Life with my little giraffe

Mummy life has really started to settle down now and I’ve begun to enjoy myself a bit more recently.  Baby N is a wonderful baby, so chilled and easy to take around, and that has a lot to do with it, but also I have made a new best friend in a fellow mum who has a daughter 2 weeks younger than baby N.  We see each other about three times a week for coffee or lunch and the rest of the time we message each other all day long.  It’s really nice to have someone to share the small things throughout the day and who really understands where you’re coming from.  As we are both first-time-mums and we both have IVF babies we have a lot in common. We joke (although it is true) that we see each other more than we see our husbands.

I’ve also joined an informal mothers’ group made up of other mums who participated in the baby massage class.  It’s an interesting group of six mums – all hugely different people and probably most of them I would never have come across if it hadn’t been for meeting on the baby massage class.  There are huge extremes in our personalities too – there’s folks like me who enjoy being out of the house and having adventures during the day with the baby, and others who are terrified of leaving the house but are tremendous cooks and earth mothers. I am feeling somewhat insecure about my earth mother skills when I hear these girls talk! What unites us is our babies and our concerns about them.  It’s nice to hear what other people are going through and the ways they are choosing to parent their babies.

We have some mums who are very strict with routines and others who are more go-with-the-flow types.  I think I’m somewhere in the middle, but closer to the go-with-the-flow end.  My baby is the only boy baby of the group so he already has five potential future girlfriends (unless of course he prefers boys…)!

Age: 14 weeks + 4 days

Weight: A week ago he weighed 6.88kg and was 65cm tall so I expect he’s a bit more than that now.  He is in the 97th percentile for height which is really obvious when you put him next to other babies his age – he looks like a giraffe next to them.  I had someone last Sunday ask me if he was 6 months old and their face was priceless when I clarified that he’s only 3 months old.  He’s not a chunky monkey at all, just all long and lithe.

Feeding: We have increased the evening and the morning feed to be 180ml as he seems to be getting more hungry at these times.  I have been trying to keep him to 5 feeds a day, rather than the old 6 feeds, so sometimes one of the afternoon feeds is also 180ml if he looks particularly hungry.  I also changed the feeding teats in the bottles to be the medium flow teats (I use Tommee Tippee bottles) as I found he was getting frustrated by the flow.  I was also getting bored with him taking 30 minutes to drink a bottle so we’re all happier with the faster flow of milk!

Sleeping routine: Baby N has been a wonderful sleeper the past week, sleeping through the night consistently. He usually hits the hay around 7.30pm-8.00pm and wakes at around 6.30am-7.00am.  This makes me very happy!  The clocks go back one hour this Saturday night for the end of daylight savings summer time so this will no doubt knock us off course.  Also, taking him to the other side of the world in two weeks and giving him class A jetlag will probably destroy his wonderful sleeping patterns.  😦

Firsts: I’ve noticed in the past week that baby N now makes a new sound.  It’s kind of a high pitch shriek/squeal when he’s either frustrated or very excited.  It was a bit of a surprise when I heard it the first time but now I’m used to it.

The past couple of weeks have also been all about his hands.  He is CONSTANTLY shoving them – his whole fist – in his mouth and putting drool everywhere.  It is as delightful as it sounds.  I’m trying to convince him to use teething toys instead, but he has maybe 2 seconds of interest in toys until he shoves his hands back in his mouth.  I guess his immune system is strengthening at least! Perhaps once he’s got better motor control of his hands he will be more keen to shove some toys in his mouth.

Hair: Light brownish.

Eyes: Light brownish too.

Wonky neck update: We have been almost fully dismissed from our baby physio lady as baby N’s progress has been so good.  She will see us once before we go to Australia just to make sure he’s okay and then we will meet for coffee when we get back so she can advise me on how to continue. I’m so, so, SO relieved that we caught the torticollis and flat head early and that we’ve had such a positive experience with the physio.  Baby N has such excellent neck control now and it means he’s able to really look around a room and take everything in.  I’ve also seen him arching his back at times so I think he’s on his way to learning how to roll over.

