July Roundup

As Elodie approaches her four-month birthday (later this week!), I thought I’d share some highlights from the rest of July.

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Fifteen weeks
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Sixteen weeks

Growth

At three months (July 3), Elodie weighed 10 lbs 15 oz.

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Three weeks later, I had her weighed again and she was only 11 lbs 12 oz. Both times, she was still tracking on the 9th percentile, which the health visitors assured me was good; she is gaining steadily. Everyone says babies grow out of their clothes so fast, but she is still solidly in 0-3 month size clothing. That’s fine with me since her clothes are getting plenty of wear, and although I do worry about her size I know there really is nothing to worry about. She still eats well and pretty frequently (every 2-3 hours) and I’m happy to let her eat as often as she needs to.

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According to The Wonder Weeks, Elodie is going through a major leap right now developmentally. I don’t have a great gauge of what is typical, but I get the sense from other mums I know that Elodie is on the more fussy side. I really like Dr. Sears approach to attachment parenting, and like how he characterises babies like Elodie as “high needs”. That is how I would describe her, as she just likes to be held and interacted with a lot. I don’t think it’s a problem; I love that she is so engaged and active. It’s just exhausting!

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Relatedly, Elodie is definitely going through the three/four month sleep regression. The days of sleeping 5 or so hours at night are over, as she often wakes every two or three hours. My mum friends are going through the same thing with their babies at this age which I find reassuring.

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On the plus side, we’ve gotten into a good routine with me feeding her and putting her down for bed in the evening. Many of the baby books/sleep experts discourage feeding them to sleep, but attachment parenting experts point out that breastmilk is designed to help babies sleep, and if it makes them happy, why mess with it? Definitely the approach we are taking.

Outings

One day a few weeks ago when I had nothing on the agenda for the day we went to the National Gallery! It was great fun – Elodie slept the whole time, I wandered around and looked at the paintings, and afterwards I got a sandwich at Pret and sat with her in St. James Park to feed both her and me.

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It was really fun and felt great to get out of the neighborhood and do something different.

We also spent a Saturday recently at the coast, visiting the village of Whitstable. It was an easy train ride there and I really enjoyed being by the sea (down the shore, as we’d say in New Jersey).

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It was kind of a stressful day though, as I was quite tired and Elodie had some fussy times, and it was all compounded by the fact that it was a gray day and rained a bit – typical British seaside in July I suppose.

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The oysters and fish and chips were fabulous though.

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Activities

Elodie continues to enjoy her various toys, especially her brightly coloured rings, and putting everything in her mouth. Last weekend, at 16 weeks old, we noticed her first tooth coming in so that explains the drool and chewing on everything!

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Elodie has also been making much louder noises lately as she tests her vocal range. She shouts with excitement while playing and she is starting to really giggle!

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We also read to her all the time; if she’s in the right mood, it can be a good way of settling her down.

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And this month we started swim lessons! We are going to our local leisure centre (like a YMCA) for adult/infant classes on Monday mornings; so far we’ve been to three classes and I’m really glad we are doing it. It’s important to me that Elodie learns to enjoy the water, and it’s just a fun thing to do together.  

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I was quite nervous about the logistics of getting in and out of the water and changing us both, plus holding her safely in the water. It all has gone really well! At first I think Elodie was just too shocked by the whole experience to cry, but seemed to enjoy it, and by week three she started to get really into it. We do lots of bouncing and swishing them around in the water, singing songs and playing and just getting the babies comfortable, and pouring handfuls of water over their face and even dunking them under!

Three weeks in, I’m very comfortable in the water with her but I have to say the logistics are still a pain. It is not easy to get a wet wriggly baby dry and clean and happy when about 15 other mums and babies are all trying to do the same thing at once in the cramped changing room after class – plus dry and dress ourselves – but we manage.

Last Friday we did our first baby and mum yoga class and I loved it! I went to Stretch, where I used to go for prenatal yoga, and really enjoyed the class and Elodie seemed to as well. During class Elodie began to grab her feet for the first time, like she first realised they were hers! So cute!

