The surprising fact about breastfeeding in the UK vs USA

I wrote this a while ago, but for some reason it didn’t publish!!!! Breastfeeding week was 1-7 Aug! Whoops. Better late than never!

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Did you know last week was breastfeeding week?  The week is dedicated to the celebration of breastfeeding and marks the anniversary of the signing of the innocenti declaration where governments pledge to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.  So this reminded me about a surprising fact I read recently:

Only one in 200 British women (0.5 per cent) are still breastfeeding a year after becoming mothers. The figure is 23 per cent in Germany and 27 per cent in the United States. *

I am British, but live in Virginia, USA and so it is interesting to see these kind of statistics.   I was surprised because I believed it would actually be the other way around.

Why is it that the UK figures are so much lower than the US? It surely can’t be because of returning back to work because maternity leave in the UK is far more generous than the US.  It has to be other cultural factors??  Seeing as I get to see two sides of the coin it got me thinking….

I have breastfed my daughter for the past 7 months and I’ve never had a bad experience with our choice to breastfeed in either country.  However, that doesn’t mean that others haven’t.  Having said that, I have experienced the ‘unsaid’.  Those ‘looks’ of disgust or staring.  Sometimes it’s other people’s actions, not necessarily words that make our experiences as breastfeeding parents challenging.

Breastfeeding in public.  Although there are horror stories of women being harassed for breastfeeding in public in both countries, I have never been harrassed personally.  In fact, in my local mall I regularly nursed in whilst on maternity leavegained media attention over a woman wrongly told by a security guard to go and feed her baby in the family room.  I don’t cover up when I nurse, the only times I have used a cover was when Aviana was in her distracted phase of nursing, but this was in an act of desperation to get my baby to feed, not because I felt uncomfortable nursing in public.  Some babies just won’t nurse covered up, Aviana is one of them.  Breastfeeding mothers should feel comfortable nursing however they wish and wherever they need to feed, covered or not.

In the US I have had the looks of disgust as I nurse.  In the UK I have also had those looks…however, they are far more ‘polite’ in their overtness of disgust, it’s hard to explain the difference, but I can see it!  Mostly, people don’t see me nursing and so just carry on with their day.  That’s the way it should be. Everyone just gets on with their day.

This was the fact that stunned me the most: “More people in the UK believe that smacking is acceptable than believe that breastfeeding in public is okay.” wow! I am going back to the UK in October and taking Aviana with me. She will be 10 months old, very different to a newborn baby. I wonder what reactions I will get there if I nurse her in public compared to when she was just 6 months old, the last time we were there?

Perhaps it’s just an awareness issue or misperceptions? I don’t know….but it sure is interesting. what are your thoughts? What have you experienced as a nursing mother? Or as an observer? Are you surprised by these statistics?

(By the way I respect however you choose to feed your babies and in by no means intend this to be a criticism for formula feeding…I am also fully aware this is a tough subject for women who wanted to breastfeed, but can’t for whatever reason. I have to supplement Aviana with formula as well as breastfeed)

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Here is what international breastfeeding week promotes…
Breastfeeding is vital to the healthy growth and development of infants.
It also has important implications for the health of mothers.
WHO and UNICEF recommend:
∙ Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life
∙ Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding
infants. Exclusive breastfeeding – the infant only receives breastmilk
without any additional food or drink, not even water
∙ Breastfeeding on demand
∙ No use of boles, teats or pacifiers
∙ After 6 months, infants should receive
complementary foods with continued
breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond

*According to a study published in the Lancet in January 2016

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Let’s just be honest here

Life is like a box of chocolates….you never know what you are going to get (well, if you have the picture guide then it’s not much of a surprise, but hey just sayin’!). It is true that you can’t choose whether or not your child is going to be an angel newborn or satan in disguise.  We all want the angels, but we don’t always get what we want.  I hear you say, “Yes, Dani, we know that”.

Chris and I have differing views looking back at our time with Aviana as a newborn baby.  We also have differing views on looking forwards on the subject of growing our family again.  But that’s OK because we often have differing views on some of our important life aspects and we still survive today to tell the tale.