Mummy update: I’ve been generally good, although I’ve had a couple of off days this week where I have had some waves of anxiety.  I think these are related primarily to thinking about the flight to Australia.  I will confess I’m feeling worried about doing this alone.  I have 3 flights each way (2 connections) and about a 24 hour overall journey time.  All this with a 3.5 month old and I’ve no experience of taking him on a plane before so I don’t know if he will be okay. I hope that his generally cheerful and carefree demeanour will continue on the plane/s but he’s a baby so who knows!

My diet is going quite well. I lost a lot of weight in the first week and felt very weak.  I modified it a bit to include a little more food and so I only ended up losing 1.4kg in the first two weeks of my diet.  I’m hoping to drop the same again in the next 2 weeks so that I look pretty good for my trip home.  I still have around 4kg to drop in total but I am happy to see some progress at least.

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Week 13 – Bye fourth trimester!

Yesterday our little guy had his 3 month birthday so this officially signals the end of the fourth trimester!  Yay! I remember my sister told me that babies really should still be in the womb for another 3 months to finish their development, but if that happened we would never be able to deliver them as their heads would be too big.  Looking at baby N’s big head now and this makes total sense.

But if they did hang about inside until then I am sure it would be so much easier to be a parent.  They sleep longer, their digestive system is better developed and they would come out smiling!  Seriously nature, I think you need to rethink the 40-week gestation period!

Every day baby N continues to be more sweet and adorable.  He is so friendly to all the many people that come up to him on a daily basis – often strangers – and make baby goo-goo sounds at him. My mum said when I was a baby I would scream if anyone apart from the immediate family would so much as look at me, so clearly he doesn’t take after me in this regard.  I can already see that he’s a kind and giving personality and I can only wonder how this will develop as he gets older.

Age: 13 weeks + 2 days (three months old yesterday)

Weight: No idea, but he gets weighed tomorrow when we visit the paediatrician for the next vaccinations.  I really hate giving him the vaccinations but I truly believe in them being better for him in the long run.  But his little face when they jab him is AWFUL!

Feeding: Nothing much has changed in this regard, but I have noticed that if he has a very long sleep at night that he is more hungry during the day.  It makes sense because he misses a feed when he sleeps through the night.  With this in mind I tend to make his daytime feeds a bit closer together and I have continued to give him 180ml at his night time feed to fill him up.

Sleeping routine: We have seen a few through-the-night sleeps this week, with the longest being 10.5 hours (woo hoo!) but it’s not uncommon to have one night time feed still, usually between 3.30am and 5.00am.  I am also starting to see some patterns in his daytime napping which is good.  He usually naps every 1.5 to 2 hours throughout the day and most naps go for around 30-45 minutes. We took him to his first Aqua Babies class on Saturday and it was absolutely brilliant fun.  We did mess up his sleep schedule a bit though and it meant he fell asleep in my arms as we arrived. We had to wait a few minutes to rouse him from his nap and then put him in the pool when he was not entirely awake.  This is not good parenting so I don’t encourage it!  Anyway, he was pretty good once he was in there and was super-cute!  He even put his little head under the water (briefly).  I’m sure he will only grow to love swimming as the course continues.  Anyway, after the class we fed him and took him home and he slept for 3 hours straight!  He woke up only to have a bath and dinner before he went to bed again and slept through the night.  Clearly swimming is exhausting work!

Firsts: The swimming was a big first and was mainly motivated by me very keen to take him along.  He was the youngest in his class but he seemed to be bigger than many of the babies that were one or two months older than him!

I’m starting to wonder if he might be teething soon as the past week his drooling has increased a lot and he just loves to put his whole fist in his mouth. I do try and stop him and distract him but it’s next to impossible. He is getting better at using his hands to grasp toys, but picking them up and putting them in his mouth seems to be a bit of a way off still.

Hair: Light brownish.

Eyes: Light brownish too.

