Week 9 & 10: Regression

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Everything is a phase and this too will pass" has been my mantra this past fortnight. Piper has been super clingy with me and not sleeping the best. We have gone back to a couple of wakes during the night and sporadic daytime sleeping. According to the wonder weeks app she is currently going through a major leap, which will account for this unsettled time. Have temporarily given up her daytime sleeping in her cot (see you later week 8's hardwork) as she wasn't sleeping at all and we had a very overtired bubba. 

With the light at the end of the tunnel shinning bright (...like a diamond), we are emerging from this phase a lot more interactive, smilie and chatty. 

These weeks Piper:
- is a lot more aware of her surroundings;
- stands being in the car for longer (we can now head out with her awake as she tolerates her capsule now;
- loves her play gym and bats the toys with greater accuracy;
- has reached 6kgs!

Week 8: SLEEP!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

This week's focus has been sleep...where Piper is sleeping and for how long.  Sleep fosteres sleep - this has been learn't the hard way with an overtired bubba, life becomes that little bit more difficult. So this week we have been really concious how long Miss P is awake (around an hour to anhour and a half seems to be good for her). This week I have also tried to get her to sleep in her carrycot during the day, up until now she generally sleeps on someone.  This has had varying degrees of success. Some sleeps she is fine and sleeps for hours, other times I put her down and within 10mins she is wide awake.  We also attach her carrycot to the pram and rock her to sleep with the shusher.  This too has had varying degrees of success. Sometimes I have rocked for half an hour with 20mins sleep - so annoying! The end of the week has seen Piper spend Thursday sleeping through the night and then sleep through most of the following day. The weekend has been a different story with broken sleep and lots of fussing. Kid's Calm has been great for calming her when she is very worked up.  Piper also transitioned to her bassinet (she has been in her carrycot at night) so we could use the Angelcare monitor - this has been a success. Phew!

Enf of week 8 Piper:
- slept through the night (once 10-6);
- is better able to differentiate her needs through different sounds;
- tracks people a lot quicker with her eyes and head;

15 min period
Okay just sleep here

Week 7: Growth Spurt

Monday, July 6, 2015

'It gets easier at the six-week mark', does it? Week 7 bore down on us with great force. Miss P had her immunisations (1 week late due to doctors fridge breaking) and a huge growth spurt. The consequences of these have seen week 7 be our hardest week yet. The crying for a reason I am yet to decipher...I went through a cycle of feed (not hungry), change (not dirty), sleep (not tired - although debatable).  Each cry broke my heart, but we persevered. Coming out the other end of this difficult week, our little princess has found her voice and we are now rewarded with chats and giggles that gave us in fits of laughter. We have started to have a bit more structure around our days making sure Miss P isn't up too long (1hour ish max). We have also been trying to get her to sleep in a bassinet during the day (previously she would only sleep on someone). This has had varying success with what seems like endless rocking in her pram to lull her to sleep (nothing like spending 45 minutes of rocking for a 15-minute sleep).

End of week 7 Piper:
- is more effective with her eating meaning it takes her less time to eat;
-  'speaks' a lot with ooooh's and ahhhhh's especially at night when going to bed;
- generally only wakes once (around 3-4am) during the night and is quick to eat, change, eat, sleep;
- is travelling in the car better. She can be put in her capsule awake and stay in there for short car trips (no longer than 20ish minutes), we haven't ventured too far from home yet;
- has grown out of some clothes and is fitting some 0-3 month clothes (no longer newborn);
- noticed Otis (the cat) for the first time 

Weeks 0-6: Then there was you

Saturday, July 4, 2015

My favourite advice (& the only thing I held onto religiously) was 'you can't spoil a newborn'. The first six weeks have comprised of meeting Miss P's every want & need as soon as I physically could. It has meant feeding for hours (cluster feeding), changing many nappies in one sitting and being quite housebound while Miss P slept day in and day out on me and Dr Phil, Rikki Lake and Ellen Degeneres kept us company. Slowly we have gained confidence and left the house albeit locally since week 5, we've left the house most days. My phone is filled with cute pics and I took on #100happydays via Instagram. I've signed Piper up for an email address which I send her photos and quick emails that one day she will hopefully read over and smile (same with this blog). Lots of people said the first six weeks are the hardest...yes they were hard, yes I am glad we know each other better but I am still waiting for 'easier', whatever that looks like!

