Sleep, a distant memory

Picture this. Sunday morning, waking up after 1pm, still slightly drunk and pondering what to do with your day. Maybe you will get up and get some food. Maybe you will go for a wander round the shops. Maybe you will go start drinking again, after all, it is still the weekend. Or maybe, just maybe you will stay in bed allllllll day and just chill. Anyone have a recent Sunday like that? No? Me neither!

How many Sunday mornings did I waste away lying in bed watching the Hollyoaks omnibus while nursing a slight hangover but not giving a monkeys because I had all day to snooze it off and be as fresh as a daisy for work on Monday. A lot, that’s the answer.

But then you grow up, have responsibilities and dependants who don’t care if you drank too much wine the night before. It’s 7am and they want some Cheerios! My girls were both great sleepers. Put them to bed at 7pm and they would sleep right through until 7am. 12 whole hours of sleep. How good does that sound???

When you have a newborn, you know that you won’t be getting much sleep for a while but you can deal with that because you know it doesn’t last forever. The problem I had was that Little D didn’t get the memo and has been a rubbish sleeper since he was born. He never liked to nap and wouldn’t go longer than 3-4 hours without feeding. I kept praying that once he started on solids he would sleep better but he didn’t. I was breastfeeding on demand and was bloody exhausted. I started giving him a bottle of formula milk at night when he was about 7 months old in the vain hope that it would make him sleep a bit better at night. It didn’t. I have no idea how but I survived a year on no more than 4 hours sleep. I felt worse for poor Mr B who had to deal with so little sleep and then get up and go to work and use his brain and interact with actual people.

When he turned one we started to see a bit of improvement where he would sleep from 7pm until about 4am. Still not great but a lot better than he had been. His current favourite trick is to wake up between 05:00-05:30 and shout at the top of his lungs. He won’t go back to sleep in his bed so some days if he is yelling really loud we have taken him downstairs and put him in his playpen where he will go back to sleep for an hour.

In the last 6 weeks he has started to nap during the day for an hour in the morning which is great. I use the time to sort dinner, do the washing, clean, oh and eat. I honestly don’t know how he is so perky and happy all the time on so little sleep. Most days I am a mess and pretty crabbit to start off with, but he wakes up with a huge grin on his chops and is full of the joys!

A few weeks ago my sister took the kids overnight to give us a break and I was so excited. We had booked dinner and planned on going to the cinema. We went to one of my favourite places for food and instead of going to see a movie, we went home because we were so tired. I had this amazing plan of being in my bed early and getting at least a good 8 hours. Unfortunately my body clock is set and I was awake just after 2am then 05:20 and I couldn’t get back to sleep.

He now goes down at 7pm and will sleep through until 05:30 if we are lucky, so you would think that I would be in bed at 10pm and getting a great 7 hours, But no. I can’t sleep. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can’t seem to switch my brain off. I can lie there for 3 or 4 hours and not go to sleep. I’ve tried lots of different techniques to sleep but I’m pretty much back to having a max of 5 hours sleep a night which isn’t ideal.

Surely I’m not the only person in this situation. Surely there are other Mombies out there who are struggling by on a few hours sleep and surviving on chunky cookies and copious amounts of Coke zero? I keep reminding myself that it won’t last forever and his sleep has improved so it will get better. It WILL get better 🙂

Cx

 

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Adventures in Breastfeeding – Part 2

When Miss C was born I was adamant I wanted to breastfeed. I didn’t have a very good experience with Miss B but I know that it is best so wanted to try. I spoke to the midwife when I was in labour and was insistent that I wanted to let her try to latch on as soon as possible to establish feeding. About 6 minutes after Miss C was born she was snuggled into my side and latched on. I was elated!!! I have a naturally large chest and really struggled with latching with her sister and was worried I would have the same problems again. A few hours later I tried to feed her again and latching was an issue. I was given fantastic help from the Breastfeeding Support Workers on the ward but unfortunately then all the drama started!

She was in the incubator but I was allowed to take her out to feed her, and I tried for three days with no success. I had a long, tearful chat with a Midwife and a BF Support Worker and they suggested I express my milk and feed her that way. It was the best of both worlds, I could pump my milk, she was getting the best and I wasn’t stressed out every time she was due a feed!

This continued for two weeks after I got home. I would pump my milk when she was due a feed and her Daddy would feed her and it was working well. The only real downside was lack of skin to skin which then had an effect on my milk production. I tried to snuggle her as much as possible when I wasn’t expressing but it was really hard because she needed her space and peace too. A week after Dad went back to work I made the decision to stop expressing. It was a difficult decision but ultimately it was the best for us. She had three weeks of my milk and all the colostrum but the guilt still killed me.

I bought a tub of formula milk from the shops and started using it. Within a few days she was a different baby. She was unsettled, in pain, windy and had bad diarrhoea. After three days I noticed she had blood in her poo and took her straight to the local Out of Hours centre. The Doctor didn’t seem worried and didn’t look at her bottom at all. I had taken a nappy with me that had blood in it but he didn’t look and told me she had an anal fisher. I wasn’t wholly convinced but took her home. The Health Visitor was due to come out a few days later so I kept an eye on Miss C and showed the Health Visitor my concern. As soon as I took her nappy off she immediately put on a show and was able to let the Health Visitor see first hand what the problem was! She was concerned and sent me straight to the GP surgery to have her seen. As before, as soon as I took her nappy off she gave him a very up close and personal show of the issue. He was horrified and sent us straight to the local maternity hospital because it had a Paediatric Ward. She was admitted and they asked loads of questions, tested her and were really thorough. After a few hours the Consultant came back in and told me he thought she was allergic to Cows Milk Protein. I had never heard of it before but she was really patient and explained everything to me and then got a Dietician in to talk me through what I needed to know. She was fantastic and explained what cows milk protein was and how it was different to someone who was Lactose Intolerant. She talked me through the symptoms and that the blood in her stool was most likely the lining of her stomach being striped away. I left the hospital with a tin of prescription milk, a few booklets on CMPA and a head full of information.

When she was due her next feed we gave her the prescription milk. The first thing that hit me was the smell. It was vile. The Dietician had told me that it was a blessing that Miss C had been diagnosed so early because older children usually refuse to drink the prescription milk due to the taste and smell. I could immediately see what she meant, it was just awful. The second thing was the texture. Normal baby formula is really light and falls straight down into the water and dissolves but this stuff is thick like flour and just sat on top of the water in the bottle. She took the milk with no issue and within a few hours was much more settled. After a week or so she was a totally different baby. She was settled and happy and didn’t pump every few minutes but most of all, the bleeding had stopped. The Dietician told me that they would see me when she was around 5 months old to talk about weaning but if we had any problems just to contact them straight away.

I can tell you that all of this did NOTHING to help with the guilt I was still feeling around giving up breastfeeding, but I was reassured that she would still be allergic to Cows Milk Protein but since my diet doesn’t contain a lot of dairy it would just show itself at a later date.

So there we are, the start of an interesting journey into the world of being dairy free. Let’s see how this turns out!

Cx