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  • Month 3 of parenthood: Smiles and screams, reflux and gas

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    Now that we’re out of the fourth trimester, here’s how that third month went!

    We definitely had the 12-week growth spurt. He was incredibly sleepy! And I swear I could hear differences in how his insides work – gas moving through him and whatnot.

    He’s much more awake and alert … I’m starting to understand the whole eat-play-sleep idea and how that might actually work now.

    Most importantly, SMILES! Sounds! Real ones! Oh, my heart.

    He’s outgrown his newborn cloth nappies, and discovered his lungs. Oh, he’s a real screamer now when he wants. Still won’t take a pacifier but sometimes will comfort suck on my finger.

    Sleep is still a battle and his daytime cat naps are awful, while at night he farts up a storm. Towards the end of the month he started waking screaming at night, I’m pretty sure due to gas. His reflux is still pretty bad, but since he falls in the ‘happy chucker’ camp, nobody will do anything about it…

    Also terrible: cradle cap. Just can’t shake it, even with what the doctor prescribed (non-steroid stuff, at this stage still).

    Our osteo suggested he might have issues with dairy and I’m starting to cut out milk, ice cream, cheese 🙁

    Honestly, it’s getting harder. Luckily it’s also getting more rewarding, but hot damn.

  • Month two of parenthood: Learning to trust my gut, and way too many bodily fluids

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    Things kicked up a notch this month!

    I learned to start trusting my instincts and Spud got both harder and more rewarding to deal with.

    Formula to the rescue

    We started doing more formula top ups, more regularly. I remember one afternoon when he wouldn’t stop crying even after feeding for hours. I decided to try making up a bottle and offered it to him – magic! Most nights we do a last bottle before bed (though it doesn’t always get finished or sometimes is barely touched) and sometimes when he gets hungry later in the day and I seem to have dried up, we’ll top him up.

    The sleep struggle

    Speaking of trying things, another time along with the fussing he was showing early signs of tiredness so I popped him into the pram, fully prepared to rock him for awhile. He went to sleep in minutes though and I felt like a rockstar! Naps now take work, sadly. They don’t just happen automatically anymore…

    We set new nighttime sleep records almost every weekend. I suspect our Thursday osteo appointments may have helped. On his two month anniversary I woke up amazed that he’d slept through – over 7 hours! A feat yet to be repeated, sadly.

    The osteo showed me how to get him to take a dummy by tapping it while in his mouth. But that was a onetime thing; I could never get it to work again after that…

    D-MER no more

    I had sometimes been feeling a weird wave of emotion at the start of each feeding. Like an overwhelming sense of frustration. That went away this month, and I think it was a bout of dysphoric milk ejection. The things you learn when endlessly scrolling FB and Reddit…

    Our escape artist (thank god for structured industrial strength swaddles)

    People say he’s the wriggliest baby ever. I have nothing else to compare him to but I do feel validated…he never stays still! Head butts while holding him upright for burps or fun – just a daily hazard of the job. And muslins weren’t cutting it as swaddles anymore as he’d break free right away. I bought a few straightjacket-like swaddles and they were a godsend.

    Interactivity

    Smiles! Real smiles. So many! And he started to spend more time awake after feeding, making playtime A Thing at last.

    Excretions

    I have poo envy. Seriously. Between this kid’s explosive poops (sounds like a drain emptying ferociously) and T spending forever in the toilet, it seems just silly that I’m more clogged up than I was while pregnant.

    That said, this poop machine dialed it back a bit especially overnight, until most nights he would only have wet (not dirty) diapers. Although he outgrew size one in Huggies he didn’t fit the next size up. Thank goodness for Japanese brands! A subject for another post… While he still isn’t big enough for my OSFM reusables, we have two newborn cloth nappies that are getting some use. But I’m baffled as to how we’re supposed to get a good fit with domes/snaps; Velcro seems like the only way to go. Still can’t quite get them sitting right, as in not too loose or too tight.

    I accepted that spews and spills were just going to be our new normal and that he was going to be a refluxy baby. Stuff coming out both ends while up on the change table? Just another day in our lives…

    Getting out of the house

    I became a baby wearing fan. The first time I had him in the front pack snuggled up to me, it felt so much like being pregnant again. His squirming around was just like the movements he used to make in utero.

    We went out on our first solo walk. It. Felt. Amazing! We ventured down the local cycleway to the pony farm and back. Sadly I can’t wrangle both a pram and a dog, let alone two. Any dog walks are done one at a time and only while I’m babywearing.

    Other bits and bobs

    I came across the Dunstan baby cries theory and at first it was a game changer, then not so much. He basically has only two cries I can discern and hungry/tired are the same.

    We survived our first vaccinations! He was fussier in the following days and came up with a new sad whimpering cry, and also had a bit of diarrhoea, I think. But overall, could have been worse.

    Time truly is flying, and balancing today with tomorrow is still tough as ever…

  • 5 baby essentials I didn’t know I needed

    Beyond the core basics (a car seat, a crib, some clothes and nappies) it’s damn near impossible to get a grip on what you need for a baby. Some people swear they couldn’t live without Thing A, B or C, while others find the same item to be a total waste of money. All the more reason IMO to buy secondhand gear – no point shelling out for something new that may never get used!

    We’ve been so ridiculously fortunate to have almost everything gifted or lent to us. From former coworkers to random friends of my mum, we’ve been overwhelmed by generosity.

