Highlights of week seven (week of 22 May):
Elodie has really gotten strong this week! We do tummy time every day and she is getting so mobile and strong, and already threatening to roll over! Really proud that she is growing so well, solely on my milk. She is constantly kicking her legs and moving her arms.
She is also getting very smiley and chatty, and I absolutely love our little conversations, where she tests out her vocal cords and makes noises at me and I make them back at her. It is so adorable and I love being able to communicate with her. It’s so important for brain development.
London was hit with quite the heat wave this week, which I loved, but I worried about Elodie getting too hot or being in the sun. She will really only travel in the carrier with me; the buggy is a lost cause at this point. So we both wore minimal clothing and I kept her in the shade, with her head covered by a giant hat, whenever we were out. We went on walks every day and met up with my mum friends for visits to the park and a lunch one day. Andy’s dad Mark and Becky were still visiting but they did a few trips away during the week, so we saw them a few evenings which was really fun. It was so great having them here.
Elodie has begun to sleep in longer stretches at night, which is exciting. This week, she was reliably doing about four hours for her long stretch of the night, from about 10pm to 2am or so, eventually progressing as late as 3am. Getting one good block of sleep like that is great. However, after about 3am she was waking about once an hour to nurse. But we are getting there. She is too young still for an early bedtime routine, but we have started to wind things down in the evening, doing baths every other night, putting on jammies, doing baby massage and reading Good Night Moon.
Breastfeeding has continued to go really well. I’m still feeding her on demand and not enforcing a strict schedule, but working towards getting her to last at least two hours between feeds, if not three. However, bottle feeding has not gone as well. I’ve tried pumping nearly every morning, and it is quite complicated to pump with her around. The best way to make it work is to feed her on one side while pumping on the other. It’s a bit acrobatic but I’ve been proud of myself the days I’ve been able to make it work. However, some days I barely am able to get any milk which stresses me out…which only makes it worse. Washing and sterilising the bottles and equipment is a pain, and then most times Elodie doesn’t want a bottle anyway…so I have to throw it out. I’ll be honest, the whole thing is frustrating me but I know we have to keep at it until we get there. It makes me glad that breastfeeding itself has been so easy. It’s just the pumping and bottle-feeding situation that is frustrating.
Elodie still has her periods of fussiness every day, but we are making some breakthroughs in what soothes her. White noise has become huge; this didn’t work when she was a newborn, but one day I noticed the washing machine was lulling her to sleep. I used a white noise station on Spotify to help me take a shower, and then another day the hair dryer helped her take a nap for TWO HOURS! I discovered the Sound Sleeper app and that is gold. It doesn’t always work but it definitely helps. Often, Elodie is calmer and happier around new people – I think she fusses when bored. The evenings are definitely her toughest time. Gripe water also helps with the windiness. The other things that calm her are doing lunges and squats while carrying her. I have spent a LOT of time doing lunges around the neighborhood with her in the carrier to help her fall asleep.
As for me, I’ve been doing more stretching and yoga moves while playing with Elodie on the floor, and lots of walks and lunges and squats (see above!) every day. I finally ventured out to try my first run on Wednesday night once Andy got home from work. At first it felt amazing and weird, to be my old self but not. It’s been six months since I ran at all, and 10 months since I ran as just me, without her inside of me. Emotionally, it was so strange to be apart from her. Physically, it felt good at first but I really need to strengthen my pelvic floor. After about 15 minutes Andy texted that she was crying and it turned out she screamed the whole time I was gone, just 25 minutes. I felt terribly guilty, like I rushed things too much. On Saturday morning, we tried again and that went much better for all of us. I was able to run 4 sets of 5 minutes at a time, and I missed her terribly again but she did much better, sleeping and and then waking up happy. Mornings are definitely her best times so it’s probably best that I stick to weekend morning runs at least to start.
And finally, our biggest event of the week was on Sunday. We did our first country walk with Elodie! We did a 10-mile route around Pluckley, in Kent, with Mark and Becky, and it was so much fun.
Andy and I took turns carrying her in the carrier and it went great. It was very hot and sunny which made me nervous, but we took breaks and kept her in just a vest, with her head covered by her hat.
It was hard, physically, carrying her but oh so much fun. It was such a beautiful day and so nice to be out in the country, with quiet, fresh air, wide open spaces – I really missed our country walks and can’t wait to do more. I loved feeding her in the woods – I felt very earth mother about it all! We had a nice pub lunch and then later enjoyed stopping in two more country pubs and hanging out in their gardens.
It was a long day and there was a major poop event on the train on the way home! By then we were totally exhausted but it was such a good day it was worth it. And she slept 5 hours and 45 minutes straight that night, a new record!