Wonky neck update: We go for our next appointment with the baby physio on Friday but I’m feeling pretty good about his neck strength and head control.  He seems to have similar neck control to the other babies in the swimming class and they are all older so I figure he’s doing okay these days. We continue with our exercises and tummy time wherever possible.  I think he’s actually starting to enjoy tummy time now as it means he can look around independently. He really likes to be able to see things so I think his curiosity may drive him to keep developing his strength.  While he sleeps beautifully in the stroller bassinet, he is not so keen on it when he’s awake and prefers that I carry him. I don’t think we are going to be using the bassinet for much longer!

Mummy update: Well guess what turned up last week for me? My period!!  Now I haven’t had a period for almost a year so that was a bit of a novelty. I had heard your first one after birth can be quite heavy and painful, but mine was neither.  It’s pretty much finished now so that’s nice too. As a PCOS suffering I found one of the very few advantages of IVF was that my skin improved remarkably and now that I’m free of the meds my skin is starting to have the odd spot again. Ugh.

In the quest to get back my pre-baby body (Operation MILF) I visited a dietician last week and she put me on a diet plan.  It’s not too bad, but I have been a bit hungry yesterday and today.  According to my home scales though, I’ve lost about 1.5kg (3.3 pounds) in a week so if I keep up the weight loss at this rate I won’t have to stay on the diet much longer!  Yay!

Week 12 – Planning our trip Down Under

We are booked! Yes, the small guy and I are headed Down Under in a month’s time and I’m so excited and also TERRIFIED of the plane journey. Hubby has booked me in business class for the first time EVER as I think he feels guilty he can’t join and worried I will have a lot to handle. I mean, he wouldn’t even agree to business class for our honeymoon!

I am ever so slightly worried about annoying actual business people in business class but this is balanced out by how happy I am to be getting a flat bed for the longest part of my journey. The stupid airline (Etihad) cannot guarantee a bassinet for baby so worse case scenario is that we can sleep together on the flat bed. If this happens though I will be fuming! We also successfully managed to get baby Na passport today so that’s another thing checked off my to-do list! It was much easier to do now he’s more alert and awake. Heads up to anyone else who needs to travel with baby from an early age to leave the passport photo as late as you can. It will make your life way easier!

We leave here on Thursday 9 November and arrive back on Thursday 30 November so it’s almost three weeks with my mum. I am worried I’m not going to want to leave in the end! My mum is super excited and I’ve been sending her on errands this week, such as to buy baby N a sun hat (we never took him in the sun until now because it was dangerously hot so didn’t need a hat) and to collect a steriliser I bought on eBay at a tenth of the price you pay for it new. I honestly don’t know why I bought so many new things in general. There are so many bargains out there and they’ve usually hardly been used.

The past week has been fairly calm and consistent. We are definitely finding a kind of flow even if it’s not a tight schedule yet. Baby N is a joy now too. He sleeps and eats well and he’s got a lovely outgoing and smiley personality. He’s a little ball of sunshine!

Age: 12 weeks + 3 days

Weight: Not weighed this week but he’s too long for most 0-3 clothes now and is wearing mainly 3-6 months.

Feeding: Still having 150ml per feeding session but on a couple of days he’s seemed more hungry so I’ve given him 180ml at bedtime.

Sleeping routine: Baby N has been sleeping wonderfully, going down around 7.30-8.30 and then sleeping for around 8-9 hours!! This means mummy and daddy actually get to spend some time together in the evenings and feel kind of civilised. After waking around 3-4am for a feed, he then pops back to sleep for around 3 hours. Last night he slept at 8pm and didn’t wake up until 5.45am. I fed him and put him back to bed where he stayed until 8am. Who knew that 8am would be considered a luxurious lie in!

I try to keep those night feeds silent so he knows they are not the time do be playing or giving me his big smiles. It seems to work usually so that’s nice.

Firsts: I’m pretty sure baby N knows what “Show us your BIG SMILE!”means as he makes the most huge open-mouth smiles when you say this to him. He also uses his hands to grab and hold things now such as toys.

