Sunday, April 26, 2009

Baby talk

I witnessed Phoebe interacting with another baby for the first time at the Community Health Centre parenting workshop on Thursday.

We were having a talk about first aid by a lady who used to work for Queensland Ambulance. I'm glad I did a couple of first aid courses last year because this woman was exceptionally difficult to listen to. Not only did she have a lisp but she also had an annoying pitch of voice, a strong accent and a drawl with pauses in strange places. I found it very difficult to concentrate on what she was saying especially after a young mum called Kerry placed her baby girl, Zoe on the mat next to Phoebe. Zoe is a few weeks older than Phoebe, around 13 weeks old I think. Before long they were aware of each other and looking at one another. Then they started exchanging smiles and reaching out towards one another. They seemed absolutely fascinated. When one looked away from the other, her little friend would coo and gurgle in an attempt to get her attention drawn back to her. It was very cute.

Gymbaroo was a lot of fun on Wednesday. Phoebe and her two friends from my ante-natal class, Hugo and Julian were the youngest babies there. The class is directed at non-mobile babies so most of them are a few months older than Phoebe. When they start crawling they graduate to the mobile baby group. There were a lot of activities, which were kept short in order to maintain the babies' interest. I was concerned that it mightn't fit in with Phoebe's cycle but she did really well.

They have a lot of equipment you can use, mainly to promote body awareness but the bulk of the class is teacher-led with the babies lying on mats and mums kneeling next to them in a circle. They had tummy time, we sang songs and patted their little bodies in time to the music, we danced around in a circle singing and swinging the babies around and up and down, massaged them by rolling sticks up and down their bodies and waved various toys in front of them.

There is also a theme of a week to introduce them to the idea of symbols and get their eyes tracking from left to right in preparation for learning to read. We were given scrap books with a word written on one side (in this case, "red") which is flashed in front of the bub for one second (any longer than that and they break the word into pieces and stop seeing it as a cohesive whole); on the other side is a picture representing the word (i.e. a red square), which we hold up to the left of the baby's head and move it towards the right repeating the word. They suggest getting your partner to hold the baby's head whilst you do this to encourage their eyes rather than their head to move.

All of the activities are encouraged to be tried at home, so for example they suggest pointing out red things for the rest of the week then slowly introducing them to next week's theme (blue) and taking in a blue object to the class. I got a little over-excited and collected three blue toys for Phoebe's "treasure bag" as they call it. One really useful thing I learned was that during tummy time I should roll Phoebe from her back to her tummy, rather than picking her up, turning her over and putting her back down, and the same in reverse when she's had enough. This is so that she can get the idea of rolling from back to front and be able to do it herself.

We've had a few more "sleep-throughs" and most nights we have at least one 8 hour stretch now. Of course last night was the exception. We'd let her get a bit over-tired and had friends over for dinner so she ended up going to bed a bit earlier than usual. I decided to try another "dream feed" before I went to bed at 10pm but I admit I was sceptical as every time I've tried it in the past she's still woken up at the time I would expect her to without the extra feed, in this case 3am. Sure enough, she woke up for another feed at 3am and not only that but she woke again at 5am. I think I'll let the 8 hour sleeps get a bit more established before I try another dream feed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sleeping through

Phoebe "slept through" last night. At her age apparently all this means is a 6 hour stretch without waking. It isn't unknown for her to have long periods of sleep; in fact two nights ago she slept for 8 hours!! The difference last night was that it happened whilst I was also asleep and there seems to be a bit of a pattern emerging rather than just the odd good night here and there. When she isn't "sleeping through" she sleeps for about 5 hours early on then in 3 or 4 hour blocks.

However, this "sleeping through" came at a cost. Firstly, I went out with the ladies from a mums group I've been gate-crashing since before Phoebe was born. I fed her at 5pm then bathed her and got her ready for bed. I was going to give her a top up feed when she decided she'd rather sleep. Thankfully she woke up about 30 minutes before I had to leave so I fed her and settled her in her cot before heading out (late). I hadn't left any milk for Toby but was quite confident that she wouldn't want another feed until 10 or 11pm. I got home at about 9.40pm to find Toby wandering around the house with Phoebe in the sling. Apparently she'd woken for a feed an hour earlier. I got to bed at about 11pm and she didn't wake for a feed until 5.30am.