Looking back, for me, Aviana was not an easy newborn baby, but she also wasn’t hellish either.  There was that time when we were figuring out her silent reflux when I thought what did I do to deserve this nightmare?!  There was the worry of whether or not I was feeding her enough because she was an IUGR baby (I still worry BTW!) There were times when I was creeping around quietly, anticipating Aviana to wake up because she didn’t nap well and I am not a good napper during the day so I struggled with the 2 hourly feeds.  The times when I counted down the minutes to Chris coming home from work because Aviana had been fussy and I couldn’t help her no matter what I did, wondering if I would always suck at being a mother.  The times when I wished our family and friends back in the UK could be there with us to see Aviana achieve her milestones.  But I also put a lot of pressure on myself.  I wanted to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months.  I wanted to keep up with my work’s executive development program. I wanted to shower every day – haha!

So being honest, looking back at the newborn months, it was tough.  And now it isn’t so tough – it is actually fun!  I wanted the newborn phase to pass quickly, in the moment it seemed to drag.  Now here I am looking at my daughter wondering how she grew up suddenly as an almost 6 month old, eating solids, giggling, interacting, playing, standing and sitting up.  I can already sense she will want to be an independent kinda lady.  And I’m cool with that.  And now I want to spend MORE time with her, not less which was how I felt at times during the newborn phase.  May be it’s because I know her better, I know myself better and I am catching on to the parenting thing that it seems easier.  But raising a newborn baby is hard, and it does get easier (Although I am not naive to think that there won’t be tough times in the future, so I’ve been told teenagers are the worst!!!)

Would I do it all again?  Yes.  Would I do it all again with a toddler?  Yes.  Would it be harder?  I think yes and no.  Many of our friends are on their second child and I get a sense that I’m on the right track with this answer.  It’s only until the next child comes along that they  ever realised that they had an angel or a devil newborn baby.  And their second one usually ends up being the opposite of their first.  Because that is the whole life is like a box of chocolates thing  (and it sucks if you were lucky to get two angels in a row then get a devil for the third!!)  So this leads Chris and I to have the conversation about what Aviana could be considered as (angel or devil), what would our second baby would be like (with a toddler in tow don’t forget!) and do we want to make life harder for ourselves?

Why does this all matter?  Because it begs the question what is next for our family (Oh and of course everyone always asks us if we will have another baby!).  For those of you who may remember from the great pudding club hunt, we still have one frozen embryo stored away (that we pay $60 a month to keep there).  It’s not an easy question to answer because we don’t have the luxury of planning when we can procreate another child.  We are infertile and unexplained infertility means our future remains hazy.  Plus there is the added risk of an IUGR baby again, we were lucky the first time that Aviana has not been affected too much, we may not be so lucky with a second.    All of this confounds the basic question of do we want to grow our family for the second time?  And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Chris and I have different views on siblings and age gaps….. :-p

The flu is no joke

I never had the flu vaccine until I got pregnant. It is of course a choice to have the flu vaccine, and they make it easy here in the US for anyone to get a shot. They even do drive thru flu shots for those who can’t be bothered to get out of their car (side note. I’m now learning that drive thrus are handy for when you have a newborn baby!!). So when I was offered it at one of my prenatal checkups last year I accepted because I sensed that I would be forever judged as a bad parent if I didn’t have it. So I had it. The doctor told us that anyone else who would be caring for our baby should also get the vaccine because newborn babies can’t have it so they need to have a circle of protection around them. And so a few weeks later Chris got his flu shot (together with his TDaP too). That was all in October last year.

Fast forward to last weekend, Chris and I both woke up with a slight sore throat and that awful feeling of being about to come down with something yukky. Fortunately for me, that illness never materialised, but for Chris he became progressively ill. Monday morning he was too ill to go to work and even too ill to work from home! Shock horror!!! By Tuesday he had the chills and a fever. So he called our doctor and told him to immediately go to an urgent care centre because they didn’t have any appointments available that day. It probably was the flu. Oh and by the way don’t touch your 2 month old baby!  Apparently there is a flu epidemic going round at the moment so he needed to be checked and there would be a chance he could get some Tamiflu meds to help.