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Work

Last week, I took Elodie into my office to meet my co-workers and chat with my boss about my return to work. I was pretty stressed out about it, nervous about how Elodie would react and if she’d be in a happy mood. She was at first but then got quite overwhelmed being passed around to a lot of new people, so I retreated to a quiet room to feed and change her. It was really lovely to see my co-workers and it was nice that everyone pointed out the designated room that I could use for feeding; it was good for me to know I can use that for pumping too when I return. It was also good to talk about work stuff and get my head back in the game. In some ways I am looking forward to returning to work and that part of my life. I love my job and I like working on things that interest me with smart, interesting people. And my boss was very cool about my having a part-time schedule when I return. I am really lucky to have such a great workplace. Nothing is definite yet, but aiming to return some time in October.

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On Thursday, I visited her nursery again, to be sure I still liked it and ask some more questions. The nursery still seems like a great place and I think we will be happy there. It will be so hard to go back to work and leave Elodie with someone else, and I can’t really imagine it happening for real. But at the same time, I think I will be ready when the time comes. Does that make me a bad mum???

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Health

The week before last we hit a real snag in our routine when I contracted a stomach virus. It was the worst! I was sick for about three days and basically couldn’t do anything by lie on the floor next to Elodie and watch her play. It was absolutely awful. I felt so exhausted and weak and couldn’t eat a thing, and I was worried about how I could keep up my milk supply. Luckily that didn’t seem to be impacted, but I felt awful that I couldn’t take Elodie anywhere or engage with her much. We survived and Elodie was a champ but I was really miserable.

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And last week Elodie had her 16-week vaccinations, and initially did fine with them; there were three jabs and she didn’t even cry after the first one! She didn’t react too badly to the 8- or 12-week shots so I figured we were in the clear.

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But that afternoon she had a major meltdown, like nothing I had ever seen her do. She was inconsolably screaming and sobbing for hours, and nothing would settle her, and she refused to eat. The spots on her legs where the needles went in were red and swollen and probably painful. I tried to give her CalPol (liquid baby paracetemol) and she choked, which was so scary! I also thought she was twitching  and became scared she was having a seizure. I ended up calling the GP and took her into the office, where the GP assured me everything was normal. What a relief but it was all so scary. So glad she was okay, and this was a wakeup call that I need to learn more baby first aid!

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Then a few days later I accidentally cut Elodie’s fingertip while clipping her nails, resulting in blood and crying and me feeling terrible. 😦 Not a good few weeks for us medically!

But on a more positive note, on Saturday I went for my longest run since last year. I did over three miles and felt fabulous, and came home to hug my smiley baby. Such a good feeling!

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I love my little cute baby so much. She is still so tiny and lovable. I still can’t believe she is mine, and still feel so lucky every day.

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Life at Three Months On: Part Two

Previously, I talked about mental health and lifestyle changes post-baby. Here, I want to write more about running and physical fitness. For me, that is all tied up with mental health and lifestyle.

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On the face of it, I’ve recovered pretty well physically. I was lucky to have an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth and I’m pretty much back to my pre-pregnancy size – the superficial stuff that people seem to notice.

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But I don’t feel the same at all. I’m exhausted. Every day I wake up with sore joints and aching muscles. My wrists and knees and ankles and hips and quads ache from lifting and carrying Elodie and doing lunges all over the neighbourhood to help her fall asleep. I’ve been told that relaxin, the hormone that helps your joints loosen during pregnancy, remains in the body for months after giving birth.

My lower abs (or lack thereof) ache. I’ve gone to a handful of post-natal baby and mum fitness classes, which I have really enjoyed. I was told by a teacher at one of these classes that I still have diastasis recti, a separation between the abs, and need to be careful about ab exercises but it is important to build your core to help them reconnect. I’ve tried to do some yoga at home and mum/baby yoga videos, but I want so badly to do a proper long yoga session.

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I try to go for a run at least once every weekend; some of these tentative early runs have been good and some have been rough and turned more into walking sessions. I feel stiff and creaky. I am so tired all the time. I am a morning person, and I used to have no problem waking up at 5 or 6am to work out, even on the weekends. But I often wake up exhausted these days.

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On a Saturday or Sunday morning, I’ll feed Elodie and then dart out the door. Having a mental break is good for me and some solo Andy/Elodie time is good for both of them. Over the past six weeks or so, I’ve been able to work up to running more than two miles, with a short walk break in between, which is so short compared to what I used to do, but I’m proud I can at least do that. I need to remember that I stopped running in November, and just as I gradually had to step back exercise during pregnancy, it will take me awhile to build back up.

