Thursday, 21 July 2005

Seven week update

Thursday, 21 July 2005
Okay, it's a day late but who's counting huh?

So, DDs sleeping much better - she managed seven straight hours last night and a further two this morning and is sleeping now. I don't think she's getting all the sleep she needs yet but at least we're moving in the right direction. She's also sleeping in her own bedroom which is great.

Growth wise she's now 9lb 2oz (4.18kg) with a head circumference of 37cm which is apparently fine and dandy as she's following the same line on the growth charts. She's also moved up into the next size clothing so I've got a box full of newborn stuff she's grown out of. She's swimming a bit in some of the clothes (which figures as they're 0 - 3 months) but they're not that big on her.

Day to day we're in much more of a routine now although her feeds and naps are not at totally predictable times during the day we always manage to get to a 6.00pm feed so she must be following some sort of internal routine. Bath time is 9.30pm (Daddy's job) and the final feed is 10pm.

Other news - she was blessed into the Greek Orthodox church last weekend. She'll be christened next year in Greece but in order for that to happen she has to be blessed within forty days of her birth (it was 47 but apparently God is flexible in this matter).

I think that's all really. We're going to visit my family next weekend which will be her biggest trip so far - 100 miles - and there'll be lots of new faces so that'll be a big test for all of us (an likely a big blog entry for me!)

The only other piece of news is that two of my friends have both had little girls in the last couple of days so congratulations to the both and welcome to the world Sofia and Kate! Ten years ago the three of us Mums all graduated from Uni after living together for three years and now we've all had our first babies within a few weeks of each other around the anniversary of our graduation.......

Wednesday, 20 July 2005


Wednesday, 20 July 2005
Now here's a subject I could write about all day.

It seems that the minute you announce your pregnancy you get bombarded with advice from all sides and it only gets worse after you actually produce the baby.

I was determined not to waste time, money and valuable leisure time reading books on babies. The midwife gave me a basic 'you're pregnant' book with all the relevant information in and that was all I bothered with. Any specific questions I had could be looked up on the internet if necessary but as I had such a good pregnancy I didn't need to.

I think that my main reasoning for this was that I had other pregnancy issues to consider (it was a diabetic pregnancy) and I was bombarded with so much extra medical information that I didn't want to even think about all the 'other stuff'.

The real eye opener was the five days I spent in hospital. There's three shifts of staff per 24 hours in the wards and I appeared to have given birth during holiday season as there wasn't any member of staff I saw for all five days.

The variation of advice I got from the staff there was mind boggling. For example, three different women helped me get to grips with breast feeding. The first would grab hold of my nipple, thrust it into DD's mouth and squeeze (you certainly lose all dignity when you've had a baby!), the second used a bottle of formula - first giving DD some and then wiping some round my nipple (this made me think about how they get orphaned baby cows to drink by putting their hands in a bucket of milk and getting the calf to suck their fingers) and the last showed me how to gently rub DD on the jaw bone, just below the ear, to stimulate her sucking (certainly the most dignified option as far as I was concerned).

Now, I don't know whether one of those methods was more successful than the others (although after number 3 DD got what she was doing) but it proved the whole 'there's no one way to do anything' theory right from the start.

At this point I decided to listen to everything and pick out the bits that made most sense to me.

Sleeping has been our main issue (as you'll know from previous entries) and we were falling into despair at DD's lack of sleep. The worst point was last wednesday / thursday when she slept for only one and a half hours. I'd spoken to midwives, doctors, health visitors, friends and family. I'd looked up sleep on the web and read the book a friend lent me cover to cover and still DD wasn't sleeping despite trying everything people suggested (which ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous and this post would be ten times longer if I listed them all so I won't).

So, DBF and I had to make our own help. The first thing we did was put her in her own room. Till then she'd been sleeping (if you can call it that) downstairs during the day and in our room at night (all advice given being have the child near you for the first six months as she finds it comforting)

The first night we did this she slept for six hours solid!!!! Since then (the last six nights) she's managed eight hours, broken for a feed at some point, and this means that I'm now getting all the sleep I need over night so even if she doesn't sleep during the day I can cope as I'm not knackered.

We didn't have any success with the day sleeping though as no matter how tired she was, the instant she was put in the crib she was wide awake and crying.

My Mum and Step-Dad visited yesterday and DD was awake all day apart from a few 10 - 15 mins naps. I was talking to my Mum about it all and I said that I feel DD would be much happier sleeping on her side or on her tummy as she always goes to sleep like that when she's on or around me or DBF but when we put her in her crib on her back she's instantly awake and crying. Mum said that when me and my bro were babies the advice was to put children on their tummies to sleep and we'd always been much happier like that.

So, today I decided to take the plunge and put DD down for her nap on her tummy. I figure that generations of babies survived sleeping on their tummies and so, despite all the advice that says not to (including the standard advice from the government) that's what I've done.

DD has now been asleep for one and a half hours......

I will continue to keep her on her back at night as I don't think I'd sleep that well knowing she was on her front but during the day when I can check on her regularly and keep the baby monitor with me then I think we'll keep trying tummy sleeping and see how it goes.

Saturday, 16 July 2005

Understanding your baby

Saturday, 16 July 2005
Right from the start I've been told that I'll get to understand what DD's crying means and that, with her body language, will tell me what she wants from life.

Fair enough, I thought, if everyone says it happens, how hard can it be?

Hmmmmmmmmmm, pretty damn impossible it would appear. I've decided she's actually tapped into the Greek half of her make up to do the crying so me as the English parent has no idea what it all means.

