11 months with Bea

Tomorrow Bea turns one, so expect all kinds of sentimental reflective writing coming up over the next couple of weeks. I have so much to share on a year of sleep, feeding, fun and love. But first, I need to squeeze this monthly update in before it seems old hat and irrelevant.

Developmentally, between 10 and 11 months was massive, in fact every month feels like that now! Lots of things she has been practising for a long time seem to have finally clicked into place. She can stack the wooden tower of rainbow rings we have and the way she looks so pleased with herself is priceless. Another favourite is zooming around pushing the walker we bought her, although she hasn’t quite mastered turning!

We had our first nights away from Daddy as I went on a work course in the Lake District and totally chickened on leaving Bea behind. I used the excuse that we are still feeding, but really I don’t think I could have left her! My mum came to help looking after her in the day while I went to the workshops and Bea joined us on a walk that was part of it too!

Bea is also becoming more and more sociable and interested in children. It started with getting excited when she went past the park in the pram with my mum and now if she is in a room with other children or passes them anywhere she is so desperate to interact – it’s so cute!

Lastly, we had a little staycation, which was so lovely. We had things to do during it but spending every day as a family together was so much fun. Our usual routine involves us switching off a lot in the week as Pete works late on Mondays and Fridays and I work late 2 of the other days so being together as a 3 is precious time. Bea chose that week to stand up by herself, (she had been cruising for a while but this was unaided,) which was pretty exciting too!

We will be having a birthday fun day tomorrow, do follow along on Instagram, and I’ll be back on Wednesday 🙂

How are you and your littles getting on?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

10 months with Bea…

Whoa, ten months. Seriously, time is flying and it feels like she will be One already any minute. (Edit: I’m a little behind with these and in fact she will be One very soon, sob sob!)

As you can see from these photo’s, Bea’s mobility has gone to a whole other level. Gone are the days of me taking cute photos of her lying down in pretty outfits every week! Just before she reached 10 months Bea scaled the steps of our decking and she now climbs the stairs to bed every night (with us keeping a watchful eye and ready hand behind her!) She pulls up on everything and by the end of the month had started cruising too.

I won’t lie, it is tiring, but if it wasn’t for safety, I could leave her to entertain herself for hours. Toys aren’t getting a look in these days, now it’s all about radiators, wires, plug sockets, random bits of fluff or grit on the floor (cue crazy cleaning efforts daily from me,) the cats food bowl… you name it, if I don’t want her playing with it, she makes a Bea-line. 😉

Bea is talking more now and expanding her range of sounds. I think Cat (or ‘Ca!’) is her first word, used accurately for our cats, but also for all animals in general. Of course Daddy thinks Dada is the first one, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s used in context yet 😉

This months big achievement was clapping! I know lots of babies do it sooner but Bea just hadn’t tried at all, then one day I returned from work and it was the thing to be doing. 😉 She pretty much hasn’t stopped since! Mum has also taught her to put her hands in the air when we say ‘SO BIG!’ – so cute. Their days together are lovely – I think she has been tiring my mum out but Mum does things with her I wouldn’t think of and I love hearing them laughing (Bea gets quite hysterical,) over something I have no idea about when I’m in the other room.

I’ll be squeezing another of these posts in next week because the week after, Bea is 1! Expect lots of nostalgic reflective and mushy posts while I mourn my tiny baby and celebrate my cheeky toddler 😉

Where are all you mama’s and babies at right now?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS 9 months, 8 Months, 7 months, 6 months, 5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months and the first month with Bea.

7 months with Bea…

It feels like Bea’s sixth month has been full of big changes. We moved her into her cot, dropped her dream feed, she slept through the night, stopped sleeping through the night, there have been ups and downs!

Early in the month, as you all know already, we started weaning. That was a massive adjustment for me, trying to fit everything in between milk feeds and solid feeds. Between that and Bea’s new found mobility, it seems to be all go. Gone are the days I can go out for a coffee with friends without moving EVERYthing away from within Bea’s swiping reach!

It’s funny, it seems that (as with all babies I suppose) with some things Bea seems to do them really early and others she doesn’t get until late. Only at 28 weeks did Bea start banging things with her hand – slapping it down onto the table top or banging a toy down, when I have friends with much younger babies doing it much sooner. At 29 weeks she really discovered splashing in the bath. Before that she used to lie there looking very chilled out and now it’s all about slamming her legs down at 90 degrees to create maximum tidal wave style splashes!

28 weeks also marked the end of me being able to leave Bea and find her in the same position. She’s been rolling for a couple of months already but now, rather than crawling, is using rolling as a means to get all around the room. Once she added spinning on the spot on her tummy to turn 90 or 180 degrees, she could pretty much get anywhere.

