Baby 2: 18 Months Old

Both of them love being out and exploring, Just getting some more use out of his 9-12m coat from last winter!

Better late than never eh? Max turned 18 months old on the 26th September. Alexandra was 18 months when her little brother was born so it’s kind of weird that he’s now at the same age! I feel like he’s still very much a baby (although people keep commenting how grown up he’s got lately!) whereas I felt like she was a proper little girl by this point. Maybe it’s just me misremembering how grown up she actually was.

Anyway:

Nursery – This feels like a big one to start with. Max has now started going to nursery one day a week, I was always a little worried about this (more so than I was with Alexandra anyway) because he’s much clingier and hasn’t spent as much time away from me as she had. The settling in sessions went fine then the first couple of weeks were rough. I didn’t feel guilty when I went back to get him at the end of the day because I know it’s so important for them to reach a stage where they are happy being without you (mostly to save you having to sit at the back of the room while they sit their GCSEs). But it’s hard to hear it’s been unsettled! Thankfully the last couple of weeks have been a little easier and although he’s still crying when I initially leave him, they said last week that lasted for five minutes then he was fine all day.

Food – Max has suddenly started wanting to feed himself a lot more and is doing really well using a spoon (rather than just shovelling in food with his hands!). He has a great appetite and would eat all day if I let him. We’ve had a couple of reactions lately to accidental exposures without being able to identify what happened, which has been tough. But he is doing really well! At the moment he really likes ham and chutney sandwiches/wraps, cheerios, eating apples whole (copying Alex!) and the Kiddilicious wafers.

Speech – This has come on so much in the last couple of weeks! I have been doing flashcards with him every day and he has learned to say doggy, ducky, pig, apple and then he already knew banana and ball, and he does raa for the lion, baa for the sheep and a hilarious meowowowow noise for the cat. He hates the tree card for some reason? And puts his little feet in the air when he see the shoe card. Other words he’s saying include mommy, daddy, Alex (he says it like Ali), yes, no, ta, please, oh dear, uh oh, there, mine, Max (again says it without the x).

I just looked back at Alexandra’s 18 month update (I know you shouldn’t compare but just out of interest!) – she was colouring using her left hand a lot, whereas I haven’t noticed as much of a preference with him. Max is just starting to show an interest in crayons too, although mainly to throw them on the floor. She loved playing with her dolls – Max sometimes grabs one to have a cuddle with and really likes pushing the pram around and finding facial features (which we’re slacking teaching Max although he does point to the relevant place whenever anyone says winky!).

Max’s favourite things – Throwing (apparently if you shout ball as you throw something which is totally not a ball, it’s all fine), football, food, just starting to show an interest in books, cuddles, throwing the water on the floor at bath time, getting the dustpan and brush out of the cupboard and ‘helping’ clean up, dancing, waving at people.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

We Hate Soya

We hate soya, we love sand.

I don’t think I’ve updated about Max’s allergies in a while and everything is sort of whizzing by in a big fog of crazy days and nights, so I thought I’d better commit pen to paper – or hand to keyboard – before he’s 30 and I’ve forgotten all about food trials and nappies and all that faff.

Super quick summary for the uninitiated: Max was diagnosed with FPIES at six weeks old, a condition in which there’s a delayed internal reaction to food proteins. His initial trigger was dairy which caused us a five-day hospital stay. We were also advised to avoid soya. I stopped eating both while I expressed for him – he was combi fed so he also had special formula. When we began weaning after a while we were advised to do food trials where one new food is introduced each week. Thankfully we had lots of passes so while there are a few things he hasn’t tried, we haven’t been trialling for a couple of months as he eats a fairly ‘normal’ diet aside from soya and dairy.

We had two goes when he was first weaning of introducing soya, both unsuccessful, so we decided to hold off a bit and then the time came when everyone was happy for us to begin trialling again. The idea was to use a ‘soya ladder’ where you begin with foods which have a small amount in, building up to soya yoghurt/milk. First time of doing this was around three months ago perhaps and resulted in some horrendous, horrendous poos and disrupted sleep. Fine said the dietician, try him every other month with it.

I have been putting this off and putting it off. Partially because he went through a huge phase of not sleeping so we wouldn’t have been able to tell if he was reacting or just going through this leap he had been going through anyway. Anyway we bit the bullet last week and bought some Pom-bear type crisps which are step one of the ladder.

