Midweek Musings: Weaning trials and sleep success

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Lunch with her Auntie Poph

*warning – baby-heavy post!*

I’m writing this after having mopped both Daphne and myself down following an incident which will now be referred to as Butternut Squash Gate. Yesterday her evil Feeder Mother gave her two huge cubes of butternut squash puree, and felt all proud and pleased as she gobbled the entire lot down. Not realising that there is such a thing as too much roughage when you are just under six months old. Ever since, butternut squash has been coming out of both ends (the stuff from the top end going straight down my bra – lovely!), accompanied by lots of tears and gigantic farts. She’s finally fallen asleep in exhaustion. I’m so sorry little Chippy.

How much food is too much food for a six-month-old baby? I have literally no idea. Once again it strikes me as crazy that I am responsible for this delicate little baby’s LIFE and yet I know more about looking after my Macbook. We’ve got the Annabel Karmel weaning book but nowhere does it really suggest any ideas for portion size – it’s all that same old guff about not worrying if they don’t eat much more than a teaspoon. HA. Chip says sit her in front of a 6oz steak and she’ll quite happily put the whole thing away, then cry all night with tummy ache. One way to learn about cause and effect I suppose.

I do wish there were clearer guidelines about how much to feed babies and when – it all seems so confusing and there’s so much different advice out there. I really am making it all up as I go along. Maybe I’m just really thick but I don’t have any instincts as to how much is too much! We were going to do baby-led weaning but Chip was obviously so hungry all the time – when we ate she would watch us and open her little mouth in expectation – but she’s not quite mastered the hand-eye coordination thing enough to put a carrot stick in her mouth yet. So we’ve been spooning puree in, and she’s loved it all (except for spinach, which is probably fair enough). Her favourite thing is ‘biscuits’ (mashed up Farley’s Rusks with milk) and she could eat that all day long. I was giving it to her as a kind of supper because I thought it would help fill her tummy before bed, and was quite pleased about it but then I googled rusks and everyone on Mumsnet said they were horrific and full of sugar and I’d be better off giving her a Mars bar. So that made me feel quite terrible – even though we’d bought the reduced sugar ones. Sigh.

It’s a minefield. I miss the days of trying to choose between two cartoons of formula that were ostensibly the same anyway. Much easier.

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First time in the new cot – don’t worry, we have since put blankets and stuff in there

On a more upbeat note, Daphne is finally sleeping in her own room at night! We’ve even taken down the bedside cot!  We moved her in a bit early (the guidelines say that babies should sleep in a room with you until they are six months’ old) because she was already napping in there and we were really reaching the end of our tethers with the exhaustion thing. It’s made me happy and sad all at once – but mostly happy because we’ve actually had a few relatively decent nights’ sleep since she moved in there about a week ago. She obviously prefers the bigger cot with more space to stretch out, and I am sure that she prefers not having to hear her mum and dad grunting (hmm, that makes it sounds as though we’re having conjugal relations, which is definitely not a priority right now) and snoring away next to her at night too, or waking her up when they come to bed at 11pm.

It is a bit weird not having her next to me though, and last night in the middle of Butternut Squash Gate she was waking up every hour or so in constant pain with wind so I gave up and brought her into our bed again (which I secretly loved). I think if she’s ever poorly I’m going to use it as an excuse to have more baby cuddles in our bed – it was one of my favourite parts of when she was little – there’s really nothing nicer than having a sleeping baby snoozing on your shoulder…

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It is bittersweet now when we put her to bed at night, tucking her in and leaving her to it. She’s already starting to become independent… sniff sniff!

She’s also started to do a lovely long nap at lunchtime which is definitely the most exciting thing to happen to me for years. Or this year at least. I sometimes even get two hours to myself in the middle of the day to do stuff, and IT IS BRILLIANT.

Finally, we’ve finished Making a Murderer. Thanks to whoever recommended it to me – what little chance of sleep I had before has now disappeared thanks to my new late-night googling sessions of ‘who might have killed Teresa Halbach?’ and ‘why did Brendan confess?’ etc etc. It’s driving me insane! I keep thinking there’s no smoke without fire and surely even with a low IQ you don’t randomly confess to raping or murdering someone?! We will never know! Aarrgh!

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These made me cry

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Just had to do a quick blog post about the wonderful Anna Lewis and her artwork – I stumbled across her on Instagram and every single one of her beautiful drawings resonated with me. Most of them had me sniffing in tears. They absolutely sum up what motherhood is like, and I feel like buying and framing them all (except that would be quite weird and I’d probably cry everytime I looked at them, which might make getting things done around the house difficult).

 

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My absolute favourite is this one below and I’ll be ordering it for sure – it’s so simple, so poignant, so damn TRUE and I just love it. Check her out on Etsy, Facebook and Twitter. And grab some tissues first. Sniff.il_570xN.899008951_qwkb

 

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Midweek Musings: the house hunt is on!

