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!

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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!

Week 10 – A little human emerges

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’ve got to say the past few days have been pretty good with baby N. Each day he seems to take leaps and bounds in his development and he is such a smiler!  His huge toothless smile and funny laughs greet me each morning when he wakes up which almost makes up for the fact that he’s making me get up sometime around 6am! If I wasn’t keeping this blog anonymous, I’d post 100 photos of his gorgeous smile here as it’s impossible not to be cheered up by it.

Over the past week the only evenings I had significant challenges with him were Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but this is because the poor guy had his immunisations on Tuesday and he wasn’t feeling his best.  He was incredibly brave during the jabs – much more brave than I was.  We went there and he was all smiles and laughs so I was feeling like a terrible person for subjecting him to the suffering. He was looking in my eyes and smiling when they made the first injection and his little face showed first the shock and then he stuck his bottom lip out and did a whimper.  For the second injection a minute or so later he did a bit of a cry but then I picked him up and cuddled him and he stopped crying within a minute. So brave!!

The immunisations clearly had an impact on him though as he spent the rest of the afternoon asleep. When I picked him up to feed him in the evening he was all limp and kind of whiny.  Not crying really but making some little squeaking noises.  I checked and he didn’t have a temperature, but he also looked like he was feeling pretty awful so I gave him a dose of Calpol (paracetamol).  The super-sweet flavour of it took him by surprise, but within 15 minutes of administering the dose he was back to smiling and laughing. Although I had no problem getting him down for his evening sleep, he had a restless night waking up many times and needing re-settling so I was exhausted! I still managed to go to my yoga class but I was definitely not very good at it and had to cancel the rest of the day’s activities as I was in pieces. When hubby came home in the evening I had to get him to take over the baby duties so I could have a nap as I was wiped out and very teary.

But then by Thursday, baby N was feeling much better and so we had a nicer day.  We went for coffee with a friend of mine who had recently gotten engaged and he was an angel baby sleeping through all of our gossipy chats.  I had to tell my friend MULTIPLE times that it’s not always this easy, but I don’t think she believed me.

Age: 10 weeks

Weight: There was no weigh-in this week, but I’m confident he’s now over 6kg. As I carry him around for most of the day I have noticed that my arms are getting much more strong and my biceps are pretty impressive.  Who needs the gym when you have a baby!

Feeding: I’ve noticed for the past week that baby N has generally been more tired and more hungry so I think he may also be going through some kind of growth spurt.  Whereas we were feeding him 120ml each time, we then started to give him a couple of 150ml feeds towards the end of last week.  Now I am giving him 150ml more often than not.  Clearly he’s a growing boy!  We joke that if we only give him 120ml these days he will eat all of that and then start to munch the bottle!

 

Sleeping routine: I have noticed that the baby has become easier to put down in the evenings to sleep.  A couple of times last week I realised he was not tired in the early evening, after some decent late afternoon sleeps so I delayed his bathtime/bedtime until he started to show some signs of being tired.  There is a fine balance between showing signs of tiredness and a full-on overtired breakdown so you have to keep a close eye on this.  However, by waiting until he’s properly tired to put him to bed, he’s a lot easier to convince to sleep.  Yesterday we had a busy day out for lunch and strolling about in the afternoon and so he didn’t nap very solidly.  I was conscious of this so put him down for a power nap at around 6pm last night before we had given him a bath… but he had other ideas and woke up at midnight. So we skipped the bath!

Tonight he was looking pretty exhausted at 7pm so I popped him in the bath, gave him a nice feed, did some singing to him (tonight’s choice “A Beautiful Mess” by Jason Mraz) and he was asleep by 8pm.  Given what an appalling singer I am perhaps he just went to sleep as it was better than listening to me wail on. Whatever the case, he looks pretty cosy in there now so I’m pleased.

