So I thought it was only fair that because my last blog post detailed the ‘red rage/ARE YOU A REAL PERSON?’ moments we have to deal with daily from our partner’s, that I would ask my husband to see if there was anything that I did that may have annoyed him. Well at first he didn’t get back to me for a while and I thought – fantastic, I’m obviously not annoying at all. Then War and Peace came. Okay. Not quite – but a few...
• “It’s fine – I’ll do it. Like I always do.” (This was in relation to getting Rafe to sleep but to be fair – my husband was faffing around.)
• Wanting to know every detail about something: “Who is going to be there? What time are we going?” “What are we doing after?” “What are you wearing?” “Are they bringing their kids?” (It’s called being organised love.)
• Constantly changing your mind. (Because I have a million things on my mind!)
• Built up anger being directed towards me, when I’ve done nothing wrong. (Might you have done something wrong?)
• Being treat like a child. And spoken to like one. With zero manners and a rude attitude. (I know what you’re thinking, HE IS A LUCKY GUY...)
• Contradicting yourself, then doing something that suits you at the time, but having a go at me for doing the same thing. (I don't know what you mean.)
• Putting your handbag on the kitchen bench. It’s a food preparation counter. (Oh, okay, sorry Chef!)
• Going from level 0 to 1 billion rage over nothing. (Hormones darling.)
And on an even brighter note. After being slightly ecstatic last week that Rafe’s sleep seemed to have got better – HELLO OLD RAFE. WELCOME BACK. 3AM COT PARTIES ARE NOW MY LIFE. Like seriously. Mum to mum here: Do babies/toddlers ever sleep through the night? Is this a myth? Will I honestly ever sleep again? Please send wine. And coffee. And more coffee. And wine.
So last week, I honestly thought we had turned a corner sleep wise (not naps, we are still a 30-minute King but I’m not stressing about them anymore…damn you naps) as he was just waking up once, having a feed and going straight back down. I wasn’t having to re-settle him and I could put him down half-asleep and he would be fine - was it just too good to be true? The past week he has been difficult to put down - like the good old days. Yet he doesn’t want holding. Does not want me to put him down. Does not want to be in his sleeping bag. Does not want me to sing to him (Why he would not want to hear my angelic voice I don’t know). And I’d say like clockwork when I do get him down eventually, he wakes up within 30-minutes again and screams till I go cuddle him. And then the cot parties have started again. The other night it was from 1-3am. On Thursday night, he wouldn’t go back down at 10pm and I had to feed him to sleep – he normally feeds midnight at the earliest. And then he woke at 5am and I had to cuddle him to sleep. The other night at 4am, I tried just bringing him into my bed but he just repeatedly slapped me in the face and pulled my hair so that was a joy. I dare google ‘10-month sleep regression’. I’m hoping it’s may be just leap related. And it’s fine – only 24 days left of this leap. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. HELP.
Rafe’s still being a bit fussy food wise and I don’t know whether just to stick to what I know he likes for now – or experiment more and try him with different things? I still worry I’m not giving him enough but then I just think I’m following his lead – he is eating what he wants and lets me know when he's full and he’s actually an absolute chunk so I think he’s doing okay! As he’s approaching 10-months, I don’t know whether I need to drop a feed completely and replace with a snack. Help! So at the moment this is our little routine roughly:
3pm: Formula (Sometimes he takes 7oz, other times hardly anything. Can still be quite fussy and wants boob – or just doesn’t want much.)
Always feel like I’m stocking him up – but he still seems to want the same amount of feeds – well definitely the breastfeeds (still has one through the night). I don’t know whether to replace the morning or afternoon milk with a snack? What is everyone else’s routine for 10-month-old?
Speaking of routines, I got a text (does anyone else hear someone from Love Island saying this now?!) from the nursery manager this week to let me know I can ring anytime with any questions (he goes in September for one day a week) and to also bring a written routine on his first day. I literally wanted to cry. I know I’ve been massively reassured from other mums about leaving him, but still feeling emotional about it. Have two weeks left of maternity leave (where has the time gone? I swear I only told work I was pregnant yesterday) so trying to make the most of it. I’ve been able to request to work my hours over four days, which I feel very lucky about. And also, the majority of my work, is remote-working. Which again I feel lucky as I won’t have to be rushing out the door. (I wouldn’t be able to look after Rafe and work from home. I’m writing/interviewing people all day and the only distraction I will be able to deal with is the biscuit tin). As well as thinking about getting into work-mode again, I’m a little worried about the cabin fever setting in. Before Rafe, I got cabin fever being in the house all day working (was used to being in a busy newsroom) but I was lucky as I could just take the dog out in the evening – and my husband was around quite a bit then but I think when you become a mum, one of the things I have struggled with is the cabin fever. Almost feeling slightly isolated if you haven’t been able to get out the house. But I shouldn’t complain as I know it could be a million times harder and I could be rushing out the door every day. Just going to take time to get used to the new routine and it will all work out I’m sure.
On that note. I need a fucking coffee!
“I carry the mental load of our baby. I know when he’s hungry, tired or needs a bath.” Constance Hall said in a post this week and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Rafe, my husband and I were out and about and I had forgot his cup.
“You didn’t pack his cup?," said my husband.
“NO, DID YOU?!” (I said with a few Fs in-between.)