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This photo is proof that styling is not my forte. But still, Moet! Cheers!

I can’t quite believe I’m writing this but, after being on the market on and off for nearly two whole years, Oli has finally sold his house. It’s a long story but it was a lovely house in need of renovation and we ummed and ahhed about whether or not to move there (for about a year, no joke), but it was in NW London which was always going to be a bit too far from my family. Anyway it went into auction yesterday and about an hour before it was due to be auctioned, Oli accepted an offer from a buyer and the contracts were exchanged!

This finally means we are free to try to find a family home. The only problem is that neither of us is quite sure exactly where we want to live (well, Wimbledon Village would be nice but is sadly out of our price range). We both like being in London for the convenience and the fact it’s near to our friends/work, but we also both hate London as a place to bring up Chip – too many people and too much pollution. I’m kind of exhausted just thinking about trying to make a decision to be honest. But still, it’s so exciting because we can finally actually start looking at houses in earnest, and in a ‘good’ position which is so critical when the market is so competitive!

eMoov, London Underground Property Map

Click to enlarge!

I was actually sent a press release yesterday with this nifty map attached showing the average house prices per tube stop – it’s crazy how just moving one stop away from your preferred location can save you up to half a million pounds in some cases. Unsurprisingly Colliers Wood (where we live – I call it Wimbledon cos it’s the same postcode and no one has heard of CW, and everyone in the entire world has heard of Wimbledon) is one of the cheapest areas on the Northern line. I actually think it represents really good value for money and would consider staying here if it wasn’t quite so traffic-choked.

On another note, because there’s always got to be some ying with the yang, this weekend my car started playing up. It’s eleven years old now and possibly ‘had it’ – the last service was more than a grand and given that it’s only worth £1500 I’m not entirely sure whether I want to sink even more money into fixing it. But at the same time, the idea of buying another car fills me with dread. Not only are most of them ugly these days (is it just me?!), they are ruddy expensive. I was a bit shocked when I started looking into over the weekend. I know a car is a luxury, especially in London, but I’ve always had one – ever since I passed my test – and there’s something about the sense of freedom it gives that really matters to me. A couple of times over the past ten years I’ve been technically ‘homeless’ and my car was the one thing I owned and although it sounds silly that was really important to me. Because of this I’m reluctant to go car-less at the grand old age of 35. I guess I’m set in my ways, and I can’t think of a nice way of getting the cat to the vet’s without it. So… winning the lottery is required at some point in the not-too-distant future, please and thank you.

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The truth about parenting sleep deprivation

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‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’? I HAVE SHIT TO DO!

You will start writing this post eighteen times before finishing it.

A ‘good’ night will be one when you sleep for more than three hours in a row. You will feel like superwoman after this night. Ideas will flow, ambitions will be unsurpassed. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING THAT DAY.

If your baby does decide to sleep for more than three hours in a row, you’ll be terrified they’ve died. So you won’t be able to sleep anyway because you’ll keep leaning over their cot to hear them breathe, and probably waking them up in the process.

People will ask you how your weekend was, and you will have absolutely no idea. Even though it’s only Monday.

Mothers whose babies sleep through the night will offer you unsolicited pearls of wisdom and you will understand what it is like to feel murderous rage. Topped off with a side of shame and failure.

‘Have you tried a bedtime routine?’ *headdesk*

It will become a twisted badge of honour to proclaim to anyone who will listen: ‘Well, I didn’t even sleep well when I was pregnant. So technically I haven’t slept through the night since LAST JULY! Ha ha ha!’

Your dreams, when you have them and actually remember them, will have you considering a course of therapy… ‘I did what with WHO?’

If you succumb to co-sleeping in desperation, you may wake your partner one night in a panic and scream ‘where’s the baby? WHERE’S THE BABY?’ while pawing at the bed in the dark, not realising that she’s actually – shock horror – happily asleep in her OWN COT.

Co-sleeping will turn you into the Hunchback of Notre Dame. So long as the baby’s comfy right?

One night in the depth of the antisocial hours, you will pick up your partner’s arm, instead of the baby, and try to put it back in its cot*. You will yank it and yank it and wonder why it isn’t moving. Your partner will be so tired he will barely notice.

Many an evening will come when, while trying to get the baby to sleep using tried-and-failed methods such as shushing and stroking, you will fall asleep yourself.

You will shush until you faint.

No sheep will ever let you down like Ewan the Dream Sheep. Promised so much, delivered so little.

You will look back on the nights pre-baby when you had a mild bout of insomnia, or a bit of jet lag, and remember how you felt you WERE SO TIRED YOU COULDN’T FUNCTION. And you will laugh hollow laughter as you inject coffee into your eyeballs and try to do life admin while looking after a screaming baby, having slept for about thirty five minutes the previous night.