At 29 weeks, she started pushing herself around backwards, using her arms to push her whole body back along the floor. I was sure this was a precursor to crawling and pretty much all month I would say I’ve felt it was sure to be something she did in the next week or so. But at 32 weeks now, we’re still waiting!

29 weeks also marked another sleep hiatus. Another cold stopped Bea sleeping and we were having lots of night time wakes. I always feed her if she wakes, partly because it’s a guaranteed way to get her back off to sleep and partly because I think, if I had a cold and woke up, I’d have a dry mouth and want a drink. When it turned into 4+ times a night however I got worried and even more so, when as the cold started to improve, Bea was still waking at 12 and 4ish, with habitual regularity. I had no idea what to do. Sometimes I wish I had done something to produce a (generally) good sleeper, so I knew what to do when it went wrong, but I don’t.

We have always put Bea in the cot rather than our room for the first part of the night (bed time to dream feed, when we move her in with us) and after a run of waking at about 12am I decided to just leave her there rather than wake for a dream feed, and get up when she inevitably did a couple of hours later. Instead she woke up at past 8am. We concluded that in fact it had been us waking her up rather than the other way around and she’s been in her cot all night ever since. I was so sad, but in a way it spared me making the ‘big decision’ and knowing it was better for her helped, even though it inadvertently came from desperation on our part!

I’d love to say that was the solution to the sleep issues but after 10 days of sleeping through until 7 or 8am-ish, we’ve been back to waking in the night again and then back again to sleeping after I restarted the dream feed. I actually don’t think it has anything to do with whether she sleeps or not, but it’s a vain attempt to improve things that sometimes works!!

The other big thing has been a few afternoons I’ve spent without Bea. At the time of writing, I go back to work in 2 weeks and I was already getting nervous about leaving Bea. Not just because I didn’t want to leave her, but because the people who would be looking after her (my mum and Pete,) hadn’t really looked after her at all yet. – I had left her with both of them, but only at night when she had slept anyway, so I was worried they wouldn’t know her little cues and quirks, or how to manage her routine (which is a bit haphazard!) I had booked a course for work in anticipation, and my mum spent 2 afternoons while I was at the course, looking after Bea. Fortunately it went very well – Bea was happy as larry and her afternoon with Pete while I went to a Spa was similarly successful. So I’m feeling happier that she won’t feel too disrupted without me.

Every week I go to my Yoga group and we all start by talking about something good that happened that week and something bad. The bad part is always sleep! How is sleep going for those of you with babies? And how did you start to get them ready for your return to work?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS
6 months, 5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months and the first month with Bea

What I have learned about: BLW [Part 1]

As the title suggests, we decided to go for baby led weaning (BLW) with Bea. I had so much to share about this particular topic that I’ve split it into 2 posts. Today is mainly our experience, and on Thursday I’ll be back with Part 2, sharing our essentials for BLW and tips. (And we have Erin’s fashion fix tomorrow if you’re not interested in weaning!)

My main concern with BLW was the emphasis that ‘food is fun before they’re one’ and reliance on continued milk feeds, while they (very) slowly increase their solid intake. At the time of weaning, I was going back to work in less than 2 months and was still feeding 5-6 or more times per day plus a dream feed. I decided I’d give it a month and if she still wasn’t taking much in, reconsider our options then.

Why did I go for BLW in the end? It just made sense to me. I read the book, and developmentally, it all made sense; why feed a baby purees when they can feed themselves? I felt I was relaxed enough to accept if she didn’t eat much because I was used to trusting her intake whilst breast feeding and I knew she was able to feed herself as EVERYTHING was already going straight into her mouth. She wasn’t quite sitting up when we started – as in, sitting unsupported in the middle of the floor, but was perfectly upright in her baby snug. It also appealed to my style of parenting. Within sensible limits of her having some structure, I prefer her fitting in with us. We eat out a lot (still) and it appealed to the lazy part of me, that I could just fed her the kinds of things we eat, ad hoc.

We started weaning 5 days before she was 6 months old. I had been determined to wait until 6 months exactly, despite the grandparents regular chimes of ‘she’s so ready for food!’ but when I did a bit of reading prior to starting, there is conflicting evidence about the benefits of postponing solids until 6 months (increased gut maturity, reduced risk of allergies…) against possible risks (one recent study found a 4 fold increased risk of diabetes if children were weaned before 4 months or after 6 months.) In the end it was simply convenient to start at the weekend so Pete could participate too.

