Friday 31 October 2008

8 weeks, 3 days old

Size: 97cm waist; 26 pelvic bone to bra

I don't actually think I'm shrinking :o(. I think what is left has turned to fat! (or always was fat). Have been trying to eat better these last two weeks but not doing too well. Keep getting tempted by the odd bottle of wine. Plus I don't like to diet at weekends so the curry we had on Friday (yes Fridays are the weekend!) didn't help matters. What is difficult is what to snack on during the day. I seem to remember this was a problem when I was pregnant so some things never change. Anything that is good for you is boring! When are they going to invent guilt-free chocolate - that tastes good. I guess Malteasers is the closest thing...perhaps not the big bags though!

Anyway, Callum! He is still gorgeous! He had his first jabs yesterday, poor thing. He was a really good boy as they must really hurt. He grizzled a little for the first one and then the nurse said the second one stings more. He gave out a cry with the second one but within about 10 seconds, he had stopped crying and was asleep again (he was asleep when we went in there). He then spent all afternoon asleep until about 7.30pm when he just looked soooo sorry for himself and would occasionally let out a little whimper. I spent the evening cuddling him - how could I not when he looked so sad? He took a while to go down but had a goodish sleep to start with (12.30-2.30). He then woke up at 3.30am and wouldn't settle back down. I ended up sleeping on the glider chair in his room with him asleep in my arms. I woke up at what I thought was 4.30 (must have dreamt it was as I am sure I remember looking at a clock but there isn't one in his room and when I went back to bed it was nearly 6am), I fed him and he finally went back to sleep in his cot. I went back to bed depressed that Stuart would be getting up to work in 45 minutes and that I would have to get up shortly after as I had to take Lotte to the vet today. 

What a mean mum I am - I had to take Callum for his jabs one day and then Lotte to be wormed and micro-chipped the next. I did ask that they chipped Callum too but they just laughed at me. I don't think they were taking me seriously!

Got Callum weighed on Tuesday - he is now 10lb 1oz (4.64kg).

I've now been to two post-natal groups. It is fairly interesting/useful and the people there seem nice but I can't see myself making friends with any of them. The health visitors talk for a bit at the beginning covering various subjects from sleep routines to play and then we get time to mingle afterwards.

We still haven't progressed much in terms of Callum pooing. He still struggles and when he does go it is still dark green but it is starting to get more regular again. It seems he is not alone in this as I've been hearing other mums complaining of the same thing so I guess it is something that most babies (if not all) must go through and we just have to wait it out.

Thursday 23 October 2008

7 weeks, 2 days old - Sleep Routines

Don't get your hopes up, there is still no real routiCheck Spellingne. However, have learnt a big lessons over the past week. I went from being 'fairly' relaxed about this to being neurotic and really stressed out - all because I made the fatal mistake of listening to an 'expert'!

Most of the time, we've been ok with Callum's sleep patterns (or non-patterns) throughout the day and night but in the evening, he tended to be awake for 4 hours straight. Typically, this will be right when we are eating dinner so one of us would be speed eating while the other would get a cold dinner. For the last couple of hours, you could tell that Callum was over-tired and would then really fight sleep. Often, he wouldn't go to sleep properly until 10-10.30pm when we went to sleep, though he did go down fairly easily.

So, I went to the babyshow at the weekend and there was an 'expert' talking about sleep routines etc. She said that newborns should only be awake for 45 minutes at a time - just enough time to eat, nappy change and back to sleep again and we should do everything possible to get them to sleep whether it was rocking baby to sleep or when things were getting more desperate, a drive round the block. At this age, babies don't have sleep association (they don't have this until about 4 months) so none of the above would cause you a problem going forward.

At question time, I said that Callum was 7 weeks old and was awake for 4 hours in the afternoon. I said that night times were ok, with him sleeping for 3-4 hours when he first goes down and then it will be 2-3 hours next time then 1-2 hours when we would normally get up.

