Stories and thoughts from day to day life in the Bullard Family

Singing to an Infant: Lullabies June 25, 2011

Filed under: Songs — parentsong @ 11:32 pm
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Lullabies have been the muse that lures babes to sleep for, well, a very very long time. It is quite natural to sing to a baby. Almost every culture has some form of a lullaby. Lullabies help promote sleep, increase bonding, boost confidence and trust (part of the rhythm, something to anticipate or something expected), and can be soothing to a restless babe.

With our daughter, we sang spirituals and an English song called Ten Green Bottles. It was difficult to sing to Gabriel in the early months because he was colicky and the only thing that soothed him was shhhhing. Now that he isn’t crying all the time, I have been using lullabies to soothe him during his bedtime routine and prepare him for that wonderful slumber. This also helps me keep the routine straight. This way, even if it gets a little off track, I can keep the same basic rhythm leading to bedtime because it is guided by song. This doesn’t exactly put him to sleep every time, but it is a start!

Here is the rhythm I use for now (at 4 months):

      1. Short song to announce bath time (I wrote).
      2. After bath, during massage and dressing I sing All the Pretty Little Horses. I usually end up improvising some and changing words until we are finished.
      3. During his bottle, which is the only time I don’t nurse him, I sing Edelweiss. It’s not a typical lullaby, but it is very soothing and lovely to hum.
      4. After he has finished eating, I rock him and walk around singing the spirituals. Usually Swing Low, Sweet Chariot or Goin’ Down That Lonesome Road, residuals from when we sang Briony to sleep. If it goes on longer, I bust out the Ten Green Bottles.

Since using these songs, I am better able to keep a consistent routine. This is part of our sleep plan and part of our colic recovery. More on that in other posts.


Our Sweet Little Angel (Ha!) April 16, 2011

Filed under: Gabriel Stories — parentsong @ 2:14 pm
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I knew that this baby was quite spunky from the way he behaved in the womb. Always kicking, no, thrashing about for several hours every night. He came into this world with a bang and hasn’t let up since. This boy has been nursing non-stop since he was born. I mean, he can go four hours, but that has only happened twice. Usually he will nurse every 30 minutes for about 8 hours a day. The rest of the time it is every 1-2 hours.

Now, they aren’t long, drawn out nursing sessions. He is finished after about five minutes. He has learned not to take too much at a time because he spits it all back up. He used to lose the whole “meal” several times a day. We figured out how to deal with the spitting up (thanks to Dr. Sears’ suggestions) and so that is less of an issue. Although, I am still changing my outfit (yes, the entire thing) one to three times a day.

For many babies, spitting up causes a weight gain problem. Not with this guy. He is, as of today, 14 lbs 12 oz. Okay, seven weeks and on our way to 6-9 month clothing!

Sleeping is also a big issue. Since he nurses so much, he sleeps very little. I mean, sometimes nine hours in a 24-hour period. He averages just under 12. For a newborn, that is very low. So he’s active, no problem, right? Wrong. Most of his waking time, if not nursing, he is crying. Loudly. Like an ambulance driving right through your living room. So, is something wrong with him? I don’t know.

Enter the medications: We started Zantac (against our wishes) with the hope of helping him be in less pain. His crying was often related to feeding, so he was diagnosed with reflux, or GER. After two weeks and no change, we have switched him to Prilosec, which is supposed to be more effective. Still, not a whole lot of difference. He may just be very vocal, or grow out of it eventually like so many babies do.

So how are we coping? More to come on that. I’ll write that bit as soon as I have another few minutes here and there to actually sit and use both of my hands!


Fresh Pics! March 13, 2011

Filed under: Family — parentsong @ 9:45 am
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Looking rather ginger here...

Enough of my blabbing, here are some of the latest Briony and Gabriel photos for your viewing pleasure!


Gabriel’s First Five Days March 2, 2011

Filed under: Gabriel Stories — parentsong @ 9:56 pm
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As with many new additions, the first few days are always the most surreal. This thing is here that wasn’t before and everything has been a little different since then. I mean, life goes on and we try to keep things as normal as possible, but things are different. And exciting!

When Briony was born, it was my favorite story to tell. We were invited back to our Bradley class to share the story of her birth with the next class. It was so nice to share the story. Now we have Gabriel’s story. Hardly a typical birth story; and certainly one that Nick was not expecting (at least I don’t recall him brushing up on how to deliver a baby prior to the birth). It has taken me a few days just to process what happened. It was so fast and unexpected. During labor, I thought about getting the music out and filling the diffuser with my essential oils, but all I could do was tell Nick to keep talking to me. And then suddenly the baby was born.

