My little man has a cold, is teething and is somewhat out of sorts thanks to the aforementioned ailments breaking up his sleep somewhat. Mum, Sam and I had a lovely weekend in Wales with my grandparents and he had a great time playing with his toys, gently stroking their pets (I was so impressed at how gentle my boisterous son was!) and walking around everywhere he could. Unfortunately, we both struggled with sleep thanks to his ‘gentle’ snoring during the few hours he did sleep. 

On Sunday, he spent much of the day lying on me wanting cuddles before we drove home through Storm Imogen. Probably the worst drive I’ve ever had and certainly my longest 5 hours in a car (no reflection on your company Mum!). Fortunately, as delighted as Sam was to see Carl, he was asleep within half an hour of arriving back. 

Today, I decided it was definitely a stay at home kind of day. His appetite was somewhat diminished thanks to his cold and after a smaller than average lunch, I did what any parent would do at dinner… Chuck anything at him that he might eat. Here Sam, have a bit of toast, pasta, a bit of carrot and some yogurt. Yep, that’ll do! What a nutritious meal… Luckily he could (and did) fill up on a bottle before bed.

Hopefully he’ll be feeling a little better tomorrow though! 

 

Being a parent is…

While I cooked Sam’s dinner, I gave him a few Cheerios to play with and nibble on (throw on the floor). He had a blast throwing them and his sippy cup around, getting water and Cheerio debris everywhere. 

Dinner ready, I sat down ready to feed him. My ever loving and giving son looked up at me and handed me his most prized possession.

A cheerio. 

A soggy cheerio. 

This has happened before, but I’ve always found a way to get rid of it. 

He stared at me, waiting. 

I took the “cheerio” (soggy mush), thinking of ways I could drop it, as little bits of it started falling apart between my fingers. 

I looked up…

 
Still staring. 

I ate it. 

“But I WANT to put a rusk up my nose!!”

I don’t generally keep Sam on me if he falls asleep feeding, but today is one of ‘those’ days…

Sam woke hourly for much of last night but I was so exhausted that I didn’t wake for most of them. Poor Carl really picked up the brunt of it. At 2.45 I woke to hear Sam fussing and went ‘oh good, nearly 4 hours!’. I was swiftly corrected by my shattered husband. 

 

I WANT YOUR LASAGNE!

 Then Sam wouldn’t nap this morning, he didn’t sleep for long enough once he finally crashed out during a friend’s visit, lunch was a messy-shouty-meltdown filled affair as he put a rusk up his nose, rubbed it everywhere, dropped it, refused butternut squash and tried to get my food. It would have been funny if I hadn’t been so tired!

I needed a break.  
So, when he fell asleep mid feed, I decided to leave him lying on me, able to feed on and off as he wished. Not something I would usually do but today is am exceptional day. Thank goodness this has kept him sleeping for over an hour rather than the usual 20-40 minutes. He needs the sleep and I need the peace. 

Win-win. 

To think that yesterday he was laughing so much that he fell over! More of that when he wakes please…

The feeding dilemma

No matter how you feed your baby, people will have an opinion. No matter how comfortable you are with your choice, there is likely to be at least be instance of you feeling judged while feeding. 

Breastfeeders…ugh, you’re feeding your child naturally, in public? Put your breast away, we don’t want to see their real purpose! Put a muslin over your baby’s head or go feed elsewhere please. 

Bottle feeders…you’re feeding your child what? Put that bottle down, stop poisoning your child. You’re giving your baby expressed milk? It isn’t as effective as breastfeeding. Oh wait, hang on, don’t start breastfeeding them instead, cover your baby up!  

Ok…we’ll feed them by magic then…

It’s ridiculous. Does it really matter how you feed your baby? Is it anyone else’s business? No.

However, as Mums, we end up defending our decision or justifying our choices. Why? Because lots of people are incredibly judgemental – look up weaning on any forum and you’ll see how opinionated anonymous people can be. I’ve seen posts asking for advice that specifically state that they aren’t asking for judgement or to be told they’re doing it wrong, just a bit of help. No mum should need to say that. Who are others to push their choices as the only way? 

We are feeding our children and doing our best. Nothing else matters (unless you’re feeding your 2 month old a burger…don’t do that!). 

As you know, we have been trying to get Sam to take a bottle for weeks. Although he won’t yet take a full feed, he will happily accept a bottle or sippy cup. Progress! I’m still breastfeeding as well, since he needs both milk and formula, but that may change if his bottle feeding improves.

We’ve had a long and difficult road with breastfeeding and I’m proud that we are still going at 22 weeks (whether it’s my choice or not…!). I’m also proud that through a lot of patience and perseverance Sam is getting better with the bottle, just like he did with the breast at the start. 

So why, when I bottle feed in public, do I feel the need (if someone speaks to me) to point out that I also breastfeed.

Because it feels like people are looking. Judging. 

News flash to myself….they probably aren’t. 

In fact, if I looked around, I would likely see that most mums are bottle feeding, especially if their babies are a few months old. This also makes me sad. It’s all very conflicted in my head!