So off we went to urgent care. Aviana and I stayed outside because there is not only the flu going round but also the rotavirus. The doctor confirmed he had flu type B, in fact, unusually the strain he had been vaccinated against and the doctor was surprised he had actually gotten ill. 

Chris was given a prescription of tamiflu, some masks and told not to go to work and he was quarantined from Aviana until his fever went down with out meds. Eughhhh.

I was really nervous for Aviana catching the flu, and on Thursday I started feeling really dizzy and groggy. I think my body was just fighting to not get ill, but I was fearing the worst. When you have flu in the house you want people to stay away, but I was exhausted and wished I could get just a small break from Aviana, especially at night because I was on my own, trying not to fall asleep. It was tough! 

But we survived, chris is now better, the tamiflu must have helped and both Aviana and I avoided catching the flu. Phew-I’m thankful. There is definitely something about the flu vaccine working for baby by either antibodies passed in utero when I got the vaccine or with breastfeeding, especially as I could feel my body fighting it off. Maybe both. Every time Aviana got slightly fussy I was taking her temperature just in case!! But no, she was just fine. 

After all this perhaps I will get the flu vaccine again next season…although Chris caught the flu AND had the vaccine, so it’s not guaranteed, but I think keeping odds in my favour is worth a little jab!

Birthright citizenship in the US- when your child is American and you’re not

Aviana was born in Virginia USA and we, her parents, are British citizens. A little thing called Birthright citizenship in the US means that she can be a US citizen…or a British citizen, whichever she chooses, or both.

Seeing as our daughter is American I have recently embraced learning more about the USA than I have done in the past four years as a legal resident alien.  It started off with the simple alphabet A to Zeeeeeeee.  Then I progressed to the war of independence, sorry the revolutionary war or whatever you like to call it.  And of course there is the US Constitution.  It is here you can find out more about Birthright citizenship.  Apparently the 14th amendment is a slightly controversial topic over here??!

In 1868, the U.S. ratified the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The first sentence reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The U.S. is a bit of an anomaly in the world when it comes to this issue.  Most of the rest of the world, for example, gives people citizenship based on a concept known as jus sanguinis, literally “by right of blood.”  The modern day controversy around Birthright citizenship comes to the issue of children of illegal immigrants being born in the US.

At the hospital we were given a letter detailing the recording of Aviana’s birth. We then had to apply for a birth certificate and pay something like $12 per copy (BTW it’s worth getting at least two copies because you are without one when you apply for their passport(s)).  The funny thing is her social security number was the first thing to officiate Aviana’s existence in the US!!! Ahhhhh got to be able to pay those taxes right from birth!!! We discovered when we first moved here there is little you can do without a social security number. It’s like you don’t exist without one. Anyway, I digress!

The hardest part of applying for both her US and British passport was the photos! Both countries have slightly different rules. So after I had fed and changed Aviana there is a short window of time that she is an awake happy bunny, I dashed to our local Walgreens pharmacy to get her picture taken. Here they will lay your baby down on the counter with a white sheet background, get up on a step ladder and take a picture with a digital camera. They then have the software to edit out shadows and make the face fit into the right proportions. Walgreens can do the photos for both US and British passports. The size of photos is slightly different so we had to take the British photos home and guillotine them to the right size ourselves. But that wasn’t too hard. 

Aviana was a doll for the man taking the photo. It took several goes to get her to look directly at the camera with her eyes open and arms not flailing! But the last go before she started screaming was the one! Incidentally when applying for a British passport the baby’s eyes do not have to be open.

Applying for the US passport was easy. We made an appointment at our post office and the documents were checked and sent off for a $25 fee. It was so quick and easy (we had all our docs in line and photos done already).

Applying for the British passport was a little more complicated. We had to get the photos of Aviana countersigned by someone of ‘public standing’. Who is also British. Fortunately I work with the military so that wasn’t a problem, it was just finding someone who has known us for two years or more. So you would be screwed if you lived in the US and didn’t know any other Brits in the local vicinity or had just arrived in country. Crazy.

I fly with Aviana back to the UK in mid march and we don’t have either passport yet. Hoping at least one of them arrives very soon otherwise I might be traveling to the Embassy in DC for an emergency one! 