At the end of week 6 Piper:
- is able to control her limbs better (mittens seats, she is pretty much not scratching her face/ head anymore);
- head control is great (she has always had good control of her head, needing little support);
- travels better than when we first tried, although we still need to put her in her capsule when she's asleep if we want a successful trip. 

The Digital Mama

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thank goodness for the digital age! Being able to shop from the comfort of your couch is a luxury mama's before would not have been able to experience.

Here are some of my top tips from online shops to helpful apps:

Online Shopping:
Your Chemist: great for baby products (e.g. thermometer) and cheaper than most places.
Nappies Direct: quick, fast and they sell large boxes of nappies. Delivery usually the next day and they often have nappy specials.
Thinkwise: the place to buy dry wipes.
Baby City/ Baby Factory: for all things baby
Bella Mama: great range of interesting products for mum & if you're in Auckland, get one of their massages...bliss!
The Sleep Store: all things baby + great advice!

The Bump: great for finding out what to look forward to week by week
The Wonder Weeks: this helps to know when you might be hitting a growing spurt & if bubs may be a bit more grumpy. They discuss the leaps bubs will go through.
Sprout: day-by-day with great advice about all things baby and you

Like with adult clothes, kids clothes although use the same sizes, different brands have different cuts/ sizes.
Smaller Size Brands: 
Cotton On (they do a great newborn size, although Piper didn't fit newborn until she was about 6weeks old)
Country Road
Nature Baby
Marks & Spencer: great quality UK store that ship free to NZ with orders over 30 pounds

Larger Size Brands:
Pumpkin Patch
Teeny Weeny (Farmers)

If you haven't invested in Netflix yet - you should! Great for those middle of the night feeds with one headphone ear in, I have watched countless TV shows at this lonely time.

Support Groups:
The Sleep Store have a New Born support group. Great advice and support from other new mums as well as various expets.

Need vs Leave: Baby 'Stuff' - nursery and beyond

The one book that I have found invaluable is Dorothy Waide's You simply can't spoil a newborn. This is a great practical book with everything you need to know for the first 3 months of your babies life from feeding to bathing...it has everything!

