Pinch me, am I dreaming?

A small (huge!) miracle occurred last night… 

As usual, Sam went to bed at 7.40pm after the usual feed to sleep and waking after 25 minutes, before being fed to sleep again. Carl and I had a lovely evening with a glass of wine and generally put our feet up. We never learn, so it was gone midnight by the time we finally went to bed. 

At 4.45am we heard Sam wake and start fussing. Shattered, we didn’t move. After 5 minutes or so, he went back to sleep! He then slept again until 6.05am. 

10 hours and 25 minutes. 

Why didn’t we go to bed early to get a decent night’s sleep!! 

Goodness me, I never thought this would happen. As ever, I accept that it may be a while before this occurs again but, as I always say, it shows he can do it. It must be said that I was about to explode after such a long time between feeds… obviously, he had a huge feed when he woke, thank goodness! 

What a step forward. 

Was there ever a more distracted baby? 

A typical lunch scene… 

It’s lunchtime and on the menu is leek and potato purée, Sam’s current favourite. He’s raring to go, trying to pull the spoon into his mouth and reaching for the bowl, he wolfs down a few spoonfuls and opens wide for the next and then…

…Ooh, a bit of dust in the air…

…Ooh, I haven’t looked at the floor for a couple of minutes…

…Oh my goodness, A DOOR!!!… 

…Have you guys looked at my hand recently? IT’S AMAZING!!!…

And so on. Usually with his mouth still open and waiting for food. 

Once you’ve managed to regain and (sometimes) retain his attention, Sam will return to guzzling his favourite meal, making happy ‘mmmmm’ noises, smiling in between mouthfuls, reaching for the spoo –  –  –

…THE CEILING!!!!…

…Look at my hand!!!…

And so on and so forth. 

This is how most activities go; playtime (oooh, the floor/cat/piece of paper), lunch time, walks (I want to look at anything in a direction other than the one I’m facing!)… 

He’ll be into everything once he starts moving!!! 

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Under Sam’s gum lurks his first tooth. I can see it clearly and know it won’t be long before it (finally) makes an appearance. He’s had a molar point at the back of his mouth for months, but it hasn’t done anything aside from make him dribble a lot. 

Over the last few days I’ve noticed that he has been chewing a lot more and always on the left side, so this isn’t an unexpected developments. What has surprised me are my thoughts on the matter. 

My baby is growing up. 

He is only 6 months old, but the first tooth is a major milestone… 

My little gummy bear will be gummy no longer. 

I have a feeling that I will cry when it breaks through, and not just because I’ve finally reached a stage where I don’t mind breastfeeding… he’d better not bite! Because it’s a much more outward sign that he is changing and growing up. More so than growing or sitting or even eating purées. 

I really love the gummy smiles he gives me… so I had best keep him smiling and laughing solidly until the tooth arrives and takes us to the next stage – the hilarious face of a baby with ONE tooth. 

Edit. I wrote this on Friday and the tooth has now cut through. I’m both happy and sad about this. Mainly sad! 

Return on investment 

I’m all about a good ROI, so when it takes 50 minutes to get Sam down for a 15 minute nap, it really doesn’t seem worth the effort. 

Overall, sleep has been improving and although we generally have a couple of wakings before we head up to bed, Sam now usually sleeps 3-5 hours at a time between 10pm and 7am, after being in bed by 6.30/7pm. 

Naps are more hit and miss. He’s a fan of the 20-40 minute nap, and it can be pretty quick to rock him to sleep if I get the timing right. Not always though, as today has reminded me. It’s tiring when it takes such a long time and then he doesn’t have a decent sleep! I’ll try again at 3.20pm (the 3 hour mark) and hopefully he won’t fight it so much then… Unsurprisingly, he’s pretty miserable and tired now.

I do envy mums whose babies enjoy 1-2 hour naps! 20-40 minutes in his cot is better than when he slept on me, but I wouldn’t mind having a relaxed shower or leisurely lunch one day.

However, sleep is getting better so I very much hope that naps will follow. I couldn’t have imagined that we would even be at this stage a couple of weeks ago! We go to Wales next week and when we get back it’s time to start looking at how to teach Sam to fall asleep on his own. We know he can do it, so he needs to remember that he can and realise that there’s no need for crying and whinging and fighting sleep! 

On a different note, I can’t wait for our trip to Wales. Sam will finally get to meet my grandparents! Here’s hoping he doesn’t start crawling while we’re there….! 

Sam meets his Aussie cousin

On Sunday, as I mentioned yesterday, we spent the afternoon at my uncle and aunt’s. It was wonderful seeing them and my three cousins, who all love Sam and his chubby cheeks! As an extra bonus, my great uncle and aunt were there too and, even better, their sons Ned and Rich, and Ned’s wife Claire and their gorgeous little girl, Abi, all over from Australia. 

I’d been told that Abi and Sam are scarily similar in the way they are, so it was wonderful meeting her (she’s 5 months old) and sharing anecdotes with Ned and Claire. Abi is so beautiful, I just love her! 