By the way, I should say that neither Chris or I can apply for a green card on the basis that we have an American daughter. It is not until she turns 21 that she could sponsor us for a green card on the basis of her nationality. A lot of people don’t know that. So as soon as my visa runs out and is no longer sponsored by my work we have 30 days to leave the country. Technically Aviana wouldn’t have to leave! It’s all so weird! 

I’m not sure how long we will be living in the US for, but we want Aviana to experience both countries and someday she may choose to live in the other country we are not living in. Very strange to think about that!

The wonder weeks: Leap 1 changing sensations

Apparently all babies go through the same changes in mental development at the same time – and it is based on dates from conception and not dates from birth. These mental developments are called ‘leaps’. According to the book – The wonder weeks, a leap is a sudden change that brings along a new type of perception.  In the first year of a baby’s life there are eight new types of perceptions and is due to a sudden change in the brain, giving a new learning opportunity.

A leap has two phases: the first is the difficult period which can be noticed by more crying, abnormally clingy and cranky.  The second phase is when the baby masters a new skill or uses old skills in different ways – they will have new interests and be more independent.

The first leap is in week 5.  This leap is all about Aviana’s change in sensations, i.e. what she hears, sees, feels, smells and tastes.  Some of the changes in these sensations she will like and some she won’t.  But we can’t read her mind and she can’t talk so we don’t really know what she thinks about these changes.

On Tuesday, I think she went through this leap (1 day earlier than the book predicts).  She was yelling, crying, screaming – not like the pain cries from her reflux.  The cries were different.  Nothing would console her, she just wanted to be held close, but not too close, she wouldn’t even go in the sling/wrap!  She did this for almost 12 hours straight, I was exhausted mentally and physically, so much so I had to call Chris to come home early from work to help me out.  I didn’t know it in that moment that this was the leap, even though I knew it was coming .  I felt everything that the book told me I would feel…

Insecure and not confident in my parenting abilities.  Nothing I could do would stop her from crying.  I’m an intelligent, sensible and relatively knowledgeable woman.  Why could I not figure this out?

Concern.  I took Aviana’s temperature several times because I worried she might be ill and I was ignoring the signs.  I worried I wasn’t providing her with enough breast milk because she would scream at my breast and she wanted to feed almost every hour.

As soon as she finally slept solidly after all that fuss, I realised where she had been – in that leap.  The book was right.  The book tells me I should look out for how my baby has changed as a result of this leap.  This is what I have noticed in her – she will look at things longer and more often, she actually seems like she listens to me especially, my terrible singing, she is more aware of being touched, smiles more than she did before, gurgles (she has only done this just a couple of times), stays awake longer and is more alert.  Other things that the book says I can expect to see differently after this leap is her expressing her likes or dislikes more often (although we have noticed she does not like a wet diaper anymore), expresses anticipation more often, is more aware of different smells.  Apparently we will also see some physical changes in that she will vomit less, burp less, cry real tears (she was doing this already), startle and tremble less often and choke less!

Interestingly, when I saw the pediatrician today to discuss her reflux and change in medication she said that Aviana is already doing things she wouldn’t expect to see until 3 months old, such as coo-ing.  She said that Aviana will probably “want to go to the zoo very soon”, i.e. want and need more intellectual stimulation so she doesn’t get bored!

Mental leaps – I believe in them!  The next leap is  is due in week 8-9 (post due date, not birth date) This leap will allow her to experience and recognise patterns.  The signals for this leap are slightly different to the first leap, although crying and crankiness seems to be common amongst all leaps.

So mums and dads, if you find your baby crying unusually around week 5 post due date, the chances are your baby is going through a mental leap and it is not a reflection of your parenting abilities!  Knowing this helped me psychologically get over her almost inconsolable cries!!!  If you want to know more, I suggest downloading the wonder weeks app or buy the book.  Fascinating stuff.

The part time nanny

After my 4 week postpartum checkup my doctor referred me to physical therapy to help me with my urinary incontinence. At my initial consult with the therapist it was decided I needed weekly therapy sessions. So the big question was – how would I be able to do this if I’m supposed to be looking after Aviana?! Chris and I decided we probably needed help with this.

