Tag Archives: sleep

Catch up

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I have to stop counting on months now, right? (25 months old!)

Quite update on some things we’ve been up to.

2 year Health Visitor check went pretty well. We had been entirely honest on our form- it asks about whether he can perform certain tasks. There were a few we didn’t know about- like whether he could flick a switch. We’ve always discouraged him from switches of any kind (ie sockets) so he’s never found out! The Health Visitor ended up changin g a few of our answers for a better score as she could see that he’s very capable. He can use a fork. He chooses to use his hands. He probably can tidy up his toys. Not to say he will! Anyway, she was pleased with him as we hoped so that was good.

The health visitor checks are interesting. My view has always been that if you have attended one and think it’s a waste of time, then you are probably one of the lucky ones. This means there are no problems being identified with your childs speech, fine motor skills, weight gain or any other factors. This means your child is developing normally and you had to take an hour out of your day to find that out. Sometimes its’ hard to think outside of our own home-life bubble, but there will be parents who have taken their child to a checkup where the health visitor has identified an issue with the child’s development or home life that needs attention. It may help pick up on problems early so they can be tackled or that families can be signposted to get extra help where needed.

The other side of things I often hear on the facebook breastfeeding groups I’m on is about how some health care professionals including health visitors treat those of us that practice Attachment Parenting. I HATE labels like this but if I look at the way we are choosing to bring up our child, most of it falls pretty neatly into AP’s philosophy (one reason I dislike it is the suggestion that those who do not identify with AP are somehow detached……). Many women have had negative experiences of hcps commenting on their decision to breastfeed past a certain arbitrary age, for co-sleeping, for not using CIO (Cry It Out) methods to get their children to sleep etc. However I would say that our review was an unmitigated success.

R ran about whilst we chatted through the paperwork. We were then asked how he eats (badly) so she asked us to talk through a typical day. Half way through this, he hopped up onto my lap and asked for “boobies” (not my favourite choice of word to signify that he wants milk but hey ho, it’s stuck). At the end of describing his daily food intake, I finished with “Oh, and milk of course“. The HV then asked me if he drank it from a cup, which seemed like an odd question at the time, but I replied “No, just from me”. At which point she looked up from her laptop and said, “Oh…. Yes. Well done.” Now I do not breastfeed my child for a pat on the back but it was very welcome after the horror stories I’d heard and was better than being told erroniously that there would be “no nutritional value” in my milk or that he was “only doing it for comfort” (favoured phrases it seems). She asked if we were happy with it still and both myself and the husband said “YES” in unison. After a short discussion about his frequent night wakings, she then told me that if I wanted to wean at any point and needed help, then I could call the HV team. And that was that.

Well not really, my little charmer then proved that he could put all the toys away and then as we put him into his buggy (with not a single protest from him) he waved and said “Goodbye nice lady” and blew her a kiss!

What else?

Nightweaning (to be sung to the tune of Nightswimming by REM). Not sure if I blogged about it then but back in January around my birthday we had a pop at night weaning from milk. It happened at this point because a friend (who had a child herself that didn’t sleep though for different reasons) pointed me towards a gentle AP-worthy method of night weaning by a chap called Dr Jay Gordon. I was understandably entirely sceptical. We have (half heartedly) attempted a number of different things over the last two years to improve sleep, and none of them have worked. In fairness the element of half heartedness no doubt had some kind of influence on this but realistically we knew they were never going to work and so it was all a bit of a pointless exercise. However, straight away on reading this method, I felt like I could get on with it. Dr Gordon doesn’t endorse any kind of sleep training for under one year olds. He talks about co-sleeping in the “family bed”.

He says:

Don’t get me wrong. I love the family bed, child-led weaning and cuddling all through the first, second, third year or more if it’s working well and if the family is doing well. Don’t let anyone convince you that this is a harmful choice or that there will be “no way” to get him out of your bed if you don’t do it now. Don’t believe anyone who says that babies who cuddle and nurse all night long “never” learn to self soothe or become independent. This is simply not true but it sells books and the myths stay in our culture.

I agree. This helps.

This method highlights the difference between a child who is safely in his mother or fathers arms crying because he is frustrated at not getting what he wants (milk) when he wants it (9pm,11:30pm, 1am, 2:30am, 4am, 5am and from 6-7am), and leaving a child alone in their own room to cry to teach them that no-one is coming. This hit hard with me as leaving a child to cry alone has never resonated well with me. However, I am able to leave R in his daddies arms having a bit of a sob to go and do things because I know he is safe and loved and protected.

