Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blogging Hiatus

The last few days I've had some strict no-computer time as I've had a few things that really needed to be done, and if the computer is on, I will procrastinate there instead of cleaning up. Which brings me to my next topic. How can you fit in everything you need during the day, housework, baby care and a little bit (or a lot) of 'you' time?

Even with a baby-led way of parenting, when Zeke chooses his own naptimes during the day and bedtime at night, there is still a certain pattern to our day, that lets me get some housework finished, a blog entry done or some other online time, dinner started or whatever else it is I need to do.

The trick is to take note of your baby's patterns. They may always have an hour sleep in the morning, or a long sleep in the middle of the day. Use these times to get things done, but prioritise the things you need to do. Getting a head start on dinner is always good, as is doing some dishes or laundry (if bubs can sleep through the washing machine) however, if you have to choose between starting dinner or cleaning the windows, start dinner, even if it will have to be reheated at mealtimes. It is near impossible to cook when the baby is tired/hungry later in the evening.

Multi-tasking is great as well. If your mind allows you to focus on more than one thing, you can work on several small projects at once. For example you want to check your emails, do the dishes, and get a load of laundry done, pick up all the bits of rubbish toys on the floor, but only have 60-90 minutes while your little one naps.

Try this:

  1. Put baby to sleep in cot/your bed/wherever works
  2. Pick up toys/rubbish on the way back
  3. Turn on your computer
  4. While it boots, fill sink and put first load of dishes to soak
  5. Check baby... turn face to side so nose is no longer pressed in mattress
  6. Collect a few spare toys en route
  7. Collect dirty laundry in basket
  8. Do first sink of dishes & leave to air dry
  9. Pick up bits off kitchen floor while there
  10. Put laundry on
  11. Pick up all bits of rubbish/toys en route and put in appropriate place
  12. Rush to shut baby's door so washing machine does not wake.
  13. Read emails.
  14. Check baby again... rotate so head is not pressed against cot bars
  15. Dry dishes & think of responses to emails
  16. Check baby did not wake when you dropped entire cutlery drawer
  17. Put next load of dishes in to soak
  18. Reply to a couple of emails
  19. Do next lot of dishes & leave to air dry
  20. Return to computer to reply to more emails etc
  21. Continue switching between computer & dishes

The theory being (and it works for me) that you do not get too bored/frustrated with any one task, and do not end up spending too much time waiting for your emails to load, crusty dishes to soften etc... obviously if you are still sleep-deprived this may not work because you will forget what you started.

But what if your LO doesn't nap, and is insisting on round-the-clock attention? Again the multi-tasking comes into play. Start playing with the baby in a safe place (where you can leave them) and when they're engaged get up and pick up a few things, fill the sink, etc. You may only get a couple of minutes in between returning to your child and resuming play or giving them a cuddle... but even a few less things on the floor or a couple of clean coffee mugs really helps the atmosphere feel less chaotic.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: Sleep is the MOST IMPORTANT priority as a new mum. If you are pooped and your child is asleep, throw a load of clothes in the wash and lay down. There is no point having a tidy house if you are exhausted to the point of tears. The first thing I do when Zeke goes down is consider if I need a nap myself!

Anyway, I know Zeke's nap is rapidly coming to an end (the builders next door have just come off lunch break and are banging and crashing with abandon,) so I'd best get myself another drink, throw some more clothes in the washer and get back to it!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reasons to Love Co-Sleeping

Although I had not really planned on co-sleeping while I was pregnant - I had no objections to it, but it never really crossed my mind - Zeke, Ryan and I now sleep 3 to a bed at home, and when we go away. We are weaning to the cot now, as Zeke is becoming more mobile while he is asleep and that is causing me to lose sleep when he kicks/wriggles, and because it is summer here and too hot even without covers for 3 people (all who naturally have a higher body temperature while asleep) to be in such close proximity. Zeke is also beginning to drop his overnight feeds, making the main reason I chose to co-sleep no longer necessary.

