Can’t You Just Hold My Baby While I Nap For Five Minutes?

My daughter is going through an extremely clingy phase.

So far, if I had wanted an hour or so to myself, I could put her in her swing or sit her down in her chair for a bit so I could do fun things like get in the shower, eat, tidy up a bit, wash my face, brush my teeth… you know, all the fun things you take for granted before a little mini-you comes into your life.

It all started in Christmas Day when I was really sick. She spent most of the day with daddy and then that night I noticed she was as close to me as she could get, which wasn’t easy, considering I was still under the weather. Since then, she acts as though a single moment apart will be the death of her.

I am wearing her around the house when I go to the bathroom, when I make food, when I eat, even when we are sitting around, she wants to be on top of me.

What this means is moments to myself have been rare, and mama is worn out.

Last night, she decided she didn’t want to sleep. I have to say, I am pretty lucky. Since my husband returned to work and has been working really hectic hours, I have moved into my daughter’s room and we have been co-sleeping. The queen bed in there gives me loads of room to feed her to sleep and roll away. It’s great. Sure, I miss my husband sometimes, but the sleep I get in there compared to when we were all in the same room is worth it.

When my daughter can’t sleep, she gets really chatty.

Above the bed are four vibrant Tiki masks carved from palm tree bark that we brought home with us when we went to Cuba. They are beautiful! My worry was that they may scare her when we first started sleeping in there, but it has been the opposite. She looks up at them and will talk to them for hours. Little coos, exercising her vowel sounds, laughing, grunting, every sound imaginable.

In one way it’s great, because it keeps her pretty occupied. On the other hand, I am such a light sleeper, always have been, and since having my daughter it’s even worse, if that’s even possible. So as exhausted as I am, I just lay there with my eyes closed, listening to her chat, chat, chat.

With her clinginess, her lack of sleep, and her nighttime monologues, this morning I am feeling worn out. Like… extremely worn out.

I was snapping 6am photos of her because when she gets overly fussy, she finds taking photos funny… kids, right?

Anyhow, this blog entry is more for all the moms out there who feel like it’s an endless cycle of spent energy and not getting any back. I am in the same boat as you, I feel your pain and your misery.

Don’t feel alone. There are thousands of new moms, veteran moms, single moms, new and old dads all feeling exactly like you are right now. Being tired doesn’t mean you are not a good parent. Being tired doesn’t mean you aren’t doing everything right,

It just means you’re a parent. Welcome to exhausting, this is your life now!

Surviving A Sick Baby

My daughter has been sick. She has been congested, has had thick mucus, and a runny nose, and it’s been affecting her sleep, her mood, and my sanity.

At 3 months, she is still so small. And congested babies are scary. They breathe almost solely through their mouths at that age, so having a stuffed nose is more than just a little frustrating for them. It impacts their sleep and their eating, two things that are so important at that age.

Last night, I barely slept a wink. I had my daughter nestled up beside me in bed. My arm under her head to prop her up while she slept and so I could monitor her breathing through the night. She didn’t have a fever, but she was sweating a lot, tossing and turning, and her little moan while she slept broke my heart.

Despite wiping at her face while she slept, her chin, cheeks, and under her nose were caked in dried saliva and mucus when we got up this morning.

Having a sick baby can be so hard to get through, especially if you are a first time mom.

The first thing I would recommend doing is adding a humidifier into the bedroom at night. Since sleeping is going to be difficult for your baby, the humidifier can help take some of the dryness out of the air, and can assist in loosening some of that built up muscles and phlegm while your baby sleeps.

A soothing baby balm can add some comfort before bedtime. Paediatricians have recommended against using a vapo-rub like Vick’s on baby’s because a study was done that showed the cooling effects of the menthol could cause a baby’s already thin airways to narrow, making it harder for your baby to breathe. That being said, there are other unmedicated balms that can be used in replacement. They are mor for comfort. Massaging any lotion on your baby’s chest and feet before bed can help relax them and soothe them to sleep, but the added scents of lavender, eucalyptus, aloe, and other ingredients add to the calming effects.

There is a baby version of Vick’s that is non medicated, and other brands if you wander down the baby aisle of the pharmacy or drugstore.

