdue photos from Will’s birthday party which we held in a local park. Luckily for us the weather was brilliant!

Be warned, there are more than 30 photos in the slideshow, so get comfortable!

A few details:

  • The bunting was made by a friend when Will was born. The colours don’t work in his bedroom but I knew straight away that I wanted to use the bunting as the basis for his first birthday party decorations.
  • My talented friend Emma made the cake and cupcakes. She also made our wedding cake and based Will’s cake on the same recipe because it’s our favourite – banana and white chocolate.
  • I bought the blue polka dot lanterns and made the blue and white poms. I hung a ‘chandelier’ over each of the four picnic tables in the picnic shelter we reserved for the party.
  • Will, the child who hates hat, loved the party hat I made him and wore it for the entire cake cutting and eating. And not surprisingly, he loved his cupcake!

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November 28, 2011 · 1:57 pm

Wordless Wednesday

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Filed under Baby Stuff, Photos, Wordless Wednesdays

The Joy of Parenthood

I still dream feed Will. Even though he is big enough and plump enough to easily go twelve hours without a feed I just can’t give it up. It’s partly because I don’t want to rock the boat – we’ve got a sweet little routine happening at the moment – but mostly because I love it.

Will is a mover and shaker. Long gone are the days when I could breast feed him while listening to his gentle snuffles and watching his little lashes fluttering against his cheeks. These days I spend our feeds trying to extricate locks of my hair from his fingers.

The dream feed is my chance to recapture Will’s babyhood. He is quiet. He is still. He is utterly content. In that moment we are everything to each other – nothing else exists.

Before I lay him back in his crib I usually spend a few minutes holding him in my arms, admiring his sleeping form and feeling the weight of him, the contours of him.

Tonight while doing this I offered him little good night kisses. First his fingers, then his cheek, and finally his sweet little pouting lips. Desperate for one last moment of togetherness I leaned down and buried my nose in his neck to inhale that wonderful clean-baby smell.

What I inhaled instead was the little patch of vomit he had deposited onto his pyjamas right before bed.

Such are the joys of parenthood.

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Progress Report

First night of sleep training….

He seems to have fallen asleep after 25 minutes of angry, angry yelling. The real hard part will be over night when he realises that he’s not going to get milk when he wakes up!

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Hush Little Baby…

Help!

We’re in the midst of a sleep crisis and I would truly appreciate your input. (Perhaps crisis is too strong a word, but as a household we’re certainly not sleeping as well as we would like. Sleep deprivation tends to cause me to exaggerate.)

Will has never been easy to settle to sleep, but once asleep he has historically been a pretty good sleeper. He started sleeping through the night at 11 weeks of age. At a little older than 4 months of age he stopped cat napping during the day and started having decent day time sleeps. For more than two months life was blissful. Our family consisted of a well-rested mother, a well-rested father, and a happy, perky little monkey. Perhaps two or three times a month Will would have a night-time waking. I would give him a breast feed and he would be back in bed within 10 to 15 minutes. I never stopped using a feed to resettle him at night because he woke so rarely that it just didn’t seem important.

At 6.5 months this all changed. It may be a coincidence but the day that Will received his 6 month vaccinations he stopped sleeping at night. My usually voracious eater also refused all solid food for 3 days so I assumed that he was unwell as a result of the vaccinations and the change would be short-lived. He started eating again but shortly afterwards he caught his second cold which understandably affected his sleep tremendously – we had to resort to holding him while he slept or sleeping him upright in his pram. I thought that once he recovered his sleep would return to normal, but it hasn’t. I don’t know whether his routine was disrupted for long enough that he developed new sleep habits or whether it is simply a developmental stage but at almost 8 months Will is still waking frequently at night and is much more difficult to both settle and re-settle.

We are all exhausted.

The time has come for sleep training.

We have a very strong bed-time routine in place and Will knows what to expect at bed time. So do we, which is crying, and plenty of it, as soon as we leave his room. Currently we allow him to cry for a while (perhaps 5 minutes although we break a cardinal rule of parenting and are not consistent) and then go back in to help soothe him to sleep – either through patting and shushing (which is slow and doesn’t reliably result in Will falling asleep), or by giving him a dummy (which is faster but also doesn’t reliably result in sleep). Three months ago Will would always be asleep within 5 minutes; now it’s more like 15 or 20 minutes and we may need to repeat the process more than once over the course of the evening. Sigh.

At night – I breast feed him if he hasn’t eaten within about 3 hours. I know, I know, I was simply begging for trouble by establishing this habit but at the time I thought this sleep disruption would be a very temporary phase and, hell, I wanted to be back in bed as quickly as possible. Predictably Will is now breast feeding more at night than he does during the day.

I am sure of few things as a parent, but these are the things that I have eliminated as causing Will’s wakings.

1) Cold. (He’s not. Trust me.)

2) Light. (It’s not. Trust me.)

3) Noise. (He sleeps with white noise. I don’t know if it makes one iota of difference but he has it every time he sleeps. On the odd occasion that I have forgotten it, he sleeps just the same)

4) Not enough wine in his breast milk. (Whiskey doesn’t work either)*

5) Too much caffeine in his breast milk. (If anything the two or so serves of caffeine I have allowed myself per week since this whole sleepless business started have improved his sleep. Go figure.)

We have tried all the easy solutions and quick-fixes, including closing our eyes and hoping the problem will magically disappear. Since Will invariably cries at bed time there is no point trying a no-cry sleep solution… such a solution simply doesn’t exist for my noisy little night-owl.

At the moment I am considering the Verbal Reassurance Technique, but to be honest the idea of any sleep training scares me. I just don’t know if I have the will power. I also don’t quite know how to approach it – should I ease into it by continuing with our settling routine but refusing him feeds at night, or just go whole-hog and cut out feeds, the dummy, and resettling all at once. Gulp.

What I would like to know from you is what method, if any, you use to settle your baby, and your experience, if any, of sleep training. Please, please share your wisdom – or your folly!  Both may be equally useful to me.

 

*I’m joking, of course. Will only drinks beer.

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