Four Month Growth Spurt

I’ve got one very hungry hippo, this boy won’t stop drinking. Pretty much every hour around the clock he wants some num nums. Never before have I been so grateful for cosleeping. As you might imagine, I in turn am one hungry mama. This morning I woke up feeling like I hadn’t been fed in days. To top it, because of the morning mayhem, I didn’t have chance to eat my giant bowl of porridge before charging out the door to prescool with baby on boob and three year old in tow.

Why is it whenever you are late little people take the chance to dawdle? “Mummy look at this”, “mummy I’ve dropped my cardigan”. This is the blasted cardigan she refused to put on under her coat before we left, that consequently was dragged along the pavement for a large part of the walk to school.

Back to baby Boyo on his growth spurt. “Oh you’re feeding” exclaimed one mother as I thanked her for holding open the gate. “You always seem to be feeding.” It really has felt like it for the last day. She’d seen me in the park after school yesterday nursing baby Boyo while racing around pushing swings, lifting my daughter on and off the bouncy whizzy thing etc.

And so much for not being a zombie mum…I think I might be halfway there today. I’m so thankful that this is Babe’s full day in preschool. If I’m lucky I might cram in a nap before picking her up at 3pm.

Advertisements

More Sleep Through Cosleeping & Bedsharing

Three years ago I wouldn’t have dreamt of bedsharing with my baby and here I am, believing in my own mothering instincts and getting so much more sleep as a result of it. To date I have had few days when I feel like a real zombie mum. But I fear teething might sort that out for me.

This time around with baby Boyo there is more research to support my bedsharing choice, I trust my instincts better and I’ve had some decent health visitor support.

How does bedsharing with a baby work?

We only bedshare part of the night, unless baby Boyo is under the weather and not tolerating an arms reach distance from me. Last night was one of those nights, with a raging cold he just wanted me close. And as it happened Babe (the three year old), did too. So I was sandwiched between them and slept remarkably well.

Our bedsharing looks like this – I nurse with baby Boyo lying down next to me, lying on his back turning his head to the right. I then lie and sleep on my left side with his head below my left arm, which is either tucked under the pillow or bent up to rest my head on. When he is not in my bed he is still right next to me in his Cosleeping crib.

When we bedshare I don’t do various things to ensure the safety of baby Boyo:
– Don’t use duvets, just a blanket or two. I always ensure that there is no extra blanket bulk near him, by pulling the blanket tightly around me when nursing and tucking it under my body. I am a little hot water bottle at night, so getting cold isn’t something I have to worry about too much (call me sweaty Betty if you will). If it does happen to be that bit too cool for me I put on an old cardigan or my merino wool thermal long johns – sexy I know. Actually as long johns go, in black they’re pretty fetching. It’s the drab brown nightgown I put over the top that ruins the look.
– Don’t use a baby sleeping bag (sadly I have lots from Babe which I was hoping to give a second life). He has blankets instead as he gets too hot with a sleeping bag on lying next to me. I also like the flexibility of blankets, allowing you to throw on an extra layer if it gets cooler, and simply peel one off when he’s starting to feel a tad toastie. Under the blankets he sleeps in a vest and sleep suit.
– Don’t let baby sleep in the middle. He always sleeps on the outside edge of the bed (next to his Cosleeping crib), not inbetween me and my husband or three year old. That way there is no risk of them rolling onto him. I now understand there is no risk of me doing this (so pipe down you ill educated scaremongers), and there is a wealth of scientific research from well respected universities across the globe that back up my mother instincts.

Life is lovely; we sleep at night so we can laugh and play in the day. Now we’ve started, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Nightime Changing

Some nights are meant to try us…

Boyo wakes about 2am for a feed so I lift him over from his cosleeping crib onto the side of my bed to nurse. As I wriggle around to wind him part way through the feed, I realise that Babe (my nearly three year old) who joined me in my bed a couple of hours ago refusing the toilet, has gone and released her bladder next to me in my bed.

Mind my language, but FFS! My plan was to get her to the loo during this baby feed window (just a few hours later) and she’d beaten me to it. In my defence I’d tried, and even planted her on the toilet, but she refused to pee. She was clearly keeping it back as a special surprise. The middle of the night is no time for surprises in any shape or size.

Fortunately the bed wetting mat which I’d originally bought for her, but now use under me to protect against breastmilk splurges, had caught most of the pee. Thank goodness she had her bum shoved over into my space. I’m thankful for the space invasion on this occasion.

So mid feed with a grizzly, still hungry baby I have to strip MY bed, the toddler and change.

