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Savannah – 9 Month Progress Update

My last update of Savannah was at 6 months. It’s time for another, there have been so many changes.

8 month old baby girl

Sleep
Can you believe my 8 month old was STILL not sleeping through the night? My heartache of being sleep deprived was laid out to bare last month. But fingers crossed at 9 months she has recently began to sleep through, long may that continue! How did we finally accomplish that?

We tried sleep training at 6 months which went horribly. So 3 weeks ago we decided to try and wean her off the bottle over night using a more gentle approach, which I did successfully with Nate but did not work for Savannah.

what age can baby feed themselves?

We reduced her formula slowly, 1oz at a time and then replaced it with water. So she got a full feed at 10:30pm but then when she woke overnight (usually between 2-5am) we gave her a bottle of water, usually 5 or 6oz and she drank all of it, every time! Supposedly, if you only offer water at night babies are supposed to stop waking up, but after 4 weeks she was still waking! I tried the controlled crying technique of shushing and patting when she awoke but that just made her worse, therefore the only method left was letting her cry it out. I prefer to think of this method as ‘letting her sooth herself’ rather than cry-it-out as it sounds better and we are basically trying to help her help herself, she needs to learn to sleep. So that is what we did.

It went like this:
Night 1 – cried for 1.5 hours (and so did I, it was horribly painful for me)
Night 2 – cried for 35 minutes
Night 3 – cried for 10 minutes
Night 4 and 5 – she had a bad cold, so I didn’t feel that I could let her “self-soothe”, I gave her water,
Night 6 – back to scratch she cried for 1 hour 10 minutes
Night 7 – cried for 20 minutes
Night 8 – she slept through the night

Of course we are probably going to have to sleep train her again to wean her off her 10:30pm dream feed – unless she miraculously drops this feed herself.

Weaning
This has been a mixture of hard work and fun, from 5.5 months Savannah has chosen the baby-led weaning approach. She would not let me put ANYTHING in her mouth, no food, no spoon, no medicine even! If I tried to spoon feed her she would just spit it out! So for those who disagree with spoon feeding because they think you are force feeding your child, I can tell you now – you cannot force-feed your child! Your baby is always in control of the food they swallow no matter how you feed them!

But all that changed last week and she is suddenly hungry and letting me feed her! She seems to be really enjoying the food too. I’m still letting her feed herself though so I guess we are combination feeding now, again I’m taking my steer from her so it really is baby-led.

8 month old eating brocolli

Her favourite foods right now are brocolli and corn on the cob. When we are out and about we tend to give purees as it is less messy and it is more convenient. We did start with Ella’s kitchen, but actually now I prefer cow and gate/Heinz or Hipp Organic jars as they actually look like real food they actually have rice and pieces of vegetables, Ella’s Kitchen pouches are so pureed that they don’t look real. But that’s just my personal preference.

Verbal Development
Savannah is doing very well with talking. She can now say Dada, Mum and bye-bye (she also waves with that one). She is a right chatter-box, she pretty much says da-da all day long and basically chatters away most of the day and even over night!

Physical Development
She can sit up unaided but still cannot crawl properly yet though she can get around. She spins herself around, goes into a crawling position and sits herself back up, rolls all around. She can wave and takes great enjoyment out of playing with her toys. Thanks to baby-led weaning she can pick up small pieces of food between her finger and thumb and pass them between her hands. She can fed herself her bottle, which is super helpful, and she can pick it up if she drops it.

She has two teeth and two new ones are starting to break through.

Family Holiday

family posing on lake at centre parks

Since the last update we have been on our family holiday, which was to Center Parcs at Woburn. We had such a great time, it was exhausting obviously, as family holidays with a young child is not really a holiday so much as a change of location of the madness but we did love it. The staff were amazing with our kids, they seriously went above and beyond. The restaurants (all but one) all have soft play in them, which meant that we were able to eat out every night and enjoy it, as Nate (our 5 year old) was entertained. They provide free baby food (cow and gate jars), bowls, spoons, bibs, wipes, bottle warmers and microwaves in all of their restaurants and the main sports plaza, which is a lovely touch that we took full use of. The Sub-tropical paradise swimming pool was the winner though, we went everyday. It is free, immaculately clean, still looks new and is so much fun. My son and I have a fantastic time, and even though he is a stage 2 swimmer we decided to brave the wild river rapids (with him on my lap) and we both absolutely loved it – we went on 7 times in a row at one point.