Despite the fact that our co-sleeping is slowly winding down (it will probably never 100% finish in the event that Zeke is unwell, had a bad dream or just needs a snuggle) I still love it, and really enjoy the benefits for myself and my baby, not to mention knowing that I'm making the right choice for my family.

So why consider co-sleeping?

  • Co-sleeping, when performed safely, with the appropriate measures to prevent suffocation and falls from the bed has been shown to have a lower incidence of SIDS
  • You are so much closer to your baby overnight, that when they wake they rarely need to cry as their early hunger signs, a small snuffle, rooting for a breast/bottle will stir you more easily than if they were in their own bed (whether in your room or their own.) Ryan does not often get disturbed by Zeke's wakings as I am usually awake and ready to nurse well before Zeke gets to crying point
  • Because the baby has less reason to cry, the transition from bed to breast/bottle is easier, your baby is calmer and will latch and feed almost immediately and without fuss.
  • If you are breastfeeding, you can remain lying down while feeding your baby at your side, allowing you to doze, and not wake up fully... and the more rest you get as a new mother the better!
  • The transition back to sleep is smoother as well, all you have to do is lie both of you down and snuggle up again. No need to walk back to their bed, and settle them back in, waiting until they are asleep before heading back yourself.
  • If you stay away for a night, there is no need to bring a portable cot for your baby. (Providing you know there is a suitable bed for you to co-sleep. ALWAYS check this before hand so you can arrange alternate bedding if you need) This saves on money for the purchase/hire of a cot, room for luggage in the car, and can ensure the baby continues their normal sleeping pattern while away even in an unfamiliar environment as you are there and can be their 'security blanket'
  • If you plan to co-sleep and let the baby nap on your bed during the day, the purchase of a cot can be put off for some time, which for Ryan & I as a single-income family was a huge bonus. Had we not co-slept we would have had to purchase a cot when Zeke was around 4 months old and outgrew his bassinette (which he rarely slept in anyway!)
  • You and your baby are wonderfully close and warm all night, and non-food wakings are usually less, as anything that may startle your baby into waking is usually counteracted by the immediate closeness and warmth of your own body. When Zeke startles at night, he throws his hands into the air and gropes around till they rest on my face/neck/breasts at which point he immediately goes back into a deep, restful sleep. I only have noticed this because I am awake at the time, I don't know if he has ever done it while I am asleep.
  • The warmth and scent of your baby under your nose and against your heart is a wonderfully soothing experience, it is surprisingly easy to sleep with that warm little weight in your arms.
  • Mornings are often started with a smile, because you wake when the baby does, meaning they don't need to get to crying point - a wonderful start to the day!

If you are nervous about co-sleeping, afraid you will roll onto your baby etc, it is amazing how much you don't move! I normally shuffle, roll, kick and goodness knows what else while I am asleep, but as soon as Zeke is next to me, he comes into my arms and I don't move a muscle all night. This means I actually have more restful sleep as well!

If you are really nervous, perhaps try a nap with your baby during the day when someone else is around to keep an eye on things - you may be surprised how instinctive it is.

Co-sleeping isn't a choice for everyone for whatever reason, and you should carefully consider the risks of co-sleeping, and whether or not you can do it safely before you make the decision, but if you do, I hope you enjoy your lovely restful cuddles as much as I do!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Storytime at the Library

Monday mornings at our local library is Tiny Tots Storytime. It's a half hour session for children 0-3years, although there are often older siblings around too. It consists of 4 or 5 books about a specific 'theme' (eg: beach, animals etc) a few songs and nursery rhymes, a small craft project and then a general play session for half an hour or so while everything gets packed up. Best of all - it's FREE!

Zeke absolutely LOVES it. He doesn't always sit and listen to the books, but really enjoys the singing, and the social aspect. This week our theme was animals, and we read 5 books about different animals, mostly jungle ones. The books are all very engaging, brightly coloured and contained a lot of animal noises so the librarian had to be very enthusiastic, roar like a lion, trumpet like an elephant, screech like a monkey etc, which the kids loved!