“No, you’re in charge of Rafe.” And although he was half joking…he is kind of right. And I’m not bashing dads or my husband here (he’s an amazing dad) – but it made me think of all the other “injustices” as Constance calls them, you notice when you have a baby and those #livingourbestlife red rage moments. The ARE YOU ACTUALLY A REAL PERSON? moments' that make you question why you actually like your husband. I’ve spent many an hour with my friends talking about these moments, “he said what?”, “are you serious?”, “I would have saw the red rage." So I asked my friends – and you, about some of your red rage moments – just to make sure I wasn’t alone and didn’t actually just need anger management counselling. And there are some corkers! And dads - we do love you all really, you're pretty fabulous - most of the time...And I’m sure you could all write a novel about us….(These aren’t all my husband – just the first one!!)
Been loving the weather this week – though I don’t want to say, “it’s just too hot…” but babies and heat do not mix. Nor do boobies. Boobies and heat do not mix. Hello sweaty under-boob. Rafe’s sleep (thankfully) hasn’t been affected too much by the heat – and dare I say it, at night, he has been doing some canny stretches. And some nights, I have been putting him down and he has gone straight to sleep. Don’t worry – I’m not gloating – some nights he has screamed blue murder (teething you are a mother trucker). And the other night I had to cuddle him to sleep. On Wednesday night he went from 7.30 till 4.30, had a feed and then up at 7. And then on Thursday night he slept through!!!!! WHAT THE ACTUAL??? But then Friday night he really unsettled. But hey – I’m not complaining! I wish I could say I am doing something particular to get him to do these stretches but I'm not really. (Sorry, not very helpful I know.) All I have been doing is making sure he is sleepy when I put him down. So I know some baby books say you must put down awake so they can self-settle but Rafe ain’t going to ever go down wide-awake unless a miracle happens. So I boobie feed him, or give him a little cuddle to make sure his eyes are heavy – then put him down. So he is half asleep/half awake, so that seems to work. I call it the "do whatever works for you" technique and it seems to be doing the trick...for now!
After being less stressed about naps (I honestly have!) and accepting that Rafe will probably just do 2x30 naps a day, I do feel so much better and less nap obssessed. I mean, I’m still walking a marathon most days but I have a canny t-shirt tan. Think I might try putting some toys in his cot when I know he’s really tired, see if he will just play with them and self-settle without screaming blue murder. I mean, it’s not going to happen but still worth a try right?....
Rafe’s always been quite good if I just nip out the room and not really been fussed, as long as he’s entertained but this week, even if I literally am out of the room for a second, he screams. Like really, really cries. He’s fine when someone else is there – but he’s just not happy at all for me to leave. (Good timing before I go back to work…) Turns out he is going through ANOTHER leap. Seriously – hasn’t he just been going through one? And this leap (leap 7) is where babies show more attachment behavior so explains it really. Is anyone else experiencing this?
He’s still rolling around and turning in circles so think it’s going to be a while until he crawls. Although not wishing time away. Many of you have said that once they are on the move – it’s eyes in back of head time!
Anyway, best be off. 8 mile walk to go on...
Hi, my name is Faye and I’m a nap-obsessed-o’holic. I think readers of my blog may have guessed I had such a condition, round about the three-four month-old mark when I was beginning to have mild palpitations questioning whether I should have a routine yet and why my baby can only nap for 30 minutes. I foolishly said I was going to be more calm and not stress about naps a couple of weeks ago when another mum gave me some great advice – but I relapsed last week when I had been walking for an hour and a half, with major sweaty under-boob and a sunburnt back, with baby still wide-awake loving life – the baby who only slept for 15 minutes that day and well, I almost shed a few fed-up tears (again). Oh and I have given up on the nap in cot situation – that ain’t never going to happen. But just as I was in full relapse, nap-obsessed-o’holic mode – another mum sent me a link to an article that quite frankly – saved my life. (Okay, slightly dramatic but it made my day). I know what you’re thinking – another article! Yes, I am aware that my google search history covers only four things: “how long can (insert month) stay awake for between naps, what is the best nap routine for () month old, how to get baby to self-settle for naps, how can you get a flat stomach and still eat your body weight in chocolate every day?” But after reading it, I feel I am no longer going to be a broken record of worrying about whether Rafe isn’t sleeping enough and may finally accept, as so many of you have been telling me – that maybe Rafe does just not need a two-hour afternoon nap, maybe he will just always be a cat-napper, I might never get to have a hot cup of tea and watch a box set while he sleeps in his cot – but at least I’m not going to stress about it anymore….Right? And quite frankly, if I read or download another sleep programme or buy another fucking white noise machine I’ll lose the plot.
So basically, as you can see if you read the link, https://sarahockwell-smith.com/2017/11/01/in-defence-of-cat-naps/ my new best friend goes into detail about the benefits of a catnap – and says “If you have a cat napper, rest assured that you’re not alone and in all likelihood there is nothing wrong with your child’s sleep, even though other books and sleep trainers warn otherwise. The next time you doubt yourself and your child, remind yourself that there is no evidence behind their claims...and you are not alone!” So I’m no expert – and trust me, if Rafe suddenly starts to sleep longer and naps in his cot then I will be writing a novel about it. But I will – although I have said this a number of times. CHILL THE FUCK OUT. I’ve spent almost six months’ (I’d say the first three months of Rafe’s life I was worrying more about what the hell I was actually doing) literally obsessing about bloody naps. I’m sure I will laugh about it and kind of are now – but I’ve spent most my maternity leave, every day, worrying about how I was going to get Rafe to sleep longer, or stressing because he’s only had 30 bloody minutes. And, unless he doesn’t nap at all or only has one little nap – he seems to be okay just having his two little catnaps. And some days, when he needs it, he does sleep a little longer (35 minutes…) So, like I said, I’m no expert but if there are any other nap-obsessed-o’holic’s out there – we are in this together. If I could turn back time to five months ago, I would say to myself: Turn off google. Don’t download another fucking sleep programme. Stop buying white noise machines. Don’t compare Rafe to other babies. If he sleeps for 30 minutes, that’s better than nothing! If he has an hour – praise the Lord. Just don’t lose your flipping mind over naps. Oh and go have another biscuit.