We figured we needed the help of a part time nanny.  So we settled on 8 hrs once a week. This would also allow Chris and I to get some uninterrupted time to study and keep up with our executive development programs.

We turned to care.com as some of our friends have used it successfully to hire nanny or babysitter. We posted our ad stating our requirements for the position and the applications came flooding in within minutes. Isn’t the internet great?!

We quickly realised that half of the applicants hadn’t even bothered reading what the job was, for example some were seeking full time positions.  It’s quite a simple thing to do when applying for a job.  That pisses me off. Then there were the applicants who made BAD spelling  mistakes, for example…”Hi, my mame is…”. Seriously? I’m not looking for America’s top spelling Bee, but please, take the time to just read over your message before hitting send. Then there were applicants whose photos simply terrified me. Like scary crazy selfies.  Maybe I am officially old and too traditional, but I really don’t think ‘sexy posed selfies’ are not appropriate! Finally, there were then those applicants who just didn’t bother replying back. That’s just rude and a waste of my precious free time I have spent reading your application rather than doing the ever growing list of things I have to do-but can’t do -because I’m trying to keep a newborn baby alive!!!! GRRRRRRR.

After all that, we narrowed it down to a couple of candidates. I spoke to one of our favourites on the phone, and then invited her to meet in a coffee shop the next day to get to know her a bit better.

I was worried that she wouldn’t turn up, but she did! It is oddmeeting a stranger who I was going to effectively trust with my daughter’s life in my own home. She was not a professional nanny but appeared to be knowledgeable, caring, gentle with Aviana, and had a clear mind to being organised and efficient.  Her charge out rate was $13 per hour which we considered to be very good.  Her ‘parenting’ approach she prefers was one of ‘routine’. Although I don’t want my future life to be dictated by a schedule determined by a Military-esque series of timings, having some routine I believe is good for baby.  It may not be a routine in terms of timing, but routine in good habit forming is something I believe to be important.  Equally I’d like to encourage Aviana to be adaptable and independent as well, so hopefully we will teach her those skills as well.  Anyway I digress a little….although it is important that a nanny matches your beliefs and style, we are so new to this parenting game that it is difficult to really know what we are looking for.  We have ideas, but practically may be they won’t match reality.

We didn’t preclude candidates based on their age or education level or their charge out rate, but some basic qualifications we sought, including infant CPR.  I think if we were looking for a full time nanny and if Aviana was slightly older our requirements would be very different.  Equally, we weren’t looking for just a babysitter, Aviana’s development is important to us, even if it is only one day a week.

All of this process we managed to do in just four days.  We really hope this works out!  Next week is when she starts a trial day, so watch this space….. :-s

Family bath time fun

We managed a lovely respite from Aviana’s fussiness. She loves the bath (except when she gets cold), so we decided when she was calm and alert to have an impromptu family bath.

Fortunately we have a large bath that can accommodate all three of us! I drew the bath, used the thermometer to get the temperature just right, put on some baby music, got all her bath things ready whilst Chris changed her.  Once we were all in the tub Aviana looked so relaxed, peaceful and happy to be there as she floated in the water on her back. It was a welcome relief after her constantly being upset and uncomfortable the past few days.

Just as we finished washing her hair, it then happened….a bathing parents nightmare…the Great poo-splosion! Clearly she was so relaxed she decided to also relax her bowels!!! 

Needless to say, we all needed a shower after our bath!!

I don’t think I would do this on my own with Aviana, I’d be afraid of slipping or dropping her, but between the both of us I felt much safer, although perhaps a non slip mat in the tub would be a good idea.

Despite this gross little accident it was a wonderful experience that we will try to incorporate into our weekly routine.

Some time in the future Aviana, your baths will be like this.No poo required!!!

A tough few days

Last Wednesday evening Aviana decided that she didn’t want to go to sleep and rather fuss, and this trend then continued through the day and night Thursday, Friday and today.  What I mean by this is that she no longer wants to lie down in her crib, she wants to be held.  When we finally do get her down she will eventually wake up screaming the house down because she either wants to poo, fart and more often than not, shart.

