The four month sleep regression is hell in a Gro-bag

image

So Friday had me in tears of stress, tiredness & frustration.

I’ve been trying to nap train baby for a week now, taking ideas from my sister-in-law A and biological sister N. The first nap of the day is about an hour after baby has woken up, so when we come downstairs I pop her almost straight in the sling whilst I make lunches for my partner and I. He has awful IBS and his stomach reacts badly to fat, and I’m still trying to lose the rest of my baby weight, so it’s very healthy: wholegrain rice salad with cottage cheese, and low fat yoghurt with strawberries, blueberries & honey. He also has Herbalife shakes so if I remember I make one of those up for him too (they’re great, by the way – for losing weight or just to have in the cupboard as a good snack, with soy milk). I also do the washing up from the night before, because that’s how we roll! Anyways I pop on a white noise app on my phone, playing through a little bluetooth speaker I got (Divoom Bluetooth Bean – tiny, very portable, great sound, cheap!) and bounce around the kitchen making shushing noises until she drops off for a while.

Then around 1 hour 1/2 to two hours later I start the next nap – into the car seat on the travel system chassis (age hates the pram), with a blanket, muslin, favourite dragon toy & white noise on the speaker again, and I sing my favourite song to her, ‘The Temptation Of Adam’ by Josh Ritter, and push over the rugs in the dining room which provide a soporific bump. The record is ten minutes to go to sleep, she’s definitely getting trained to the white noise!

However on Friday, baby wouldn’t nap. Possibly she was picking up on bad vibes because I was upset with my partner having argued about me not doing enough in our relationship, and around the house, and I’d text him but he was ignoring me & I was getting more & more upset. And baby got more & more upset, as she got progressively more shattered.

I tried every one of our usual techniques twice: pushing in the buggy, breastfeeding on a cushion, bouncing in my arms, breastfeeding & cuddling on the bed, but she kept arching her back, crying, looking at me as if to say, ‘make it better mummy!’ I guessed her reflux must have been bad too, and breastfeeding to sleep can be problematic when you’ve filled them up but they’re still not sleepy, as it just come back up, overflowing, and upsets them.

After three hours of this, I called my partner in tears & asked him to come home & help. He works ten minutes’ walk up the road so fortunately he came back, to find I’d temporarily distracted baby with a YouTube animation of black & white butterflies, but as soon as he took her, the screaming started again. However his presence must have had a calming effect on one or other of us, as after ten minutes I got her to have a boob suck & a snooze, thank god. I thought it wouldn’t get that bad again.

My partner and I talked it through, and worked out our differences. And last night was supposed to be a nice adult night – he was going to make a pizza from scratch (he’s an excellent cook) and I’d help. However baby had different ideas, of course!

I usually feed baby to sleep on a pillow, sat on the bed, with her moses basket beside me, and when she’s fast asleep I transfer her to her bed. I usually feed one side then the other, partially to fill her up and partially as one nipple is more pronounced and she has a habit of keeping it in her mouth, sucked in, and I can’t remove it without waking her, whereas the other is still flat & needs work to keep it pulled out, so when she’s falling asleep it’s easier to remove. Last night she was dropping off when I switched sides but as soon as I offered her the other nipple she seemed to wake up – very unusual. She was looking up at me with her huge blue eyes & chatting at me, being totally adorable, which was very endearing for a while. However, she wouldn’t drift off, she kept looking at me & wouldn’t go back to feeding, and eventually started getting cranky & being sick, which must have hurt her throat, so I had to hold her upright & walk her around, rocking & patting, but still no sleep. She was totally fighting it, she had her dazed stare on when she was quiet & was screaming the house down the rest of the time.

After 1 hour 1/2 of failure my partner brought me up homemade cheesey garlic bread, which helped morales. After 2 & 1/2 hours, 2 poos, and reflux on 3 onesies & two Gro-bags I admitted defeat, my partner made the pizza (it was amazing), and I managed to placate baby into having a soothing, sleep-inducing boob in front of the TV, (white noise still on) whilst I had a well-deserved glass of red. Then when she was finally asleep I transfered her upstairs to her own bed (she didn’t even wake up) and crashed out myself. Happy bank holiday!!

Lessons learned in motherhood

IMG_0003So it’s been four months since our little girl was born, and it’s been a very intense time – such a steep learning curve but so rewarding. I feel like a totally different person to the one I was a year ago!

So inspired by learnermama.com here are ten lessons I’ve learned in motherhood:

1. I can survive on much less sleep than I thought. Okay so I’m not my brightest or nicest, but I’m awake and functional.

2. Breastfed baby poo can be bright orange. Like Tango or Sunny Delight, but the consistency of double cream, with seedy-looking bits in it. Delicious.

3. Breastfeeding can be enormously difficult & painful to begin with. But it gets better before you know it, and it’s so worth it. Support from those around you is invaluable – I couldn’t have got through it without my wonderful partner.

