Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Comparing Chalk to Cheese? More Cheddar to Feta!

Despite repeating the mantra “every child is different” it is still natural, when you have more than one child, to compare! Are they more chilled? Do they sleep better? When did the first one sit up, roll over, crawl etc, and will this one be sooner or later?

You hear stories from friends, family, strangers in the street – “oh the second child is a lot more chilled than the first, they have to be”. “My John was a great sleeper but his little brother, Roger, had us up every night until the age of 20!!”.
So, yes, I’ve been doing my own little bit of comparing since Millie arrived!

Night-time Sleep

My memory of Callum was of the constant battle to get him to sleep through the night but waking up about every 1.5 to 2 hours at the start and every 3 to 4 hours near the end, eventually doing the much anticipated but felt illusive ‘sleep through’ at about 6 months! I considered this quite average. Not “my baby slept through at 6 weeks” wonderful but not “my child still wakes us up every night at aged 3” fear.

Millie, apart from the first few days where she was very ‘typical’ of a newborn, feeding all though the night and sleeping all through the day, it was very early on when she gave me a taste of sleep. Within the first couple of weeks she did a couple of 7 hour stints, then regularly slotted into a 6 hour sleep at night but once or twice going as long as 8 hours!

But that is no more – after playing around with formula versus breastmilk for a while (her and me) she has now slotted into a sleep about 8pm, wake for dummy about 11.30pm – feed between 1 and 2am then feed about 4am. I say “slotted into” like it is some sort of regular routine. She has done this for last 2 nights but still every night can be very different so I hesitate to say it is her ‘usual’ routine.

I will say, though, that she appeared to sleep much better when solely breastfed even when she was breastfed through the night but formula fed through the day I’m sure the 2nd 4am feed used to be more like 5am!

I sometimes wish she never granted me with that little taste – I’d probably feel much better about the wake ups now!

Day-time sleep

For Callum I remember holding him, rocking him, attempting to lay him in the cot, bending myself double so he thought he was still firmly held to me, managing to get him horizontal, gently starting to place him on the cot then “waaaaaaaaaaaaah” – screaming like I was placing him in a bath full of acid!

Trying to get him to sleep day or night on his own, self-soothing was laughable and reading back in my blog it appears I could spend a whole hour trying to get him off for a nap. But I also think I tried to push him into a fixed daytime sleep routine too soon. I still don’t have such a thing with Millie. With Millie, I’m all about the cues – the first yawn & grizzle she is straight up to bed whether she has been awake an hour or 2 hours, she leads the way and I place her down in her gro-bag (sleeping bag type thing) with her dummy in, place her muslin one side, her bunny comforter the other side, draw blinds & walk out the room. I may have to go into her once or twice to replace her dummy or muslin but it really is very little effort. If she is overtired due to missing the cues or trying to stretch her a little longer for whatever reason then I may have to hold her to sleep but even when this is the case, I can usually just get her to drowsy & place her down in her cot. With Callum, I never saw a cue until it was too late!

Feeding

Their feeding patterns appear to be quite similar. Both have hit a 2oz per feed max phase about the same 3 month point. Neither of them ever ‘big’ eaters. I don’t think we ever got Callum up to 8oz and he wasn’t a big scoffer though he would take a bottle nearly every time you offered it, just maybe not take very much. This means, if he had his last bottle a couple of hours ago but I was giving him another as part of his bedtime routine, he would take it. Millie – not a chance! If only half hour before her next feed she will refuse, pushing the teat out with her tongue and batting the bottle away with her hands. She will sleep then wake up at her proper feed time – the little madam!!!

Development

Despite Callum being born 3.5 weeks early, he was pretty strong at holding his neck up and Millie followed suit but, if anything was even stronger than Callum. Her legs constantly wanted to stand & she would throw herself back away from you with such force that you were scared she was going to throw herself out of your hands – you daren’t hold her with one arm/hand when she was upright.
Then very early on she blessed us with a smile, then shortly following a laugh. Her first roll from front to back was at 12 weeks – Callum was 6 months, 3 weeks before his first roll though was very early to sit at 5 months. We don’t know for Millie yet – its too early for sitting.