  • Change table: I thought we wouldn't need one, but for those middle of the night changes, it is fabulous and back saving. I am a huge fan of a multiple use item, the Mocka change table and draw set have been great and will be used well past 'baby' stage;
    • nappies
    • wipes: at birthcare they use these fabulous dry wipes which mean no nasty chemicals on them (like the wet wipes have), just use water to wet, wipe and throw! Newborns have such delicate skin that you don't really want to put anything on it. I wasn't a fan of using muslin squares - the thought of all that washing! These have been fabulous and a must have that I wish I had known about prior to stocking up on wet wipes!
    • hand sanitizer - enough said
  • Cot: again I love a multiple use item and the Kaylula Sova 5 in 1 Cot is literally 5 items in one!
  • Drawers for clothes
  • Wheat bag: for heating baby's bed/ capsule etc
  • Muslin wraps/ blankets: you can never have too many, just make sure they are made from natural fibres (merino, cotton, etc);
  • Cloth nappies: get a couple packs of these. They are great for everything! Cleaning up spills, using in the bed...EVERYTHING!
  • Thermometer 
    • For bubs: recently I have seen these thermometer strips that you place on the child's forehead. Otherwise a great thermometer will help when you just need to 'check' their temperature
    • For the room/ bath: you will want to know the temperature of the room and bath water, etc. We got a thermometer that does both - Philips AVENT Baby Bath & Room Thermometer - it is surrounded with rubber which means I can literally throw it in the bath to check that it's at 37 degress...easy!
  • Nice to have
    • nappy bin: the Korbell plus nappy bin is a great size and is designed so you don't get any nasty smells coming out. It can also be locked, so little hands can't get in;
    • rocking chair (although ours is in the lounge): this place has been great for furniture, this DAW rocking chair is cheap and comfortable (I have draped a blanket over it & a friend has put a sheepskin on hers for added comfort);
    • Baby Monitor: The Anglecare monitor has been great and gives you peace of mind as it monitors their movements (breathing, etc) and sound. We have also purchased the iBaby monitor which is a live feed.
Lotions & Potions:
  • Sudocream: this seems to be the best barrier cream for Miss P's little bum and we used it as a preventative each change. You'll get a tonne of testers so keep the little tubs and just refill so you don't lug around a huge pot
  • Nipple cream: lifesaver! I use Lansinoh
  • Colic Calm: if wind is your worst enemy, this will help combat that tight tummy and offer some relief for your little one. Warning: it is black and their nappy might have black bits in it
  • Kiwiherb Kid Calm: great for settling an overtied, unsettled bubba. I don't use it on a regular basis but its a great last resort that does calm this kid. 
  • Massage/ mouisterising: if your bubba has been 'overcooked', you may find their skin is quite dry in those early days. You might also want to gently give bubs a massage - best thing to use are natural oils such as olive oil. No nasty's and great on their skin.
  • Pram: that you can get add-ons for (e.g. carrycot, capsule). If you are planning more than 1 child, get a pram that can carry two e.g. Phil & Teds Vibe
    • carrycot/port-a-cot: Miss P has slept in this since she came home. We set up her bassinet from the get go, but after my c-section, I couldn't reach into the bassinet. The carrycot snaps onto our pram so it was also a great 'getting-out-of-bed' aide as pulling yourself up is hard and can be painful;
    • capsule: we originally hired one from plunket, then I tried to carry it (four weeks  postpartum) and not only was it really heavy, but awkward to carry. I went and got the capsule that fits onto our pram so from the car, we snap into the pram and go! No waking Miss P, no back-breaking carrying from me;
  • Car baby mirror: this allows you to see your baby while you are driving which is so helpful!
  • Nice to have: 
    • Baby carrier: whether a wrap or front pack, these are great especially when bubs wants to be close but you need your hands.  We use this baby bjorn carrier which Miss P tolerates. We have tried a wrap (peak-a-baby wrap) however no matter how I tie it (there are 100's of youtube clips on different ways to wear it), she is not a fan
    • swiss ball: great for pregnancy and bouncing baby
  • Bottles: I went gung ho and brought a heap of bottles all ready for dad to be able to give Miss P a bottle at night. Miss P has had other ideas and hasn't taken a bottle yet. Other mums have told me they tried several different brands before they found one that their little would take. I spoke to my local pharmacist (& mother of 6) about different bottles and was told the Avent teats seem to be the easiest to transition to. Not too sure if that's correct, but that is the brand we originally went with.
  • Breast pump: you may need this, especially if you have an over-supply.  This helped especially when I was very full to relieve pressure, especially as Miss P couldn't keep up.  You could wait and see what your flow is like - if you have low supply you probably won't need this straight away. These can be expensive and lots of places, including the hospital hire these. For me,, I have found the Philips AVENT Comfort Single Electric Breast Pump has worked well.
  • Breast pads: I have found the washable, waterproof ones the best as I can re-use and they feel a lot nicer - Baby First Waterproof Breast Pads  
  • Nice to have:
  • Nice to have:
    • Play gym: this week (week 7), Miss P has enjoyed sitting under her play gym and staring at the toys...this has meant mum & dad have been able to eat dinner together;
    • Bouncer/ swing: these can be great for giving you 5 mins to have a shower, go to the bathroom, make lunch

Need vs Leave: Hospital Bag/s

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

List, after list of what to take to the hospital (& a birthcare type facility)...here is what I needed and what I should have left.

