Christina Sparkle

  1. How many clothes should I buy for baby?

    Taking stock for the babe #winterbaby #genderneutral

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    When I was pregnant and buying for the baby it was really hard to know how much to buy. I devised a little capsule list of baby clothes so that I have everything the baby would need, but also have room for gifted outfits from friends and family.

    For each age range I bought the following…

    2x Hoodies or Cardigans
    1x Denim shirt (goes with everything)
    1x Coat (or Snowsuit if you’re a pram lover)
    4x Sleepsuits
    3x Leggings (plain colours like navy, red and grey)
    4x White baby gro (Kimono style ones are the best)
    4x Patterned baby gro
    3x Hats
    6x Socks (one pack of multiple colours)

    My list is based on Jessica Hische‘s baby list but with my own twist on things. We don’t have the luxury of San Francisco weather, in fact I needed to consider  British winter for when Sacha was born.

    There are some lessons I have learned since using this list. Firstly, you don’t really need to buy outfits for the first three months; most people just keep their babies in sleepsuits at this age. I was usually the only one with a baby in seperates. Lots of people keep the sleepsuits up past three months too but I got too bored by that stage – I wanted cute outfits!

    Secondly, European sizes rule! 0-3 months is a massive range; babies probably double in size during that time. Instead I preferred H&Ms sizing of 0-1 months, 1-2 months, 2-4 months and 4-6 months. Some other shops follow this sizing too including Polarn O. Pyret and I found some things in TK Max too but unfortunately not enough for me to use this sizing exclusively.

    Thirdly, if you going with patterned tops and hoodies stick to plain bottoms. I have found loads of cute leggings in funky patterns but they are so hard to pair with other things because my tops and hoodies are mainly patterned too. If you don’t mind a clashing baby then go ahead but I like things matchy matchy!

    Fourthly, don’t rely on your baby fitting in the same size tops and bottoms at the same time. Sacha is currently in 6-9 month tops and 3-6 month bottoms. Thankfully following this list to create a capsule means that the different age ranges can be mixed.

    Finally, I tried to go for gender neutral items so I can reuse them (IF there is a) next time or easily resell them to anyone. Most gifted outfits were very much blue for boy though so Sacha doesn’t dress gender neutral all the time.

    By following this minimal list means I can keep everything from each age range in one Malm sized drawer and I was able to buy almost a years worth of clothes while I was still pregnant, spreading the costs across several months. My only difficulty now is that I really miss the baby designs – the older he gets the less I like the outfits that are made for his age range – I’m dreading age 2 when it all seems to be garish cartoons and Star Wars!

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  2. Five month postpartum update

    When bath time goes well #baby #bathtime #splishsplash

    A video posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    The biggest thing to happen since last month is that I’ve gone back to work part time. I just wasn’t happy staying at home every day – I don’t know how stay at home mum’s do it, they are hard core! I’ve been feeling so much better in myself and it really helps me appreciate the time I have with my baby. I just need more of a routine and two and a half days at work every week is the perfect balance.

    Sacha has been going to a local nursery that is attached to a Forest School while I’m at work. He has settled really well – he is so happy and smiley when I drop him off in the mornings. I’m glad that I’ve been able to get some time away to feel more balanced in myself but yet still look after him more than anyone else.

    Reading over last month’s post I sound so sad and I was able to recognise that in myself so as well as going back to work I’ve also started cognitive behavioural therapy sessions to help me deal with my low moods. I really like that our sessions don’t focus on any past trauma (like an emergency c-section with general anaesthetic), but instead on how it is affecting me that week and what I can do to cope better. I’ve become a lot more positive about my own skills as a parent and more motivated to get out and do things with the baby.

    My hair is just starting to grow back now but I’m still using head scarves every day. Whereas Sacha’s hair is now completely blonde in all the sunshine – no more dark hair like me. Boooo!

    Sacha’s teething has calmed down, I’m sure his diarrhea last month was from teething. But we still don’t have any teeth showing yet. He often chews his dummy on the side so perhaps his first teeth will come from the back?

    Sacha loves us to read to him, he now reaches out for the pages and laughs after we read each page. I hope he’s going to be a keen bookworm. He’s even managed to make Goodnight Moon enjoyable for us (I found it a bit trippy before)!

    Height/Weight: Last time I weighed Sacha a couple of weeks ago he has reached 15lb 7oz which was above the 25th centile line. We’re still a little all over the place in terms of centile lines but I’ve given up worrying as long as he is putting on weight.

    Routine: We are still roughly working to a 4 hour EASY routine:

    5am: Wake up and feed for 10 mins (Andy and I take it in turns to take the baby off while the other one sleeps)

    7am: Another 10 min feed and 40 minute nap in his crib while I get ready

    8am: Leave for nursery if it’s a work day

    Now that it’s summer we usually have plans to meet friends or visit somewhere during the day. We haven’t been going to any classes lately because we always seem to have something on. I’ve been meaning to go to another baby sign class but we always seem to be busy and unable to make it. I feed on demand as and when Sacha wants to.

