Sunday, 18 November 2012

The next chapter begins...

Okay, lets begin.

I am 29 years old and 3 months ago i left paid employment to have my first child.

And when i use the word 'left' i do so quite loosely. It was all planned neatly: work, have baby shower, finish work at Youthworks, have a party, work, finish work at OOSH, have a party, have 2 weeks at home to relax and get organised then deliver a baby with the help of drugs, then breastfeed.

Funny how best laid plans sometimes don't work out...

My little bub was in a hurry and came a month early and in a fast labour (so fast that when the midwife checked me for the first time to see if i was dilated, she could see the head).

We spent some time with the support of the Special Care Nursery and after a few scares, a week later we brought our daughter home. The next few weeks were spent trying to get breastfeeding established (it didn't work out) and having her weighed every 2 days but eventually she reached the magic 3kgs and things began to settle down.

Having been on a routine since birth due to concerns about her weight it seemed to work for us, so we continued to feed on a regular schedule. This has been one of the most fantastic things for us. From the time she was 5 weeks old to now, bub has been feeding at the same times every day. This has worked for her (her tummy knows when she will get food) and for me (i can plan outings and visitors round her feeding and waking times), we are fairly rigid with feed times, waking her up if she hasn't woken naturally, but have flexibility within the system, eg. if she wants to feed extra one day (growth spurt) that is fine, we still have our regular feed times as well though. She also controls when she goes to sleep.
Because of the routine, it was easier to figure out soon what her different cries means, i can say with 90% certainty what a cry means now because the routine has allowed me to see things over a consistent time.

The way we do it is wake to feed (if necessary) at 7am, 11am, 3pm, 6:30pm and originally also 11pm and 3am. She chose when to drop the night feeds though as that is the only times we won't wake her for food. She dropped the 11pm feed first (at around 8 weeks old) and then dropped the 3am feed at around 10 weeks old.
So, amazingly, my baby has been sleeping from 8pm to 7am almost every night since she was 10 weeks old!

This has obviously done wonders for my own health and for hers and has meant that i have found the beginning of this new life together to be easier than expected (so far).

If, at some point in the future she changes her sleeping habits then i know at least that i have had an excellent run, that she is capable of it and have managed to store up a lot of sleep myself.

But so far, despite the unexpected timing of the beginning, the beginning of the next chapter of my life has gone very well and i look forward with much anticipation to the changes the next few months will bring!

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