Changing our bedtime routine

We recently made a big change to our bedtime routine and it was the best thing we could have done! Our routine was bath, pjs, curtains pulled, lights off, breastfeed and bed. Now don’t get me wrong, it worked in a way. Heidi knew it was bedtime, she didn’t fight her sleep but….it took bloody ages!!! And bedtime was up to me every single night.

While she would take her bedtime milk, she would fall asleep, then rouse again after 5 minutes and take more milk, fall asleep, rouse again and so on so on. And towards the end she was really just using me as a dummy. But, I couldn’t put her into bed until she was completely out for the count or she would instantly cry and want back out again.

Heidi had very bad reflux until solid foods were well established so from the day she was born practically, we couldn’t put her into bed to just fall asleep after she had her milk. She would always fall asleep while breastfeeding and then I would have to hold her upright for 15/20 minutes to let her tummy settle before putting her down. So the problem was that she was always sound asleep when being put down. So she didn’t know any other way. Not how I had PLANNED bedtime when I was pregnant, but lets face it….things don’t always go to plan do they? The whole thing would take a minimum of 90 minutes every single night.

She was always ready for bed around 7.30pm so by the time I got her into bed, it was 9pm at the earliest, sometimes even later! So for 9 solid months I had no evenings to myself, my husband and I couldn’t get any time to spend alone and although WE were fine, I eventually started to feel very isolated and frustrated. I didn’t want to go out partying, I just wanted to sit down with a cup of tea. I didn’t want to be so exhausted myself by the time I got her into bed that all I wanted to do was go to bed myself! Gerard tried a few times to put her to bed with a bottle but she just cried and cried and I couldn’t bare to hear her like that so I always caved and took over. Back to the same old routine.

I think we only got out to socialise maybe 3 times in those 9 months, always well after 9pm by which point, as nice as it was to get out and see friends etc, I just wanted to go back home and curl up in bed. I would be turning down invitations for simple things like a cinema date with a friend, coffee, dinner. I always had to say, “Oh, I can’t, that’s Heidi’s bedtime.” Something had to change. So my sisters birthday came around and she wanted me to go for dinner with her and Mum but as usual my first reaction was just to think of Heidi’s bedtime and say no. Gerard then suggested I go, he would get her settled no matter how hard it might be and I wouldn’t be there so I wouldn’t be tempted to intervene. I reluctantly agreed. I needed a night out, something had to change, so yeah, lets give it a go.

I really enjoyed getting out, it was so nice to wear clothes that weren’t breastfeeding friendly. It was so nice to eat a hot meal without having to share or get my hair pulled. I missed her of course, and I kept checking my phone to see if Gerard had sent an SOS telling me to get the heck home right now! But, I came home at 10pm to find Heidi in bed fast asleep! I couldn’t believe it. Yes she had cried for a little while and wasn’t impressed at the bottle on offer, but she eventually got tired enough that she just gave up, drank her milk and went to sleep. I know if I had been in the house I would have intervened and gave up all hope so the best thing really was me going out and leaving Daddy to it.

After that, Gerard did bedtime for the whole week to get her used to it. On the second night, I had my car keys at the ready incase the crying was awful and I wanted to jump in but surprisingly, she cried no worse than if she was just over tired or fussy and it didn’t even last that long! It was amazing the difference one night had made. That whole week, I barely knew myself!

That was at 9.5 months old and now at 11 months, Heidi goes to bed every night with a bottle and myself and her Daddy alternate nights. Bedtime has been reduced from a minimum of 90 minutes, to roughly 45. Shes still fast asleep when we put her into bed but, we are so happy with the progress we have made for now. I have only gone out once or twice since we made the change but its just so nice to have that freedom. To know that I have the option. I’m a driving instructor and thought on my return to work that evenings would be a no go, but now I can nip out for a lesson if someone requests it and I know she is perfectly happy going to bed for Daddy. There is still the odd night where she would be clingy with me and doesn’t want me to go which breaks my heart a little but we agreed we would stand firm and as soon as she sees her bottle she is quite happy and forgets all about me.

