You know you're a parent when...

I'm going to type this whole post in 45 seconds flat, I swear it, because my baby is crying his little cheeks off and refusing to nap because he's decided to deprive me of my ONE 45-minute slot of alone-time in the entire week. Well, this is my first time sitting down since 6am so I'm taking it. Zombie-like and irritated as I may be.

You know you have 2 young kids when you are fiiinnnnaaallllyy walking out the door to leave the house and your 6-month old spews onto your 3 year old's head (not loads, just like, a seagull-poop size splat of goopey milk?) and you half-heartedly dab at it with a tissue and say "Oh, it's ok honey, it's nothing!" and she's like "ok mama" and then when you get home that night your husband's all "Why does she smell like vomit?" . She was going to have a shower later that night anyway, guys! No big deal, no big deal...

And you know you have a boy baby when literally all the boy clothes you own are striped. So you dress him in stripey pants, with a stripey bodysuit, stripey hat, stripey bib, and top it all off with a zigzag blanket just to be fresh.

Or when you have a constant smear on your left shoulder that smells of bad breath because it's literally the remnants of your baby's first foods which he miraculously stores in his mouth long after you have wiped his face and cleared the dishes (kidding, who does that?) and then dribbles onto your shoulder just as soon as you have put a clean top on.

Or when you spend so much time cooking (I'd rather do pretty much ANYTHING else) that your freshly washed hair and clean clothes smell like fried eggs and potatoes before you have even walked out the door in the morning.

Or when you spend 10 minutes writing a blog post that you weren't planning to.

And another thing that I forgot because my brain is elsewhere, anywhere, everywhere? Maybe I'll be back later if I remember?


Unrelated, this blog just shared my pregnancy post along with a bunch of other success stories.

Now I need to run down the hallway and rescue my persistent baby from the confines of his cot. 


Ella-isms vol 2

"I LOVE my sister!" - looking at 6 month old Josh.

On the topic of mountain climbing: "Mummy can't come because she will slip. She slips all the time."

When her 6 year old cousin says "Hmm... how do we stick these bits together..." whilst playing lego. Ella: We just need to get a gluestick, my darling.

Ella: But we just need another baby. An older one. Because its impossible we don't have another baby!
Me: An older one? What would we call it?
Ella: Roast beef.

Whilst eating: "Oh! That went down the wrong way - into my leg I think." 

On the topic of Josh being in my tummy 6 months ago: "And Jesus made him... and he was in your tummy. Did you ate him?"

Looking through my hair randomly: "I'm just looking for blood in here.... oh! I hear some blood talking inside your head."

 Thoughtfully, whilst watching us debate moves during a game of Rummikub "I've got an idea.... we put them all on the floor and do somefing else."

 "Oh I love you SO MUCH!" to an 8 yr old boy she just played with for the first time, whilst bear hugging him.

"Would you look at this mess?!" observing a thin layer of dust on a water storage canister.


6 months of Josh (+ a hospital stay) - The Breastfeeding Saga

I can't tell you how long I have counted down for this day!

Six months 
Somehow, I have the happiest baby I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Aside from his long stint at refusing to feed (see below), he is a smiler, a charmer, and an almost-constant giggler. He is HAPPY. He was born happy - he never cried at birth and has been chilled out from the start. To date, he has never cried on a stranger and loves to give and get cuddles. He snuffles his gleeful giggly laugh into my neck and presses in and it's precious. In hospital recently, he LOVED all the attention from the nurses and had them all head over heels within a few minutes. His eyes light up when he smiles that wide gummy grin. At 6 months + 3 days, he has cut his first tooth.

His sweet auburn mop has ash blonde growing up under it and the effect makes him looks partially bald. To be fair, his hairline is on it's second sweep of receding slightly. I never know what that hair is doing!

He lunges at my face with an open mouth sometimes, wanting to give a kiss.

He has cut his first tooth after literally 4-5 months of drooling. 

He thinks his sister, and having his nappy changed are both hilarious.

He's been giving me butterflies since I first laid eyes on his wrinkled up little post-birth face. Which is lucky, after what we've been through. ;)

The jargony breastfeeding part

This time last week, Josh was drinking as little as 50mls over a whole day. He was making up for it by breastfeeding slowly at night, whilst asleep, which has been the only way I can get him to feed. And it was taking all night. So I was exhausted on every level.

The buildup to this has been gradual.

At 2 months, he had obvious silent reflux. I could hear it bubble up his throat when he was lying down on his back, and it would often wake him up, crying and distressed. I had anticipated this after my awful experience of breastfeeding Ella, and was already dairy free as a preventative measure. I'm so glad I was, as that one time I ate cheese he had such severe silent acid reflux that I thought he was having a seizure. It was so upsetting to witness! Since then I cleared off dairy more strictly and it never happened again. He would still scream through evening feeds for sometimes hours on end while I rocked him. At this point (just before he turned 3 months old) I started giving him Nat Phos 6X - a natural cell salt that is an acid reducer, and tightened the diet even more. The evening crying bouts stopped with 36 hours. He was still fussy and uncomfortable - but oh my ears were grateful for the lack of crying into my eardrum whilst I rocked him!!