    1pm: Nap in cot or in the pram if we are out at the park.

    3pm: feed for 5-10 mins

    4:30/5pm: Short nap in cot or moses basket

    5:30/6pm: Feed for 5-10 mins

    6:30pm: Sit in the high chair while Andy and I eat

    7pm: Bath on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays, followed by baby massage and Andy reading a book.

    7:30pm: Feed for 5 mins until asleep.

    8:30pm: Top up feed because he was too sleepy to feed properly earlier.

    11pm: Feed for 10 mins.

    Beautiful walk today through #bedfordpark with #froyo at @attheparkbedford pavilion #Bedford #blueskies #acolorstory

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    Sleeping: The four month sleep regression hit us hard, most nights Sacha was waking every 1-2 hours but this week we seem to be back to waking at 11pm, 3am and then every hour after that. We have been putting him in his cot in his room at 5am when he doesn’t want to go back to sleep, just to get another 30 mins-1 hour extra snooze time in the morning.

    Naps are still 45 minutes unless it’s really warm on that day when he can sleep for much longer.

    Eating/Feeding: We are still breastfeeding, hooray! I can’t believe I’ve made it this long. Feeds are 5-10 minutes long and although Sacha isn’t fussy anymore he still takes pauses between his sucks – he’ll lean back to breath or swallow or take a look at the room before coming back for more. This is style I guess, I can’t seem to find any other reason for it!

    When Sacha is at nursery he has Hipp Organic formula in Tommee Tippee bottles. I pump at work but I struggle to get even 2 oz in a day whereas Sacha drinks over 7-8oz twice a day when he’s at nursery. If I manage to pump a lot I’ll give it to him in the evening.

    Size: We are in a funny stage at the moment where 3-6 month tops are a little small but 6-9 are quite big so I’m using a bit of both. Bottoms are still 3-6 months. 4-6 month clothes fit well but we don’t have many of those. Size 3 nappies are still going strong.

    Milestones: Sacha stopped turning over for a while but he seems to be turning both front to back and back to front again this week. His favourite toys are his Ikea cat rattles, crinkly taggy blanket and his new Jumperoo that we picked up at a car boot sale.

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  3. Four month postpartum update

    This month has been plagued by hair loss for me, the sides of my hair are really noticeable and the top is very thin so I’m now wearing a bandana or head scarf every day to disguise the issue. It is still coming out in handfuls in the shower, hopefully that will come to an end soon or I might not have any hair left!

    Sacha’s hair has all grown back around the sides very quickly but he is now getting a few bald spots on the top. Hopefully they will grow back just as quickly too.

    We haven’t been getting out quite so much this last month, we’ve just been going to the free mum & baby groups whenever it is convenient but nothing on a regular basis. One the weekends Andy and I have managed one date day where we went out to the cinema to find the film was sold out so we ended up playing pitch and putt at Russell Park in Bedford.

    Since introducing a nap schedule and bed time of 7.30/8pm this has meant that I struggle to get out in the evenings for my craft group or any other social activities. I have however been to work for a keep in touch day – it was really good to have half a day where there was no risk of someone throwing up on me! It made me miss work a lot.

    Sacha seems to be teething now, he’s had diarrhea for a couple of weeks which the doctor couldn’t explain but now his cheeks are showing redness too. He has been drooling a lot for the last month and biting on everything he can get his hands on, including my fingers which is very cute. I can’t feel any teeth coming through yet but maybe soon!

    Height/Weight: This month was a positive month for Sacha’s weight, he is consistently following half way between the 9th and 25th centile line. Last time we measured Sacha he was 60cm in length – not much growth since his birth. Last week’s weight was 13lb 8oz – still not doubled his birth weight yet but nearly there.

    Routine: We have been trying to work to a 4 hour E.A.S.Y. routine as featured on Noob Mommy blog. However, Sacha gets up a bit earlier than the sample routine suggests so it looks more like this…

    6am: Wake up and feed for 10-15 minutes

    8am: Nap in his crib

    9am: Wake & feed for 10 minutes

    If we are going to baby sensory or coffee morning we head out in the morning and I try to pick up some lunch on the way home. We will walk or drive to the supermarket or do some other errands on days when we haven’t got something on.

    12/1pm: Nap in his pram while we go out for a walk or in the car. I try and extend this nap for as long as possible but I always make sure he is awake by 3pm.

    3pm: Feed for 10 minutes

    4:30/5pm: Short nap on my lap while I watch TV

    5:30/6pm: Feed for 10 minutes

    7pm: Bath every two days followed by a book read by Daddy and some baby massage too.

    7:30pm: Feed for 10 minutes and off to sleep – this can be a hard feed because he is usually very tired.

    9pm: If Sacha wakes around this time it is usually easier to feed him and we feed for around 15-20 minutes.

    10:30pm: If Sacha hasn’t woken since he was put down I will give him a dream feed for 10-15 minutes.