I had tried for weeks to get her used to a bottle by trying it with one feed a day and she just was not interested. Now when she sees her bottle she gets excited because she knows its milk time! Habits can be hard to break, but this has taught me that maybe its harder on us Mums than on the babies. All it took was one night to change a 9 month habit. And my husband feels a lot more useful and involved. He has always been hands on in every other aspect but it made him a little sad that she would only ever want me at night. I feel so blessed that I have a husband who wants to be so involved. Just how it should be.

The biggest test was a few weeks ago. Gerard and I had tickets to an Iron Maiden concert and my sister was coming over to babysit. So for the first time, she was going to bed for someone other than us! I was a bit worried but she loves my sister so much so I was hopeful it would go ok. During the support act I received a photo of her on Whatsapp, all tucked up in bed fast asleep. So hubby and I are hopeful that some day very soon, we can both go out again at the same time and enjoy a meal or the cinema together!

If you feel like you are never going to break a bad habit, don’t give up! Where there’s a will there’s a way and it may not be as difficult as you think. Have you ever had to make a drastic change to baby’s routine?

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Breast vs Bottle

Its 2018.

There are still children starving to death in the world every single day.

And yet here we all are sitting behind our keyboards debating which method is the better way to feed our children.

I’m pretty sure the mums and babies in 3rd world countries wouldn’t give a flying fuck if milk came from a breast or a bottle as long as their baby was getting fed.

Lets all just be grateful that we were lucky enough, to be born into a life were we can actually feed our children.

#fedisbest

10 months with Heidi

10 glorious months. What did I do with my time before this little Angel came along? I have been feeling super emotional lately. Everytime I look at her and cuddle her, I just can’t believe she is going to be 1 soon! How did this year pass by so quickly? Its not fair. She is turning into a beautiful little girl before our eyes, but she will of course always be our baby no matter what.

So whats Heidi doing at 10 months? She is becoming such a little rascal. She is so much fun. She has been sitting completely unaided for maybe a couple of months now and has just recently got on the move. I wouldn’t call it crawling, but she pulls herself along the ground on her belly. At first just little short distances, but now there’s no stopping her! She is so inquisitive, so nosey. She is going to be the type of kid who just has to get into everything. We can’t leave anything sitting anymore. My empty tea mugs can no longer be set on the floor beside the sofa until the next time I am headed for the kitchen, the remote controls can no longer be left on the sofa. I have had to clear everything off the fireplace (we have a fireguard on order with the health visitor and its taking forever to arrive), Miss Heidi just loves to explore. She has also got a little bit quicker in her baby walker, although she only gets to spend very short amounts of time in this as I know they don’t encourage good walking habits. She started trying last week to pull herself up to stand but she slips on our wooden floors, even without socks, so we support her to help and you can feel the strength in her legs as she pushes up!

This girl LOVES her food. We are 95% baby led weaning. She is such a careful little eater. Don’t get me wrong, she gets tore in with both fists and scoops up as much as she can but then when she gets the food to her mouth, she takes gentle little bites and makes sure to swallow what she has before taking anymore. When she particularly enjoys something, she makes this little sucking/smacking noise with her lips and wrinkles her nose! It is simply adorable. There’s very little she won’t eat. She isn’t fussed on eggs or beans but aside from that, this girl will eat anything! She doesn’t like it when she has a different dinner from us, so we try to make her simpler versions of what we are having as much as possible. I will write a more in depth blog post on what her diet etc is like really soon.

Her first word was ‘Dada’ just over a month or so ago. Our hearts just melted. She is really exploring her mouth lately, all different sounds and movements are happening and sometimes we catch her just sitting moving her mouth around without actually making any sounds at all! Its so cute to watch. Her chitter chatter has really progressed in the past couple of months. I of course, have been trying to encourage her to say ‘Mama’ but the closest I have got so far is ‘Baba’. Thats ok, I can settle for baba!

She is also really taking an interest in books lately. Up until a few weeks ago she just wanted to instantly put them in her mouth, but now she is sitting back and looking at the pictures. She gets really excited by brighter, bolder illustrations and when I am reading to her I like to do different voices and really over exaggerate things. She often looks up at me with a cheeky little smile. I take her some weeks to our local librarys rhythm and rhyme programme. Its such a nice little outing for her and its absolutely free! A different story book gets read each week, followed by nursery rhymes, puppets and musical instruments to play with. She is usually the youngest there, but she loves watching all the other kids and gets excited at the puppets. She also LOVES nursery rhymes so she will have a little dance and a big smile on her face during that part. I hope she continues to take more of an interest in books. I can’t wait to read her all my favourite childhood stories and I would much rather she was an avid reader than glued to a tv!