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Some days I’ve gotten pretty down on myself that I have so much rebuilding to do, but I try to remember I’ve also spent the last year growing and caring for an entirely new person! It’s not realistic to expect to “bounce back”.

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Before Elodie was born, I thought I would want to get right back into training for races, with a spring 2018 marathon in mind. It’s hard to realise now that my goals have changed. I want to be strong and in shape but I’m not sure a marathon is even what I want right now. Some day again, yes. I can’t wait to see Elodie cheering me on in a race. But I don’t know when that will be.

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So I am readjusting my mindset to be satisfied with fitting in exercise where I can, or not at all. I’m not as goal-oriented as I used to be. I always had races on the horizon I was training for and workout plans on my calendar, but now, it’s the most I can do to perhaps attend a baby/mummy group exercise class once in awhile, or just do walks and squats and weights at home or in the park on my own, workout videos and the occasional run. I don’t know if or how this will change in the future, but running will always be there for me.

Relatedly, I went to meet up with my running group friends one night a few weeks ago, to catch up and introduce Elodie. I’m glad I went, but it confirmed for me that this is not my life right now. And I wasn’t sad about it. When they all left to run, I was happy to go home with Elodie. I would much rather be with her, and I knew I wasn’t missing anything.

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When I come home from a run on a Sunday morning, I miss Elodie so much and we’re so excited to see each other. Even 30 minutes apart feels long. I need me time, and she and Andy need time together without me. But I am so lucky to have her smiling face to greet me.

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At a recent baby massage class, the instructor talked about how your world becomes smaller yet expands with a baby. It’s true. My world has changed, becoming smaller and more concentrated, but it feels richer. Not only am I helping Elodie grow and learn all day, every day, but I’m also forming different and probably deeper friendships now, with my local network of mums.

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The pace of life has changed. I’m not running 20 miles on a Saturday morning or going to spin classes at 6am or going to meetings all over London or flying internationally monthly. I’m going on walks to the park, I’m helping Elodie practice tummy time, I’m feeding her with my own body, I’m singing nursery rhymes and giving so many cuddles. It’s slower, more grounded, and much more meaningful.

Life at Three Months On: Part One

At three months postpartum, I thought maybe it’s time to talk a little about how I am doing. When a new life begins, it is so natural for everyone’s attention to go to this tiny new person and the wonder of a new human being discovering the world – as it should! These small helpless creatures are so precious.

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But so much about what the mother has just experienced, the physical trauma of childbirth, and the emotional rollercoaster of postpartum, goes undissected, as the mother learns how to be a mother amidst all this upheaval.

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Becoming a mother has given me a profound new sense of love and respect for my own mom, and everyone I know that is a mother. It’s incredible to me what mothers do for their babies, and how much of it goes unseen, unspoken about.

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While statistics vary wildly (likely because so much is unreported), some estimates indicate that more than half of women in the UK experience postnatal depression in the early weeks after birth, and perhaps 25 percent feel it longer term. I certainly felt it, and I think it’s something people need to talk about; the hormones coursing through our systems in the postnatal days are like no other, and are only compounded by this profound lifestyle and identity shift as well as the tangible challenges of learning to breastfeed and grappling with sleep deprivation.

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In the first month, I remember thinking that I felt everything so strongly, the highs and the lows – every feeling was so intense. I would watch Elodie feed and think about her future, her whole life, the wonder of it all, and just feel so overcome by emotion. I still do. I want to give her everything in the world, every opportunity, and protect her from everything bad, and it hurts that I know I can’t do that. I love her so much that I don’t think love is even the right word; I think it’s something even more powerful.

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But I would also become overcome with emotion in other ways. Embracing the ability to be constantly “interruptible” (something I read in the book What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen) has been a huge change. Mothers who exclusively breastfeed are never far from their children, constantly aware that they could be needed at any second, especially in those early weeks when babies have tiny tummies and no sense of a schedule. Elodie ate all the time in the early weeks, and even now eats every two to three hours or more often, and it’s not always predictable. I felt in the early days that all I did was feed her, and when they are that tiny, they don’t really acknowledge you and it’s so hard to read their needs. At times I felt frustrated, then embarrassed and guilty for feeling that way. It didn’t mean I didn’t love her; I just felt overwhelmed at times. She would have these epic crying fits and when you are in the middle of those, it feels like it will never end. When eventually they did end, I would emerge feeling shell shocked. 

At times I felt like I didn’t deserve to be her mother, that I wasn’t good enough or she didn’t need me. I knew even at the time it was the postnatal hormones going amok, but it was very scary. 

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These days, beyond feeding, she still often wants to be held or played with or rocked to sleep, more so than other babies I know. She has been really alert and engaged since birth, and I’m grateful for that; I love that she is spirited and energetic and I can’t wait to see how she will be as she grows up. But let’s be honest, it can be challenging at times! Whenever I’m alone with her and I can put her down, I rush through whatever I am doing, both aware that I need to be able to drop everything in a second, but also guilty that my attention isn’t totally on her at all times. No matter where we are or what we are doing, even if Andy is there and I know she is fed and happy and safe, I perpetually have a sense of low-level stress. I suspect that will never really go away; it is this feeling that there is an extension of yourself out there.

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I feel guilty about any sense of frustration that I ever feel, because I know she is just a tiny baby with very real needs. And my heart breaks for her when she is distressed, when she is so tired she can’t sleep and has to cry and doesn’t understand why. These times aren’t easy for her, and they’re not easy for her parents either. 

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But when I pick Elodie up, hold her and dance her around, I know just how lucky I am. We wanted Elodie for a long time, and I know lots of people who want children and aren’t able to have them, at least not yet. I feel guilty for ever trying to do anything but hold her. We grin and laugh at each other, and my heart melts. She coos at me and chatters and I feel on top of the world.

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In the newborn days, it’s hard to understand what they need or how they feel, and I couldn’t calm her with just a cuddle. In fact, picking her up and hugging her back then sometimes made her cry harder. But now, three months in, it’s different. I can pick her up and hug her and she’ll bury her face in my neck and it’s the best feeling.

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I watch her excitedly latch on for a meal, and drink to her heart’s content, and I watch her finish her meal with eyes closed and such a look of pleasure on her face. I hug her and kiss her, and I feel so content myself, so lucky to have her on my chest, my adorable precious baby. As a Type-A, borderline OCD type person who thrives on accomplishing things, who loves a clean house and a checked-off to-do list, I find it hard to sit back and relax. But I look into her big eyes, share a huge silly grin with her, and I know that is all that is so much more important. I know I am so lucky to be a mother, to be her mother. I get to spend these early days with her, and I’m keenly aware that if I was in the States, I’d already be back to work.

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At the beginning, I also felt very sad that my mom can’t travel here, can’t be here to hold my baby, to give me advice, to reminisce about her own days with infants or to reassure me that everything will be okay. I still feel sad about that. I also feel sad that my dad will never meet her.

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And there still is the perpetual fear that I am not good enough, that I will never be able to be the mother that Elodie deserves. That may never completely go away, but I am getting more sure of myself in this role.

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And we have started to have some more predictability to our days. In the mornings, Elodie is at her best and can sit contentedly in her rocker with a toy long enough to watch me make breakfast and perhaps empty the dishwasher or do some laundry. She’ll often take a nap for half an hour or so in the morning, while I will write a few sentences or paragraphs here. She’s pretty happy to sit in the rocker in the bathroom and watch me have a shower, and to play on the floor with her gym or some toys while I get dressed or do some basic house cleaning, while I chatter and sing to her all the time. All of these are changes that started between months 2 and 3.

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As the day goes on she wants to be held more and more, although I’ll get snippets of time in the afternoon where she might play with her gym or some toys for a few minutes here and there. Lately, I’ve been able to get her to sleep by about 9pm and I might stay up for an hour or two longer to read.

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On the weekends, it is so amazing to have Andy here to watch him bond and play with her. He has different ways of soothing her and playing with her. I don’t understand how fathers (or other caregivers) feel but I know their bond is special and unique, in a different way than mothers but no less special.

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Last weekend, I got a little overconfident and tried to go get my hair coloured at a nearby salon. The plan was that I would feed Elodie right before I went and leave her with Andy and a bottle (even though she still won’t take a bottle). Unfortunately she didn’t eat very much then.  

