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Why isn’t the baby sleeping???

My little bean was a great sleeper for the first week.. that’s about it! From the 2nd week onwards, her sleep pattern was not great. She would sleep well at times, and then catnap at others. It was really difficult for me to gauge her sleep, and that made me really stressed. I felt as though I was doing something wrong by her, which is why she was not sleeping. My hubby and I would go through the 4 point checklist for her restlessness – 1. Has she been fed, 2. Has she been burped, 3. Has her nappy been changed, and 4. Is she sleepy?

Despite our every effort to do all the above, she still did not get a good sound sleep. By week 4, she just was not sleeping during well. She would play for long hours during the day and would keep us up at night. She did not like the swaddle, and it’s too cold to let her sleep without any cover. We ended up buying the ergoCocoon, which worked wonders for almost 2 weeks. She slept comfortably in that, and it’s really friendly to use. She loved having her hands out and therefore the ergoCocoon became our best friend.

But at some point around week 6, her sleep pattern changed. She again became difficult to put to sleep and it made us really tired. I read so many articles, blogs, Facebook posts, etc., and decided to use the swaddle again. Yes, I know she does not like it, I know she hates for her arms to be tied down, and I know she will probably try to wriggle out and get irritated when she can’t, but I was desperate. I reintroduced the swaddle and everything I feared happened. But, she slept. I don’t know if it’s the feeling of being squashed or the tiredness from trying to get her arms out, but all I know is that it works. I still swaddle her to this date (she is 8 weeks 2 days). She is growing out of the swaddles, they are becoming shorter for her and so it won’t be long before I have to stop using them, but I can’t thank them enough for giving me my sleep.

Once she slept, she was a good sleeper. But it was the ‘putting-to-sleep’ part that was a nightmare. Till date, she has difficulty falling asleep. One day, I saw a marketing post in Facebook about the Baby Shusher. I told my husband I wanted to buy it as so many people had positively reviewed the product. It was costing $40+ but I didn’t care, I just wanted my baby to sleep. My hubby said “if it makes you happy, buy it”. I went all the way to checkout, but forgot my PayPal password, so couldn’t complete the purchase. The next day, my hubby said “I hope you haven’t bought the Baby Shusher”. He showed me this app called Sound Sleeper, which is a free download from the App Store, which had white noise for children of all ages. It also included the shushing… Bingo! We tried it and it was magic! She slept… not with the shushing sound though. She slept mostly with the sound of hairdryer. We used it every time we put her to sleep, that even we got used to it.

As parents, we worry about our babies’ sleep so much that we don’t give much thought about our sleep. But during this time, I realised that it is equally important for parents to get enough sleep, for only then we can provide uncompromised care for our babies.

Despite the ergoCocoon, the swaddling, and going through the 4-point checklist, there are days when my moonpie just does not want to settle and sleep. She is a gassy baby (but she is not colic), so she spends a lot of her energy farting. Because of that, we spend a lot of time burping her, but I wouldn’t say that it promotes sleep or anything. She is a model baby for the ‘witching hours’ description. She cries so much at times that if the walls had holes, my neighbours would be falsely reporting us for child neglect. But once she sleeps, she is like an angel!

Of course, I have again read various posts on as many websites as possible, and I believe she is currently going through a growth spur. Hopefully that will settle soon, and we will have a settled baby who sleeps as well during the night as she sleeps during the early hours of the day.

The links to all the products mentioned in this post are in the Useful Links tab.

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Breastfeeding issues

I was one of those who wanted to solely breastfeed my baby till she was 6 months old. But my nipples were not in favour of that idea. They started to crack and bleed, and I was crying every time I breastfed her. I was still in hospital when that happened, I was asked to apply Lansinoh cream post feeding and just carry on. I thought it was just me and that my nipples were just being idiots, until a senior midwife who looked after me overnight suggested using a breast pump. That was a lifesaving idea, and literally saved my nipples from breaking apart, and stopped me from going crazy. I was feeding her my expressed milk for the next couple of days. But for my hungry baby, my breastmilk was not enough and I was succumbed to request formula top up when she was just 3 days old. I did beat myself up for it then, but now to think about it, I had to do what was best for my hungry, crying baby. When I was discharged home, we purchased the Medela Swing Pump from Chemist Warehouse and I continued to express my milk and bottle feed her. I did not want to stop her from breastfeeding, so I continued to try to latch her on as and when possible. My nipples were still sore, but I was not one who gave up easily. I had purchased a breastfeeding pillow some time ago from eBay but I couldn’t use it due to having caesarean and having a sore tummy as a result. But after 2 weeks since her birth, something told me to use the pillow. Since that day, I have been breastfeeding my daughter. I still mix feed her, giving 2-3 formula feeds a day, but she is mainly breastfed. I still use Lansinoh cream after my shower, but my nipples aren’t half as sore.

The purpose of this post is to tell mothers who have sore nipples is, don’t give up. If you want to breastfeed but have sore nipples, don’t beat yourself up for it and stop trying. Invest in a breast pump and express your breastmilk until you feel your nipples are no longer sore. Buy a good breastfeeding pillow and use it if you feel it helps. My mum told me that she breastfed all her 4 children with the pain and that that’s just part of breastfeeding. But no, you don’t have to breastfeed in pain. We are in the era that we have more than one option, and whatever suits you and your baby is what you should use.