Siblings
Nate is still obsessed with her, always wants to be with her, touching her, playing with her etc. which is obviously very nice, but is also problematic as he simply won’t leave her alone, to the point of making her cry sometimes. He tells me (and her) all the time how much he loves her, which makes my heart fuller than I ever thought possible, so I am trying not to get too irritated when he treats her like a doll. He always means well, he absolutely adores her, more than I thought it was possible for a 5 year old to do. In return, she loves him and appears to worship him already, plus no one makes Savannah laugh as much or as loud as Nate can.

5 year old on swing with 7 month old

What has your baby been up to lately?

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Hitting the Wall (of sleep deprivation)

So it appears all my friends hit the wall around the same time. Did you?

First you get tripped by a hurdle around the 2 week mark (after baby is born) because all the adrenaline you were running on is out of your system and 14 nights of sleeping in 40 minute to 2 hour shifts (if you’re lucky) has suddenly taken its toll. Then you get tripped up by a lot more hurdles along the way such as nights of endless teething, illnesses, the 4 month sleep regression etc. But if you are one of the unlucky ones whose baby doesn’t sleep through the night in the first 6 months you will thereafter quickly start to lose your sense of humour. 7 months rolls around and you start to think ‘this is not a joke anymore’ and then we hit 8 months and that is where I was not just tripped up by the teething hurdle, I smacked head-first right into the wall! The wall of sleep deprivation. That was it, I had reached the end of my rope. I completely lost it one night after 4 nights of teething.

brick wall

I haven’t slept through the night for 8 god-damn months!! It’s in-humane it’s UNsafe it’s UNrealistic, it’s UNreal, it’s UNbelievable it’s… UNFAIR!!

I feel drugged, I feel like I am walking around in a haze, I don’t feel like myself, or that I am living my real life. I haven’t had an evening in over a year, because I have to go to bed early every single night! I am mum but I am not myself anymore, people have even said to me that it seems like I am not really there, I even got a comment that I am cold and less loving than I used to be – well you know what – that is not helpful coming from someone who gets to sleep. I am in survival mode right now. I have done this before, but last time round my son slept through at 5.5 months, so at this point, when I had an 8 month old baby I was actually enjoying my maternity leave, I could experience it clearly, I was sleeping and though still exhausted from taking care of a baby I was able to get bits of my life back. For now, I don’t have a life!

The worst part about it is that you just don’t know when or if it will get better. In theory you know that 99% of babies do eventually sleep through the night at some point in the first 2 years of life but there is that 1% those horror stories of babies/children that you hear about that never sleep (and we all have a friend or a friend of friend with that child) and in this dark hour you have convinced yourself that you have given birth to that!

Even if your baby is destined to sleep through at some point, you don’t actually know when that might be. It’s not like your due date where you know you will have a baby roughly 2 weeks either side of that date, with sleeping there is no date. It could be tomorrow it could be 5 months from tomorrow. The fact that you don’t know makes it harder to cope with because you don’t know if the end is in sight or not.

sleeping 7 month old baby girl

I think I would rather know that my child won’t sleep until she is 1 year old then have it happen by accident one day when she is c9 months because at least you won’t be lulled. At baby classes instead of asking ‘does she sleep through?’ You would ask ‘what date did you get? 6 months? Really? You lucky thing, I was given 9 months. Yeah I know, never mind, at least I know when it will be’!

Can you imagine that?

Anyway, so if you hit the wall at around this time, or maybe it was earlier or later, it will probably happen at some point, and when it does, like me, have a good cry, go speak to all your mum friends, compare notes, share…I promise you will feel better. And even better maybe bribe you partner to let you have one single solitary night of UNinterrupted sleep, go away, get a babysitter, ask a family member, do something if possible to break up the very long stint, because, we do not know when it will end! But I guess until then, we can take heart in the fact that it will happen at some point, and we just have to hang-on in there, be kind to ourselves, have treats, take breaks where we can, leave the house-work, and do whatever we can to just survive this period of limbo.

My Year of Living Danishly – The Happiest People in the World

I just love reading about what other people are reading, as it gives me inspiration so here is some for you! I am totally obsessed with reading right now, it is the one activity that I can easily fit-in, in little snippets, whilst taking care of my baby girl – how you ask? How do you have time to read when you have a baby? Well if you don’t already know me, this may be a surprise, or maybe not…audiobooks!! Sorry if you are bored with my harping on about audiobooks, but I have been a big fan of them for like 5 years now, and I have never read and enjoyed so many books in my life! There are two ways I read audiobooks, one through my library (which is free), they have an app called OneClickDigital which enable me to “check out” an audiobook and listen to it on my phone. Though they don’t have many books to choose from.