We had to get some photos of the babies together, ones where Sam wasn’t crying in Abi’s face…which happened when we arrived. Happily, they were both up for it late in the afternoon as we lay them on the lawn. Sam smiled away, Abi tried to hold his hand. Adorable. 

I don’t know when we’ll next see the Aussie contingent, but it was amazing seeing them for a few hours. At least the internet helps make the world a slightly smaller place; Claire and I enjoy whatsapp chats at any hour of the day since the time difference means one is generally doing the night feeds when the other is awake! 

The good bits outweigh the bad

I’m aware that my posts have a tendency to focus on the difficult parts of our parenting life, but it’s not always like that! 

Our little man, while very tricky to get to sleep, is a joy most of the time. He cries, like any baby, but only if he’s overtired, hungry or bored…the latter can happen in short bursts a few times a day since he is so interested in everything and likes to play lots of different games. However, in the long term this can only be a good thing!
In the mornings in particular, Sam loves his jumperoo and positively throws himself around, bouncing and – more recently – reaching out for the animals. When doing tummy time, we often put his crinkly book on the floor for him to look at and it’s hilarious seeing how studious he looks. He cracks us up all the time with the funny noises he makes! He chats away and will start squeaking and squealing when he gets excited and, if I’m holding him, start chewing my shoulder in excitement. 

There are dozens of little moments like this every day. 

When he feeds to sleep and is lying in my arms, no one could look more innocent. When he’s asleep on either of our chests, he is utterly relaxed, his full trust and sense of security with us. 

The adorable (yet also frustrating!) moments when he stops feeding just to smile up at me. 

These moments make all the hard ones worthwhile. 

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…!   

It’s 9pm on a Saturday…

…and in our previous life, we might be just getting dressed up ready for a meal or maybe even a boogie. This is all seems so alien now as I write this. 

It’s still light outside. Next door’s kids are still outside playing football, enjoying being young and having fun. It’s 9pm. 

We are in bed. All 3 of us. Carl isn’t feeling great so came up for a pre-bed nap earlier, but never made it back downstairs (unsurprisingly). Sam properly fell asleep after his feed about half an hour ago, so I took a chance and popped him in his cot. 

For once, for no reason (seeing that last night was hellish), I don’t feel all that tired. Every bit of me wants to clean and tidy up the house, get on with a project, read a book! But I’m learning…when it is possible – and especially before the night shift – for goodness sake, sleep when the baby does! If I stay awake, I’ll only kick myself when I come up at 10/10.30pm and no doubt get woken up within minutes of falling asleep (such is the unpredictable nature of Sam’s nighttime sleep). 

So, I feel wise and safe in the knowledge that I’ve made the right choice. Now I just need to fall asleep…

The first 12 weeks

The fourth trimester is over. 

I can’t even believe I’m writing this! 12 weeks…how the time has flown? Gone by in a haze? Left me in a continual state of shock? All of the above. 

I recall being told that the first 12 weeks are the hardest but that seemed such a long way off…it’s hard to believe Sam is 3 months old already. 

What I have learned is that babies definitely don’t do things on cue! I’ve been thinking about a few things I was told and compared to what is actually happening:

By 12 weeks your baby will likely have settled into a routineWouldn’t that be nice!

You may find your baby starts sleeping longer spells from 6-8 weekshmmm

Most young babies nap for hours during the dayDo they? Can I borrow one? 

Babies start teething from approximately 4 monthsI wish! Hello early tooth that is just sitting there making my baby grumpy, but not coming further through.

It really helps when your baby starts smilingSo true. That toothless smile will make life better when you’re awake – again – at 3am.

Your baby smiling when they see you will make it all worthwhileMelts my heart every time. 

All babies are different, so don’t worry about what yours is/isn’t doing – Correct!! 

Wind 

There are SO many items you can buy for your precious newborn. The lists are endless! A quick search on Google will bring up a whole host of websites with the ‘definitive’ guide to everything you really need. 

Most of them are rubbish. Turn to Mum’s forums if you want the real advice! 

In reality, newborns don’t need much. Nappies/wipes, clothes, car seat and somewhere to sleep (this may well end up being your bed initially!). Useful/nice to have items include muslins (hundreds!), nappy rash cream, a nursing cushion, a changing mat (a towel will do just as well), pram and/or sling, baby bath and so on…turn to Google for ideas! 

However, what no list ever seems to mention is Infacol or Gripe Water. 

Wind is a nightmare with many newborns and young babies. They aren’t able to bring it up themselves and many babies get really bad wind (ours is one of these). Hours of pacing, winding, etc haunted our early weeks. I then followed the advice of other mums and purchased some Infacol. It doesn’t stop the wind, but it really does help him bring it up quicker. Some people believe that it just makes parents feel better and doesn’t really do anything, but we saw an instant improvement and make sure we always have some to hand. 

Fortunately, Sam is beginning to burp on his own…I can’t wait for wind to stop being such an issue!