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

Baby 2: Nine Months Old

Three quarters of a year! Max is now nine months old which means it’s time for another monthly update about what he’s been doing and the new skills he’s learned. I’m finding it really interesting to go back and read what I was writing about Alexandra at this point in her development (her nine month update is here) – not because I want to pit them against each other but just because you forget so much, even in the space of 18 months, and it’s hard to remember that she didn’t pop out as this walking, talking, sassy toddler. Anyway, I digress. Onwards with the update:

Teeth: I’m starting here because there’s actually something to report! Max has one tooth now and potentially the corner of the second – although he won’t let me near to check properly. His sister didn’t pop one through til nearly 11 months so it was a surprise to me when his came through a couple of weeks ago. However, also in contrast to Alexandra who never seemed overly bothered with teething aside from a few restless nights, Max is really struggling. If all of them are like this then we’re in for a long and tiring ride!

Sitting/crawling: He’s been practising lots and can now sit for a few seconds unaided but he’s definitely not at the point where he can be left to it. Max’s crawling is also coming along and he’s able to get around really quickly with his commando type crawl on his belly. He does now get on to his hands and knees occasionally for a few seconds so he’s making progress in the right direction.

Playing: Max loves playing with his sister’s Lego and cars, some pom poms (I think I spoke about them in his eight month update but he still loves them) and still spends time in his jumparoo and bouncer. Among his Christmas presents were a Nuby police car with lights and sounds which he loves, and some little sea creature themed soft building blocks which he’s also enjoying.

Eating: We had some really good progress with that this month and have passed three new food trials bringing him up to a total of 13 foods I believe. New on the menu since the last update are lamb (which we thought he might have reacted to previously), salmon and pineapple and we’re now trialling white potato which is slightly higher risk but we think would be a good addition to his diet. So everything was going as smoothly as it can with an FPIES baby until he had an accidental exposure to dairy on Boxing Day. Unfortunately half a teaspoon’s worth was enough to send him to A&E as he was as white as a sheet, very lethargic and vomiting like nothing you’ve ever seen. Luckily after a while there must have been nothing left in his stomach at all and after a sleep he woke up looking much brighter so they let us go home. We obviously didn’t record any of it as we were focused on him but I almost wish we had so we could show people who are likely to be around him and food how ill he can get from just the tiniest bit of cow’s milk.

Sleeping: You know when you write a blog about people’s reactions when you say your kids are good sleepers – and then karma turns round and bites you in the bum? Max’s sleep has been awful since he had a bout of bronchiolitis a month or so ago. We made the transition yesterday from our room to the nursery (as his sister has now vacated it for her big girl room) and he lasted until half 10 before I brought him back in with me after getting up six times in the preceding half an hour. He seems to want different things each night: sometimes it’s clearly his teeth bothering him, sometimes he wants a cuddle, most the time he will settle a bit more if he’s in the bed with us but sometimes nothing works at all. Dylan wants to just leave him in the nursery to cry it out but I’m concerned firstly that he just wouldn’t settle and the long-term effect of that, and secondly that if he wakes Alexandra we then have two crying children to deal with (third reason would be we’re not exactly getting any more sleep than we would be if he was crying in the same room as us.

So that’s the round up of his nine month update. Let’s see what this month brings!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

9 Months On

You forget how much they've grown until you put them next to a newborn!

You forget how much they’ve grown until you put them next to a newborn!

Three quarters of a year has passed since the lovely little human being we called Alexandra entered our lives. She turned nine months old on May 29 and what a nine months it’s been!

Alex is now moving around using a complicated system of rolls, commando crawling and odd frog hopping. Some of it looks a bit dramatic, like the end of an action film where the hero is desperately trying to crawl to safety using the last ounce of his strength before he pegs it. But still, it’s a form of movement! And no doubt proper crawling will happen very soon as she’s making huge progress every day and she gets up into the crawling position and rocks backwards and forwards.