If you are breastfeeding, try and do it more often. Your antibodies will help baby fight off whatever sickness they are battling, the more they get, the better it is for them and hopefully, the faster they will recover.

Vitamin D. If you are breastfeeding you should be giving your baby his or her vitamin D drops daily. If your baby is formula fed, talk to your doctor about introducing these when baby is sick to help them along.

Warm baths. A warm bath can help loosen some of the build up in their nose and their chest. It’s important to keep the bathroom warm, and where ever your baby may be until he or she gets dressed. Also, try and keep their chest below the water. A cold chest may add to their congestion. I usually keep her bath cloth on her chest during her bath, making sure to re-wet it with warmer water every couple of minutes. These days, I climb into the tub with her that way I can fill the tub more, keep her more submerged, and use my own body heat to warm her in those moments she is not submerged in the water.

Keeping their nose clear. Whether you use the thing I have, which is that ball that you stick in their nose and squeeze to get rid of their build up, or something more sophisticated like the Nose Frida, it’s important to clean out their nose often. Imagine how many times you blow your nose when you have a cold, now imagine you aren’t able to blow it. That’s how your baby feels. Help them out, it will definitely help with their comfort level.

The other thing I do is keep my loved one bundled up. When you are sick you like to be in your PJs with a nice throw on your legs, maybe drinking a hot cup of tea. All of this things point to you wanting to be kept warm. Baby is no different. Put on a nice thick onesie, make sure their feet are covered in socks or slippers, and get them cozy with a nice blanket when they are lying down or even cuddled with you.

Don’t worry, this will pass.

If you are really worried, Baby gets a fever of over 38 degrees, gets over lethargic, or struggles to breathe without relief, bring your baby into the doctors or a hospital. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.

Remember to follow us on Instagram to get daily photos of my super cute daughter!

@pretending2parent

The Aftermath Of The Holidays

Christmas lights were hung, halls were decked, stockings were filled, presents were wrapped. The pre-Christmas season, excluding the hustle and bustle, is kind of serene. Everything is neat, everything is tidy, everything is kind of like a dream or a wish.

After Christmas is a completely different feel. There are pieces of wrapping paper and cardboard from torn boxes everywhere. The sight of the Christmas tree is a reminder that you are going to have to go through the trouble of taking it down, sooner rather than later. There is a stack of gifts that have no place sitting in plain view, a reminder that you will have to organize as well.

The holidays leave behind a chaos most people don’t really talk about. There are toys that need batteries, toys that need to be returned because they don’t work the way they should, confusing gifts you have no idea what to do with. The fridge is full of leftovers you don’t want to throw away but you know you will have to.

The days between December 26th and January 2nd are a blur. You never quite know what day of the week it is, where you are supposed to be, or what you are supposed to be doing.

This year, my husband and I were smart. We usually have two holiday celebrations; one with my family on Christmas Day that is a little bit more traditional. The big family running around, kids screaming, the turkey and the stuffing. Gift exchange, cheesy games, all that fun stuff. We also have a second celebration with his aunt and uncle who are his only family that live here in the city with us.

My husband’s holiday work schedule is torturous. Last year he had three days off, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day. This year he only had Christmas Day off. Which meant he was going to do more running around than he would like if we were going to do both celebrations.

We did the small celebrations with his aunt and uncle on the 17th, which meant he could spend what little time he had close and around Christmas with his baby girl, the only Christmas gift we really wanted this year.

I’ve had to check the date today three times, because I am still in that wormhole. I kept telling myself I would put things away these past few days, but I haven’t. Today, my daughter and I are wrapped up on blankets on the couch because she is a little under the weather.

I started writing this blog entry thinking maybe I would offer some tips and guidance on how to get things done during the holiday aftermath, however, I don’t have any. For parents, this may be some rare time you have when you are off from work and your children are home from school. My advice would be: enjoy it!

Do all the things you wish you could do with your kids when your schedule is full. Go for walks, play outside, just spend quality time together and ignore the chaos Christmas left behind. There will be time enough to deal with all that later.

Happy Holidays!