In the very beginning my focus was on exposing her to as many tastes as possible. I didn’t restrict her to popular first tastes to babies (like sweet vegetables) and simply chose things that were convenient for her to eat – things that were naturally or could be made, stick shaped. One of the key ideas behind BLW is that babies feed themselves, which I found very limiting (babies of 6 months usually can only grasp stick shaped things and it takes weeks and months for them to develop the motor skills to pick things up with their fingers or grasp handfuls and release them into their mouth,) so we quickly introduced a weaning spoon which we preloaded and held out for her to take and put into her mouth herself. She was successful right from the beginning (as I knew she would be because of her tendency to put anything and everything straight into her mouth,) and that made things like weetabix, porridge and yogurt easy enough and moderately less messy.

Ah yes, the mess. I was warned BLW would be messy, so I was prepared for it and to be honest, I don’t think it has been that bad. We bought sleeved bibs (see below) and a piece of oilcloth tablecloth to cover our marble worktops. Apart from on herself, the majority of the mess is from dropping her spoon at the side of her seat or onto the floor and whatever is on it splashing off. I tend to eat with her (at least sitting with her,) so regularly spoon catch and keep a cloth handy to wipe up these spills as we go (because dried on weetabix is like cement, be warned!)

If you don’t have a baby or want to hear about nappies, you might want to skip this paragraph. 😉 Because I wanted to give Bea every opportunity to progress with weaning, we very quickly worked up to 3 meals a day, even if they were small. It took about a week before we started to see bits of food in Bea’s nappy (undigested) then after 2 weeks her nappies changed completely, confirming that she was taking a decent amount of food in. We are a month on now and she has dropped down to 4 milk feeds; One on waking, one around lunch after her morning nap, one after her afternoon nap, and one before bed.

So readers, I’d love to hear if you have anything to add here or if you have any questions for me. I’ll do my best to answer them. In the mean time, can anyone suggest a worktop height high chair that isn’t ridiculously expensive?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Resources:

5 months with Bea

Morning readers! Apologies for the lack of posts this week, I’ve had 2 and a half days of my internet being down for some unknown reason and Erin is having the same problem. Today it’s back, hurrah! So here’s an instalment of life with Bea for you all today. Thanks for bearing with me!

When I last wrote about life with Bea, things were pretty much rosy. We had just got back from Florida, I’d transitioned her into her cot in the day without any problems (Hello smug face). For about a week after we got back she was the perfect baby then bam! It all went south.

4 to 5 months was tricky. It was probably also the hardest time I’ve had with Bea. Before then, bad days had been just that, days, not weeks but in early December (around 19 weeks) something happened with her naps… er, what naps? For 5 days Bea napped steadily less and less. She had been having about 3 hours in the day and day by day she went from 2.5, then 2 then at the worst only 1.5hrs. Those with babies will be feeling my pain already, those without, let me just tell you there’s a very fine line between a very happy well rested baby and the cliff top drop over the edge into over tired, distressed angry screaming baby. Nuff said. After about 5 days she improved slightly and the nap times started to go up again. But they only made it to about 2 hours and that’s where they stayed for that month, on a good day.

It was really hard. Hard because there is nothing more soul destroying (for me anyway,) than pacing around rocking and shushing in a darkened room for 45 minutes trying to get a baby to sleep. You emerge shell shocked, only for them only to wake up 30 minutes later. It was heartbreaking watching her so desperate for sleep that she was banging her head onto my chest and crying with frustration. And hard because amongst all this I steadily beat myself up that I was creating bad habits (rocking her to sleep because it was the only thing I could do or feeding her to sleep,) poor sleep associations and emotional scars if I ever left her to cry for a few minutes to see if she would learn to sleep by herself. The latter was a particularly useless tactic as eventually I always caved and went back, only to rock her to sleep anyway; Cue more beating myself up for letting her cry and for reinforcing that if she cried she would get what she wants.

How do I feel about it now? Well, like I said in my end of the year post, a few days do not a bad habit form. Bea went from going down with no fuss, awake for at least 2 or 3 of her 3 or 4 naps a day, to needing rocking or feeding to sleep for every single one and guess what, for some unknown reason, she is now back to going down without fuss for most of her naps in the cot again. Every couple of days I would try and after a few weeks she just kind of got over whatever was wrong. I’m able to beat myself up less now, but it’s always better with the benefit of hindsight. For whatever reason, she needed me. I did a lot of reading in these weeks about sleep patterns, needs and training and whilst I didn’t try to ‘sleep train’ her, I did leave her to cry a couple of times – more frustrated shouting rather than real crying with tears, wondering if she would settle herself in the ‘ten minutes’ or whatever some sleep expert recommended. A couple of times she did, but more often she didn’t and it ended up feeling like a wasted episode of crying as we achieved nothing. I definitely know more about the likelihood that she will settle now though by listening to her different sounds. She does sometimes, shout, chatter or cry before she sleeps, but it’s more of a whinge and it’s part of her dropping off, as much as her sucking her fingers is.