Sleeping through the night at the moment is a bit hit and miss as it’s been so hot. The other night I felt like I was abroad, yet I wasn’t in some beautiful air conditioned apartment, listening to the ocean, in a deep sleep after too many cocktails – I was in a stuffy, hot room in Whitley Bay, listening to a fan noise on a white noise machine, trying to block out the birds twerping away, while Rafe was up most the night. He is self-settling a bit better but mostly just falling asleep feeding, so ending up putting him down drowsy but he’s been doing some good little stretches – normally wakes around 12-1 for a feed and can go back down till 7. Though the other night he whinged for 2 hours before he went back to sleep. Does anyone else think the whinge is worse than a cry? And teething is in full force at the moment so we are having a few rough nights. I had to hold his hand while he fell asleep the other-night and I literally could have burst with love so it’s not all negative Nancy. Even though he’s sleeping better at times, I still wake-up feeling absolutely exhausted and in a constant state of feeling hungover. I seem to manage quite well for a few days and then day 4 I just feel absolutely cream-crackered. Yesterday I could have slept all day. Rafe had woke at 4.30am and would not settle. As I was feeding him I could smell a strong smell of poo. Wasn't Rafe. Thankfully wasn't my husband so went downstairs and Yankee had shat all over the kitchen so was cleaning poo off the floor at 5am. Nevermind. One for the memoirs.
As I mentioned last week, I have dropped a couple of breastfeeds – the lunchtime feed as he’s eating three meals now (although still a bit of a fuss-pot) and then afternoon feed I’ve replaced with formula. He’s not loving it like he loves the boob, but don’t know whether he ever well. He likes lying down and feeding himself though so I guess it’s just him getting used to it. I plan to drop the mid-morning feed and replace with formula (or snack? I don’t know whether he is having too much???) over the next two weeks. Still want to keep breastfeeding but just means when I go back to work, he will have adjusted to not having breastfeeds (hopefully) during the day. Just morning, before bed and through the night. I got a bit emotional about it as it feels like such a big change, I’ve been used to feeding him myself throughout the day and although I still will be breastfeeding, I just feel like things are coming to an end. (Dramatic I know.) Maternity leave. Breastfeeding being cut down. Time has just gone far too fast and I’m trying to treasure every second (in-between the tears, mind-numbing exhaustion, husband rage and cleaning up dog shit) as I’ve suddenly blinked and Rafe is now almost 10-month’s old. He held my hand when I was breastfeeding the other night and those are the moments that make everything, even the nap nightmares, worth it and the moments I will miss so much when I stop breastfeeding.
How old was your baby when they started crawling? Rafe’s just rolling all over and showing no signs of wanting to pull himself up on to furniture but you can see he is wanting to try and crawl. He keeps bringing his knees up and instead of rolling, sometimes he just rotates round in a circle but he just can’t quite work out how to crawl! I know he will just do it when he is ready but any tips on trying to help him?
My last post about hitting the nine-month mark and wondering where the time has gone, got me thinking about what I would do differently if I could wind the clock back and also what I said I would do/definitely not do when I was still pregnant and pretty much oblivious to the tornado that was about to hit. I’ve written a little about some of the things I used to say – compared to the reality and if I was speaking to my pregnant self now, I’d be mostly saying – ERM OKAY THEN. YOU DO THAT. But the reality is so different.
“I’m going to be really strict with getting baby to sleep, I’m not going to make a rod for my own back – I don’t want a bad sleeper.”
Reality: Walk 8 miles a day to get baby to sleep, won’t self-settle and losing my mind over naps.
“I won’t ‘let myself go’ and will make sure I still look half presentable when I leave the house.”
Reality: Handful of times I’ve worn make-up and looked ‘half presentable’ leaving the house. My go-to outfit, still, is nursing top/shirt and either leggings, (the maternity leggings have only just retired) and tracksuit bottoms. Dry-shampoo gives me life.
“I’m going to get back into CrossFit and running once I’ve passed that 6-week mark – I will even do workouts in the garden while baby sleeps." (HAHAHAHA)
Reality: It’s the absolute last thing on my mind. I do a lot of walking and every Sunday I fully intend to ‘start on Monday’ and try and do some exercise once Rafe is in bed but I just want to sit in my PJ’s and watch Love Island. Oh and you all know I’m partial to a full biscuit tin.
“Our relationship won’t change – let’s still make time for each other.” I said to my husband pre-tornado.
Reality: Who is my husband?! It’s a huge test on your relationship, I know I’m not alone. You love them more – but equally question if they were ever this annoying – and if they were, how did you cope. And don’t get me started on the S word. That would mean shaving my legs.
“Yeah, we will definitely be able to come to your wedding abroad – will just leave Rafe with my parents."
Reality: Too nervous/don't want to/can't leave overnight/still breastfeeding/would mean shaving my legs.
“I really want a small age gap – maybe we should try for another baby when I’m still on maternity leave?” And we will just leave that there. (Disclaimer: Not criticising anyone who has a small age gap between having another tornado – I’m just not quite ready yet! And it would mean possibly shaving my legs.)
