Breakfast

You know it’s been a successful breakfast when Carl ends up with a Cheerio stuck to one foot, weetabix on the other and Sam has weetabix in his hair and – more impressively – down his back. 

I’ll take the energetic breakfasts as a sign that he’s finally feeling better after weeks of colds, respiratory tract infections and antibiotics! 

I realise that it has been weeks since my last post. Sam turned 1 a couple of weeks ago, which I still can’t quite get my head round. My little baby is officially a walking toddler. Some days he doesn’t even look like a baby any more.  

Deeply suspicious of his cake

 

The day after his party, we had an NCT party and, for the first time, had all 8 babies in the same room! We even managed a photo although it was of course at a time when Sam had just started crying.  

Proud parents

 

Since then, in between colds and antibiotics, we’ve been continuing as usual with a few more added outings. We went to Bocketts Farm weekend before last and Sam loved seeing all of the animals. I’ve waited until now to take him and I’m pleased I did. He was able to walk around (on reins!!) and stroked the animals fairly gently…apart from the bunny, which he refused to touch.   

So, here we are. On to Sam’s second year and all of the adventures that lie ahead!! 

Story time

Sam and I read a lot of books together, we love story time. During the course of a day, I’m likely to read “That’s Not My Dinosaur” at least 10 times, not to mention the other 12 or so books we have.  

Cuddles and stories

 

Yesterday, Sam walked up to me brandishing a book that looked a bit different. Not a reading book for sure. 

“Sam, sweetheart, that’s not a book. Could you go and choose another one?”

Cue scrunched up furious face and waving the ‘book’ at me. 

“Come on now, go and find another one.”

More furious face. I decide to open the first couple of pages to show him. Sam settles next to me for story time. 

“Look, see, this isn’t a story. Go and get That’s Not My Monster”. 

He looks up at me in fury, stands up and throws a tantrum over the situation. 

Next time I’ll just read him the flipping Lakeland catalogue.  

The ‘book’ he was determined to read

 

Happy birthday blog!

On the 5th January 2015, looking for something to do, I started writing a little blog. I’m still slightly surprised that I’ve managed to continue writing during the chaos (I think that’s the right word) of the last year, although I write far less frequently now. I write largely for myself, but it’s always lovely to hear comments from readers. 

It’s funny looking back to my very first post, so uncertain of what’s to come. I realise I never answered the questions I initially posed: 

When will Bud make an appearance? 6 days late, on Friday 20th February at exactly 20:00.

Will we have a boy or girl? A very energetic boy. 

How will we adjust to parenthood? We found our way, as all new parents do, by learning each and every day (we still are). It’s a huge change, but we adjust because we have no choice! 

Will we ever sleep again? Yes. Although it took far longer than we hoped! 

Am I enjoying my final hot cups of tea…? (Should I start drinking them cold, so it isn’t a shock!?) No. I employed my friend Charlotte’s rule and always enjoy a hot cuppa. If I might run out of time, I don’t make one. No cold tea for Kirsty! 

What a year it has been. There have been highs and lows, but ultimately the best year ever. 

So, we begin 2016 with a 10.5 month year old who has just started walking…now the real fun begins!!   

Happy New Year!

2016 is upon us and with Sam now walking, this year brings with it a whole lot of fun – I can’t wait to take him to soft play next week; he’ll love it! I’m excited about taking him to the park when the weather improves. Playing out in the garden beckons. Oh, I’m well aware he will want to walk 2 steps, find something interesting to look at on the ground, hand me a stone as a present and repeat, but I’m choosing to see that as a natural progression for his inquisitive mind, rather than focussing on every walk taking 10 times longer. 

peekaboo

Peekaboo!

 Sam loved his first Christmas and has really taken to his new toys. His favourite, of course, was a stick that came with the xylophone we bought him. You’ll notice I said ‘was’, for it has already been lost. It’s possibly under the sofa but wherever its current abode is, the location escapes me. Fortunately, he has others to bang things with. His red and yellow Little Tikes car (a rite of passage I believe) is a huge hit, his shopping basket rarely houses the fruit it came with since he enjoys throwing them around so much, the musical bus has shown us that he loves a little boogie, his new books often get brought over to us…and so on. 

 christmas jumpers 
We hosted a number of family days and Sam did fantastically. He naps well now (walking tires him out), which was fortunate during those busy days. It was a bit of a struggle getting him down on Christmas Day night since he was so hyped up, but we had few problems on the other nights. He loved being centre of attention – truly my son – and having all the family around him.

This time last year, I had just started my maternity leave and I’m still at a bit of a loss as to how that time has passed so quickly.

