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…
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.