Although speaking of tv, Little baby bum has just been the saviour of our hellish car journeys. Its the only thing that keeps her happy. So she does get a little screen time, but really only so I can drive without having her scream until she throws up!

We still have no teeth! 10 months old and no teeth. I think she is making up for it though with her hair. It has got so thick and long that I have to blow dry it before bed. Too.Cute.

Out of the blue one day about a month ago she started clapping her hands and waving, and lately pointing has been her favourite thing. She points at things and makes an Oooooh sound. She really does get more adorable everyday. We just spend so much of our time watching her and giving her squeezes and kisses! I have honestly never seen a happier baby. Her smile would just brighten anyones day and everywhere we go people stop to talk to her and shes all smiles and waves. We really are going to have to teach her about street sense though. She kept reaching out to a stranger behind me in Primark a few weeks back! The lady was chatting and smiling at her and she just seemed to think this was someone else to cuddle and play with! I have had so many people say, “Usually babies start to get ‘strange’ around people they don’t know”…not Heidi! I hope she is always this outgoing.

So overall, we can see our little baby becoming a toddler and the fact we will be planning her 1st birthday soon, drives that home a little harder. Its so hard to let go of all the little baby things, but at the same time I am so proud of her and who she is becoming. A bubbly, happy little girl. I want nothing more than for her to always, be as happy as she is now.

Getting back to blogging!

Hi guys! Wow so I haven’t written a blog in a few months. We have had SO much happening! We have moved house, well, more like relocated! Not too far from where we were living, about an hour away. Back to my hometown, but far enough that it made more sense for Gerard to find a new job as well. I have also gone back to work myself, so we are slowly but surely figuring out our new routine and gradually settling into it. So with everything going on, blogging just kinda fell to the side.

Recently though, I have been feeling super inspired to write again, so I am determined to make the time to do so! I need to, or I will end up with a list of ideas longer than my arm and then I will never feel brave enough to tackle it!

So this isn’t so much of a blog post, just more of a, Hello! I’m back, you will be hearing more from me very soon!

Laura x

Heidi at 6 months

This really is such a fun age. Our little newborn is suddenly full of so much energy and personality! We get the feeling already that she is going to be quite boistrous, maybe a tom boy like I was! She is so rough with her toys. Anything with a face just gets screamed at and its nose bitten viciously with tender little gums! Its really funny to watch. Although when she turns this treatment on us, its actually quite frightening! Haha!

She has just about started to roll from front to back, after 3 months of going the other way. We were starting to think she was never going to bother! Sitting up is coming along nicely. She can balance for a little while on her own, but still needs hands behind her to catch those wobbles. If she has a toy though, rather than bring it to her mouth she tends to double over completely to chew on it, some of the shapes she gets herself into is hilarious.

I’m really glad by this age that shes still not strange with people. Someone unfamiliar gets stared at for a minute and then its big smiles! I really hope she stays this way. I’d love her to be sociable. I HATE when you meet someones kid and they hide behind their parents legs and act all shy. I find it quite awkward as I am pretty useless with other peoples children as it is.

Its amusing though because when she isn’t in her own familiar surroundings, she is very quiet and everyone thinks shes like that all the time, but in her own home, she is constantly this little burst of energy and fun.

We have started weaning. Thats going really well, she has taken to it very naturally. We are mostly spoon feeding with a little bit of baby led weaning and we would like to eventually get onto baby led completely once she gets the hang of it. I am going to write a seperate blog post about our weaning journey so far though. So I won’t go into too much detail there.

We got her a baby walker. She loves standing on your knee and has really good strength in her little legs so we thought it was the right time. But bless her, shes so petite her little feet barely touch the floor. She loves the toys on the tray though and the fact it helps her sit upright. I would say it won’t be long until she is chasing us around the house in it.

