Category: Baby

Sleepless in Suburbia

I don’t think anyone would try to make a case about sleep being unnecessary – I used to get by with four or six hours of interrupted sleep a night, but doing it whilr trying to keep a baby out of cupboards? Not my cup of tea.
Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve ben stretched a bit too thin, trying to get things done. I haven’t been doing a lot different to what I was previously – I’m just getting less sleep..and to someone who’s used to getting some dodgy sleep, less and poorer quality is a real issue.
The thing is, our little busy bee used to be a good sleeper, until I was sick in May. After that, she’d only sleep while she was touching me. That means that in order to get any rest I was bed sharing, which worked for us for a short period of time, but hasn’t been good in the long run. It’s just not comfortable for me to sleep like that with the back issues I’ve been trying to correct for the past few years, so I’d wake up constantly – waking her in the process!
I asked my maternal and child health nurse what we could do, and she booked us in for one of the CAFHS settling sessions at our local branch. It took a few weeks to get in and by the time we did I was at my wit’s end, but it was worth the wait.
Pete and I both went, and honestly, it was fantastic to have a nurse guide us through the process of getting Olivia down for day naps. We’ve been able to implement what we learnt during the session and we’ve both developed an appreciation for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Music to Dream By cd (really), since having it playing seems to help her settle down (who knew?! It was the only thing missing!).
I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence but in the last week Olivia’s also taken her first steps and is now walking up to a metre at a time, as though the extra rest is enabling her to string new skills together more effectively.
The better quality sleep is definitely helping me, but getting back into a schedule is taking some time. I’d be silly to expect to snap back to my former schedule too quickly, but we’re already waking earlier and getting more out of our day; I just wish the settling session had been offered when we first brought Olivia home, since we’re first time parents and admit we’re winging it.
Do you have any tips for settling a baby? I’d love any advice I can get, I’m happy to be an eternal student rather than close myself off to new ideas.

Back to work!

Lately I’ve had a lot weighing on my mind; Pete’s work have been reshuffling so he’s back in a role he’s unhappy with, further from home and school. In a rush of dissatisfaction right after the change, he was looking for a new job and found something that I would be suitable for. Really suitable. Almost a precise counter to the position I’m on maternity leave from.

At the same time I mentioned that someone I’d been working with just moved across the country for a position that appeared to pay very well, and since then it’s been sinking in that I’ll need to get used to the idea of going back to work.

At the start we were anticipating huge childcare fees and that left both of us wondering if it would be financially worthwhile, however I pointed out to Pete that his new job is close to his mum’s house and she had offered to take Olivia when I go back to work.

It probably sounds a bit trite but the thought of going back to work and leaving her with others is terrifying – even if they are family. People don’t necessarily listen to or agree with opinions on parenting, and right now I’m having problems getting Olivia to sleep anywhere but my arms. I hate seeing her cry and the idea of not being there for her when she needs me brings tears to my eyes (especially since her favourite noises right now are a variation on mamam and mumum noises!).

I really did think this wouldn’t be as hard as it is, that she would have been babysat at least once by now, but we haven’t left her with anyone else yet.

It’s something we really need to work on, so we can all be a bit more comfortable when the time comes for her to spend time with other people – I’ll need to speak to our community health nurse and see if she’s got any suggestions!

Autumn chills

Pete dragged the coffee table towards himself, and the used cutlery clattered noisily in the bowls from dinner. He shot me a concerned look as I arched my eyebrow at him and looked down into the big baby blues of a suddenly very awake baby.
At five months old, we’re first time parents dealing with Olivia’s first cold. Last week when my friend exclaimed that she’d forgotten to warn us that her two year old was just getting over the sniffles, I shrugged her post-lunch warning off with a “she’s going to catch it sometime soon”, since we’re starting the downward slide into the chilly, short days of winter. The babies hadn’t even been near each other, I reasoned to myself..not taking into account the little toy giraffe that Olivia had swiped from the table and waved around before excitedly tasting its ears. Then its feet. Most of the giraffe was sampled at some point before it returned to its owner, the little Houdini who regards adults with a serious expression but fetches dropped items for babies, and who pets Olivia with hands so gentle that his mother always softly squeals that it’s about time to expand their family.
So here I sit with my cup of tea (and honey), snuffly baby snuggled up in my arms, surrounded by towels in case of emergency. I’m armed with some baby nasal drops and a bulb (and hats off to whomever those work for because they turn my sweet snuffler into a screeching wildcat!).
I feel like this might be easier when she’s a bit older, and a nice hot bowl of Tom Yum or chicken noodle soup will help to soothe her throat, but for now it’s snuggles and feeding and I’m okay with that. Of course, proximity means I’m starting to feel under the weather myself and a nice big slow cooker full of roast butternut soup might be all I accomplish today.

