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

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?!

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 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.

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!!!!

Already bad parents?

Chris had been shoveling snow for much of the day, so later in the evening he exclaimed how sore his back was.  I suggested he take a bath to relax his muscles, and then I suggested how about we share a bath seeing as I was having a bath most nights (which were seriously helping with my postpartum recovery and slightly sore back & boobs from breastfeeding!).  What a great idea!  Now all we needed to do was figure out how to fit the time in so that we could both be in the bath together at the same time! Ha!  Not so easy with a new born- am I right??!

We have already discovered the ‘witching hour’, or ‘fussy time’ Aviana has in the evenings.  She is a perfect angel the rest of the day – and even at night she isn’t too bad at sticking to Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time (E.A.S.Y. – more on this in another post!).  So trying to fit time in the evening to share a relaxing bath together was always going to be a challenge!  But!  We fed her, changed her, and after a bit of soothing help she went down to sleep at about 7.30PM. Or so we thought….

Quick!  Let’s run the bath, light the candles, grab a glass of wine and hop in whilst she sleeps!

We got to lighting the candles and filling up the tub before she started fussing.  Of course, I had just got in the bath, Chris had stripped down and was about to join me.  We knew that she wasn’t hungry (it wasn’t a hungry cry), she was comfortable, she was dry – she was fussing because she was too tired/overstimulated from being awake for the past 3.5 hours.  So Chris suggested just letting her soothe herself this time.  Chris got in the bath with me, and she cried.  Her crib was literally the other side of the wall, her cries made the bath a tortuous place to be! This wasn’t what it was meant to be like!

We timed her crying.  3 minutes is how long we agreed to wait to see if she would soothe herself. That’s what many books say is a reasonable time.

Low and behold at about 2 minutes 45 seconds later, she quietly stopped crying and babbled away to herself.

Ahhhhhh and breathe.

3 minutes later, the same thing happened.  We reset the clock and timed her crying, and again she stopped crying on her own.  It is amazing, Chris asked me how long did I think she had been crying for, and to me it fell like 3 or 4 minutes, when it had actually only been 1 minute.  It seemed like forever, what mind mess! 

The third time she started crying again, I said to Chris, I think she must be hungry still.  He urged me to just see if she will stop.  As she cried and as we watched the clock sat in our candle lit bath, drinking wine, he turned to me and said – ‘Are we bad parents for letting our baby cry as we sit next door to her drinking wine in a bath?’  I said, ‘probably….But I can’t take this anymore.’  So Chris got up out of the bath and said, you stay here, I will soothe her. And just as Chris got out, she stopped crying and fell asleep.  In fact she fell asleep and stayed asleep for her longest stretch so far – 4hrs of solid sleep!

We won’t be trying any cry it out methods.  But we learned that she can actually soothe herself – as long as we know that she is fed, clean, dry, safe, not ill and we have tried soothing her with the 5 Ss (Swaddle, Suck, Side, Sway and Shhhhh-ing),we discovered a bit of crying is OK when they are just too tired.

Daddy’s going back to work

Dani’s thoughts and feelings on Chris going back to work….

…it sucks.

The end.

That is all I wanted to write….but perhaps I should explain myself a bit more.  Although I reckon that many of you mums out there won’t need me to write an explanation because we probably feel the same way about our partners returning to work after parental leave.

Chris technically doesn’t get parental leave.  In the US, you are lucky to get any parental leave.  Chris saved up his annual leave to allow him to take 3 weeks off for both the birth and learning to become a dad.  Fortunately some of the days include public holidays – Christmas, New Years and Martin Luther King Day.  So that was lucky to get an extra few days without eating into his leave.

Chris’s company does give him a ‘transition week’, which when you add up the time off equals 2.5 days of parental leave.  What is a transition week? Well, he gets to work half days from home…allowing him to support his new family but ease both him and us into working life again.  Makes a lot of sense.  I’ll let you know how that goes!

So Chris’s last day of leave was last Friday.  It has been amazing to have him around.  He has been amazing.  I don’t know how mums do it when their partners go back to work within a few days…or worse, they are simply not around because they are deployed or for some other work related reason.  Why has he been amazing?

  • He has given me confidence that I can do this.
  • He supports my breastfeeding, by making sure I have everything I need – water, food, pillows, blankets, burp cloths, entertainment, timing the feeds.
  • He changes Aviana’s diapers/nappies.
  • He gets up at night to wake up Aviana, give Aviana to me whilst I am in bed so I can nurse her, then put her back down to sleep.
  • We share the burden of dealing with Aviana fussing at night.  But sometimes he takes on more of that share.
  • He has done the cleaning, washing, cooking, tidying, driving etc.  All the things I haven’t been allowed to do for the two weeks of my post partum recovery.
  • He is an expert in all things bath related for Aviana.
  • We take turns in dressing Aviana and trying to figure out what is and isn’t appropriate to wear!
  • He has dashed out to shops to get things we hadn’t thought of or ran out of sooner than expected.
  • He looks after Aviana, even when she is fussing, so that I can take a shower in the morning, and a bath at night (helps with my postpartum recovery).
  • Read the books, googled advice and hacks on looking after a newborn.  Sharing his newfound knowledge with me.
  • Tells me he loves me and how he loves seeing me being a mum.  He also makes me feel like I am more than just a mum to him, I am still his wife.
  • Encourages me to achieve one personal goal a day.
  • Cries with me when I randomly cry (which mostly has been at happy things or pure relief things have worked out well for us)

😦 Dani’s sad face.