Category: My Blog

The Sibling Rivalry

So today Frankie wails that ‘pain cry’, that noise that hits the bottom of your spine. You drop whatever is in your hand and proceed like Usain Bolt to comfort, to nurture, to investigate what the happened. You find your eldest jump back in fear, muttering ‘I dunno, I was just giving him his soother’. At this moment, I now know to check for marks, bumps, scratches or teeth marks. Yes you read it right, teeth marks. Why you ask? Because Kayla is jealous of her baby brother, the sibling rivalry has landed.

Kayla was one of the first people to meet Frankie, this was important to me. Frankie was supposed to be Katie. Katie was the name Kayla chose for the baby in mammy’s belly. To some extent Kayla did not like Katie. She was the one preventing mammy from jumping on the trampoline. She was the one who made mammy tired and sleep all the time. She was the one who made mammy a hormonal raving lunatic. Everybody assumed I knew the sex, a girl obviously. Kayla would point at bump and announce mammies having a baby, her name is Katie.

In matter of fact, Katie was a boy. Me and my girl-friends were super sneaky at a re-date scan and told no one, not even Dadog. We shopped blue on the sly, stashing in random no go areas around the house. My friend Sue also had an imaginary cousin who just had popped a boy that weekend to be exact. I cannot remember if we named this baby. Anyways we bought him a lot, he was spoilt.

As any mam would, I tried to prepare Kayla. She was having none of it. She already has a brother, why would she need two, she would reassure me. Her father and I are separated and he had a beautiful little boy Charlie last year
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I explained to Kayla about the approaching birth, I got animated books in the library, the arrival of siblings, the big sister, how to help mammy. I encouraged her to feel baby kick, talk and sing to my bump. I had never ending headaches with the amount of times she sang ‘twinkle-twinkle’ into the micro-phone (my belly button). Katie would summer sault to the sound of her voice. As my belly grew, I involved Kayla with everything. Getting my hospital bag ready, putting the crib together and even brought her along to my combined G.P visits.

Unfortunately I had a few complications, I have thrombocytopenia. I hemorrhaged which led to a couple over-night stays in hospital. Kayla did not like when Katie did this to me. Kayla did not like the idea I was not at home with her. Kayla started to resent Katie.

Then one day in March, two -weeks early Katie became Frankie. Kayla was excited to come see me and her new brother. She had a cuddle but we knew she was disappointed. She suggested swapping him with a mammy in my ward.

I became an over protective mummy, I snapped be gentle, whispered be quiet, pulled her away from hanging over the moses-basket as she almost knocks it down. She accepted her new sibling. She helped with all the nappy changes, picked out his outfit for the day and helped make bottles.

Kayla was involved in everything so I’m rather shocked when she ha sudden bursts of aggression. Frankie clearly did nothing to physically hurt her, emotionally she was broken. She did not deny his existence. She enjoyed the special attention from visitors. She enjoyed having mammy home all day, every day. But unfortunately I could see cracks and slight resentment creeping in. Frankie got to sleep in my room. Frankie got lots cuddles. Kayla did not have my full attention anymore. Kayla was no longer my only baby.

Naturally I tried spending extra one-on-one time with her. We made jig-saws, watched girly movies and went through photo albums of her as a baby and toddler. I let her unwrap any present Frankie got. Kayla is spoilt rotten and everyone dotes on her, I think she got more presents than Frankie in his first week.

Then one day, I left her to mind Frankie, for two minutes, while I went upstairs to get a blanket.  I thought I could trust her. Whatever she did to him, it hurt. I never heard a scream like it from a baby in all my life. He was six-pounds in weight, not an ounce of fat to be seen. She tried to reassure me ‘he just started crying’ until I exhausted all options and checked his nappy. There it was, a red raw mark on his thigh. The fury, the angry, the utter disbelief raged through my body. I almost wanted to hold her down and do what she did to him. I wanted her to feel the pain she occurred to Frankie. I obviously could not do that, so I asked what really happened.

I encouraged her to tell me how she felt. I gave her as much attention as I possibly could. I involved her with every aspect of bringing Frankie home, to helping out, naming and even bathing in the first few weeks. She had a hidden streak of jealousy that only arose when left alone with my little man.

Just as I thought she was adjusting, learning to trust her again. Boom, like a happy slap to the face – she bit him, in the arm this time. The cry melted my heart. The incident melted my brain. Why would she do such a thing?