This morning I had my pilates session at the physiotherapist's centre. Phoebe had fallen asleep in her sling whilst I was tidying the house for the cleaner so I'd put her in her cot. She woke up about five minutes before we were due to leave. This did not make for an ideal pilates session. It is not easy to keep count of one's repetitions whilst also singing nursery rhymes. Nor is it easy, whilst on the reformer bed to rock a car baby restraint whilst doing leg circles and leg presses. I was all over the place. And it didn't entertain Phoebe for long. She was pacified temporarily by a feed but eventually the lady using the room after me (only I was still in there due to the feed) ended up giving her a cuddle and taking her on the vibration machine. That calmed her down but my workout ended up rubbish, rushed and with bits missed out, which isn't good as I didn't go last week when my family were here. She cried again when I put her back into the car seat, then stopped when I picked it up, then fell asleep in the car. She has since slept for most of the day. Bloody typical. In fact, I'm a little worried about her as she doesn't seem to want to wake up. We had a bit of a play earlier but basically she's just sleeping and feeding which is unlike her these days. Hope that doesn't mean she won't sleep tonight.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Phoebe is becoming increasingly aware of her hands, although she still doesn't seem able to do much with them. She likes to suck them but I'm hoping to get her to take a dummy instead. The dummy doesn't seem to be as tasty as her hands though and after a couple of sucks she seems to get this fearful expression as though she thinks she's going to choke and then she spits the dummy out. This suggests to me that she has a certain amount of conscious control over her hands and so prefers them to this strange alien object being shoved into her mouth.

I'm not too fussed about her sucking her hands versus a dummy but some of her middle of the night feeds have been very short and it occurred to me that perhaps she just needs the comfort of sucking something. I thought maybe if I give her a dummy instead of feeding her at that time that eventually we can phase out the 2-4am feed.

Often when she's on the change table, especially when she's nude, I place a small cuddly toy on her tummy so that she can feel the sensation of the fur against her skin. She will often grab the toy and cuddle it, especially if it's her teddy bear Billy-Bob. She grabs my necklace a lot too but she's always done that so I suspect it's more of a reflex. She hasn't quite mastered grabbing toys that we show her but she does reach out towards things she's interested in so I don't think it'll be too long.

She's been a bit upset this afternoon and seemed to have some wind pain or something. Most of her feeds have been short and unsettled with lots of squirming about. My boobies aren't feeling the best as a result. I have nipple vasospasm, which is where the blood vessels constrict as with Raynaud's which occurs in fingers and toes. It's intermittent but happens when my nipples get cold so when Phoebe fusses and spends a lot of the feed coming on and off the boob, the repeated exposure of the wet nipple to the air sends shooting pains down my breast. The nipple turns white and sometimes will end up purple before going back to normal. It's a bit uncomfortable but now that I know what it is I can keep it under control by drying and covering my nipple as soon as she detatches and also making sure I remember to take my vitamins as apparently B6 helps.

Phoebe is 9 weeks old today.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Everyone loves seeing or making a baby smile and when you have a newborn people tell you that the first time your baby smiles at you makes all of the hard work and effort up to that point worth it.

But nothing can really prepare you for the feeling you get when your own little bub does look up at you and really smile. It's so different to just seeing a baby smile. It's not just a nice feeling, an "oh how cute" thought, it's an amazing feeling, an "I made this and I'm making it happy" thought, "I want you to stay like this forever" and "I want you to grow up to be amazing and healthy and happy" thoughts all at the same time.

Nothing makes me happier these days, or perhaps ever, than seeing Phoebe smile and when she looks into my eyes and smiles at me words can't describe my joy. It's the best feeling in the world and now that she's almost 9 weeks old I get to feel it every day.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Phoebe's favourite toy is the fan. She sits or lies and watches it for ages. Toby says to her in a very loud voice "fan!" so I won't be surprised if that's the first word she says. Her favourite game is The Sitty-Uppy Game where she grabs onto my fingers and I hold her hands with my thumbs and pull her up. She is very strong and pulls herself up and always seems very pleased with herself once she gets up there. She hates getting dressed so I've started playing the Sitty-Uppy game with her whenever we have to put on clothing with buttons down the back.