She said this sounded 'classic' and that Callum would no doubt, in a couple of weeks stretch the first sleep to 5 hours, then 6 until he slept through the night but the 4 hour period of him being awake needed to be sorted. She said that he should only be awake for an hour and then we needed to look for the sleepy signs and try to catch him when he was getting sleepy to put him down and if he didn't go down straight away, we should try rocking etc.

So, armed with this new knowledge, Monday was spent mainly in the nursery trying to get him to sleep (I also thought I should be trying to get him to sleep in his nursery). I really struggled to get stuff done and only just got to Sainsbury's for the already overdue food shop as Callum seemed to be awake all day and would cry when I wasn't around or would be crying because I was trying to get him to sleep. I would rock him to sleep in my arms and then as soon as I tried to put him down, he would wake up and cry.

On Tuesday, I needed to go out so let Callum do his thing re being asleep or awake. He often spends most of the time we are out asleep anyway. Then Tuesday night, Stuart tried to put him to bed while I cooked dinner - again, in his cot. We managed to eat dinner but then the crying started and we didn't manage to get him down all night, constantly rocking and feeding. However, every time we put him down, he would wake up and cry again. Eventually, Stuart bought him downstairs and then we put him down when we went to bed (in his cot) and he finally went off to sleep at 11.45pm ish.

It was Stuart's idea to still put him down in his cot because I was feeling down about never seeing an end to sleeping in the spare room! The rest of the night was pretty ok though.

So, after two evenings in tears I decided to relax completely about the sleep thing. We would still try to put Callum down in the evening but if he didn't want to go, we would bring him back down.

With that in mind, Callum was awake for a bit in the morning when we were at our Post-Natal group and then naturally fell asleep in my arms. He slept pretty much all over lunchtime (dream feeding his milk) and didn't wake up again until about 3.30-4pm. I then went upstairs with him at 7.30pm, got him ready for bed and fed him and he went straight down. I was back downstairs again by 8.10pm and he didn't wake up again until 10.35 - Great!

But then after the next feed at about 1.30am, it all went a bit down hill. He woke every hour - grrr. I'm not so worried though and will try again tonight and for the daytime we will just see how it goes. He has been quite grizzly all morning though so far, poor thing - I don't know what's wrong with him!

By the way, on a separate note, we have changed the brand of formula we are using in the hope that he can go to the loo easier and stops crying out in pain - will update in about a week!

Wednesday 15 October 2008

6 weeks, 1 day old

Callum is now 9lb 2oz. He is growing so quick. His hands and feet aren't so dinky anymore :o(

We have continued with the weening from breast milk to formula. As of today, we are now doing 6 formula feeds to about 4 breast. Unfortunately, the weening process has had a nasty side effect for Callum. He developed a bit of constipation and really struggles to go to poo (I can't believe my life has been reduced to talking about my sons toilet - or should I say nappy - habits!). Gets a bit worrying when he hasn't been for a couple of days and he cries out in pain as he strains to go. At one point all he was getting for his efforts were the most horrific smelling farts!!! It is getting better again now but he still struggles and gets upset. Fine during the day but not so fine at night. It tends to only happen between 3 and 6am so I tend to put him in the nursery during this time as he is still sleeping but just cries out. This way, I can still sleep and only wake up when he cries for feeding. It is also a good way of getting him used to sleeping in the nursery for when he moves in there full time.

I'm starting to think about when to start putting him in the nursery for his naps during the day - now that they are slowly starting to become naps rather than the norm. However, saying that, he does still sleep more than he is awake. He tends to spend 1-2 hours in the morning and then 2-4 in the evening awake. I've had some lovely times during the awake periods where he is trying to smile and is fascinated at looking at my face and listening to what I am saying or the noises I make - see the video clips. The clips are actually not good examples because he isn't smiling in them. In fact, he nearly cries a couple of times in one of them. I have therefore published a picture of him smiling to prove he does enjoy it too.

Still not in any real routine and there are still bad nights and good nights.