The best, but not free version though is Audible – I love audible, they have more audiobooks than any other company, their app works perfectly, they are part of amazon so I use the same login, and if you purchase a pack of 12 audiobooks they come down in price to about £4-£5 per book and you own the books, so if you cancel you account, the books are yours to keep forever.

Listening to books mean that no matter what you are doing, you can be reading e.g. on the school run, cleaning the house, at the gym, shopping, waiting in line, driving!

I digress, so what have I been reading recently (or listening to), well my favourite, which I listened to in 5 days (how often do you read an entire book in less than a week?) is “My Year of Living Danishly” by Helen Russell.

happiest people in the world book cover

I read it so quickly because I loved it. Her writing style, her quirky nicknames and the way she describes life just had me captivated. I also loved learning about a country that I had never even considered visiting, I knew absolutely nothing about Denmark, before reading this book. Okay I have to be honest and say that I didn’t even know where Denmark is – my geography is not very good. The fact that they are the happiest people in the world, was interesting, and I enjoyed learning why – some of which anyone could adopt and I was totally fascinated by their amazing way of life over there.

After inhaling this book I immediately read Helen Russell’s second book “Leap Year” because that is also set in Denmark and had the addition of her toddler “Little red”. I love reading books about family life. Leap Year was more about making changes and becoming happier over the course of a year. Also a good read though not as captivating as her first endeavour.

Another highlight of reading these books is that I told her on twitter how great they were and she actually replied to me! It’s so exciting when an author replies to you, I also got a tweet from Jodi Picoult once!

where is denmark map

10 things I learned about Denmark:

  1. Lego is Danish – and if you work for Lego, you get to play with Lego in meetings – how fun would that be?!
  2. Hygge – have you heard of Hoogah (Hygge) it is the art of living a cosy life, this is how the Danish survive their long harsh winters!
  3. They only have 11 hours of sunlight per month, in winter and it gets as cold as -20DegreesC – that certainly shut me up when I was complaining about our particularly cold and rainy winter this year.
  4. The state pays 75% of their childcare, so for a full time nursery place they only pay £200-£300 per month!! That’s nuts, we pay that per week in England!! I almost starting packing my bags on hearing that!
  5. Because childcare is so cheap, everyone works and women have equality, the gap between what men and women earn is less, and the gap between the rich and the poor is very narrow so the quality of life is fantastic.
  6. The state pays all university fees and life-long learning up until the age of 30 years!
  7. If you lose or leave your job you are paid up to 2 years of earnings to look for a new job! And because of this they leave their jobs/careers whenever they are unhappy – how lovely to be able to do that.
  8. They have Danish Patries – okay I did already know that, but I didn’t realise how amazing they were or how long you have to train to be in the pastry business. I have totally had cravings for Danishes ever since I read this book, yum!
  9. Denmark is a very small country, with a population on par with London.
  10. They trust each other, doors are left open, babies are left in prams outside of restaurants and cafes – wow what a world to live in.
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Baby Savannah – 6 month Progress Update

I cannot believe the changes since I wrote the last update about my beautiful daughter Savannah at 3 months old. A lot changes in 3 months, in the world of a baby.

6 month old sitting up

Physical Development

This is the area that she has changed the most, at 3 months she would hit a toy, but now she holds them, puts them into her mouth (everything goes into the mouth) and gets real joy out of playing with her toys. She gets bored if we don’t mix them up, she cries if we take one away from her and she yells if one falls on the floor.

The biggest and most useful change is that she can now sit up unaided, it is great to be able to visit friends and family without having to play “pass the baby” for 3 hours, it also means she can sit in a highchair, in the bath and sits and plays with Nate, which he loves!

6 month old baby sitting up

Language Development

I didn’t know I would be adding this section so soon, but at 5.5 months Savannah said her first word, she said Dada and then later that day she said Dad. I can’t wait to see what her next words will be, Nate keeps repeating his name to her, hoping that she will learn that, so we will see!

Milk and Weaning

At 3 months we were still struggling with her formula feeds, because she wanted a bottle every 2 hours, she would snack, only taking 3-4oz. Then just before Christmas it changed to every 3 hours, and now it is every 4 hours, finally! It means that she actually finishes a feed now, usually about 6-7oz per feed.