I am entirely comfortable with breastfeeding while out – more so than I ever thought I would be – I will feed Sam pretty much anywhere, but I’m sure other mums lack the confidence or feel they ‘ought’ to cover up. There has been so much in the media recently, perhaps too much. It’s the way women have always fed their babies, I fail to understand what the fuss is about. 

There is no right or wrong, just women feeding their babies however they can. 

When milk isn’t enough 

It seems that my milk supply is beginning to fall…so it’s helpful that Sam has begun accepting the bottle! I’ve noticed over the last week or so that he has started crying during some feeds and gets incredibly frustrated. If I offer him the bottle after this, he grabs it to feed…although he generally doesn’t take that much before he gets distracted! It’s not at every feed, but it’s certainly getting more common. He has become the definition of a combination feeder…he will happily go from one to the other during a feed, but isn’t generally satisfied with bottle or breast alone. Ever the tricky one! 

It was on Saturday that we seemed to find proof that Sam’s terrible sleep is related to hunger. He has been waking every 1-2 hours for about 6 weeks and I blamed it on 4 month sleep regression and his inability to fall asleep on his own. While it is true that he seems to sleep better when he falls asleep to white noise rather than while feeding, we no longer think this is the only factor. On Saturday, we managed to feed him 120ml from a bottle on top of his his usual breastfeeds…

He slept for nearly 7 hours.

When I woke at 2.45am, I had to count the amount of hours on my fingers because I could not believe that he had slept for so long. I fed him and lay him on the bed still awake since he didn’t fall asleep feeding for once. He looked around for a few minutes…and then went to sleep until 6.45am. 

Who was this baby!?

Sunday night was business as usual; he fell asleep feeding and woke regularly all night. Monday night he took about 80ml off a bottle as well as breastfeeding and he slept for just under 4 hours…then woke hourly from 11.30pm-4.30am, when he finally granted me a whole 2 hours of shut eye.  

Of course, as I write this (Monday night), he has just woken after 2 hours – having only lasted 30 minutes before that – despite taking 130ml from a bottle alongside breastfeeding before falling asleep. However, I don’t fancy deleting this whole post so I’m going to assume something woke him up or he’s woken because he fed to sleep rather than falling asleep on his own. 

I’m hoping things will start to improve once we begin giving him solids next month. For every person who says they make no difference (“food before 1 is just for fun”, “their main source of food is still milk”), there is someone else who says the introduction of solids helped their child – my mum and Carl’s dad included (we were both weaned early – by today’s standards – and given food at 3 months). 

Sometimes milk just isn’t enough. 

Failing that, maybe when he learns to crawl or walk he’ll burn off some of the energy he has and that will tire him out! 

* I feel I should state that, prior to the crying during feeds, Sam was only taking 30-40ml off a bottle once every day or two; this would have had no impact on my milk supply. 

The less attractive side of weaning 

Sometimes it’s not worth keeping track of how many feeds you’ve done during the night. Last night was one of those…Sam fed at least every hour, leaving us both exhausted this morning. 

One of the side effects of weaning is constipation and we didn’t realise that banana and apple sauce are two of the biggest offenders… Sam had apple sauce twice on Sunday and banana on Monday. He’s had both before but maybe the quantity was a bit much. As such, we have a very uncomfortable little boy. Breast milk naturally relieves constipation, so I’m happy for Sam to feed as frequently as he needs, in the hope it will help. He’s also had his usual warm bath and tummy massages. 

I’d like it to clear up soon…the longer it takes, the worse that nappy is going to be!!! 

It’s unfortunate timing, we had been making real progress with sleeping and naps (more on that in my next post) and yesterday it all went out of the window. 

Here’s hoping we get back to normal very soon and today has less tears than yesterday. 

The introduction of purees…how fast time flies!

Since Sam is now 18 weeks old and has been enjoying baby porridge whenever it’s been offered to him, we have decided to start introducing purees. While in Center Parcs, we had a lovely homemade apple sauce with one of our meals. Sam had been trying to pretty much take food out of my hand and off my plate all week, so we thought we would try him on a little bit of apple.

He loved it. 

He practically bit the spoon off in his eagerness to eat it. We didn’t give him much, just a couple of teaspoons. A couple of days later, having saved and stored all the remaining apple sauce, we mixed in a bit of formula and gave him some more. On Sunday, since we had a little bit of sweet potato left, we mashed it up with some formula to thin it and offered this to him. 

Once again, he gobbled it up.

We’ll stick with those for a few days, then decide what new flavour to give him next. I think introducing foods to Sam is going to be fun!

One small step…

Obviously this isn’t an ‘actual’ step…as keen as Sam is to stand and walk before he can sit or crawl! 

We did make a small amount of progress yesterday though…he accepted a bottle!! 

After arriving home from another brilliant Monkey Music session, I thought I would give it a go. Fortunately, I had already boiled the water and put it in a bottle (I had always intended to try yesterday), so there was no delay. 

