Category Archives: Development

709 days

Standard

Not long til short stuff is two!

The last few months have heralded a little improvement in sleep (3 wake ups is better than 7!) and more recently a desperate attempt to drop his only nap. A quick google says that by age 2 most children drop their morning nap and by 4 they tend to drop their afternoon one too. But apparently this depends on how much night time sleep they get as they may be getting “enough” at night.

I can’t even remember when the regular morning nap stopped but it was a good while ago. I think we’ve had about 6 days over the last three or so weeks in which there has been no nap. We’ve had to time bed time very carefully and there have been more wake ups on those nights but overall it seems to have coincided with the better general sleep.

Most words are coming out in full sentences (whether we can understand it or not is a different matter entirely) and his patience and ability to sit still to achieve small tasks is growing by the day.

We’ll be due our 2 year health visitor check at some point soon. I’m just hoping that the appointment doesn’t echo the stories I hear about from other women about admonishments for breastfeeding and co-sleeping. Luckily as long as I’m prepared for potential conflict I can handle myself, so we’ll see what happens. The Health Visitor and MidWife team have changed around here recently apparently so I might not see someone I know.

We achieved an even more successful family holiday than the last one- partially due to the above developments but also some good and lucky accomodation choices (enclosed garden!), locality of steam railways and making great use of the lovely Mumsnet friends that I made way back in Jan 2013 to break up the journey and give small stuff some time to play.

I can highly recommend Norfolk with a toddler- it was only part of our trip but lots to do and luckily beautiful weather to do it in.

Advertisements

Development

Standard

Talking is the new favourite thing over here- lots to say all the time. In fact I have little idea what he is saying most of the time, as it’s a constant babble of verbal explosions which continue on with the odd recogniseable word like Car or Cat or Truck in between.

New words are coming thick and fast- this week it’s been “geese” “flower” and “dirty” all of which are being used in the correct context (“car dirty” for example). It’s quote fun. We talk a lot to and with him. We read to him and encourage him to point out the things he recognises in the book, but I’m sure genetics are as much to play. Apparently as a child I was bright and precocious and used to remember books off by heart so that other people thought that I was able to read when actually I was just memorising what I’d been read!

This week he also decided was the week to learn to ride a bike. A friend kindly dropped around a second hand balance bike. It was left in the hallway, and little person climbed right on despite the saddle being about 3 inches too high and tried to ride it!

More thoughts on feeding a toddler

Standard

I have another urge to write something about what I’ve learnt about breastfeeding a toddler.

In a way I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this yet somehow it needs to be said.  I’m learning slowly how to communicate the way I feel in a positive way rather than being typically British and apologetic. I am now trying to ensure that I always say “R is breastfed” rather than the usual “R is still breastfed”. Don’t forget that the WHO recommend breastfeeding to two and beyond so I’m not some crazy boobmatyrhippy I’m just following World Health guidelines.

I’m lucky that both my mother and mother in law breastfed, although in a different day and age and with very different guidelines and advice. This means that straight off no one in my immediate family found  “natural term” breastfeeding odd or gave me a hard time about it. That’s another phrase-refusing to say “extended”breastfeeding any more to mean feeding past six months,  but to say “natural term” to reflect the nature of feeding a child until an extend nursing strike or self-initiated weaning.

It would be a lie to say that I don’t care what other people think or what they think of me. Obviously I care little about what strangers think of me as their opinion is irrelevant whilst it matters more what my friends and family think.  There is a huge disappointment when I hear phrases from friends and acquaintances like “I’m all for breastfeeding but. ..” which is the breastfeeding-in-public version of “I’m not a racist but”. Whatever is going to come after that “but” is almost certainly going to be misinformed, incorrect and offensive.

  I talk passionately about breastfeeding because I think it’s important that we change the way our society  views it. I’m not saying that everyone should breastfeed no matter what but just that we accept it as a normal part of every day public life.  This in turn will improve rates of breastfeeding as it becomes a more normalised and publically discussed activity. It will make it more accessible to more people, giving women the choice and the power back in the relationship rather than giving over to the misinformation rife when women are having a physical or emotional wobble about breastfeeding

So whilst I  “don’t care” what strangers think of me breastfeeding a toddler in public (probably not discreetly as he won’t stay still for 5 seconds), I do care about why people would find this entirely natural act offensive. I worry about the state of the country I live in where people think that feeding a baby from the breast is disgusting or wrong. I want to change the way people feel about it and the way they view it.