I remained calm and got Babe back to sleep. I’d resumed the baby feed. Just in time before he lost his patience and practised his jungle holler. Then I realised I’d dripped milk all over his shoulder, so he has a change.

The fun continues…baby Boyo spits up loads of milk and soaks himself through, calling for another change.

Eventually all are asleep and I’m feeling like chocolate and writing…typing up my moan by tip tapping on my phone (at 3am on a Saturday morning). I’m so very tempted to go and gorge on the Christmas cake I’ve just baked, nom nom nom – but wilfully I resist.

This is not how I like our night feeds to go! This is not how I like the weekend to begin.

To top it off, I now have lots of washing to look forward to and am starkly reminded by the dirty dishes that still sit waiting for me in the sink.

But I’m still happy, my two babies lie either side of my contentedly asleep. And then its my turn. Zzzzzzzzzz

Baby Bedsharing – I’m Not Confessing, I’m Proud!

Bed, Double

Image via Wikipedia

Sssshh….I bedshare with my baby. No, I’m going to shout it….

I BEDSHARE WITH MY BABY

It’s shouldn’t be taboo, it shouldn’t be something many parents feel guilty about. Did you, or are you bedsharing with your baby?

In fact there has been a lot of research done that shows that bedsharing…

a) reduces chances of SIDS if done safely
b) helps mothers continue to breastfeed
c) means that everyone gets more rest and sleep

Some people look at me when I say this and argue that you can always find research to support your point of view. But there is a growing wealth of reputable findings on this topic that now support it. And more and more people are highlighting flaws in the SIDS research that scorns it.

Medical Professionals Support Bedsharing More
To my pleasant surprise I have found that many of my local midwives and health visitors are going to the extent of recommending and supporting bedsharing if you are a breastfeeding mother. Hallelujah! (I’m not religious but this warrants that exultation).

They are referencing research that shows how in tune and aware the bedsharing mother is with her baby.

My health visitor (yay I’ve got a good one), put it this way when explained some of the scepticism I face. We have to consider the bigger picture too, your overall tiredness and ability to be a good mother around the clock to both your children. This is the better option.

It’s so true, I sleep and rest so much more by bedsharing. As a result I’m more alert and have more energy for my toddler and baby. It’s made nighttime nursing so much easier.

The Safer Option
I didn’t bedshare with Boyo straight away, because despite me trusting my own instincts, the fear of others close to me was preventing me embracing the concept. So I fought it. I’d sit up in bed nursing my newborn in my arms. But as tiredness layered up, I started to drop to sleep on the job. Normal yes, but again not the safest. In fact the health visitor recommended lying down and nursing and not worrying about dropping to sleep, the much safer option. This was the green lighted medical endorsement I needed. This is what so many mothers need. Not because they don’t trust themselves and believe in the concept, but because they need that backing to get the support of people around them.

I might add it has not just been this one health visitor that has endorsed this practice, but many.

Bedsharing Shouldn’t Be A Confession
Don’t feel like you need to talk about it in hushed tones, like you’re doing something forbidden. This shouldn’t be the way and it doesn’t have to be.

I’m afraid I’ve no time to compile the research (although Durham University’s sleep lab pages are a good start), instead I’ll point you to this piece on the latest research from Tennessee University summarised by Dr Momma:

Dr Momma: Peaceful Parenting

So tell me, did you or are you bedsharing with your baby?

Co-sleeping With a Toddler & Newborn

It’s not a practice that I want to become the norm in our house, but it’s something we do when toddler bed transfer is repeatedly failing or there are night wakings.

Don’t get me wrong, it all works remarkably well but I personally don’t like my space being invaded by not just one little person but two – assault from both sides. Come on just back off little people, this is actually MY bed.

How it works
Baby Boyo sleeps in his cosleeping crib or on my mattress on the left. I sleep in the middle and then Babe my toddler sleeps on the right. We all have enough space this way.

Sleeping through the noise
Much to some people’s disbelief (yes I can say I told you so), Babe usually sleeps through Boyo’s cries. Which is pretty amazing given he is only a couple of feet away and has a powerful pair of lungs on him.

Occasions it doesn’t work
There have been a few nights when Babe has woken a couple of times to the noise of Boyo at the other side of the bed and wanted nursing while he is kicking off – but that’s when she has been light sleeping because of a cold. This had resulted in some crossed words between the two of us, something like this:

“No you can’t have num nums”

“But I want num nums mummy”

“Arggghhhh go on then (or no no no followed by tears from Babe)”

At this point I’m tired and focused on the needs of the baby. Resentment sometimes creeps in, and I’m left fighting with the thoughts that she doesnt NEED the milk. But maybe it would help her cold, maybe like me she too has a sore throat that she needs soothing? Even if it’s not a physical thing, what about the reassurance and soothing she is longing? So sometimes I give in, other times she has been happy to simply snuggle or have her hair stroked.