I won’t go through the full method as you can read it on the link to Dr Gordon’s page, but a brief run down is that you choose a period of night during which you do not feed your child (we chose 11pm to 5am). Before and after that time you continue as normal. During that time for the first 3 nights you give them a brief feed (but don’t feed to sleep), then cuddled them to sleep. You repeat the process each time they wake. The next 3 nights, you just cuddle, with no feed. The next 3-4 nights after that you stay with them, talk to them, soothe them etc but don’t pick them up to cuddle them. The idea is that it’s gentle but persuades them that they don’t need a feed to get to sleep, and also that they won’t get one so they don’t need to wake. At R’s age, he does not need to feed at night but he likes to. But I also need to get some sleep.

When we tried back in January, it was going well before we all got hideous germs. I had tonsilitis then spent the next 6 weeks with a cold, a lost voice etc, small person was so full of green goo it wasn’t funny and the husband had a selection of his own germs too. It went on for so long (which was unusual as we usually have good health!) that we just totally gave up on it. Which is weird because it was actually working prior to the ill.

Our sleep got worse again a month or so ago and I was duly complaining to anyone who would listen, and it was suggested that we try again. So we said “Why not?”, and we did. There were two nights in the middle where small stuff cried for 2 hours or so. One night we actually ended up taking him downstairs as he was being so noisy and awful, the other night I told him stories gently in the hope of convincing him to sleep but just our luck we have the only child in the land who finds bedtime stories too stimulating and then starts joining in! At this point we weren’t very hopeful but the next night, he only woke twice. All night. TWICE! Not seven times. From then on in it’s been pretty consistent. We still have bad nights and we’ve shifted the timings a little because he was waking at 4:30 or so desperate for a feed and crying until five. As he wasn’t often waking before that, I decided a 4:30am feed isn’t such a bad thing.

So the next step may end up being his own bed. We have an old single bed frame in the attic which we are going to get out at the weekend and see if we can get a mattress to fit (weird Ikea bed size). Then we can see if he likes having his own room….. Wish us luck!

Sorry no pictures- will add some in from my phone when I get a chance

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Advice

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Small turned 2 a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t think of anything interesting or poignant to post so I didn’t!

I know a few people having or due babies soon and was thinking about the most useful bit of advice I could give them and what it might be. There’s tonnes of great info about breastfeeding out there on the internet if you’re willing to look for it, so I’m not sure that there’s anything there I could say of much use. There’s also so much conflicting stuff about sleep and all those things and most would hardly peg me as an expert with our sleep situation. So I think my best advice would be:

For every one person that tells you something worked for them there are a) a hundred people who it didn’t work for and b)a hundred other things that person tried that didn’t work.

Why that?

The thing I found hardest when R was little was that everyone had a handy trick up their sleeve for getting a child to eat or sleep or whatever.

And it was always conveyed to us with such authority, that I often tried whatever the method was. Even some of the expensive ones.

And you know what? Nothing worked.

I now know and believe this isn’t because I’m a terrible rubbish parent. It is (that old chestnut) that every child is different.

Whilst trying to impart your wisdom on someone else, it’s hard not be emphatically excited that some magical method of convincing your child to sleep/eat/be independent/ nap in their cot etc really really worked for you. It’s also easy to overlook all those other things you tried and didn’t manage to make work for you (we won’t say “failed at”). It’s also easy to forget that your specific circumstances and your specific child is very different to the next one.

It’s easy to feel, in your new parent, sleep deprived, hormonal state that you are, in fact, the worlds’ worst and most incapable parent. If they managed to make the “Pick Up Put Down” method work for them, why couldn’t you make it work for you? If they managed to achieve a non-fussy eater by practicing baby-led weaning and introducing a new food every 72 hours, why weren’t you capable of doing the same? If leaving their child to scream led to them falling asleep in 30 minutes, why does your child just scream until he vomits over himself? And this can feel really isolating and lonely. If everyone else is having success and you’re not, then it can be really hard to swallow.

So in a way this is advice not only for new parents but for those “old hands” who are trying to help out newbie parents.

In reality that parent that got the “Pick Up Put Down” method to work probably tried a huge number of other techniques (90 Minute Sleep Programme, No Cry Sleep Solution, Pantly Pull off etc) with no success, but invariably they will forget to tell you that.