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Being Sick With A Baby

It was the night before Christmas, I was sitting on the living room floor doing some last minute wrapping when a wave of dizziness hit me. Furrowing my brow, I shook my head, drank a glass of water and shook it off. Then the saliva in my mouth thinned, my jawline started to quake and I got to my feet, running full speed to the bathroom just in time to sink my face into the porcelain.

After emptying the contents of my stomach into the toilet, I got up with a few thoughts in my head. My first thought was more of a worry. I wondered if the IUD was doing it’s job, if something had possibly gone wrong and if I were pregnant, only a short three months after giving birth to my daughter.

The memory of her delivery was still fresh in my mind, my body still wasn’t completely back to normal, and I was no way ready to partake in this journey again.

My second thought was that maybe the chicken I had put in my Chicken Alfredo pasta was past it’s prime and this was my body’s way of letting me know.

My third thought was about breastfeeding. I had been told by my doctor that I could pretty much breastfeed through almost any illness. However, certain medications can affect your breastmilk supply. So a lot of the time you will have to just soldier on through certain sicknesses, if you plan on breastfeeding while sick. I am not one to take medication for a cold, but stomach related things I usually try and take something.

Diarrhea and vomiting are two things I try and put a stop to as quickly as I can, and these were two very aggressive symptoms I was experiencing.

Although digestive aids such as Tums are safe during both pregnancy and nursing, medicines like Pepto Bismol aren’t recommended for nursing moms. This meant that I was going to try and power through with lots of water, some ginger ale, a bucket and high hopes.

My symptoms started at 8:45ish in the evening. I was running to the bathroom every 15-20 minutes. After vomiting for the 6th time, I started to get the chills. Cladding my thickest robe and fuzziest socks, I slowly made my way to bed. Between waking to get to the bathroom, chills, and hot flashes, I got maybe about an hour of sleep that night. Luckily, my daughter slept right through the night.

My hope was that I would wake up, stomach and bowels empty and feel more like myself.

The soft coos of my daughter roused me at around 9am. I summoned the small amount of strength I had to get over to her, but my arms were shaking. I didn’t trust myself to even attempt to pick her up. I woke my husband, told him he was on Daddy Duty, ran to the bathroom before climbing back in bed.

This was not the Christmas I had been expecting.

I spent most of the day sleeping, running to the bathroom, and breastfeeding. I had a FaceTime call with my family, my husband had gone over to bring their gifts and bring home some food.

Being as sick as I was, I definitely have some tips for you mommies with a young baby going through it.

This is one of the times when breastfeeding really came in handy. It was so much easier to just lay her in bed beside me, sleep while she ate and have my husband take her when she was done. Although, if your baby is formula fed, it would eliminate baby’s contact with you all together, allowing you to get some rest… so either feeding method provides benefits.

Breastfeeding your baby through your sickness would be giving your baby the antibodies it needs to fight off the sickness you are currently battling, and lessens the chances of them catching it in the first place.

Feed your baby until they are full so they are more likely to nap.

Drink lots of liquids. Ginger Ale can help soothe an upset stomach, water is best, and Gatorade and Powerade are good if you can’t keep anything down.

Throw out a lifeline. This is the most important thing you can do if you have a sickness you need to sleep off.

If your partner is not available to help you for the day, reach out to someone else who can. Having someone around to keep baby busy and entertained between feedings and naps will help you get all the rest you need.

Outside of those things, I would suggest making sure any medications you take don’t have an impact on your milk supply in any way if you are feeding, try and limit face to face contact with your baby (my daughter loves kisses and chewing on my face, so this was something I had to keep her from doing).

Hang in there, we may be superheroes, but we are not super human and we get sick sometimes. It will pass!

The Hustle And Bustle Of The Holidays

My daughter recently turned 3 months, and it seems she is becoming more and more fussy over time. In the last few weeks, she has shown a strong distaste for her car seat. Whenever I start walking towards it, she freaks out and starts to cry. There are some days when I think to myself, ‘Oh my goodness, she is actually not making a peep. Perhaps this time will be different.’