When he was very young, I had mastitis and an intense oversupply that I used block feeding (jargon alert) to re-set. But Josh would still gasp and gulp and act like he was drowning, even when I did not appear to have a fast flow or oversupply anymore. No spraying or anything. I still haven't figured that out. 

At 3 months, while we were on holiday in Fiji, he would fuss and fret when I was trying to breastfeed him sitting up. Which was all the time because we were often out and about or sitting at restaurants. I knew he was visibly hungry, but he would refuse until we got back to our hotel room and I lay down with him on the bed. He didn't scream in pain like Ella used to - but he grizzled and squirmed and was just miserable unless distracted.  Nobody else would notice  him turning his hungry little face away from the breast and grizzling in discomfort while I tried to discreetly feed him under a wrap or piece of clothing. But he would feed happily lying down, and usually fall asleep that way. So it began that he would only feed whilst lying down. A sign that could point to both oversupply or reflux - so I tried to remedy both.

At 4 months, he would only feed whilst lying down, in the dark. He would just straight up refuse any other way - whether I tried to 'starve him out' (lol) or not!

At 5 months, he would only feed whilst lying down, in the dark, and sleepy.
I was spending what felt like my whole day lying down on the bed with the curtains closed trying to coax him into getting sleepy and finally having the feed that he was grizzling in hunger for. Ella was getting neglected because I had to have total silence and no disruptions to get him to latch on and suck. If she walked in, he would jerk away and it could be hours before I got some more milk into him. I would be infuriated that my attempt at feeding him had been interrupted, but also feeling miserable because she is only three and I'm expecting her to play in a different room in the house, silently, and not come and see me?! It was so stressful.

This was the lowest point in my breastfeeding journey. For one, I had expected everything to improve by then. I was holding out for the magic 6 month mark that everyone told be would bring rainbows and unicorns and perfect breastfeeding, but we were mere weeks away and things were only getting steadily worse. So much worse.

For seconds, my daughters behaviour was spiralling out of control in an attempt to get much needed attention. She brought this out while I was feeding Josh, which would then stop him feeding. Double stress.

Thirdly, I was worried. I just had so much anxiety around his feeding. Why is he refusing? Why are the techniques for oversupply and reflux not working? Why does he hate feeding from me? How did this happen? It was never-ending and I was tired, OH SO very tired of trouble-shooting it and playing detective. A lactation consultant said he might have tongue tie when I knew he didn't (since confirmed in hospital - no tongue tie) and a doctor gave us infant gaviscon which simply made him constipated and miserable. I had to learn and research every detail of everything so that I could discern some of it for myself and sift through the conflicting, useless advice I was receiving. I sensed he was losing weight but wasn't certain.

And fourthly..... I was straight up exhausted. Twenty-four-seven overwhelmed breakdown-ready exhausted. I don't know how I appeared like a normal person doing normal things when I dropped my kid off at Kindy or went and brought groceries. I don't know why I didn't complain and cry to every person who asked how things were. I would say "it's been hard with feeding", but I knew no-one really understood and I didn't have energy to deal with explaining it to everyone! I could barely explain it to myself in my head. All I knew was he hates feeding, it's happening again, I'm exhausted, I've failed at motherhood on several counts, and IF I CAN JUST HOLD ON TIL 6 MONTHS!! all this will vanish. Right?

Fifth, the feeling of isolation was intense. Knowing that even people who I try to explain it to just have no idea. Or say "yeah breastfeeding is hard! I got mastitis once!" and I would think, whats wrong with me? Why do I have ALL THE THINGS when it comes to breastfeeding? 

I guess I will never know that.
So  I'll just say this:

- I MADE IT TO 6 MONTHS. That's more than double last time. I know the diet and Nat Phos 6X helped massively - but there was something else going on too that we still haven't quite figured out.

- I am no longer breastfeeding except tiny bits here and there if I feel like it, and he is asleep. He is taking formula now, happily (since his hospital stay).

- We got sent to hospital. After it was confirmed his weight was dropping percentiles, the Plunket nurse sent us to the GP who sent us to hospital. They monitored his every move, weighed his wet nappies, put him on bottle feeding only/mostly, and gave me 2 nights baby-free sleep! My first in 6 months.

So, we marked Josh's 6-monthsiversary differently than I expected, by being in hospital together and resting and having quality time. Visiting the cafe there, chatting in our room, getting to actually spend time with my husband!!

Since coming back 5 days ago, he has hit all his milestones at once. Taking his first regular day naps, feeding appropriately, rolling, getting his first tooth! In less than a week. My relief of having a more normal life now is huge. He is feeding from a bottle during the day, whilst conscious. Not huge feeds, but he's doing it. And he's napping. And I'm spending quality time with my daughter. My life is changed since this past weekend in hospital, and that's not an overstatement!

The past 6 months we have relied on my mum so much, and Calum's family, and church family, kind words from friends, and prayer. It's been so hard, and I know it's not going to suddenly be all roses forever, but right now, having a baby who feeds and sleeps, and getting some sleep myself, feels pretty good.