I've been reading a book (something I didn't think I'd resort to but more of that next post) and it lists the types of crying that babies do. Great, I can read the book and figure her out.

So, first of all, the hungry cry. It goes waaa, waaa, waaa in a rhythmic kind of way apparently and can get stronger and more persistant the longer it's ignored. So basically sounds like crying no?

The tired cry. That goes waaa, waaa, waaa in a slightly less rhythmic kind of way and gets stronger and more persistant quicker than the hungry cry. So basically that one sounds like crying too no?

The book even says that the tired cry is often easy to mistake for the hungry cry.

Okay, so it also discusses body language, maybe that'll help. For example, if the baby is making sucking noises or sucking it's fist it's hungry.

Unless of course it's not hungry in which case the sucking is just relieving it's need to suckle.

So the book advises you to couple the body language with the crying type. If the baby is sucking and making the hungry cry, it's hungry. If it's sucking and making the tired cry it needs to suckle and be put down so it can sleep.

Anyone else see the fundamental problem I have with all of this??????

I didn't even get as far as the bored cry, or any of the other examples listed as I figure they all must go waaa, waaa, waaa in a rhythmic kind of a way and sound like crying.....

Maybe I'm missing subtle nuances and I should really pay closer attention, or maybe I should do what I'm resorting to at the moment. If she's crying and has eaten within the last three hours, she ain't hungry, she's tired or bored. If she's crying and has eaten within the last three hours and she ain't yawning, she's bored.

Maybe someone out there reading this can enlighten me further on this whole issue, or maybe I'm expecting too much from a six week old relationship and one day soon it's all gonna fall in place.......

Thursday, 7 July 2005

Things you never expected to get obsessed with - Number 1

Thursday, 7 July 2005

No, not mine or DBF's, the baby's....

It all started during the hospital stay (of five days) and has now become something that we actually discuss on a daily basis.

Whilst in hospital I had to let staff know every time I fed the baby and for how long as well as every time she filled a nappy and what it included. Right down to the colour involved. And it was all noted down in her records for reference (so I guess one day she may be able to request access to the notes and see how much she pooed over the first five days.....)

Anyway, it soon becomes second nature to note colour, quantity and frequency which means you can become obsessed by changes. To the extent that you find yourself on the phone to NHS Direct (a free health advice line that, it has to be said, is pretty useless) at midnight because your DBF is in a complete panic that the nappy is full of lime-green poo!

Yep, that was us the other night. I was trying to talk to a health care professional about lime green poo whilst DBF was typing the same phrase into Google and checking out poo online.

We weren't that successful with either option providing reassurance but as DD was otherwise fine and dandy we decided she was ok and stopped short of taking her and the full nappy to the hospital for a face to face diagnosis (although I think if I'd suggested it DBF would have been out of the door asap).

The Health Visitor came round the next day and DBF showed her a nappy (not the original, I did manage to persuade him we didn't need to keep that for her) and she said it was fine. It turns out that some formula milk turns baby's poo green and, as we'd included a bottle in her feeds the day before because I was so exhausted I needed to sleep, that was the source of the issue.

So panic over and another piece of useless information for us to store away for future use should one of our friends mention lime-green poo at any time!

Writing this all down it seems totally ridiculous and obsessive (and pretty damn funny really) but at the time the source of the colour really was the most urgent issue in our lives. LOL

Monday, 4 July 2005

Not quite a smile....

Monday, 4 July 2005
but cute nevertheless......

Saturday, 2 July 2005

Sleep Part 2

Saturday, 2 July 2005

Well we reached what I hope was rock bottom last weekend with DD sleeping for a total of three hours a day and at one point feeding on and off for sixteen hours solid.

By Monday I had to ask DBF not to go to work as I was so exhausted I was afraid I’d hurt her – not by intention, I never felt close to harming her, but I was scared I’d fall asleep with her on me feeding and I was so tired I wouldn’t wake up again so anything could happen. Also I’d left a message with the Health Visitor to seek advice and if we’d needed to take DD to the doctor I needed DBF as I still couldn’t drive after the caesarean.

Anyway, DBF had her asleep on him for three hours so I got some sleep too. That at least cleared my head a bit and we started to talk about what our options could be to assist the situation.

Basically, I knew that one of the main reasons she’d been extra unsettled was that DBF’s family were here for four days and I never feel entirely relaxed around them at the best of times so DD was obviously picking up my stress from that. She was also passed around like a prize and her personal space was constantly being invaded as everyone wanted to coo over her.

So, that problem was easily solved as they left on Sunday so there was no more stress and over-stimulation. The main problem was still there though so we decided to buy a much firmer mattress for the moses basket and also a rocking frame for it. Our reasoning was that the foam mattress we had didn’t seem to support her that well and she likes being rocked but I can’t hold her and rock her for very long as my stomach starts to ache.

Those two things have seemed to help a bit – especially the rocker as she’s now happy to be in the basket whilst awake and her movement causes it to rock which keeps her contented. She doesn’t sleep easily in there still but at least I can leave her for a while and get on with other things, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.

Anyway, with things a bit more settled during the day we finally noticed a distinct pattern in the evenings. Basically we had her settled during the day but she was unconsolable for two to three hours at night, wouldn’t feed, tummy was all hard, all she did was scream…..

Yep, colic.

I have a book on getting a baby to sleep that a friend leant me and the symptoms they listed in there all fitted. We checked it out on the web and got even more symptoms we could tick off the list so we were left in no doubt about it. So, we’ve invested in colic drops, have been using them for 24 hours and can already see a difference. It’s not a miracle cure but at least the three of us all feel better and are slowly working out a solution.


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