Me and Life
My mum came to stay with us for a few days last week. She came on Wednesday night and went on Sunday morning. It was lovely to have her here and I got some 'me' time - I actually got to have my hair cut!! I was sooo excited about it and it desperately needed doing. Stuart and I also got some 'us' time. We went out for a meal sans Callum and had a couple of drinks in some of the local bars (yes it was a mini pub crawl) after. I was shocked to see I still had some alcohol tolerance, fully expecting to be drunk after dinner. However, I managed to have a glass of wine before we left, half a bottle during dinner and 3 vodka and cokes and was only a little bit tipsy!!!! I shouldn't really be drinking of course while I'm breastfeeding but I have heard from many professional sources that you would have to drink a lot of alcohol for it to get through to the breast milk and the greater risk is of it drying up your milk supply. I hope that is true otherwise I'm such a bad mummy - smack hand!

Despite the above, in some ways I feel we took a step back with Callum, as he started to get used to being cuddled more and not going down in his moses basket until he was cuddled to sleep, and then sometimes still he wouldn't go down . Also, I got less done and was slower to get ready because I kept talking to mum. It took me twice as long to do anything. My fault, obviously, not my mums. And I had already started the issue of cuddling Callum to sleep so need to take responsibility there too.

I feel like we have moved on though today - in fact, I feel like we have moved on further than we were before she came. He has gone down twice on his own without being cuddled at all and only needed two short cuddles at one point during the 3am-6am period last night

I have my 6 week check up tomorrow to see if I am all ok following birth and to check Callum over too. Will write again about how that goes after.

Stuart was really helpful over the weekend. I'm not sure whether it was just because my mum was here or whether it is to continue. He even did stuff voluntarily without being asked....and got up at 5am with a hangover to see to Callum and feed him. This must have been really tough! (I mean that by the way, I don't mean it to sound sarcastic). It also made me realise how much he does do anyway. I know it should go without saying with the amount mums need to do while dads are at work (or vice versa if dad stays at home and mum goes off to work) but I also need to recognise how much more he does than some other dads/husbands. I should count myself very lucky. I feel like I'm very quick to criticise all the time with him going out and forget to recognise when he is lovely. I'm not saying I feel differently about him going out and I still stand by what I said but what he does the rest of the time goes towards making up for it.

I think, now that we are moving over to formula, I will be more relaxed about him going out. I would still prefer him to ask me to go out like I would expect to do myself when I want to go out (as I say, the responsibility of looking after a child should be equal and there should be no assumptions that the other half would be happy to always be the one to 'babysit' without even being asked) - but rather than saying I don't want him to go at all, perhaps we can each have a night each every other week. And then once a month, we could try to have a night together. Best get looking for a babysitter!!!

No sure how to rotate the video clips I'm afraid...

Monday 6 October 2008

4 weeks, 6 days old - Learning New Skills

Starting to develop new and old skills by being a mum.

Now we all know how good us women are at multi-tasking but I am taking it to a new level. Today I was ironing while bouncing Callum in the bouncy seat with my foot, but more than that, last week I was breastfeeding Callum while expressing the other boob, doing stuff on the laptop, watching tv and then I answered my mobile - now I think that is pretty impressive.

In addition to this, you become great at doing stuff with just one hand where you would normally use two. Because you are holding your baby in one hand and he/she will inevitably start crying as soon as you put them down, you will be forced to complete tasks with one hand if you are to get anything done. Making the tea, washing up etc. The most challenging task I have found so far was buttering bread but I managed it, amazingly!

Now I'm pretty sure I've invented a new word here but not sure what else to call it. Linked to the above skill - you'll often find that one of your hands is tied up holding the baby so you need to do lots with only the other hand. This is often your left hand (or whichever is your weakest hand) so you find you get better at using it.

The blind sense/night sight
In these early days, you will be woken up several times during the night for feeding and nappy changes. You will no doubt be tired and sometimes will struggle to keep your eyes open so will learn to do things with your eyes closed and, in extreme cases, while you are still asleep! You will learn to navigate your way around your house with your eyes closed - that is further than just from your bedroom to the bathroom which you probably mastered when you were pregnant. For example, you may now find that you can navigate from your bedroom, downstairs, to the kitchen, to the fridge to get out milk, you will boil the kettle to heat the milk and then make your way back to your room, all with your baby in your arms. You will then probably manage to feed your baby either with your eyes closed or while asleep. Also, you can navigate to the nursery and back - I would recommend opening your eyes for the nappy change though otherwise you could find yourself in all sorts of mess - literally!

