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BABY ON BOARD Baby updates

One year baby update!

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Daphne is one! Well, she will be in 45 minutes time – right now a year ago I think I was in the last stages of proper hideous pushing – the bit when you feel like you are ripping yourself in half but you really, really don’t care. Anything to get them out. All a distant memory now thankfully. In fact, I said early on that I’d go through labour again twice over rather than have to endure the agonising six weeks of ‘breastfeeding’ that I attempted. Labour was incredibly painful and exhausting but it was still the biggest natural high I have ever had – much like how I imagine people who climb Everest feel. It is amazing what your body can do if you, er, make it.

But enough about me. Daphne is one and what a month it’s been! We’ve moved house, and thankfully she seems to love the new place just as much as the old place. She settled in straight away – in fact my biggest worry was her freaking out about being somewhere new but she seemed to love her new bedroom from the very first night. I think a lot of this has to do with the Flensted elephant mobile* she has hanging over her cot – she absolutely LOVES it, and as soon as I put her in her cot in the new room and she looked up and saw the elephants there, she smiled and rolled onto her side and went to sleep. The only problem with this ‘sleep prop’ of course is that it’s not very portable, so we’ve undoubtedly made a rod for our own backs there, but it was a godsend in keeping some sense of consistency for her when we first moved in.

The biggest change in the last month however, is that she is now crawling! She started to crawl at exactly 11 and a half months. It was amazing – just totally out of the blue one morning she just ‘got it’ and now she happily crawls everywhere. She’s also started trying to pull herself up but in typical Daph style, hasn’t really got the logic down yet and instead tries to push off by sticking her bum in the air and straightening her legs while in a crawl position – a kind of downward dog type affair. It doesn’t get her anywhere of course and she just gets frustrated. She sort of tries to climb up on furniture but not really, she can get onto her knees but then she loses interest. I’m not so worried about any of this anymore – I know she’s a little ‘behind’ what all the books say but she’s definitely progressing in her own way and I have no doubt she’ll get there in the end. The crawling is ace though – she’s so pleased with herself as she comes scuttling towards you. It’s a nightmare, of course, logistically – we were very used to being able to leave her in one position while we did something but now of course that’s impossible. Thank god we have a bigger house now – at the moment she uses the (pretty much empty) dining room as her main exercise track and has all her toys out on the floor.

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With her beloved granny, who made her this awesome Liberty dress for her birthday <3

What else is new? She’s finally started sleeping in a bit later – now she wakes up at 6.20 ish, which is much more bearable. However, she has still, never, ever, NOT ONCE IN HER WHOLE LITTLE LIFE, slept through from bedtime at 6.30pm to 6am without waking up at least once for a drink/cuddle. I have tried SO hard to wean her off the milk (I know she doesn’t need it at night at this age) but nothing bloody works. I’ve diluted it so that it’s just 90% water, given her just water, given her less milk… doesn’t make any difference, she will still wake up at some point the next night and demand to be picked up, reassured by a bottle (it’s about 30 seconds of ‘drinking’ each time!), and put back to bed. Any tips on this gratefully received! She usually goes straight back to sleep so it’s not been TOO annoying (and it’s usually at a reasonable hour like 11pm so I’m awake anyway), but for the past two nights I fear we have hit a new ‘phase’… I think it’s maybe a mini regression, but she’s woken up later than normal – at around 12.30am – and then stayed awake for an hour and a half each time, crying the second I leave the room. And not just a few whimpers, but proper howls. The heartbreaking ones. So I guess this is more separation anxiety at work – oh joy. Last night I was a bit despairing and even brought her into bed with us (I couldn’t get out of her bloody room without taking her too and quite frankly I just wanted to lie down by then) where she decided it was all rather funny and started giggling and jumping about. So she went straight back to her cot. Eventually she kind of wore herself out and went back to sleep, but honestly: WTH! Babies are so badly designed. This sleep nonsense is The Worst.