It was taking us a couple of hours of soothing her in anyway possible before she would consider to stop crying.  Of course, the more tired she gets, the harder it is to get her to stop crying.  There is no one way to stop the tears, but generally requires her falling asleep upright in our arms.  I have also been spending all day carrying her and trying different ways to console the tears (thankfully I discovered the wrap works sometimes to help get her to sleep which saves my back).

sling

Moby wrap to the rescue!

The cries aren’t continuous, but rather they would stop after a minute or two, then she would fuss again, I’d get her into another position, calm down, then she’d fuss and so on.  Each day she will have an hour or two of good sleep because she has exhausted herself from crying.

Yesterday Chris called me from his work to say that someone he spoke to recognised this as potentially being a sign of silent reflux.  All of Aviana’s symptoms match.  She has been doing other things over the past few weeks that individually didn’t concern us, but when they add up together they could be silent reflux.  We don’t have a diagnosis yet, we need to see our pediatrician next week about it before we are sure.

She is in pain when she poos/farts, arching her back, screwing up her face crying and then stops crying once it has been released.  Sometimes she will stiffen her whole body out straight as if she is a flying superwoman.  More often when she is breast feeding she will cry and cling onto my nipple and pull her head away fighting my boob – it’s very difficult to explain to a newborn not to do that, it happens so quickly that it is difficult to unlatch her in time – and it bloody hurts, she actually has a very strong neck for a newborn.  She rarely spits up, and is difficult to burp.  She gets incessant hiccups, it happens roughly 3 in every 4 feeds, and they are exhausting for her so she gets frustrated at them and cries more.  Sometimes a pacifer gets rid of them, or even getting her to drink a bit of breastmilk can help.  She has a slight wheeze and congestion that is noticeable when she sleeps. At first we thought it was just newborn-ness and was endearing, we even nicknamed her little goose because she sounds like she is honking like a goose.

Even right now as she sleeps in her bassinet that we have tilted upright I’m listening to her cough, splutter and cry for a few seconds,  then she goes back to sleep instantly.  It’s upsetting to hear her like this.

She was such a happy easy going baby until now.  Today we went to a baby massage class (despite us only getting about two and half hours of broken sleep last night) and lets just say it was very noticeable how cranky and upset she was compared to the other newborn babies.

So until we get some answers from the pediatrician we are keeping her upright after her feeds which is helping a bit, letting her sleep upright as much as possible so she does get some sleep and not get too overtired which then perpetuates the problem.  I am also going to arrange a after we see the pediatrician a consult with an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to have my latch checked and get advice on what we can do to help her when it comes to breastfeeding.  We also have the name of a specialist doctor in the local area referred to us by a friend just in case we don’t get answers from our ped.

Whatever is going on with our baby girl she really isn’t comfortable right now and it is tough watching her feel like that, and tough on us, especially as Chris has gone back to work.  Fortunately, we have a post partum doula to help us out a bit more next week.  We may need her for more help than we originally thought, but we shall see!

Smile and the whole world smiles with you

I swear Aviana smiled BACK at me a couple of days ago.  Yes, yes, I know all the books say  that it doesn’t happen until 6-8 weeks old, but my 3.5 week old baby surely smiled back at me.  It’s still possible, right??  It was different to all the other smiles we have seen since she was born – the so-called reflex smile.  This smile lingered and she was looking at me and slightly turned away coyly, it just felt different, it felt like a genuine interaction.

But when I told Chris, we put it down to her gassy nature…our baby girl does have a lot of gas (the poor lass sometimes sounds in pain when passing wind). And so I thought nothing more of it…..

….Until yesterday afternoon.  We were visiting a friends house when they were cooing over Aviana with Chris.  Chris was talking about Aviana being a strong contender for the gurning competition (she has some wonderful expressions).  And all of a sudden they exclaimed – look she smiled! Come see Dani! And so she did another two times.  Chris was tickling her and getting a smile in response.  But doesn’t this still count as a reflex smile?  After all Chris was generating a response by tickling her, that’s the definition of a reflex?  Or may be I wasn’t so daft in the end thinking that she actually smiled at me?  But again, it was still dubious.  Later that evening Chris managed to replicate the smile by tickling her. OK….so perhaps she is interacting with us??!