At this stage Frankie is smiling, cooing even sharing a bath with her. She just gets these sudden urges of being in control and hurts him, for no reason, whatsoever. When I’m feeding Frankie, I feel she is trying to hijack all my attention. Don’t get me wrong, this has only happened three-times, although once is enough. She just gets these sudden urges to hurt him. Whether it is attention seeking, power or sudden outbursts of jealousy I shall not be leaving her alone with Frankie until I can trust her behavior has changed. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, the sibling rivalry has landed.

Frankie's First Spoon Feed

Weaning Frankie

Some were along the past sixteen-weeks I lost a week of Frankie’s life. I’ve been telling everyone he was only fifteen weeks old over the past few days. It can only be ‘baby-brain’, it is excusably forgivable.

So Frankie turned sixteen-weeks yesterday and with him waking for night feeds the past couple of nights for a full bottle and gulping eight seven-ounce-bottles a day. I decided to start weaning him onto food. It is highly recommended to wait until after seventeen weeks to start spoon feeding. Although the exact time for introduction will depend on your baby.

I chose a time he was not too hungry to introduce him to spoon feeds. Trying to find the right consistency as first foods should be smooth thin puree without any lumps was pretty straight forward. I added water to Odlums Organic Porridge Oats, cooked it on the stove then blended it with my hand blender in a cup. Some foods may need to be sieved to remove lumps or fibrous parts. You can use expressed breast milk or formula to make up feeds too.

A lot of people have been questioning why I chose porridge oats instead of the usual prepacked baby rice, so here’s why: Baby rice is bland,tasteless, yet it’s sweet. This may influence babies later food choices, they are high in sugar and are highly refined, stripped of most – if not all nutrients during the processing stage. It’s then fortified with synthetic vitamins and they cost a fortune compared to a large bag of oats.

With preparation for introducing spoon feeds underway, I added the puree to my Squirt. A baby food dispensing spoon for convenient one handed feeding that I purchased from the from The Goodie Gallery. I propped Frankie up in his bouncer, with a large cushion behind to support him as I hadn’t purchased a high chair at that time.

His first spoon was hilarious. I slowly introduced the spoon to his mouth, allowing him to suckle from it. The facial expressions were priceless. One minute he was horrified, he gagged and next he smiled (when he thought his ordeal was over).

All babies gag when their weaning. I remember panicking on Kayla, this time I knew what to expect. It can be a scary experience for some first time mums watching your child gag. It can almost look and feel like their choking but this is completely normal for babies as they adjust and learn how to swallow. Babies need time to learn how to swallow food. Frankie spat out his first few spoonfuls a couple of times, but this does not mean he doesn’t like it. He is just getting used to spoon feeding. Babies may reject new tastes and textures initially, it will take several tastes before a baby will accept new flavours. Always retry any foods that baby refuses.

 There are many suggested ‘Stage 1’ foods suitable to be introduced during the weaning process. Pureed vegetable like carrot, sweet potato, spinach and turnip are perfect. The more flavours you experiment with from a younger age, there is less chance of a fussy eater in later years. Peeled and pureed fruits such as mango, avocado, plum and apples are great weaning foods too. Eggs, fish, chicken and meat can be introduced once they are well cooked. Avoid stock cubes, gravy’s and jars of sauces as they have high sodium content. Try avoid adding salt to any of babies dishes too. Some baby companies do organic stock cubes so keep an eye out when doing your weekly grocery shop.

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I will keep you updated on how we get on as I begin to introduce more foods over the next few weeks.

 

30 Things I Would Tell My Best Friend About Having A Baby

Having A Baby | Thing's I Would Tell My Best Friend

Having a baby is the most beautiful natural and wonderful process in the world but not many tell you the truth of what really happens during and post pregnancy. Whilst some lucky mums-to-be are blessed with a ‘glowing complexion’, bypass on the heartburn and get no strange weird cravings at 3 am. There are some things your friends and family forgot to tell you. We normally only share all the pretty things about being pregnant and having a baby so here is a list of things I would tell my best friend about having a baby.  (more…)

Decoding your Babies Cries

I read somewhere that most mothers are able to tell what their babies want by the sound of their cries. We understand the difference of a hungry and pain cry. The first time I heard Frankie’s ‘pain’ cry I got really worried and we ended up in hospital that night (see Frankie got a Freddie). I’ve been listening to his cries and done some research to try understand the difference in babies cries. Decoding their cries can help ease both mummy and baby frustration at such a helpless age.

The Hungry Cry (or thirst)
This is probably the first thing you think of when your baby cries. It’s a repetitive cry and just gets louder and louder. It eventually turns frantic. This cry tends to sounds like ‘Neeeh’ it comes from the suckling reflux.
Some other signs of hunger is smacking of the lips, putting hands in their mouth, pushing head from left to right in a swift fast movement. If they put their tongue to the top of the mouth, it’s more than likely that they want a feed.

