Tuesday, 19 July 2016

5 Months Postpartum

I started to write this post two weeks ago, then I decided to delete my blog altogether, but I had a change of heart, my emotions are all over the place at the moment.

I still feel like I might want to stop blogging, but i'm worried most of what I'm feeling right now is hormonal.

Around the four month mark I started losing my hair, I've written about postpartum hair loss before, it doesn't look that bad, but it feels horrendous, and it's happening to me again, just as bad if not worse than last time.

My hair is all over the house, I have to hoover it up daily, and clean the plug hole out after every bath.

Ernie even complains about finding my hair in the water - it's pretty awful.

To top it all off, my skin looks like shit. I always used to get spots, but I'd had clear skin for so long, so it's really been a massive blow to me.

Again I'm sure it feels worse to me than it looks, but I'm terrified, and depressed at the thought of going back to dealing with acne.

Only someone who's suffered from bad skin will be able to understand that sinking feeling.

I'm experimenting with a combination of La Roche Posay Redermic R, and Obagi Clenziderm Therapeutic Lotion - as recommended by Dr Sam Bunting.

I'm desperately crossing my fingers they help, as it's bad enough having to deal with all the other things postpartum recovery has to throw at you.

Bloody hormones.

On the body front, I've got about 7lbs to go before I'm back to pre baby weight.

I haven't dieted or exercised at all, and I don't plan to ever diet, but I may have to find some time for a bit of core strength work to help regain my waist.

I probably shouldn't be so focused on my weight, but I can't help it, with it being summer and all, it's hard to escape the whole 'bikini body' thing.

I've packed all my maternity clothes away, because I didn't stop wearing them after I had Ernie, and it's way to easy to slob out when you've got an elasticated waist band!

Nothing makes you step away from that - unnecessary - extra slice of toast than a tight waistband.

To be fair to myself, I am back in my old clothes, but to be really honest with you, the voice in my head keeps shouting at me to lose that extra half a stone.

Breastfeeding still has good days and bad days.

On the bad days I fantasise about bottle feeding, I actually picked up a packet of formula in the supermarket - but when I looked at the ingredients list, it freaked me out, and I put it back.

So that put an end to that thought.

I went with some baby porridge instead!

When breastfeeding's going well, it feels so good. I just need to get past this gassy/fussy stage, and things will hopefully feel easier.

It suits my lazy side perfectly! I don't really get engorged anymore, I still leak - I can't recommend the lansinoh breast pads enough, they fold down in two when you unclip your bra to feed, and the leaked milk turns to gel inside the pad, so you don't feel damp.

My new favourite nursing bra is this one from M&S. It's handy to have at least two as they need washing often.

Ernie's turning three in a few weeks and although i'm still struggling with potty training, he's really turned a corner on the tantruming front.

I've found raising a two year old pretty tough, but so far age three is looking a lot easier to me.

Here's hoping!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

4 Month Update

I jinxed myself by saying in a previous post that blogging with two children isn't impossible - looks like I was wrong.

I'm not sure I've had a minute to myself since I wrote that.

Beatrix is almost four months old now and hasn't yet grown out of suffering from griping pain, Infacol helps, but it's not a miracle worker.

I've suffered from mastitis again, first at five weeks, and the second time was around ten weeks, but thankfully it hasn't returned since I stopped pumping.

I'm pretty sure now that the pumping was to blame. It was the wrong way to alleviate my overactive letdown, it just led to me making even more milk that my baby couldn't drink.

I had very similar problems with my son in the early months, and in time it did all get better.

Despite the gripe, we're all very happy.

I've never attempted any sleep training with my babies, but so far I'm happy with her sleep pattern.

I nurse her down, and when she's well winded, I get two to three naps during the day, and a fairly dependable bedtime (around 8pm), with a handful of night wakings to feed.

She's in the Sleepyhead, inside the Chicco Next2Me cot which is strapped to the side of my bed - this combo is amazing.

Just like with my son, I nurse her lying down during the night, and I couldn't even tell you how many times because I pretty much do it in my sleep. I'm not striving for her to sleep through the night, I think the nutrition she receives from extra night feeds is invaluable and I know now, from having been through it all with my son, that they do grow out of it.

This arrangement is not just adequate and tolerable, but actually feels easier to me, to be able to just roll over, nurse a while and fall back to sleep with my baby - rather than having to get out of bed to nurse or, alternatively, refuse to nurse and get my baby back to sleep some other way.

So I'm not stressing about it at this moment in time.

