Sunday, 28 July 2013

The first six weeks

Can you believe it, my little lady is almost 7 weeks old already! Well, everyone says the first six weeks are the hardest, and I'm inclined to agree.
It's not actually been very hard to be honest, but there's naturally an adjustment period in the first few weeks, while everyone gets used to the new dynamic in the house. We've all got on very well during this time, I can honestly say there have been no majorly stressful times, I think we're all of the "Keep calm and find a solution" mindset, so when things don't go according to plan, we just try a different tack until we find something that works.
The kids have been very good, it's the summer holidays and to be honest, I did have a small dread about how I would entertain them with a brand new baby to take care of, especially since I couldn't drive for the first six weeks.
We've been going for walks, meeting up with friends and they've never once complained of being bored. I'm really lucky, I think this is where having older kids is a blessing, they're old enough to understand that mum just can't be everywhere at once, and we're taking them away on holiday next week, so I don't have any guilt about not doing anything too "exciting" so far! As my health visitor says, if I can survive the summer holidays with a newborn, I can survive anything, as it's the longest and most challenging time for keeping kids of different ages busy and happy.

Baby wise, it's been brilliant, we all love having Amelie in the house, and none of us can imagine life without her!
The biggest challenge for me has been that Amelie has had reflux, which has meant that she found it almost impossible to lie down without choking, coughing and vomiting. At its worst, I couldn't even lie her down to change her nappy without her being sick everywhere and choking, it was awful.
The lack of sleep was the hardest.I was prepared for being woken up several times a night, to feed, change and settle a baby. What I wasn't prepared for was having a baby who physically couldn't lie down, which meant having to spend every single night sat bolt upright in bed holding her up on my chest. There were quite a few nights when I would spend a good hour just crying quietly to myself in the middle of the night because I was so tired. I was determined to not let it impact on the rest of the family, so rather than get grumpy ad snappy during the day, I'd save it all up and have a good bubble to myself overnight!
We tried Gaviscon, which made a little impact in terms of settling Amelie and making the reflux less distressing for her, but she was still vomiting a lot and couldn't lie down, so now we're on Ranitidine (Zantac), which has made a world of difference. Suddenly we can put her down in her crib at night and I can lie down and actually sleep, yay!
We can even put her down for naps during the day and I can do housework, blog and rest, where before, she had to be carried and held at all times.
Another issue was the Amelie had a major skin rash which fared up after feeds, and lots of explosive nappies. The doctor suggested that she might have a cow's milk protein intolerance from my breastmilk, and that it would be worth cutting out dairy from my diet to see if that made a difference. Wow, huge difference!
I'll do a specific dairy free post later, but honestly, it's been almost a week and I see a huge improvement already. Her skin is clear, her nappies are better and she's like a different baby. A combination of the ranitidine and the dairy free diet has resulted in a happy, contented and settled baby girl who is an absolute joy to be around!

Anyway, this has to be a quick post because I have loads to catch up on, but will update on more stuff later. In the meantime, here are a few of my favourite photos from the first six weeks...