Third Week with a Newborn Baby
Check in with CAFS
This week we started off with our check up with the CAFS nurse. Casper is now back to his birth weight and is in the 50th percentile for everything so she is really happy with how he’s going which is a relief.
Casper did another beautiful 6 hour stretch of sleep, however I only got 4 of those hours which was disappointing haha. Once again he only did that the once and then we went into another growth spurt! This growth spurt felt a little more intense than the last one. There was plenty of cluster feeding but on top of that he was super cranky and clingy. I could barely put him down. His sleep also regressed quite a bit. He became so difficult to settle especially during the day despite my efforts to reduce stimulation for him, the little sleep he was getting was mostly on me due to feeding to sleep as it was the only way he’d settle. I felt myself getting really frustrated and upset so Paul sent me to the shops to get some space and fresh air. I of course went to my happy place - Kmart haha. It was just what I need though so I’m very thankful to Paul for that.
Newborns and Toddlers Can be Overwhelming!
Being stuck under a cranky, clingy and unsettled bubba is really draining. Having a toddler and a newborn means very little time to yourself and when I couldn’t even eat my lunch due to having to hold Casper I became overwhelmed and the water works flowed. I know this stage goes by fast but it’s still not easy. I feel so over touched by everyone, I’m being pulled in every direction and the mum guilt for not being able to give each child my 100% commitment is strong. I feel especially sad for Otis who is being such a good boy this week, so patient and loving. This transition can’t be ways on him.
More Family Outings
As a treat for our big boy, we took him to The Garden of Unearthly Delights for dinner and then Monarto Zoo the following day. It was so much fun getting out of the house and exploring The Garden. Paul and I met when the Fringe Festival was on 7 years ago and we had our first date in The Garden so this time of year is special to us. It’s surreal to now be taking both of our boys into the place our love story started. Otis loves running around exploring and Casper just slept in the carrier the whole time.
Our trip to Monarto Zoo was fantastic. Otis was so excited for all of the animals - especially the giraffes. He kept saying he wanted to give all the animals ‘a big hug’. Seeing him be amazed by the animals was such a highlight - I couldn’t stop watching him. Casper was chilled the whole time. He basically just slept in the carrier unless he wanted a feed.
We had a run in with an aggressive chimpanzee which I thought was going to leave Otis scarred for life! We were up against the glass watching the chimpanzee’s running around in their enclosure, when a big aggressive one slammed up against the glass yelling and carrying on like a pork chop. It was actually scary and Otis was pretty shocked as it happened right in front of him. He then said ‘the monkeys are scary’ but we managed to get him to like them again, we didn’t want to leave with him being scared.
Being out as a family was so refreshing, we didn’t even have any tantrums which was a relief haha. Otis has been in a much better mood this week so I’m hoping his bad moods are behind us, he did have a cold last week so that probably contributed to him having such a short fuse.
It's OK to not feel OK
The day Casper’s growth spurt appeared was the first day I really struggled with everything. Having him not settle and just be so cranky broke me a little. I had a big cry. It can be so frustrating when you know your bubba needs to sleep but despite your very best efforts, he just won’t settle. Throw in Otis who is just so sweet but wants to play and have your attention too, it all starts to build up. The Mum guilt is so strong. I’ve never felt it like this before. I am being pulled in every direction at the moment and I can’t give either child my full attention - and that hurts.
I know things won’t always be this intense. I know I’m in the thick of it all right now but boy it’s hard - and Paul isn’t even back at work yet!
Feeling Like Myself Again
I have realised there are a few things I need to do in order to feel somewhat like a normal human during these intense newborn weeks. Here is what I have come up with:
- start each day with a big deep breath and a fresh outlook
- make the bed and get dressed (put a bit of makeup on if you really want to)
- drink water, lots of it
- get outside even if it’s just for 5 minutes
- have snacks that are easily accessible for not only myself but for Otis too
- baby wear if Casper is unsettled
- if Paul is home, nap! Even if it’s just 30 minutes
- cry, let it all out
Feeling Stuck Under a Newborn
I often struggle with being ‘stuck’ under a sleeping Casper. Yes, I know it’s a special time and it doesn’t last forever but that’s just me. I enjoy playing with Otis or buzzing around the house tidying up. I am trying really hard to soak these moments up though because I’ll miss them soon enough. Before I know it I’ll be getting Casper into a predictable routine, I’ll be teaching him how to sleep a bit more independently and he won’t need me as much. It’s no easy to do this but I am trying. This is a road I haven’t travelled before and I think I’m doing okay. Otis doesn’t seem to hate me for not being as present with him anymore and I know Casper loves me because he won’t let me put him down haha.