Generally when he goes down to bed at around that time at night he goes right through to about 2am or 3am and has a feed.  The sleep that follows this is usually much more disturbed though so I find that I might get up a couple more times during this period to re-settle him.  This is also because of the magical head pillow he uses – he kicks his legs about so much during his lighter sleeps that he bounces himself off the pillow.  Interestingly he cries when he’s off the pillow so he must prefer to be on it.

The disturbed sleep that I get from around 3am until 6am really does suck and means that even though I might log 6-7 hours in bed, only about 3-4 of those hours are consistent, decent sleep.  I’m sure that baby N will continue to improve his sleeping and get even better at self-soothing – I’ve seen good progress in this area already – so I am staying calm about this for now.

Firsts: Vaccinations – arrrrrrrgggghh!  He was so stoic though and I was very proud of him. I’ve also noticed he now realises his hand belongs to him and I caught him staring at his fist as he moved it across his line of sight.  That was pretty funny.

He’s also quite obsessed with patterns, colours and shadows so I’ll often find him staring, open-mouthed at something like a picture or a light-fitting.  It does make you look at the world around you a lot more differently.

Hair: Still growing! He’s still about 10 years off having a ponytail though (this is a good thing).

Eyes: Getting darker!  My baby is going to have brown eyes for sure.

Wonky neck update: I have really noticed a big improvement in baby N’s neck strength this past week and feel pleased that all the carrying about and special exercises are having an impact. At today’s baby physio session she was also delighted with his improvement.  He was doing so many new exercises with her and all holding his head up unaided.  I can see he gets more alert now he has a strong neck and that means he can see more stuff around him which feeds his curiosity.  I am now more convinced than ever that leaving your baby passively somewhere like a playmate or a bouncer/swing is not helpful to their development.

Mummy update: I’ve had a pretty good time of late.  With the exception of Wednesday when the exhaustion was immense, I have been functional, cheerful and maybe even… happy!  I know right?!  How crazy is that?!

I’ve been able to get out and about and do some things that make me feel semi-normal.  Sometimes this is with the baby and sometimes I have been letting some others babysit him briefly.  I do miss him after an hour or so, but it’s good for us both to spend a little time away from each other.

I have continued to keep up with the regular exercise with two yoga sessions and a gym session last week.  I also took the baby to the park a couple of times so some brisk walking around there has also been good for getting my heart pumping.  I’ve still not lost any more weight than previously, but I think I need to crack down on my diet to really make an impact there.

New baby essentials

Considering we’ve been doing this new baby lark for almost 10 weeks, I thought I’d reflect on some of the things that I’ve found to be useful with baby N. I know there are a few soon-to-be-mamas out there so I hope this is helpful!

Firstly, newborn babies need hardly any stuff despite what you might think if you go to any baby shop. For the first few weeks all they do is eat, sleep, poop. So if you have the essentials for those activities then you’re covered.

Bedding

You might want to consider getting multiple sets of bed sheets as it took me a bit of practice to get the nappy/diaper application good and thus we had some wee leakage issues in the early days. Also, the more sheets you have, then you don’t have to worry about needing to do a load of washing often.

Sleeping

If you have a big house you might want to consider some kind of day bed for the baby to sleep in during the day. I had a Moses basket which had the advantage of being portable so I’d put it in whatever room I was in. I also had it in our bedroom for the first few weeks until the sounds of the baby sleeping – babies are VERY noisy sleepers – drove me nuts and I put him in his own room.

I didn’t love my Moses basket as it was not good quality though. It came from Mothercare so I don’t recommend that brand. There are other places that make nicer ones though such as Mamas and Papas (UK audience only I think).

What I do wish I’d bought though is a Sleepyhead (called Dock-a-tot in the US). They sit in a larger bed/cot/crib and make the baby feel cosy. I also borrowed a Cocoonababy for a few weeks and it helped with brilliant sleeping but the transition to the cot was HARD!