Another challenging aspect at the moment – food! Daphne takes after me (at least when I was young) and seems to now find eating a boring waste of time that gets in the way of all the exciting things she could be doing like going through mummy’s handbag or pulling all the tissues out of a box. The only way to get her to eat at the moment is by distracting her and then shovelling food in her mouth as she concentrates on something else – it’s amazing how creative you can get when you need to, and how entertaining you can make the wax bit of a Babybel. We’ve tried letting her feed herself but all she does is pick things up, turn them over in her hand and throw them on the floor – she hardly ever puts things in her mouth. It’s like she has zero interest in food. Unless – and here’s the caveat – I’m having a chocolate bourbon with my cup of tea. Then she’s suddenly desperate for a bite and a swig from the mug (don’t worry, I never let her do either. Promise. Ahem). Oh and she will happily munch on a rice cake in the car or in her buggy. She hates being fed from a spoon but will take things from a fork – again I think this is because she’s seen us eating from a fork. Mealtimes are exhausting and take hours.

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The best bit about Daph at the moment though, is her understanding. I keep desperately googling what’s normal for this age because I find it absolutely mindblowing, as she seems to understand everything. Well, she understands the names of everything. You only have to tell her once and she’ll remember what something is called – and now we can ask where blue dog or her phone or her piano or mummy’s computer are, and she’ll crawl off towards them and then bring them to you or pick them up to ‘show’ you. She knows what the car is, what houses are, what grass is, where the garden is, where her books are etc etc. She’ll also come to you if you ask her to, although she has yet to hand you something you ask her for. I think she must have at least 50 words in her receptive language already. However, she doesn’t say any! She speaks a lot in her own funny goobledegook, and often sounds like she’s saying ‘Daddy’ (not to anyone in particular however!) and ‘Eeeeeee’ which she says if she sees me or the cat. But no proper words, and not a snifter of a ‘mama’. Huh. Today, though, I swear she said ‘up’ after me (I was picking her up and said it as I did so, and she parroted it back. Might have just been a random fluke thing however!).

Most of all, Daphne age one is absolutely the most entertaining and lovely she’s been so far – I LOVE this age so much! She’s so happy and funny – a real little character. I’m much less worried about her than I was, and if only we could crack this sleep thing, I’d say life as a mum was pretty perfect right now. Happy birthday, my little lovely Chip.

* not a sponsored link, nor did I get it for free! 

BABY ON BOARD Baby updates

Eleven month baby update

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I know, I’m meant to be having a two-week break from blogging, but it’s Daph’s eleven month birthday today, and I couldn’t not do an update. My goodness, she has changed so much since my last post. In fact, let me go and read it to compare and contrast…

Right, back now! So I don’t think I mentioned before that Daph was booked in to have a hearing test thanks to her lack of proper babbling. This was arranged ages ago but we had to wait for about ten years for an appointment – eventually we got a cancellation. It was at St Helier Hospital in Sutton (finding a space in the car park was fun. Not) and was quite a random affair, consisting of a woman trying to distract Daph with toys while another woman behind a two-way mirror played sounds from two giant speakers either side of the room. I *think* the point was to see if she would turn around for the sounds or not, but it was quite hard for even me to understand what was actually going on, so not sure how a baby is supposed to cope with it. Daph found the whole thing rather boring and started doing her screeching thing after twenty minutes or so, but was a brave little soldier when they put some strange headphones on her and started staring into her ears. After the test, we went to see the consultant who said she had passed with 95% and that they couldn’t rule out partial hearing loss in one ear but that she can definitely hear, and her hearing was not affecting her ability to babble. They scheduled another appointment for us to come back and have her ears test separately in September (seems a bit pointless TBH, 95% is good enough in my book!).

The consultant then said she would refer us back to our GP, to get her referred to a developmental specialist about her lack of balance (she still falls backwards when sitting sometimes) and lack of babbling. The referring thing is quite bizarre – not sure why she couldn’t have referred us directly herself. But anyway. We went away feeling a bit depressed – the consultant wouldn’t really give us any indications what she thought might be ‘wrong’ with Daph but did trot out that old line about all babies doing things in their own time blah blah.

Then, about a week later when we first got the keys to the new house, Daph was sitting in her new bedroom while we were ignoring her and chatting about wallpaper or something and, as if to stick two fingers up at all of us, she decided to START BLOODY BABBLING.

Properly babbling too. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved about anything. And since then, she’s been doing it most days, usually when she wants to get someone’s attention. It’s so cute, the cutest sound in the whole world, after her squeaky giggle. Since the babbling began, she has also started making more obvious word-like sounds, and will now happily ‘chat’ away with us in her very particular brand of gobbledegook, as well as ‘talking’ to her toys.