It was so reassuring to read everyone’s comments about going back to work. It’s good to know I’m not the only one nervous and also wishing they had treasured those early weeks more. For those a little apprehensive and emotional about putting your baby into playgroup – a lovely mum commented on my post and it honestly made me feel so much better. I cried reading it (obviously), I know I’ll still be upset but hope her words will reassure you.
I just wanted to reassure you about the playgroup because I’ve just gone back to work (also financially motivated- to pay a mortgage) and my wee one (8 months) is going to nursery 3 days a week and with in-laws 2 days. We had some visit hours/days over the last few weeks and I was so nervous. He’s a sociable baby and never cries but I was filled with dread at the thought of him getting upset and then confused that I wasn’t there to comfort him. We’ve been together every day of his life! How would he cope!?
Well, after his first hour visit alone, I came back in and he was so busy playing he didn’t look up to see me (a little bit heartbreaking but good) and then after a 5 hour half-day, I walked in to see him playing away with a lovely member of staff and when he saw me a smile filled his face and he began moaning for a cuddle. It was the greatest feeling!
My sister is a nursery teacher (unfortunately in a different city) and she reminded me that the staff soon love the babies they work with. She can tell me the details of how every baby she works with likes to nap, their favourite foods, even their nappy habits!
Already, I can see how much the staff care for my baby by their smiles when he arrives and the detailed report they give me at the end of the day. He is happy to be left and comes home with a smile.
As for work- I’ve found I’m totally distracted when I’m there. The working day flies by and you have the best ending to the working day and the weekends are more rewarding than they ever were.
So naps. Wouldn't be a blog post without talking about naps! I said I would be less stressed – and I have been (ish). And trying to let Rafe lead but I think I’m just totally missing his sleepy window now. I think he can stay awake three hours between naps but don’t know whether that’s a bit too long/some days it seems too short. I’ve still been trying to get him in the cot for one nap, but I just honestly think that Tom Cruise’s next Mission Impossible film should be about getting Rafe to nap during the day in his fucking cot. It’s mind-numbingly, absolutely impossible. Even though he is so tired. Oh and getting him to sleep longer than 30 minutes needs some kind of Harry Potter fucking magic. But I’m calm. And not stressing. And going to see where we are next week….
I dropped his lunchtime boobie feed last week as he wasn’t showing a huge interest in it and he’s been on three meals a day for a while now. He doesn’t seem to miss it at all and my boobs adjusted well which is a relief. So now we do 7am breastfeed, breakfast around 8ish, 11am breastfeed, lunch around 12.30ish, between 3-4pm breastfeed, tea/dinner 4.45/5pm and then breastfeed before bed. This week I’ve tried dropping the afternoon feed and replacing with formula and we’ve had some success. He takes it well (around 5oz in the MAM cup) and from other people – but not a huge fan of me doing it. I think he just wonders why I’m not feeding him and tries to pull my top down so I feel quite guilty – but then the next minute he’s gulping it down! And my boobs are killing. Seems to not enjoy me trying to drop this feed but hoping they will chill out in a few days. Because I don’t know how much he is getting from me, how much does formula/combi-feeding mums give oz wise if they are still feeding 4 times during the day and once in the night? (He’s feeding mostly just once through the night now – the odd times still twice – hurrah!)
Hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine – long may it continue! Best go shave my legs…
Until next time, Faye x
Seriously, how is my baby boy 9 months old? I’ve had a bit of an emotional week as I feel like I have blinked and my newborn is off to High School and has his first girlfriend. (Does anyone else worry they are going to be the mother-in-law from hell?!) Okay, I digress, so he is not quite that grown-up yet but I feel like we have made a massive jump from teeny baby – to big, bruiser who can’t sit still. I got a bit teary putting his 6 to 9 month clothes away. How is he nearly one? It’s madness. And as I approach the end of my maternity leave, I just wish I had treasured those early months, when he was so small, so much more than I did. I’ve wrote about those early weeks a lot and you really are in a fog of extreme exhaustion and constant worrying about the colour of baby’s poo, whether you will ever stop walking like John Wayne and why your husband has become even more annoying than he was when you were pregnant. But seriously, I just wish I’d savoured those moments, however difficult those early stages were because I saw a teeny baby when Rafe was being weighed the other day and I feel like I just can’t remember him ever being that small. And I remember mum friends saying that to me when they first met Rafe. So I have vowed to try and savour every moment and really try and not stress as much. (Yes, I know, but I’m going to try!) Because I really don’t want to look back on my maternity leave and think I spent most of it stressing about blinking naps (my nemesis), sleep in general and sticking to a routine. But don’t worry – if I achieve any type of nap miracle – I will be running round the streets of Whitley Bay, with a fog horn letting everyone know.
So, like I said, it’s been a teary week. As it gets closer to the end of my maternity leave, I just can’t imagine being at work and not being with Rafe. I know in the long run, it will be good for him to spend time away from me – and likewise, me have time away from Rafe, but it feels like such a huge deal for me. And I’m sure every mum feels the same after months of being pretty much joined at the hip with their baby. I know he will be fine as childcare is being split between grandparents – and one day at playgroup but the thought of that first day of putting him into playgroup and saying bye, literally fills me with dread – and yup, here we go again – tears are coming. I know he will probably love playgroup and being with other children but it doesn’t make it any easier. I just wish I could have a balance of working part-time – then the rest of the time with Rafe, but sadly, just can’t afford to do that. My husband keeps saying I need to write that book I am forever banging on about writing and make my millions – (the dream), but I don’t know when I’ll fit that in! But I need to remember that my parents have worked all through my childhood and I never remember the moments they were at work – only the moments we were all together on holiday, day-trips, playing in the garden, Christmas - the best memories. So that gives me some reassurance and feel slightly less like crying!