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I cried when Andy left to take her for a walk, and I had shortness of breath at the salon the whole time, knowing this would be the longest I’ve been away from her (still only 90 minutes). I brought my book and was looking forward to some “me” time, but I felt so weird and guilty and couldn’t enjoy it. And then Andy texted that she was inconsolably crying and needed to eat. My colour was nearly done so I asked the stylist to quickly wash it out, and I left the salon with wet hair and fed her on a nearby bench.

The rest of the day I felt so guilty and selfish about trying to do something frivolous for myself. I also felt sick thinking about the day when she actually will grow up and won’t need me. To think of her going off to school, going places without me, makes me panicky.

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I want to soak up every second of these baby days while I can.

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Life is lived in moments. The moments of her happiness, of watching her learn new tricks, of the three of us dancing in the kitchen while making dinner on a Sunday night, of playing on the floor on a Saturday morning, are what add up to our life.

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I truly believe those moments are the meaning of life.

Recent Weekend Outings

We’ve had several fun recent Saturdays out. A few weeks ago, we spent the day in Greenwich, a borough of London on the south side of the river, home to the Prime Meridian, the Greenwich Observatory and the National Maritime Museum.

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This was a really fun day; we had lunch in the garden of a classic old pub, The Plume of Feathers, walked around Greenwich Park and the High Street and Greenwich Market, visited National Maritime Museum, and walked along the waterfront.

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It was a beautiful day and Elodie was in good spirits for most the day.

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We also spent another Saturday in Marlow, a town on the Thames west of London. We took the train, about an hour journey, and met up with my brother John and his kids Ciara and Jack for the day.

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They are sadly moving back to America so this was the last time we’d see them for awhile.

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We met up in the local park, walked along the Thames path for a bit along the river, and had a pub lunch.

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We had a really fun day and my 13-year-old niece absolutely loved holding Elodie. They were so cute together!

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I’m sad they are gone but I feel really lucky we had these three years here together.

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Elodie was really happy and chill most the day, even taking a long delay on the train home in stride.

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Last weekend, we had our first rather nice dinner out, at a trendy new spot, Westerns Laundry, that opened nearby. We went with friends who live in the neighborhood and also recently had a baby. It was really fun to be out to dinner and felt so much easier to be with other people who also have a baby and understand the challenges. Janice and I both fed our babies during dinner, and the restaurant layout was perfect; because it was a hot night, the entire front of the restaurant was open to the front terrace and we were seated on the edge of the terrace so if the babies got fussy, we could easily get up and walk around with them outside. No photos from that night though!

It’s important for us to be able to continue to travel and do fun things with Elodie. Everything is different, slower and requires more planning now, but it is so much fun to show her the world!

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Three Month Update

Here are some highlights from the past few weeks with Elodie! This is a bit long so I’m breaking it into a few posts, with this first post summing up our general day-to-day life and developments.

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Three Months Old!

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Last Monday, 3 July, she turned three months old! It makes me sad to think she’s not technically a newborn anymore. To me, she is still my tiny baby but she is growing and changing fast!

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On her three month birthday I had her weighed and she came in at 4.95 kilogram (10 lbs 15 oz). I thought she would be a little more than that, but she is still just fine. She’s still in the ninth percentile for weight so holding steady.

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Summer in London

Despite London’s unusual recent heat waves, we’ve gone outside every day and have had lots of time in the local parks.

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It has been the hottest summer since we’ve lived in London and there have been at least one or two record-breaking days. I love the heat myself, but I worry about Elodie in the heat and certainly don’t want her getting a sunburn, so we spend our time covered up in the shade. On the hot days I definitely feed her more often, to keep her hydrated.

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In the mornings it is often cooler outside than it is in our flat, especially since we walk and sit in the shade. Some days it’s been just me and Elodie, some days I’ve met up with some of my other mum friends + babies to play together, and on the weekends Andy’s been able to join us too. 

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Elodie is so cute outside, doing tummy time on the grass, looking up at the trees and smiling.

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It is so nice to have spring babies and be able to spend these long summer days outside; if it was cold and dark winter time we’d be stuck inside much more.

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Mobility

Elodie is chattering and active and strong and threatening to crawl! She still loves her tummy time and that can be a good way to calm her sometimes.