Now 2016 begins and I start my first year as an official stay at home mum. I have started a small business and I’m also working for my choir, so there’s no time to rest! More on that another time…

The first Christmas is nearly upon us 

Sam’s first Christmas looms ever closer and is now only a matter of hours away, although hopefully he’ll sleep through the first few hours of it! 

Despite him not really knowing what’s going on, I can’t wait to give him one of our presents for him – a xylophone. He loves hitting things with his stick and I think he’ll really enjoying getting a sound back! We’ve also bought him a little pull along cart with blocks in, and luckily this week he has started happily pulling his ducks along as he cruises and walks around. 

Yep. Walks. He’s now managing 3-4 free steps and can confidently pull himself from lying to sitting to standing and then walk. How quickly he progresses!  

So, here’s to the first Christmas, the couple of presents from us and the pile he’s likely to get from everyone else!! 

Happy Christmas everyone. 

  

The boy naps

It’s happened, we’ve had the final breakthrough. This actually started a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure. 

Follow his bedtime routine and he will fuss for a few minutes and then go to sleep. Not always for long, but he did sleep for 45 minutes this morning! If this continues into the new year then I will start making use of the time but for now, especially since I’m not feeling great (another story), I’m putting my feet up and watching a snippet of ‘A New Hope’ – it’s only right! 

I’ve said this more times than I can count, but I never thought we would get to this stage:

Sam is tired…

Warm a bottle for 3 minutes. Put him in a grobag. Feed him as much of the bottle as he wants. Lift him up in case he needs to burp. Lie him down. Walk out. He’ll fuss for 2-5 minutes and then go to sleep. 

In and out in less than 5 minutes, once the bottle is warm. 

3 weeks ago I started a Facebook group for the parents of babies who don’t nap, so we had somewhere to rant. It seems I might need to leave my own group. I only hope that the other babies follow suit and learn eventually. We’ve never tried to force Sam to fall asleep on his own, this has all happened very naturally. (Which is why it’s taken so long!) 

Keep smiling all! x

Continuing my happy posts

Following neatly on from yesterday’s post on sleep, comes the second major development. I hinted at it yesterday… The bottle. 

We have, as longer term readers will know, been battling to get Sam to accept a bottle ever since…well, ever since we stopped giving him a bottle (biggest mistake we’ve made). Once we realised that Sam would take a warm bottle, I began introducing them during the day. I haven’t really breastfed him during the day for a little while, instead giving him water, so I wondered how it would go. 

My goodness, he has been guzzling his bottles! He doesn’t have a lot really; I only put 150ml in each and he rarely finishes it, but he’s having a lot more daytime milk than he has in a while!! If I leave a bottle lying around, he will often find his way to it and continue drinking… I have to be careful to put them out of reach once it has exceeded its time limit! 

MAM bottles are the one that’s worked for us but who knows, maybe he’d take any bottle if the milk was warm… I can’t believe that took us so long. We even had a bottle warmer! 

Another huge step forward for us. As mothers can no doubt appreciate, I’ve had some tricky days as my milk supply readjusts to only giving one feed a day. 

This morning I have Sam what I think is his last ever breastfeed. We’ve bought a flask to keep the water warm overnight and will be using that as of tomorrow morning. 

I have very mixed feelings about this. 

We’ve had such a difficult journey with breastfeeding and now that’s it. It’s over. Sam wouldn’t breastfeed for a week, he never had a great latch but finally seemed to improve at around 5 months, he cluster fed until around 3 months old, he woke hourly to feed through the night from 3.5-6 months… It has not been easy! But now I’m sitting here knowing that’s probably it, I’m pretty sad. The time is right though; I firmly believe that sometimes you ‘know’. He happily takes the bottle and my milk supply reduces daily (although I have a feeling I’m in for a painful couple of days – time to buy a couple of Savoy cabbages to help speed it up!). I’ll miss my excuse to have an extra slice of cake though…

I made it to 9.5 months! 

I always wanted to breastfeed until 6 months, but at many points I wasn’t sure if I would make it to 6 weeks! I remember crying and wincing through so many feeds because they were so painful, hating it and hating myself for hating it. An early bout of mastitis did not help my love of it and the supply in my left breast never recovered. 

Breastfeeding is so natural, it’s what we’re meant to do. Except that it isn’t for everyone. For some it is a real struggle and for some it never happens or they don’t want to do it. All guilt ridden decisions or realisations.  

I consider myself lucky that I wanted and was able to breastfeed Sam and that we got there in the end. 

Where to start?

We’ve come on in leaps and bounds over the last couple of weeks, but where to start? 

Today’s happy “we’re getting somewhere” post concerns the big S: ‘sleep’.

A couple of weeks ago, Carl found a way to give Sam a bottle he would drink. After all these months, what did magical trick did he do? 

