Friday, 29 April 2011


What do little babies dream about?

Considering that the Sproutling has had less than six weeks of life experience, we must assume that unless he's drawing on some previous lives (and who would care to speculate on those?), his dreams at the moment must be revolving around boobs, cuddles, cold wet feelings on the bum and a plethora of ever changing faces.

Just after he falls asleep, Sprout goes into a dreaming mode where he can wriggle around a fair bit, roll his eyes while they are closed and coo. Sometimes he smiles and even giggles in his sleep, something he has done a few times while awake but not regularly yet.

Dreams are very important for our brains to process the things that have happened during the waking hours. Babies spend more time in REM (dreaming) sleep than adults do and it's thought to be an important part of their brain development to try to make sense of a new and amazing world.

I'd love to know what it is he's dreaming of, but all I can do is guess. It's certainly cute to watch though!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


This breastfeeding business is hard work. I had been told this right through pregnancy, which had surprised me a little as I had always been told by my mother that it was the best and most natural thing for babies (breastfeeding evangelist that she is). I couldn't understand why anyone would choose not to do it and feed with formula. Now, I am starting to understand.

I've been lucky enough that the Sproutling is very good at it - right from the start he latched properly and fed well, but after three weeks I was starting to wonder if the feeding every one to three hours was ever going to get better. I haven't had more than three hours sleep at one time since he was born, although I am starting to get used to the broken sleep. I wondered if I was feeding him too much - and a little guilty if I put him on a boob every time he cried. I can't be away from him for very long at all, which starts getting tricky for showers and when I need to eat.

Then my mum sent me a link to an article, and suddenly I didn't feel quite so bad about feeding so often. The article is called Breastfeeding in the Land of Ghenghis Khan. It was written by a Canadian woman who moved to Mongolia with her small baby and is about the cultural differences in the attitude towards breastfeeding she found there. I'm not sure if I'd like to breastfeed the Sprout until he's six years old, but it's an interesting take on the people of another culture's way of childrearing.

On the same site, I also found an article called So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes, which explores society's need to impose control on the way babies eat and sleep. It encourages us to trust our instincts as mothers - if I feel the Sproutling is hungry however many times a day, I'm now going to feed him and I'll try not to feel guilty or pressured by anyone that what I am doing is not the best for my baby. I'm not going to try imposing a schedule on him, although we might soon start a bedtime ritual for my own sanity as much as Sprout's. I haven't encountered much pressure just yet since I am lucky enough to have a very supportive husband and mother, but we shall see as time goes on.

The article also has a section further down on a Father's Perspective on Demand Nursing - it's worth a read, you dads.

I wouldn't mind more than three hours sleep in a row though...

Image in this post is from

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Zombie Cow Revelation

I apologise in advance for a whiny post today!

Yesterday was a bit of a turning point for me. For the last few weeks I've been desperately trying to catch up on broken sleep, feeling lethargic and basically crappy and sorry for myself, especially while feverish from the mastitis.

While the Sproutling is sleeping quite well at night most of the time, he does still wake up every 1.5 to three hours for a feed, which makes for a very long and broken night for me. Mr Ang, bless him, sleeps right through it all.

At the moment, there's a construction site across the road from us.  Its a large area taking up almost the entire block - it's a car sales yard that is being redeveloping into another car yard, from what we can tell. When they started demolishing the original buildings back before Christmas we thought, "Oh good, they should be all done with construction by the time the baby arrives." How wrong we were.

After flattening every building on the original car yard plus a block of flats and a couple of houses adjoining the site, they started digging. They didn't dig very deep, just enough to create mountains of dirt and rubble. Then they brought in some more mountains. Then they moved those mountains around from one part of the site to another, for three months.

Last week, we finally saw some progress. They brought in wooden poles - a LOT of wooden poles - and started driving them into the ground immediately across the road from our place.

Now, babies can sleep through just about anything, including two pile drivers, but mummies cannot. My already tired brain could feel every THUNK as if the machine were inside it.

Milking Time
It seems the Sproutling is having a bit of a growth spurt this week. Yesterday, his two-hourly feeding schedule went up to pretty much once an hour from about 4am, and I snatched micro-sleeps here and there during the morning feeling quite a lot like a cow being milked dry.

Eventually I gave up sleeping - I realised quite suddenly that this really wasn't going to get better very soon, and that if I didn't want to be stuck feeling like a Zombie Cow for the next few weeks then I might as well forget trying to play catch up amd just suck it up and get on with things. I felt so much better after deciding that!

Of course, as soon as I had come to that revelation and settled in at the computer to get on with things, the Sprout settled in for a three-hour nap.