Then sure enough, she opens those pipes up and lets me hear it. Usually the first ten minutes in the car are an excruciating test of my patience and willpower. In a way, hearing her wail like that breaks my heart, but another part of me has my eye twitching because I need to go out and get things done, especially now.

For all those people thinking ‘We’ll, why don’t you get another car seat? Maybe it is just the seat she doesn’t like.’ Thank you for the suggestion, but I have taken her to Babies R Us and out her in every seat they have to offer and it makes absolutely no difference. She wants to be sitting completely upright, and she is still too young to transition to that style of seat. *insert dramatic crying face here*

Now, with Christmas a mere day away and the two of us struggling to come up with an agreement for her to mellow out just a tad so I can get more done, I have put a lot of what I had to get done down to the very last minute.

Having a 3 month old around the holidays can either put you in Christmas overdrive and turn you into Will Ferrel in Elf,

Or it can turn you into the Grinch like me.

This year with all the growth spurts, the constant mood changes and just good ole fashioned fussiness, I haven’t had any of the Christmas spirit rubbing off on me.

For any parents that are also going through this phase with their babies and wondering how in the heck they are going to be able to get out and get things done without having a screaming, unconsolable baby in tow I will say that having a forward facing carrier where my daughter can see out has been a life saver.

I have ditched the stroller (which is actually great because I can use a cart in store) and strapped my fussy Rain Cloud who is usually my Sunshine to my chest and she is loving every moment of it. My husband and I always say she is a nosed girl (curious) and boy, were we right.

Once she is able to see everything that is going on, it has completely quieted her down and mellowed her out. Getting her back in the car in a headache and a half, but I guess I can’t have everything.

Yesterday I went out and finished up what little shopping I had left to do. It was a great feeling to have it done but it was miserable out and my daughter wasn’t adding any sunshine to my day with her soggy attitude.

I was talking to a friend about her son who is two months older than my daughter. I said to her “Why didn’t you ever tell me there were patches that were this rough? Was your son just constantly an angel, or what?”

Letting out a long sigh, she confessed “God no! My son was a nightmare. There were days that I would put him in his car seat and he would just cry and cry. Eventually, I would break down, take him out and sit on the couch and cry myself. It was so frustrating.” When I asked her why she never told me, she said it was because she felt guilty.

This seems to be a common theme for parents, especially mothers. We feel guilty about telling the truth and admitting how hard this all can be. We sugar coat everything to other women, other parents, and at the end of the day that is not helpful, all it does is make struggling parents who are going through the thick of it, feel worthless and like crap.

Why?

Why must we throw a cloak of deception over parenting?

It’s hard, it’s rough! There will be days when you don’t shower, there will be whole afternoons that pass where you don’t eat, nights where you don’t sleep. You will sometimes feel like a prisoner inside your own home, all you movements monitored by this demanding infant.

Being a parent isn’t always as wonderful as people sell it as, and that’s okay to admit. That doesn’t make us bad people and it sure as heck doesn’t make us bad parents.

So give yourself a gift this year, and allow yourself to be honest and human, and guilt-free!

You deserve it!

Christmas At 3 Months Old

Saying I am The Grinch would be putting it lightly. I am not, and have never been a Christmas person.

December is a stressful months for me. I have three siblings celebrating birthdays, which can be pricey, not to mention I come from a big family which in the past has required a lot of gift buying. Three years ago I put my foot down an implemented a Secret Santa within my family. We got to buy one great gift, and everyone buys for the kids. It definitely eliminated some of the stress and hurrying around.

However, I still have never been one to get into the Christmas spirit.

This year, as an exhausted new mom, it has been especially hard to summon even the smallest amount of Christmas Spirit.

My husband and I decided it wasn’t worth the added stress or hassle to exchange gifts this year, thank goodness. Knowing that has definitely taken a load off my shoulders. Instead we decided we would do a couples spa day, and have my sister watch our daughter. It will be great to relax and unwind together, and feel like a couple once again.

A common question I have been getting lately is what we got for our daughter for Christmas. To be frank, we haven’t gotten her anything.

Why?