We just started weaning Savannah, we started with some baby rice and have now moved onto purees and finger food. She has had parsnip, carrot, brocolli, sweet potatoes, bananas, peppers, corn on the cob, mangoes, toast, cheese. She really loves to feed herself, both her purees and her finger food, so we are sort of unintentionally following the baby-led weaning route as she is very independent though and will not let me put a spoon in her mouth, as soon as a spoon comes at her she grabs it, and is really good and feeding herself. BUT, I do not like the way people are militant and pushy about baby-led weaning, it actually makes me very nervous that she might choke, so I am doing a baby first aid course in a couple of weeks.

6 month old feeding selfbrocolli finger food

Her teeth are coming in thick and fast, 2 teeth over the last 3 weeks!

Out and About

We have just finished Baby Yoga, and did Baby Massage before Christmas, both with the same lady Lorraine at MamaBabyBliss. If you are in Milton Keynes I highly recommend these classes, we have had such a great time. Lorraine is so lovely, she is very accommodating – because I had a bad back, she set me up with lots of cushions and took Savannah off me for the heavy lifting parts of baby yoga. She doesn’t mind if you need to feed or change, or if babies cry, it is such a relaxed and warm environment, and there are only 6-8 people per class, so you really get to know everyone, and she makes us set-up a whats app group, which means you don’t have to work up the courage to ask strangers for their phone number. She also has a photographer (very low prices) take the most fantastic pictures once during the course, with no pressure to buy, but its so cheap you will!

baby massage 4 month old

We have just started the new MK craze – Baby Sensory classes. I will reserve judgement for now as we have only attended one class. It seems that everyone loves them, even though there are 20 people in the class (pretty impersonal).

I am loving my time with my darling girl, she is a very happy baby, always smiling and laughing, and so well behaved. I am so glad I am off work until August. Not only that, but I have this one year to be able to both drop Nate off and pick him up from school every day, it is giving me the opportunity to get to know the school parents and get involved in school life.

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16 Santa Spectacular reasons to visit Willows Activity Farm

We were super excited when we heard about the truck-load of activities on offer at Willows Activity Farm, as part of their Santa Spectacular, we could tell that this would be no ordinary visit to Santa, and boy were we right! There were so many wonderful all-inclusive activities that I decided to list the top 16, though there were more!

As Dermot O’Leary says every week on X-Factor…in no particular order:

1. Visiting Santa

Of course this is the backbone to any santa visit, although as an aside, in my day (yes I am old) a visit to Santa included a visit to santa, and sometimes you got a cheap toy, that you didn’t choose, so Santa visits have definitely come a long way, they certainly include a lot of bells and whistles now-a-days, but that are much more exciting!

We took a walk through the grotto and enjoyed the winter scenery, had a chat to the elves, answered some Christmas-related trivia questions and then we permitted to see the big man himself. Santa was very good with the kids and asked them a lot of questions, he was even able to name 2 transformers. The elf took professional pictures with Santa, which you could purchase if you wished (that was one of the very few things that were not included) and then the children were given the magic key that when they popped it into the letter box, made a magical sound and allowed entrance into the toy workshop.

santas key hanging next to tree

2. Toy from Santa

And that brings me onto the next reason, the choice of toys was the best selection that I have ever seen, they actually had branded items, which I have never seen before (even at Frosts). I noticed a Transformers jigsaw puzzle, Play Doh (the real stuff), Finding Dory busy books etc. They also had some really large items like an electronic pin ball machine, a play horse and a large firehouse complete with fire trucks. My 4 year old son chose a light up, noisy UFO gun.

santa toy workshop

3. Create-a-Cuddle

Also known as build-a-bear-workshop! I couldn’t believe this was included in the entry price. My son loves build-a-bear, though this time he actually got to do the hard-work himself, which was a nice change. I love that Mishka, the husky dog that they met earlier in the day, could be made and taken home. They were able to choose their own coloured heart to put inside, were given stuffing, Mishka and a certificate. Optional extra: outfits for Mishka (personally I think they look better without the outfits). My son loves his husky dog, and takes it to bed with him every night, he named his dog “Sleigh” which I thought was a great name! The only very tiny problem we had was that the back was not sticky enough and kept opening.

create a cuddlebuild-a-bear workshop

4. 3D Sleigh Ride Movie

The kids loved the little movie, it was on a big screen in a pop-up cinema type room. I thought the 3D effects were superb, so much so that all the children kept reaching out to grab the snow and flying sweets, ducking their heads and squealing with delight, it was brilliantly done.

