Back to work for 1 week only

Eeeeek.  I go back to work next week, but for one week only.  And it won’t be a slow transition either!  I am going back for part of my executive development training program, fortunately this residential course is being held at my office so I don’t have to travel anywhere this time.  BUT it does mean long days as we try to fit our team project work in evenings and the socialising is part of the course too.

So psychologically I am only going back for one week, I’m in a good place with this.  However, physically in the milk bar department, I am not quite ready!  Time has crept up on me.  I have been pumping to get a freezer stash up for the past 6 weeks or so and have managed to store about 22oz.  This should easily see Aviana through the first day!  I will then be pumping whilst at work, fresh and ready for the following day.  This is going to be a new experience for my body, and trying to figure out the logistics and timing of it all.

There are somethings I had forgotten about to get ready for this week….

  • My cat Diesel chewed one of my breast pump tubes, so I need to order a new one in order to double pump;
  • I don’t have a bag to carry my pump in (not a necessity, but definitely a nice to have) or a cooler bag for storing the milk;
  • I have size 27mm large flanges and I want to try the smaller ones – 24mm because my hand pump is smaller and a bit more comfortable, although if I am not careful and not paying attention it is easy for my nipple to not be centred and get sore;
  • I haven’t tried hands free pumping yet…I should probably practice that this week with my hands free ‘bra’! Not the kind of thing to be trying out in a 20 minute break!

Chris and Chris’s dad will be looking after Aviana whilst I am away.  I know they will do a great job, I am not nervous about that.  I am nervous about Aviana taking milk from the bottle.  Chris has been giving her milk from the bottle at night time feeds, and recently we tried it in the morning, but she really fusses over it and it’s a long drawn out process to get her to take more than 1oz in a feed.  She is getting better at taking milk from the nanny, but she is not taking much – an average of 1-1.5oz.  She needs more than that and  I’m nervous about her losing weight.  Especially as she has dropped a night feed recently.

I am also a little nervous about her going on a nursing strike!  What if she decides to like the bottle more than me??!

breastfeeding.jpg

Breastfeeding can be really hard, but it is also quite amazing and I don’t want this to end just yet!

I know things will work out, and she will be fine, but I am a new mummy and I am allowed to feel like this!  I am looking forward to doing something intellectually stimulating, I’m just not sure how compatible it will be with feeding Aviana at 2 or 4 AM!  I wonder just how will my baby brain fair?!

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Sleep glorious sleep!

Let’s talk about sleep and newborn babies. When my friend told me her newborn boy, who is not much older than Aviana, was sleeping for 7hrs straight and Aviana was waking every 2-3hrs, I was insanely jealous. These are the things that went through my head….

  • I’m not feeding my baby enough, my boobs aren’t enough for her
  • She is going to be a nightmare forever
  • Is my baby a freak?
  • We are bad parents

Sleep is such a contentious issue with babies amongst parents. Everyone swears by this method, that method, blah blah blah. Well, here is what I believe.. every baby is different, so chances are each baby will behave differently with different sleep patterns. For example, Chris doesn’t do mornings and I don’t do late nights, so why would we expect our babies to be any different for having a preference for when and how long they sleep for?

However, as a new parent, babies and sleep is something I have very little knowledge of, so, I did buy a book. The ‘baby solution-a proven program to teach your baby to sleep twelve hours a night’ book.  I bought this book months before Aviana arrived. I liked that it was gentle and incremental sleep training, it kind of jibed with our parenting style (what ever that is!!!). By 12 weeks old it promises you your baby will be sleeping through the night. It sounded amazing, I had read the reviews online and there were many positive stories.

In this book by Suzy Giordano, there are three requirements that baby must meet before you start the training: 1. Baby must be at least nine pounds; 2. Baby must be eating at least 24 ounces of milk or formula in 24 hours; 3. Baby must be at least 4 weeks old or 8 weeks if a twin.  This apparently usually comes around the same time and is typically around the 8 week mark. Aviana is now 10 weeks and has only just hit nine pounds so we waited knowingly it would be a while before we could start this program. BTW – I am not convinced she is eating 24 oz of breast milk yet.