There are dozens of confusing books and magazine articles implying that there can be some quick and easy way to get your baby to sleep or to not nurse through the night.

The only one I would recommend and read over all the time myself is Elizabeth Pantley's No-cry Sleep Solution.

Thanks to her book, the one thing I'm doing differently, is incorporating Beatrix into my son's existing bath and bedtime routine - I didn't establish that until Ernie was over a year old.

So I don't get into the habit of keeping her up with me until I'm ready for bed. So far so good.

There are so many ways to approach it, but really, the most valuable thing you can do is learn to listen to (and trust) your own instincts and try to connect to whatever makes you feel confident as the parent of your child.

One size does not fit all, and what works for others might not be right for you, so try to be in touch with your own ideas and observations of your own baby.

Another revalation this time around has been having the Ergo sling. We love it. I've even learnt to breastfeed her in it!

I can't recommend enough getting a rucksack and a sling for a second child, if you've got a toddler. The rucksack helps to balance out the weight of the baby on your front. It means you can chase after your toddler and keep your belongings close (but your hands free).

So far I'm really enjoying having had my children close in age, I almost wish I had Bea even earlier.

It was the best decision to get pregnant again. I watch them together, and even this early on, take comfort in each other’s presence and I think to myself that giving them siblinghood at this age was the best gift I could give either of them in their lives.

It was definitely the right timing for our family.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Breastfeeding second time around

I didn't give breastfeeding Beatrix a second thought during pregnancy - I'd done it before, with not much trouble - so I just assumed it would play out much the same. I was wrong.

I'd completely forgotten what the early months of BFing were like, especially with a tongue-tied baby.

Ernie's tongue-tie was corrected just days after his birth, and although I still had latch issues, I didn't suffer any damage to my nipples, and he had no problem emptying my breast of milk at each feed. So despite a bad week of gripe or two, we got on just fine.

This time was different from the get go. I spotted her tongue-tie immediately though no one believed me because i was 'feeding her', but as soon as my milk came it this became increasingly difficult.

This time around baby Beatrix was born with an even more extreme tongue-tie than Ernie had, and it wasn't corrected until a week after birth. Even after having the snip I struggled endlessly to get her to latch on at the beginning of feeds, and in turn I suffered for weeks with terribly cracked nipples.

I experienced way more engorment, and I was proved right (about her not emptying the breast effectively) when I got mastitis.

Both times now I've realised that I have an overactive letdown - to the point where I leak constantly, and if I don't express off the excess at the beginning - I basically just choke my babies for the first five minuets!

Which leads to even more issues - the worst for me being excessive gas. Something we're still dealing with. Thank God for Infacol!

I've hit the wall with breastfeeding a few times recently (it takes A LOT to feed a baby with cracked nipples), doubting our ability, and worrying that she'll never get good at it, but I just think, or I'm hoping that it's just a matter of time.

I learnt that tongue-tied babies need to re-learn how to suck as they've developed the wrong skills in utero.

Whenever I'm worried that she isn't getting enough, I just look at her little chubby body and convince myself otherwise. It's definitely not easy to begin with, but it does, and is, getting better. Touch wood.

Whether bottle or breastfeeding I believe we all experience a lot of the same issues. Breastfeeding is harder, but neither should be thought of as easy. We all deal with our baby's immature digestive issues, learning to latch (bottle or breast), or how hard it is for them to learn to poo!

From what I can see both ways of feeding require learning whole new skills sets.

Getting your baby positioned and attached comfortably at the breast is an art - it's true that it takes a little while for breastfeeding to feel entirely comfortable and natural, even if you’ve breastfed before.

What I've now learnt is that no two children are alike. My pregnancies were different, breastfeeding is different.

Even when it’s not your first baby, we quickly forget what those newborn days are like until we do it again. It can be a shock to the system even the second and probably third time around!

There's a lot of help and support out there, but if like me, you're a bit shy or don't know where to begin, online resources like this La Leche League post on Postioning & attachment, including youtube 'how to' videos - is a great place for help.

Here's some more good advice if you think you're suffering from an overactive letdown like me, and it's worth scouting out your local breastfeeding cafe/community - or any breastfeeding friends you may have.

The best advice I could give to any new mother, including myself is the phrase “the days are long and the years are short” and "this too shall pass."

Some days fly by and I feel like I'm floating on cloud 9, and other days feel impossibly long.

It felt like a lifetime when I was breastfeeding Ernie, and looking back it feels like no time at all. I'm keeping this in mind this time.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Becoming a parent all over again

Finding time to blog with two children is possible, but fighting the urge to watch my baby sleeping peacefully is near impossible!

It's funny, before I had my first, I used to admire Gina Ford style parenting - but as soon as I had my baby in arms it all went out the window, and my instinct to keep him as close to me at all times kicked in, and I soon found myself firmly in the attachment parenting camp - seeking solace in Dr Sears books.

So you'd think that I wouldn't have given it a second thought when Beatrix came along, but I've found myself angsting over all the same stuff again.

I've spent many a night feed googling sleep routines, and trawling the forums to see how other mothers do it (like I haven't done it all before?!), and it's taken me almost six weeks to start feeling at peace again with the way I instinctively parent.

The truth is I feel absolutely addicted to her! Just like I did, and still do, to my son.

Forgive me if this is all the ramblings of a mad woman, my hormones are running wild right now, and this is where my thoughts are firmly stuck, at 5 weeks postpartum.

So far I've survived all the feeding issues that come with an extremely tongue tied baby - a crappy latch, combined with an overactive letdown, which has lead to impossibly hard to soothe gripe, and mastitis... Ouch.

Ernie's in love with baby Bea, and showers her in kisses on a daily basis, which is wonderful, but it's resulted in him sharing his eye infection, and now cold with her too - so that's not been much fun either.

Despite all of this, I couldn't be happier, there's thankfully been no blue moments for me, well nothing I haven't been able to shake off.

I'm basically going through (all over again) the normal mental gymnastics of motherhood!

Wish me luck...

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Munchkin Muffin Sandwiches

Tom and Ernie made these yesterday, and they're way too good not to share!

They're mini sized  carrot muffins - perfect for little hands, with a yummy cream cheese and pineapple filling.

2 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup of milk
2/3 Cup of corn oil
1/2 Cup of firmly packed brown sugar
2 Cups of shredded carrots
1/2 Cup of golden raisins
2 1/2 Cups of all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1 Pound of Cream cheese
8 1/4 Ounces of Crushed pineapple
3 Tablespoons of honey
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Ground cinnamon

Preparation method

1. Preheat oven to 200C. In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil, brown sugar, carrots, and raisins.

2. In a larger bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. 

3. Grease miniature muffin tins and fill with batter. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and unfold.

4. To make filling, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer or spoon until smooth. Stir in three remaining ingredients. To make muffin sandwiches, cut muffins in half lengthwise and fill with a heaping teaspoonful of cream cheese filling. Replace muffin tops.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen Muffins.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

It's a Girl!

Introducing Beatrix Anne Connoley, born Monday 22nd February, 5 11oz.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

BumpDate - 40 Weeks

Well here we are at 40 weeks! It all feels very bitter sweet now. 
Yeah it's not been the 'easiest' pregnancy, but I am really going to miss my bump. 

I've had 2 sweeps this weeks - the plan is to induce me on my due date (because the baby's supposedly small) and these were meant to be the first stage of that.

I don't really believe that sweeps works, well they don't for me - I had two last time that did didley squat - but I guess they're worth a shot.

I had the first one last Wednesday, and it was the most uncomfortable I've ever experienced!
I felt violated!

The one I had last night wasn't bad at all. Thanks to the first one, I lost my plug the following morning, I've been experiencing lots of mild contractions, Braxton Hicks I guess, and according to the midwife who performed the second one last night, my cervix is 2cm dilated, very stretchy, and a 1cm long. It doesn't mean much though, as that's quite common for anyone who's delivered a baby vaginally before.

So, unless I go into labour naturally in the next 12 hours, I'll be making my way to the hospital tomorrow for the next stage of induction.

I've actually found it really interesting experience a high risk pregnancy (so to speak) I didn't have any extra monitoring last time, so I've tried to just enjoy all the extra fuss being made of my little baby.

How far along: 39+6

Total weight gain: 22lb

Cravings: I'm eating very regularly, I'm really trying to go into this labour as nourished and hydrated as possible - two things I think I failed at last time, which may go some way to making this time a little less hellish.

Symptoms: As I mentioned, I've lost my plug, the baby's head is right where it should be, and when I walk around the pressure is immense. Loads of Braxton Hicks, random sharp pains up the front of my bump, and thank heavens, finally lots of going to the loo - no one wants to give birth constipated!

Mood: I'm feeling OK, the odd moment of doubt over all this induction bollocks, but I'm determined to stay positive, keep the adrenaline at bay, and do whatever I can to build up some lovely oxytocin - which is apparently the key to a less painful labour.

On My Mind: I guess this is my last Pregnancy update, so fingers crossed the next post I'll have a baby to show.

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