The craft project is very simple as a rule, we had a paper cutout monkey, which was coloured and then attached to paddle pop stick and a peice of string to make a puppet. Zeke is a little small for that - he ripped the monkey's foot off twice and tried to eat it, but he had a go at the colouring (he bangs the crayon on the paper) and now that it's finished enjoys watching the monkey bobbing around on its string.

The social play session afterwards is Zeke's favourite. They have bead frames to play with, which he loves, as we don't own one yet ourselves, and the other kids mill around, chat and crawl. It's a fun, if not noisy time, and Zeke really gets into it. Yesterday he saw another baby about 5 metres (a little over 16ft!) away and went shuffling over at light speed to say hello. He & his new friend (who was a little shy when confronted with my shrieking, in-your-face son!) had a bit of a baby-chat, and I got to have a talk to the other mums as well.

I get a few blank looks when I tell people I take a 7-month old to story time, so why do it?

Benefits for you:

  • As a SAHM it's important for your sanity to get out of the house occasionally and have fun.
  • It's a wonderful social opportunity for you, you can meet some other mums in your local area, and make friends.
  • It's a great chance after the session to return your books and pickup a couple of new ones for yourself
  • Sitting and listening to another person reading I have found to be much easier than trying to hold a squirming child and a book at the same time
  • If like me, your Library is within walking distance, (and has paid parking!) leave the car at home, get out the pram and have a stroll
  • The songs and books covered are a combination of old favourites and as some new ones, refreshing your memory and teaching you some new ones as well
  • The simple, cheap (and relatively mess-free) craft ideas are easily replicated at home on a rainy day
  • You don't have to spend a cent to have a nice morning out!

Benefits for your baby:

  • It encourages an early love of reading and books for children, which will give them many benefits as they begin school, and start to get out in the world on their own. This site has some information on the benefits and other ways to promote literacy in your child.
  • For older children it can help their reading and language development, and introduce new words and concepts to them
  • For pre-verbal children like Zeke, it's a great chance to 'study' the art of conversation, listening to the rise and fall of the librarian's voice as she reads, and listening to the other children coo, laugh and sing
  • Imagination is never far away. "Can you roar like a lion?" "What would YOU do if you had a pet monster?" etc... the kids are encouraged to be creative and think outside the square
  • It teaches a range of social skills, to be quiet when someone else is talking, taking and waiting turns, sitting down in a group, sharing etc. (Zeke is a little young to grasp this, but I still encourage him to sit down during the story like everyone else rather than standing up and holding onto me)
  • As well as teaching new social skills, it gives your bub a chance to practise them with the other children.
  • The art projects require hand-eye co-ordination, imagination and give them something to take home to show Daddy. (Or Mummy if Daddy takes them!)

Most libraries have some form of storytime for children, and it's free, easy and fun. Why not ask at yours and find out?

Some pictures from our most recent session:

Zeke playing with the bead frame shortly before going to say hi to the other babies


Exhausted in the pram after our walk home


His puppet monkey... note all the stickytape holding it together!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Things I Wish I'd Been Told

When I was pregnant with Zeke I read a lot of books about pregnancy and birth. (Not so much on parenting, I've always known I would intuitively do that) However I've found there are a number of things that are not mentioned in any book... and only found them out by experience or word of mouth.

  • Breastfeeding in the early days (or whenever your milk supply is on a sudden spike) makes you sweat like a pig. Not sure why this is precisely, but as soon as your little one is latched on and your milk starts flowing, so do your armpits! Between the other breast inevitably leaking as well, and sweating you are one moist mama!