And why did it happen? Who knows. Do we ever really understand babies behaviour? Some would say it was the ‘dreaded 4 month sleep regression‘. I don’t really believe in sleep regressions as I read a blog post and it makes much more sense to me that she was simply dropping a nap. After all, babies sleep requirements don’t change in a day and throughout this period she would have 3 or 4 naps a day, whereas now she generally has 3. I found that site really helpful with info about bedtimes too and ideal sleep requirements. It makes much more sense to me to work around her sleep patterns, noting how long she is awake before she needs a nap, rather than prescriptively saying she should be napping at X o’clock. I also wonder if it was all made worse by the fact I was busy (more reasons to feel bad… the 5 month picture we have below is also her ’21 week’ photo as for the first time ever I forgot to take her weekly photo 🙁 ) – things were worst at the beginning of December but the week before Christmas was also pretty bad, exacerbated by builders and tradespeople banging, ringing the door bell and generally taking my time up. There were times she was crying and they needed me to speak to them about something, and lots more times when I cursed them for being noisy and waking her from a much needed sleep. Or was it a wonder week leap? Who knows what it was all about, but it’s also over!

There were great things about 4-5 months too though. Bea learned to blow raspberries and bubbles, she’s laughing more and more and at 20 weeks she rolled over. In a classic moment, I returned from being out of the room to find her on her front when I had left her on her back.

Right now, we’re having a glorious 6th month and I’ll be back to tell you more about that soon. How are you getting on with your little ones? Does any of this sound familiar?!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS
4 months, 3 months, 2 months and the first month with Bea

4 months with Bea

I’m a little bit behind with these posts and time and development marches on apace so it’s almost hard to remember what was happening in Bea’s fourth month. Last time I wrote about her naps being problematic and her first real changes that made her less of a newborn and more of a baby. The month that followed seemed like a godsend of perfect calm and enjoyment.

Bea had her first cold at 14 weeks but we seem to have emerged relatively unscathed as she was mild and just snotty with it really. Fortunately it didn’t affect her sleep. Throughout the month she was smiley and happy regardless and it cleared after about a week.

Probably the biggest change of this month was to feeding. I had noticed that Bea was getting more and more fussy when she fed, pulling off and messing around instead of taking a good feed. I was still feeding her 2 hourly at this point (not on a schedule, thats just about when she wanted it,) and whilst travelling when I didn’t take as much notice of the time, I noticed she fed much better when she showed me she was hungry. As a consequence now she is fed about 6-7 times in 24 hours, 2.5 – 3 hourly in the day, then a dream feed at 10 or 11 pm and she feeds much better.

As you can see here, Bea is getting more and more active. She loves standing up and supports her own weight with only a finger supporting both of her hands, even stamping her feet up and down sometimes! It’s much more clear too what she likes and does’t like, as she kicks and wriggles with excitement or pleasure, or gives us a downturned mouth or wobbling lip before a cry (usually when she’s tired!)

Best of all, after what felt like weeks of waiting, Bea finally laughed! I had been feeling like she was on the edge of laughing for a couple of weeks and was sure she would do it while we were on holiday, then on the very last day she did, out of the blue! I had worried I was missing it amongst the other sounds she makes but it was a proper peel of laughter, although it caused me to shout so loud that she stopped just as suddenly as she started! It’s taken a while but the laughs are coming more and more often now. It’s a cliche to say it, but it really is the best sound in the world.

The other big change has been to napping in the cot now. We switched to a grobag when we got back from Florida and I also immediately started putting Bea down to nap in her cot instead of the crib, mainly so I could do things in our bedroom while she slept elsewhere. It’s been a pretty seamless transition – she doesn’t seem to have noted any difference to the crib and if she’s tricky to get down sometimes I can’t say it’s any different to when she was in the crib. We still have her in our room in the crib however in the evening and overnight.

When we got back from Florida naps were brilliant and we started getting some 1.5 hour naps in the morning, both while we were away and when we got back. The last month however has been another story… I’ll save it for next time!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

3 months with Bea

Bea’s 3 month milestone has been and gone, and again so much has changed in a few short weeks. I write these posts for my own records but also as I imagine many of you will identify with the changes and perhaps have advice or stories you want to share, so please do pitch in in the comments box below.