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She can play with her toys on her gym and learned to kick them to make them swing! She also shimmies around on her back.

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One day I caught her moving completely perpendicular to how I placed her, all on her own. Very exciting to me!

She is alert and interested in everything, and going for walks in the carrier is no longer a guaranteed way to make her sleep because she likes to look around at everything.

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However, we have had a nice breakthrough in that we’ve started to use the buggy again! She definitely won’t lay flat in the carry cot because she can’t see out, but I’ve started taking her out in the car seat attached to the buggy base and that has been successful (I say that very tentatively though). She likes it since she can see out, and after awhile sometimes she’ll fall asleep in there. 

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I don’t use it all the time because it’s a bit of a faff to get it out of the house and on public transit, etc, but for local walks around the neighborhood it’s good to have this as an option again.

Overall she still has lots of clingy days. For some time each day she can hang out on the floor or in her rocker alone, playing with toys and looking at things, but she often likes to be held or carried around.

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We are still doing the baby massage classes once a week which is a joy; the last class is this week. She is really active during those classes and seems to enjoy it, and we’ve learnt some fun songs and massage/playtime techniques to do at home.

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Sleep

Sleep continues to be a challenge. Elodie struggles to go down for a nap, and often wakes up exactly 40 minutes after she fell asleep.

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Occasionally the white noise will work, occasionally the dummy will work, and occasionally she’ll sleep in the carrier or buggy, but none of those are guarantees. I’m just trying to be patient, remember she is still a very young person and this won’t last forever.

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There are so many “sleep experts” out there and I think most of them are money-making scams. It’s overwhelming to google things about baby sleep, but generally we are following attachment parenting practices. I don’t believe in crying it out, and she is too young for that now anyway.

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Evenings are always tough, and since Andy doesn’t usually get home til 7:30 or 8 it makes for a long day. At night, some evenings have been pretty rough with lots of crying and screaming, like the bad old days of colic. But not every night is like that and it’s definitely getting better. I’m trying to help her have her last nap around 5 or 6pm to calm her for the evening, and then put her down to sleep starting around 8:30, although it might be an hour before she actually falls asleep, usually after some fussing and one last feed.

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After she’s asleep she’ll be okay for a few hours, but unfortunately she has dropped from the 5-hour stretches at night we used to get. She now wakes every 2 or 3 hours throughout the night. She usually just wakes up to eat and then goes right back down, so at least that is good. At first I blamed this on the heat, but I’ve also since learned that a sleep regression is common around 3 or 4 months.

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But like I said, this won’t last forever. I am so aware of how fast she will grow. When Elodie was born my former boss told me, “The days are long, but the years are short.” So true!

Elodie is such a joy; she takes up all our energy but we love her for it!

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Weekend in Yorkshire

As I mentioned in my last post, we spent the weekend of June 10th, when Elodie was 9/10 weeks old, in Yorkshire, our first weekend away and the furthest that Elodie has ever been from London!

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We debated hiring a car but ended up doing the entire trip via trains and buses. Since Elodie won’t go in the buggy we didn’t bother to bring it, and didn’t need the car seat either. I carried her in the Boba carrier on my chest, plus had my purse/nappy bag over my shoulder and I carried her Sleepyhead pod for her to sleep in, then Andy brought his bag plus one big suitcase that all three of us shared.

Figuring how to pack for all three of us was quite stressful! I didn’t want to get up there without enough clothes or nappies or muslins for her, and while we could always buy stuff, I’d rather not waste money. Naturally, we ended up with more of everything than we needed, but better than running out!

On Saturday morning, we had an early morning departure for York but it all went well. We took the Overground to the tube to Kings Cross, had time to pick up coffee and breakfast at the station, and the two-hour train journey north went well. I fed her once on the train and while she mostly was awake and wanted to be held out of the carrier, all was good.

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Upon arrival to York, we checked into the Hampton Inn and though our room wasn’t ready, the staff told us to help ourselves to the continental breakfast. Compared to US hotels, this one put out quite an impressive spread. We took turns holding Elodie and getting coffee and a second breakfast, and I was ridiculously happy to have five minutes there just to sit and read and have breakfast while Andy walked around with Elodie. Just having those few minutes to myself, where I knew she was safe and cared for, was just such a simple pleasure. A few moments alone after a long week made such a world of difference.