You may also find the above skill useful during the day if you are struggling from sleep deprivation.

Acute sense of hearing
Especially in the first couple of weeks when you are home from hospital, you will be able to tune into your babies breathing to stop those panic darts to the cot/moses basket to check their chest is still moving.

Over a little more time you will find you can recognise your baby's cry in a room full of other babies, even if they are crying too. Likewise, you will know you do not need to respond to cries that aren't your baby's. I'm still developing this one at the moment but it is definitely getting there.

Of course, you will also eventually learn the different types of cries which mean different things. Particularly helpful at night when your baby is stirring but doesn't actually wake fully - while sleeping you will know there is no need to wake up for grunting and grizzling which might mean your baby is filling his nappy but you will know the difference between this noise and the preliminary grizzles which occur just before they wake up for feeding.

I am sure there are many more skills I'm going to learn over the coming months and I'll be sure to update you with them as I learn them.

Friday 3 October 2008

4 weeks, 3 days old

Well, I think things are getting better. Not necessarily with Stuart and going out - he says sorry but will then be out for the evening again the next week. But that aside, I feel like we are making progress in other areas, though very small.

I have started keeping a record of when Callum feeds and is awake. This is in the hope I can see a routine. Especially at night. I think I also had one more good night than bad in the past week and the bad nights have been better.

We started the wean to Formula on Sunday in the end. We replaced the last feed before bed with formula and then we replace another feed every 3rd day, so now we have replaced two and will replace a third tomorrow. I can definitely see a difference in the length of time Callum sleeps when he has had formula. One night, he slept for 4 hours after the formula. In addition, he generally goes down a lot better after being fed at night.

However, during the day, he is harder to settle at sleepy times. I often need to cuddle him to sleep and then put him down. I know this is a bad habit to get into but I am guilty of loving the cuddles as much as he does. I've vowed to kick this by the time he sleeps through the night though.

We have started to give him a dummy now. We had been trying to hold out as long as possible but he was trying to such all the time. If I put him to my breast, he would often fuss instead or if he latched on he would just lay there asleep rather than feeding. So, rather than me being a human dummy, it was easier to use an actual dummy. This helps him settle easier in the day too.

Callum is starting to spend more time awake, though he is still sleeping more than he is awake. I love it when he is awake. His eyes open really widely now and he just looks gorgeous. He really studies your face and watches you.

The Health Visitor came yesterday and weighed Callum again. He is now 8lb 3oz - so he is putting on weight quite incredibly! He has proper hamster cheeks! She is happy with how we are both doing and so I will next see her the week after next.

I've met up with the NCT girls twice now. Both times at the Slug & Lettuce in town. Up until yesterday, I was still the only one to have had my baby. However, one got induced yesterday (still not heard an update from her), one had her baby yesterday (a boy) and one was in labour (not had an update from her). So, by now, there will be another 3 baby friends for Callum. It is very weird, though, to see the others still with their bumps and hearing all the pregnancy woes - it already seems like a lifetime away for me. As of yet, I don't miss it.

Before I met with the girls yesterday, I popped into the pottery cafe and had Callum's footprints put onto a tile with paint. I had wanted to get the hand and feet impressions you can get made but they are so expensive. Even a pack to do it yourself is £45. There is a pack in Mothercare that you can get hand and feet impressions into clay for you to keep for £10 so I might do that instead.

One frustrating thing relating to my body post-birth. After having a baby you bleed for a while like a really heavy, long period. Now, I had pretty much stopped bleeding by the beginning of week 3 (most people have stopped by 6 weeks) but then I walked into town and back (the back being up a big hill) and that caused me to start bleeding again. According to the Health Visitor, it is normal for it to come back if you over exert yourself too early. Grrr! It then stopped again but then, earlier this week, I went into Guildford and needed to go to the post office which was at the top of the hill. Guess what? I started bleeding again - it is so annoying. I don't even feel like I'm over exerting myself. Bloody body!