Today we went to see Phoebe's new friend, Amelie, one day old baby of our friends, Scott and Lucie. She is so tiny, it's hard to believe that Little Miss was that size just 2 months ago. She has a shock of black hair. Phoebe slept through the whole thing. I hope she becomes more interested in her friend as time passes. It really wouldn't do to visit a friend and then sleep for the entire time. To be fair to her we did have a stressful time getting to the hospital. After parking in the hospital's multi-storey car-park and catching a lift to the ground floor we encountered some posters announcing the hospital shuttle bus which appeared to be waiting for us as we exited the lift. We asked if we couldn't just walk and the man told us it was a fair hike across a construction site. He said it was no bother getting the pram in the back and holding Phoebe. Alarm bells rang when we got in and he started putting his belt on.
"Do I need to wear a seat belt?" I asked.
"It's probably best as I have to go onto the road," he replied.
At that point I should have left the taxi but I didn't really register what he'd said. I was sure that we'd be driving through the construction site on hospital grounds because surely no one would actually suggest holding a two month old baby in the front seat of a car on actual roads. Phoebe got really upset and started crying whilst we fastened the seat belt and sure enough, the crazy man did go out on the actual roads. I was terrified. All I kept thinking as I held my baby close to me was that a sudden brake could cause her neck to snap. And it wasn't even that far!! Needless to say we walked on the way back but by the time we got to Lucie's room and Phoebe was fast asleep in my arms I was quite upset by the whole thing. Seeing Amelie cheered me up. She's such a beautiful little bub.

Other Wonderful Adventures that we had today consisted of going to our parenting workshop. A lady came to talk to us about childcare but it wasn't that interesting or useful. I got much more out of talking to the other mums about it. And they seemed interested in my, and another mum's, experience using cloth nappies. They seem like a nice bunch of ladies. We also went to the Bubs shop to pick up a present from my Nana and Granda. It's a cool Lamaze octopus whose 8 legs are horns, each playing a different note. Oh what fun we'll, I mean Phoebe'll have.

We swapped her Newborn Huggies for Crawler Girl Huggies yesterday and I have just put one on her for the first time. It's massive on her and comes halfway up her back.

Oh! Just quickly before I go, Dr Parsons weighed and measured Phoebe on Tuesday. She's 5.5kg which puts her in the 85th percentile for weight. She's in the 55th for length... does that make her a porker? Another baby we met today, Ruby is five days older than Phoebe but visibly larger. Her mum weighed her and she was over 7kg!!!! So Miss P isn't that big after all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Phoebe had her 8 week injections yesterday. The list of viruses she was immunised against is as long as her arm (with rather small text). I won't go into the palava we had regarding her Medicare card, or lack thereof, partially because I haven't already mentioned the palava I have had previously regarding completion of the Family Tax Benefit/Medicare for Newborn form. I still don't understand why those two things are on the same form. Perhaps one day I'll tell the story (damn government forms - argh!) but not for now as I'm limiting myself to five minute posts otherwise I'll never get anything done as my silence over the last two months is evidence of.

So I'm sure you're wondering how she got on yesterday. Well, she was already screaming by the time I got into the treatment room after the nurse administered an oral dose of what I assume to be the polio vaccination. Then her doctor joined us and stuck a needle in her right leg whilst the nurse simultaneously stuck a needle in her left leg. It was over within a few seconds and I was very impressed. They then left me alone in the room to give her a feed and some panadol (paracetemol). She calmed down immediately. For the rest of the day she was a bit more sensitive than usual and needed lots of cuddles and we spoiled her, let her fall asleep in the sling whilst we were having dinner. She's been quite spewey since, including one spectacular milky spewplosion after I administered her second dose of panadol at bedtime. She slept for almost 8 hours that night!!! I fed her at about 6.30pm and she didn't wake for a feed until 2.45am!!

Tonight we went out for dinner with my parents whilst my grandparents stayed home with Phoebe. It's the first time we've been out without her. I had expressed some milk this morning as she fell asleep after only one booby despite having gone almost 8 hours between feeds. Could this be a sign of her sleeping through the night? Probably not but it did mean that Nana could feed her if necessary. It wasn't necessary though. We settled her around 7.45 and got home around 10.30 and she hadn't stirred during that time.

She is being thoroughly spoiled by my family... but my time is up and I must stop writing. I'll be back tomorrow with more on The Wonderful Adventures of Phoebe Valentine. Lucie and Scott's baby was born this morning so one of tomorrow's adventures will be Phoebe's first encounter with little Amelie Bradley.