I do need to expand my repertoire of soups – what’s your favourite soup recipe for the start of Autumn? I never had a lot growing up because I was the fussy child that parental nightmares are made of, so I’m incredibly late to the soup party.

(Soup party! That’s a great plan!)

Cloth Nappies – What am I doing?!

During the course of my pregnancy, aside from constantly worrying that something would go wrong, I started nesting pretty badly. At some point, baby-high on the notion that my parents had cloth diapered me as a baby, I decided to try and do the same for Olivia. Pinterest, fickle mistress that she is, showed me countless adorable home-made Modern Cloth Nappies (MCN’s for your Gumtree searches). As much as I’d dearly love to be able to make her some cute Avengers or owl print nappies, time and skill weren’t on my side.

“To Gumtree!” cried my sleep deprived mind (seriously, don’t believe anyone who tells you that you’ll get amazing sleep when you’re pregnant, it’s not guaranteed). I picked up a bunch of Sassy Star velcro all-in-ones for about $80, figuring I’d get some use out of them. So far, I’m struggling to see why people like all-in-ones – while you can add in extra soakers and mine came with some cloth liners for Messy Incidents, having to wash the whole nappy every time she wets is a bit over the top. I started looking in to all-in-twos, or snap-ins, but to me, it doesn’t make sense to buy another batch of nappies I might not be happy with even though the prospect of just washing the part that needs it does appeal.

Instead, I’m going to buy a set of Kam pliers and plastic studs from eBay and convert one of my all-in-ones to a snap in nappy. So far, I spent a feed using my quick-unpick to remove the built in soaker from one nappy, so when the pliers arrive I can use it as my trial run. If I like the result, I’ll probably spend a few feeds slowly unpicking the soakers out of the rest of the nappies, and trying not to drop threads over my poor babe!

Ring sling success!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to ‘wear’ my baby. But there’s so many different types of carriers on the market, I really couldn’t figure out which would be most suitable for us (babies are headstrong creatures and have their own preferences…trust me).

While we were expecting, we bought an ErgoBaby Original; I was pretty certain that a structured carrier would suit me the best because of my pre-existing back issues – one relatively minor, awkward fall during a roller derby practise followed by no treatment for a few years did a number on my lower back and pelvis. Then, of course, we had an emergency caesarean section – you really don’t want anything touching a fresh wound on your abdomen. I decided that a stretchy would work well, and I’m sure it would have, if I was more coordinated in wrapping it and Olivia didn’t scream every time I tried to put her in when I’d finally managed to origami myself into five metres of jersey.

Back to square one.

Cut to a month ago and we go to catch up with a couple of derby chums of mine, Dave and Jade. Two children at her feet and one on the way, Jade scoops Olivia out of my (tired) arms for a cuddle and pops her into a ring sling. Now, I’d completely discounted slings because of my dodgy back and a weird assumption that the over the shoulder nature of a sling would unbalance me – Jade has had her own back issues in the past, so when she offered to lend me the sling I was already changing my mind.

I’ve been using it since then, and it’s saved my bacon (and my arms) a couple of times. Notably for me, when I took the train into Adelaide for a physio visit and Olivia insisted on being carried and it meant that I had both hands free to push her pram around! The one time I forgot it was when I’d parked a short walk from my mother’s group last Thursday and the pram refused to unfold; so I carried Olivia, her nappy bag and my tote down the street and decided I really did need to get myself into gear and find my own sling.

Cue a sleepless night on Thursday; a certain someone was up, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and once she drifted off I couldn’t quite get myself to sleep. I hit Gumtree and browsed around for a while, disappointed that no one is selling the chickens I want. Bored, I searched for ring slings and found an Oscha ring sling nearby for only $50!

We picked it up last night. It’s an older style but it’s in great condition and really comfortable, and the woman I bought it from mentioned it was her first, and the one that started her wrap collection. Right now I think I’m not determined enough to try and get myself into a woven wrap, though some of the designs could sway me one day…

In the interests of helping a friend expecting her first baby, we’re also organising a little get together so she can try on a few different kinds of wraps. Even though baby will get the final say, it gives her a chance to try and figure out what works for her first (and hopefully, she won’t have to get to her third carrier before that happens!).

The communities I’ve discovered since being pregnant really make me wonder how expectant mothers who don’t have anyone to count on get by; without the help of my friends, I’d still be trying to figure out what would work for me!