Of course, its still far too soon to tell how different their personalities are going to be and any further development milestones are unknown. But its exciting waiting to find out.
I think it is not so much that Millie is more chilled than Callum but when she hits the same or similar phases to Callum, I am more chilled about it & know things will take their own course there’s no use getting stressed about it. Apart from the milk consumption – I can’t help thinking if I could just get more milk into her during the day she’ll sleep better at night but – if my memory does serve me right it isn’t necessarily that one will naturally follow the other, I think the sleep came before the milk consumption for Callum.

It will be interesting to do another one of these posts in a couple of months time comparing the 6 months stage.

Callum & Millie both at aproximately 14 Weeks
 

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Some Mothers Don’t Have It

Well, less that mother’s don’t have it, I should’ve called it Some Fathers Do Have It but it didn’t have the same ring to it! I guess the titles a bit misleading as what I mean is fathers can have it too – instinct that is!

Its always ‘trust a mother’s instinct’ but father’s can have instinct too and it is often right!

Sometimes it can be easy to bow down to outside pressures, to listen to what other people are saying you should do, because everyone has an opinion – hell, I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it myself to an extent. “Shouldn’t she be in her own room now?”, “Have you tried putting her in her cot for naps?”, “can’t she self settle yet” (with a surprised look like surely that’s back to the basics!), “are you not weaning her yet? Look she’s desperate for food, poor thing is starving.” “She should be going 4 hours between feeds now, is she still on 3”, “my children were all sleeping though the night by now”. Gah! All this pressure can make you doubt your own instincts.

For some, this is all you have to go by, in which case shut out all the other noise and do what your heart tells you (and I salute you for doing such a hard job alone). But for us lucky ones that are raising children as a partnership, why not rely on the father’s instinct too.

An example:

At around 8 weeks, I was feeling pressure to put Millie in her own room at night by family but also my own poor memory. Remembering back to when I had Callum, my timeline is all a bit skewwhiff. I often think we introduced things and changed things a lot earlier with Calllum than we actually did. Its only when I read back my blog that I realise that I am often quite a lot out with timing. One of these occasions was with when we put Callum in to his own room. Not only did I have the timing wrong, when I had tried it with Callum it was quite difficult because he wasn’t ready yet.

I had forgotten all this and was suggesting to Stuart that we put Millie into her own room. Stuart pointed out that she was still quite unsettled in the evenings and could often take a couple of hours to settle in her Moses basket. If I were to put her to sleep in her bedroom, I’d be spending the majority of the evening stuck in her room or up and down every five minutes to settle her. He said the timing didn’t feel right and that we should wait.

I listened to him and agreed to wait a few weeks with the aim to get her into her own room by 12 weeks.

At around 11 weeks, Millie was settling much better in the evenings and so one weekend I suggested it might be a good time to try and Stuart agreed. She settled in her cot fine. We had a couple of nights of multiple wake-ups but on the third night she only woke the once at 4.30am and then the next at 5am. The time was right, the earlier time that I wanted to try would’ve been too soon & probably would’ve been stressful. Stuart’s instincts were right!

The other issue is us mums can often build a rod for our own backs. It can be tempting to take control of everything, enforcing our own techniques onto our partner and then we find ourselves in a situation where only we can put our child down for their naps, only we can settle them when they wake up. Then we wonder why we are doing all the work – we have effectively pushed our other half away. It may not have been intentional but has happened nonetheless. I’ve witnessed it in several of my friends. How are they going to help us if we don’t let them try. I don’t know about you but as special as it feels to have such a strong bond with your Little One that s/he responds best to you, I’d prefer to be able to share that special bond and be granted a break every once in a while.

A child-minder once told me, children soon recognise different sleep routines in different scenarios and can respond equally as well to 2 different routines. For example, at the child-minder’s or a nursery versus at home or when the parents have separated.

With both Callum and Millie I have tried to let Stuart find his own techniques for getting Millie to sleep. It has been difficult at times, not to intervene or take over, but how is Stuart, or indeed Millie, going to learn if you never give them the opportunity. You never know, there technique might actually be better than yours – this did happen with Callum! Stuart’s technique was better than mine so I adopted his method.