Click here to hear the sound of my morning.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Home Sweet Home

We've been home from hospital for just over two weeks now. Mr Ang had two weeks off work and did an excellent job if looking after Sproutling and I while we rested. Well, I rested and tried to catch up on missed sleep - Sproutling just slept, fed and poo'd as newbies do.

The first few days at home were a challenge as we had to keep the Sprout attached to the biliblanket, to treat his mild jaundice. This meant being tied to a power point all day and night, and having a flat covered plastic glowing mat shoved up the back of your shirt all day can't be a comfortable experience.

We had visits from midwives each day as well as a pathologist the second day to take a blood test.  The bloods had to be taken again on both Saturday and Sunday, to check Sprout's bilirubin levels. Unfortunately the pathology mob don't do house calls on the weekend so we had to make a couple of trips out to get the bloods taken. By the end of the weekend the poor little guy's feet had been pricked so many times that when someone took hold of his foot he started crying because he knew what was coming!

Happily, after the blood test on Saturday we had a call from a paediatrician to say that his bilirubin levels had come down enough that we could stop using the biliblanket, so with a sigh of relief we turned off our glowbaby and were much more mobile after that.

The rest of the two weeks have passed in a jumble of nights with broken sleep, multiple visitors all bearing beautiful gifts and telling me to sit down so they can wait on me hand and foot (which I really haven't objected to). Sproutling is still growing, is still feeding every 1.5 - 3 hours and occasionally I get to sleep for more than two hours at a time.  To be honest, I'm starting to get used to the broken sleep. I know it will get harder in a few weeks when settling him is more difficult and sleep deprivation starts setting in.

In general the Sproutling has been a good little boy. He rarely cries except sometimes when hungry and the worst habit he has so far is managing to pee outside his nappy every now and then - something which baffles Mr Ang and I.  No matter our bits-arranging, he still manages a leak once every couple of days. Perhaps when he gets big enough for the cloth nappies we have for him it won't be a problem.

The hardest part of the last couple of weeks has been the last few days. I started feeling a bit flu-ey and thought I was coming down with a cold, but when I started getting fevers, my mother cried "Mastitis!" and packed me off to the doctor.  Sure enough, the doc pointed out a red, slightly lumpy patch on one breast and gave me some antibiotics to try to clear it up. I've been having fevers off and on still, but I'm told the best way to get rid of it is to keep feeding as much as possible, so I am.

We're nearly up to three weeks old already - it seems like such a long time but at the same time, the blink of an eye.

See, he does have eyes!

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Early Days

The Sproutling was born at 2:20am, but it wasn't until about 5:30 that we were taken up to the ward to our twin-share room.  After a few happy phone calls, it was time for Mr Ang to head home to get a bit of sleep, and for me to try to work out what on earth to do with a newborn.

I was lucky enough to be the first person into the room, so I got the window bed complete with a very nice tree'd view. I felt sorry for the lady I ended up sharing with - with her curtain drawn the whole time she didn't get to see the sun at all. On the whole she was a good roomie to have - although our little ones took turns at waking each other up.

The Sproutling and I spent four nights in hospital, including the night the he was born. It would have originally been three, but due to the risk of infection from the long time between my waters breaking and delivery, the paediatricians decided that the Sprout should have a 48-hour course of antibiotics so we would have to stay an extra night. I wasn't too upset about that at first as it would give me an extra day of enforced rest, but by the end of the third day I had changed my mind.

I was already being given antibiotics through the very inconveniently-placed cannula in the crook of my right arm which hurt every time I bent it.  I was so happy when, by the third morning, I had bent my arm and jiggled the cannula about enough that it actually accidentally came out. Thankfully they decided to stop my antibiotics rather than insert another cannula.

Poor little Sproutling also had a cannula inserted into the back of his right hand and had a little foam surfboard strapped to his forearm to keep it in place for the 48 hours. Mr Ang went with the midwives into the treatment room when they inserted it and said the poor little munchkin screamed the place down. Sprout spent the next couple of days alternately sucking on the surfboard or using it as a pillow - it must have been terribly uncomfortable.

The days and nights passed without a lot of sleep - hospitals are never quiet places and the bed was far from comfortable, but we had plenty of visitors to pass the time and the food was actually really delicious. The midwives were really friendly and helpful - we learned to change nappies, have a bath and got practical help with breastfeeding.

By the third day Sproutling was starting to look a bit yellow - the onset of jaundice. That night the pathology test results for infection came back all clear so his antibiotics could be stopped and the cannula removed. We were all excited about the prospect of going home the next day, but we had to wait for one more blood test result to make sure the jaundice wasn't serious enough to need treatment. They kept us hanging all morning and it wasn't until after lunch that we received the all-clear to go home, as long as we took a biliblanket with us.

So, out into the big wide world we went...