We met up with Lindsey and toured York Minster, which was beautiful and had a really interesting exhibit about the construction and restoration of the building.

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It felt really good to be in a new place, exploring a new city. York is beautiful and a nice size city for walking around. Elodie mostly slept calmly in the carrier while we walked around and later had a street food lunch and drink in a pub.

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After a rest in the afternoon at the hotel, we walked along the top of the medieval city wall and around museum gardens which was gorgeous, and I fed Elodie on a bench there which was very comfortable.

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We had a pub dinner, at which Elodie got a little fussy near the end, and said goodbye to Lindsey. It was great to see Lindsey, have her tour us around, and see her get lots of quality time with Elodie!

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Going to bed that night in the hotel started out rough, with quite a bit of crying. The hotel provided a travel cot (like this), but we ended up having Elodie in her Sleepyhead on the bed next to me, and poor Andy crunched up on the little sofa in the room.

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The next morning at breakfast, the hotel staff provided a little high chair for Elodie! I thought she’d be way too small for it but she actually seemed to like it! So funny.

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We had a long journey of two trains and a bus to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales. Elodie was great and mostly slept the whole time to our surprise and relief. Near the end of the bus ride she woke up hungry, and I couldn’t blame her, as she had already lasted a long time. We arrived in the tiny quaint village and walked into our inn, The Lister Arms, with her screaming her head off as everyone enjoyed a quiet Sunday lunch. It was quite the entrance!

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Once we got into our room and I fed her, she was fine. We went downstairs and had lunch at the pub sitting by the fire, which was so cozy and relaxed (the food was pretty awful though, and that would be consistent throughout the trip).

After lunch we hiked up to see the Malham Cove.

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On the way we had a major crying episode which was quite stressful. We were walking by a cow pasture and all the cows came to watch, looking concerned, and I felt like they were all judging me as a terrible mother. 😦

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I did a ton of squats (as the rhythm of squats and lunges often soothes Elodie to sleep) and just as we turned around to abandon the hike, she fell asleep.

The scenery was so unbelievably picturesque, and I felt like we were in a fairy tale the whole time.

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After our walk we checked out the other inn in town, The Buck Inn, which was nice as well, then later had dinner at our inn. Elodie needed to be held, bounced, walked around a lot, but so many people commented on how pretty she is. Everyone we met was really kind. 🙂

On Monday morning we had the complimentary breakfast at the inn and set out for a longer walk in the country.

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It was a bit rainy and really windy and hilly at first and we were stressed about whether this was a good idea.

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Elodie was fine though and slept on me in the carrier the whole time, so we eventually relaxed.

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The views were absolutely gorgeous and I really felt like we were in a storybook.

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The hike was shorter than what we would normally do but of course we need to take it easy with the little one and not get caught someplace too far or remote with her, and I found carrying her quite tiring after awhile anyway.

When we returned to the inn in the afternoon, we had a nice relaxing time reading and taking turns holding her and walking around.

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It worked out really well that whenever I needed to change her or feed her I could just walk upstairs to our room. It was really nice and relaxing to just have this quiet time together with nothing to do but read and talk and explore the tiny village and grounds of the inn.

On our last morning, we had time for a short hike to a nearby waterfall, Janet’s Foss.

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I’m so glad we fit this in because it was a really pretty walk through the woods to the waterfall, and then we were rewarded with nice views above Malhamdale for the walk back, as well.

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That afternoon we had a journey of a bus and two trains back to York, but again Elodie traveled well. Happily, we had about an hour to kill in York before our train back to London, so Lindsey was able to come meet us again!

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We hung out at the train station and then had an easy train ride back to London. 

It was so fun to be away and see somewhere new after being in London for three months solid. It was also so nice to have four days straight with Andy, for him to get more bonding time with Elodie and for us to take turns holding her, playing with her and soothing her, giving each other breaks to read and relax too.

Also, I feel good now that we’ve gotten the first overnight travel out of the way and feel (slightly) more confident that we know what to pack and how to handle the travel logistics with a baby!