I was super excited about Ewan the Dream Sheep as a sleep aid but I’ve not seen any evidence of it helping. It didn’t make things worse either but seems a bit of an oversell to me. Lucky he’s cute though as he is now primarily decorative.

Stroller

I totally love my Bugaboo Chameleon stroller but I confess it is huge and it takes up the entire boot/trunk of our SUV. Perhaps when we transition from the bassinet seat to the stroller seat it will be smaller but if space is an issue for you then make sure to choose a stroller that collapses to a more small size. I kind of wish I’d bought a more sensible one now.

Swings and bouncers

As I’ve said before, I’d caution against using swings/bouncers. While my guy loves his Mamaroo, it didn’t help his flat head. If you’re going to get one, commit to only leaving the baby in there for short periods and don’t let them sleep in there.

Baby wearing

I do think something to wear your baby with is helpful, be that a sling or a carrier. I have an Ergobaby and I think he’s quite comfy in there. I plan to use it more when it’s not so hot here as he gets warm quickly in it.

Baby clothes

Clothes wise, when you’re super sleep deprived you do not want to be dealing with 1000 buttons to change a nappy. Choose simple clothing for the baby and make your life easier.

Baby bag

I have a wonderful nappy/diaper bag by Skip Hop which I love. It has lots of great pockets and it easily attaches on the stroller. I no longer use a handbag but just put my essentials in one of the pockets. I keep the bag fully stocked – I.e. When I get home I re-stock anything used so that it’s ready to go for next time with the exception of feeding items. This makes getting out of the house with the baby a little easier and faster and I always have everything I need in there.

Gadgets

Babies are pretty low-tech but do get things like a thermometer in case of fever, a bath thermometer so you get the bath water temperature right, and some kind of baby monitor if the baby will be sleeping in a different room to you. All other gadgets are not necessary.

Breast feeding

If you plan to breast feed then do invest in a breast pump from the start. If I had one in advance I would have tried to rescue my supply from the start of my problems. You’ll also need a steriliser machine, bottles and bottle cleaning tools.

Toys

Newborns do not care for toys so don’t go crazy buying loads in advance. Also people tend to give you gifts of toys, especially soft toys! I have a few nice toys that make crinkle sounds and have nice mirrors and it’s only about now – nearly 10 weeks in – that he’s starting to be interested in them.

FOR MAMA:

At the hospital

I optimistically packed a bunch of make-up for the hospital stay. Hahahahaha! I did use some blusher one day to look more alive but really it didn’t need to be packed. I did find that by day 2 I wanted to be in comfy non-PJ clothes during the day. This is both to distinguish night from day but also so I didn’t feel totally awful when accepting visitors. That said, I did meet my husband’s new boss for the first time while wearing flamingo PJs!!

At home clothes

Invest in advance of the birth in some clothes that are non-maternity but are a size up on your regular clothes. Unless you are a supermodel, you’ll carry some baby belly for a few weeks and it’s depressing only having maternity clothes to wear. If you’re breast feeding, look into tops that button down for easy boob access.

Feeling good about yourself

We all have a different level of commitment to beauty regimes so apply this advice as required. In order to feel nice about myself I have been making sure I shower each day and wash my hair. This may sound ridiculously simple but it’s not. Decide what your base is and try to stick to it. I also made sure to have my hair cut and coloured the week before my delivery and had a pedicure. This meant that I looked relatively put together for the first few weeks. It also means I REALLY need to go see my hairdresser again soon!

Getting out of the house

I cannot emphasise enough how good it is to get out of the house after having a baby. It is also waaaaaaaay more complicated to do than you can imagine. Expect to find the first few attempts to leave the house to be time-consuming and exhausting. It gets better. One thing I’ve found useful if I’m pushed for time is to have some make-up essentials in a small make-up bag that I can throw in the baby bag. This means I can apply make-up in the car (if I’m a passenger) or at the destination.