5. Ice-Skating

I have never taken my 4 year old ice-skating before, so I was excited to see how he would get on with it. If you have a young child you don’t want to fork out £5-10 for an ice-skating session if you suspect that a) they won’t like it or b) they will not be able to stand up. Perhaps because it was synthetic ice, it was a little easier, and the fact that they had special ice-skates with two blades (for young children). My son didn’t actually fall down much at all, and he loved it! I cannot wait to try it again in the future.

4 year old ice-skating

6. Elf Workshop

Berry and Twig were delightful, happy elves who took the children through their elf-paces. They taught them how to tip-toe, how to see if children are sleeping, brought children up on stage, asked different questions so they would interact. It was lovely and the children really engaged. The room again was beautifully decorated, and as promised it looked like they had genuine elf noses – we got up close at one point and the noses are so realistic! Of course Berry and Twig took 150 years to become elves but our children still earned their Elf Diploma – or “Mummy I got my Dacona” as my 4 year old put it!

berry and twig elves

7. Meeting a real Husky dog

I say Husky because Mishka looks like a Husky to the untrained eye, but apparently Mishka is actually a Malamut, but the only different between them an Husky dogs is the eye colour so you could be forgiven for being mistaken! She was beautiful and friendly, though being so young they advised keeping our cuddly version of her away!

8. Meeting (and feeding) real Reindeer

My son got to meet Batman in the flesh, so to speak! Actually Batman is the name of the oldest reindeer and the most resplendent with antlers. Not only did we see the reindeer but we were able to feed them, as well as the other animals in the barn.

9. Soft play

Woolly Jumpers soft play had one of the main restaurants inside, so we chose to eat there so that the kids could run off and play. There were several big slides that even the oldest child in our party enjoyed, and it kept the children entertained for well over an hour, in fact we had to drag them away as there were so many activities, we didn’t want them to miss out.

soft play slide

10. Peter Rabbit’s playground

The outdoor play areas in general are varied and interesting, the Peter Rabbit section is the new addition, though the theme was lost on our children, they just wanted to play, and again this kept them entertained for a good while.

11. Nerf zone

This is situated on the second floor of Woolly Jumpers, and again the kids had to be dragged away. It is a room set up with apposing sides, each able to shoot soft balls at each other – what’s not to like? What I loved the most though was that next to our table (downstairs) where we ate lunch, was a TV screen showing this very room, so while our kids played we could still keep an eye on them without having to traipse upstairs – very clever idea!

12. Fairground rides

We actually ran out of time and didn’t get a chance to try them, but they looked quite dazzling after the sunset. There are three different rides and all are included in the price, I do dislike it when you go to a theme park/zoo etc and you pay a hefty entrance fee, but then they dot around little motorised rides for young children, which you have to pay for on top of your entrance fee.

fairground rides

13. Food outlets

There were two larger restaurants plus an assortment of huts dotted around that sold snacks. We ate at Woolly Jumpers but it did take us a short while to find a table as it was very busy, and people stay longer due to their kids playing. I do like that they had tables hidden in every nook and cranny – so a clever use of space.

14. Sand-pit

My son loves sand, so I was not surprised that the children played in the sand-pit for as long as they did. A thoughtful touch was a chest full of buckets and spades.

15. Holding a guinea pig

My son had never held one before, he has stroked them but has always felt too nervous in the past. I was proud that he decided to be brave.

16. Elegant Decoration

This is probably not something that everyone would notice or even care about, but this is not the first farm that I have visited to see Santa, and at those farms you felt like you were on a farm. Well at Willows, the thoughtful details and delightful decoration elevated the surroundings to such a level that you felt more on par with Lapland, it was truly magical. They have obviously taken a lot of care and attention on the decoration, which I appreciated.

christmas treechristmas lights

Overall we all agreed it was the best day out, and the best Santa visit, any of us had ever had. We stayed all day long and still didn’t see everything on offer, and I definitely intend to come back again next year. If you want a truly magical and all-inclusive Santa experience, in the UK, I would definitely recommend a visit. Child tickets start at £24.95 and they are open up to Christmas Eve. Willows Activity Farm is just outside of St Albans, and is like a stones throw from the M25 J22.

Baby Savannah – 3 Month Progress Update

3 month old baby girl in blanket

An interesting month with half-term in the middle, which made focussing on my little darling hard work. I think things are starting to get a little easier. I think/hope that she is crying less and hope that means her colic is reducing, though her sleep hasn’t improved much.

Sleeping

On average she wakes twice per night, though sometimes I get lucky and she only wakes once. The biggest change this month is that she is now going to bed earlier at around 7pm, which frees up the evenings. Last month it was 10:30pm so it’s a big change.