I popped him in his bumbo, put the music channel on, grabbed some handbells to also distract him and gave him the bottle. It took ages for him to have 10ml; he was pushing it around his mouth and only occasionally sucking. Then, suddenly he took another 40ml in one go! It’s not a lot, but it’s a great start!! He got bored at this point and I didn’t want to push it, so I took him upstairs for a feed. 

In the evening, we gave him a small amount of baby porridge before his bath to tide him over. He really loves it! It’s so funny to see. He opens his mouth, leans for the spoon and really guzzles it down! He was pretty disappointed when there was none left. I’m quite looking forward to starting him on purées in just over a week. 

The reason for getting going with the bottle again is because of an awful Tuesday night (after bad Sunday and Monday nights). It took 3 hours of crying-feeding-winding/rocking to get him to sleep…and he only lasted 2 hours. Fed and resettled in his bed but he woke 10 minutes later so I moved him in with us. He then proceeded to wake crying for food every 20 or 40 minutes until 4.18am, when he finally slept for 2 hours. 

Our hungry man is growing and is big for his age, so it’s back on with the plan we decided upon a couple of weeks back – the bottle. At least we can add purées next week and hopefully he’ll be keen for real food at 6 months. We’re giving him tiny amounts of baby porridge (flavoured, he loves it) and baby rice (plain, not so keen) to get us to next Friday and see how his body handles different food. All has gone well so far after 3 days of porridge and a week of rice. 

So, the sleep has gone to pot but at least he’ll take a spoon and will hopefully continue accepting a bottle so we can start sharing feeds! 

Small steps…! 

The beginning of a routine

No, we aren’t there yet, not by a country mile. What I’m going to share over the next…however long it takes…is how getting some kind of order into our life goes. 

So far, we have simply started by getting Sam up earlier in the mornings rather than letting him (and me!) have a nice long lie-in. 

This ruined our weekend. 

Sam was exhausted having suddenly lost hours of sleep. 

On Saturday he did nap during the day, but maybe too much. He was awake until 10pm, having first been fine, then got himself incredibly worked up and whinged solidly for about an hour while I rocked him to sleep. 

On Sunday we had our long awaited NCT reunion lunch. We got Sam up at 8am and he was happy as anything playing in his jumperoo with Carl. Fed and fell asleep on me at about 9.15…too early for a nap really but I didn’t immediately realise he’d stopped feeding to sneak one in! We left just before 12, after the next feed, and he slept for 15 minutes in the car, waking up about 10 minutes after arriving. This was the beginning of the nightmare. He is miserable when woken up and each time we managed to get him back to sleep, something woke him again. He basically cried for the entire lunch from 12.30-3.45 with short calm breaks for feeding or a brief nap. 

After a feed to calm him for the drive home, he slept in the car and woke up about 15 minutes after arriving back. Since he really was exhausted, I lay him on the sofa to do a lie-down feed. We both slept until 5.30…a 1.5 hour nap. Worst timing ever. After Sam’s bath, he pretty much cried until 10.30. It was like being in hell. 

Monday. Up at 8am and he happily played with Carl until 10. He then fed and, unusually, didn’t fall sleep. Presumably because I wanted him to. 

The yawning began. 

The rocking commenced. 

After half an hour of whinging, I popped him in the stroller and set off round Capel. He slept for an hour, only waking when a motorbike scared him (I left him outside after the walk). After a feed, we left to collect my sister and head for Polesden Lacey for a walk. When we arrived, Sam surprised me by tolerating the sling for a little while! However, he wouldn’t nap in sling, stroller or my arms, despite being tired so, by the time we left….loud shouty crying. I did manage to get him to take a short nap before bath time and, after the bath ordeal, he fed well and went to sleep by 6…

And woke up at 6.45. After a fair struggle (interspersed with smiles and a lot of fist sucking) he went back to sleep at 9. Better than his usual 10.30 anyway. 

I’ve learned the hard way that a baby who misses a nap they desperately need is going to be beyond miserable and so overtired that they can’t physically calm themselves to go to sleep. Also, changing his bedtime by 3-4 hours is not going to be quick, or easy.

This week is going to focus on getting him up earlier and helping him have proper naps during the day any way I can. 

So…it’s not a great start but it has to get better, right!? 

The bottle training has begun 

Day one didn’t go well. Monday night was our first attempt and Sam cried the second the bottle teat touched his mouth each time. Once, he cried before it got near him! I had to remind myself many times that this isn’t going to be instant, if indeed he takes a bottle at all. 

Yesterday, he cried whenever I attempted a bottle (with some precious expressed milk in rather than formula ‘just in case’!) but we had a slightly better result when Carl tried in the evening. This doesn’t surprise me, why would he take a bottle off me when he’s literally sitting next to his preferred food supply!? 

He didn’t take the bottle, but he didn’t cry (progress!). Carl let him discover the bottle teat himself and a couple of times he seemed to let it into his mouth…before pushing it out again. However, the lack of crying when Carl tried was heartening. I’d be happy with him eventually taking it just in the evenings if need be; we don’t have much longer until we can start weaning anyway…provided he’ll allow it! 

Onwards and upwards…positive thinking…!