And then this afternoon she was wide awake, I was talking away to her, and after changing her I kissed her belly, told her how much I loved her and smiled at her – she smiled right back at me with a kind of immature half giggle to say she liked the tummy kisses.  Or may be I just tickled her again??!

I don’t care what the books say when she should smile…whatever it was, it was freaking adorable and it was a wonderful reward.  I can’t wait for more!!!!

baby smile.jpg

All by myself…

After 4 days of being “snowed in” from the 5″ of snow we got last Saturday, I ventured out into the big wide world with my 3 week old baby.  All on my own. Yikes.

My original goal for the day was small – to drive to my local pharmacy to pick up some photos I ordered and buy some new beauty supplies ( already I have discovered that post pregnancy my body needs are different to what I have experienced the past nine months).

First problem I encountered.  How do I transport baby from car to pharmacy?  She is too small to carry in a sling still.  I didn’t want to hand carry her because I would need two hands for picking up items and paying.  Carrying her in the car seat – too cumbersome and not good for the back.  I don’t like putting the car seat in the shopping cart/trolley because it becomes top heavy and the idea that someone could accidentally knock it off terrifies me, plus the trolleys at the pharmacy are mini ones.  So I decided to put her in the umbrella stroller that the car seat clicks into.  Which seemed a bit excessive for what would ordinarily be a 5 minute dash into a shop…but hey, this is my new life now, just roll with it Dani!

My next trick was carrying a shopping basket and pushing a stroller whilst picking up all the items I wanted to buy.  It was quite a juggling trick, but I figured it out.  Maybe I just need to work on my upper body strength a little more!

After my ‘quick’ errand I decided to ‘pop’ into the book store next door to look for a new 2017 diary.  Admittedly, me ‘popping’ into a book store is a bit of a joke because I get easily distracted.  But after 5 minutes and picking up 3 new books Aviana suddenly woke up and started screaming the place down.  I was surprisingly calm as I picked her up out of her car seat, but highly cognizant of people staring at me as if I was killing my baby.  OK, there was probably no one looking at me, but it sure felt like everyone was!  I thought it might be feeding time soon, so I looked around to figure out where I could feed her.  She consoled herself after she did a big fart.  Poor girl hates the gas. I put her back in the stroller and she fell back asleep.  Paranoid that it was in fact almost feeding time, I noticed there was a cafe in the store so I decided to put the down all the books I had picked up and went to order myself a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

Everyone in the queue at the cafe cooed over Aviana, asking lots of questions, I happily bragged.  Apparently you can’t avoid talking to people with a newborn baby in tow.  I sat down and waited for Aviana to wake up again wanting food, 15 minutes later she woke up.  I got my boob out and she decided she was pulling the tight lipped, I’m not actually hungry mum, just kidding face.  So I got my boob out for nothing.  I was a little embarrassed.  Aviana grimaced and farted again in my arms, instantly falling back to sleep.  I really thought I had the different cries down.  Apparently not!

After finishing my tea I decided to brave the shop again, picked up the books I had left somewhere randomly in the shop and went to pay for them.  As I walked around with her in the stroller kids came up to her and peered in, intrigued at the little baby.  Mums would came running over to apologise for their child.  I said not to worry.  All of this adding to my time in the store.

Finally, after paying I made my escape back to the car and Aviana started screaming just as I started the engine.  Typical, that was definitely a hunger cry.  Home was only a 10 minute drive away so I decided to drive on with a screaming baby in the back seat.  It turns out as long as I drive more than 25 miles an hour Aviana calms herself down!

All in all, what would have normally taken me a forty minute shopping trip,  actually ended up taking me almost four hours.  Time had literally disappeared into no where.

Aviana was fast asleep by the time I got home, foolishly, I put the kettle on…just as I started making the tea, she woke up, this time she was for real.  MUM FEEEEEED MEEEEEEEEEEE is what she wailed at me.

Well I may have survived my first day out on my own without having a breakdown, but I sure learned a lot!!!!