Because we buy things she needs constantly, and stockpiling things she needs for a single day when she won’t even realize anything special is happening just didn’t make sense to us. We have bought her a lot of interactive things lately as she is growing and slowly becoming independent. Chairs where she sits upright, toys that sing and light up, activity mats, and these days none of that comes cheap.

We’ve been giving them to her as we feel we need them. On days tummy time isn’t going well but she still needs exercise the new activity mat was brought out, and a plush car for her to sit in. Life as a new parent is hard, and all these things make things seems just a little bit easier.

With that in mind, waiting to open and use them until Christmas didn’t make sense.

Yesterday I opened up this PlayGo car that sings, flashes and is perfect for her to sit in for an hour or so on the floor exercising her neck and core strength. She has been overly fussy lately, drooling a bunch, which may hint the early stages of teething are upon us. Putting her in this yesterday gave me half an hour to myself where I could sit nearby and sip some decaf coffee and just breathe.

I pushed her around on the floor in it for a bit, and parked her under the tree where she could marvel at the lights and give me a little more time to run to the bathroom. I mean, technically if it stays under the tree, it is still a gift, right?

There are so many new parents I see that pile things for the baby, perfectly wrapped, under the tree and to be perfectly honest, I don’t see the point of if. At 3 months, my daughter won’t remember this Christmas. We have our photos with Santa for the photo album, and she has everything she needs. I am sure there will be gifts for her from my siblings at my mother’s house when we got over for Christmas dinner, not to mention my mother in law always sends a care package around Christmas. She has more than she needs, and now wrapping and running from store to store shopping for her makes things easier on us.

Next year, when she is older and can actually enjoy herself, we will put in a lot more effort for the holidays. This year, we are planning on just relaxing a bit while we can.

If you are a new parent who did go a little overboard this Christmas with your new arrival, that is great! Good for you! I am not telling you to do anything differently. I am just letting you know what has worked for our family this year, and letting other parents know, that if you didn’t there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Do what works for you and your family.

3 Month Postpartum Recovery

For anyone who hasn’t been following me from the very start, or perhaps missed my delivery post, on September 21st, 2018 I vaginally gave birth to a 7.9 lb baby girl. My delivery required vacuum assistance which resulted in a 3rd degree perineal tear which required more stitches than the doctor or nurse was willing to count. The perineal is the skin between the vagina and the anus (men also have this).

A third degree tear means the tear went down into the muscle and also went from vagina to anus. Yay me!

For this area to heal well and not get infected, I suggest a sitz bath three times a day, and after every bowel movement. I can’t tell you how many times I was sitting in a sitz bath with a crying baby on my lap, struggling to breastfeed those first few weeks. I kept these baths up for around two months.

This was the main thing that needed healing postpartum for me. Everything else was something I barely thought about. The area was also tender because of hemmroids which was equally unpleasant.

Three months later, I went to the doctors for a follow up to having my IUD inserted. I also wanted to know if then increased discharge was due to my continuing lochia (the longest period you will have in your life, ladies) or due to the IUD insertion.

For any other first time moms out there, the lochia discharge towards the end may confuse you. There will be no traces of blood but you will have an egg white type of discharge that may seem like glue to you in some ways, and it may be clear or it may be cloudy. One thing for sure, there will be enough if it that it makes you question whether or not it’s normal. Yes, it is, and can last up to 5 months depending on your body.

During my appointment, I asked her about how my stitches were healing. My perineal area has been tender, and at times depending on my physical activities, it feels like then area is tearing and there would be some pale pink on the tissue when I went to the bathroom. She told me that there was tearing close to my vaginal entrance because the tissue there was too thin to repair itself. This is typical when you are breastfeeding because your estrogen levels will be low.

Insert another sarcastic yay here.

Three months postpartum and I am still tender in that area and now I am using a estrogen cream there to ensure the skin thickens and I can feel a little more like myself down there.

Ladies, giving birth is a lot. It is going to wear on you and it will be a while before you feel like yourself again below then belt. My suggestion is to do everything with care and don’t rush anything. You’ll heal in your own time.

Mommy’s Me Time

My baby girl will be three months old tomorrow. I have to admit, as rewarding as being a new parent is, it’s also tedious, overwhelming, and downright exhausting. It is a 24/7 job being a parent, and even a super parent is still human.