In this bag I tend to favour make-up sticks such as by Nars. They do great stick blusher and eye shadow. You’d be surprised what magic can be done with tinted moisturiser, basic eyeshadow, eyebrow pencil, mascara, blusher and lipstick. I can do all of this in less than 5 minutes.

A little extra

Another thing that used to drive me wild when pregnant is people always telling me to sleep now before the baby comes. I found that ridiculous because my sleep when pregnant was appalling! However now I know what they really meant. No matter how entirely awful your pregnancy sleep is, it will still be 100x more satisfying than your “sleep” with a newborn. So if you’re pregnant and thinking things will get better when the baby comes, you’re wrong. Basically enjoy not having your sleep held to ransom now by a tiny dictator. 😀

Week 9 – New endings and beginnings

Our small guy celebrated his two month birthday on Sunday and it has made me think where has time gone and have I really not been at work for 11 weeks?! I speak to my colleagues often and one of them likes to cheer me up with tales of how things are not working without me there. While I don’t wish hardship on anyone, it’s nice to know that my work does count for something! With that in mind, I’ve also started to think of where I am going to send our guy in January/February when I return to work.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to work part time so that it won’t be too onerous on him to be somewhere away from home for a few hours a day.

I have one nursery place in my sights currently which is dual language so he’ll be able to get to grips with the local language and English too. My baby physio said that they also give the small babies plenty of floor time rather than just plonking them in chairs, which is particularly important for our guy with his weak neck and flat head.

When I go to write these weekly updates I try and think back to what happened during the week previously and it is SO HARD to remember what has happened. Parenthood does something really funky to your memory and so by today I can barely remember what happened yesterday, much less what happened last week.  My fuzzy memory seems to indicate that last week was a pretty good week overall, with no major moments of meltdown.  The past few days, however have been a bit more tricky!

According to the Wonder Weeks app, the small guy has entered another developmental leap phase so I am putting his recent crankiness down to that.  He is generally really lovely and cheery in the mornings and afternoons, giving us LOTS of smiles and even laughing at us / with us these days. He is a delight!  But the past few days we have hit around 6pm and just nothing makes him happy.  Well, his bath makes him briefly happy but then it’s all tears and screams.  I spend a long time each evening holding him, walking around home, singing to him, dancing (gently) to music and generally trying to calm him down with mixed results.

I used to run marathons and other long distances in the past (feeling like the VERY distant past now) and I remember at certain points in the races I would have to tell myself to just focus on putting my foot forward each time, rather than thinking about the finish line.  I find that during these evenings where the baby is really difficult (or as the internet likes to call it, fussy) I just have to focus on that exact moment and not think to myself will this child ever stop crying or at what age do babies stop crying every single night. Sometimes I succeed, other times I cry with the baby. My hubby is getting better at supporting me through these difficult times now and that also helps me enormously.  While he doesn’t take the baby from me much when he’s crying he does do things like get me a drink or make up the formula for the baby.

As for the baby and his wonky head, the physio lady was very pleased that his neck is getting much stronger, although it’s not getting a lot more straight yet.  Yay for tummy time, which he is now really good at! She was very optimistic and said it will get better with time so I am just trusting in her.  I got a bit worked up about it when I saw her on Monday, but I’d not had much sleep or any breakfast beforehand so I think that didn’t help.  She said that around 80% of babies these days get some form of torticollis (weak neck muscles) because they all sleep on their backs.  I think she doesn’t agree with the recommendations to have babies sleep on their backs but – as a medical professional – she can’t really tell me that.

Age: 9 weeks + 1 day

Weight: As of yesterday he weighs 5.78kg which is almost 13lbs.  This is a very normal weight for his age, and is even more okay when you consider that he’s in the 85th percentile for height. He started off a bit on the skinny side due to the issue with my lack of milk so I’m glad his BMI has caught up now to be in the normal range.  Also, the doctor  reassured me that he’s not chubby either which a few (stupid) people had inferred the past week.

