The Super Whites The ordinary life of a Super Mum

The Super Whites
Stella is 5 months old

There have been a lot of changes in the last few weeks, there is very little of that tiny baby about Stella now that she is growing and filling out. The comparison photos show that Stella’s body is lengthening and her legs are getting longer too. She still has gorgeous chubby thighs and recently with the change in the weather we have finally got to see her sweet arms and fat little wrists. I feel a little stressed out about summer because I have been so focused on having a winter baby that I can’t quite believe its Spring already. Where have the last few months gone? This weekend I finally went through all the summer clothes I have in storage for Stella, many that Amy never even wore because I was only able to pack such a small amount for our trip to South Africa when Amy was 5 months old, everything else went into boxes which were shipped to Australia and put straight into storage. Stella is going to be the best dressed baby at the park, so many beautiful little dresses, lucky really because she continues to grow at an alarming rate and doesn’t fit into many of the little tracksuit and sleepsuits that belonged to Amy.

Stella has changed so much over the past few weeks. She now has a full range of noises including a squeal and a shriek to get our attention. She is such a smiley baby and seeing her dimple appear when her eyes light up is one of my favourite things of all time. Despite being such a happy little soul Stella still doesn’t laugh. I am able to get a throaty chuckle if I lie her down across my lap and bury my face deep in her neck and tickle her gently at the same time but its not really a proper laugh. Amy can make her laugh but its almost as difficult to convince Amy to repeat anything she was doing that got a reaction and so we wait for the elusive giggle! Stella chews and sucks on her hands and fingers and drools everywhere, every day I run my finger over her gums checking for those teeth which we are convinced are just under the surface! Amy’s first tooth broke through when she was aged 5 months and 1 week so we are still two weeks off that date with Stella and there is no guarantee that she will teethe to the same schedule that Amy did, but we still check daily!

Since getting back from South Africa the sleeping situation has improved slightly, gotten worse and then improved again. I have given myself an attitude adjustment which has really helped me cope with the feelings of frustration and sometimes anger and sadness that come with prolonged sleep deprivation. The hardest thing is not so much that Stella still wakes for a feed in the early hours, but more that she is sticking to the same schedule that she was on aged 6 weeks so effectively there has been no change in over two months. Those first few weeks I was so relieved that I had a baby who slept well and settled easily that I stopped worrying about when she would drop a night feed, now at nearly five months sometimes I feel quite desperate that she is still not sleeping for long stretches at night and although often I can hop up and settle her with a quick pat or the dummy and not even feed her, I am still not sleeping for more than 3 or 4 hours at a stretch and my nerves are wearing thin.

The attitude adjustment has really helped with how I feel about it all, one Sunday morning I lay in bed having just gone back to sleep for a nap when Stella went back down again and she was awake and crying and I just knew she wasn’t going to settle and I had been so looking forward to another few hours sleep that I just lay there, crying and feeling desperately sorry for myself. And then I got up and showered and got us all up and out the house and we had a beautiful day out and I realised that there is only one variable that can be adjusted in this relationship and that is me. At the same time as I sorted my attitude I also spent some time reading up and concentrating on Stella’s daytime schedule. I figured if I couldn’t fix the nights then at least I could make sure the days were going right.

At night when its dark and cold and Stella is awake and I know that I can either get up and go in two or three times, each time being awoken from a sudden and deep sleep, or I can just pick her up, give her a quick 10 minute feed and we can both be back in bed and properly asleep within 15 minutes, well its too tempting to just feed her. Those are also my precious moments with my baby girl, just us, cuddled together, her little hand opening and grasping, tweaking at my bra strap, clutching the bed sheet as she feeds, sucking fast and then slow and eventually slipping off my nipple altogether and we lie together, me inhaling her sweet smell and listening to her gentle snores before I hoist myself up and burp her and tuck her back into her cot in her sister’s bedroom where Amy lies, sleeping deeply. These are special moments that I will never get back because before I know it Stella and Amy will both be lying in big girl beds, sleeping deeply.

So at nearly five months there is clear pattern and routine in Stella’s day. We are all awake and up before 7.30am which is working really well for us, no more lying around in bed trying to squeeze in just ten minutes more sleep. Now I get up and organised and wake Stella if she is still sleeping so she is feeding before 8am. She goes back down for her morning nap about an hour and a half later and will sleep for anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. The next feed is at 11am and then another sleep from 12.30pm or so for another hour and a half. Next feed is at 3pm and then sometimes depending on what we are doing Stella will catnap for 30 minutes at around 5pm before bathtime at 6pm and bedtime at 7pm after the last feed of the day. I am staying up to dreamfeed her most nights at about 10pm and then she wakes again for a feed anytime after 3am. I don’t think the night waking is hunger related because if she was really hungry she would be awake earlier and feeding for longer, the 4am feed is so quick and on the rare occasions when I have tried to feed her more at this feed, she has quietly but effectively told me she is not really that hungry by throwing up all over me! Most inconvenient at 3 in the morning!

I am resisting starting Stella on solid foods, I am not quite sure why I am so adamant I want to leave it for as long as possible, perhaps its another way of denying how fast she is growing up. I don’t believe she needs food as she is clearly still thriving on my breastmilk and its only another few weeks until she is 6 months old. Maybe I am also really scared that the night sleeping will still not resolve even after I start her on solids and this is what everyone suggests! I don’t think I could bear it right now if I started her on food and she was still waking so I will hold out for another few weeks and take it slowly introducing cereal and purees like we did with Amy. Fingers crossed that Stella is just holding out for six months to surprise us all by sleeping through!
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