There will come at time when, at 4am and when your infant is singing away to herself with no intention of sleeping, you will burst into tears. And you’ll just go for it. Really let loose – proper sobs. Accompanied by cries of: ‘It’s not fair! IT’S NOT FAIR! WHY DOESN’T SHE WANT TO SLEEP!!’. And your baby will be so shocked at the noise, she’ll shut up and fall asleep.

Hunt-the-dummy in the pitch dark will become your newest and most hated game.

There will be approximately sixteen dummies in your bedroom – in the cot, in your bed, under your bed, in your hair… yet you will never be able to find one before the crying escalates to screaming.

You will consider using earplugs to drown out your baby’s night-time singsongs but then be terrified of accidentally dropping one in their cot and having them swallow it. You will ball your fists as you realise even these small solutions are denied to you.

Your baby will often decide that the day should start at 5.30am. Nothing you do will persuade her to go back to sleep. So you will begrudgingly get up, pour yourself an enormous mug of tea, rub your eyes and entertain her, only to have her YAWN at you. For real.

Every now and then your baby will shock you by not waking up at her usual time in the middle of the night. But of course you still will. Ha ha.

*I actually did this. Sorry Oli.

Find out the truth about life with a newborn >

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Midweek Musings: Baby Bottles and Nursery Progress

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Hello there! I don’t often do reviews on here (mostly because the things I am offered aren’t usually relevant) but when Scandi brand Twistshake got in touch with me and offered me one of their new baby bottles to review, I couldn’t say no. (That sounds so cheesy and hackneyed but it’s true).

As Daphne has always been bottle fed, we’ve been through our fair share of different bottles – we started out with the ones that came with my breast pump, then we moved onto Dr Brown’s Anti-Colic, which I think were good but were a right palaver and a half to wash up, and then we moved onto Mam’s Self-sterilising Anti-Colic bottles which we currently use. They’ve been pretty good and I don’t have much to complain about with them (although Daph hated their fancy teat and so we still use Dr Brown teats with them), but the Twistshake is quite frankly genius thanks to one thing – the little powder box it comes with.

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When we moved onto powdered milk, this really worried me – how would we store the powder when we went out? I know you can get little plastic boxes but they looked fiddly and lots of people said how much they leaked. To avoid the issue completely, we usually make up a bottle then flash-cool it and take it with us, keeping it in a cool bag (or fridge if we’re at a friend’s) until Daph needs it. I’m pretty sure the NHS would string me up for this, but touch wood it’s been OK so far. But today I went to my mum’s and I roadtested the Twistshake and it was just brill – I simply scooped out the powder required into the little powder box then tucked that neatly back into the bottle. Then topped it up with slightly cooled boiled water when I needed to make up Daph’s feed.

I’ve seen that you can also use this powder box to store snacks for older kids (like cucumber sticks etc) which is another brilliant idea. I do like a multi-functional invention!

The bottles are bright and colourful (I hated the look of the Dr Brown ones) and very easy to use, with a special powder filter that stops any lumps from clogging up the teat. They’re Anti Colic too, although Daph no longer has colic so I can’t comment on that. They kind of look like grown-up drinks bottles I think! I love the fact that the colours are bold and not insipid or very clearly gender-specific. We use blue Mam bottles (as well as pink ones) and it annoys me that the pictures on them are clearly designed for boys.

The only downside of the Twistshake is that (as far as I can tell) they are not self-sterilising like the Mam ones – this is a real plus for me as we don’t have space for a separate steriliser in our stuffed-to-the-brim kitchen. Otherwise though, I’m impressed, and very happy to recommend them. They’re available on Amazon

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Daph ‘helping’ with the cot build

In other news, this week we’ve been getting Daphne’s nursery ready for her to move into when she’s six months old (in just over two weeks). Sniff! Part of me can’t wait to move her into her own room because quite frankly, she’s a noisy little bugger and between around 2am and 5am just basically makes noise non-stop – singing, gurgling, shouting, crying, you name it. But then part of me is really soppy and can’t bear the idea of her not being next to me anymore, all soft and snuffly and smelling of babies. I will miss her!

As we’re hoping to move house at some point this year we didn’t want to spend too much money on the nursery, so we’ve really just made do with what we’ve already got, and bought a few new touches like a rug (not the horrible old one in the picture!), some artwork and a cot mobile, to try to make it nice for her. I’ll do a proper nursery ‘tour’ post when it’s all finished but the cot is in and looks fab, and my mum is busy adjusting the existing cheap Ikea curtains (finally cutting them to the right size for the window and lining them with blackout lining). She’s also making a cot bumper for me. My mum is a superstar! I really need to learn how to do this kind of stuff – seriously considering a sewing course at some point…

The one thing that I have yet to manage to source is a nice lampshade for the boring pendant light fitting. We have a bright pink one (also Ikea) up now that I bought when I first moved in and it’s just dull dull dullsville. I’d love something quirky but not too expensive. Or cheesy. If anyone has any bright ideas, I’d love to hear them!

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