Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where did the time go? (6 weeks post-partum)

I am horrified that almost 6 weeks have passed since the birth and I have failed to make any diary entries, other than that initial one. I envisaged doing at least one a week, preferably one short one a day.

Phoebe has changed so much in the last few weeks. She's getting much bigger, is having slightly longer periods of wakefulness, is following things with her eyes, clearly recognises me and, the piece de resistance, she now smiles!

Here's a brief rundown of the major things people like to ask about babies:

Weight: For the first couple of weeks after her birth she was weighed regularly and at 3 weeks she weighed 4.59kg (about 10lb) with her nappy on and in the 10 days after leaving hospital she was gaining approximately 48g per day. 

Feeding: She is fully breastfed, which is a lovely experience if a little demanding at times, and she has even taken a couple of bottles of expressed milk. However, she never seems to drink that much and I suspect she is just taking the edge off her hunger until she gets offered the breast again, which apparently a lot of babies do. I waited a month before I started expressing and use a manual pump that my sister gave me. It works fine for us. She has a Green-to-Grow bottle (which doesn't have all those nasty plastics in it) with an elongated nipple, which apparently is what you want when you're breastfeeding. She doesn't eat or drink anything other than breast milk and probably won't until she's 5 or 6 months old.

Sleeping: We have successfully managed to teach Phoebe the difference between night and day, primarily by keeping the room dark when she wakes for feeds at night. We switch on the light in the walk-in robe rather than one of the lights in the room. I don't talk to her when I feed her at night and I only change her nappy if it is wet or dirty. When I take her to the nursery to change her we only have dimmed lights on in the house. After feeding and changing she is swaddled and laid back in her cot. Usually she goes straight back to sleep but sometimes she lies and squirms and grunts for a while. She rarely cries but if she does we just pick her up and resettle her. 

She sleeps for between 20 minutes and 2 or 3 hours during the day and at night she'll usually have about 3 or 4 hours between feeds, sometimes up to 5 1/2. This means that I'm usually getting up twice to feed her but because she's an efficient feeder and low maintenance I'm generally back in bed within about 40 minutes so I'm not too tired really.

She usually has one unsettled period a day although these are becoming less frequent. This usually means that she doesn't fall straight back to sleep when we swaddle her and put her in her cot and we have to keep going in, picking her up until she stops crying and laying her back down again. Since we bought a CD player for the bedroom, on which we play the white noise tracks from the Sounds For Silence CD, she's been a lot easier to settle. Before that we were using Tracy Hogg's Shush-pat method, now we just have to pat. Ocassionally we can't settle her, or we're too tired to persevere and she ends up in a sling, watching us going about our business before falling asleep. The sling is immensely useful when out and about. If she gets tired during a gathering she can't fall asleep as she's looking around too much so I bung her in the sling so she can't see anything and she falls asleep. I take it everywhere and I think it's probably the best value purchase we've made.

Routine: We have a very vague baby-led routine, which I think is probably unavoidable when breastfeeding. Basically, the entire day is structured around when Phoebe is hungry. She has a feed, then she has activity time, based upon the Baby Whisperer's (and others) Eat, Activity, Sleep, You (EASY) routine. After a feed she usually has her nappy changed and we'll have a bit of botty time on the change table, nudie time if it's morning and she's getting dressed. Then she'll have a bit of tummy time, prescribed by Auntie Margie, the child physio, who Phoebe saw about her hips and foot but was more concerned over a slight flatness on the side of her head. She said it demonstrated a preference to lie with the head turned to one side, which can cause stiffness in the neck. Her head isn't so flat these days, nor does she seem to favour that one side so I'm being a bit less insistent on the tummy time. 

She also likes to spend a bit of time on her activity mat, which is quite a recent development. She likes looking at her reflection in the mirror which hangs from the centre. If I have things I need to get on with, such as getting ready to go out, I'll put her in the swing. She wasn't very impressed with this until recently and now she'll sit and stare at her reflection in the mirror above her. She's such a vain child, but I can't really blame her as she is rather lovely to look at.

After her evening feed Toby and I bath her together and this is without a doubt our favourite time of day. It's really the only time we spend as a family doing the same thing together and Phoebe loves her baths so it's a fun time too, rather than just being another chore. I had a bath the other night and Phoebe ended up getting in with me. Toby decided it looked like so much fun that he got in too but usually we bath Phoebe in a baby bath on a stand.

Nappies and poos: For the first couple of weeks we used disposables but now we are almost full time cloth nappy users. It took a while to get my head around all the different types of MCN (modern cloth nappy) and we are using a few different types, some all-in-ones, some flats (bamboo rather than terry as they're slimmer and more absorbent), and some fitteds that require a cover but will last her for as long as she needs to wear nappies. We usually take disposables out with us and have them as a back-up in case we get behind on our washing. We'll also use them if we go away for the weekend so we don't have to cart back a whole load of dirty nappies. We find the cloth just as good as the disposables in terms of leakages and they seem to be better for her skin. She always looks a little red after wearing a disposable.

It is a bit of extra work but it's not too bad really. When we change her we stick the dirty nappy and wipes (we use cloth wipes too) into a bucket with a lid. Every second day, when the bucket is full, we rinse all the poo off the nappies and microfibre liners (brilliant for drawing wee away from her skin and catching poo... it comes off the liners so easily). Her poos are still quite runny but when they're a bit more solid we'll just tip them down the toilet. We then wash the lot in the washing machine first thing in the morning or overnight and hang them out the next day. We have had a lot of rain so we sometimes hang them indoors or stick them in the dryer but on the line is best as the sun gets rid of any stains, although it can make the nappies stiff.

Poosplosions, we've had a few. Some have come straight out of the top or leg of the nappy resulting in a pootastrophe. We've had a pooclear missile shot straight down the leg of a nappy onto the leather sofa (thank god we got leather), I've had another squirted onto my brand new white vest, Toby had one deposited onto his work shirt during a lunchtime gathering in the park and he also witnessed an extremely impressive projectile poo from the change table to the wall of the nursery. Nice! Oh yeah and we've had the occasional leakage on our bed covers too during my lazy morning feeds. It's all part of the baby experience.

No comments: