This was originally the blog of a first-time Mum to remember the ups and downs of my pregnancy - and chart the first year of my daughter's life. But I've kept it going, and am now a mother of two! More than anything, it helps me to get to sleep once I've emptied my brain of issues and concerns and emotions onto the laptop.
If you're reading this and also a mum- or dad-to-be, first time parent, or just someone who's thinking about it - I hope it gives a little insight into one person's experiences - good and bad....

Monday, 24 October 2011


Everyone keeps telling me how quickly the past four months have gone since Charlotte was born - "gosh, hasn't time flown?". No - not for me it hasn't. I don't mean that in a bad way; it's just that I have felt every day of the past four months, it's actually gone quite slowly, and it feels like she's been with us for far, far longer.

I'm sure there will come a point in the coming months when on reflection things might have felt like they've gone past a little quicker. But right now I still have days that feel like a week and weeks that feel like a month. I guess it's just the repetitive nature of looking after a baby. Having said that, when I went to buy her latest nappies yesterday I no longer bought 'new born' ones, and I saw a tiny, tiny baby in a car seat that must have been only days old. It's moments like that when I realise how much time has passed, and that Charlotte isn't a tiny, newborn baby anymore.

She's started breaking her 25/40 minute nap habit over the past few days. We've had a few morning naps of 50 minutes, and even a lunchtime one of an hour and a quarter, which I'm really pleased about. 

But with one issue 'solved', along comes another. She's started to refuse to take her evening bottle from her Daddy. She just screams and screams and gets herself worked up into a right state to the point that only I have then been able to clam her down enough to feed her. It's not the bottle or the formula she's refusing as she'll take both from me - we're wondering if she's just starting to make associations with people. Daddy is for fun and Mummy is for feeding, and she doesn't like any deviation from that. However, right now she seems to be taking a bottle of expressed milk from him quite well, so fingers crossed it was just a brief phase.

Saturday, 22 October 2011


Charlotte will be four months old on Monday, but she's only just growing out of her 0-3 month clothes. However, it's been fun this week trying her in some new outfits that were bought for her when she was born, for her to grow into. I'm jealous - she's got a better wardrobe than me!. She's also managed to fit into her first pair of jeans, and they make her look so grown up!.

Although I've always thought Charlotte looks like a proper little girl, we've had quite a few comments from strangers telling us what a beautiful BOY we have! The jeans won't help that, I guess. And there are moments when I think she does look a bit like Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons!

We are moving a bit more towards combination feeding now. Partly because Charlotte's becoming fussier and fussier on the breast, and for the same reason we've been giving her a bottle before bed - because her short naps mean a feed and sleep usually collide and she falls asleep less easily on the bottle. I try to give her expressed milk at the early afternoon feed when I can, but not stressing about giving her formula if I have to. It is quite emotional dropping another breast feed after four months of almost exclusive breastfeeding, though.

Monday, 17 October 2011


We had a hospital appointment to have Charlotte's heart murmur checked out tody. I can happily report the doctor could find no trace, so - as is commonly the case - it's corrected itself over the past couple of months.

It was also a nice change to have a really good experience at a hospital after the conveyor belt and downright incompetence of our ante-natal and birth hospital appointments. The doctor and nurse were so lovely with both Charlotte and us, it was a more relaxed, personal experience, and renewed our faith in the health service a bit.

Charlotte continues to keep us on our toes (that's a polite way of putting it). After two nights of sleeping through from 7pm until just before 6am, she was up at 2.30 last night and nothing worked to get her back down until 4.30am. :(

On the plus side, in among her usual 25 or 40 minute naps she managed a whole hour and a half in the car yesterday. :)

Thursday, 13 October 2011


It's been a busy week for Charlotte. On Monday she totally surprised us by lifting her head and shoulders while on her tummy. It came totally out of nowhere, given that for the past three and a half months she's hated being on her tummy for any more than about 30 seconds. I just rolled her over to do up a dress and she was up, looking around, happy as anything for a good few minutes.

So she's been practising that all week - and we tried her in her door bouncer for the first time, too. She took to it straight away, seemed to really enjoy it - kicking her legs in a walking type motion and spinning round. I think she's still a bit too light to actually bounce yet, but it bodes well that she tried to use her legs to walk.

Shouldn't be too long before she's heavy enough to bounce properly - her latest weigh-in with the Health Visitor was a success. A nice healthy 5.5kg (12.1lb) - a steady gain of 500g in three weeks, heading further towards the 25th percentile and away from the 9th. The only change we've really made to her feeding has come in the last week when we've introduced a formula feed before bed. Not necessarily to 'tank her up' - but because she's so exhausted by 6.30 (I don't need to remind regular readers of her poor daytime naps/sleeping), she just keeps falling asleep on the breast before getting a decent feed. She falls asleep less easily on the bottle, and I'm happy to start introducing formula just once a day at this stage. In fact on Tuesday night she slept right through from 7.30pm - 6.50 am, so something must be working.1

And if all that wasn't progress enough, she had her first swimming lesson on Wednesday too. She was absolutely fantastic. Not a single grizzle, even though she was tired, and seemed quite at home in the water on her front and back. We're doing Aquatots lessons, and I really enjoyed it and enjoyed meeting some more new Mums as well. No photos, as with the sad state of society we're forbidden from taking pictures of our own children in a swimming pool, so I'll just have to wait until we're on holiday.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


You could set your watch by Charlotte. Without fail she has exactly 40 minutes for her morning nap, and 25 minutes for each one after.

It doesn't matter if it's in her cot, her pram - even the car these days, which makes for very long car journeys (i.e. the six hours North we did at the weekend), as she understandably gets bored in her car seat for the hours she's not asleep and gets grizzly. And  in my book, 25 minutes is not nearly long enough - averaging out at about 2 hours of naptime a day, if we're lucky.

And she seems increasingly tired and ratty - making for fussy or sleepy feeds, and less happy Charlotte time. So what can I do about it? How can I get her to sleep longer than 25 minutes at a time in the day?

I've looked at the 'Wake To Sleep'  technique - but it goes against all my instincts, despite the fact I think it's worked a couple of times accidentally. For example when I've brought her out of the car just before she's about to wake up and she's stayed asleep for another 45 minutes in the flat in her car seat, or out in the pram when she's just about woken but I've rocked her a bit more and she's gone back down.

The thing I keep telling myself is that 10-15 years ago, Mums didn't have the internet or parenting books to turn to for advice or theories every time they thought their child was doing something not quite 'normal', They just got on with it and accepted that's how their baby is. And that's what I'm trying to do, in the hope that this is a phase that will pass and Charlotte will eventually nap for longer, or prove to me she doesn't need more than 2 hours in short spells every day.

She's also taken to waking at night, usually around 11.30pm, not for hunger. I'm not sure what's waking her - possibly very early teething or growing pains. We tried Calpol one night in case it was either of those things, but despite all other Mums telling me how brilliant it is at knocking babies right out to sleep for ages, it didn't work. For a few nights I ended up feeding her back to sleep, but I know that's a really bad habit to get into. Last night I put her dummy in (she goes to sleep without one usually) and soothed her - and on the third attempt she went back off to sleep for another three hours until she really did wake for a feed.

I have a new mantra to go with Patience and Perseverance... it's Relax and Enjoy. But that's proving harder and harder to tell myself the more she fights her sleep and sleeps on me instead of eating :(.