Although I feel like I can’t believe where the time has gone, I feel incredibly lucky that I have such a lovely little boy, who is growing up to be an absolute little legend. I had a ‘I am so lucky’ moment the other day when I was reading Rafe a bedtime story and I was doing different voices and he was looking at me a little unsure, then he just grabbed my fingers and held my hand and smiled and I thought, bloody hell, this is what it’s all about.
Okay – less of this emotion!! It’s still been a trying week! The poor poppet has had diarrhoea since Monday so it’s just been poo explosion's left right and centre. He’s absolutely fine within himself and the doctor is not worried as he is still eating and having plenty of wet nappies – just must have caught yet another bug. His bum is so sore and I do feel so sorry for him and changing a nappy when you’re still half asleep, when baby is literally pooing everywhere at 1am is an experience. These little explosions always seem to be at some critical moments too – like when you are just about to find out whether Josh had decided to uncouple with Georgia on Love Island – or during the England v Columbia match. But there's less poo explosion's now so I’m hoping we have a bit of time before the next bloody viral bug.
I tried to get Rafe to nap in his cot this week and had a proper hand in the head – what the fuck am I doing wrong moment? Again. And really felt quite defeated when it was an hour of trying – and no sleep. I posted something on my Instagram stories and a lovely mum messaged me and told me to stop beating myself up about naptime – mum life was hard enough. She said her boy is the same age and she decided to throw routine out the window and let him nap when he wanted to –whether that be in the car, pram, on her. And if he wants a snuggle – they had a snuggle. Her older son hated naps with a passion (hello Rafe) but when he hit one he was a nap King. She said the best thing she did was throw all the books out the window and took the lead from her baby. Which was just the message I needed. Another mum also contacted me to let me know more about the Cheshire baby whisperer which has been really interesting and massively helpful to find out more – as it kind of goes against a lot of what all the books say so just shows that I don’t think there really is a right or wrong answer. All babies are different and you just have to do what works for you and your baby. I’ve been less stressed about naps the past couple of days, taking Rafe's lead – but still trying to do a bit of self-settling, more just because I know he can do it. Also trying to stick to a bit of a routine as you know what I'm like! And had some success with daytime naps – and night-time. (Though he still only naps for 30 minutes and I take him out in the pram for one nap but I’m calm about that!) So for both the morning nap and night-time, I just put him down in his cot and say it's sleep/nap time now. Then I lie on my bed with my back to him. He tends to not be very happy about this so I time three minutes and ignore him (this is hard) while he cries. I then pick him up and repeat the phrase, tap his back and calm him down. Then go back to facing away for him, leave it 5 minutes – and then keep repeating. The first few times have taken at least an hour – and it is hard as he was crying for a bit, but I was always next to him and as the time went on, I could hear him starting to drift off. And after what seems like forever, he goes to sleep. So I’m going to keep going with this and see how we get on. But also try and chill the fuck out! No miracles yet and still up at least once/twice in the night (which I'll take as so so so much better than the recent multiple wake-ups) but there is hope. And wine. And chocolate.
So I feel like I have blabbed on quite a bit this week but just want to say to all you mums out there who are in the newborn six-week fog – I know it’s tough, but try and treasure those cuddles. They won’t be that small for long. And for all those other mums who have blinked and can’t quite believe where the time has gone – we are doing a pretty good job aren’t we? Give yourself a fucking high five.
As sleep regressions go, I think Rafe could win a few medals for not just taking part, but for fully wanting to jump right into it and win a gold medal - just to kindly make sure, as a first-time mum, I know we are well and truly in a regression. As with the four-month sleep regression (shudder at the memory) we are on a merry-go round of, will he self-settle tonight? Will he nap at all today? How many miles will I walk today? How many wake-ups tonight? Wow, he actually slept ‘okay’ last night – are we turning a corner? Nope, nope we are not. We’ve had success (one 60-minute nap – though I did have to walk for two hours and almost wet myself), a six-hour stretch through the night (I thought I was a new woman), but then we’ve had no naps, one 20-minute nap all day, refusing to self-settle, will out right refuse to sleep in cot during the day, multiple wake-ups during the night, so tired falling asleep feeding - true coffee in my eyeballs moments. But leap 6 is now over (great for Rafe’s development, not so much for knocking out z’ds), so maybe next week I will be saying – GUYS, I’VE CRACKED NAPS, I’VE SLEPT FOR HOURS ON END EVERY NIGHT. Fingers crossed, ey?
I mentioned last week that I was going to try and self-settle again and maybe try and speak to a ‘sleep guru’ (although don’t think the bank balance will stretch!) if all else failed but with the heat (hello summer, hello milk bottle legs), teething (he has his two front teeth now) and a sleep regression, it’s just been a bit of a disaster. I’ve tried getting him in his cot during the day – and even doing some controlled crying but he is just not having it. Screams the house down and I just can’t see him ever being able to self-settle in his cot. And at night I’ve been having to shush him to sleep again. I don’t mind the cuddles but he’s getting so heavy (got him weighed this week – 20Ib 3oz, the chunk) and it’s like a mini workout. Even walking in the pram, he’s only been having 30 minutes – if he naps at all. Although I did have one nap success but almost wet myself. I’d walked for two hours – took an hour to get to sleep and he woke after 30 minutes but went straight back down (hurrah) so I carried on walking. I headed back home and just walked round the garden, literally in circles as too scared to stop. I was desperate for the toilet – it’s the second time I have considered wetting myself to keep him asleep – good times. My husband was home and through the kitchen window he was happily eating his lunch and watching TV and smiling and waving at me as I kept passing the window – which he obviously thought was lovely but after the 20th circle round the garden I really wanted to give him the middle finger, rather than the lovely wave. “IT’S OKAY – YOU ENJOY YOUR FUCKING LUNCH!!” He had been on nap patrol in the morning so I couldn’t really get too much rage. And he had bought me chocolate. Anyway, I've bought yet another white noise machine – last one I promise! The unmummsy mum has recommended it – the avantek white noise machine – so I’m hoping this will save the day.