    Twinning today ⬛️⬜️💙 #babystyle #twinning @typeontop #mama #baby #babyootd

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    Sleeping: Sacha has still been waking at least twice a night. In the last week this has become every 1.5 hours again due to teething. He’s become very hard to put back down after a night feed, it can take up to an hour to put him back down again. This means we are now co-sleeping in our bed because Sacha will stay asleep more easily if he is put down next to me on our bed rather than in his co-sleeping crib.

    Naps are quite regular now and I can usually make him stay down for at least one long nap a day. Naps in his crib or cot are still only 45 minutes to an hour though.

    We have got a handle on the reflux since we were prescribed Renitidine which Sacha takes three times a day. This has stopped the pukeyness at night so at least that is one win!

    Eating/Feeding: Since Sacha’a weight has been more consistent we are now back to exclusive breast feeding. Feeds now last 10 minutes, 15 minutes if he is feeling extra hungry. Feeds are now on a four hour schedule through the day and I find following this means he rarely cries for food anymore.

    The fussiness isn’t so bad anymore, he still has it occasionally when he is ready for his next dose of medicine but definitely not as stressful as it once was.

    Size: We are firmly in 3-6 month clothes (tops and bottoms) and also using some 4-6 month clothes too. We are still using size 3 nappies.

    Milestones: Sacha can now turn over from his tummy to his back. Not every time but most times – so cute! His favourite toys include a jingle clutch ball, a rainmaker, a crinkly taggy blanket that I made and his chain links.

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  4. Three month postpartum update

    When the babe learns to play with the things you made for them 💙💛💜 #babytoys #sewtiny #handmade #sewing #crafting

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    Just after my last postpartum update we had an eight week check (actually happened on week nine) which showed that Sacha had gone down a percentile line. When he was born he was on the 50th centile, but at 8/9 weeks he was on the 25th which the nurse and doctor told me not to worry about but to keep an eye on things in case he went down to the 9th centile.

    So I have been going to get him weighed at the local family centre every week since. The first week showed that he had lost a lot of weight from the week before which panicked me but after some investigation and a call to the doctor’s it turns out that the nurse had marked him incorrectly on the chart and in fact he had already gone below the 9th centile at the 8 week check.

    Luckily, I had requested some Infant Gaviscon due to his pukeyness and constant hiccups, I had also bought some formula for top up feeds just in case. These things combined have really helped him to put on weight and he is now above the 9th centile line again. I’m now going to check his weight once a month and hopefully we’ll see a more steady increase.

    Sacha has been losing his hair since last month – at first it was just at the sides and looked like a mohawk but now it is all across the back too, except for a tuft at the base of head like a little mullet. There’s still plenty on top too; he looks like a reverse Danny Devito!

    I have also been losing a lot of hair. I didn’t notice a difference in how much I lost during pregnancy or a difference in the thickness but it is now coming out in handfuls when I comb it in the shower.

    We have now finished the baby massage and sing & sign courses. I really enjoyed baby massage and am using the massage routines very regularly now. The signing classes were good but a bit of a shock – they are very much aimed at entertaining the baby which I don’t think Sacha was ready for when we first went. We’ve still been going to the free sessions at the family centre for breastfeeding support, weigh-ins and baby sensory too.

    Unfortunately I’ve had to stop using the Baby Feed app because it kept crashing so we’re back to Baby Connect but as I’ve been more focused on his sleeping this past month it was probably the right app to use anyway.

    As well as going out to my Stitch and Bitch group in the pub every other week my mum has also been coming down to look after the baby and give Andy and I some time alone. The first time Andy and I went out to the cinema and the next time we just went into town for some lunch at Baja. It felt so good to get some time together, I think we’ve both missed it a lot.

    Height/Weight: At the eight week check he was 59cm tall. Due to the weight issues I have been taking Sacha to be weighed at the family centre every week. Last week he was 5.05kg or 11lb 2oz.

    Routine: The routine over the last few weeks has looked like this…

    6.30-7.30: Sacha wakes up, Andy changes his nappy and then he feeds for 15-25 minutes. Morning is still the best time for his mood so I can usually brush my teeth, get dressed and put some make up on (if we are going somewhere) without much fuss.

    9.30-10: In the mornings we usually go out to a class or mum group. If at all possible I will walk with Sacha in the sling but some days if we’ve had a bad night we will take the pram instead to save my back.

    11-12: We get back and Sacha will usually be asleep so I try and make my lunch and do a bit of tidying before he wakes up.

    1-4: We chill out and watch TV. Sacha will feed, play and nap in a 2-3 hour cycle.

    5-5:30: Andy gets home from work and has cuddles. If we are giving Sacha a bath that night we’ll both head upstairs to help each other, this time includes some baby massage and reading a book to Sacha too. He really loves listening to Andy read to him, sometimes he can even make it through a second round.

    6-7: We sit in the kitchen while Andy makes dinner and listen to the radio. I try to put Sacha in the moses basket while we eat which usually works but sometimes we have to do dinner in shifts while one person holds the baby.

    8-10: I try to put Sacha down in his co-sleeper if he seems hungry or sleepy. It’s still early days to get him to sleep at this time without being on me but I’m hopeful that we’ll get there.