  • While I'm still on the topic of leaking; the majority of breast pads are utterly pointless unless you are going out, and even then it is only for asthetics. A cloth nappy folded in 4 longways and then half again tucked across the front of your bra is far more effective, it doesn't bunch up, fall out or otherwise become redundant within five minutes of inserting it. I also found that nursing pads quickly became soaked through overnight, and smelled of sour milk if it had been warm. A nappy lasts all night, and didn't seem to smell as bad.

  • Singlets on a baby any older than about 3 months are pointless. Once that gorgeous, kissable pot belly develops singlets develop a roller blind habit. That is to say they roll up over that chubby belly and bunch in the babies' armpits, making their belly cold. A thin, short-sleeved onesie becomes just as, if not more effective as your baby grows, as the crotch fastenings hold the top in place, ensuring your baby's tummy and back actually stay warm!

  • Baby socks can and will dissapear before your child has learned to kick them off. They go to the same place pens, hairties, and potato peelers go. I have yet to find this mysterious destination. They are however essential to keep those little toes warm, so invest in lots of socks or footie pants.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it? I hope you can learn from these, and save yourself some trouble or money in the future!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


4 posts in a row and no photos! That's abysmal, better rectify that pronto.

Zeke loves his Jolly Jumper!


He can also stand up by himself, when he's holding onto something :)


He's also an aspiring photographer.


MRI Results

So we had an appointment with the neurologist today to discuss the results of Zeke's MRI which we had last week. There's good news and less-than-awesome-but-it's-for-the-best news.

The good (Great!) news is that physically Zeke's brain is fine. There's no pressure, lesions, or anything else that shouldn't be there. His major blood supply to his brain is exactly where it should be and doing what it should - I had never realised this could have been an issue, so I can't tell you HOW relieved I am to hear that as well.

The neuro also said that Zeke is on target or ahead of all his developmental & physical milestones for his age - so other than watching him there's not much we need to do other than keep playing, singing and generally having fun!

The less awesome news is because of how far back on his head the Neuro believes the plastic surgeons will need to operate is that she's going to reccomend that they perform two separate surgeries. One with him lying on his stomach to access the back of his head, and one with him on his back to access the top/front of his head.

This is because the major blood supply to the brain is located at the back of the head, and she feels that to safely reach the areas on Zeke's skull they want to reconstruct, if they perform the whole surgery with him on his back, it won't allow them to a) reach all of the skull they need and b) have a clear view of the veins/arteries which supply blood to his brain, which could pose a whole lot of potentially life-threatening problems if they shift/damage/otherwise mess with the blood supply.

She's going to discuss the options with the Cranio-Facial Unit and they will be discussing the final decisions with me, but two surgeries is her reccommendation.

And you know what? I am fine with that. I would rather worry myself sick for two lots of surgery than have my baby potentially at risk by only having one.

I haven't got another appointment with the surgeon lined up just yet, but they will notify me when that is and I'll let you know!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

VBAC poem

Among wonderful my message board friends, there's been a lot of discussions regarding VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Caesarian) lately, who wants one, who's had one, and whether or not they're safe.

Anyhow, this inspired me last night, to write a poem about VBACs. As you probably gathered I am very much of the belief that a woman has the right to choose the way she wants to give birth, and have now dubbed pro-VBAC ladies "VBAC Warriors."

So, all you VBAC hopefuls, successes and advocates this is for you!

We are the VBAC Warriors,
We fight for women's rights.
Doulas, midwifes, mums-to-be
Our heads are screwed on tight.

You won't scare us with all your stats,
Nor bring us down with books.
It's our right to choose the way
We birth the babe we cooked.

A birthing woman is not insane,
Incompetent or ill,
If you won't support my VBAC hopes,
I'll find someone who will!

We'll labour long, through day and night
Although it might be hard,
We've managed fine the last nine months,
Why not the whole nine yards?

We'll turn away your pitocin
Your prostaglandins too,
And as for knives and epidurals,
Why not try them on you?

And when at last we hold our babe,
And we've forgotten all the pain,
You clutch your books and clear your throat
"But you can't do it again."