Rafe’s still been a bit off his food and I’ve tried to do more baby-led weaning but he's quite fussy, especially with meat, so back to doing 'mashed, textured food, (sounds delicious) with a mix of finger foods. My husband made meatballs and meatloaf, but I don’t know whether he doesn’t like the texture – or he’s just not a huge fan of meat but just blows raspberries and spits it out. He likes pasta, toast, these organic biscuit thingys, cucumber, bananas, pretty much anything that is sweet as finger food so just going to keep doing a mix of both and see how he gets on.
I was going to attempt dropping a breastfeed but he’s started to drink less during the night again (praise the Lord) so I don’t want to shock my boobs. I just still feel like I’m tanking him up to the max and it’s literally milk, food, milk, food! And I don’t know whether him doing somersaults and trying to do flips (no exaggeration) while nursing is his way of saying he is full or doesn’t want any milk – or he’s just being extra fussy. Who knows? I thought men where confusing.
Speaking of nursing. It’s national breastfeeding week! If someone had told me in those early weeks of pain, frustration, exhaustion, I'd still be breastfeeding now, I’d probably have told them to do one. But here I am. And this isn’t supposed to sound smug, but I'm quite proud of myself as I found it so hard in the beginning, so, so difficult. Even though I’ve lost my tits and they’re closer to my knees than ever before – it’s worth it and I’ll actually miss it when I do stop.
As much as this leap has been a little challenging - it’s also been a joy to see Rafe learning new skills and his own little personality emerging. He’s quite an intense little guy – especially at our baby classes where he tends to stare/suss everyone out. But he’s also an active little giggler, who comes alive in the morning and is full of smiles. I feel very lucky.
How hot has it been? Apart from the normal “what shall Rafe sleep in?” dilemma - it’s been amazing to be in the garden and see Rafe loving life in the paddling pool. We also went to Whitehouse Farm yesterday, near Morpeth, which is amazing. Really reccommend it for a day out if you're in the North East or ever visiting. I'm trying to make the most out of the rest of my maternity leave as really feeling quite emotional and nervous about going back to work. Where has the time gone? People said how fast the first year goes and I just can't believe he's almost nine month's old and I'll be back at work soon. But hopefully I’ll win the lottery before then...
Hope you all enjoy the sunshine!
So after working out I hadn’t been on a girl's night or had more than a couple of wines since December 2016 (horrendous as my friend said when I told her this), I thought it was about time I let my hair down. Before I headed out, I was saying I was going to pace myself, I wasn’t going to mix drinks – and to be a little bit sensible. However, a few hours into the night, this was me: “shots, shots, shots!” while dancing on the table doing the Macarena. Was flipping brilliant! The hangover though. Wow. Just wow. I haven’t missed those. But what was new, was this time I had one of the top three hangovers of all time – with a baby. There are no words. No words.
So despite the horrific hangover, Bingo Bongos was amazing! It was such a good night. I felt a bit self-conscious as wasn't in a baggy nursing top and I was nervous about leaving Rafe, especially as he would have to take a bottle (his MAM cup) during the night and for his first feed in the morning (I expressed when he woke up at 7am). It was also the first time I wasn’t there to settle him at night. (I slept on the sofa so I didn’t disturb him.) But he had one feed around 4am and my husband said he just held the cup and he fed himself and there was no tears. Same in the morning. YES RAFE! So that was a huge relief. He also slept quite well suprise, suprise. And although I kept saying those immortal words – “I’m never drinking again,” it was so good to be out with friends, dancing on tables – with make-up on, a normal bra and clothes that didn't have baby sick on them. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mum – but I think all mums (and dads) deserve a night off. I’ve wrote before about how you mourn your old life in those early weeks and for me there have been times where I just didn’t feel very fun anymore. Your baby becomes your world – quite rightly so, but I think it’s important to let your hair down once in a while - and not feel guilty about it. You don’t necessarily have to be drunk dancing on tables - although would recommend! I think it was good for Rafe too – and his dad as Chris has never really been alone with Rafe for more than a couple of hours, I’m always there telling him what to do...so he had a night – and although I was feeding him on Saturday, Chris also took him for the day so I could sleep with my head in the toilet between feeds (living my best life). So they had a boys day, which they both loved. And I think it was good for him to see that it can be hard at times. Equally hard was getting over this hangover. I didn’t even drink a lot – just obviously can only get mum drunk now - and one, I'm sadly not 21 anymore and two, it's been a while. Won't be leaving it as long next time but might not scream shots, shots, shots all night.
