Thursday, 30 July 2009

Third Trimester Solicited Advice - Part 2

This a document Tara wrote for Heidi when Heidi was expecting her baby. It totally deserves its own post! Thanks T ;-)

Feeding and Routines

Breastfeeding - even if you are doing it right, it hurts at first!

If you can’t breastfeed (for what ever reason) don’t beat yourself up about it. They won’t have to put it on their CV, in the long run it doesn’t matter.

I (and loads of our friends) really recommend giving a bottle before 6 weeks for flexibility – don’t listen to books/midwives who warn you about nipple confusion! If you wait too long they will sometimes refuse the bottle and you will need the flexibility of bottle (for formula or expressed milk).

Some babies need to suck more than eat – dummies work well, especially for daytime naps. I didn’t have any trouble getting them off dummies

Fill tank up between 7am and 7pm - so feed every 2.5 – 3 hours even if asleep – and dream feed at 10pm(ish) (Pick up and pop a bottle in their mouths – will learn to drink as reflex and helps them go through night. Never worked with a boob!) Dreamfeed was absolute saving grace with E who slept though from 12 weeks. D different story.

Children do thrive on routines, especially at bedtime, but take each day as it comes as well. Their (and your) needs change all the time. Also I found that a routine was impossible before they were about 6 weeks old and it just stressed me out trying to impose it before then. Also newborn babies need feeding very often. Really extraordinarily often. If they are crying, even if you have just fed them, they probably need feeding again. D fed every 90min through the day and night for about 6 weeks. This can happen especially in early evenings 5-7pm – called ‘cluster feeding’ – if your little one does this i.e. fusses and wants to suckle all the time before bed, just try make yourself comfortable, watch TV etc and go with it. All this extra suckling helps build up your supply. Bottle fed babies apparently fuss at this time too.

Routine we (sort of used) with our two from 6 weeks is that they ate every 3 hours and were awake for an hour and a half and then slept for an hour and a half. So roughly:
07h00 Feed (we TRIED to wake them up for this feed even if we were knackered)
08h30 Nap
10h00 Feed
11h30 Nap
13h00 Feed
14h30 Nap
15h00 Feed and catnap
17h00 Feed
18h30 Bath
19h00 Feed
19h30 Bed
22h30 Dream feed and hope for the best!

As they got older the 15h00 and 17h00 feed became one and at about 4 months they moved to feeding every four hours.

We found it very helpful to keep it dark and quiet at night-feeds (no chat), and lighter and noisy during day inc naps to help them differentiate night and day.

I cant advocate buying a Grobag enough – baby sleeping bag. Easy to change nappies at night, blankets don’t come off, safe, helps guide how warm to dress at night, easy for traveling, cant climb out of cot, they know its bedtime etc

A comforting soft toy really helps as they get older.

Don't forget you and your baby are learning how to do this thing together. Your baby hasn't read the books. You'll both work it out, somehow.

If things are going badly (terrible teething, tantrum etc) it won't last. Whatever is bugging you, it will pass. It feels like forever at the time, but one day someone will ask you "did yours do that?" & you'll start to say no and then realise that they did, but you've forgotten all about it.

If you are having a really bad day and feel like you are going to lose it, put her down in her cot and walk away. Walk away, make yourself a cup of tea/have something to eat. She will come to no harm and by the time you are ready to go back to her she would have either have stopped crying or you will feel calmer to deal with her.

Before E, I was told to always change their nappy before a feed. She'd be screaming with hunger while I changed her nappy, I would start feeding, and invariably she would fill her nappy and I'd have to change it again. So that was crap advice. Mine would be “Don’t change nappies until after a feed!"

Don't worry about tomorrow - concentrate on TODAY, and cope with today. (If he/she isn't sleeping/eating/behaving well today, but you can cope with it - that's OK; don't make it into a crisis by worrying how you'll cope if he/she doesn't sleep/eat/behave well for the next 2 years!) Boy, is this advice hard!!

'Don’t be the expert', i.e. don't be the only one in your relationship who knows how to do everything with the baby (be it feeding, nappy changing, bath time, whatever). Because if you are the expert, you'll be the only one doing it forever more and that's no good for you all as a family.

And remember……

Whatever it takes to keep you sane – do it. Remember that you need to put yourself first sometimes. A happy mummy makes a happy baby
A child needs your love most when he deserves it least.
It’s their job to test us as parents (easier if you think of it like that)
Carrots stain and everything else you can solve between you and hubbie.
If it won't matter in 5 years, it doesn't matter now.

1 comment:

Kat said...

On the soft toy thing, my friend Helen gave her baby a special soft toy ("Cheeky" the Monkey) just for bedtime. Now that is what he asks for when he is ready for his bed (he's just over 2 now), and something to look forward to when going to bed. They are doing the same with their 2nd kid who is only a couple months old now.