    10-11: Andy and I head up to bed, do one last nappy change and then try to get as much sleep as we can. Typically Sacha will sleep until 2-3am, wake for a feed then wake every 1-1.5 hours after that for more milk.

    Sleeping: We have been working over the last month to get Sacha to sleep independently. His favourite spot to nap is still on me however I have successfully been getting him to sleep in his cot or a Moses basket that I have borrowed from my friend Lizzie. This is still a work in progress and doesn’t work every time but we’ll continue to work on it.

    Night times are pretty strange at the moment. He has had a couple of nights where he slept for five hours in a row! The first time he did that I had to wake him up to feed because I felt so full of milk. However, other nights he has woken every hour which is exhausting. Baths and baby massage don’t seem to guarantee a good nights sleep unfortunately but I’m hoping this is the start of full nights of sleep.

    The main culprit that seems to wake him up is his reflux and pukeyness. He gets distressed from having a sore tummy and violently pukes which wakes him up. Then the best thing to calm him is to breastfeed but that just creates more for him to puke up again – a viscous cycle. Hopefully he will grow out of the reflux very soon, I have definitely noticed that he is less pukey at night but I can’t wait for it to end completely.

    We don’t need to change his nappy at night anymore however Sacha has been harder to get back to sleep. He used to just wake, feed and then fall straight back to sleep but he has been wide awake for hours some nights just chatting away or repeatedly pushing his dummy out and whinging for it to be put back in.

    Eating/Feeding: We are no longer exclusively breastfeeding due to the weight issues. I have introduced a bottle of formula at lunch times to help with his weight gain. We are also using Infant Gaviscon to stop him from being so pukey. As soon as we started using formula and the Gaviscon he seemed to fill out and appeared much more healthy.

    For the formula feeds we are using Hipp Organic 1 with the Gaviscon mixed in, not every day, but whenever is convenient – mostly just one bottle of 5oz but sometimes we give him two bottles. This has meant that Andy can feed the baby too which is so nice to see them bonding while Sacha feeds.

    My Raynaud’s is still there but I don’t feel any pain now, thank goodness! Feeds usually last 10 minutes; 25 minutes for super long feeds in the evening or first thing in the morning. He does still feed a lot though with 1-2 hours between feeds, perhaps because of a recent growth spurt?

    Latching on is much easier now, he is usually eager to feed and I no longer need to trick him into it with a dummy. He will still come on and off a lot though which is annoying but no where near as frustrating as it used to be. The feeding strikes seem to have stopped too.

    Size: Sacha fits well in 2-4 month clothes and some 3-6 months. He is still small on his bottom half so usually wears 1-2 months because 2-4 months are still big and 3-6 months are all huge. He has moved up to size 3 nappies – size 2 do still fit but size 3 mean less leaks.

    Milestones: Smiles and giggles come every day now, all the time. He is actively playing with his toys, especially the ones I have made for him like “Ozzy the Owl”, if you hold Ozzy by the ear Sacha will bat at the face to make the bell jingle. Sacha also loves his chain of links that I picked up from a jumble sale.

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  5. How to have a stylish baby boy

    One of my favourite things to do since having a baby is to browse Instagram for independent brands and stylish families. I’m generally not attracted to blue clothing for Sacha, and cartoon illustrations turn me off completely so it can be hard to find baby outfits that inspire. What I have found on instagram are some independent designers and shops that stock the most beautiful items. I’ve particularly found that boys style is a big deal right now, and I wasn’t expecting that – it is the absolute opposite in high street shops.

    Here are some of my favourite brands from Instagram for stylish clothing…

    #tinycottons #averyboldandcrazygardenstory #botanical #tartan 🌱🌱🌱 from @luksusbaby.dk

    A photo posted by @tinycottons on

    Perfect #flatlay featuring our wild chevron neck bandana 🔲 www.ryderl.com

    A photo posted by Ryder L (@ryderl_style) on

    Personalised teether and necklace

    A photo posted by FOX’S FELTS (@foxsfelts) on

    Goodnight everyone🌛 Picture credit: @ra.and.byron

    A photo posted by Eversew Beautiful® (@eversewbeautiful) on

    Here are some of my favourite stylish families to follow…

    Slowly getting Austin’s shelf game up to scratch #shelfie #monochrome #nurserydecor

    A photo posted by • sᴏᴘʜɪᴇ & ᴀᴜsᴛɪɴ • (@austins.adventure) on

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  6. Free crochet cloud baby hat pattern

    Here’s a super cute hat pattern for a baby boy or a girl complete with cloud appliqués. I’ve included 3 sizes; newborn, 0-3 months and 3-6 months. Enjoy!