There are (to my honest knowledge) many people who think that women that breastfed past a certain age (usually a number picked out of the air) are “only doing it for themselves”. If you’ve ever watched a toddler breastfeed you’d have something else to say. With blocked ducts and mastitis,  nipple and skin pinching, Gymnastics, teeth etc it’s not really a relaxing cuddle with your small person. But then on the back of that, another huge swathe of people think that women who breastfeed to natural term are ridiculous martyrs who like to Lord over everyone else about how hard their lives are but who won’t help themselves to make life easier. By help themselves I mean employ tactics they are not comfortable with/ dont believe in that someone else thinks it will help them.

I promise you that the majority of us are neither of the above.  When you make a parenting decision, you often feel like the decision has been made for you and there was actually no choice at all.

There are very few circumstances under which a woman cannot breastfeed. This is not to undermine those who genuinely can’t , but they are in a very small minority. There was absolutely no decision to be made for me,  if I could, I would. I didn’t feel like this was a decision that I made and it certainly wasn’t in silo. It was about my whole outlook on the point of procreation- and it was just always going to be that way. Luckily once he worked it out, R felt the same and his complete bottle refusal showed me that he wanted to be breastfed. Even if for any reason I wanted to wean now, I wouldn’t have the first idea about how to go about it and R would be none too pleased about it all. It’s an even better reason to keep feeding him.

And this is what makes things hard. R is not a sleeper. And some breastfed babies are, some aren’t. Babies are made to wake every 90 minutes or so. Some can settle themselves back to sleep and some can’t. Sometimes this is beyond challenging. During my week of solo parenting R decided on the last night that he didn’t fancy going to sleep. I was exhausted having been up and out to buggy fit in the morning then out to a friends in the afternoon and it was day five of solo parenting. It took me two hours and two different beds to get him down. He woke after fifteen minutes. He then took another hour to settle again and that time slept for just thirty minutes. After about 2 1/2 hours I started to slowly crumble. This isn’t related to breastfeeding specifically but the style of more natural /attachment parenting that we have fallen into through our beliefs and Outlook.

Toddler refusingto sleep, Husband about to board a plane hundreds of miles away and all I felt was that I was trapped and unable to express honestly how I was feeling to anyone. When it feels (from comments made like “you spoil him” or “you need to put him in his own bed otherwise you’ll never get him out” etc) everyone seems to view you as a soft idiot who should be shutting the door on your screaming baby to try to”fix” him, it’s hard to find solidarity. Luckily someone posted about a similar problem on the Facebook breastfeeding group that I’m on and I felt able to share there and the lovely comments and support I received there was invaluable that night, another night feeling in a pit of despair.

What to say? Never assume you know how someone else is thinking or that you know what you’d do in their shoes. Women who have had around 4hrs sleep a night for a year plus don’t tend to handle thoughtless comments well. Don’t underestimate how far a nice comment can go when it’s needed.

Boobs again

Standard

Christ it’s all going down today. This morning a mother went onto This morning on itv to talk about why she still breastfeeds her 6 year old.

To me this woman is selfless and brave. She knew that people wouldn’t understand but thought her point was important enough to put herself in the firing line. The breastfeeding support forums have been buzzing today with anger and upset at the comments (DON’T READ THE COMMENTS! )(sorry it’s just a thing we say to try to stop troll-feeding) that members of the public are making,  but for some people even close friends too.

We’re back to that classic issue of the anonymity and removed nature of the Internet comment section. The concept that you can say basically anything you like with no repercussion. But it goes deeper than that. It seems that most adults in the UK feel at best uncomfortable with the concept of breastfeeding a six year old. At worst they think it’s “disgusting” and “perverted” and “akin to child abuse”. There is something very inherently wrong with this societal view. In most issues, I’m a fence sitter nature but there are some things I just can’t understand.

The benefits of extended breastfeeding are well documented. Anyone who says there is no benefit to the child at this age may want to do some research on the subject. I’ve talked before about the sexualisation of breasts (in fact my Samsung Mobile Phone will not automatically let me type the word breast and tries to auto correct to the hilarious “beast” or the factual “breastfeeding”) in the western world particularly.  Some people say that the only benefit is to the mother. Whilst many mothers enjoy natural term feeding that’s not to say it’s easy. From latch issues from brand new babyhood all the way through to each new tooth, babies touching and fiddling and scratching and pinching and doing gymnastics and waking every 90 mins,  mums feeling “touched out” (fed up of being attached to the child all the time)…. I stand by my word when I say that mother is selfless to do that for six years.

But how do we change opinion?  The Daily Mirror were running a poll for their (no doubt open minded, liberal and well read) readers to find out what % of then thought it was right to feed a 6 year old. When I received a link to it and voted,  over 87% said that it wasn’t right. How do we tackle this?

I for one absolutely refuse to apologise or hide breastfeeding.  I feed in public wherever we need to. I talk about breastfeeding in normal everyday conversations with friends, family and colleagues because it is normal and the more we normalise the more we enable others to build their confidence to realise it’s normal and do the same.