So if you’re a parent already and have friends having their first baby, think carefully about what you say to them. Be honest, show that you’re human and understand not everyone is the same and pay particular attention to trying to remember how you felt when everyone else seemed to be sailing through parenthood whilst you struggled. Kindness is the key gift we can give new parents at what is likely the most stressful time of their lives!

709 days

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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.

More thoughts on feeding a toddler

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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.

December update!

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I have a feeling this is going to be a bitty one!

As of tomorrow I have a 15 month old (which seems ridiculous really). He’s running around like crazy, shouting and pointing, articulating a few words but understanding so much more. Even “Can you put the toy in your other hand so mummy can do your other sleeve?”. He likes to crash his toy cars saying “craaash”.

Baby (toddler?!) has been through a bit of a stressful clingy phase (which sounds actually quite normal when speaking to friends with similar age children) but he’s seemingly coming out of the other side, punctuated by a three day refusal to go to bed in the evening, regardless of daytime naps or any other factors! 11pm bed time (at least two hours later than MY preferred bed tim) three nights running with the first night involving very little sleep at all for the three of us, and all nights involving co-sleeping from the start. Teamed with a kitten scratching at the door from 5am, we weren’t our very cheery selves on Saturday. He’s feeding a huge amount at night still, which makes the potential to not be here in the evening (for whatever reason) rather impossible.

The weather has taken a turn towards proper winter from happily plus 10 celcius to minus three on Saturday morning and I’m still struggling to get baby’s layers right. I can’t get gloves with individual fingers on him, but mittens annoy him because he can’t pick things up or play with them. Think I should buy some nice warm tights to go under his clothes though as I worry about chilly legs when he’s walking or in the sling!

Been trying to think what Christmas pressies to buy for him and other small people we know, and I’ve been using the Let Toys Be Toys recommended retailers list.

Let Toys Be Toys is a parent led campaign to try to reduce the tired old gender stereotypes that are proliferated by some retailers, toy companies and publishers.

It’s something I’ve always felt very strongly about as a “tomboy” child, from a young age a feminist, and especially now as a parent. I find myself relieved that I didn’t have a girl because far apart from not being a “pink” person myself, I think girls in particular are marketed to in a really negative way. For example-selling separate sticker books for “Clever Boys” and “Beautiful Girls” further reinforces the sad stereotyping of women being only good for looking pretty. Selling medical fancy dress outfits that contain “Doctor kits for Boys” and “Nurse kits for Girls” sends out a powerful message about the expectations of girl’s future and career prospects. “Boys” toys turned pink and marketed towards girls, gives a strong impression that girls aren’t really welcome to play with trains/ toolkits/cars, and that they need some special kind of treatment. Even Lego- one of the toys I enjoyed playing with most as a child for hours on end with both my sister and my two half-brothers are now marketing pink “Girls” lego bricks. I certainly never had any issues with playing with boring old red/yellow/green/blue Lego (or should that be “Boys Lego”?)

I now volunteer for Let Toys Be Toys and it has opened my eyes even further to the whole issue- through the way the toy makers and publishers/ authors create a huge imaginary gender divide to suggest that girls and boys not only NEED separate things, but then the active promotion of this divide to ensure it’s upheld. I have spoken to some friends and family who don’t really understand why it matters, but if I want the world to be a better place, I feel it’s really important that my son grows up understanding that whilst yes, there are inevitably some differences between men and women, that children and adults can choose their own path. That even children are able to make some decisions for themselves- even if it’s just what kind of toy they want to play with. This is the 21st century. I don’t want my son to believe that women are good for nothing other than looking pretty and doing the housework, I need him to know that women can be whoever or whatever they want. As part of that I don’t want him to think that there’s any inherent weakness in being emotional, liking playing with dolls, wearing pink or anything that is sadly still considered “sissy” or “girly”. And If I can bring him up to be a well rounded individual who respects both men and women equally, and at the same time can help spread the message and get people to think, even if it’s just briefly, about the stereotypes in their mind that they project onto children, then I think it is important. Of course I should add the caveat that if your son loves football, dinosaurs and robots, whilst your daughter loves One Direction, sparkles, kittens and fairies- this is of course fine. However, the key factor is that these decisions are made by the individuals, through experiencing lots of different things. The current tag line being used by LTBT is “Tell them what it is, not who it’s for” which I think says it all.
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And a great blog post here about “What do Toys have to do with inequality”?