Obviously, I am with Millie more often than Stuart so am more likely to pick up her cues quicker so I may sometimes suggest something like, with me she likes to snuggle her muslin on her right side or point out to him a sleep signal I’ve recognised, and there is nothing wrong to suggesting a routine that you both stick to. Agree it between you rather than enforcing your idea. Then step back and let them try their way.

Its good to remember you are a team and a man’s pride can be easily dented if you tell them they are doing it wrong the whole time – I know mine would be so who can blame them.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

12 Weeks: Time for reflection

12 weeks is the new 6 weeks! I finally feel things are coming together and ‘normalising’ some what. We are surviving and, what’s more, it feels less like ‘survival’ and more like ‘coping’.

Its so hard when a newborn comes along to see past the suffocating fog that surrounds you. You can’t see any way out or any end to it, it just bogs you down.

It has been easier the second time round because at least you know that it does get better, allowing you to just have faith that it will. Even still, its difficult not to doubt that there will ever be an end. You hear stories about other people’s second children – they are either so much easier than their first or the first was an angel and their second a nightmare! I found myself asking, which would Millie be? Was Callum a good or a bad sleeper? I thought he was pretty average – not awful but not great either.

In truth, a lot of what Millie does or the phases she has gone through have been similar to Callum but I am a lot more relaxed this time. I know it is ‘normal’ and that the less I stress about it, the quicker the phase will pass, and it does! Because of my relaxed attitude she does seem to go through these phases quicker than Callum. For sleep issues, I know that she’ll eventually just ‘get it’ and all I can do is provide her with some kind of routine but be flexible enough to know that things change and I will have to change with them.

For the moment (and it is always ‘for the moment’ – see point above), Millie is napping in her cot without too much fuss getting her to sleep (there was lots of rocking and him waking as soon as he touched the bed) – not for longer than 45 minutes to an hour but I’m not worried about that yet, she’ll work it out. Millie is going longer through the night again AND is also in her own room in her cot. Millie is happy. She is putting on weight. She is, as everyone comments, very alert (cos the world needs Lerts!), strong and developing daily. She’s happy, I’m happy – that’s all that matters.

That said, she has been a bit out of sorts today after her 2nd lot of jabs yesterday so I’m prepared for it all to change again tonight.

Of course, there are bad days – when the tiredness really sets in, I feel I can’t cope. I look around at the mess and I panic that I’ll never get round to catching up with the washing or manage to grab any kind of lunch anytime soon. People tell you it isn’t important but you can’t understand that – the fog sets in again. But then the next day, all will be right with the world again, and I know, even when that bad day is happening, that it is only because I am tired – tomorrow will be better.

The hardest bit for me now, is convincing others that I’m happy with how things are progressing and trying not to let them influence me and start worrying over nothing because, of course, everyone has an opinion and thinks that the way they did it was better and they never had the problems you’re having! I now just go along with it, smile and think, they’ll see soon enough!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Slow Down! You’re Growing Too Fast!

I confess that the ‘newborn’ phase of having a child is not my favourite!!! I love it when babies get to about 6 months and are really interacting with you. So it surprises me to be saying this but Millie is developing just so damn fast and I can see these gorgeous weeny newborn disappearing before my eyes.

But I am also excited to the baby she is becoming and developing into. She is learning things so fast that its exciting to see what the next day will bring.

First there was her interacting with her toys. Mainly her dangly toys on her play gym but she really grabs and whacks them! Like many a baby before her, she also loves mirrors too.

Then today, more on the toy theme, she started looking at one of her toys, Dingle and dangly jingly sheep, that I have on her change mat. She has shown it very little interest up until now, instead preferring to talk to the window and blinds which is behind the change mat! Then just now she was really focusing it and kept hitting it until his face fell closer to hers and then she started cooing at it. So I moved it back and she repeated it again.

Even more amazing than that, and what took me completely surprise despite me expecting it would come sooner rather than later. My little baby girl rolled! I’d plopped her on her front surrounded by toys and went to continue with my present wrapping (in my effort to be a little organised for Christmas) and then she went. She flipped as easy as if she had been doing it for weeks onto her back!

I hurriedly put her on her front again and got my phone out to video her doing it again but no, once was enough and had exhausted her so I’ll have to try again tomorrow with my phone at the ready, when she is all fresh and full of energy again!