So. We then had our GP appointment. I felt a bit stupid when we turned up because the babbling had been my main concern. He took one look at Daph (he’s a paediatric specialist) and declared that she seemed completely normal. In fact, he said she seemed very bright and alert and that she was probably – and I have to cringe a bit here – just LAZY. ‘She’s realised she’s going to spend the next 80 years or so talking and walking so she’s decided not to bother just yet. And why should she when you two are waiting on her hand and foot?’ I could have kissed him. He said he didn’t see any need to refer her to a specialist yet, as he was sure she would do everything on her own schedule, and implored us to help her out a bit less so she had to try harder. He remarked on her impressive fine motor skills and said the fact that she screamed her head off in fear when he examined her was a positive sign of stranger anxiety (which is a great thing to have apparently!). He said he couldn’t ‘guarantee’ that there wasn’t an issue but he was pretty convinced she was totally fine, and we are coming back for another review with him in September. After that, he’ll refer her if he thinks it’s necessary.

And since that appointment, she’s suddenly been coming on leaps and bounds. There’s no sign of actual crawling yet but she gets herself into a crawl position all the time and reaches forwards with her hands, and she’s also started bum shuffling to get to things she wants. I can no longer leave her in one spot and assume she’ll still be there if I come back five minutes later. She’s falling over a lot less from sitting too, and has even pulled herself up into a sitting position from lying on her back a couple of times, by grabbing onto things nearby. I feel like she’s maybe just a few weeks away from crawling now – possibly even less. Which is a bit of an EEEK as well as a YAY.

Oh god, this is all a bit serious and heavygoing. Apols. But it has been a real weight off my mind. In my darkest hours, Dr Google convinced me that she had all sorts of things wrong with her and it was so frustrating to see all her NCT peers already crawling and climbing stairs, when she couldn’t even sit independently.

So onto the more exciting stuff. I feel like in the last week or so specifically, we have finally started to communicate properly. Daph now responds to commands – it is the weirdest thing! Her memory is developing too – so now if I ask her to find her favourite book or toy from a pile of things, she will rummage through them until she finds what I’ve asked for, then wave it triumphantly at me.  This is kind of epic, I have to say. When you first have a baby it feels like they are just a little alien blob, and although you feel so protective of them, you don’t really have this kind of connection because they basically haven’t got a clue what the hell is going on. But now, Daph knows when it’s tea time, knows when we’re going for a walk, knows when I’m going to change her nappy or give her milk. She knows who I’m talking about when I mention Granny or Daddy or the cat. It’s such an incredible thing, seeing her brain develop in real time, and I absolutely adore spending time with her at the moment.

Other things… Daph is a lot more clingy nowadays, and will cuddle up when sitting next to me, or put her face against my chest if she sees someone she doesn’t know and feels shy. She’s also started trying to climb on to my lap if I sit next to her to play, which is really really sweet.

As for sleep. Ha. It is still shit, quite frankly. It’s also totally inconsistent – some nights she’ll sleep through, others she wakes up at 3am for no reason just crying, and will only stop if I go into comfort her. She doesn’t particularly seem hungry, so I wonder if it’s separation anxiety or she’s having bad dreams. She’s not teething at the moment, I don’t think, and she hasn’t had much of a growth spurt this month. The worst thing is the waking at 5am and wanting to start the day – this is STILL most mornings for us and it’s such torture. I just don’t know how to stop it and nothing has worked so far. I’m just praying for the darker mornings to start as I am sure the light at 5am doesn’t help. The saddest thing is that the sleep deprivation has put me right off having another baby. I genuinely don’t think I could go through this again (I mean, I know I technically could, but the idea of it fills me with dread) and the idea of having two kids to look after on this little sleep seems like some kind of awful hell that I’d rather save myself from…

We’re moving into the new house next week and after that I am seriously starting to consider a sleep consultant. Oh, and in case anyone suggests it, we have tried leaving her to cry but my god is she persistent. Also, our neighbours downstairs have complained twice about the noise (ouch) so we are really wary of pissing them off further. (Although to be frank, the snoring I touched on in a previous blog ought to be a criminal offence. Bloody hypocrite!)

I’ve probably missed a million things as I can waffle on for Britain when it comes to Chip, but this is already ridiculously long so I shall wrap up here! And just to end on a positive note – despite all the worry and the lack of sleep, I think I am ‘enjoying’ Daph more than I ever have done – this is such a wonderful wonderful age, and I can already see what she’ll be like as a toddler. It’s so exciting, and every day I feel more teary eyed and proud of her!