3 month old baby sleeping

Another milestone is that she has outgrown both the Moses basket and her crib. She is now sleeping in her cot (with rolled up towels to make her feel more enclosed). I was surprised how easily she transitioned into the cot with no fuss, perhaps because we used a crib (which is like a mini cot) instead of a moses basket.

Feeding

Savannah is bottle fed but surprisingly she is still eating the same amount as last month, per feed – 4-5 ounces. I got her weighed to check she is eating enough and the health visitor wasn’t concerned. She weighed 12lbs (2 weeks ago) and is at the top of the 25th percentile for weight.

The biggest change we have made this month is to stop feeding on demand as much. We are trying to get her into a routine, as suggested by the health visitor. We can’t quite get to every 4 hours yet but most days we are able to stretch out her feeds to every 3 hours, though she is currently going through the 3 month growth spurt so is feeding more regularly the last 2 days.

Development

We are definitely getting smiles on a regular basis. She seems to be recognising family members and smiles more easily at us and grand-parents. She definitely seeks me out when she is being held by others (which is nice), though she doesn’t have stranger fear yet, which is good.

We had sort of a half giggle the other day so I think she is close to her first laugh, very exciting!

3 month old baby smiling and laughing

When on her play mat she is able to hit the hanging toys more deliberately and she is obsessed with certain patterns, she particularly loves to stare at the butterfly patterns on the car seat hood, she is absolutely mesmerised by it and can stare at it for up to 10 minutes sometimes, it is super cute to watch her in awe.

wonder week patterns

She is becoming quite a chatter box and likes to babble away at us which we all get so much joy from. Nate particularly loves asking her questions and every time she responds with a noise/babble he squeals in delight – I love it!

We moved her into 3-6 month clothing 2 weeks ago so had to say a sad goodbye to all her newborn and 0-3 clothes, a lot of which never got worn! Especially the dresses. She does not enjoy getting dressed and cries a lot whenever I attempt it so I tend to keep her outfits simple where possible – i.e. just a baby-gro.

Out and About

This month we have had both Halloween and Guy Fawke’s Night, therefore Savannah (and Nate) enjoyed their first trick or treating experience as well as watching the fireworks. We also enjoyed a pumpkin hunt at Castle Ashby, it was a beautiful day and it was surprisingly a long trail, but long in a good way – it certainly kept Nate busy.

4 year old holding baby girl

We started baby massage last week and I am thoroughly enjoying the class. If you are based in or near Milton Keynes I highly suggest Mama Baby Bliss as we are having a great time. We meet in a small hall in Salford, it is a snug group of just six mums. We have lovely purple and pink yoga mats and comfy cushions, delicious sparkling drinks and more importantly – chocolate!

The other mums are lovely and we all have babies of a similar age so we often end up chatting endlessly and sometimes being gently chided for our chatter – oops!

I love that our teacher asks us all lots of questions about ourselves because I am nosey! She was good about encouraging us to set up a ‘what’s app’ group to chat in between classes and also encouraged us to arrange a meeting outside of the class. It’s nice when the teacher encourages this as sometimes it is awkward to ask for someone’s mobile number no matter how much you connect.

We are still attending the NCT Bumps and Babies class every week as the mums there are lovely and friendly (which is not always the case with these classes) and the lady who runs the class is so engaging and always chats to every person who comes along and interacts with the babies, again that does not often happen. Plus she makes us tea and biscuits!

Finally, we are continuing to attend my absolute favourite activity – Cinebabies! It’s funny because at both classes above the leaders said “Kat tell everyone about baby cinema!” I really should be paid commission by Cineworld because I tell everyone I know about it! But as I started writing it below it got so long I thought it really deserves its own post, so more info to follow next week on parent-baby cinema experiences. In the meantime, check out the review I wrote 4 years ago, when I took baby Nate to Cinebabies.

3 month old baby smiling

Check out last month’s 2 month update.

Half Term Hell

This is hard to write because I feel guilty about my own feelings but I know I feel better when I read real life posts from other mummy bloggers. It wasn’t all bad, check out my half term heaven post.

It was my first half term and bear in mind I had the addition of an 11 week old baby who is still waking a lot in the night so I am sleep deprived too plus I only had hubby for one of the six days he was off school.

I really struggled…

carved pumpkin

My son has changed so much since he started school. He has so much energy now, so much more than before and he is hyper verbal. He is also going through a stage of following me wherever I go, perhaps due to the baby and being disobedient. All of this added up to a lot of tension and tears (including my own!)