But as all things come in threes, what is more, today she has also started grabbing for her feet (or foot at the moment). Once more, while on her change mat, she was continually grabbing for it.

So much! All at once! You watch, she’ll be walking tomorrow – Nooooo, I wont even joke!!!!

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Video taken day after post published on 13 November – Only just got it. She still only has the strength to do one roll front to back.

video

Two sleeps beyond!

We have survived night two of Millie in her own room/cot. Much of it was the same but it somehow felt better.

After her anti-boob protest and just wanting a snuggle each time she woke the night before, I had decided to not offer to feed her unless she wouldn’t settle or ‘asked’ for it.

The night started very similar to the night before in that she went into her cot at about 7.30pm after her 7pm feed and finally drifted off about 9pm, though she did require a bit more ‘attention’ to get off to sleep than the night before.

Then we headed to bed at around 10.30-11pm but this time she didn’t wake…not until midnight!. So, I didn’t offer to feed her, I tried to settler her in her cot but she wasn’t having any of it so picked her up for a cuddle until she calmed and I put her back down. It didn’t take long, five minutes at the most.

Then, like the previous night, she woke at 2am and again just required a cuddle. As I put her in her cot again, her dummy fell out so I thought she need a bit more comforting but no, she was happy to continue to drift off without any trouble.

This was taking a familiar pattern so I expected the next 5.30 wake but this time she wasn’t settled by just a cuddle so I sat in the nursing chair and she nuzzled towards my boob so I offered it to her and she fed, hooray! No effort from me, completely her request.

I laid her back down in her cot and, after a couple of revisits to pop her dummy back in, she drifted back to sleep until 7.30pm. Unfortunately, my mind couldn’t stop thinking about the alarm due to go off in 3/4 hr so my morning pretty much started at the 5.30 mark but Millie woke happily chatting at 7.30am.

 

IMAG5000

Minutes before she woke

This all means that she definitely doesn’t need feeding between 7pm and 5.30am so now we just need to get her to self-settle and continue to sleep through that period. Stuart thinks we should take away the dummy now to encourage her to depend on herself for getting back to sleep and not requiring us to get up to pop the dummy back in. This makes me nervous, but maybe he is right. I am pretty sure she’ll go for her fingers/thumb though. I’m on the side of anti-thumb sucking and pro dummy, as you may have worked out, so I’m not too keen on this but at least her h-Andes are on the end of her Armies (teehee, poor joke!) so she’ll be able to work out soon enough how to use them. She currently likes her muslin and I am trying to get her attached to her bunny comforter which helps. She snuggles them against her face and twiddles them with her hands so we may be lucky in that she just makes use of those sleeping tools.

In addition, we have Ewan the Dream Sheep that I have heard such good things about on order which may be another advantage on the ‘war on sleep’. Looking forward to testing it out when it arrives and I’ll be sure to report back!

In relation to sleep, I have also put Millie in her cot for actual ‘naps’ three times today. Only for 45 minutes to an hour for each (well the first two, she has only just gone down for the third) but I’m pleased at that for a start. The first she woke up happy, the second she was grizzly and really needed longer. Lets hope this third nap is successful and she wakes up happy again.

Y’know, I shouldn’t say this after all the effort we are going to to move Millie into her own room but I do miss her in our room – that space next to the bed where she used to big seems mighty big now!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

She’s moved out!

Of our bedroom that is! We have taken the step of putting Millie to bed in her cot in her own bedroom! The first night of trying this was last night.

It started well, Stuart got both Callum & Millie ready for bed and then I sat in Millie’s room in the nursing chair and gave Millie her bottle. She was quite snoozy by the end of it so I was hopeful it wouldn’t be long until she was settled & asleep in her cot but she woke when I transferred her. Both Stuart and I hold Millie in our left arm which means we have to do a bit of a flip to put her in her cot at the correct end (away from the radiator!). But, despite her waking she was happy so we headed downstairs.