Day one there was a weird poo, which happens with babies from time to time so we didn’t think much of it. Day two he slept appallingly – again it’s been known to happen without any cause so we kept on. Day three and as soon as a horrible poo happened, we called off the trial straightaway (and whaddya know he slept terribly again that night! Slept isn’t even the word for it. He was thrashing around all night next to me on the sofa like an eel being tortured). The constant crying, moaning, being grumpy and clingy was also not a great side effect.

So for now we want to say ‘enough’. He has such a varied diet because he’s got so many safes that we don’t feel there’s much, if anything, to gain from him being able to eat soya – and if the professionals want to contradict that then they should find ways to give him whatever magic nutrients soya is supposed to give without him having to suffer going through trials. Now we want to wait until he’s at least two (end of next March) before we try again – at least then he might be able to give us an idea of whether his tummy hurts if it does.

We often follow health professionals’ advice because they do know best in a lot of situations. But I really struggle with the idea that he’s going to be magically ‘cured’ and be downing soya milk by the pint in two months. If he starts doing well with step one of the ladder when we try again next year then great! Fab! We’ll be chuffed. Avoiding soya as well as dairy is awkward so it’d obviously be happy days if he gets over these reactions. But when your child is screaming at 2 in the morning because they’re uncomfortable it’s not hard to see why you wouldn’t be keen to repeat the process in eight weeks’ time!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: 14 Months Old

For the first time last month, I managed to miss a monthly update! Things have been CRAZY round here and time has been precious (and I’ll be honest sometimes when I have an hour or two to myself, I use it to aimlessly scroll through Instagram or just sit and watch television!). People told me the first year with two under two is the hardest but honestly they’re both at (cute but) exhausting ages right now!

Max is 14 months old now and is doing really well, as ever, we are massively proud of him.

He’s got nine teeth (or maybe ten by the time this is published as I’m writing this a couple of days in advance and one bit of his gum is so lumpy there must be a tooth just under the surface ready to escape!)

He’s cruising super confidently, getting better at standing independently and taking the occasional step by himself. Who knows, by next month we may be reporting back that he’s walking. But it may take a little longer, we’re in no rush.

Max is insanely good at climbing, just like his sister has been from an early age, and now takes anyone opening the front door as I sign that he should bolt out there and crawl up the drive as fast as he can – it’s a good job we don’t have a door that opens out onto a busy road!

Food-wise he’s doing really well, we have a few food trials left to try but it’s mostly stuff we’re fairly confident he’ll pass and also mostly stuff we don’t eat often at home so that’s why they’ve been left til last. We had a failed soya trial a couple of weeks ago that resulted in mountains of poo and horrible sleep. We have to keep trying though so no doubt there’ll be future updates about that. Portions are huge! He can eat and eat and eat.

His sleep is still very variable. We seem to have a few days where he’s really good and we start feeling like we’ve cracked it, and then all of a sudden he goes back to being a real pickle overnight! I must say, he’s back to settling himself when we put him down to bed which is fantastic after weeks of having to rock him to sleep like a newborn. But as I say, we’ve been through this cycle multiple times before and by the time this comes out we might be subject to hours of rocking and hours of watching Netflix at 2am again.

I’m not sure what he weighs at the moment as he hasn’t been weighed recently, but he’s moved into 12-18m clothes, although some of it is a little baggy.

When he’s not tired or hungry, Max is just the happiest little boy! He likes to get on his knees, clap and do this weird ‘jumping’ thing where he goes across the floor on his knees! It’s very funny and cute. He absolutely loves giving kisses and he still likes his hugs too.

Words-wise he is definitely saying yes, mommy, daddy, nana, banana, ta, there and digger. He also says something that sounds like Alex (without the x, same way his cousin says it!).

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Dear One-Year-Old Max

Max, it’s your birthday! You may not be able to read this right now but I hope in years to come you will and you will realise how utterly loved you are.

A year ago today, on Mothers’ Day, I was in a delivery room at Birmingham Women’s Hospital with your dad, a fabulous midwife and various other health professionals buzzing in and out of the room. Although you were a little early, we were desperate to meet you. We didn’t know how well you’d be when you were born, but you surprised us all by not only being born very quickly, but also breathing completely by yourself.

Things took a turn for the worst and the next three weeks were a rollercoaster of ups and downs as your little lung collapsed twice, you yo-yoed between intensive care and high dependency, you were looked after by phenomenal people, no one quite knew what was wrong with you and then all of a sudden there was a hospital transfer to the Children’s and you were taken down to surgery to close the hole in your diaphragm which was the cause of all the problems.