We went swimming for the first time this week and she loved it! We are starting Aqua Babies this week so I am very excited for that. We will only get to attend for a few weeks though as we are moving house!! We are FINALLY, after years of me living in the city, an hour away from family, moving to my hometown and I am so excited. We all are. We just need a fresh start and Gerard and I are both so fed up with the city. But again, I will write a seperate post about that. If anyone has any tips though about moving house with a 6 month old, I would be very grateful! I want it to be as stress free as possible for her. I just hope she adapts well. We figured her being so young, would be the best time to do it.

Back to the swimming though, its something Gerard has been busting to do since she was born. I kept putting it off though as I just had myself convinced that the changing room situation would be a nightmare, tiny cubicles verses getting changed in front of people! But I was pleasantly surprised to see that our local, newly built leisure centre had big family cubicles with baby changing tables. It really was so easy and I wish we had gone sooner. Theres a pool quite close to where we are moving so I will definitely make a point of taking her often, and hopefully they will also have baby swimming classes.

I would say our biggest milestone this month, is that Heidi moved into her own bedroom. We felt it was time. We really missed just hanging out in bed at night watching netflix and our floorboards are so creaky that the ninja walking to get into bed was starting to get old. I felt my sleep was disturbed even when she was sleeping because shes very wriggly in her sleep and I would hear her moving about. We all had a cold and cough a few weeks back as well and we were wakening her coughing and sniffling. We just felt overall it was time for her and us to have our own space. It wasn’t easy. That first night, when she was asleep in my arms, I stood by her cot and suddenly my chest tightened. I didn’t want to put her down. I just stood there holding her extra tight. I felt like it was her first big step away from us and it was a real indication of just how much shes grown. I wasn’t expecting it to come around so fast. I started crying. Gerard popped his head in the door and started crying with me! A couple of big saddos. We put her down and just watched her sleep and although its been a week now, we pop our head in to see shes ok everytime we pass the door. And more lol. The monitor is never out of my hand! She has settled really well. Sleeps just like she did before, if not a little better. That first night, I missed her so much. I used to hold her hand for a little while when I got into bed and I miss that but its for the best for all of us. Her bedside crib is still there. I will keep it there until we move, just incase.

Its hard to believe that she is 6 months old already. I keep saying it, but time is flying by! Sometimes I just stare at her and beg time to slow down a little! I look at her and just try to absorb every little detail, every hair on her head, her smell, every adoring look she gives me! She just makes me feel like I could burst any moment with love!

I want to start writing a book of letters for her. I feel like so much changes so fast, I am scared of forgetting anything at all. I think a little journal would be a great way to document things and a fun read for her hopefully, when she is older. I know I write this blog, but I have never been a fan of displaying my entire life online. Some things need to stay private. And she can’t make that decision herself.

The more fun she is getting, the more excited I get for our future! But still, time, if you hear me, slow down just a little…please.

March Mumpals Swap

Another Mumpals swap has come and gone. For anyone who doesn’t know what mumpals is or hasn’t read my previous post about it, @mumpals is a twitter community for exchanging gifts with other mums. You sign up, and bi-monthly, the lovely Holly draws names from a hat, sort of like a secret Santa idea I guess. She gets in touch with who you are buying for, if the gift is for Mummy or baby and a theme! As we had mothers day in March, the theme was a pamper gift for Mum with a budget of £20. I got the lovely Holly herself and I decided instead of one gift, I would fill a box with lots of little goodies including a notebook, pen, chocolate, make up bag, hand cream, a wax melt tart, a cute little plaque to hang on the wall and as I make jewellery, thought I would take the time to make her a bracelet. Its only the second swap but both times its been a little nerve wracking posting the gifts away! I always keep my fingers crossed tight the recipient likes them! Thankfully she did!

I received my mumpals gifts from the lovely Lydia, @lydiasparkles on twitter. She chose such lovely things for me and the parcel arrived the day before my birthday so it was a lovely treat! And it helped me kick off my birthday weekend in style!

I received 3 beautiful candles from Next. I have placed them in different rooms of the house. All absolutely divine! The bergamot and green tea is especially nice, very unusual, an addictive scent! Island Spa is just heavenly and is perfect for lighting while soaking in the bath. And you can never go wrong with a good old fresh linen scent! Also from Next was a bottle of their ‘Just Pink’ perfume. I have never had a Next perfume before and I must say I really really like it. Its light and fresh enough for everyday wear.