He gave it to Sam while the water was still warm.

Of all the things we didn’t try in our bottle quest, who would have thought that a baby would prefer a nice warm bottle of milk!? D’oh. 

Sunday before last, we decided to see whether Sam would accept a warm bottle before bed and then be able to go to sleep. At this point he was still having a breastfeed and usually falling asleep while feeding. Since I was due out on the Thursday, it was important that we find a way to help him get to sleep without me there. While Sam had his bath, I prepared the bottle and had it warmed ready. As I handed him to Carl, Sam started crying; immediately sensing something was afoot. I backed out of the room and retreated downstairs to wait it out. 

Carl was downstairs 10 minutes later and greeted me with a cheeky “I don’t understand what all the fuss is about!” as he showed me the monitor so I could see a peaceful, drifting off Sam. 

I couldn’t believe my eyes! He’d taken the bottle, pushed it away when he was done, Carl stood up with him so he could burp if need be and the moment Sam leaned his head in to rest on Carl’s shoulder, he put him down in the cot bed. And Sam went to sleep on his own. 

Two things I never thought were possible happened at the same time! We’ve done that every night since and both of us have been able to put him to bed after a bottle, with him going down awake and falling asleep by himself. 

Sam is 9.5 months old now and some might say it’s late for this step, but we have never tried to teach him to fall asleep. 

I was once told that a baby will learn to sleep via one of two methods: time or tears. One will teach the baby quickly but can be stressful for all involved, the other is more peaceful but can take – as in our case – months. I was also told that babies have to be taught to fall asleep, they can’t learn on their own…which is clearly rubbish. I’m not starting any sleep training debates here, I know many people who have happily used various training techniques and they and babies are all very happy. We simply knew it wasn’t right for us. 

So here we are nearly two weeks on and Sam takes a bottle before bed and falls asleep on his own!! He can lie there awake for up to 15 minutes, but he just looks around and rolls from side to side before drifting off. 

Who knew we would ever get here! 

Dear Blog…

Dear Blog, 

I have neglected you recently, although you’re often in my thoughts. At the moment I’m very busy and don’t really have time to sit and write regular or interesting posts, which is a shame because Sam is moving forward in leaps and bounds. 

You were here for me in the early days when I was awake multiple times during the night or stuck under a sleeping baby during the day. You helped to keep my brain active by writing, rather than inanely scrolling through Facebook or playing bejewelled. 

Now Sam sleeps through – often for 11 hours – I don’t often find myself awake in the early hours. He sometimes naps in his cot, so I can get on with odd jobs.

I haven’t updated you on anything recently. He’s trying to walk now. Beginning to cruise. Even able to stand (briefly!!) unsupported. 

These are all milestones I should be writing about. Laughing about his fascination with one of our side tables, preferring to try and reach that rather than any of his toys. Sharing the photo where he wanted to feed himself during a particularly happy dinner time. 5 seconds later he had the spoon in his hand and yoghurt in his eye. 

So many little moments that we photograph, film and treasure, but don’t share with the world. These are OUR moments. 

I do miss you, Blog but I’m living the moments rather than recording every one of them. I will try to write once a week or so. I am doing many things at the moment but these posts only take a few minutes, so although I’ve lost my mojo a little, I will continue. 

Love, 

Your absent author

x

Being brave, or stupid

Recently, we have started trying to give Sam the bottle during the day, so I’m only feeding him first and last thing (although I often have to feed him to sleep before his morning nap, if we’re at home). 

With a busy December coming up, I’m not always going to be home for bedtime, so we need him used to taking a bottle and then going to bed without a breastfeed. On Sunday night, he was fussing and wouldn’t be rocked or fed to sleep…so I put him down and went downstairs. He cried for maybe 2-3 minutes and then rolled onto his side. Unbelievably, he then went to sleep. 

On Friday, despite being at a friend’s house he had also managed to fall asleep on his own, after lying staring at the camera for 15-20 minutes without a sound. He’d refused to fall asleep feeding and cried continually when Carl rocked him. 

So the upshot is that we know he is perfectly capable of falling asleep unaided, if all the stars are aligned and he feels like it. Monday night was the worst in months (thank you top teeth) so it’s not something we can rely on yet. However, we know it can be done and have a few weeks to work on it. 

Now that I’m rarely breastfeeding while out and about, today I’ve taken a brave step. I’m heading out without nursing bra or an easy feed top. Monkey Music and then lunch with Carl, so there’s no reason why I would need to feed him but it still feels a bit daring. How nice to be in ‘normal’ clothes during the day! (Obviously I have done this when I’m out in the evening). 

I might dig out a pair of nice boots to celebrate. 

That’s how I roll.