Feeding: Confession time!  I have decided to give up the combination feeding and just go for 100% formula.  Why? Well the baby has actually decided for me as he’s started to reject the breast and get angry and frustrated.  I don’t blame him as my milk supply is very pathetic and the poor guy just wants to eat. Also, bottles are way more efficient so it’s common for babies to develop a preference for bottles over boobs.

Up until now at most feeds I have been offering him my boob and then topping up with formula which means he’s had the best of both worlds (in theory) but I’ve had the worst of both worlds – doing both boob and formula feeding.  This means it takes AGES to feed him which I’ve persevered with for two months but now he seems done and so am I.  I checked with my paediatrician and she was very chilled about it all so I feel a bit better.  I still feel relentless guilt for failing at breast feeding but I’m trying ever so hard to focus on the positives and that is the baby is healthy and happy and nourished.  He was not being nourished by my breasts so switching to formula was a very good thing for him. Any guilt I have is my own ego at play which I have to let go.

Yesterday I thought I’d go cold turkey on the boob feeding, figuring my supply was pretty low anyway.  By the afternoon I was in some pain with my left boob in particular quite engorged.  This was a bit of a surprise, so I let the baby feed from it for a long time to relieve the build up and we were all happy with that solution.  However, today I don’t have the same issue so perhaps I am done now.  I’ll see how I go as I think the official advice is to cut down feeds gradually, but that’s probably for folks with a full supply to start with.

Sleeping routine: From my hazy memory, the small guy slept pretty well last week.  Apart from the trouble in getting him to sleep in the evenings, he’s starting to settle into his night time sleeps these days.  I am generally only getting up to feed him once in the night, followed by our breakfast feed at sometime around 6.30-7.30 (it varies).  Depending on how easy he was to settle at night, this might mean I’ll get chunks of sleep between 4-5 hours in length, but sometimes it is more like 3 hours.

The first sleep of the night is his longest one so I try and get tucked up in bed as early as I can do so as to maximise my sleep too.  If he’s cried until 10pm and I still need to have dinner, this doesn’t always work out so well which means I’ve been very tired the past few days.  I remain optimistic though that this is the start of him developing longer nighttime sleeps so that soon I might get sleep periods of 6 hours at a time.  Oh to dream!

Firsts: The small guy had his first vaccinations with needles today.  I was really nervous for him as the thought of letting someone purposely hurt him was upsetting me, but he was so brave!  They had to give him two jabs and for the first one he did a bit of a whimper and for the second one he cried for about a minute.  Since then, no crying.  That was about 7 hours ago and he’s been very tired since.  I’m monitoring him for a fever but no sign of one yet.  If he seems particularly unhappy or feverish I am to give him some Calpol but I will also give him a dose before bed tonight just to make sure he has a nice snoozy.

When not being tortured by medical professionals, the baby N is really quite gorgeous.  He smiles and laughs and loves to see mummy and daddy.  He’ll also smile at other people too so I think he’s going to be a real charmer! I like that he’s not shy around people and hopefully that means he’ll be a social character.

I’ve started to notice that he has different cries for different reasons these days.  Obviously there is the wail that is saved for evenings which is usually from being overtired.  Then there is the cry for food and now he has a kind of whiny cry when he’s just generally displeased with things. I like that one as he screws up his face and puts his bottom lip out just like I would when throwing tantrums as a child. My mum is delighting in the fact that I am getting a taste of my own medicine now.  Hahaha!

He is also really enjoying looking at his surroundings.  Sometimes he sees a particularly fascinating shadow or shape on the wall and he stares at it in wonderment.  I’m kind of jealous he sees such magic in seemingly mundane things.  My husband likes to give him a tour around our home of the different pictures and artworks and there is one nice photo of me on the wall of our bedroom that was taken by a professional photographer friend as a favour to him when I was about 16 weeks pregnant (I got the photos for free if he can use them on his website – winning deal!).  You can’t see I’m pregnant in the photo, but my husband was telling baby N that he was in my belly there and the baby not only smiled at the photo but he laughed.  It was really cute!  At least he loves his (flawed) mummy!