Not sure what else there is to say that’s baby related to I’ll leave it there for now! Hopefully some food for thought?

9 month review

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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. 

Side car named Sleep.

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I won’t even mention the amount of time since I last posted….I used to regularly upkeep 4 blogs, the only one I manage well now is my livejournal which is a closed personal blog that I’ve had for 11 years!

Baby D is now over 9 months old. Months 0-6 trickled past as we tried to get to grips with everything. Since 6 months passed and we stopped counting his age in weeks, and since I started counting down the weeks until I go back to work, time is suddenly flying.  I say that but he’s learnt so much and amazes us every day so maybe it’s not gone so quickly.

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DEVELOPMENT
Developmentally he’s decided that rolling and crawling are not for him. He is very confident during and can spin a full 360 on his bottom at speed if there’s a good toy behind him. He’s always wanted to be on his feet-the jumperoo  and more recently the Walker have helped fuel this passion. And he’s been learning to stand whilst holding on to the sofa. A few weeks have passed and he is cruising around the furniture and given the right surfaces can pull himself up to standing. Eek.

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(There is a serious perspective issue in this photo as he is the tallest in his friend group! )

FOOD
Overall weaning (the English meaning of weaning being too stay them onto solids alongside milk) has been slow.  We decided to mix the classic puree-style weaning with baby-led. Baby D likes to be in charge so this suits him well. We started about a week before he turned 6 months amidst empty promises of it helping him sleep better. Whilst most his friends sit compliantly with an open beak, waiting to have food shovelled in, my boy is a bit of a pickle. I come from a family of keen eaters, my husband less so. Seems baby got his eating habits from daddy’s side of the family. I hope out non-pressurising approach means he grows up with a positive attitude towards food (I detest picky eaters and have patience with them! Everyone has likes and dislikes buy fussiness is annoying@).

The warm summer is not really helping (nor is the tummy bug we both had), and some days he basically eats nothing. We offer him three meals a day and s huge range and variety of tastes and textures in hot and cold, sweet and savoury food. Sometimes he goes mad for it, more often than not he doesn’t want anything.  However his weight is good and I’ve bought vitamin drops (which is as good as giving them, right? ) to ensure he gets what he needs. We are also spending a lot of time outside (though careful with suncream etc) so I hope he’s getting the vitamin D that breast milk can lack.
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SLEEP
Oh sleep. I won’t go into too much detail but whilst most people in the (western. Or maybe just british) world will try to make you feel like a freak if your baby doesn’t Sleep Through The Night from about 3 seconds old, I’m lucky to have my group of mumsnet friends showing me 60 plus different versions of normal. Sadly we are at the crappy end of the spectrum. I’m not prepared to sleep train my baby in the classic way (long story short -all babies are different and I don’t believe in a one-cure-fits-all solution and it definitely doesn’t suit my baby) Which doesn’t leave many options (and certainly none that have really worked for us).

I wish we had Co-slept earlier. There are so many people parroting bag information about Co sleeping and how it will ruin your life and kill your baby that I was reluctant to try it. In actual fact I get so much more sleep now than I did before despite his sleep patterns still being pretty awful. However Co sleeping in the spare room had meant not spending much time with my husband so last night we got radical and converted his cot into a sidecar cot.  Lots of great information about how to do it on many blogs so I will be modifying it tonight to try to improve the position.

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Need to remove the bedside table and move the cot up, then pad my side of the bed to get it a bit higher!

Long time

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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!

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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.
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Self settling.

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The hv rang this morning to chat and give advice about self settling as I had to call them last week in tears because we were getting so little sleep.

I guess in reality I knew a lot of it already but it’s hard to know where to start. Same old info. So today after meeting mummy friends and then going to see our potential childminder again, the afternoon has been dedicated to trying to get him to self settle in the cot. We have failed spectacularly. Firstly 45 mins of shouting at his blankets (with a couple of cuddles when he got very shouty). Then I fed him and tried again for 30 mins. He is now entirely over tired and must nap soon otherwise it will be too late. So I’m back at square one feeding him to sleep on the sofa.
 
It’s hard to describe how one ends up here. When you’re so tired you genuinely can’t see straight and your baby is waking every ninety minutes or less. .. You reach a point where you just want to get the baby back to sleep as quickly as possible and with the least amount of stress all round. You don’t want to be trying potentially stressful ‘techniques’ and certainly aren’t thinking about the long run. You just need sleep.
 