As I mentioned last week, Rafe’s been poorly with a viral rash. Has taken him just over a week to recover. He’s refusing all naps so he’s pretty much back to his old self! We took him to his first swimming lesson two weeks ago and he cried and cried and cried (I wish I’d taken him sooner now but I’ve been assured it will take a bit of time but he will learn to love it) and was really quite whingy all day, which was unlike him - and he was more tired than normal. He woke up the following day and had a really high temperature and a rash that seemed to get worse and worse as the day went on so I made a doctor's appointment. He fell asleep on me for about two hours in the afternoon and then when he woke up he was red hot to touch and he started to do these little jolts, like he was getting a shock, which was really quite frightening to be honest. And being on my own it was even more scary. My mum and dad were away but luckily my husband was working close-by that week so he was able to come back and we were able to get him to hospital. He was monitored and we had to try and get a wee sample from him which actually lightened the mood as we basically had to try catch his wee in a cup. Which should be an Olympic sport, that my husband would most definetely not win gold medal for. So in a nutshell, we ended up with wee all over us. Thankfully we didn’t have to stay in hospital and were told Rafe had a viral infection. The little jolts are called rigor and are common in young children with high temperatures but you can’t not panic. He pretty much slept on me for a week and just wasn’t himself but he’s full of beans again. I’m told that once he goes to playgroup it will be a constant stream of viruses – which I guess is good for their immune system but not so fun for baby or parents . But we are all okay! Thank you for everyone's messages. ❤
As I said, the no nap King is back. When he was poorly, he would literally cuddle in and be asleep in minutes, although I couldn't really do anything, it was actually lovely to get those cuddles. And when he was in the pram, he’d be straight asleep and his naps were at least an hour long. I knew it was because he was poorly but kind of hoped he would miraculously start napping longer – but no. So much so, somedays he is up at 5.30am which is just wonderful (can’t get him back to sleep unless I feed him or bring into bed with me. One day he just kicked me in the back for an hour, that was fun) and not nap until late in the afternoon. Or it would be his normal three 30 minute naps. Bedtime has once again become an absolute battle to get him down, so self-settling feels like it never even happened. And nights have been pretty rough too, multiple wake-ups and he is feeding again more through the night. I don't think it helps that we are going through leap 6, a sleep regression and teething – though he has finally cut his first tooth. Yey! Though pray for my nipples. I feel like all these TV programmes and films where the mum just puts her baby to bed and they just shut their eyes and go to sleep should come with a footnote to say: THIS WILL RARELY FUCKING, IF EVER HAPPEN. Another mum has recommended getting in touch with a woman who sounds like a baby sleep miracle worker (probably not the right job title) so I might see how I get on next week and maybe contact her. Other people have recommended the Cheshire baby whisper – has anyone had any success? And what is the basic idea behind it? Being cheap and not wanting to get the book quite yet as I could open a bottle and baby sleep book shop!! As I approach going back to work, I just worry that my parents, Chris’s mum and people at playgroup won’t be able to walk 8 miles a day to get him to sleep so I need to try and at least half crack one nap. Please!
Going to try and drop a feed again and replace with formula next week/drop the lunch time feed– just hope my boobies can cope and I don’t get mastitis again as that will just be the icing on the cake. Rafe’s been really fussy food wise but think it’s just because he’s been poorly. Or maybe he's just going through a fussy stage. He’s just wanted boobie milk, finger food and fruit puree or yoghurt. I’m still a bit worried about what I’m giving him and portion wise. Still doing a mix of mashed up food and finger foods but don’t know whether to just go totally baby-led. Just wanting some ideas of what everyone gives for the three meals – both if you’re doing similar to me and also if baby-led. Can I see some photos too? I just worry he’s not getting enough food and will massively help to see what other people are doing – thank you! Do you ever not stress about everything?!
Rafe's fully into grabbing mode and I swear I’ll be bald by the time he’s one. He's actually really strong and bloody hurts! I read that he should start understanding basic commands like no but he just laughs at the moment so I think he’s going to be a right little tinker. I think it’s going to be payback for me being an absolute teenage nightmare for my parents.
Anyway, best go and eat my way out of this two day hangover....
Happy Father's Day to my husband – and all the other amazing dad’s out there. A poem for you.
I won’t always want to build sandcastles, or make angels in the snow,
I won’t always want to hold your hand, but please don’t let go,
I may not want to follow in your footsteps, but please stay by my side,
I may get lost along the way, but I know you’ll always be my guide.
I won’t always want a bedtime story, or adventures in the park,
It won’t always feel like I need you, but keep being my eyes in the dark,
I may not always want to listen or hear what you have to say,
But don’t stop trying dad, always find a way.
I won’t always want a cuddle, but please keep wiping my tears, even when I'm tall,
I won’t always need my shoe laces tied, but keep picking me up when I fall,
I may not always want to play make-believe on a Sunday afternoon,
Slow down, let me play, don’t let me grow up too soon.
But I'll always love you dad, I won’t ever let go of your hand,
Keep me safe, show me the world, let me make my own footprints in the sand.
Just wanted to let you know there will be no blog post this week. So sorry! It's been one of those weeks. Rafe's been poorly - though much better now thankfully. We had to take him to hospital on Monday as he had a really high temperature, a bad rash and he kept doing little jolts - like he was getting a fright. (Later found out it is called rigor, which can be common in young children with a fever but still scary). Turns out it was a viral infection. So he's just been wanting cuddles and to sleep on me for most of the week. But he's almost back to his old self. Our house purchase fell through at the beginning of the week, as well as what felt like a million other things going wrong. So haven't had time to write anything - though I have written a little something for Father's Day which I will post later. Just means next week I'll have a lot to say! First proper girl's night out since before I was pregnant on Friday so I'll be able to tell you what a tequila hangover with a baby feels like....
Till next week!