The Wind Cry
Shortly after eating if your baby lets out piercing or intense cries they may have tummy pain. If they draw up their legs or are visibly uncomfortable when you lay them on their back. The cry ‘Ehhh’ is the reflex sounds usually associated when they are trying to push wind from their belly.
The usual repeated back-rubs and gentle smacks, holding babies back and chin up straight usually do the trick and bring relief to baby. Infacol and Gripe-water are some mummy favourites to help relieve trapped wind also.

The Tired & Overstimulated Cry
This is when your baby’s cry is inconsistent and it may alternate between laughter and fussing. Your babies crying can be fairly soft, and it starts and stops. You may be able to soothe your baby, but eventually the crying intensifies. The yawn reflex normally sound like ‘Owwwh’
Babies grow so much in the first few months. Even though it looks like they don’t do much other than goo and gaah, their growing each and everyday and that can leave the body exhausted. Some days they may need more sleep than others.

The Constipation Cry
It’s hard angry like grunting cry, sound like ‘Ehhair’. Baby may need to have a bowel movement or have intestinal gas. Stimulating the rectum, cycling the legs and pushing them up can help ease and relieve some pain. Some people tend to feed brown sugar and water to help quicken bowel movement also.

The Pain Cry (Sick)
This is the cry every mothers worst nightmare. Your baby’s cry sounds unusual, its different from any of the regular cries you’re used to hearing. If you have tried all of the above I would check babies temperature and seek advice from your G.P.

The Colic Cry
Babies who tend to cry for more than three hours a day, for three or more days a week, chances are baby is colicky. It is described as an constant excessive cry in an otherwise healthy baby. Your babies belly tends to be enlarged or swollen, they can pass wind as they cry and are sometimes inconsolable at a particular time of the day like the late afternoon or evening. Also seek medical advice, babies formula may need changing.

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It’s a tough thing for both you and your baby to go through. Ask for help from friends or relatives. Remember babies can sense frustration and it’s absolutely perfectly normal to put your baby down in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes to get a break.

 

Beach Hack | Talcum Powder and the Sand

My latest parenting beach hack is just in time for summer. For some talcum powder is not only fantastic at keeping babies’ bottoms dry and helping to prevent nappy rash – baby talcum powder is my secret weapon at the beach. It’s always in the boot of my car along with some suncream. (more…)

Frankie gets a Freddie

 Last week we ended up in Tallaght hospital with 10 week old Frankie. We had a great day when suddenly, late in the afternoon, he started feeling very warm and sweaty but he had no temperature. Shortly after he refused bottles, his nappies became dry and he became very irritable. Initially I though he was constipated even though he had pooped that morning. Massaging his belly, cycling his legs round, trying him with some water but to no avail. He seemed in a lot of discomfort at first but soon that dreaded ‘pain cry‘ burst out. My heart was broken. So I rang the hospital and they recommended we bring him in immediately.
It was a stressful night, and that was before I put the phone down. I ran towards the car, forgetting that I had lent mine out earlier that night. We had to find a sitter for Kayla, who hadn’t a clue what was going on. I then prepared a bag for the possibility over an over-night stay. In the middle of all this, I remembered Kayla had squeezed Frankie earlier that morning. Had she pushed in his fontanelles? Had she squeezed him so hard and broke a rib? The things going through my head would give any new mommy nightmares. We arrived after what felt like an hour.
We saw the triage nurse straight away and we were ushered into a cubicle. The nurse now asked for a urine sample. I wanted to scream out “are you for real? He’s had a dry nappy for 8 hours now!!” – Luckily for her I refrained. We got one shortly after, with the results coming back with higher than normal white cells. I don’t know about you, but with high or abnormal white cells you think the worst.  Soon after, a Freddie was inserted into his tiny little hand. Having thrombocytopenia, I’m not one bit squeamish with needles. (although I have issues with the B.C.G, that one bloody well hurts tiny newborns, they need to invent an oral solution or something.) They took a blood sample, sent it off to the lab and put him on an IV drip as he was becoming very dehydrated. 
Screaming,and clearly in a lot of pain and discomfort, the doctor did a full body examination only to find his foreskin was very tight and he immediately rang for a surgeon to come down. I googled the life out of my phone and came to the conclusion he might need a circumcision, a very common procedure nowadays. I can totally live with that.
We were transferred up to a ward, still attached to an IV. He had finally stopped crying, and had a wet nappy. Forty-five minuets after putting my head to the rock solid mattress, another doctor came around to declare he had a viral infection of the ears, nose and throat. She came to this conclusion as his throat was a little red. (Of course it’s going to be red after 4 hours of screaming every ten minutes!!) Me half asleep couldn’t even determine who was in the room never mind clearly register what the doctor had been saying.
A couple of hours later I wasn’t sure if the doctor had really been, so I marched up-to the nurses station to figure out if I’d be dreaming or not. I had no recollection of her opening his nappy, looking at his trunk or even picking him up. I questioned if the surgeon had been whilst I was snoozing. By the look of the nurses face she hadn’t a clue what I was talking about.
I demanded another doctor come down to do a full body examination. As far as I was concerned I was waiting on a surgeon. Again, this doctors diagnosis was a viral infection. A few hours later Frankie started downing his 3-4 hourly, 5 oz feeds. The only proof of his horrid ordeal is the little bruise where his Freddie was inserted. 
Like most other parents, I believe a ‘viral infection’ is another word for ‘i haven’t a clue what’s wrong with him’. I didn’t have a great experience with the doctors this time in my local hospital. I left feeling that they had thought I overreacted rushing him in for not drinking his bottles. I couldn’t care less what they think and we decided we were going for a second opinion about his little manhood as the very first doctor was very concerned.
We brought him to our local G.P and he was astonished at the fact the doctor was originally concerned about his penis. It exactly how it should be. He made us giggle saying he’d ‘love to give that doctor a slap’. If that not enough to calm my nerves nothing will.
I just wished through this little ordeal that he could talk and tell us what was wrong with him like any parent would. Wished their life away. It’s horrible knowing something is wrong and you just don’t know what it is and have to go to hospitals, G.P’s etc. to find out. 
It’s a week now and he is still perfect in every way. Hopefully no more hospital visits for a long long time.
As for me… I’ve eventually got my cast off and started physiotherapy, but unfortunately three days later split my head open. I’m on the mend with four staples and some Tylex. Maternity Leave is certainly not serving me well. Lets hope that’s the last of the hospital visits ehh…
Until our next adventure
Kellie x