She’s also moving between positions much more easily, trying to pull herself up from sitting to standing or lying down to sitting. It’s quite bizarre to get used to, when you’ve spent months leaving the baby in one place and coming back to see the baby in the same place and now baby can be halfway across the room in an instant.

Food wise she’s still having three bottles a day (hopefully soon to be reduced to two) and three meals. She absolutely loves food and has just got to the stage where she’ll cry if we’re eating and she’s not. She wants to eat anything and everything we’ve got and is particularly fond of oranges, yoghurt and any type of bread, but really isn’t fussy and will eat anything put in front of her. She’s also very good at drinking water out of her sippy cup too.

On the sleep front, we’re still generally getting around 12 hours from her overnight (from around 8.30pm) although sometimes she wakes for a minute or two wanting her dummy to be put in. We really can’t complain at all! In the day she tends to have around twenty minutes or so in the morning then maybe one or two naps in the afternoon, of varying lengths.

She absolutely loves going on the swings, hasn’t quite mastered the art of being gentle yet (either with mommy or her friends), still loves daddy more than anyone else in the world, doesn’t quite know what to make of her tiny cousin Zachary and is still a gummy bear with a grand total of zero teeth.

Harriet and Alexandra x

Get A Room

The tiny one is now using this room!

The tiny one is now using this room!

There comes a time in every parent’s life when they ship baby off into their own room and reclaim the space as their own. That time for us came recently and here I am blogging about it, as I do with many, many baby related milestones!

Pretty much before she was born, I decided around the six-month mark was a good time for Alexandra to go into her own room. I think Dylan would have been okay with her going earlier, but I got my own way (I don’t always, I promise!). Much of my decision was based around SIDS statistics and advice that they’re better off with you for at least the first six months, which is when they’re at a higher risk of SIDS. But another part of it is I knew that once she was in her own room, that was that. It seems so final for her to not be with us, like a watershed moment in her life where she progresses from a tiny baby to being a proper little person. Knowing we’ll never have another means I’ll never have those moments where you lean over and put your head in the moses basket to check they’re still okay or lie there listening to their little snuffly breaths.

Just before Christmas she was growing at such a rapid rate we figured we didn’t have very long left where she fitted in her moses, and our room just isn’t big enough to accommodate a crib or cot as the furniture in there is pretty hefty. So it was a waiting game to see how much life we could squeeze out of the moses. Eventually by the start of March it was becoming apparent that unless she became a contortionist pretty quickly, we were going to have to transfer her to the cot. We were off to Edinburgh for the weekend so it just didn’t make sense to do the move yet, so we waited until we returned.

Honestly, the first night I hated it! We got into bed and I instantly asked Dylan if we could have her back in with us and keep her there til she’s 21. He said no. I tried to negotiate down to just until she started school. He still said no (told you I don’t always get my own way!). I know it’s the right thing to do as the poor girl was starting to wake herself up every time she moved in the night. Also because sleeping in a moses basket in your parents’ room as a teenager is probably weird. But just not having her there feels odd to me, she was technically in with us from January last year when I got pregnant and spending so many nights without her in hospital was awful, so I supposed it’s only natural I’m going to have a bit of sadness about the separation!

We have noticed an increase in how often we get up to her, but part of that could be as she’s got a little cold and also, I think it sometimes seems like so much more often as we have to actually get up and walk into her room to see to her rather than leaning over. Hard life isn’t it?!

I am starting to get used to it now (writing this a week in to the process), and the one huge benefit is I can get ready for bed whatever time I like without creeping around like a burglar trying not to disturb her. I’m sure I’ll find many more positives about the situation in the weeks to come, but for now I’m still a little sad!

Harriet and Alexandra x

(Not sure 100% what I’m doing with my scheduling right now, I used to post on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays during pregnancy. Now I post on Tuesdays and Thursdays but I find I’m writing blogs for weeks in advance so I may add the extra one in at the weekend, but not every week. Who knows?!)