BABY ON BOARD Baby updates

Eight month baby update

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Where to start with Daph’s eight month update? First of all, she is HUGE. I can’t wait for our next trip to the health visitor to find out exactly how much she weighs now and how long she is – I swear she must be off the charts now especially with her height. She seems so long and, well, big. Not so chubby any more (although she does have a rather cute pot belly) but just big in every way – her head, her feet, her hands – all of it! I think she’s going to be a giant. I know there’s no way of telling how a person will end up from what they were like as a baby but I just can’t see her being a delicate little petite child somehow!

She’s such a little character now – and a really tough crowd. She’ll have the odd day of finding everything funny, and then won’t laugh for a week. Making faces at her that she hasn’t seen before may get you a little chuckle but you can almost tell she’s fighting it, as if she’s really NOT that impressed you know, and once she’s seen something once then it’s no longer funny, mum, so stop doing it over and over again. She’s very particular about who she’ll smile at – she liked some of the female estate agents we’ve seen lately but the male ones were mostly met with looks of distrust. Wise beyond her years! And she’ll have days where Daddy is her favourite and gets all the smiles, and days when I’m deemed the best.

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Sitting!

Milestone-wise, I reckon she’s a little behind average. She can sit now, pretty well, but often launches herself backwards in the middle of sitting and ends up falling on her back. I noticed just yesterday she was doing a bit of rocking on her bum, and reaching forward with her hands, which I think means she’s about to crawl?! But knowing Daph she won’t bother until she’s about 1. If we put her on her tummy she screams and wriggles (often moving backwards inadvertently) and generally looks pissed off with us. Or rolls straight back onto her back. She’s got the rolling down, finally, but still doesn’t do it unless she ABSOLUTELY HAS TO. She can support her own weight really well though, and will stand easily if you hold her hands.

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Unsuccessful attempts to get her to move…

She isn’t babbling yet – but she does do a good line in screaming. And blowing raspberries – her new favourite thing. She’ll also make sort of sing-song noises when you’re feeding her, which are quite interesting. But otherwise, to get your attention she’ll whine (gah I hate whining!) or bang things like her hands on the table or her feet against her chair.

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This photo is my phone screensaver <3

Food is still a hit, thankfully, and she’s tried pretty much everything she’s allowed now, all to great success. Apart from avocado. She really doesn’t get that one. I love watching her eat – she’s a total piglet and will always finish her meal and open her mouth for more. I’ve been quite lazy at letting her feed herself (mostly just to save time), and must make a conscious effort going forward to give her more opportunity to do so. She can easily hold a rice cracker and feed herself with it, it just takes FOREVER and lots of it ends up on the floor… luckily she’s quite a neat eater, but I suspect this is because we haven’t done baby-led weaning so I get to spoon everything into her mouth quite tidily!

I’ve been trying to cut down her milk as I noticed with alarm she’s only meant to have three 7oz bottles at her age. Currently she still has five bottles per day (!) which vary between 5-7oz. I try not to let her finish them if she doesn’t seem that bothered, and I’m desperate to drop the dream feed at 11pm (not least because it interrupts my only bit of me-time all day). But we tried it one night and she woke up at 1am starving hungry so I think I’ll have to try to phase it out gradually. I’m confused about the milk versus food thing and exactly how much she should be having of each – I know there’s that expression ‘food before one is just for fun’ but I’m SURE she doesn’t need all this milk as well as her three proper meals.

She’s sleeping pretty well these days and has settled into quite a nice nap routine of 9am-10.30am, then 12.30-1.30/2pm and then another little power nap at 4pm for about half an hour. Bedtime at 7pm, dreamfeed between 10-11pm and then up for the day usually at 6.30am. I’d love her to sleep longer at night but she absolutely can’t do without her three naps – she goes ballistic at bedtime if she hasn’t slept enough during the day.

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I know this pic is blurry, but I can’t believe how grown up she looks in it!

I feel I must also mention her hair, which is growing thick and fast. It can’t seem to decide what colour it is – the back of her head looks a lovely golden blonde, but the front (where she’s sporting a rather fetching toupee style) is much darker and almost a light brown. Her eyes are definitely blue though, and a lovely dark grey-blue too.

Last but not least for this month, she has her top two front teeth now! They are SO CUTE. They came through last week and we had three nights of crying and generally being miserable, but now they’re through she’s back to her normal self. It’s amazing seeing her with four little teeth and I can’t wait to get a proper photo of her smiling with them all showing!