There, with the monitor set up and sat on the floor in front of us (so we could see it), my eyes were fixed on the little green flashy light that tells us she is still breathing, ironically holding my breath! I confess, I wasn’t desperately wanting to make sure she was breathing, I’m thankfully not overly neurotic and although I find it reassuring to see the flashing light, I am quite relaxed in thinking she will be ok. No, I was just willing the transfer to cot would work and that I wouldn’t be up and down the stairs a hundred times to settle her or spend the whole evening in her room. I had a glass of red waiting for me goddamnit! The flashing is slow & rhythmic if she is sleeping and gets quicker and erratic if she is awake. She was quiet but the light was erratic so I knew she wasn’t yet asleep.

She grizzled a couple of times which required us to go up and resettle her with little effort, then she was happily chirping for a bit and then there were a couple more occasions when she needed settling but she then drifted off by herself around 9pm (milk time was around 7.30pm).

The rest of the night wasn’t that great. Not AWFUL but not great. Stuart said it was the toughest night for him since she was born because he woke every time she did whereas normally he might only wake for the odd feed.

Millie stirred as we were going to bed just after 11pm. She refused booby and got a bit hysterical that I had the audacity to offer it to her. But she snuggled in my arms & returned to sleep so I put her back in her cot.

She work again at 2am and the same thing happened. Refused the boob but went back to sleep. Then she woke at 5.30 which wasn’t too bad. Still keeping up the anti-boob protest but again went back to sleep though with a little more effort this time. Finally, she stirred at 6.30am and finally took the boob but didn't really settle back to sleep in her cot and by this time I was shattered as each time I went to her I was awake for about half an hour so I took her into our bed. I was desperate for some sleep so Stuart held her in his arms while we both got a couple of hours more snooze (not sleep as there was a baby in the bed with us).

I reckon she woke up for food but couldn’t have been too hungry to go back to sleep so easily – perhaps she has been waking up more from habit than hunger?!

Now we are on night 2 and, although it wasn’t quite as easy to get her to settle into her cot, she still wasn’t too bad and went off again about the same time – 9pm. For the rest of the night, I don’t know what to expect or how to tackle it. If she wakes like she did last night, I will on first instance try to settle her again and not assume that she wants feeding first off. If she wont settle I guess I will still try to breastfeed her but I really think she is weaning herself off it (weaning sounds gradual, she is going for flat refusal). So looks like I wont be able to keep up the night time BF but instead will be moving to all bottle. I tried a couple of times to offer her the breast during the day (just to give me some comfort or to see what she would do) but she wasn’t having any of it!

I am optimistic, however, that this is the start of her going through the night. She obviously didn’t need the food to go so long without it and to still settle back to sleep so perhaps (big perhaps maybe) she will be sleeping through before we know it! Fingers crossed!

It could all go to pot though with her screaming house down for food meaning me going downstairs to get a bottle – I have bottles prepared and in the fridge, just in case.

Wish us luck. I know it is most likely that this anxiousness will only last a week, if that and we’ll have it sussed this time next week – I really hope so! I think it was 3 days with Callum.

Uh oh – 9.45pm and she is shouting (shouty cry that is). Ahhh, all settled again (damn that dummy!).

Silent Sunday




Love All Blogs


Thursday, 8 November 2012

11 Week Update

So we have been a family of four for over 11 weeks already and the time has flown by!

Millie is so alert and is so easy to make smile. She is trying to laugh and chat back to you in her own little “agoo” way. I remember Callum’s babbling started exactly the same. She is really into her hanging toys on her play gym, giving then a good bash - although not interested in anything handheld like a rattle as of yet.

She is strong and is much happier to be left on her front, lifting her head up than her brother was, though she soon gets fed up and starts trying to swing her legs over. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was rolling before Christmas.

After some up and downs with the whole ‘to bottle feed or not to bottle feed’ dilema, we are now on bottle feeding in the day and breastfeeding at night & for the first feed of the morning. I am happy like this and would like to keep feeding this way for as long as possible. It suits us! It, of course, means I am solely responsible for all the night time feeds and can not spend a night away from Millie at the moment (I could of course express so someone else could do a night feed, but I wouldn’t want to at the moment – certainly not until we’ve been feeding like this for a few more weeks) but I’m happy with that and its not forever.

I am also incredibly proud of myself for achieving my breastfeeding goals – to feed longer than with Callum and to feed off both breasts not just the left. I am also proud have managed to maintain it this long. Its been hard work and there were so many times I wanted to pack it all in at the start but sheer bloody-mindedness kept me going on!

