Little Frances is a little over 3 months now and last week she officially completed her first 100 days. Things have been happening/developing/changing so fast that sometimes they’re a bit of a blur when I try to remember what and when they happened. I want to try and sum up these past 100 days to make sure I won’t forget how far we’ve come already since those first few days when I kept saying to myself ‘I can’t do it, this is too tough!’.
Warning: this is going to be a loooong post!
THE LITTLE ONE
Frances weighed 7lbs 13oz (3.55 kg) and measured 20.8 inches (53cm) at birth. Last time she was weighed, about a month ago, she was 12lbs 8oz (approx 5.680 kg) and measured 24 inches (61cm) so she’s growing steadily and healthily 🙂
She outgrew her Moses basket around 7 weeks and given that she’s still too little to sleep in the cot bed in her room, we’ve bought a Hauck Dream ‘n’ Care Center travel cot which has a good sturdy mattress (sold separately) that makes it suitable to use as the main bed and is also smaller than most travel cots so it fits perfectly in our bedroom.
It’s amazing to see how much she’s grown already in these past 3 months. It really feels like she transformed from a sleepy newborn into an interactive, smiley, curious baby overnight! I can barely remember her as a newborn but I have hundreds of photos to remind me of those days. I already miss those days but every day brings something new and she reaches new milestones so quickly and it’s been incredible to witness her development step by step.
She started playing in her little play gym when she was about 6-7 weeks. We swapped the dangling toys that came with it with more colourful ones to draw her attention more. At first she was only staring at them then a couple of weeks or so later she started slapping them, most of the time it was involuntary but a few times you could tell that it was intentional.
Over the past few weeks she’s also started grabbing toys and she also puts them in her mouth. Actually she tries to put everything in her mouth these days, starting with her thumb and index finger. She sucks on them so hard sometimes that she leaves little marks on her knuckles. Funnily enough she doesn’t take a dummy, only because she doesn’t really know what to do with it so instead of sucking on it she chews on it! She’s been drooling an awful lot as well and I’ve read that it might be due to teething…we’ll wait and see what happens.
Things have been so much easier since she gained control of her head when she was about 7-8 weeks. She constantly looks around especially when she’s on our shoulder and she’s finally enjoying tummy time which is something she really hated at first. When she’s lying on her tummy she also rolls onto her back and only on a couple of occasions she rolled back onto her tummy all by herself.
Over the past week she’s also started to ‘talk’ a lot..she makes all these sounds with her throat and it does sound like a proper conversation, it’s so cute!
Last but not least..her smiles..what can I say about those smiles! It’s the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and they just melt my heart every time.
I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding since day 1. I’ve been very lucky as I’ve always had plenty of milk, even too much at times. Now I’m truly enjoying it (most of the time) but it was a steep road to get to this point.
I was so exhausted in the first few weeks that every time I had to feed Frances it felt like an impossible task. Every time I tried to have a little nap or take a shower, I could hear her crying in the background and I was praying that there would be another reason for that crying other than hunger. 90% of the time it was hunger!
Latching on was quite a challenge and I spent weeks holding my breast into position once Frances had latched on as I was so worried that she would lose the latch and we’d have to do it all over again. There was a part of me that enjoyed those special moments no matter how challenging they were, while another part of me wanted to switch to formula as I thought it’d be so much simpler. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about how much she’d eaten, which breast she’d need to feed from next, whether that was enough milk or whether she’d be hungry 20 minutes later.
I then went to a couple of breastfeeding support groups and met so many other new mums that were having the same issues as me. It was such a relief to know that I really wasn’t alone. Plus it was nice to speak to other first time mums face to face rather than browsing mummy forums online.
Week after week things kept improving and now Frances latches on like a pro even in the dark at night and I feel totally relaxed about the whole experience. She’s always been a very greedy and quick feeder and the more she grows the quicker she feeds. Most days now she feeds for about 5 to 7 minutes from just one breast and doesn’t ask for more for another 3 hours. On the one hand it’s quite cool that she feeds so quickly so that we can get on with other things but on the other hand I wish she took more time as that’s one of those few moments where I can finally sit down and put my feet up!
Oh, the magic word! I’ve always been an early bird, waking up at 5.30/6am even at the weekend (mind you, I’m one of those falling asleep on the couch halfway through a movie on most nights!) so I thought my body would adapt to lack of sleep better than others..So naive of me!