You can't deny the triumph
In a VBAC mothers' eyes,
And in case you didn't notice
VBAC babes are on the rise

So listen up all you OB's
There's something you should know,
It's MY right, and it's MY choice,
VBAC Warriors - go!

Copyright - Miranda Beattie 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

She's finally here!

My little step-neice-in-law (yeah, go work that one out!) arrived on Wednesday night!

Welcome to this wonderful world

Eliza Jane W...

7 Jan 2008


7lbs 3oz

I haven't gone to see them yet, Billi only got home yesterday, but I will definitely go soon!
I'm so excited, Zeke has a cousin!

Monday, January 5, 2009

MRI is done!

Phew! All that anxiety for nothing... it's all over and done with, and not a single issue!

I was absolutely s**t-scared yesterday. I was all worked up over the thought of having to wake him (and he is FINALLY more or less STTN) at 3am for his last feed, again at 6 for his last big drink and then having him wake for the day, and not be able to eat, then having him have a general anaesthetic to have this done... argh!

Turns out all that worry was for nothing... Zeke went to bed very nicely, he woke me a little before 3 for a snuggle, so I gave him a feed then, he didn't take as much as I would have liked, but better than nothing. He woke again at 6 and because I was sleeping w/out a shirt immediately latched on when I picked him up and cried so sadly when I detatched him... the poor baby has never been detatched in his life! Seriously I've never needed to make him let go, he's never bitten me so he's always been able to finish nursing at his leisure... so he was understandably really upset when I had to do this He drank 2oz (about 60ml) of Pedialyte before going back to sleep, and stayed in bed with Ryan till almost the very last minute, when he woke up all smiles, he didn't even seem to notice our morning routine of cuddle-feed-play didn't happen, although I could tell he was hungry.

He only cried a tiny bit in the car, and it was just for the last few minutes of the drive. We got there and we were called straight in, he totally charmed the nurses and aneasthetist. I was able to go in with him and lay him on the bed and help hold the mask on to get him to sleep. It felt like forever till his eyes closed, but Ryan says I was gone less than a minute. He even started his funny little snoring noise right away!

The nurses told us to have a coffee and come back in 20 minutes or so - which we did though I don't think I tasted the coffee at all. Truthfully the half hour or so we were there was a bit of a haze... I just wanted to have Zeke back! Ryan said I had 'that look' on my face - I assume the one where I'm trying not to cry.

We went back up to Recovery to wait and were called in, Zeke had woken up just as they paged us, and the nurse was holding him, but as soon as he heard my voice he started to grizzle and fight with her to come to me. He didn't even LOOK at Ryan, I was the only person he wanted for a BIG nurse. He took both sides and 120ml of formula!

We watched him a little longer, got him changed (because he was massively poop-covered!) and were sent home. He's been absolutely fine ever since. A little sleepy and cranky, but he really seems to be doing great, no sore throat, no nausea - it really is as if nothing whatsoever happened this morning!

We will meet with the neurologist and the cranio-facial surgery unit in early Feb (they are mostly on Chrissie hols atm) in order to discuss the results and what type of surgery will need to be done, as well as discussing any problem areas developmentally in his brain that may have been spotted in the MRI. I will naturally keep you all updated!

I am totally relieved that this is all over and done with for the time being. It's a first I really didn't plan on, but now that it's done I am so grateful and relieved!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Need sleep... quick post!

Zeke's first Christmas came and went in a blur of presents, food and visiting 5 different houses! On Christmas day he also surprised us all by learning to commando crawl across the dining table, and developing a teething blister... which became a proper tooth on Dec 30!

He can clap his hands now, is working on full-on crawling, has developed a serious babble "awhahwahahwah" and has a Happy Dance! It is the cutest thing... he wobbles his head like a bobble toy, sticks his tongue out and rolls his eyes.

Here he is mid-dance on Christmas morning!

Anyway... off to bed now! Just a quick post to let you know we're all alive and well.

Miranda xoxox