Something that has started to cross my mind is night weaning Babe. Any thoughts? Tips?

Tandem Nursing & Bedtime

Most parents of little people (I think) must feel the love hate feeling of kiddie bedtime. The tantrums, the cries and the down right frustration that comes from trying to get the tired little ones off to sleep.

On the other hand, there is the joy of when they are off in the land of nod and you can claim just a few minutes as your own – glug down that wine and gorge on chocolate. If your breastfeeding like me, its less about the vino and more about the chocolate, biscuits, left over dinner (basically anything that looks remotely edible).

I have always nursed Babe, my toddler to sleep at night. She can get off to sleep without me, but if I’m around then there it’s not up for discussion in her book. I embrace this mostly, it’s our special snuggle time – just me and her.

Since Boyo arrived just over two weeks ago, I tried to retain this exclusive mama and daughter time. But often failed. With an evening cluster feeding newborn to tend to, it was stressing hubby and I out. I felt pressurised to get the toddler asleep ASAP so I could go downstairs and tend to baby. It made me tense and that relaxed time I used to embrace was something I started to resent. Things soon came to a head when Boyo needed to feed while I was settling Babe down for the night. As I’ve explained before, with a loud piercing cry like his, no one wants to argue.

So I had to get creative and start practicing those acrobatic tandem positions I’d read about.

We’ve figured it out now, I mostly take Boyo up to bed when settling Babe down for the night. I don’t need to stress about how long it takes and she is more than happy to have him join in the bedtime reading and nursing session. We’ve found a a body pile up kind of tandem nursing position that everyone is comfortable with. Which involves Babe and I sitting up/lying down on three pillows. I kind of lie part of my side towards Babe while she nurses on the left and then I cradle hold Boyo on the right, with his legs lying across her and sometimes her legs tucked under mine. It’s a real mingled body pile up, but it works.

With the toddler asleep, I can later transfer her into her own cot bed. Theoretically that is. Tonight I’ve been unsuccessful on the bed transfer and as a result it’s the three of us in my double bed with cosleeping crib for Boyo. Babe sleeps through everything, thank-goodness.

Co-sleeping with a newborn and occasional toddler: co-sleeping crib

Troll Co-Sleeper Crib – Available from John Lewis

This time around I’m going to embrace co-sleeping with the wee one from word go. I was sooo afraid of dropping to sleep with my first one lying next to me, or me falling to sleep with her in my arms – it was crazy. I’m kinda angry at how misinformed I allowed myself to be on this topic, it deprived me of so much sleep and can’t have helped our introduction to breastfeeding. It took me months to become comfortable with the idea of sleeping next to my baby with her in my bed.

This time I want it to be different
I want Boyo to have his own space and me mine, but to have the option to sleep next to each other as and when practical. I’ve done lots of research and I’m educated now. Don’t come to me with your scare stories, I’ve read the science and guidelines on how to practice co-sleeping with a baby safely and I’m taking no BS this time. When I explained my intention to my midwife, she said she had to reiterate that they cannot recommend co-sleeping with a baby. I know this is what she HAS to say from a legal perspective, but it still grated on me slightly. And actually this time around, you are NOT going to scare monger me – I haven’t made this decision lightly. I spend quite a bit of time reading up on my parenting choices to make sure that they really are scientifically sound.

One thing I insisted on us getting was a co-sleeping crib and I can’t wait to put it through its paces. What I hated about our former crib was that I could not lie next to Babe and put my hand on her while she slept. Sometimes just some physical contact was all she needed to stay asleep.

I know some of you might ask why bother paying all that money for a co-sleeping crib, but I thought long and hard about this.

a) I can sell it on ebay afterwards

b) I want to have a more co-sleeping conducive sleeping arrangement

  • Yes thought of a mosses basket but won’t last as long as crib
  • Unlike mosses basket I can also slide baby in and out of the crib without having to pick up and put back down.

c) I want my own space sometimes…I remember with my first, sometimes I just craved space to stretch out in.

d) If the toddler comes and sleeps in my bed, which about 20% of the time she still does, I want to be able to put the baby in a safe place

e) I don’t want to watch my baby sleep through a set of bars, I want him next to me.

So now the crib is assembled, I feel we’ll all be OK if Boyo should arrive early. Well, I’d rather he waited a month or so really.