Hair: Growing back!  Hallelujah!  He’s quite fair but not a full-on blondie.  More a dirty blond kind of colour.  Definitely not looking at all Mediterranean like his daddy!

Eyes: Heading towards hazel territory but still keeping quite a bit of blue in them for now.

Mummy update: Mummy had a pretty good week last week!  I went to yoga twice and… wait for it… I WENT TO THE GYM!!  Yep, I did a personal training session for the first time in about two years.  As part of my regime to increase the odds of IVF success I gave up the gym and running and focused on yoga and walking.  Although my PT only gave me pretty simple and easy exercises to do it was so wonderful to feel endorphins coursing through my veins again.  I did feel a bit tight the next day, but nothing too bad.  Thank goodness for daddy who took care of the baby while I got to go do my thing.

This week I’m hoping to do the same with yoga and gym and then in the coming weeks I will try and do more such as walking with the baby (when the weather gets cooler – it’s still too hot during the day here) and perhaps more gym if I can get someone to mind the baby for me.  I am also going to the hairdresser tomorrow which is SUPER EXCITING as I look a bit wild at the moment.

On the weekend we had two adventures – on Saturday hubby and I took the baby out in the late afternoon/evening for a stroll around town and spent some time at a wine bar.  Although we came home at 8pm I think we pushed him too far as he was really overtired when we got home and took a lot of work to settle.

Not put off by this however, we then took him out during the day on Sunday to the beach.  The coastal areas are cooler than where we live so in the shade the baby was okay for a couple of hours of beach time.  Both hubby and I had a nice swim, although obviously not at the same time as the baby needed someone to look after him.  I didn’t feel he was old enough or ready to go for a swim himself yet.  I think I’ll save that for next year.  We then had a nice lunch at a restaurant – the baby spent half of the lunch on my lap with me eating my dinner with one hand – and headed home afterwards.  Again, the baby was sooooo over stimulated by that adventure that he was very fussy in the evening, so we did consider maybe we were too optimistic with our adventures.

Although we paid for it in the evenings, it was lovely to actually get out and have a nice time together.  The baby did seem to enjoy himself while he was out and about so maybe it is just a case of him getting used to these types of things.  In any case, we are all still learning and it’s a trial and error kind of thing!

Eight weeks – is it time for a schedule?

Of all the tips on how to get a baby to sleep well, I keep reading about the importance of getting baby on a schedule.  While I’ve been pretty great at making sure he has a bath at approximately the same time each night from the start, before now I haven’t really made any true effort beyond that, sticking mainly to survival mode.  At first baby N was doing the usual newborn thing of being very sleepy all the time so the biggest challenge was making sure I got to eat dinner during one of his snoozy moments.

But then he went through a developmental phase which I can only describe as “difficult” whereby he has been next to impossible to convince to go down for a sleep in the evenings. I had been warned by my best friend who has two young children that babies are tough between weeks six to eight, and boy was she right.  While baby N is a lovely smiley, laughing boy in the mornings and the afternoons, something happens around 6pm where he turns into some kind of screaming monster.

I’m not joking when I say I was giving him his bath around 7pm each night last week and if I was lucky he went down for a nap (not his nighttime sleep) at around 10pm. If I was unlucky, it was more like midnight. He would of course wake up a couple of hours later for a feed so that wasn’t even the end of the baby soothing process for the night.

Meanwhile, as I was trying to get him to go to sleep in the first instance, I was holding him, walking around the house with him, bouncing him in my arms and hubby even took him for a drive in the car one night.  That day I had been awake since 3am and holding the baby for practically the whole day because he’d not had much daytime nap success so by midnight I actually told my husband that I was resigning from motherhood and the baby was now his.  So he took the baby out in the car with him!  While the baby did sleep in the car (and I slept on the bed while they were in the car together), he then woke up the second we tried to move him to the baby bed which made me cry some more.  I think he crashed out around 1am on that night so I almost pulled a 24 hours shift.