There are four stages of training:

  1. change to four feeds during the day every four hours for twelve hours. Not sure I will be able to achieve this whilst breastfeeding. Lots of comments on Amazon saying this is very difficult for a breastfed baby, which I’m inclined to agree with. This would mean Aviana consuming 4-6oz of milk in one sitting. I know that even if she emptied both my boobs that would be a challenge! Maybe every three hours we could achieve.
  2. change to eliminate all night feedings for twelve hours.  Aviana has almost done this by herself already (more on that to follow…)
  3. change to sleeping or resting quietly in the crib for twelve hours at night.
  4. change to sleeping or resting quietly in the crib for one hour in the morning and about two hours in the afternoon. To me this seems quite a challenge for an 8 week old baby, but assumably if you were to follow all the steps in order then this would come almost at 12 weeks old.

Sounds simple right?  Well the book does provide you with ways to achieve this, gently and incrementally over a four week period.  Also the book provides you with some tips for priming your baby before the 8 week point. This includes creating a good sleep environment (in cribs in their own room) and routine for when baby sleeps.  BUT…we haven’t started this program yet.
However, we have established a night time routine for Aviana…. 6pm bath time, with relaxing music and dim lights.  6.30pm last feed of the night, dim lights and relaxing lullaby music. 7pm, lights out, swaddled and in crib.  The first week was a little tough keeping her awake and not letting her nap after 4.30pm, we tried all sorts of techniques to keep her awake and entertained!  Plus she has the witching hour where she becomes a grumpy moose, usually around 4-5pm.  Tricks include going for a walk, carrying her, playing and dancing to nursery rhymes.  The routine worked well for her and she has been going to sleep like clockwork at 7pm for almost 4 weeks now.  Sometimes, she even doesn’t mind just lying in her crib kicking around for a bit before she falls asleep.  Then when Chris and I go to bed later on we carry her from her crib downstairs to our room into her pack and play crib.

A couple of weeks after starting the routine Aviana did a magical thing. I woke up at 4.30AM and I hadn’t fed her yet!!! Whaaaat?  She had slept for 9.5hrs straight.   Over the last week she has been sleeping from 7-9hrs straight and only waking for one feed during the night until she wakes up at 6 or 7AM.  This is AMAZING! So she is sleeping for twelve hours now with just one feed in the night.  Having to wake for only one feed has been rejuvenating for me.  I feel vaguely like a human again – even better than when I was pregnant because then I was still waking up every few hours to pee!  Plus Chris doesn’t need to do a bottle feed and so she is less stressed (because she is impatient she works herself up when drinking a bottle at night!).  The other good thing is that we get a couple of hours to ourselves before going to bed.

I am still doing on demand feeding (except for the 6.30pm feed) and her days don’t have much of a routine yet.  The only routine we try to use is the baby whisperer’s method of Eat, Activity (for baby), Sleep and Yourself time whilst baby sleeps (EASY).  How long that ‘EASY’ routine takes is currently on her schedule.

So….do we need to start trying sleep training?  I’m not inclined just yet to start it. First she has done really well so far pretty much on her own schedule, I’m afraid to regress! And secondly because of her weight.  I don’t want to disrupt her eating and enforce a routine that she doesn’t like because I am worried about her losing weight if we move to just four/five feeds a day.  If I was formula feeding her I would definitely try it.

Now another of our friends who has a boy a couple of weeks older than Aviana is asking me how we managed to get Aviana to sleep for so long.  I actually have no answer.  The truth is, it is a bit of luck.  To begin with we had bad luck – we had hell to begin with having to do 2 hour feeds and supplementing in her first few weeks of life and she had a hell of a time with silent reflux (well we had a hell of a time too!).  Now we have good luck…she is sleeping well now in her own way…will it stay like that?!? Who knows which way our fortune will go!