This last month has been bittersweet for the first time. As Bea gets older she becomes so much more alert and more fun. Her smiles are consistent now and the beam I get in the mornings or when I get her up after a nap makes my heart burst. A few people have commented about the way she looks at me, describing it as ‘adoration’ and when she was younger I didn’t really get it, thinking she couldn’t love me back but recently it’s like there really is a bond between us, from her side too.

The bittersweet part is that already I see her stopping doing little things that she has grown out of. She used to make an ‘O’ with her mouth, almost a pucker, which I called ‘kissy lips’ and caused me to cover her in kisses, which she doesn’t do now. Her grasp reflex is gone and that gorgeous back arch and bum out thing babies do when you pick them up from deep sleep is so very rare now. However, now she holds my finger out of free will, calls out for my attention and seems to notice the whole world instead of things close to her. Sounds startle her and she looks to them, she follows me with her gaze out of the room and notices when I come back in, and has officially found her voice. Several times a day she really gets going with shouts and ahh’s and ooohh conversations which are so much fun.

Her sleep at night is still great and she has slept through every night since the beginning of last month, but other difficulties have emerged. Now she sucks her thumb to sooth herself, the car seat is becoming enemy #1 as she can’t get her arm round the wide infant straps to get her thumb into her mouth, leading me after a long journey in the back or the car with my finger in her mouth and other times when I was driving and couldn’t loan a finger, to resort to a dummy.

We seem to be floundering a bit with naps too at times… we had long episodes of crying around the 8-10 weeks mark in the day before she would nap and I realised fairly quickly I was totally missing her sleep cues, so she became overtired and couldn’t sleep. Once I got them and got her down* as soon as she showed signs of tiredness, everything got better and she would sleep within minutes. (*When I say get her down, she falls asleep in my arms 9 times out of 10, apart from the odd occasion I have put her down and turned back round to find her asleep, which never works when I purposely try it.) I used advice from the EASY routine to help me get to this point and she was sleeping for roughly an hour, after around an hours awake time, 4 times a day. More recently however things aren’t going as well, with her not sleeping until about 1.5hours after she last woke up and then she often wakes around 30-40 minutes into the nap but then seems ready for another short one soon after. I feel that we should be moving towards condensing these catnaps into a longer morning nap and 2 afternoon naps but I don’t know how to extend her nap times. I also know she is capable of putting herself to sleep if caught at the right point but can’t reliably put her down to sleep* by herself at all. (*With the exception of after her dream feed at night, when she goes to sleep herself as soon as the light goes out, if she wakes at all.)

Half of me thinks does it matter while she is small? and how sad I’ll be when she doesn’t fall asleep in my arms, but the other half is so frustrated at pacing the floor trying to get her off when she’s clearly over tired and my back is aching after a long day without Pete, that I wish we could improve things. Her napping is also the only time I have to get things done and I’ve realised those precious minutes make me feel so much better able to handle her when she’s awake too.

It’s a minor niggle though when she really is still the best. thing. ever. We go swimming to a baby swim class once a week and have started doing a mum and baby post-natal yoga class so we have classes 3 days a week now. The days we don’t can be hard, as they coincide with Pete being gone until 7 or 8pm – a very long time on an unsettled day, but they also let me get house jobs done and see friends or just do nothing. Which sometimes, is just what you need to do.

Have you got any advice on getting a good nap routine going with your little one? I was recommended the Ferber book, but at this stage I can’t justify letting her cry for even short periods or mentally square it with my personal comfort zone. What do you think readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Bea @ 6 weeks and Nursery sneak peek!

A few weeks ago now Laura and Pete came over to capture some images of Bea while she is still tiny. We had discussed when would be the best time when we did my maternity shoot and one thing Laura said stuck with me, ‘You’ll never want to do it, you’ll never feel ready, don’t worry about tidying and everything, just get us round.’ So at 6 weeks we bit the bullet (once she was smiling,) and arranged a date. In typical fashion we had a bad night prior to them coming, and Bea then proceeded to have the most out of character day she has ever had, grizzling her way through the photos. I was tired, managed to do my hair and not much else, even throwing on some everyday clothes. But you know what, I didn’t care. I wanted images of us in our daily life, just celebrating the every day joy that Bea brings us. And that’s exactly what we got.


Head on over to the Lawson photography blog to see the whole post AND some of the photos were taken in the nursery, so you’ll get a sneaky peek of that too. 🙂 Full post on the nursery coming soon…

Thank you so much Laura and Pete – you really do amaze me every time with the moments you capture forever.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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