Now for the next challenge! Actually, I am staying pretty relaxed about it (most of the time) rather than thinking of it as a challenge. I’ve remembered the “they’ll do things in their own time” mantra. I have started to try to put Millie down awake so she soothes herself to sleep. It doesn’t work every time…in fact most of the time…but it does occasionally and soon there will be enough of a pattern to her days that we can get some clear routine in place for naps and we can introduce her to sleeping in her cot.

Its through all these stages that I really miss not having an NCT group like with Callum. I have some Mummy ‘friends’ on Twitter who have had babies around the same time and we do tend to ask one another questions but it isn’t the same as when all the mums and babes would meet up from week to week and discuss every inch of our child’s development & routine and compare (in a good way) to one another – not to mention the support everyone gave each other.

We had Millie’s first photoshoot session today. No idea how the photos will turn out. I had a number of outfits but only got a couple in one of my favourites and didn’t get to wear the last one as she started to have enough – not helped by the hiccups. She lasted a good half an hour though and there were some smiles. It will be good to see the results. Hopefully there’ll be at least one nice one anyway!

Callum is just starting to show a little resentment of Millie now. Not anything too obvious or anything nasty directed at Millie but his neediness of us is increasing. We are trying to encourage him to be self-sufficient. Stuff he has been able to do for ages but gets lazy and relies on us for, such as getting dressed himself, cleaning his teeth etc as well as ensuring he remembers his manners etc. He sometimes pushes back on these things for attention and to get some more one on one time with us. He often holds on to one of us for that little extra bit longer too and isn’t so willing to leave nursery at the end of the day. I’m trying to find some time to do things just for him, if Millie is sleeping in her moses basket, I’m trying to sit down with him and play. Unfortunately, these occasions aren’t often enough as we are frequently out and about, have company or Millie is in my arms but if the opportunity is there, I’m trying to take it. I was today also pointing out just how ‘boring’ Millie is at the moment because she can’t do anything & just eats milk and how much he can do because he is a ‘big boy’ and that he gets to eat nice things like chocolate. I think a little of it sank in. 

Despite this, he is still lovely with her. I can already see the protective big brother side of him, even with them being so small. If she cries he will take her bunny to her or pop her dummy back in her mouth. Then he got most upset today when Stuart kissed him goodbye but didn’t kiss Millie as he went into work.

I was looking at a photo of them together the other day and I just get this feeling they are going to be good friends when they are older.

Callum says he loves Millie and at nursery last week when talking about what makes them happy he said Millie. I don’t quite believe him and am not sure where that came from but it was very sweet.

Monday, 5 November 2012

How Your Child Sees You (MeMe)

Its been a while since I was tagged in a MeMe and I quite like this one, particularly because it fits in nicely with the theme of this blog, unlike most of the others I’ve come across! So I can actually genuinely say thank you to Aimee for tagging me this time.

You have to ask your child to draw a picture of you. Well, clearly Millie is too young so it was a job for Callum. Thankfully, he has been in a drawing mood recently so I armed myself with paper and (shiny new) pencils on a visit to Nanna & Grandpa’s to encourage him to draw a picture of me.

“No, I’m drawing an aeroplane, flying”

“I’ll draw a rainbow”

“OK Mummy”…..”Its Toys”IMAG4967

I gave up! Thankfully, I have a back up plan! A couple of days earlier he voluntarily drew a lovely family portrait so, this may be cheating, but here is me:

I was pleased to see I had a smile on my face this time (last time I was sad).

I enquired about the green line surrounding me:

“You’re trapped and you’re trying to get out”.

Clearly a very perceptive and sensitive child!

I wasn’t brave enough to ask why I had bubble type arms whereas everyone else had sticks…I feared I may have got back “they’re your boobies mummy” considering he has seen a fair bit of them since Millie has been born. Safer left unsaid!

I feel it is only fair, now, to share with you the whole picture. From left to right, Me, Callum, Millie (the green person by his hand, the one by his head is a “funny head”) and Stuart.

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I do love that he is actually drawing proper recognisable ‘things’ and people now. I’m always excited to see what his next picture may be.

So, I now pass the baton on to Karen, Kara and Tas. Good luck (and sorry if Memes aren’t your thing)!