Won!

Standard

We won! We made it to one!
We didn’t leave him anywhere, break him or give up after a ridiculously difficult wonderful year.

I already went through the things we achieved over the last 51 weeks of maternity leave so I won’t do that again, but maybe a nice photo of the small one enjoying his big day!
2014-09-09 12.56.03

We took the day off work and spent it walking up to Coral Reef for a swim, then stopping off on the way home at South Hill Park for lunch. Then the afternoon included friends popping over with presents and cake & fizzy!

Then on Saturday my mum kindly hosted a family party. The weather turned out to be unexpectedly beautiful so we ate and played outside in the sun. More presents, more fizzy and more cake!

2014-09-13 14.44.11

2014-09-14 11.19.30

He’s also got his first pair of shoes and is really enjoying running around in them!

Now the first year is out of the way, it’s made me think about what I’ll start to use this blog for. not to say that I don’t have the same need to rant about sleep and stress of parenthood, but I think I need some more direction. If you can think of a topic you’d like me to cover, please feel free to suggest. Otherwise I’m seeing more reviews, information about my volunteer work with the Let Toys Be Toys campaign , information about babywearing and general my general mix of “natural parenting” and “other” (unnatural parenting?!) as we traverse toddlerhood!

Crying walking sleeping talking

Standard

Okay, not yet talking. …

So we have steps. At first, encouraged by pushy mother (sore back from leaning over to hold his hands) and a week later taken by choice, and very pleased with himself! 

This new mobility had come at a price-the constant fear of what he’s going to fall over next. He likes things that moves-doors, the buggy, the clothes airer, the car seat, my office chair and so on. In one week he managed to collapse the clothes airer onto himself, knock over an ironing board, fall over closing a door with me on the other side and fall out of a friends patio doors, not to mention falling over his own feet and banging his head on every table in the RG postcode….. I sound hideously negligent but at least we are yet to experience the rite of passage that is falling off the sofa/bed.

It’s hard to find a balance between wrapping them in cotton wool and letting them learn their own lessons. Already he is starting to learn how to fall gently onto his bottom rather than an uncontrolled backwards head-banger and his balance has improved markedly from letting him hold onto things that move.

And whilst I never get too optimistic about these matters, there seems to be some improvement with sleep. To many parents it’s still awful sleep but in comparison to what we are used to, it feels like an uninterrupted 8hrs!

We’ve had a few nights of 8-12, 12:15-3, 3:15-6, 6:15-8 ish. Tonight is buggered up because he coughed himself awake (think he’s got and has given me hand foot and mouth) at half ten.

I’ve spent the last 11 months being told that xy or X Well help him sleep (turning three months, being in his own room, starting solids etc). As a consequence I’ve started to ignore everything everyone says ever, but maybe he really is wearing himself out. He is trying to walk and cruise at every waking hour!

We still have no words. I am trying to ensure we converse with him and read to him more. He makes the most wonderful hilarious sounds, his favourite being “do ooh! ” and “lerglerglergle” but can make quite complex sounds too like th, ck, St etc so we have no worries about him that way. Just being impatient waiting for a mama or dada

image

!

9 month review

Standard

Today was baby D’s “9” month review with the hv team. At 10.5 months! I believe they’re a little behind at our children’s centre.

Lucky it was a health visitor  that I had met before and know to be very nice and friendly so that was good. The review went well though they’d like to follow up on his communication skills in a month or so as although he is forming lots of sounds, he isn’t really using them to communicate with us yet really. Nothing to stress about just to maybe keep an eye on. I’ll definitely try more during the day to get him communicating more. He can definitely say “mama” and “dada” but not with any regularity and not to either of us.

Baby was tired as the appt was booked for 11:30 which is at least vaguely nap time. He cried a bit, had a feed and then had a 6 minute power nap. Unsurprisingly he is > 2hr into his afternoon nap. I *may* have joined him for an hour. It was luscious!

We did discuss hours sleeping but as we have an appt with thedoctor next week to discuss silent reflux, the health visitor said she’d try to help if the doctor doesn’t find anything.

Speaking of sleep. …. It’s not going so well. The last three nights we have had 7,5 and 7 wake ups respectively.  The heat hasn’t helped, neither has inconsiderate neighbours (both the ones that have been arguing and the kids who finished school and apart to have spent the might screaming in the park. …. All night). We are trying to get  daddy to settle him rather than just feeding him back to sleep. I’ve got 7 weeks before I return to work and I’m not looking forwards to working without sleep. 