Day One

At first he was so calm and sleepy; completely the opposite of Briony when she was first born. He nursed wonderfully and everything seemed way too easy. I was still feeling pretty good after such a short labor, and still pretty high on hormones. Poor guy was pretty beat-up from the fast birth. That must have also made him pretty exhausted.


Day Two

By day two he had caught the Bullard fever: strong-willed, vocal and not afraid to tell us how he was feeling. It became a non-stop nursing marathon and suddenly I felt very exhausted. Having not slept much was also starting to wear on us. We still didn’t have a name, so I wasn’t calling him anything.

Day Three

Day three was more of the same, except that we got news at the doctor visit that he had very high levels of bilirubin and would have to be tested. You can catch that exciting story on another post, William Rubin.

Day Four

On day four, we finally decided on a name, which was such a relief. I could finally call him something that was going to stick!  I was finally getting into the nursing schedule (being non-stop), though now that I had milk, it was a constant dance between nursing and changing these itty bitty diapers and little time for sleep. For some reason, it wasn’t all that stressful. Perhaps because we had already been through it before and when sleep deprivation and exhaustion is expected, it is easier to cope with.

Day Five

Day five leaves me in a state of complete happiness. First of all, I have been able to rest, which has been key. Nick has really taken over running the house and looking after Briony. He offers full service meals in bed and special treats like fresh, toasty bread smothered in Nutella. Briony pops in frequently, excited to see “brother baby.” She’s still working on his name, which usually comes out like “Gagabul” or  “Bowaga.” It is so fun to see how she has really welcomed him.


What’s in a Name?

Filed under: Gabriel Stories — parentsong @ 11:39 am
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The adventure of naming. It seems so easy: pick a name you like and apply it to your child or pet or car, whatever you are naming. We had Briony’s name picked out quite a while before she was born. Once we decided that yes, we would call her Briony, that was it. There was no turning back. Even though she hadn’t even been born yet, this is what we would call her. We loved it and still do. It’s different, but not too different.

Coming up with a name when you don’t know the sex of the baby in advance posed too great of a challenge for either of us to take on. We found a few girl’s names we liked and agonized over boy’s names. To take the easy way out, we decided that it would be best to wait to see the baby before we determine what we will call him or her. Nothing like a healthy dose of procrastination!

Then he was born: a boy. Oh no! We have to come up with a boy’s name! We didn’t really LOVE any boy names the way we love the name Briony. We considered names such as Owen, Ellis, Benjamin, Ramsay, Ian (Nick’s middle name), Swithin (as in St. Swithin, which means nothing to Americans), and Obie. I started calling him Obie in case we named him Owen or Oliver or Orville. It just never felt right.

At 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, Nick came to me and said “what about the name Gabriel?” I like Gabriel, but it was 4 a.m. Let’s not make any rash decisions here. So we slept on it. After further discussion the next morning, we finally decided. Yes, Gabriel it is. Gabriel Ian. I think he looks like a Gabriel.


William Rubin March 1, 2011

Filed under: Gabriel Stories — parentsong @ 11:21 pm

When Nick took the baby to the pediatrician two days after he was born, I was expecting him to be gone for about an hour. Then he called me saying he had to take the baby to the hospital for tests because he appeared to have very high bilirubin levels (jaundice).  Many babies have jaundice when they are born, but sometimes it needs action.

The tests revealed a bilirubin level of 18.3, apparently rather high, as 22 can call for hospitalization. After a little back and forth with the pediatrician, we had ordered the biliblanket to be delivered by a medical supply company. The baby was to be on this blue light over night and get tested again in the morning.

Of course, we didn’t get to the lab until after they closed. I called the pediatrician and she said keep him on the light as much as possible. We also had him in the sunshine for a good hour two days in a row. So the poor babe had to sleep with this plastic glowing paddle thing in his back. This was not fun for me either, trying to nurse him and change him all the time.

We still didn’t have a name for the baby, so Nick suggested William Rubin, since his bilirubin levels were so high. Ha ha, of course Nick can keep his sense of humor despite being terribly sleep deprived and fighting a cold.

Fortunately, by Monday morning he was fine. The pediatrician said we would not have to have him tested again. Thanks to about 40 hours on the glowing blue light and lots of nursing!