In Hindsight

My reflection on how I coped during both of my children’s first few months.

Isn’t it interesting how with every baby we have, we have different ways of raising them? I look back on my first born and I wouldn’t let anyone cuddle her with the fear she was going to crave attention. I bought everything brand new, not a second-hand item in sight. I gave her warm bottles as I was told it was better for her tummy. Woke her religiously every three-to-four hours for the first six weeks. I ran to the doctor with a sniffle. I didn’t do proper research my buggy and ended up buying a new one at 24 weeks old. Kayla never had tummy time, to be honest I didn’t know what tummy time was. She’s so picky with her foods now, as I never experimented with flavours and textures. She won’t eat most vegetables and it’s my own fault!!

During my pregnancy on Frankie so many people offered clothes, blankets, swings, sterilizers etc. This time I wasn’t too proud. I accepted anything and everything bar his cot. I bought Frankie four sets of clothes during my pregnancy and I have only bought him three outfits since he was born. He’s fourteen-weeks-old now. They live in baby grows for the first six-weeks. Friends and family buy you so much, mainly clothes. If I didn’t like them, I exchanged them for something I did like. I always give a credit note for this reason. We don’t all have the same taste. I spent hundreds on Kayla, money which I didn’t have on little dresses that were not comfortable on a new baby.

Anybody who offers any hand-me-down baby items now, I jump at the chance. I though on Kayla, no way. The thoughts of hand-me-downs reminded me of my childhood. Money was tight, most clothes came from family, friends and charity shops. Hems were lowered, trousers cut into shorts. Now I just think gimme everything you got. A wash, an iron and as good as new. Why waste money on something that is perfect?

Cuddles? Hmmm, I was told ‘don’t have that baby in your arms she’ll just get use to it, wait till your on your own’. I don’t know if I didn’t bond with Kayla at first like I did Frankie l, I just fed, changed, put her down. My pregnancy on Kayla was a shock. I was sick one month, pregnant the next, then all of a sudden I was responsible for this little person. It was all so quick and to be quite honest, I didn’t know what I was doing. Force feeding Gripe water and infacol, telling everyone she was colic and had bad reflux, but to be honest looking back, I don’t think I was winding her properly.

If I remember correctly Kayla was on five antibiotics the first year of her life. I ran to the doctor with a sniffle, sneeze or a cough. I’m pretty sure I left the surgery one day thinking ‘how stupid she’s just teething’. Frankie had a cough a couple weeks ago. This time I chose to let his immune system kick in. A baby should not be on antibiotics at six-weeks-old. My determination worked, he was perfectly fine after 2-3 days.