4. You will have lots of opinions & plans on how babies should be raised, then when you’ve got one, half of that will go out the window in favour of something easier. 

5. Babies are hilarious. From the sleep farting to the squeaky noises & cute concerned faces, she cracks me up every day.

6. White noise apps are ace. Both for helping baby to sleep & drowning out the partner’s snoring when you’ve just got baby to sleep at 4am.

7. Slings are ace. I would never get anything done around the house if I didn’t carry my little one with me, as she’s not really into napping anywhere other than on me or on the move.

8. Babies change & learn new skills incredibly fast. I guess I knew this already in theory, but seeing it in practice is astounding. One month ago her head bobbled around, today she can hold it straight & grab toys & bring them to her mouth. Which leads me onto…

9. Babies can drool an incredible amount, and want to put everything in their mouth. It’s kind of cute, although not when she’s trying to eat my flip flops and has soaked through her dribble bib & given herself a neck rash.

10. The love I feel for my little girl is bigger than anything I could ever have imagined. She’s my princess, my star, my wonderful little puke-a-saurus, and I can’t believe how empty my life was before her (sorry cats!).

 

Learnermama

No Buggy Fit today – Wonder Weeks leap 4 & reflux

image

Baby has never been that keen on the pram attachment for the travel system – I think mainly because she’s a nosy & slightly clingy baby & likes to see her surroundings and us, but recently I think her reflux has played a part too. Today, and last Thursday, there’s been enough rain to mean taking her out, as usual, in the car seat bit hasn’t been an option (it has a sun shield but there’s no way of protecting it from the wet). Each time when I’ve put her in it, she’s screamed blue murder pretty much immediately! Poor little thing.

I’ve been following the Wonder Weeks app – from the bestselling book by Dutch child psychologist Frans X. Plooij. The idea is that, in addition to the growth spurts your baby’s body goes through, her mind also has growth spurts, which he calls ‘leaps’. These result in a more clingy, crying & cranky baby as she adapts to her new understanding of the world. So far his timings have been spot on for us. It’s very interesting stuff.

It’s not even bloody raining right now… But she’s having a comfort feed & snooze to recover from a tough morning of puking & crying. It’s not easy being a baby!

Amazing trick for removing baby poo stains!

image

Baby has had a lot of ‘pooplosions’ recently and while searching the baby forums for recommendations I found the most surprising one – wash items as usual then leave them out in the sunshine. I thought this sounds too good to be true but it works!

The stains disappeared almost as I watched – I see it’s referred to as ‘solar bleaching’, and if course I know the sun fades colours, but does anyone know why it fades (breastfed) poo stains so efficiently? It’s like a miracle!!

Right now… Or ideal Saturday morning

She’s asleep on me after feeding, under the beautiful blanket her Irish/Australian grandma crotcheted for her. I’m catching up on boring life things (calling phone company, arguing with the bank for charging me for calling them to tell them I’m in ‘financial hardship’ due to being on statutory maternity pay). She couldn’t be happier – food & cuddles on tap. My other half is doing some work & bringing me cups of tea. Later maybe we’ll go to Mothercare to spend the vouchers my work gave us when she was born – on a bath seat & some new baby grows as at nearly 3 months she’s outgrowing things. Quite a reasonable start to the weekend!

Playlist for the new parent

I always have the radio on & switch it between Classic Fm & BBC 6 Music. The other day I heard the dance classic, ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless and the main spoken bit, “I can’t get no sleep” made me think – what other songs have titles or subject matter applicable to the highs and lows of being a new parent?!

Are there any songs you know that somehow relate to the mess, the disorganisation, the excitement, the love, the surprises, the giant learning curve that is bringing a new little person into the world?

Get Lansinoh HPA Lanolin nipple cream for free!

image

Did you know that you can get Lansinoh Lanolin cream for free on prescription?? I came across this on the BabyCentre forums. It’s a brilliant product for helping soothe & heal sore & damaged nipples, as nipples are ‘moist healing tissue’ it really helps. If you’re expecting, get it in preparation!

Whilst you’re pregnant in the UK you get all prescriptions free of you apply for your maternity exception certificate, and since this wonder cream is £10.49 in Boots it’s definitely worth getting it prescribed.

Tongue tie UK – new organisation raising awareness of tongue & lip tie

On Twitter I came across a new group aiming to educate & raise awareness about a matter close to my heart – tongue tie. Please follow, like, add, etc & make sure every mum & baby gets the help they need.

From their site:

“Tongue-tie UK was created by parents of babies with tongue-tie, to help other parents get access to information and support about tongue-ties and lip-ties in babies and children. We work with a range of healthcare professionals, breastfeeding experts and other support groups, in order to build our knowledge base, and in order to best serve the needs of those that we support.”

Tongue Tie UK Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonguetieuk

Tongue Tie UK website: http://www.tonguetieuk.org

Tongue Tie UK on Twitter: @tonguetiesuk