He is very good with the baby in general, he absolutely adores her, but the problem with that is he simply won’t leave her alone. He loves nothing more than to get up into her face, plastering her with kisses, or pulling her arms, poking her etc. He does it all with love but it is too much, sometimes it makes her cry and no matter what I say he will not leave her alone. I don’t want to tell him off too much regarding his sister because I don’t want him to start associating negative feelings with her as in time it could change the way he feels about her. I don’t want him to resent her.

Until he went to school he used to listen to what I said and was very well behaved, he wasn’t perfect but he was a very good and polite little boy. Since he has started school he is grumpy, he sulks more, he shouts and he flat out ignores what I tell him to do. I am not used to him disobeying me so it is a very difficult transition for me.

I think I need to be firmer with him…usually, if he was naughty I would take something he liked away, but would give him the opportunity to earn it back by being good. I think that he now believes he can be bad as long as he is good later, which is obviously unacceptable.

So today, we were in a play centre, he ran off with a toy that someone else was playing with (so not like him!) the child came over and asked for it back (with the parent – how embarrassing, this has never happened before). I told him to give it back, he didn’t, I warned him by counting to 3. I got to three, which he knows should never happen, and therefore I said he is no longer allowed a special drink with his lunch.

He got very upset and asked how he could earn it back…that is very telling, I think I realised at that point what he was doing. I told him that he was not going to get the special drink and that he couldn’t earn it back because he took a toy from another child but if he started being good then he wouldn’t lose other things that he liked, and I gave him some examples like the Ipad or dessert.

I hope this new way of disciplining him will work, as I want my lovely well-behaved boy back…I miss him!

Since he is now back at school it has gotten a little easier as I don’t have to try to entertain him all day long whilst trying to keep his baby sister happy, fed and rested. But, I feel terrible that I wanted him to go back to school, I have never felt that way before and I am sure it will pass and that future school holidays will get easier as I get more used to them, well I really hope so.

 

1

Half-Term Heaven

I’m going to start positive but I also have a half term hell post ready to go. I have to be honest, if only to make other mums feel better because honestly we are way to hard on ourselves.

But on to the heaven part…

I have just spent the last 8 days straight with my son, who is 4 years old, just started school and this is the most amount of time we have spent together alone (well except for baby sis) since he was born. I know that sounds sad but I work full time and family holidays have always included hubby so this was just me and them. My first half term and I had high expectations. I was excited and put together a fun week for us so we didn’t get cabin fever.

It was a heavenly week for these reasons:
1. I got to spend quality time with my boy (which as I said above is unusual)
2. He had his very first swimming lesson and loved it!
4 year old stage 1 swimming
3. We got to visit Grandad (who is not very well) in the day time.
4. Both kids got to go trick or treating for the first time.
4 year old and baby skeletons
5. They were super cute in matching skeleton outfits.
6. Halloween Afternoon tea at frosts mmmmm
halloween afternoon tea frosts
7. Chestnut hunting and eating.
8. We all went (as a family) pumpkin hunting at Castle Ashby, lots of fun!
mum and boy on pumpkin hunt
9. Nate got to go back to nursery for a day and see some of his old friends and teachers.
10. I got to spend a few uninterrupted hours reading at Whittlebury Hall thanks to hubby.

11. Bestie came over and the kids played lovely together. At one point Nate ran into the kitchen to grab some tomatoes and cheese and declared they were having a “Midnight Snack” (at 11am!)

Good to know that there were some high points looking back.

To see the full rounded picture of my week and not the glossed over version check out part two, next…

2

Bye Bye Newborn – Baby Savannah 2 Month Progress Update

Ok, so I missed out on the 1 month update, I plead sleep deprivation as well as some family stuff, so I thought I would start Savannah’s baby update’s with 2 months instead.

Baby Savannah, my daughter, came into the world via planned c-section on 11th August, and this is how we are doing after 2 months…

Sleeping

She sleeps a lot! Well at least in the day time, let me count the ways:

2 month old napping6 week old baby naps1 month old napping

Actually night time sleeping has improved over the last couple of weeks. She is currently only waking twice at night (for the most part. Usually around 1pm and 5pm. I never had that with my son Nate, if you look back to my early blog posts you will see that I was terribly sleep deprived with him up until 5 months because he slept for 2-3 hour stretches through the night, all the way until he slept through the night at 5 months, there was no gentle progression, so I thought it would never happen. Perhaps Savannah will be different and make progress each week? Who knows.

