Sunday, 25 August 2013

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Tips on leaving your child for the first time

Yesterday Callum and I left our five week old daughter with her Nana and Grandad for ten hours whilst we went to see Book of Mormon which Callum had given to me as my Birthday present in March.  As the day dawned I became both excited and apprehensive about leaving our daughter at such a young age but I needn't have because it went the best it could.  So here are my tips based on what worked for us:

Get the babysitter to have them for a shorter period beforehand:

My mum is used to looking after children so was more than comfortable about looking after Ophelia but I think this is a good idea for both parents and the babysitter as well as getting the baby to feel comfortable and reduce anxiety. 

Prepare your baby's bag and your bag the night before:

I found this one of the most useful things I did, by packing bags the night before it avoided any last minute panic. 


If you have to be somewhere by a specific time I recommend getting the babysitters to arrive way in advance.  We had to catch a train at 10:50 so I asked my parents to arrive at 9:30, to allow for recap on how to use the pram, car sear etc as well as any unexpected poo/sick up/feed.  By doing this, Callum and I were at the train station ten minutes early.. anyone that knows us will know how massive this is!!


An obvious one, but if  breastfeeding I recommend expressing daily for the week before (I found the best time to be first thing in the morning) and putting them in the freezer, then taking them out the day before you need them.  I then made sure I had more than enough, just in case! For ten hours, I expressed five bottles and gave them to my Mum and Dad in a cool bag with freezer coolers to keep them cool until they could put them in the fridge.  You also need to get your baby used to taking the bottle before hand and this is usually recommended to be done BEFORE your child is six weeks old otherwise there is a risk they won't be able to adjust from nipple to teat.  I don't know how true this is but we had done so from very early.


I think it's really important that if you have certain ways of doing things or certain routines etc that you pass them on to the babysitters. I'm sure this one is much more important when they're older but for us, we think it's really important for children to get the same message rather than conflicting.  At the moment Ophelia needs to have short naps in the day otherwise she is a nightmare come nighttime (i.e. doesn't sleep and screams), so we tactfully broached this with my parents, without trying to sound dictatorial by explaining the reasons and benefits of doing so and explaining possible ways of managing this.  Thankfully my parents really took this on board, which was really reassuring as a parent.  One topic that will be difficult is the fact my mum doesn't believe in dummies but Callum and I do, so this one is likely to be difficult when it is implemented and they look after her!

So for us this was a really positive experience that probably couldn't have gone better, which is so reassuring! I am really glad we did decide to spend time away from her as a couple as early as five weeks because it will enable her to develop that independence away from us and relationship with her grandparents as soon as possible.  I obviously wouldn't want to do it too often though, it was pretty hard leaving her little face in her car seat and walking around without her!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Parenting highs and lows: 4 weeks in


  • After hours (or it feels like) of screaming, when you manage to calm her down.
  • Her peaceful face.
  • Looking down and seeing those beautiful big blue eyes staring up at me, priceless.
  • When she first started to become more alert.
  • When she started looking at us and would turn her eyes and head to wherever our voices come from.
  • Seeing her reach out for her toys. 
  • Learning how to pacify her better.
  • Days when she doesn't mind being changed or clothed.
  • Getting through poo explosions and mass sick ups.
  • Breastfeeding after parking up the car, but not panicking even though it made me even later to meet my friend!
  • The day she threw up in my bra on my way out the door!..
  • ..And proceeded to do a poo explosion!
  • The interrupted sleep..
  • ..or the nights of only getting one hour!
  • When she won't stop crying!!!
  • Sleep or lack thereof affecting my tolerance levels at times.
So you see, there have been more highs then lows  :) 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Breastfeeding week

Seeing as it's world breastfeeding week, I thought it only apt that I talk about breastfeeding!

Today also marks two weeks since my daughter was birthed into this world, so a good time to reflect on this oh so lovely bonding experience (!).

When I was pregnant, all the midwives would talk about is how breastfeeding is such a good bond between mother and baby (said in a hippy accent),  which kind of annoyed me before I even started-what about those people that can't breastfeed?!

Anywho, enough of that. 

When baby Grantham (or Wearing as she was formally known) was born, about 30 minutes later the midwife latched her on and feeding began.  Soon after this, she did a mamouth green explosion. 

After this we were left fairly to our own devices to get on, although all the staff made sure to let us know they were around if we wanted to ask for help.  We were lucky in that our gal has a latch as strong as a vacuum, but I was surprised at how much help babies actually need, not necessarily as instinctive as the midwives make out!  I liked the hands off approach the hospital had as it didn't make me feel under pressure to perform but I also felt supported.

Milk production has never been a problem for me, i've been literally streaming colostrum from both boobs since I found out I was pregnant.  In fact, if anything i'm producing way too much (i'm having to hold bottles up to both boobs!) and this makes it hard for baby girl to latch on-think trying to suck a wet beach ball. 

We got lots of support from the midwives in our first week and at first baby wasn't really getting enough milk because of several things; she was being a fuss pot, I found it hard to be comfortable getting positions I felt comfortable doing, she wouldn't wake herself when hungry and it was a new experience for us to get used to.  She lost nearly the 10% of her weight so we were given a feeding plan which involved us having to wake her every 2-3 hours to feed.  The methods the midwife recommended to wake her up (blow on or water on the face) didn't really work-our little girl is quite the heavy sleeper!

It was made harder by the fact she was carrying on her sleeping habits from the womb (nocturnal) so our first four nights were spent getting no more than an hour sleep all day or night!!! Thankfully the 2-3 hour waking, mixed with keeping her awake from 7pm til 12am (recommended by lifesaving friend!) has led to some improvement.  We have since been getting generally at least two lots of three hour sleep a night, which is a vast improvement!!

I have grown in confidence since first breastfeeding and this is thanks to support from Callum, midwives and a few specific friends (Keely and Lydia if you're reading)-I really would be struggling otherwise.  Don't get me wrong, i still find it tricky particularly-particular low points are when she feeds near on continuously for the whole day and I feel like I can't do anything or in the middle of the night.  I'm slowly getting better at feeding in public, although there is still improvement to come there but hey, its only been a fortnight!

Overall its def been a learning curve but it's one that is really teaching me so much about myself and my daughter! There is nothing better than having a tough feed and seeing my daughter's eyes gazing up at me.