    You will need:


    HAT

    Magic ring

    Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), 9 HDC into ring, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 10 HDC

    Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), 2 HDC into each HDC around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 20 HDC

    Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC into same st, HDC in next HDC, *2 HDC in next HDC, HDC in next HDC; rep from * around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 30 HDC

    Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC into same st, HDC in next HDC, *2 HDC in next HDC, HDC in next 2 HDC; rep from * around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 40 HDC [for newborn size stop here and jump to the round 7 instructions]

    Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC into same st, HDC in next HDC, *2 HDC in next HDC, HDC in next 3 HDC; rep from * around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 50 HDC [for 0-3 months size stop here and jump to the round 7 instructions]

    Round 6: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC into same st, HDC in next HDC, *2 HDC in next HDC, HDC in next 4 HDC; rep from * around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 60 HDC [this round is for 3-6 month size only]

    Round 7-16: Ch 2 (counts as first HDC), HDC in each HDC around, sl st into second ch of turning chain to join – 60 HDC. Fasten off and weave in ends. [for newborn size this will be rows 5-14, for 0-3 month size this will be rows 6-15]

    CLOUDS

    Ch 10

    Round 1: SC in the second chain from the hook, SC into each ch across, turn – 9 SC

    Round 2: Ch 1, sk first 2 SC, 5 DC into next SC, sk next SC, sl st into next SC, sk next SC, 5DC into next SC, sk next SC, sl st into corner SC, sk edge of SC, 5 DC into corner Ch, sk next Ch, sl st into next Ch, sk next Ch, 5 DC into next Ch, sk next Ch, sl st into next Ch, sk next Ch, 5 DC into last corner Ch, sl st into first DC to join. Fasten off with 20cm tail, appliqué onto the hat and weave in ends.

    To make the hat your own you can add other appliqués to compliment the clouds. I used these raindrops, you could try a rainbow or lightning bolt too.

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  7. First mother’s day

    Last Sunday was my first Mother’s Day as a mama. Seeing it from the other side I have a crazy amount of respect for anyone who has experienced the extremes of emotion and sleep deprivation that having a newborn has brought us. I guess nothing could have prepared us for the reality but I’m so glad to have made it this far.

    I printed photos of the baby and framed them as gifts for my mum and Andy’s mum. We gave them both cards from ourselves and Sacha too. It’s so cute to write cards from the baby for them.

    We spent the weekend visiting family but Andy still managed to make sure I got breakfast in bed. He also bought Sacha and I matching tshirts from Type on Top. My shirt says “Exhausted”, Sacha’s says “Exhausting” – so perfect for us right now!

    I’ve also ordered myself a very special gift from my lovely friend Kenda Kist Jewelry; hand stamped pendants with the latitude and longitude coordinates of the hospital where Sacha was born and the location of our wedding. I can’t wait to get them.

    Mucho love to all the mamas out there, I have no idea how you do it but I know you are doing a great job.

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  8. Two month postpartum update

    Respite ⚫️⚪️💛 #crochet #stitchandbitch #bedford #threecups

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    Two months?! Sounds such a short amount of time but also so long… we’ve made it so far!

    Mondays we still go to the breast feeding support group that is nearby – every week there seems to be a new issue! Tuesdays we stay at home and only go out if we have something planned with friends, I try and stay in bed in the morning and catch up on some sleep. Wednesdays we now go to a baby massage class, last week I learned how to massage his legs and each week we will build up the massage routine. Thursdays we’ve been to a local NCT coffee morning as well as Sing and Sign classes, the first one was last week and again, Sacha slept through most of it but I’m looking forward to getting more confident with signs so he can eventually communicate with us before he talks. Fridays we go to baby sensory in the morning at the local family centre – last week Sacha wasn’t the youngest baby there for once so hopefully I’ll start to see more mums with babies of a similar age now he is a little older.

    I’ve started to use my ring sling to carry Sacha whenever we go somewhere walking distance. He sleeps well in the sling and seems to like it a lot. I’ve joined a facebook group for baby wearing mamas – there are so many different types of sling it’s crazy! I am really happy with our ring sling though and feel like it’s ideal for newbies to babywearing. I’m thinking of getting a connecta or tula for the summer months too.

    I’ve stopped using the Baby Connect app now and exchanged it for the Baby Feed app. Baby Connect was great at first to track feeds, nappies and sleep with its fancy graphs however, I prefer Baby Feed now that we are regularly getting 3-4 hours between night feeds. Baby Feed gives me an estimate of when the next feed will be which really helps me to look for the signs at the right time and know when he is crying for sleep instead of food.

    This week I went out without the baby to my Stitch and Bitch group, just an hour between feeds but oh my goodness it felt so good to have a break. I’m hoping to keep that up and go back to every fortnight like I used to do so I can have a breather.

    Height/Weight: I don’t have any updates on his height or weight but next week we have an appointment at the doctor for his 6-8 week check up and vaccinations too. I also get a check up on my c-section healing at the same time.

    Routine: I’m feeling like we are actually getting into a predictable routine finally! Not a daily routine per se, but more an hour by hour routine. Here’s what it looks like:

    6.30-7.30: Sacha will wake at some point and Andy will change his nappy before he gets ready for work. I then feed the baby and we start the day. After his feed he will be in a good mood for 30-40 minutes which I use to get dressed and put make up on.