I also received a bubble bath and body cream from the sanctuary spa range. A brand I have always seen, especially their gift sets at Christmas, I have purchased them for other people but never had them myself. Not only do they smell gorgeous but they leave your skin feeling so velvety. Although its a bubble bath, I am also using it as a shower gel. I definitely must explore more of this range.

I was so excited when I opened the parcel. I normally grab a 2 minute shower and this just inspired me to take some time for me and relax. While I was giving Heidi her bedtime feed, my awesome husband ran a bath for me. He lit the candles and used the bubble bath, so as soon as the little woman was in bed, in I got and wow, it was so relaxing! A perfect start to my birthday weekend.

After my bath, I got into my jammies and made myself a chai latte before getting stuck in to the last item in my parcel….Marks and Spencers vanilla white chocolate! I absolutely love this chocolate so I was really chuffed when I unwrapped it.

Thank you so much to Lydia for my gifts, they were and are being very much enjoyed! Its important to take time to unwind. When you have a baby, the days can sometimes blur into each other. A simple half an hour to yourself can really help revitalise and reboot the brain!

If you would like to sign up for the next Mumpals gift swap, search @mumpals or #mumpals on twitter. Its a great way to connect with other Mums and its not only fun receiving gifts in the post, but I also really enjoy picking out the gifts I am going to send.

My First Mothers Day

As Mothers Day approached this year, I did the usual pondering over what to get my Mum. Then I suddenly remembered I was a Mum now too! My first Mothers Day! It didn’t really feel real, even on the day. 5 1/2 months into parenthood and I still pinch myself sometimes! I really am this beautiful girls Mum!

My birthday is in 2 weeks so I asked Gerard to keep it small. I used to work in a large department store and would see people spend so much money on Mothers/Fathers day and don’t get me wrong, as much as my own Mum deserves something extravagant, for us growing up Mothers day was always about making something for her. A card, a painting or drawing, or some other random little craft thing in school! We would have brought her breakfast in bed and attempted to do a couple of chores around the house then just spent the day with her. This is how i want to spend all my Mothers Days. Quality family time and just relaxing, receiving some adoreable homemade gift from Heidi.

A lot of parents where I live see Mothers day and Fathers day as their ‘day off’ and they take off down the pub. A bouncer once told me they’re 2 of the worst days of the year for them to work. Maybe I’m the weirdo and missing the point, but that just doesn’t appeal to me.

Our day began around 8am, Gerard and Heidi gave me my cards and gifts in bed. He got me a lovely wife card and I got a gorgeous Disney Princess card from my little Princess. Gerard had also made a little craft project with her, he did a little hand print and wrote a nice poem beside it. My gift was a gorgeous silver necklace that says ‘Mama’. Its so beautiful, I want to wear it everyday but I am scared Heidi will pull it and break it. So far so good though!

I was cooked a lovely big omelette for breakfast with a chai latte, my favourite. We then saw Gerards mum and gave her her gifts etc. We had visited my Mum and Gran the previous day. We also chose this day to be another big occasion! Heidi turned 24 weeks old and we decided to start weaning. So she had her first meal at lunch time of pureed carrots and she loved it! I will be writing more detail in a week or 2 about how we are getting on with weaning.

We spent most of the day then just having a nice quiet afternoon, before heading down to see the Belfast Giants vs Nottingham Panthers (big Ice hockey fans in our house). And to top off a lovely day, they won! Then it was home to get the little woman in bed and I put my feet up and watched a film with the hubby.

It was exactly the kind of day I had hoped for. Nice and relaxing, beautiful gifts I will cherish forever and memories made.

It also made me think about just how much my own Mum has done for me over the years. I have always appreciated my Mum but this Mothers Day made me think a little harder about what she did for us all growing up and I really admire her even more now for the years that she was a single Mum to 2 of us, before meeting my step dad! I guess becoming a parent yourself, a lot of things suddenly make sense!

How did you all celebrate Mothers Day? Wether it was your first one or your 20th, I hope you had a beautiful day.

Laura xxx