Mobile

Standard

Baby is getting really mobile. He cruises around the furniture like crazy-at speed with absolute reckless abandon and entire lack of a sense of danger. Makes me think what a bad design babies are. Their mobility skills develop at such an alarming pace that their cognitive understanding cannot keep up. They don’t understand their environment, have an entire lack of fear and have no understanding of the consequences of their actions.

He’s yet to fully work out crawling despite quite clearly having the skills required and the strength. He figured rolling the day before he turned ten months old. He can also do what I term to be the caterpillar move but on his back when required, usually when getting away from nappy changes.

Falls are daily. Sometimes he bangs his head or wrenches his arm a little. Sometimes he cries and sometimes he is oblivious. But each day he gets faster and stronger. I predicted he’d crawl this week but he’s not yet played ball but I wonder how long before he will walk unaided? Under two months until his first birthday so we will see!

The development is fascinating to watch and just so fast.
image

(Doesn’t always end well. … No babies were hurt in the capturing of this photograph! )

Long time

Standard

So its been a blooming long time since I posted. Been busy raising a baby!

Baby is almost 8 months now and it’s not been an easy ride. We are lucky that he is healthy and happy but it looks like we’ve definitely got one of the broken ones that doesn’t sleep.  Which is of course frustrating because we are exhausted all the time. We also get to hear regularly about other local mummies whose babies sleep through so there’s a little resentment and jealousy there too.  On top of that everyone had ideas of what can help but sadly nothing does seem to help this one.

Baby is unable to settle himself. There is some argument about whether self settling actually exists or not or whether it’s something that can be learnt or taught. My theory would be that it does exist but cannot be taught to some babies.  There is one baby at the Wednesday group I go to who falls asleep on the play mat every week in the middle of the hubub. No dummy or comforter. No boob, no mummy cuddle. Just flat out snoozing on the play mat in the middle of the room.

Baby feeds to sleep and can sometimes be persuaded to sleep in daddys arms.  If he is due a nap, the pram or sling will also work for day time naps.

Since Christmas the general sleep pattern has been 90min to 2hr stretches. We had one good phase for about two weeks at the start of April but then teething seemed to turn it back. We saw the doctor in April and she suggested it could be reflux so we tried gaviscon for three weeks but it made no  difference to his sleep.

Since his first tooth came through last month and the associated teething that goes with it, he has become painfully clingy and refuses to sleep in the cot. I don’t know what I can do to persuade him and I get a little more sleep when he comes in with us so I’m rolling with it. It won’t be forever.

Our children’s centre gave us a handout this week of things to do to help your baby to sleep. We already do all the things they suggested! We try!  From a straw poll of my lovely mumsnet friends, it seems his patterns are normal. …. fringe but within the bounds of normal.

Developmentally is so interesting to look at him and his little friends. Baby can sit quite happily (except when he forgets how to and bumps his head). He loves to stand but is on his tippy toes and has no balance. At all. He’s eating solids but is quite difficult and will only eat what he fancies. We give him lots of finger food for some baby led weaning and load spoons for him to feed himself with which is how he prefers things! He has one tooth on the bottom which didn’t give him too much grief coming through thankfully. He’s still uninterested by rolling but I think he could if he tried!

image

He is a wonderful cheeky little chap and keeps me very entertained. It is difficult.  Especially being exhausted from total lack of sleep, and on top of that  I’m booking in my keeping in touch days at work (KIT days) , one down and nine to go. I very paid for then which is ace but a days work on no sleep is challenging.

I’m going to try to keep this more up to date from now on.
image

Of sleep and development and stuff

Standard

Baby D is changing every day, and it’s exhausting for us all!

After a relatively successful 8 week injections, the 12 week ones did not go down so well. I don’t know if it’s the addition of the meningitis jab, or a different reaction to the rotavirus- or even the combination of the injections and another growth and developmental leap…. but it was pretty awful.

Baby is learning about his hands at the moment, which is great fun to watch. He likes to suck his left fist enthusiastically (sometimes when he is hungry, and I have to move it out the way so he can feed!), and can hold things now too (though he’s not always aware he is doing it).

Sleep is an ongoing issue. He has proved out of the blue that he is entirely capable of sleeping, but it’s quite hit and miss, and so we’ve had some terrible weeks. Week 12 has been pretty un-fun, but he finally rewarded our patience with a lovely night last night sleeping from 11pm until 6am!

His head and neck control is very impressive, as are his legs which kick like mad, especially if there’s a chance they might make the toys on his play mat jangle.

We’ve been attending baby massage with him which is a bit hit or miss- sometimes he likes it and sometimes he doesn’t- but this is his last week this week. We try to do it at home after bath time, in front of the electric fire so he stays nice and warm and relaxed.

3 months feels like a huge milestone and I’m so pleased that we’ve made it this far as a family without too much stress and shouting!

106