At every step of the way, and every day since, you amazed me with your utter strength. You were 4lb 13, had the skinniest legs I’ve ever seen, you were so tiny and fragile. And yet you showed you were a force to be reckoned with – from your repeated attempts to pull your own ventilator out to your absolute refusal to lie with your legs tucked into the little comfy nest the staff would lovingly create for you – instead you wanted one leg draped over the nest at all times.

We took you home a week post surgery, a phenomenally quick turnaround. And then of course you were admitted to our local hospital where your allergic condition was diagnosed. Eventually your hollow features filled out a little, you gained weight, you thrived, you became the beautiful blond boy turning one today.

And I can’t explain in words how incredible I think you are. There are people in this life who think they have a raw deal, who whinge and whine at every opportunity, who think ‘why me?’ and then there’s you – this tiny being who’s had to fight to be able to eat anything at all, to be able to breathe freely, to catch up with his peers. And yet you have the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.

I’m not pretending you’ve been an easy baby this past year! Your sleep has been somewhat erratic for the last four months or so, and sometimes you just scream and scream for something as silly as me leaving the room! But my god have you excelled in certain areas. The list of foods you can eat is so substantial the dietician was shocked when she saw them. Your latest x-ray caused the surgeon to remark what a wonderful job he’d done operating on you. And no one who looks at you would ever suspect how much you have panicked us and the healthcare world at times!

The way you look at and interact with Alexandra makes me so happy. When you were tiny you would turn your head to look the instant she made a noise – and now you are desperate to join in all the games she plays. You have learned to toughen up thanks to the rough treatment you sometimes receive at her hands, but I have also seen the two of you in fits of giggles so many times, I have seen you beam from ear to ear at the sight of her and I have witnessed so many cuddles and so much love between the pair of you. I hope you always adore her as much as you do now.

I never realised that you can miss something you don’t have yet until I missed you so fiercely in that time when you weren’t going to be a possibility. Throughout my pregnancy with you, I kept positive because I had to believe that you had fought the odds to even get to week 1 of that pregnancy – so maybe you were meant to be. A lot of odds were stacked against you but you have not only defied them, you have defeated every obstacle in your way and you have shown the world how tough you are. How ironic that the name we picked for you, Max, means ‘the greatest’.

I said when you were born that there had been a Max shaped hole in my heart and you’d come along to fill it. Baby boy, you have made my heart so happy.

Mommy x

Alexandra at 2.5

Alexandra bossing around her cousin Zachary.

I stopped writing monthly updates for Alexandra when she turned two, mostly because there’s only so many times you can say ‘yeah her routine is the same, she still has the same amount of teeth’ etc before it gets a bit boring! I mean, you might find these updates boring anyway, but I enjoy having them to read back on and maybe the kids will even read them one day too.

Alexandra is doing marvellously. I do regularly stop and think how lucky we have been with her – not in a whole ‘ah she never cries’ kind of way. Don’t get me wrong, she is a stubborn, bossy, wilful little creature and I have my fair share of battles with her every single day. But I feel like she sailed through the ‘big’ things in babyhood and early toddlerhood – the things like weaning and sleeping and stopping having bottles and dummies. So that’s what I mean when I said we lucked out.

We haven’t started potty training yet, which is the big thing a lot of people ask about once baby turns 2 (can I call her a baby anymore? Probably not, ah well). She’s showing little signs here and there and we have had a grand total of TWO wees on the potty. But honestly, I’d much rather wait and deal with nappies for a little while longer until she seems more eager to be out of them. I don’t really get why some people are so keen to potty train early – obviously, I’m not going to hold her back and I realise it’s a big step in their development, but actually pushing them to train as early as possible seems a bit bizarre especially as you still have to deal with disposing of the wee/poo and wiping and all that faff. If they took off their nappy one day and mastered using the proper toilet, wiping, flushing and washing their own hands on that same day, then maybe – but it still seems like a lot of hassle! Plus there’s the whole thing of being somewhere and them going ‘I need a wee’ and having to get to a toilet in about 2.4 seconds. I already do that myself but I probably have just a slightly better ability to hold in a wee than a 2 year old does!

Alexandra has pretty much dropped her daytime nap now, which coincided with her moving into the bigger bedroom and into a proper bed – as I could no longer contain her in the cot she’d just get up and come back downstairs if I tried to put her in bed in the afternoon. I did a lot of driving around to try and get her to nap but now I’m not actively trying to get her to nap anymore as it just seems to use up all our effort and patience! Sometimes she drops off in the car or the pram if we happen to be out but apart from that she goes to bed around 7.30 and seems to be getting better at not becoming a total nightmare to deal with in the few hours before that!