Eating

Savannah is not at all patient when it comes to receiving her milk, not at all, and she is not shy about letting you know about it. Her routine, thus far, has been to sleep, then wake up for milk, cry scream very loudly until she receives said milk, guzzles it down like we have starved her for 3 days and then falls back asleep.

formula feeding 2 month old

Of course that is a slight exaggeration as she does stay awake for short periods to stare at the lights or our faces. She often wakes up just as I am about to take my first bite of lunch or dinner – literally I think she can smell the food or something and thinks, not so fast mummy!

I managed to breastfeed on and off for about 4 weeks but my milk has dried up now and she gets frustrated when I try so we are now exclusively on the bottle. Sometimes she takes the 4/5 ounces she is supposed to have, but she is a bit of snacker and prefers 1-2 ounces every couple of hours.

One little gadget that appears to be the big thing these days is the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine, it is seriously one of the best little baby gadgets we have bought, well that and our video baby monitor. The perfect prep machine is pretty expensive, at around £70-£100 at full price, but if you have a mum to mum Facebook group to buy from, I suggest you use that instead, which is what we did and got a second hand machine for £20, and we love it! My husband calls it a cappuccino machine for babies as that is what it looks and sounds like! Basically, the machine prepares the perfect bottle in less than 2 minutes, at the correct temperature.

The WHO guidelines state that you should boil the water and let it cool down for 30 minutes before giving to baby, that is officially how you are supposed to prepare formula, but I have yet to meet a baby patient enough to wait 30 minutes, so we have never really been able to do that. However, this machine is magic…you choose how many ounces you want, place a bottle under the spout and press the button, it pours a little boiled water in, you then scoop in the formula and shake, then press the button again and it fills up the rest of the bottle with cold water (bare in mind you have 2 minutes to enter the formula and shake before it switches off, and yes beads of sweat sometimes start to form if I get distracted mid-cycle!), and voila you have the perfectly prepared bottle ready to go in less than 2 minutes – I highly recommend and no I have not been sponsored I just love this machine! Only downside is that it only starts at 4oz which means you cannot use for a newborn (unless you want to waste a lot of milk).

Development

We got our very first, no windy, smile right on the 6 week target, it was magic, and just what I needed after a bad night.

6 week old baby smile

She is doing well with her tummy time, another aspect of babyhood that has changed since Nate was a baby is that health visitors are encouraging tummy time right from birth, I believe this is to help with head and neck control and strength, and to avoid a flattened head, which happens due to babies spending so long on their backs. Savannah actually likes being on her tummy and will often fall asleep as such (I only let her do that in full view of me on a play mat, not over night).

newborn baby tummy time

Colic

We think that Savannah may have Colic as she is very unhappy in the evenings, I know that the witching hours are the time when most babies become unsettled (about 5-11pm) but Savvy gets particularly upset and cries a lot, and it is next to impossible to calm her. This happens approximately 4 times a week, and my poor husband has to deal with the brunt of it as I go to bed about 8pm, so that I can get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep before he brings her up at 11pm. I intend to write a separate post about ways of calming a baby, as we have a lot of tricks up our sleeve by now, which some of you may find useful, but I would really appreciate more, so if you have any neat ideas of how to calm a crying baby please comment below.

Basically we cycle through different tricks until one of them settles her, we have tried different medication such as Infacol and Colief, Infacol works well for wind. She likes the carrier, being rocked, especially in the fisherprice vibrating, rocking chair, being pushed in the pram, going for a drive, having her tummy rubbed (clock-wise), looking at the lights on her play mat etc. The latest thing we are trying, as recommended by a couple of friends is a Cranial Osteopath, I will feed back if this helps.

2 month old on playmat

Me

This time round I had a planned c-section due to a very difficult birth with my son. It was much calmer this time, and they talked me through everything that was happening so I found it much more peaceful. The midwives were amazing this time too, Milton Keynes hospital have definitely improved their post-natal care since my last birth, I felt very well cared for this time.

My recovery was much quicker this time, and I was able to drive (on medical advice) after 4 weeks, instead of the usual 6 weeks. C-sections are not easy though, to be clear, the first couple of weeks were hard, I was not able to lie on my side or lay flat for a week, and since I sleep on my side I got very little sleep that first week. I had to have 10 days of injections, which my husband had to administer, that was not fun. Going over speed-bumps in the car for the first week was interesting, and by interesting I mean painful, you cannot exercise, drive, or lift anything heavier than the baby – which made me feel useless whilst waiting for my husband to carry things, but as I said it was easier this time and I felt like I healed more quickly.

2 month old baby