    We then have a 2-3 hour routine where Sacha will nap for 30-40 minutes, then feed for 15-25 minutes and then be awake and happy for 30-40 minutes. In between these times he can be pretty grumpy and refuse to eat or refuse to sleep but I’m hoping that will get better soon.

    5-5:30: Andy gets home from work and starts on dinner after a good cuddle. We give Sacha a bath 2-3 times a week which he still doesn’t like very much but they aren’t quite the trauma that they used to be.

    We then continue the 2-3 hour routine until I am falling asleep on the sofa about 10pm and we head up to bed.

    Sleeping: Since we’ve been in the 2-3 hour routine Sacha usually only naps on me; it can take 30-40 minutes of rocking and sushing to get him to sleep from the first signs of sleepiness (yawning). I’m going to be working on getting him to nap independently in his cot or co-sleeper over the next few weeks. The times when Sacha doesn’t nap on me are when we’re out in the sling walking about, or in the car or pram.

    In the evening Sacha will usually nap from around 8-9pm which I’m hoping will become part of his night time sleep eventually. He then wakes for a feed when we go to bed about 10-11pm and will sleep 2-4 hours between feeds so we get 2-3 feeds per night. This is getting better and better with longer between feeds and we don’t usually need to change his nappy in the night now.

    Eating/Feeding: We’re still exclusively breastfeeding which is a miracle! He still has a big appetite with feeds lasting between 15-30 minutes. My raynaud’s is no longer as painful as before, my nips still change colour after feeds but I don’t need painkillers any more and the pain doesn’t keep me up at night.

    He has been very fussy at the breast and even striking from feeds which is really frustrating. I called the La Leche League helpline last week who suggested that I might have a forceful letdown which makes him gassy and refuse to feed periodically. I’ve been using a dummy to start feeds and then quickly swapping in my breast in order to get him to latch on but that’s not going to be a long term solution so we need to find some way to sort things out soon.

    Today’s outfit of cuteness #flatlay #babyfashion #babystyle #babyootd @hm @funkygiraffebibs @vans @ikeauk

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    Size: Sacha mainly wears 1-2 months clothing at the moment. 0-3 month baby gros fit him well but the bottoms in that size are huge. 0-3 month sleepsuits are well fitting, almost getting too small but it’s all in his height, he is nowhere near filling 0-3 months in his waist. We are still wearing size 2 nappies. I have bought some size 3 just in case but they seem to be way too big.

    Milestones: We can now get smiles whenever he is in a good mood quite predictably. Giggles are becoming more frequent too. Sacha also interacts well with the toys on his baby gym and bouncer – he will deliberately look at them and bat at the toys which I think is earlier than expected.

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  9. My breastfeeding story

    I know a lot of people say that they’ve never been around breastfeeding women before, or that they don’t see people breastfeeding but I feel the opposite. I was breast fed as a baby and I remember going along to play groups and church groups where women were breast feeding all around. I guess this has all contributed to my decision to breastfeed, it has always felt like the right choice for us.

    The major thing that I was unaware of with breast feeding was how painful it really is. I really have no idea how we have survived as a species! I do wish that the antenatal classes and books I had read were a lot more honest about how tough the initial months of breastfeeding really is.

    We have tried formula feeding a few times; once I was in so much pain in the middle of the night we gave Sacha a Cow & Milk bottle that comes pre-steralised. He didn’t seem to like the taste but he did take it down eventually without crying and then slept for 6 hours which gave me the full rest that I really needed. The second time was a similar situation but he only slept for two hours, as much as a normal breast feed, and was really pukey afterwards which really stressed me out. The third time was this week when he refused to feed, I tried to give him the formula but he was not interested but was still crying for milk. Instead I expressed and gave him that in a bottle before he latched on and we fed as normal.

    The first breast feed was right after I had woken up from my caesarian section. He latched on straight away and it was the perfect way to bond with him after what had been a long and exhausting birth. From then on the midwives in the hospital and at home visits helped us to get the right latch. It can be tiring having every midwife trying to improve you in some way but I am now grateful for all the help.

    I had very sore nips at the beginning and decided to rest the side that was most sore and just use one breast for a couple of days, I was trying to avoid feeds too. This then caused the other side to get sore too and I had to rest that side for the next few days. Resting a side however meant that I was not producing enough hind (fatty) milk to fill Sacha up and he was feeding very frequently – a mistake I won’t ever make again!

    After two weeks of feeding my nips were healed and Sacha’s latch was very good, feeding for up to 45 minutes. In that time I had seen a breast feeding specialist at the hospital, as well as in my home who both said that the latch was good and my soreness would go away with time, I just needed to work on positioning to make sure we were both comfortable.

    I have read that the UK is the world’s worst at breastfeeding, I’m not sure why but I’ve always wanted to carry on, even when it has got really hard. Perhaps because the birth didn’t go to plan I feel a sense of duty to my baby?

    After the birth my milk came in at day 4 or 5. I had actually been expressing colostrum since week 38 of my pregnancy. Expressing during your pregnancy is one of the best ways to induce labour and although that method didn’t help me it did mean that by the time we went in to be induced I had a bottle of 10-15ml frozen colostrum. Andy was able to feed the colostrum to the baby while I still out with the help of a student midwife.

