The Baby Forgot How To Sleep

From fairly near the beginning with both of our children, we have been blessed with good sleepers. Alexandra slept through from a few months old and has never, aside from the odd night of teething, looked back. When Max followed suit we were pretty pleased and, although I’d still been getting up to express and we had the eternal ‘putting the dummy back in the baby’s mouth’ momentary stirring regularly, things seemed like they’d all gone the right way again.

Then about two months ago, Max started getting up in the night. And by getting up in the night, I mean sometimes being unsettled for an hour or two at 10pm, sometimes being awake for three hours from 1am and sometimes never really settling for the majority of the night. He had a bout of bronchiolitis, we knew teething was starting and he was also rapidly outgrowing his Moses basket so we thought it was a combination of all of those. Knowing what to do wasn’t easy: you try the usual teething gel, more blankets, fewer blankets, rocking, shushing, patting. He spent a fair amount of time in our bed. It then came time to put him into the nursery his sister had just vacated – we wondered whether it might make things worse because he does like the comfort of being near to someone, or whether not having the disturbance of us coming to bed or getting up for the loo would make things easier for him.

Well the result wasn’t great. He had a few of his worst nights when we put him in his own room (he also had another cold, about his fifth of the winter, which wasn’t great timing but he was about to burst out of the ends of his Moses basket and if we waited until Max wasn’t snotty he’d have been in with us for years). I read an article one morning at 4am about the timings of naps and concluded that his afternoon nap needed moving backwards so he was waking around 4pm and that we needed to ensure he was in bed by 7.30pm at the latest. The first few nights of this new routine were much better, we were only up to him a couple of times in the night and that was just to replace his dummy rather than spending an hour or two trying to calm him with every and any baby soothing method we can think of.

Then two nights ago (Sunday), he didn’t have a great night. Last night was pants too – he was up for a while around the time we went to bed and then again in the early hours then there were about three hours where I never got the chance to get fully back to sleep in between getting up and down to him.

I’ve read articles saying if you can get them to self soothe then they’ll sleep better. Not so – Max now goes down sleepy but awake and gets himself to sleep almost immediately. But if he wakes up in the night then he needs us to come and settle him back down. I wonder whether weaning him off the dummy would help but I think it might make things worse at this point – and I really can’t face the few days of awful, awful crying that we know it’s likely to take to break the habit.

I wonder whether it’s related to the fact he has a lot of colds so his nose is blocked a fair amount (although we use Snufflebabe, nasal spray and have his cot at an angle in an attempt to help), whether it’s reflux (which is fairly under control on his meds although we tried to reduce them last week on the doctor’s advice and have gone back up to three doses as he’d started being sick more), whether it’s teething (two have popped through and he’s potentially showing signs number three is on its way), whether it’s separation anxiety (although he’ll sleep for the first few hours of the night absolutely fine on his own) or whether it’s his allergies (in which case we’re doomed until he grows out of them!).

Of course, the alternative is he read the article I wrote for the Motherload about baby sleep and decided to make me look a fool.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

A Big Girl Bed

For so, so, so, so long we’ve been talking to Alexandra about her big girl bed in her new big girl room and we finally made the transition over the Christmas holidays.

We knew as soon as we found out we were expecting baby 2 that we would move baby 1 into the bigger bedroom (she had been in the nursery ie the box room since leaving our room at six months) and then I think had we had another girl, they would have shared and we’d have used the third room for storage and/or a study. Anyway, Max is very much a boy so it was decided unfortunately as he was the second child he’d have the smaller room.

What with work, two children, various other commitments and a multiple of problems along the way, it took until a couple of days post Christmas for the room to be ready. We’re really pleased with it – we decided to use the light green and pink accessories already up in the nursery so picked green walls, white furniture and pink curtains (as an aside I’m SO glad we didn’t pick pink paint as I think it would have just been too girly and saccharine sweet). During the day, Alex really enjoyed playing in there (lots of her toys and books are now in there alongside her new dolls’ house).

And then it came to bedtime.

She was truly reluctant to get into bed at first, wanting me to lie down instead and then running off. Eventually Dylan and I swapped places and he went in to get her sorted. There were some tears (from her) but around an hour later she’d finally settled and that was the last we heard of her until 8.30am the next day when she burst into our room (she can now open the doors in our house even though they’re the twisty knob type handles that I struggle with!) shouting TAA DAA. The entrance was hilarious, cute and I feel well deserved given the fact I fully expected to be in and out with her all night.

The next day it took even less time and now she’s fairly happy with trotting off into bed, although she demands an extra story in her room. The first couple of nights there were a few times when she escaped onto the landing but that’s stopped now and so far, touch wood, she hasn’t got up in the middle of the night. In the morning, she’s either been coming into our room (but at a decent time so that’s fine!) or playing quietly.

Our one issue is I have no idea how to get her to stay in bed and go for a nap? As a result she hasn’t had her eyes shut during daylight hours (except once when she fell asleep on her trike the other day). Do I pop her back in the cot in the nursery? What if Max needs to nap at the same time? Do I just accept she doesn’t nap anymore? Do I have to drive round and round for two hours each afternoon so she can sleep in the car?

Of course, our other issue is now Max is in the nursery and he has completely malfunctioned and decided to sleep like a newborn – except he was a regular ‘up every three hours’ newborn so this is even worse. I shall save the sorry tale for my next post!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Swimming With Babies

The contents of a swimming bag for three!