We got him his first passport and ID card too. Tomorrow he goes for his first (chaperoned) date – a lunch with a little girl from baby massage class. The babies don’t even notice each other actually but the mummies are sure to have a good time! Then on Saturday we will be attending our first Aqua Babies class (spot the bored mummy who signs her kid up to anything!). We bought some special nappies/diapers for swimming and we have the cutest swimsuit to wear. I think I’m more excited about it than he is…

Hair: Getting a tiny bit thicker but still short and sparse and fair in colour.

Eyes: They’re kind of a hazel-green colour at the moment. Bye-bye blue eyes!

Mummy update: I’ve had a good few days with decent sleep but I’m still sooooo exhausted! I finally got my thyroid checked again today and my numbers are very low which means it’s now over-active (it’s usually under active). I’m waiting to hear from the doctor how to change my meds to balance it out. I’m hoping when we get this right I’ll feel less tired.

I visited a specialist last Friday who confirmed my pelvic floor is a bit weak currently so I’ve got a bunch of exercises to do. Of course I’ve done them about once since then so there is work to do!! There’s no point doing weight work at the gym until I get my pelvic floor stronger as I will risk compensating and hurting my back or something. So it’s just cardio and yoga for me for now. And pelvic floor exercises…

I also visited a dietician to try and get rid of the last few pounds I’m dragging around currently. She’s made me a diet plan which is quite restrictive but she says I can lose 1 kg a week if I stick to it. I think that’s overly optimistic but I’m happy to be proven wrong! I’m hoping to have dropped all baby weight by Christmas!

Week 11 – Rediscovering the joys of sleep!

To all those people who said things would get better with baby once they complete the fourth trimester – you were right it seems. This past week or so has seen a marked improvement in baby N’s sleeping, so much so that Wednesday last week saw him sleep through the night for the first time!  He slept from 10pm until 6am and I cannot begin to tell you how delighted I was.  This also meant I managed to get some decent unbroken sleep for the first time since he was born.  I cannot begin to tell you how incredible that was.  I am certain that people begin to like their babies more once their older if only for the fact that they are then getting more sleep!

I did wonder if this sleeping achievement was a one-off, but baby N has been consistently sleeping for 7-8 hours in the first part of his sleep at night.  So if he drifts off around 8pm I can expect to have to get up for a feed at around 3am-4am.  Last night he was exhausted when I put him to bed and thus it took ages for him to fall asleep, finally having success at around 8.30pm.  He then slept all the way through to 6am which was INCREDIBLE!  Just being able to have dinner and some quiet time with hubby – even if that’s only for 30 minutes – just makes me feel almost like a human again.  I’m sure he will have some kind of return to poor sleeping habits in the future, but for now we celebrate our small victories.

Age: 11 weeks + 3 days (I was busy this week, forgive me)

Weight: Baby N went for his second lot of vaccinations on Tuesday and he weighed in then at 6.3kg and he is 61.5cm tall.  He was super brave again with his vaccinations and was a bit cranky and restless for the rest of Tuesday but by Wednesday he was his usual cheerful self again. Baby N is pretty much out of clothes sized 0-3 months and heading on in to 3-6 months sized clothes.  I bought him a bunch of new outfits in the past week or so also because it gets colder at nights so he needs to have long sleeves on for the first time since we left the clinic in July.  I’m really noticing how much more complicated it is to change his clothes when he has more layers on!

Feeding: He consistently takes 150ml of formula for each feed and usually eats it all.  Daytime feeds are approximately 3 hours apart, but then at night time he obviously sleeps his big sleep (the first one of the night) for anywhere around 6-8 hours and then the second sleep is usually around 3-4 hours so he is longer between feeds during those times.  If he’s had a long sleep he is usually STARVING and practically swallows the whole bottle and the formula in one.  Hahaha!  Sometimes he gets hiccups after this as he’s taken the milk so quickly.