I will provide the links to all the products mentioned in this post and all the future posts.

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My birthing story

Week 39 – I couldn’t wait to see my baby girl. I had been on maternity leave since week 35, so have had plenty of time nesting and preparing for her arrival.

April 22nd 2017 – I started having contractions in the evening and they were 10-15 minutes apart. I was in excruciating pain and my husband felt helpless. Paracetamol wasn’t helping. We rang the hospital, and I was asked to take a warm bath and try to get some sleep. I did just that, and overnight the contractions stopped. When I woke up, it was as though nothing had happened the previous night.

April 23rd 2017 – I started having contractions again, this time it started at 9pm exactly. The contractions where 10 minutes apart till 9:40pm. My husband was sleeping as it was a Sunday and he had to go to work the next day. I went to tell him what was happening just to prepare him that he may not be going to work the next day. From then onwards, the contractions were coming at 4 minutes apart and the pain level shot up to a 20/10. Again paracetamol was not helping and I was in no mood for a warm bath! We rang the hospital and my husband spoke to the midwife (I was in so much pain I could not speak). We were asked to go in immediately. I was in pain throughout the drive there and I was so scared that I was going to birth my baby in the car. Thankfully we arrived at the hospital and was taken to a room. I was checked and I was indeed having contractions, and I was 2cm dilated. I was told that I would probably be sent home as it was too soon for a hospital stay. But my obstetrician was unhappy with that idea and wanted me to stay for observation.

April 24th 2017 – By morning, I was still only 2cm dilated, but baby’s heart rate was fluctuating. I was kept for further observation till 1pm. My obstetrician visited me and organised for induction. She thought she had broken my water but she hadn’t, and I was started on oxytocin drips. My contractions became 2 minutes apart and I was in so much pain. I asked for an epidural at 4pm, and by 4:30pm, I had my epidural. At 5pm, my midwife was starting to insert a catheter into me and decided she was going to examine my cervix. That’s when she realised the water was intact, and decided to break it after consultation with my obstetrician. By 9pm, I was only 3cm dilated and extremely exhausted! My obstetrician gave me the option of waiting for normal delivery, or doing an emergency caesarian. Exhaustion and excitement were both in play, and we decided to have the caesarian done. At 10:14pm, our little girl was born weighing 2.87kg and 50cm long. I heard her cry, and my husband and I both started crying. She was put on me and I saw her for the first time, she was beautiful – the most perfect little thing! That was all I could remember.

April 25th 2017 – overnight I could remember specks of instances where I was woken up to be told that I was moved to different parts of the hospital, that I was breastfeeding her, that the midwife was expressing my other breast for another feed, and stuff, but they are all just vague specks of memory. At 2:45pm, I woke up. My husband was just settling to bed, but he was so sweet to tell me all that had happened since baby girl’s birth till I woke up. I had missed out on the most important first few hours of her birth, and I cannot forgive myself for it even now. But what matters is she should never feel that I missed out on anything else that concerns her. She is my world, my everything, and she is what I live for.

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My Pregnancy Story

August 8th 2016 – I was cooking something special for my husband, spicy crab masala, for dinner. I started feeling uneasy and nauseous. I usually love crab, so the fact that I was feeling nauseous was a little unusual for me. I started to think about when I had my last period, and true enough I was a couple of days late. My period has been quite regular since I had a D&C as a result of a miscarriage the previous year, so for my period to be a few days late was another unusual thing. My husband was showering and so I had to wait till he finished before entering the ensuite to take my pregnancy kit. I did the test and I had a VERY faint positive. I didn’t want to tell him anything yet, but clearly I couldn’t keep it to myself. I told him over dinner what had happened and he jumped in joy. I was keeping my fingers crossed that it must be true.

August 9th 2016 – I woke up early as I had work at 10am, and I took another pregnancy test (first urine has the highest amount of bHCG). It was a BIG FAT POSITIVE. I cried. I called my husband and told him, and he could not wait to come home and give me a hug.

My morning sickness got worse as days went by. People at work started suspecting something was brewing as I was obviously nauseous and cranky. As I had a miscarriage before, I didn’t want to tell anyone so soon, but the news just spread. As I worked in an Acute Psych Ward, work place safety had to be put in place for me and therefore almost everyone at work got to know about my pregnancy within the first few weeks.

11 weeks pregnant – I had a full blown bleed while I was at work. Thankfully I work in a hospital where there is an emergency department. I was sent off from work to get checked immediately. It ended up being a false alarm and the baby was fine, moving and having a good heartbeat, but what caused the bleed – I will never know. I was started on progesterone vaginal suppository twice a day for 6 weeks and the bleeding stopped eventually.

My morning sickness pretty much vanished at week 14, and I could finally cook and eat. I didn’t need to survive on 1 piece of toast and milk a day. My bump started growing and showing, though people kept telling me I was small for the developmental age of the foetus.

Week 22 – I felt my baby’s first kick. It was the most amazing feeling, scary at first, but amazing every time after. As baby started growing, the kicks became stronger and more painful, but I rather felt them than have her go silent for hours. I would drink very cold water to stimulate her kicks if I didn’t feel them for 2 hours or more. My husband could feel them, and he would tear from time to time. It was so surreal to watch him cry over something he was not experiencing from within.

Week 39 – Time to see the baby…