I’m so deeply envious of my friends that try to give me tips related to how they got their babies sleeping better because their babies slept well in the first place. Their babies take dummies, are all bottle fed so a) they digest it more slowly b) they can force a huge formula feed into their babies in the evening and c) their other halves can do a feed so the mummies are getting more sleep anyway.
 
Baby is now blissfully asleep on my tummy wrapped in my cardigan. Lovely but marking utter failure on day one. Feeling very uncharacteristically defeatist.

.Edit.
After 20 mins of napping on me, I tried to put him down again which ended in screaming. And now in feeding him again to stop him screaming. All out failure. 

The exact expected rollercoaster ride

Standard

This is so what I was expecting!
Sleeping and eating
These babies are amazing, they really know (instinctively) how to push your buttons and what your absolute limit of exhaustion and being able to cope is. Then they show you how wonderful they are and you forgive them…. until the next time!

We have had some really shocking nights. We’ll do a feed around 10 or 11pm, then put the baby down. On these bad nights, he tends to settle quite well initially. Then around 1am he wakes up and that is it until half past five in the morning. He will feed, burp, posset, cry, wriggle, feed….. etc etc for 4 1/2 hours. Sometimes he sounds frustrated and really does have tantrums, other times he just grizzles and moans. A couple of nights like that in a row are very hard to cope with, and he tends to seem to push right to the limit, then have a sudden good night to surprise us!

Last night was his best night ever (after a rocky start). He “cluster fed” (as above) on and off from about 7pm until 11:30pm, then he finally fell asleep. The next thing we knew, it was 4am! That is officially his longest ever night time sleep since we started feeding on demand. Once he went down, he then didn’t awake again until just before nine. What a hero! He even was chilled out enough to let me go off and express some milk this morning.

It also seems the cluster feeding is working. I believe the idea of it (isn’t apparently to make me tired!!) is to help increase my supply- and it really seems to have done that. I expressed 120ml (which is a whole feed) in about 15 minutes this morning! Very efficient! And had enough left to feed him straight after and he’s still settled 2 hours later. Amazing.

I know this is unlikely to last and just as we get complacent, he’ll revet back. However, it’s so welcome to get just that little bit more sleep. I feel so so human. I even went into deep sleep and dreamt last night- for the first time in 5 weeks!

On the bottle
One of our aims now is to get baby taking a bottle of expressed milk. This is not only to make my nights a bit more pleasant and to mean that if needs be, I can actually go out when a feed is due, it also is really important to help daddy (and potentially others like grandparents and uncles/aunts) bond with baby too.

Thursday we tried a bit of milk from the bottle and baby was having none of it. We know that he DID know how to take a bottle during weeks 1 and 2 whilst we were trying to get him feeding better but it seems he had forgotten/ prefers the breast. Baby did not play ball- daddy was downstairs trying to feed him and I was upstairs trying to grab a nap… Eventually daddy brought him up, and he then took the milk whilst I was in the room (then I BF him after).

On Friday night, I went out. This was every bit as terrifying as I thought it would be. I was an hour late due to baby needing a feed (a long one) and sicking up a lot of the feed, then after I had been out an hour, poor daddy sent me a text to say he was putting the baby in the sling and coming up to see me to help baby sleep. Baby was refusing the expressed milk and screaming, so the sling was the only option. It worked! Baby slept like a dream in the sling. And I got to walk home with daddy and baby which was nice. 90 mins out was better than nothing!

Last night, we had a bottle of expressed milk ready to do, and then with the evening cluster feed, we never got around to using it. Excepting the baby to wake up about 1am ish, we said that daddy could do the next feed. So at 4am, baby got the expressed milk. He wasn’t super- keen on taking it and grizzled a bit but superdaddy persevered and got it all in him. Baby didn’t fall asleep so I gave him a little breast and after that he slept well.

We will keep persevering with this!

A LOT of text- apologies. Have a picture!

Hurrah
All the ladies from the Mumsnet Sept 2013 due date thread have now had their babies so we had a mass-celebration friday/ sat night (to suit). We all had a glass of champagne (or other favourite tipple) and posted a picture onto our facebook group to celebrate. I, and another lady also put together some fun awards to the gang- I really enjoyed it! What a lovely bunch of ladies!

Celebrate