I never want to see a warm bottle ever again. Running though the Square S.C, looking for a microwave or praying the bottle would heat up quicker sitting in a tea-pot of hot water. Dragging my feet down the stairs during night feeds just to warm a bottle up. This time it’s room temperature. Best tip anyone has every gave me. Makes life so much easier and the night feeds quicker.

I’m certainly no chef. Although I make a mean vegetable soup. Kayla eats potatoes and gravy. Gravy, potatoes and cold sausages. Beans, potatoes and gravy, oh and did I mention potatoes? The odd fish fingers, pasta and soup of course. She’s such a fussy eater. She’s allergic to eggs and is lactose intolerant aswell.

I’m currently looking at magazines, books and websites for new adventurous recipes to make for Frankie. Butternut squash, sweet potato, cucumber, hummus and sweetcorn. All things I would never dream of giving to myself never mind a baby. It’s all changed now. I won’t be freezing my mam’s left over stew or casserole. I’m so excited to experiment with all these new foods.

If I remember correctly I bathed Kayla almost every night. In products I knew nothing about just because they advertised them with a picture of a cute baby smiling. She ended up with awful baby eczema and nothing seemed to stop the flare ups. Why do we choose to use creams, lotions and potions on our babies? Warm water is perfectly fine, without parabens, preservatives basically adding crap to our children’s baths. I choose wisely this time. Infacare ultra mild. It’s light, moisturizing and you only need a drop in each bath. A bottle should do six months.

I never accepted help. I thought I have to prove to everyone I’m a good mam. I need to do everything for myself. So stupid of me. I was exhausted. I came home from the hospital with Frankie, sat on the sofa and I didn’t move. Anybody who said if you need anything done, want me to take Kayla for a few hours, overnight, make bottles, hoover your floors etc. I held them to it and took up their offers. I spent the first two weeks looking after myself, bonding with Frankie, enjoying his first weeks.

On Kayla I was up out, window shopping, anything just to get out of the house. Looking for a job when she was only three months old. Now I’m thinking, gosh I’m back to work in less than four months. Six months just isn’t enough time.

All I remember is Kayla crying, her getting sick, the tiredness, exhaustion, applying for jobs. Some family and friends disagree with me on Kayla’s first year.  They felt guilty feeding her as she fell asleep whilst drinking bottles, that she was one of the best babies ever.  So why don’t I think that? Makes me wonder… Did I have post natal depression? I am one for pretending everything okay when it’s clearly not. Did I know? Did I try mask it? Did I lose some of the most precious first moments of my babies life?

I lived at home with my mam, dad and little brother, sharing a room with Kayla for her first year. My mam is so particular with her home, she’s house proud so I felt I was stepping on toes a lot. My dad was up for work at five or six and with Kayla’s two night feeds, until she was eight or nine months old, I can imagine he couldn’t wait until I moved our to get a good nights sleep. Then I had a hormonal brother preparing for the leaving cert too. It was a lot of pressure to try keep everyone happy.

I couldn’t wait for ‘me time’. I’m pretty sure other people had her more than I did as she got older. She spent lots of time with her godmother, her parents, my cousin, my Aunty, my mam and her very fraternal nana. Basically anybody who answered the phone to me. I just wanted time to be Kellie again, even if just for a few hours. Maybe that’s why I started looking for a job again when she was only 3 months old. I think my pregnancy was such a shock that I wasn’t prepared for motherhood. This all changed after settling in to our new home. I wouldn’t dream of leaving Frankie with anybody right now, maybe I am finally ready to be a mammy.

All I can do know is take it as a life lesson, do everything different. Learn from my mistakes. Me and Kayla are best buds. She’s my little sidekick. Where I go she goes. We both have our moments like everyone. I’ve made up now with what I lost when she was so small and cherish every moment I get with her now.

I hope you get some advice from this blog, its very personal to me. Not many people believed I struggled with Kayla as a new baby. It has taken me four years to actually open up about it. If you have any worries, concerns or feel like you can’t cope, please speak to a family member or close friend. I hate thinking someone out their is hibernating their post natal depression. Speak up, get help and be the person best you can be.

My Left Foot

So I have pretty much had the worst luck ever, which is strange considering everyone around me says I’m the luckiest person they know. I’m the one who wins every raffle I enter and the Bingo jackpots, although I’ve yet to win the Lotto. I went and broke my foot four weeks after giving birth to my baby boy, Frankie. So now I have a seven-week-old baby boy, a demanding four-year-old daughter Kayla, and NO LEFT FOOT! And no, it didn’t happen on my first night out since having Frankie (it’s going be almost 12 months before I can wear six-inch heels and hit the pub again since becoming pregnant). In actual fact, I was having a water fight. A mother of two can still have fun!

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