The contents of a swimming bag for three!

We have a little routine going now on a Friday evening so we can have some time in the swimming pool with Alexandra. Even before she was born we bought cossies for her and decided we wanted to take her swimming, although eventually she was about 18 weeks old before we did.

We go to our local pool which has a session between 6.15 and 7.15 every evening for all ages, that may seem late to some but usually she’s had all her bottles for the day before we go so then when we get home she’s straight to bed, she always sleeps great afterwards so it’s not disrupting her routine as far as we can see.

As Dylan’s at work until gone five I prepare the swimming bag and then get Alex into her swimming cossie and swim nappy before wrapping her up warm and getting her into the car seat ready for him coming home. Once we get there we lay her down on the bench (obviously standing next to her at all times!) and get ourselves ready (I’ve always got my swimming stuff on under my clothes to make this process a bit quicker) before changing her at the last second.

We go into the pool for 20 minutes – as recommended by NHS guidelines to make sure she doesn’t get cold. She really enjoys bobbing along and watching the other people in there, as well as kicking her legs when she goes onto her front! From an early age she’s been in the shower and had water gently splashed on her face in the bath so she’s not scared of the water at all. I’d hate to have a child who didn’t want to get splashed!

After 20 minutes we go to the showers and I always skip washing my hair so I can go and empty the locker and get everything ready for her while Dylan gives her a shower. I then take her and wrap her in her big hooded towel to get dry and warm. Then it’s a quick change into a normal nappy and her babygrow so she doesn’t have to be changed again for bed when we get home. She’s then wrapped in her outside clothes to keep warm while we both get dressed again then we’re ready to go!

This little routine is working well for us although it will be even better when she can spend longer in the pool and one or both of us can get some proper swimming done in the lanes while the other looks after Alexandra for a bit!

Harriet and Alexandra X

Five Months Old

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Tomorrow our little poppet will be five months old – really not that far off her half-birthday! Although it seems like a billion years ago I gave birth and so many things have happened since, it’s also incredible to think she’s not a little tiny newborn anymore.

This month she seems to be learning new things every day and she’s also changed physically quite a lot – getting chunkier, losing hair and looking very different facially. She hardly ever rolls although we know she can do it, but she’s obsessed by hands – both her own and other people’s – and is now starting to reach out and grab her feet, also spending a lot of time with her legs straight up in the air as she likes to look at her toes!

We’ve been¬†swimming a few times which she’s really enjoyed, nosing at other people as well as kicking away in the water. She’s also now in the ‘big bath’ in a little seat so she gets to splash around a lot and sometimes daddy gets in the bath with her too! We’re in no hurry to wean so she’s still exclusively on milk, now taking 210ml five times a day.

Her routine sees her wake around 8.30am for her first feed, then having three more spaced throughout the day, with bedtime starting any time after 7pm. She’s normally asleep by around 8.30pm so doing a solid 12 hours with a couple of naps in the day. Sometimes she hardly naps for a couple of days but then she seems to need to catch up and has a very sleepy day.

We’re taking the train a lot and getting out and about more, seeing her NCT friends and their mommies most weeks now which is really lovely for both of us. Alexandra still absolutely adores her daddy! But she’s started to get a little more cuddly with me too which is brilliant.

She’s still in 3-6m clothes and is 14lb 15oz – remaining on the 50th centile! She’s loving ‘talking’ to us and does lots of what sounds like singing, especially in the morning. Alex is still in her moses basket in our room, which is fine as she rarely stirs in the night and if she does she only wants her dummy replaced.

That probably covers the main points! Can’t believe next time I do an update she’ll be six months.

Harriet and Alexandra x

A Day In The Life Of A New Mom

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1. Notice baby being sick
2. Catch as much sick in your hand as possible while frantically searching for a muslin cloth – which will have all disappeared at that moment despite there being at least three billion in your house.
3. Wipe sick off baby/floor/walls etc.
4. Check whether your clothing/hair has been vommed on.
5. Assess whether you can just rub in the sick and hope no one notices.
6. Change everyone’s outfit.
7. Notice baby doing a poo.
8. Wait for them to finish while simultaneously laughing at the grunting/face pulling and wondering whether it makes you weird watching another human pooing.
9. Change baby while trying not to hurl and wondering how something so cute can produce a smell so awful.
10. Put baby in jumparoo
11. Listen to the same goddamn tune over and over and over and over.
12. Try and do all the housework in the 20 minutes it takes for baby to get bored.
13. Notice baby is rubbing their eyes and looking like they haven’t slept in months.
14. Lay baby down with dummy in mouth.
15. Retreat to the other side of the room.
16. Notice dummy has come out of baby’s mouth and they are now wailing despite having taken the dummy out themselves.
17. Put dummy back in baby’s mouth.
18. Repeat steps 15 to 17 approximately 200 times until baby finally falls asleep.
19. Think about doing something useful while baby naps.
20. Baby wakes up while you’re still thinking.
21. Attempt to get bottle into baby’s mouth in the 2.1 seconds it takes between stirring and baby deciding they are so starving they need to wail at the same volume as a jet taking off.
22. Repeat steps one to 21 until daddy gets home and baby gives him their sweetest smile and wants to cuddle him even though every time you want a cuddle baby attempts to scratch your eyes out.

(I really like my baby honestly!)

Harriet and Alexandra X