    A month into breast feeding I developed deep breast pain and have visited the doctor twice to find out if it was due to thrush. The first doctor just looked at my breasts and said there were no signs so I just kept taking pain killers. My health visitor then told me to go back to the doctor and ask for swab tests, these came back negative but in the mean time I have noticed that when I take a shower in the evening, which is usually 15-20 minutes after a feed that my nips are blue or white. This is a sign or Raynaud’s syndrome, a circulation problem. I have been taking showers every day for the pain and also using a hot wheat bag whenever it gets bad.

    I have now stopped the pain killers for breast feeding as the pain has become more manageable however we are now having new problems where Sacha is very fussy at latching coming on and off repeatedly. He even has refused to feed on a couple of occasions. This week I rang the La Leche helpline because I was so stressed out that he hadn’t fed for 4 hours (usually he feeds every 1-2 hours). The wonderful lady on the helpline told me to express and give it to Sacha in a bottle or syringe. I managed to express 10ml in 5 minutes and gave him the bottle, he then latched on straight after and fed for 45 minutes so he was obviously very hungry!

    When I called the helpline back to that the lady for her advice she told me to look up Forceful Letdown on Kelly Mom. The symptoms are:

    • Gag, choke, strangle, gulp, gasp, cough while nursing as though the milk is coming too fast – occasionally
    • Pull off the breast often while nursing – yes
    • Clamp down on the nipple at let-down to slow the flow of milk – YES
    • Make a clicking sound when nursing – Not sure
    • Spit up very often and/or tend to be very gassy – YES!
    • Periodically refuse to nurse – YES!!
    • Dislike comfort nursing in general – Not sure

    So it looks like we have a new challenge to deal with. It seems like a lot of women have both Raynaud’s and a forceful letdown but from what I’ve read so far they need the opposite remedies; Raynaud’s needs hot, forceful letdown needs cold.

    I have been attending a breast feeding support group every week which might seem overkill but we seem to have a new challenge develop every week and I have also been hoping to meet other mums but we’re usually the only family there which makes it tough!

    In terms of feeding in public we have fed in John Lewis cafe, another coffee shop in Cambridge and at Anglesey Abbey’s National Trust restaurant. I haven’t found any one giving disapproving looks or discouraging me in any way which is a relief after some things that appear in the press and on social media.

    When feeding in public I don’t use scarfs, muslins, tents or any other covers. I find that a tshirt over the top of a nursing vest is plenty to make me comfortable. Tshirt goes up and the vest goes down. I really don’t care about anyone else’s comfort, I focus on what I am comfortable with and that is all that matters to me.

    Now we are at seven weeks of breast feeding Sacha feeds for an average of 25 minutes at a time with 1-2 hours in between. That does seem quite a lot of feeds and for a long time compared to others I know so I am hoping they will continue to space out and shorten in length but we’ll see how it goes.

    I couldn’t have got this far with breast feeding if it wasn’t for these products: Lasinoh cream, Baby connect app, pillow (I don’t use a boppy or any other breast feeding pillows, just a normal one), Tommee Tippee electric pump and Panache maternity bras.

    At night we are still using a dummy; after he feeds he often makes grunty noises when I turn the light back out so popping a dummy helps to keep him quiet so we can both get back to sleep. By the time he is hungry again the dummy has dropped out so I don’t miss him waking up ready for the next feed.

    Feeding at night I don’t find too bad; some nights they will be every hour which is not fun but most nights there are 2-3 hours between feeds so we are getting a decent amount of sleep. The only challenge we have at the moment is dealing with the pulling off that is a sign of the forceful letdown.

    Night times are when I’m most glad to be breast feeding, I don’t have to go downstairs to prepare a bottle. We can just latch on, feed and go back to sleep which is normally done within half an hour. We are using a Chicco Next2Me co-sleeper to make things even easier.

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  10. Six week post partum update

    Winging it @selfishmother #wingingit #selfishmother #selfie #newmama

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

    We’re now in full swing being at home on our own. I’ve been going to mums groups regularly and had a few visitors to keep me entertained too. Mondays we go to a breast feeding support group which is just a few streets away from our house however, we’ve been the only ones attending so there’s not much chance to make some friends. Tuesdays we stay at home, Wednesdays we’ve had visitors, Thursdays we’ve been along to a crafty group and Fridays to a baby sensory group.

    Sacha hasn’t been so good at going in his swing these last couple of weeks. He’s been quite clingy but apparently he’s been going through a growth spurt so it is to be expected that he will be grumpy during this time. With all the clinginess I’ve found it frustrating that I can’t make any progress on my crochet – especially when Andy is making a lot of progress on his hobbies.

    Sacha has had a lot of reflux which can be really frustrating. He seems to feed for 25 minutes then puke it all up which makes him hungry again. It’s really scary when he pukes through his nose too – it can be quite projectile sometimes! It doesn’t seem to bother him at all though and I’ve ordered a natural reflux remedy to try this week.