Her speech is the one thing which has really developed over the last six months – we have proper conversations with her now and it’s lovely. One of my favourite parts of the day is when we sit down and tell daddy what we’ve done when he comes home. Not least because sometimes she just absolutely makes it up – for example telling him her thumb was on fire, the fire engine came and then she went to the hospital and saw a doctor. Dylan’s looking at me like WTF and I’m like yeah I probably would have called you had that happened, don’t worry our kid has just become a complete liar!

Alex remains very strong-willed and independent which is something I love about her but it can also be slightly exasperating when you’re trying to get her to do something! I’ve found if she’s just having a strop about something, just ignoring her for a while can be quite effective. Recently she’s started saying she doesn’t like her dinner so I’ll just leave it on the table and let her get on with playing or whatever. About 80% of the time she’ll take ten minutes and then come to the table and start eating.

We’re having all the usual pushing, kicking, being mean, throwing herself on the ground wailing that you expect from a two year old – nothing that really worries me in any way but of course it’s frustrating to deal with at the time, especially with a nearly one year old needing your attention as well.

My favourite thing is now when I say love you Alexandra, she says ‘lub you mommy’. Cute.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: 11 Months

Not going to lie, I am slightly freaking out about the fact my tiny little baby is one in under three weeks!

I feel like he’s really progressed in the last months and has come on leaps and bounds. We are so proud of him. I know everyone is proud of their children, and I know a lot of children have things going on which affect every single aspect of their lives in a much more profound way; but our little boy has faced every challenge with the biggest smile on his face and to look now at his pictures in the very early days when he was so tiny, fragile and poorly: he’s unrecognisable now. We’ve never shared any of the pictures of him when he needed help breathing or was having jaundice treatment or was surrounded by wires (I think the earliest ones which have gone on social media or here are when he still just has his feeding tube in), but looking back at them now shows us how strong Max was and is! He’s a dude.

So, having looked at last month’s update there are a couple of quick things to say and then certain things I’ll go into in more detail:

  • Three new teeth, making a total of five!
  • Sleeping really well – we’ve had two nights where he’s not stirred at all for around 12 hours and most of the other nights it’s only been once or twice for his dummy. We need to get rid of it soon but I’m trying to put it off for a little longer! (Except I wrote this last week and then we had a couple of awful nights thanks to cold number 27464749 of the winter)
  • Routine is pretty much the same except he’s dropped his 11am bottle so just two left now.
  • He’s pulling himself up to standing and climbing constantly now! He can go from lying down to sitting up and has also cracked sitting up totally now. Still commando crawling although he can move forward for about a second on his hands and knees before going back to commando style again.

The first thing I wanted to talk about a bit more extensively is his speech. We noticed from very early on he had a great range of sounds and ‘talked’ a lot more than his sister did at that age. I’m still not totally sure he realises what certain words mean but he’s definitely learning that he gets a reaction from saying sounds at particular times. Having said that, in the last week or so Max is saying ‘daddy’ a lot when Dylan comes in the room or in his general direction, and he doesn’t say it to me, so it could be that he’s learned who daddy is. He also says ‘hiya’ a lot which is super cute (especially when accompanied with very enthusiastic waving) and ‘yeah’. I’m totally okay with him saying daddy first, especially when I hear ‘mommmmm mommmmm mommmm’ a trillion times a day from his sister.

 And lastly, the big one with Max is always how his food is going! In his ten month update, we were trialling pear which was a pass. Also added to the safe lists this month are some really good foods: rice (so handy as it opens up some cereals and rice cakes as well as – of course – rice itself and he LOVES it), banana (again handy for snacks, he eats an entire one at a time because he loves them so much) and eggs (a high risk food but another great one for him). We have a tentative pass on chicken because it caused some nappy issues (although we are now thinking it could have been teething?) but no sick so we think it might be okay but will need to keep an eye on it when he has it in future. Last week he passed oats – this was on the request of the dietician who thought he could benefit from more calcium so he’s been having Oatly custard – and beef. This week we’re doing peas and then in a few days we’ll try corn.