About a week ago I got completely worn down. I was tired, I was frustrated, and mama just needed a break. I sleep with my daughter, I am up with her in the night if need be, I spend the whole of my day with her, and all-in-all I maybe get about two hours a day to myself where no one is touching me and I can just breathe.

2 hours is not a lot considering how much time you have to do nothing or everything before you have kids.

Worn out, I popped on my computer and signed up for a membership to the Fit4Less down the street from my house and told my husband that I was going to get up early in the morning and go to the gym. I needed adult interaction, I needed a moment where I didn’t have to be in Mom Mode. I just needed to swim up to the surface and catch my breath.

The next morning I was up before my alarm. I fed my daughter, changed her bum and slipped her back into her bed and clocked out. Mom duties were done for me for the next few hours. It was daddy’s turn to be at our sweet baby girl’s every beck and call. No mommy to pass her off to.

Out of the house, I walked to the gym, signed in, got my membership card and started in.

I was in the gym for a total of two hours, some of that time was spent just exploring and getting to know the new facilities I would hopefully be spending several days a week. I did dome exercising, some cardio and I left the gym feeling refreshed and like I was ready for anything.

I took my time walking home, stopping off for a coffee at the little shop across the street to chat with a few strangers and just relish in feeling a little bit like my pre-pregnancy self again.

This is definitely going to be something I do often, I can’t tell you what something as simple as going to the gym did for me mentally. I just felt good knowing that if I did ever get too overwhelmed, I had somewhere I could retreat to for a few hours.

And dad survived, so that is a major plus!

Parents, if you can, try to find time to do something for yourself, by yourself, outside of your house. I can’t stress how important this could be for your happiness, your mental health, and even your relationship with your partner and your baby!

Trying To Find Time To Breathe

As my daughter reached the 12 week marker, and is going through yet another growth spurt which includes fun things like increased fussiness, constant feeding, and a change in her sleep routine I am feeling a little more worse for wear. Not to mention the fact that the constant change in our Canadian weather has taken a toll on me. 

Every growth spurt my Sunshine goes through leaves me less and less time to myself. She is restless and fussy at night, sharing a bed with me which leads to hours and hours of her kicking and hitting me, feedings, and moaning and cooing. When she gets up in the morning she wants constant attention and less time alone independently. All she wants is mommy or daddy and unfortunately daddy is at work until late in the night.

After spending a night with her, waking up to my husband at work already, then spending hours feeding, burping and entertaining, I finally got her settled into her swing so I could sneak off into the bathroom. I looked at the reflexion of myself. My hair was messed, I still hadn’t had a chance to brush my teeth, my sports bra had spit-up stains on it. All it all, I looked frazzled, like a woman suddenly feral living in the wilderness. 

Since I gave birth, I have put my daughter first. She has come before me in every way. I think of her before I eat, before I sleep, before I bathe. Which means a lot of the time, I am completely forgetting about myself. As a new mom, I imagine there is a routine of self-neglect we all fall into. 

Today, as I stood there looking at my reflection I realized it had been a long time since I took a moment to myself to just breathe. 

I haven’t had a chance to write creatively, to journal. 

My husband has a busy work schedule and I find that I feel too guilty to ask him for help sometimes, even when I feel like I am drowning. I take my daughter from him when she starts to get fussy, instead of forcing him to figure it out. I am always on call. 

Looking at myself today, I decided it was time for me to breathe. I went online and joined up for the gym down the street and am planning on leaving daddy solo more often so I can have some time to myself where I can reconnect with the woman I was before I got pregnant and had a baby. 

When we become mothers the woman we were slowly fades into the background. We let it happen because all we think of constantly is how to be better mothers to our children. I think in that pursuit, we forget that we should also be trying to become better women, which means thinking about ourselves every once in awhile. We need to care about ourselves physically and mentally. We need to be the woman we were and the women we are constantly becoming. 

We are still us. 

So tomorrow morning, I am planning on getting up bright and early, sneaking out and heading to the gym before my husband has to go into work. 

This is the first step to breathing again. Getting my head above water. 

I’ll let you all know how things go.