Postpartum Diary: 9 Weeks – Big babies, car crying & baby osteo
I thought I was going to be doing far more postpartum diaries; especially sooner following the birth, but it’s funny about having kids – you do forget how busy your days get, even if it’s not that long since you had your last one!
I’d forgotten about the weeks of hormones trying to stabilise out again and crying at the drop of a hat for no reason, the amount of time spent with them just being on you, milk/poo/wee/spitup everywhere, and how disassociated you can feel from your own body.
All of that is kind of like riding a bike though – you do remember it and it all comes back. Sort of. Along with it comes the lovely moments of watching them sleep, becoming more aware of the world around them and how they develop their first social interaction skills. The difficult part this time has been coming to terms with different pregnancy/different baby, and getting my head around the logistics of a two-child household.
Packing everyone up to go for an outing is more complicated than trying to send a person up to the moon! I’m lucky enough to have a unicorn situation that I can get myself, the toddler and the baby to have a 1-2 hour nap every day at the same time, so sleep deprivation hasn’t been too bad (though it appears that mum brain is a completely unrelated issue that’s just as terrible as ever).
Big bouncing babies!
Baby girl’s length and weight are both sitting in the 99th percentile! Her recent 9-week weigh-in put her at almost 7.5 kgs. While we certainly don’t have to worry about her growth, it’s presenting a few different problems we’d never have thought of.
Back problems. After the extended time I had on bed rest due to my pregnancy my body isn’t used to carrying itself, let alone a big baby (and typically over my left shoulder which leaves me feeling imbalanced!). When I first started personal training I remember naively telling mums to balance themselves out by carrying bubba on the opposite side sometimes. The reality is this doesn’t happen because you need your dominant hand free to do things as you go about your day. My core strength is shot as I have diastasis recti and carried a big baby, which was extremely apparent when doing stand up paddleboard yoga the other day!
Baby wearing has been a lifesaver but buckle carriers are my preferred option which isn’t much use as she still can’t hold her head up on her own and I really dislike the infant insert for our Ergo – plus it’s too hot for it right now. With my first daughter I used a Moby stretchy wrap and a woven, however this time I wanted something super quick and more lightweight so invested in a ring sling. It’s great to have hands free and baby close to my body which helps with my centre of gravity, however, it’s not so fun on the back as it’s worn over one side. This is why strength training my back and core without baby on me has become an important part of my day to balance me out – even if it’s just a few minutes of exercising.
Outgrowing everything. When we left the hospital, baby was stuffed into the biggest newborn outfit we brought as she was already too big for them and needed to wear 0-3 month clothes. She’s almost outgrown a rocker we’ve borrowed, her feet are almost off the end of the car capsule (even though there’s still plenty of growing room for the upper body!) and we stuffed her into all the newborn nappies I stockpiled while pregnant even though she was probably too big for those too.
Car crying (a.k.a. screaming)
My first daughter seemed to like the car – or at least be indifferent to it. My second daughter is hating it with every inch of her being and is incredibly upset from the moment we leave to the moment we arrive at our destination.
This has resulted in a major buildup of anxiety for me every time we leave the house as it’s not just when we travel in the car, but goes for the buggy as well because it’s also happening then. It means we pretty much just have to suck it up and mentally prep ourselves for it to happen every time we go anywhere, and the only way we can get around is for me to wear her which means my new ring sling has been invaluable the past few weeks (especially when we were out for three days straight at the International Yoga Festival!). Walking for fitness isn’t much fun either as I’m not a big fan of wearing a hot/sweaty baby on hot/sweaty me.
I try to keep drive time to 5 mins max and avoid trips longer than that if I can help it as it’s quite heartbreaking to hear her and see the end result of a red-faced, tear-streaked, swollen-eyed baby once we reach our destination… And yet we still have to get out of the house or I’ll go nuts. It’s pushed back my timeline of returning to work and resuming personal training clients as well.
The only other mamas I’ve met who had the same problem with their babies have said it didn’t go away and the crying continued until around 7 months to a YEAR. The thought of it makes me stressed out so I’m taking whatever preventative measures I can to try and ‘fix’ it in the hopes it’s something that can be fixed and isn’t one of those wait-until-they-grow-out-of-it deals.
Baby either sleeps pretty well at night for the first four hours after putting her down then wakes up hourly after that sounding like she has a sore tum, or almost sleeps through with two wakeups for a quick feed. So lying flat doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Some have suggested it might be a motion sickness thing, but she starts crying in the car capsule before the engine even starts.
I get the feeling it’s linked into stomach discomfort and the idea of silent reflux has been thrown around by several friends and family members as being curled into a car seat can put pressure on a baby’s stomach. Nothing really seems bad enough to warrant seeing a doctor specifically about it, though I might mention it at our next checkup if we’re still having problems. She’s putting on weight well, doesn’t throw up her milk, handles lying down okay in some situations, though you can hear her sometimes having issues in the back of her throat and then getting fretful straight afterwards.
It may just be that her digestive tract isn’t mature enough yet, but rather than a wait and see approach I’ve decided to see what we can do right now as the car/pram screaming is just horrible. If there’s anything we can do I’d rather we give it a go now than look back and wish we’d tried it sooner! If all this doesn’t work I’m willing to accept my fate that we just have a car screamer…
So one of the approaches I’m taking is baby osteopathy. While many respected medical professionals will advise that there isn’t solid evidence for this approach, I’ve spent a lot of time personal training mamas who believe their babies have had incredible results from osteopathic treatment sessions. Baby osteopathy is typically performed by osteopaths who have had additional postgraduate training to specialise in the area.
Last week we had a 15-minute consultation where the osteo assessed my daughter, palpating her body – especially her head and belly – to get a feel for what might need treating. Baby’s tummy was extremely tight; so much so that her belly button had popped from an ‘inny’ to an ‘outy’.
Even though the osteopath didn’t do any work on her as such during the consult, it was instantly obvious she has a connection with babies as my daughter was all smiles and coos throughout the session (bear in mind this is a baby that my own mother, mother-in-law and even at times the husband have difficulty handling and here she was happy to be massaged and prodded in a range of ways). Plus the handling may have had more of an effect as you’ll read further down…
The other thing we’ve done is elevate the head of her bed in case it is reflux and start her on baby probiotics (I bought Radiance Probiotics Baby Drops which is a liquid) as I had antibiotics close to the end of my pregnancy when I had the cerclage removed. This is because there is a naturopathic theory that mum’s gut health is closely linked to baby’s.
As antibiotics kill off not just the bad bacteria to prevent infection following surgery but the good as well including those that help with digestive processes, it’s considered pretty standard these days to take a probiotic supplement following a course of antibiotics. I asked a pharmacist about it at the time who advised as long as I was taking them it should be enough, however, I’m keen to see if these baby-specific ones make a difference with the problems we’ve been having.
I’ve also been doing baby ‘exercises’ to help her digestive system along such as gently bringing her knees up to her belly, bicycling her legs and giving her gentle tummy massages.
Something obviously worked from all the above as after doing the osteopathy/raised bed head/probiotics/baby exercises she spent the next 24 hours being extremely angry and grunting out a series of enormous poops, then the following 24 hours she was all sunshine and happiness, her belly was softer and she almost slept through the night with one 5-minute wakeup to feed.
We also managed at least 15 minutes of her sleeping in the car rather than screaming at us which was a huge win – although she did wake up when the car stopped moving and went back to crying.
Her temperament and tum slowly reverted back over the next few days and we’ve just done another osteo appointment (which she loved at the time but has been left raging again!) so it will be interesting to see how this plays out… stay tuned.
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