Eight months. Can’t believe Rafe is eight month’s old! Seems like only yesterday we brought him home for the first time and I was sat on my rubber ring, crying to my husband: “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOOK AFTER A BABY.” I said BB (before baby) that I knew life would change and people say the same to me now: “I know life will change when I have a baby.” But YOU HAVE KNOW IDEA. Absolutely NO IDEA how your life will be turned upside down. And it’s amazing – don’t get me wrong. I feel like I was put on this earth to be Rafe’s mum and I feel lucky every day. But the change is pretty huge – and it can be overwhelming – and is really, really, really hard at times. If someone said I had to try and put how it will change into a few sentences, I would say: “Imagine being the most tired you have ever been, times that by 100 and you will feel like that every day, but you will do more in one day (and night) than you ever have done before, yet you will feel like you have done absolutely nothing. You will not drink a hot cup of tea again. Your husband will become your rock – but he will also annoy you to your absolute core, especially when he decides to ring up car insurance companies when you are just about to go out with baby and you will think/say to him WHAT THE ACTUAL F ARE YOU DOING? on a daily basis. You will feel a love for your baby that you can’t even put into words, you will feel so fiercely protective and completely overwhelmed with absolute joy when they smile, laugh – and look at you for the first time. Most Saturday nights will look a bit different to wine and tequila-filled haze – a 10pm bedtime will make you feel rock and roll. Your life will feel unrecognisable at times – but more complete than you ever imagined. Oh and watch out for turds in the bath.”
So as we hit eight month’s old, this week was the first time in a while I have been ‘alone’. As a military wife, it is something that comes with the job so to speak. Before Rafe, I could go up to five months not seeing my husband. It was hard but you just have to get on with. There were the odd few nights alone and during the day when Chris was at work, it would just be me, Rafe and the dog when we were still living in Scotland. But since moving back to the North East and back in with my parents till we get our house sorted, although they may be at work during the day and I take on the nights on my own (I wanted to get used to doing this) I always normally have someone to chat to in the evening. And they obviously help out as much as they can when they're around (as do the in-laws) but this week my parents went on holiday (selfish). But we have all survived! Kept myself busy and in the evenings, I managed to sit and watch some TV (I decided to see what the fuss was about with Love Island, so that was good for my body-confidence.) So it was actually quite nice to be honest. It’s going to be more full-on when in our own house, back at work and with husband away but I’ll just have to stock the fridge with wine and chocolate to get me through...
I did have mastitis in the end. Wonderful. I was given a week of antibiotics and fingers crossed they have done the trick. Going to attempt milk in the MUM cup again in a few days and hope my boobs don't have a nervous breakdown.
Although I get people contacting me and commenting on my blogs – I am still so surprised at the responses I get and this week I was particularly taken aback when I was at a baby class and a lovely mum stopped me and asked if I was the Marine wife and Mum. She said she was saying to her friends that she thought it was me and had to come tell me she loved my blogs. I went so shy – which is unlike me! So apologies to the lovely woman who came up to me, I was just taken aback and a little lost for words – for once! So thank you, you really did make my day – actually my week. And as I said – I felt famous haha!
You’re supposed to rest when you have mastitis but how is that ever possible? And because normally if my dad is not working, he takes Yankee out in the morning – and I take him out in the afternoon on one of my non-successful pram walks, I’ve been walking what feels like all day every day - at least 7 miles a day. One day it was 9 miles. With Rafe only having one nap that day. So that was fun. I don’t mind when it’s nice weather and I enjoy the exercise and if Rafe sleeps – but I really can’t be arsed to walk 9 miles every day when I’ve had little sleep and Rafe doesn’t even nap in the end and Yankee keeps rolling in mud….get a dog, have a kid they said, it will be fun they said…
I haven’t even attempted to get Rafe in the cot again as just haven’t been able to. Quite a few people have contacted me with loads of advice and tips about napping (THANK YOU) so I need to have a proper look at them and give them a go. Going to try next week and get him in the cot for one nap a day. He’s just been all over the place this week sleep wise. Someone reminded me he could be going through a wonder week – and yes, we are officially in leap 6 so I think that might be a reason for him taking two hours to get to sleep at night and flat out not sleeping much during the day. Also there's a wonderful sleep regression round this age. (Still not recovered from the four month sleep regression.) He literally fights and fights sleep. He is getting so overtired some days, he just ends up falling asleep when feeding. I wouldn’t be as obsessed if he slept well at night – or if he just wasn’t tired and was happy only having the odd catnap – but you can see he is tired and needs a good nap. Some days I just want to sit him down and have a good heart to heart. “Listen mate, you’re tired, I’m tired, let’s just go have a two-hour nap in the morning, a nice one hour in the afternoon – it’s easy.” But don’t think that will wash with him. Night-times have been a bit of a challenge as the poor kid is teething, won’t self-settle and some nights it has taken two hours to get him down. Literally tried everything to get him to sleep and in the end, back on the boob seems to settle him. Last night I thought fuck this for a laugh and didn’t even attempt to self-settle and shushed him to sleep. Through the night he seems to keep waking up at 2am for a feed and then literally will not go back down for hours. Friday morning it was 2am till about 4.30am. He just would not be put down. In the end, I’ve just been bringing him in with me and he seems to settle straight away (they’re cleverer than you think) just to get a couple more hours sleep. So I think it’s a mix of going through a development leap, teething and just not wanting to self-settle. In my delirious state at 3am, I was thinking about how amazing it would be to go to some kind of retreat, just for mums, where they just have the comfiest beds in the world, where all you do all day and night is sleep – and be served cups of tea and biscuits. And not just any old cup of tea – A HOT CUP OF TEA. Imagine that? The dream.
Fingers crossed for a full night’s sleep and a hot cup of tea for you all today. Until next time…