    I’ve been to the doctors again for my breast pain and they have taken swabs to test for thrush and other infections. Hopefully I’ll hear back soon to find out what is going on and I can finally get some treatment.

    I have been showering every evening to help with the breast pain, however I’ve really noticed that I have quite bad BO at the moment. My normal deodorant just doesn’t seem to cut it anymore, not even with a spray top up. I’m not sure what to use instead but I have read that this often happens when you are breastfeeding.

    Height/Weight: Last week the health visitor weighed Sacha and he was 9lb 1oz which puts him in the 50th percentile which I’m really happy with. That means all this breast feeding trouble has been worth it and I can be sure he’s getting what he needs from me.

    Routine: Here’s the routine we’ve found in the last couple of weeks…

    7.30/8am: Wake up, nappy change and feed for 45 mins. Sacha seems to be a morning person, he likes to lie under his baby gym or look out the window while I eat and get dressed.

    9am: If we are going out to a baby group he will usually be awake on the walk there in his pram, then he’ll have 10-15 mins of being awake before he wants to feed and then nap in the pram on the way home. If it’s a Tuesday/Wednesday he sits in his bouncer while I blog and use the computer.

    11.30am/12pm: Once we get back home he’s usually still asleep so I leave him in his pram while I make myself something to eat and try to get as much washing up/laundry/crochet done as I can.

    1pm: Sacha wakes up for another nappy change and feed. He is still pretty grumpy in the afternoons. We usually just catch up on TV or watch a film while he feeds and screams his way through the afternoon.

    4pm: If I can get him back into a good mood I’ll go on the computer, or play with him under his baby gym and do some tummy time. I usually try to feed him at 4.30pm so he’s full for when Andy gets home.

    5pm/5.30pm: Andy Candy gets home from work and will keep Sacha entertained while I go into the shower – this is has been the only time I have where Sacha isn’t attached to me so I try to make the most of it.

    6pm: We feed for 25 mins while Andy makes dinner and as Andy and I are now back to eating at the table we’ll put Sacha in his pram in the kitchen while we are eating. We can then push back and forth if he gets a little grumpy.

    7.30pm: Andy has now taken over all baths and I do the lotion and massage after bath. Sacha still screams during a bath, especially when we wash his hair but as soon as he’s wrapped in a towel he loves it.

    8pm: I have now stopped staying upstairs with Sacha all evening because I was getting down about not having any adult contact. We now dress him in a sleepsuit after the bath and take him back downstairs and watch TV. I keep feeding him as often as he wants (which isn’t the cluster feeding that it once was).

    10pm: We come upstairs to bed and Sacha is usually asleep at this point so I can get changed, take off my make up and do my usual evening routine.

    11pm/11.30pm: Sacha will wake for his final evening feed. This one is usually quite short 7-15mins but he will go straight to sleep afterwards so I make sure he is swaddled before we start to feed. He will now sleep for 3-4 hours.

    3am/3.30am and 5am/5.30am: He wakes for a feed for 15 minutes and is back to sleep again for 1-2 hours. If there was a nappy leak I change him before we start to feed but usually he doesn’t need it. The nappies at night are just wet now and not dirty anymore.

    Sleeping: Sacha is sleeping well and we are getting 6-8 hours a night with two feeds which is awesome. Hopefully they will go to one or no feeds in the night soon!

    We haven’t had to use any formula again but I am still using a dummy. It seems to help him get back to sleep and saves me a lot of pain.

    I find it much easier to wake up for night feeds now but in turn that has made it difficult for me to get back to sleep. The breast pain keeps me awake and I also am wide awake from the feed so it takes me a long time to settle again.

    Eating/Feeding: Feeds are now 15-25 mins, hopefully we get down to 15 mins regularly soon. Occasionally he coughs and splutters so I guess that means my let down is good and strong.

    I’ve been using cross cradle a lot more rather than rugby hold. However, rugby hold results in much less wind and reflux because he can be almost upright by the end.

    The most frustrating part of feeding right now is how fussy he is; latching on and coming off repeatedly then crying in between. He seems to gulp down a lot of air when he comes on and off which probably gives him a lot of gas – hence the reflux. I hope that stops soon!

    Size: We’ve now retired the newborn/1 month clothing and are in mostly H&M 1-2 month clothes. 0-3 months is still a little big – especially for bottoms.

    We’ve moved on to Size 2 nappies which seem to cover a lot more of his back and tummy. We’re still having a few leaks but maybe that’s normal?

    Milestones: We’re getting smiles quite regularly now. His neck is getting stronger and stronger through tummy time and he seems to be actively looking at his baby gym – even reaching towards the toys and hitting them.

    Andy has almost got Sacha to giggle. He’s been giggling occasionally during his naps and he really seems to want to giggle sometimes but can’t quite work out how to do it.

    Happy v day peeps! #valentines #babystyle @mothercareuk @vans @ikeauk

    A photo posted by Christinkerbell Sparkle (@xtinasparkle) on

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