For me:
  • comfy PJ's: make sure the waistband is very loose (I wore maternity PJ's with a large waistband that didn't touch where the dressing was).  The top is ideally button front.  Peter Alexander do a great 'bump' range that I have lived in for the past 7 weeks!
  • toilet bag with everything that makes you feel 'normal' e.g. soap, shampoo, etc;
  • towel: trust me you will appreciate bringing your own when you see the hospital ones
  • maternity pads: I found libra do the best ones;   
  • nana knickers: I didn't think I would need these and my poor husband had to do a run to Farmers (lyric full brief 5 pack). I got these 3 sizes bigger than my normal size;
  • entertainment: I took my laptop with movies & TV shows ready to go. This was great especially at 3am when feeding (don't forget your charger for lappie & phone!);
  • comfy clothes for daytime wear: I actually just wore PJ bottoms most of the time
  • maternity bras: love the Heidi Klum Intimates 'Elodie' maternity range;
  • Abdomend C Section Support Belt: this was great help in binding me back together
  • Metamucil
  • If you are going to birthcare, take a pillow to it on in the car
What to leave:
  • makeup/ hair straighteners: I thought I would have time especially when visitors came. Reality: you barely have time for a shower;
  • warm clothes: the ward & birthcare centre are all toasty warm so all jumpers, fluffy socks, etc stayed in my bag;
  • magazines: I didn't have a free hand to continually turn a page neither the concentration level to read;
For Baby:
  • clothes: take a couple of sizes. I liked that I could dress Miss P in her own clothes (not the hospital ones), hats, socks, etc;
  • blanket/ swaddle cloth;
  • capsule

The Transition

It's hard to believe that this was me a couple of months ago. 38 weeks pregnant with our first bubba and completely unaware of what was to come. Yes I had read countless articles on this 'life-changing' event, but nothing could have prepared me for motherhood.

Birth was (as expected) hideous, long, painful and at times boring (with all the waiting). I'm not sure anyone has the 'perfect' birth and interestingly at antenatal classes so much emphasis was placed on everything going to 'plan'. Finally (after emergency c-section) we got to meet Miss Piper.

So seven weeks have passed. I remember lots of people saying the first 6 weeks are the toughest and they sure were right (whoever 'they' are). Not only was the c-section recovery hard, but we had this new little person we were getting to know.

In my working life I have kept a blog for years. It is great to be able to look back and think about how far I had come. It only dawned on me that keeping a recount of life as a new mum would also be interesting and beneficial. My memory is shocking (has always been) so keeping this recount will be great when (and if) #2 comes along!

So...how has it been thus far...

The first week was a blur (now). We went to the Warkworth Birthing Centre (amazing facility and beautiful, helpful, caring staff/ pseudo-mums). Meals cooked, 24hr care...amazing! Week two - four we were at home, on our own with this little one. I must admit I did feel like I was stuck in Groundhog Day. Same routine every day. Get up, move to lounge, set up for the day of eating, nappy change, settling, daytime TV/ Netflix and repeat. Recovering from the c-section also meant I was limited in what I could do (& wear *insert PJs 24/7*). By week 4, I was going a bit cray cray. Stuck at home, unable to drive, this new life was polar opposite to my past life.

My midwife stuck by my side for the first four weeks, then we graduated to Plunket. The first 6 weeks have been survival. Do whatever needs to be done to get through. What hormones do are crazy. Crying at the drop of a hat. Often when Piper cried, I joined her. Hearing that little scream breaks your heart!

What got me through:
  • amazing husband: who does anything and everything to ensure I can meet Piper's needs 24/7 (he is cook, cleaner, servant!
  • support: people dropping in and making me feel more 'normal'
  • special friends: those who you can cry in front of and admit everything is bloody hard
So this is the next while for me...here goes!