In between the bouncing and the crying (mine, more than the baby’s) I was FRANTICALLY googling how to make a baby sleep, At some point I realised that no one has any freaking idea how to make a baby sleep and most advice can be summarised as “Try anything in the hope that something, anything works for your baby”. Anyway, everyone seemed to be banging on about the importance of a schedule for baby so he knows what to do at any given time of day.

This week I am trying very hard to actually follow a schedule of some sorts. I’m two days in and so far I’m seeing some small progress, which in baby land means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING because babies like to completely change their behaviour from one day to the next it seems.  However, in my more optimistic moments I like to think/hope/dream that this is the beginning of better days for us.

As for baby N’s neck and head situation, he seems to have made some good progress in just one week.  We visited the baby physio again yesterday and she seemed pleased with how he is progressing.  I can actually see he is getting stronger too which is making me a little relieved. He is definitely getting better and happier with tummy time too and only in just one week!

I have more or less been carrying baby N about the house when he is not asleep and I have almost gotten used to it.  When I really, really have to do something that requires two hands I do just put him down somewhere in a position that is not physio approved because sometimes you just have to get stuff done!  That said, I am now quite talented at applying make-up one-handed.  I have not attempted eyeliner one-handed though! In some ways I think it is helping to bond me closer to baby N after my rough start, so every cloud has a silver lining etc.

For those of you who are expecting a baby soon and may be making a gift list, I would caution you against getting a bouncer/swing of any kind as I quizzed my baby physio about why she banned me from using ours anymore.  She explained that not only does the angle of the bouncer/swing mean that most babies will naturally favour leaning their head to one side to rest it, which can then lead to the problem with the weak neck, but also she said that these items make baby very passive.  They don’t encourage babies to turn their heads to look around at their surroundings, thus strengthening their neck muscles.

It was an interesting view and something I had certainly not thought about when we bought ours, but also I think once you have one in your house, you’re tempted to use it possibly more than you should do so that you can get some rest or some chores done.  I absolutely love the one we got (the Mammaroo) and so does baby N, but the wonky neck and flat head is simply not worth it!  In our case the bouncer/swing did not cause baby N’s problems, but it did make it worse.

In good news though, all of this flat head situation has meant that baby N has made the transition to the cot bed.  Unfortunately he has cut down the total consecutive hours he will sleep for his long sleep at night since moving out of the Cocoonababy, but I think there would have been some kind of regression when we made the transition regardless of when it was. At least we are dealing with it now and already I can see him being more comfortable in the cot bed. Given that he’s so long I would have had to move him in the next couple of weeks anyway.

He is also coping with his special Mimos pillow pretty well.  In case anyone is also having flat head issues, then I encourage you to get one of these pillows too.  They seem to be pretty magical at helping to ease away the symptoms!  They are expensive, but you have to do what you have to do. Links below to some stockists – I am not getting any endorsement for this!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Australia

 

Age: 8 weeks +1

Weight: No idea as he’s not been weighed this week, but after holding him all day long for a week, I can officially tell you he is HEAVY!

Feeding: He feeds on a pretty consistent 3 hour schedule during the day.  It stretches to 4-5 hours at night depending on what kind of monster he is being his sleeping habits.

Sleeping routine: See above. Last week his routine was to refuse to go to sleep unless in my arms and every time I put him in bed, he would throw his eyes wide open and cry.  This was infuriating!  However, I am still trying to get him to sleep like the books say babies should. I bathe him at around 7pm, feed him, read him a story and then try and get him to go to sleep. The past two nights this hasn’t been too bad, but let’s see if we can make it three in a row.