Like all new mums I didn’t get a great deal of sleep especially during the first few weeks. This wasn’t even due to Frances crying or being awake in general but it was mostly me who couldn’t relax. I was always worrying about something..is she breathing (although we do have a breathing monitor under her mattress..), has she regurgitated (I would gently touch her mouth and chin 20 times a night to see if they were wet), is she too hot ( we had central heating on 24/7 until beginning of May and it was boiling at night), are her blankets tight enough or too tight?
Frances has been a fairly good sleeper from the beginning, I don’t have much to complain about. Although she’s nowhere near to sleeping through the night yet, she’s always known the difference between day from night and apart from a very few occasions she does fall asleep right after a night feed.
Our night habits have sort of developed with her. For the first 6-8 weeks she woke up 3 times a night, at 2-3 hours intervals, and each time I would get up and change her nappy (my husband only did it at weekends), even if she’d only done a little wee. During a feed I would check emails, Facebook, Twitter..I even opened Netflix a few times. After a feed (in bed) I would get up again and walk around the house for at least half an hour as Frances has always suffered from reflux and needed to stay upright for as long as possible after a feed. By the time I was back in to bed I had about an hour sleep, sometimes much less, before it was time to do it all over again.
Now our night routine looks like this: Frances wakes up twice a night, roughly around 1.30am and 5am, although sometimes she wakes at midnight and then 3.30/4. She never poos during the night now so she wears a Pampers Baby-Dry nappy, which holds pee for 12 hours without irritating the skin, and we no longer have to get up to change her and risk to wake her (and ourselves) up a bit too much.
I still feed her in bed but get my phone out only to use the Nursing tracker app which reminds me which breast I used last and also records how long each feed takes. While Frances is suckling away I just close my eyes and relax. When she’s done I stay in bed and put her on my shoulder. Most of the time we fall asleep like that and after a little while she just shifts down to my chest and keeps on sleeping. She rarely burps at night but by keeping her in that position she has very little reflux. Having said that, she does still regurgitates (and chokes) at night from time to time so instead of putting her back into her cot after she’s been on my shoulder/chest we keep her on a big pillow in bed between us and we can pick her up much more quickly. Plus it is so sweet to have her sleep next to us and hold her little hand.
OUR DAY ROUTINE
The first time our health visitor came round she said that we shouldn’t introduce a routine until Frances was at least 16 weeks so we just followed her advice and went with the flow. However around 11-12 weeks I started to realise that our days were a bit all over the place and making plans was becoming harder and harder. Frances was waking up at different times every morning and that was kind of dictating the times she would feed during the day which weren’t the same as the day before or the next day. The evenings were random as well. As there wasn’t any structure to our days she would get to 6/7pm completely knackered and over stimulated and cry for at least an hour every evening before falling asleep, exhausted.
This is why I decided to give the E.A.S.Y. routine from ‘The baby whisperer’ a go and found a very helpful ‘cheat sheet‘ online. Just in case you didn’t know what that’s about, it stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep and Your time. The concept is quite simple really and is sworn by thousands of mums who successfully established that routine.
I’m liking the fact that now our days start at the same time, between 7 and 7.30am, and Frances is feeding every 3 hours without crying for milk sooner than that. It’s been much easier to make plans knowing that me going out or meeting people wouldn’t interfere with Frances feeding or playing. However I’m finding it quite difficult to make sure that Frances has the right balance between play time and nap time within those 3 hours.
Given that nappy change and feed are done in under 30 minutes and most of her naps last about 45 minutes on the dot, what can I do the rest of the time?! That’s my dilemma and I try to go out as much as possible knowing that Frances would sleep a bit longer in the pram but she’s now not falling asleep unless she’s rocked in the pram (or in our arms, aaahhhhh). The only good nap she has is after the 1pm feed when she falls asleep on my shoulder whilst I try to wind her and she normally sleeps for about 2 hours. I absolutely love that time as I get into bed with her and even when I don’t fall asleep, I just relax and have some me-time.
Evenings are much easier now though. I give her a bath around 6.30pm which she absolutely loves, followed by a massage which she equally enjoys. I also read her a story every night (in Italian, while my husband reads her one in English) and I give her a feed afterwards. She either falls asleep at the breast (yes, I know I shouldn’t do that but I know that for now that’s what works for her and for us) or she’s so relaxed that she falls asleep shortly after.
So this is a (not so) quick summary of the most emotional, tough, challenging, amazing 100 days of my life. Look forward to the next 100, 1000, 10,000, …you get it 🙂