We saw the dietician two weeks ago and she was very pleased with him – he’s got a very long list of safes in their eyes and is passing medium and high risk foods which is great news. They want him to trial dairy in hospital when he turns two rather than at home, which would be my preference too and they also want him to carry on having formula until he’s two. He now weighs 18lb 4 which is still on the smaller side but he’s putting weight on consistently so they are chuffed with that!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Finding It Hard To Write

Not in any way related to the post, but this is my toddler dressed as a monkey in a rather nice little tea shop eating a banana.

We all go through phases don’t we, where the blank page never fills up, where inspiration to sit down and type just doesn’t come. I’ve been feeling a bit like that about this blog recently, which is a shame as it’s intended to be a record for when my kids are older and they (or more likely, I) can read back at all the things they did, the highs, the lows and the inbetweens too.

Life has kind of kicked up a gear from the franticness of the early days of having two under two. Two whole babies to look after compared to one of me (with two of us of course during the evenings and weekends!). Nine months of that and then all of a sudden it was time to think about that four letter word again – work. I’m massively enjoying being back into the world of work but the dynamics are very different again.

Up until I was 12 weeks pregnant with Alexandra, I worked full time (and overtime! And time over that too!) and life was very full with not only my real job but also the volunteer work that I did in my spare time (running a mental health group). Then I upped sticks and moved in with Dylan and suddenly I had not a fat lot to do. I spent a lot of my first maternity leave napping, eating and watching pointless television. Now, I wish I’d done something more productive with that time. But equally I’m happy I had that wind-down time that I probably won’t get again until I’m 80. Then I had my time off with Alex where I learned how to be someone’s mom before I started freelancing – doing bits and bobs while she was napping, occasionally taking her along to a work meeting and she’d sleep in the pram or smile at everyone, setting up stuff for her to play with so I could work at our dining room table.

And then came maternity leave with Max and then came, well, now. Each and every day is so full on because even if we don’t go anywhere, there’s two bums to keep clean, two mouths to feed (constantly!), arguments over toys being MINE, washing to do, a house to keep clean, more snacks, more food, bottles, baths, bedtime routines. And that’s without nursery drop offs and pick ups, baby groups, play dates, errands, doctor’s appointments. So I’ve resigned myself to the fact the daytime is not going to be my friend in terms of work and I’ve generally been starting my working day at 7.30pm. It’s going well so far, I think. No one’s emailed me back to say THIS IS SHIT so I’ve either been writing okay or everyone’s too polite to say anything! I should hope it’s the former seen as they’re paying me to do it.

So in between my 12 hour days working as ‘mom’ with the kids, the couple of hours working at night, writing the occasional blog for the Motherload and occasionally talking to my husband, I’ve not had much headspace for this blog.

This whole thing comes across a little as a moan about how busy I am (which it’s not intended to be, I actually think I function better being busy and I love both my work and my homelife even if both can be challenging at times) or just a whole heap of excuse about my lack of blog writing. Which again, is unintended. I hope to always carry on this blog. I hope to be talking about my grandchildren on this blog one day (although of course my two are going to stay little forever and never fly the nest and have kids of their own!).

Anyway, it’s very late and I’m about to go to bed. Max is stirring a little so I’m hoping the murmuring over the monitor won’t turn into a full blown cry!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

It’s Just A Phase

Hopefully making a mess is a phase too.

If you’re a parent, how many times have you heard the phrase ‘it’s just a phase’? I’m willing to bet if you times your child’s age in seconds by infinity you still would be way off. In fact, I said it in a group chat with my NCT friends less than 24 hours before typing this post.

It got me thinking. It’s probably one of the most common parenting phrases (alongside ‘they grow up so fast’ and ‘why is Bing such a knob?’) but in my experience, it’s also very true. It’s not just one of those things old ladies have learned to say so that they sound like a herd of sheep all bleating together ‘it’s just a phase’. Every single thing ends.

That means the lovely things: like that newborn smell, the way they curl up like a little Quaver crisp on your chest for the first few weeks, the little snuffling noises they do (I can’t carry on with this list or I might cry thinking about the cuteness of that early time). But it also means the shit things too. I remember Dylan saying to me before Christmas when we were going through that awful time when Max just forgot how to sleep and sometimes the only way we could get through a night was having him in our bed for a bit, that he was worried we’d get into a habit that we’d never get out of. I replied that even if we did, I’ve never ever heard of a 15 year old boy wanting to get into his parents’ bed overnight so eventually we’d get out of the habit (as it was we somehow muddled our way through that time and he hasn’t been in our bed for months).

The whole sleep thing was awful. We knew it would end and we knew that while we could try and influence it in some ways – adjusting nap times, making sure we were consistent with our approach at night – some of it would just be a matter of time. Time to get over the constant colds he was experiencing. Time to cut those first teeth through. And time to just get past that developmental stage.