    Beyond the usual essentials, here are a few things I’ve found invaluable so far…

    5 BABY ESSENTIALS I DIDNT KNOW I NEEDED

    Haakaa pump

    Pumping at the hospital (with their double electric) was uber depressing – and I swore off pumping after that. But my midwife brought me over a manual Haakaa pump and it’s been a lifesaver for expressing extra when needed. It’s annoying to sometimes be overflowing and sometimes running dry, but this helps even that out.

    Mum2Mum swaddles

    I cannot wrap to save my life, and this wriggly worm is impossible to contain anyway. So far two other types of sleep sack haven’t worked, but these Mum2Mum Dream swaddles are doing the trick at the moment to contain his arms. They seem to be the same as the SwaddleMe. We also got given a couple of Miracle Blankets, which are pretty similar and also get a fair bit of use, particularly when it’s hot, as they’re quite lightweight.

    Witch hazel

    I didn’t go as far as freezing padsicles but I did get witch hazel to help with calming matters down there. Particularly when I got a delightful butt rash (FML) the cooling effect of witch hazel was the only comfort I could get.

     

    Baby bath support

    Even if we didn’t have a massive baby bath tub, supporting Spud in the water is a killer. I gave him a quick clean in the sink solo once and that was a mission! We were rushing through bath time because T would get a sore back/arm. The plastic support seat thing that we prop him up with now is still quite awkward but it’s a big improvement. One pro to rescheduling our baby shower to post-birth was being able to request stuff we genuinely knew we needed; this was one of the best gifts!

    Change table

    Again, this is so much better for our poor backs, not to mention streamlining the process! Now there is a place for everything – storage for nappies and cream/sanitiser/flannels etc – and a laundry bag plus rubbish bag. It’s just much more organised and pleasant all round especially now we’re using reusable wipes. Also eliminates the drama of trying to avoid picking up dog hair accidentally off the bed/couch. Our change table, which I got for free on Facebook, actually also has a built-tub, but we don’t use it.

  • Month 1 of parenthood: all the things that surprised me & a few confessions

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    I barely had time to prep for labour, let alone baby’s first few weeks. And so it’s been a learning curve!

    The first couple of weeks were easy. He slept a lot and only fed for 10 mins at a time, going straight back to snoozing after. Cries were easily soothed by a feed or a nappy change! I managed to get in a bit of freelance work and house cleaning along with the daily dishes and laundry.

    Then he grew bigger, and more alert, and the trouble started. Right around his original due date in fact. We went from 3-4 hour sleeps to maybe 1-2 tops, constant crying, extended feeds and terrible gas! He spits up, burps and farts but none of it seems to come easy, so that’s what we spend ages trying to coax out of his tiny body. Routine has been totally thrown out the window … just as I was thinking I’d like to try to stick to more of a schedule going forward.

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    The first week at home, with T
    Oh, you’re exhausted? Oh, you’re sick of loading the dishwasher? I’m the one who just gave birth and spent nearly a week in hospital!

    The second week at home, solo
    Oh, this is when you have to start to change their outfits constantly! Oh, this is what it’s like to get peed on, and watch him pee on his own face!

    The third week at home
    Oh, that’s what people mean when they say their baby is noisy at night! The sounds he makes in his sleep now are crazy.

    The fourth week at home
    Oh wow, how much wind is in this child? Each cycle is so much longer now that I have to try and get the gas out of him.

    Things that have surprised me so far

    No period for nine months = awesome. More than making up for that in the weeks post partum = ugh.

    The fact you can collect colostrum off your nips (and then syringe it into baby’s mouth). Not something I ever ever ever could have fathomed doing.

    How long it takes Spud to latch on sometimes. Watching him play with my nips is equal parts hilarious and frustrating.

    The first time I started leaking milk when I heard him cry. WTF.

    The cost of parking. Not that I ever imagined we’d be in hospital so long…

    How long adrenaline keeps you going. The hormones got me through those long nights the first couple of weeks (though during pregnancy I surprised myself with how well I managed on reduced sleep even then).

    So thirsty. All the time. Feeding another human is seriously draining!

    My belly is still pretty huge. And yet I DGAF.

    How many bibs this kid goes through in a day. So spitty.

    Time is flying. We just hit six weeks and took him for his first shots … Christmas ain’t far off and I feel like May (when I go back to work) is going to be here in no time…

    Confessions from the trenches

    I sometimes fall asleep during night feedings – I know, it’s terrible.

    Related: when he won’t settle after a night feed, I used to bring him into bed (I’ve stopped now).

    They say you’ll know… but I honestly couldn’t tell if I was in real labour. My contractions started 5 mins apart and stayed that way for over 12 hours. Up till the morning I was wondering if I should suck it up and go to work. Then I thought okay, I’ll stay home but T should go to work and I’ll call him if anything progresses. (Thankfully he decided to stay put in the end!)

    I was set on equal parenting and splitting duties evenly. The reality, especially to start, was nowhere near. The first couple nights I did all the night wake ups; he wasn’t managing the sleep deprivation well at all despite talking a big game. Not looking after himself while we were in hospital meant he was in worse shape than I was (thanks hormones) on the first night we finally came home.

    With him working and me breastfeeding (along with some expressing and the odd bottle of formula) the scales are still tipped pretty far towards moi. Throw in the fact Spud is feeding so often now (my friend with an even more prem baby finds the same) and for so much longer, and I’m spending literally hours and hours of the day attached to him.

    That said, when I’m at wits end or totally drained – usually at 3am – I’ll hand off once in awhile. And if T’s having an insomniac night, he’ll take the wheel – he’s given me a handful of full or part nights off, which have been glorious. I may have the milk, but he’s got the burping and swaddling magic.