Sleeping routine: I’ve mainly covered this above, but generally his nighttime routine has been kicking off around 7pm with a bath, a massage and sometimes a book or a dance to a song.  This means he can sometimes be in bed and asleep by around 8pm although there is some fluctuation to this.  The earlier he goes to bed, the earlier the next feed is generally.  On Monday though he crashed out unexpectedly at about 5pm and didn’t wake up until 1am.  I’ve no idea why he was suddenly so exhausted this early, other than the fact he had a busy day on Sunday and perhaps he needed to regroup on Monday.  In any case, he missed his bath on Monday night and we just fed him at 1am before he headed off to sleep again until 6.30am.  By Tuesday he was more-or-less back on schedule.

The funny thing about Monday night was that we didn’t know what to do with ourselves when he slept through the whole evening.  For a while we expected him to wake up so we were just pottering around at home, but then when it became apparent he was in a deep sleep we kind of felt lost for things to do.  I have wondered many times what I used to do with all this time before the baby.  I remember thinking I never had enough time to do anything… I guess time is elastic and it fits whatever you need it to fit.

Firsts: I’ve seen a lot of development this week in baby N.  He is really alert and moves his head around like a meerkat whenever we go somewhere new.  He’s definitely worked out his hands belong to him now and loves to shove them in his mouth at every opportunity.  I even managed to capture on video the first time he used his hands to grab one of his toys.  He continues to delight in toys that make sounds and mirrors.  The boy love to look at himself (as do his parents so no big surprises there that that trait has been passed on). He’s really enjoying his baby massage classes too – although I think he’s in the minority there as many of the babies don’t seem to love it so much. We have signed up to baby swim lessons which begin next week so that’s the next adventure.

Hair: He’s still a baldy but from what we can see he is going to be fair haired.  He also has a little bit of cradle cap which is annoying and I’m going to have to make some efforts to get rid of it.

Eyes: Getting darker.  They’re now somewhere between dark blue and brown.

Wonky neck update: Our baby physio had to cancel this week’s session so we don’t go until next Monday but he seems to be getting stronger and more straight so I am at least happy about that.  He still enjoys sleeping on his special pillow but if he’s restless at night – usually during his second sleep – he sometimes kicks his legs so hard his whole body moves and he comes off his pillow.  This usually disturbs him and he cries so sometimes I have to get up in the night multiple times to put him back on the pillow.  It’s annoying, but it also shows he’s strong so I’m trying to look on the bright side with that.

Mummy update: I’m doing pretty good these days, but I did overdo it a bit last week with my personal trainer so I’ve decided to stop with that for now.  Instead I am going for an assessment on Friday to see how my abdominals are after the pregnancy so might do some rehab work before doing any more weights work. I am continuing with yoga and I’m thinking of trying a spinning class tonight, but I might change my mind when it becomes closer to the time.

I have lost no weight recently so I am thinking of going to a dietician to kickstart some more weight loss. I currently can’t fit into any of my old jeans so if I don’t lose weight soon then I will have to go shopping for clothes to wear.  So far it’s stayed warm enough here that I haven’t needed anything on my legs but I’m not sure that will last much longer! Anyway, I’m sick of looking at my flabby belly so something needs to be done!

Psychologically I am doing so, so much better.  I really do enjoying getting out and about with baby N though and go a bit bananas if I spend a day at home.  I was like this before having him so it’s not really a surprise I feel like I do.  I think he enjoys some adventures outside the four walls of home too so everyone’s a winner.

We have become great friends with a couple of the mums from baby massage class so now we sometimes go for coffee with mums and bubs and it is great!  I love chatting not only about baby stuff but just general life stuff with other people.  It makes me feel more like me.

We have also booked tickets to head Down Under to see my family and I am SO EXCITED about this, albeit less excited about taking a 3.5 month old baby on a plane for a 24 hour journey BY MYSELF. Yep, hubby can’t get the time off from work so I am travelling with him solo.  If anyone has ANY TIPS on airline travel with an infant which will make our lives easier and better then I am all ears to this.

Now the big challenge is getting a passport for Mr Wonky Head in time.  They take 2 weeks to process here and we are leaving in 5 weeks!  Eeeeek!