Weeks 9 and 10 with Elodie

Here are some highlights from Elodie from the past few weeks:

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Nine weeks old

When Elodie turned nine weeks old (5th June),  we went to the Conewood Street Children’s Centre for a health check and weigh in. The system of children’s centres in the UK is cool; I don’t know of any equivalent in the US, but basically every neighborhood seems to have a children’s centre where they do activities for children of various ages, run a nursery (day care) and have regular walk-in health clinics and midwife appointments. I went there for my two-week post-partum midwife appointment, and every Monday you can go to have your child weighed and meet with a “health visitor” about any concerns. A health visitor is a community-based professional, trained as a midwife or nurse with additional training in child health development. I like this system; it makes sense to not tie up doctor’s offices with weighings and it is good to meet with someone focused on babies, early childhood and post-partum issues. The health visitor I met with that day was so nice and spent more time with us than any doctor ever has.

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Elodie is perfectly healthy and weighed in at 4.42 kg or 9 lb, 12 oz! She has jumped from 2nd to 9th percentile which is great (I had no idea she was in the 2nd percentile at birth, and glad I didn’t know or I would have just worried!). I walked away with free vitamins for both of us and a timetable of upcoming activities at the centre.

Later that week I went back to the centre for a group for babies up to 8 months old. We met in the sensory room, which is a darkened room with all sorts of colored lights, toys and soft music playing. Elodie loved it! It was an unstructured group with just a few other mums and babies there but it was fun to meet other people and chat a bit, and I loved the sensory room.

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Another day, I tried out a baby massage class, and really liked it! It’s not quite as pretentious as it sounds: it was a small group setting, and we undressed the babies (including the nappies!) and sang songs, did baby massage and dancing. Elodie enjoyed it but also wanted to feed and a cuddle a lot during the class. She also chattered the whole time! I guess she found it all very stimulating and didn’t quite get the memo about how massage = chill out! But it was really cute. 🙂 I liked the instructor a lot and definitely will return. 

Our biggest event of the past few weeks was our first weekend away with Elodie! We went up to Yorkshire for a few days which was great! I plan to write a separate post about our trip.

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Last weekend, back in London, we had a fun Saturday with friends, going to brunch then a pub in the afternoon. I barely took any photos but it was a great day of catching up with friends and playing with Elodie. She was so happy and playful; she loves being out and about, seeing new people and having lots of people willing to hold her. She loves the stimulation!

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And Sunday was Andy’s first Father’s Day! I made a rhubarb-strawberry pie on Friday afternoon (this took half the day, as I would get partway through the process, then stop to play with Elodie, then partway through and then feed, then partway through and then a nappy change, repeat). I was pleased with the outcome since pie dough really intimidates me.

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On Sunday I made smoothies and breakfast and Andy opened presents from Elodie and I in morning, and we had a picnic in Clissold Park in the afternoon.

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Thanks Aunt Laurie for the onesie!

We are so so lucky to have such a wonderful daddy for Elodie!

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Other developmental highlights of the past two weeks:

  • Elodie has rolled over a bunch of times now, like it’s no big deal anymore! She loves tummy time and tries so hard to move on the ground.

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  • Elodie has started to eat for longer stretches at a time these days, like 20-30 or even 40 minutes at a time. While sometimes this makes it difficult to plan when we can leave the house, I like that she can go longer stretches of 3-4 hours in between eating. We had one night and day of very long cluster feeding, and a few days later I noticed all her newborn clothes were getting too tight. Must have been a growth spurt!
  • We have had lots of fun play time at home, with lots of chatter and playing with her toys and books. I love our little conversations and I love watching her grab at her toys.

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  • On rainy days when we are stuck at home, I can tell she is much more bored; she loves the stimulation of being out and about. (Just like me!)
  • She has been blowing bubbles, drooling and playing with her mouth a lot (and gnawing on her toys).
  • Her current sleep record is 6.5 hours straight, the night we got home from York!
  • Still won’t take a bottle.
  • Tried out the  buggy again for first time in a month but she still hates it – she wants to see out.
  • I really love breastfeeding and I am so grateful we’ve been able to do it. I’ll be sad when it ends.

This is a good stage to be in – I feel more settled, as she has become calmer and less prone to massive crying fits. I think it’s a combination of her outgrowing the colic, her digestive system maturing, and me being able to understand and anticipate her needs better.

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She is so incredibly cute that I can’t stand it. So tiny and lovable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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