During the day, he seems to have 2 morning naps of around 30-45 mins each and in the afternoon he might have 1-2 naps.  He seems to prefer to nap on me in the afternoons so we’ve been watching some pretty average TV together. I also read that it’s important not to take your baby about too much during the day so that he can rest properly at nap times as a well-napped baby apparently means they will sleep better at night.  With this in mind I have also been making an effort to time errands and other things around his naps so that he gets good rest and this has seemed to have positive results too, even though I’m going bananas.

I’ve also learned not to go to soothe the baby the second he starts crying when in bed as sometimes he does a small cry and falls back to sleep. If I had intervened and picked him up (for example) then he would be wide awake.  However, quite often if he’s not properly awake he just drifts back to sleep which is nice.

Firsts: Baby N is quite the smiler and will smile for most people if they give him a big one themselves, but he particularly loves daddy and saves all his big smiles for him when he comes home from work.  I really love his funny toothless grins and giggles.  He doesn’t yet seem at all interested in the cats but I do wonder when he’ll start laughing at them too.

Last night we took him out to his first family party at a relative’s house.  I was not sure this was a good idea (see above about keeping to a schedule) but apart from absolutely wailing the house down as I bundled him into his car seat to go there, he was a total angel and everyone probably now thinks I’m exaggerating about how hard he is to put down to sleep.  In fact, he didn’t even wake up when I put him back in the car seat to go home, drove home, took him out of the seat and put him in bed.  He even slept through to 4am which means he had 6 hours between feeds (something he doesn’t do often). Am I the only one who sometimes feels their baby is trying to mock them?

Hair: Slowly growing back so he no longer looks like quite the old man.

Eyes: I think they are starting to move a little away from blue towards a hazel/brown.

Mummy update: After a great start to my exercise regime with my return to yoga last Wednesday, I’ve failed to do anything further since.  I was meant to go to yoga again on Saturday morning but it didn’t work out. Friday night was a nightmare with the baby and so both my hubby and I were exhausted on Saturday and it just seemed like too much effort.

Today I went for a lovely walk in the park with the baby, but that barely counted as a workout.  I am heading back to yoga tomorrow though and hopefully again on Saturday. I am even contemplating a gentle personal training session on Thursday which I have not done in about two years as I took a break during the IVF process. Wish me luck!

In general I find that I try and have some things to do throughout the week, but that if I don’t have the capacity to do the non-essential things on the day that I just don’t do them. I have really had to let go of a lot of what used to bother me in order to adjust to the new normal. Some days I don’t put any make-up on, others I put some on just to make myself feel better.  For me the one non-negotiable is that I have to wash my hair every day.  This simple task can sometimes feel like a burden but I always feel better for it.

I have always been the one to keep things neat and tidy around the house so if hubby left something out I would probably tidy it away for him.  These days I just don’t have the time or ability to do this so I just leave whatever it is wherever it was.  Do you know the miraculous thing is that he sometimes comes back now and tidies it up himself!!  This is a REVELATION!  Sometimes it takes him two days to do it, but still at least he realises he has to clean up his own stuff!  The irony is that it’s only now that I think he’s getting a full appreciation of how the old me used to take care of him.  New me does not take care of him so well right now (oops!).

The past week I have been hugely annoyed by my husband though.  I am finding his attitude very difficult. While he is very helpful and takes responsibility for many, many things in our relationship, I feel he could be more supportive of me regarding the baby. He will come home from work and go straight to the gym or play on his computer – which is all fine, but when he does it every single day and I don’t get even 5 minutes to sit and do nothing (especially when the baby is being difficult) I find it incredibly selfish.  Unfortunately I haven’t yet managed to effectively communicate my frustration to him.  It usually comes out when I am at my most exhausted and just creates tension between us that I also don’t have energy for.  It’s a difficult time and we are still managing the transition, but I can FULLY understand why people struggle in their relationships after having a baby.