Baby Wearing for the Win!!!
I have discovered baby wearing is my new best friend. If I want to keep my sanity, spend time with Otis and have Casper sleep well then it’s just what I have to do. Otis wasn’t like this. I could feed him to sleep and easily transfer him to his bassinet however Casper does not like this process and his eyes will ping open within minutes of being put in the bassinet. I found myself losing it one day when I kept persisting at trying to get Casper to sleep in his bassinet and I realised it just wasn’t worth it. Paul was getting upset because I was becoming upset. I soon realised it wasn’t worth it. He’s a different bubba and I need to work with him as opposed to against him.
When it comes to Casper’s sleep I’m not following a routine however I am going by his awake windows. So for his age Casper can stay awake for about 45-60 minutes so every time he’s been awake for that amount of time, I settle him for sleep. This means there’s not a lot of play time once he’s fed, burped and had his nappy changed. I do however squeeze in some tummy time through the day - just not every time he’s awake.
Most nights I have him asleep by 7:30pm (doesn’t always go to plan especially if he wants to do a bit of cluster feeding) and then we start the day anywhere from 6:30am.
He’s feeding pretty regularly still. Most nights he’s having 4 milk feeds, sometimes 5, again depending on what he’s going through. 3 feeds is a good night, 5 feeds is what I’d call an unsettled/cluster feeding night.
I have had to reduce Otis’s day nap which I was so not ready for. I was in denial and should have done it weeks ago but I persisted hoping it was just a phase. For the past month he’s been taking a long time to settle for sleep at night. He hasn’t been upset, just rolls around and chats for up to an hour whereas previously he’d fall asleep within 10 minutes.
I know this was an indication he’s needing his day nap reduced but like I said I was in denial - I need those two hours during the day!!
I trialled reducing his nap to 1.5 hours and so far it’s had an improvement on bed time so I’ll keep monitoring it and see how we go.
The Golden Month
My best friend Ash surprised me with a ‘Golden Week’ from the ladies at The Golden Month. I ugly cried so many happy tears when she told me what she’d done. I couldn’t think of a more thoughtful gift. The prospect of not having to cook all week yet still having delicious food was so exciting. Paul on the other hand was really lucking out with this situation, he’s not great in the kitchen so I do majority of the cooking in our relationship. The first night whilst I was having a sweet potato and chickpea pie for dinner, Paul was having nuggets haha he’s a simple man, with simple taste buds.
Dads Outing with Both Boys
Tuesday was Paul’s last day of paternity leave. He’s had 3 glorious weeks off with us and it’s honestly been amazing. He is such a hands on Dad and husband, I’m really thankful for everything he does. I constantly find myself admiring Paul. I’ve never met a man so obsessed and in love with his family as he is. He’s constantly asking me how he can help. He jumps out of bed each morning when he hears Otis wake up and he gets him breakfast all before I’ve even opened my eyes and registered what is going on.
Each night he’s been helping with settling Casper too. He doesn’t care what time it is, if I nudge him for some help he’s up and ready in an instant. Paul’s enthusiasm towards our kids really shows through his relationship particularly with Otis. Otis looooooves Paul. He think his Daddy is the best and it warms my heart seeing and hearing them running through the house laughing and wrestling.
Just like every Dad, Paul makes his fair share of mistakes though. For example the other night, it was 3am and Paul was in the lounge room watching his beloved Manchester United play whilst Casper slept on his chest so I could get some rest (Casper was being particularly clingy this night) when he dropped his phone right onto Casper’s head. A poor sleeping Casper got the shock of his life! And poor Paul, he felt so bad! His first ‘Dad fail’ with Casper - it certainly won’t be his last either haha.
Dad Going Back to Work
Tomorrow we start our journey of Paul being back at work. I won’t lie, I’m pretty nervous. I have told myself to take each day slowly. I’ll be kind on myself and not expect too much.
I’m going to prepare all of Otis’s food the night before so it’s easy for me to just grab.
If anyone has any suggestions on how to juggle two kiddies, comment on my latest post and let me in on your secrets. I have a feeling next weeks blog is going to be an interesting one! In the mean time, wish me luck!
Final Thoughts on Week 3
Each week there is something new I learn and discover about this journey from being a mum of one to a mum of two. It’s more emotional than I thought it would be. It’s more intense too. But it’s also amazing. Seeing Otis give Casper kisses, hugs and show him his toys makes my heart want to burst out of my chest. It also makes me extremely on edge because Otis isn’t very gentle so I’m constantly ready to shield poor Casper from Otis’s overbearing love haha.