Ultimately, I like what the pediatricians here say about how to get through parenting in the newborn stage ‘you can’t spoil a newborn baby’.  I think that is something I feel comfortable with and looking back the past couple of months has worked for us.  The question is, when is she no longer that ‘newborn baby’?  When does she stop ‘training us as parents’ and when do we start training her?  I am hoping that in time that will become a bit more apparent with Aviana, but many sleep trainers say it is around the 4-6 month mark.  Only time will tell……in the meantime Aviana is napping in her new Baby Hawk Mei Tai carrier and is probably going to wake up soon so I will stop blabbing, but will continue this another time!

Happy sleep my friends X

The two month checkup

Aviana was 2 months old on 21 Feb 2017! This girl is growing fast. Everyday she is learning something new and I am learning something new. She had her 2 month check up on Monday and I went to the appointment without Chris because he had to work after his week off work from the flu. 😟 This was a shame because he didn’t get to share the PAIN of  watching our baby girl scream her head off when she got her vaccine shots!!! But I’ll come back to that part!

Aviana was measured and weighed – Clocking in at 9lbs 5oz (5th percentile) and 22.2″ tall (28th percentile). Her head was still 37cm (15th percentile). Her weight is still a little lower than hoped for, so the doc checked her weight v height. She wasn’t on the charts 😟. Which surprised me because she has been growing such beautiful chubby cheeks. It may just be that she grew long before padding out, the doc didn’t seem overly concerned. We talked about breastfeeding, pees and poops and everything sounded all good. She has 8-10 wet nappies a day with 3-4 poops. When I pump I get 2-2.5oz from each boob. She definitely prefers boob to bottle, but will take a bottle when she has to, although often fusses when she does. So all in all no worries. 

I was a little disappointed she hadn’t put on more weight. But all in all she is a happy baby, so does it matter that she isn’t on the charts? Well, I left the office not thinking much more about it, but later that day I got a call saying that the Dr wanted to see Aviana sooner for a weight recheck in one months time. So I was a little frustrated we didn’t talk about that at the appointment. But obviously if she doesn’t want to see Aviana for another month then it’s still no worries and the Dr is just being cautious. Still, I can’t help but be nervous that Aviana isn’t getting the right nutrition.

So, the other part of the checkup was the vaccinations. After I saw the doctor, I was told the nurse had one more baby to vaccinate before Aviana and they would be with me soon. Well 30 minutes later the nurse came in. Whilst waiting I breastfed Aviana. I had read in my breastfeeding support group forum that breastfeeding before, during and after helps Baby deal with the vaccine better. I don’t know how or what way, but I imagine wits a reassurance thing. So the nurse came in with another nurse, I held Aviana’s arms, the two nurses jabbed her either side in her thighs together so it was over quickly.  But oh my, that scream, Aviana cried something rotten so much so I almost cried! I picked her up right away and continued to breastfeed. Oh the little sobs that came out of my girl as she fed were heart wrenching!!! She really felt sorry for herself! But after 5 more minutes on the boob, I got her dressed and we left. All was fine with the world except for the occasional sniff and tear on the way home. We made it home and I comforted her again by offering my boob. It seemed to work. 

Unfortunately I had an appointment with the oral surgeon in the afternoon (an appointment I had been waiting a while for) and so had to take Aviana to a friend’s house to watch her whilst I was away. I felt bad leaving a freshly jabbed baby with my friend! Fortunately she is a very experienced mommy so was prepared for Aviana’s fussiness! In the end she slept in the wrap and my fri be carried her to calm her. And she slept some more. She had a slightly raised temp of 99.4F so I gave her a small dose of infants Tylenol (AKA Calpol) and we crossed our fingers for a good nights sleep. The past two nights Aviana slept well and she seems to have survived the vaccinations without too much fussiness. The funny thing was that the doctor said to me I should probably give her the Tylenol anyway when I got home because Aviana is an ‘expressive’ baby. Hahaha. I think that’s a polite way of saying she’s a fuss pot! 

Incidentally Aviana is currently going through her second leap (more to come about that!) so a double whammy of comforting required for my poor little Miss! 

My girl feeling sorry for herself – her little sobs were heartbreaking!!!!


Next checkup with more vaccinations is at 4 months (except for her weight recheck in 1 month). I told Chris he better be there to share the suffering of the psychological torture that is Aviana’s crying from her injections!!