The same goes for the horrendous toddler tantrums we had at the start of the year. For a few weeks, pretty much every day with Alex made me want to cry. There were glimpses of the funny, intelligent, lovely little girl but there were also hours each day where I just wanted to run away! Again, a developmental stage I think as she got noticeably better (not cured: the tantrums are still there like you’d expect from a two year old don’t worry!) the day her speech got dramatically clearer and her sentences got longer.

Every single thing that happens in their life is just a phase, some of them you barely get through by the skin of your teeth, some of them exhaust you, some of them make you cry so much your face hurts constantly. Some of them delight you, some you never want to end.

It’s not actually that reassuring at the start to hear ‘it’s just a phase’ as you want to do something to fix them, to hurry past that time of them being unsettled or unhappy (or making you unhappy!), but I think certainly for me the more phases you go through, the more you learn to try and not get as wound up by them. To let them pass. To just get through them the best way you can.

However, for those offering up the phrase ‘it’s just a phase’ perhaps you could add on another phrase which will offer more comfort? For example:
‘It’s just a phase…but here is some chocolate to help you get through it.’
‘It’s just a phase…but do you need a couple of hours off? If so, I can look after baby.’
‘It’s just a phase…but here is what helped us get through that phase.’
‘It’s just a phase…you’re doing a great job.’

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: 10 Months Old

10 months old! I am still firmly pretending Max is a newborn (and his nappies still say newborn on the pack, so I must be right yes?) but he is in fact much closer to being a toddler than I care to admit!

Teeth: Two! And lots of rooting round as if there’s a new one coming through pretty soon.

Sleep: This has got a lot better since my post a few weeks back about how awfully he’d started sleeping. We’re now firmly making sure he goes down at around 7pm but no later than 7.30pm which seems to help and we’ve moved his afternoon nap later so he’s not overtired in the evenings. On average, we get up about 5 times a night now but it’s without fail just to put his dummy back in and maybe some teething gel on – fingers crossed we’ve had a couple of weeks now where we haven’t had to rock him back to sleep or spend hours trying every method under the sun to get him to settle.

Routine: Up about 7.30ish but can be later, breakfast around 8/8.30, nap around 10-11, bottle at 11, lunch at 1, bottle at 2.30/2.45, nap around 3-4/4.30, dinner at 5, bottle at 6.30, bed at 7ish.

Food: Max is doing amazingly with his food trials so we’ve reduced the last couple to six days with the hope of reducing further to five days for each new food. We now have 18 safes (lamb, salmon, pineapple, apple, plum, peach, blueberry, strawberry, avocado, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, parsnip, tomato, white potato, sorghum, wheat, coconut milk/yoghurt). Wheat has been a great one for him to pass as it’s opened up some bread to us (only specific ones as most contain soya, but it’s nice to see him chewing on a bagel!) as well as different cereals, pasta and cous cous. We’re trialling pear this week and also trying to concentrate on introducing some finger foods (using his safes, so giving cut up fruit or some bread) as well as cutting up food rather than giving it pureed so he gets used to more textures.

Bottles: Max now has a bottle of expressed breast milk (5oz/150ml) in the morning then two bottles of formula, I switched his afternoon one from EBM to formula in readiness for me stopping pumping next week – with the stash I’ve got in the freezer it means he can continue having one bottle of EBM each day until his first birthday. If he’s still needing a follow-on formula at this point (I think they’ll recommend that) then I’ll feel okay that he had some breastmilk for an entire year.

Lungs: We are thrilled, thrilled, thrilled that we had a follow-up appointment and X-ray at the hospital where he had his operation and his right lung has expanded massively since his last X-ray in June. That means his diaphragm is pretty much where it should be and there’s no evidence of reherniating. The surgeon was so happy with him, he doesn’t want to see Max again for another year. I mean, I know we all like to share how great our kids are doing when they hit their milestone but growing your lung capacity by almost double in six months is pretty special. Well done Maxi!

Playing: Max definitely has a preference for ‘hard’ toys over cuddly teddies. He loves sharing his sister’s Lego blocks, tea set and cars. He also has an inflatable farm-themed ring from his cousin which he absolute delights in climbing in and out of. Oh yes, we have another climber. He’s discovered he can get over things now so I’m sure it’s only  a matter of time before I’m rescuing him from high up places – it’s like raising a colony of monkeys sometimes.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

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