Midweek Musings: Weaning trials and sleep success

weaning-lifebylotte*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.

cot-lifebylotteOn 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...


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!

Five month baby update

five-month-baby-update-lifebylotte It literally feels like only last week I was writing my four-month baby update!

Five months is probably THE best age so far! Daphne is such a sweetheart now - she smiles whenever she sees me or Oli, she laughs so much she squeaks and she's interested in everything. She's also started putting her arms up when she wants to be picked up, which kind of makes me fall to pieces inside. Every now and then I look at her and think she's starting to look like a little girl, instead of a baby. It's quite scary really, and I have to keep telling myself to really pay attention to her every day, and notice everything about her because I can see that before too long she'll be all grown up!


For Christmas, Daphne got given a Fisher Price Jumperoo from her Auntie Soph, and she's currently in it (freeing me up to write this). The music weirdly reminds me of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire but that's no bad thing and it keeps her entertained for ages - I love watching her reaching for things and trying to decide what to do with them (currently this seems to be putting them in her mouth). Her newest favourite hobby, along with trying to eat EVERYTHING, is pulling my hair - and quite often pulling it out (oh and have I mentioned it's falling out anyway, by the BUCKETLOAD? Ugh).

She's not rolling yet but she has started grabbing her toes with her hands and pulling her knees up to her chin, which is really cute - except when you're trying to change her nappy, when it's rather infuriating. Thankfully that's usually Oli's job, heh (we made a pact when she was tiny that I'd do all the night feeds and he'd do the nappies - HIGHLY recommend this tactic, pays off massively when they poo in the night). She's such a little wriggler at the moment and seems to delight in any attention you give her - even things like changing her nappy make her all smiley and happy.


Bad bits about five months? Well, she is still not sleeping through the night -  she goes to bed at 6pm then will usually wake at around 10pm, 2am and then 6am. The GOOD thing about this routine is it means we get pretty decent evenings together now - we can actually watch TV (or we could, if I could be bothered) and eat a proper dinner together. I usually spend most of this time catching up on emails or online shopping or aimlessly surfing the internet and losing my mind on Mumsnet etc, but I consider all of these things time well spent. I've tried everything to get her to drop the 2am wake up - I don't really feed her much at night if I can help it as usually she's not actually hungry, but if I don't pick her up then she will cry and work herself up into a massive state. I feel like I've read everything that's ever been written on the subject of getting babies to sleep through and really, I've given up now. I try to sleep when I can (and have been known to fall asleep while putting her to bed, even for her lunchtime nap). It's not too bad, but there are the odd nights (like last night) where she will wake up at 2am and do a massive poo, and then obviously once you've hoiked her off to have her nappy changed, there's no chance of her going back to sleep again for at least two hours. In which case Oli and I both lie there groaning as she happily chats away to herself in her cot. I have never been as tired as I've been over the last month, and I'll definitely write a blog post on the sleep deprivation side of being a mum...

I know we could try letting her cry but, difficult though it is not getting decent sleep, it's not annoying me sufficiently yet. I'm so on the fence about the cry it out thing and really can't decide if it's good for babies in the long run, or neurologically damaging and means they end up in therapy as adults.

We can't get her to nap for longer than 45 minutes either, unless we are in the car - in which case she can sleep for hours. It's so frustrating when you read all these baby schedules that say she should be having an hour and a half's nap at lunchtime - not a chance! 45 minutes after falling asleep she's awake again, and no amount of trying to settle her will get her back to sleep. As a result, she has to have at least four naps a day, or she's a nightmare at bedtime. I'm sure that the nap issues is some way related to her inability to sleep for more than four hours at night but I'm really at a loss as to how to fix it?

Her proper cot arrived today and is sitting downstairs in its box. Lots of my friends who have babies that sleep through have already transitioned them to their own room, but the lazy side of me doesn't want to have to get out of bed in the night to tend to her if she wakes up. ESPECIALLY not in January #chilly. Currently she sleeps in a cot right next to me (the Chicco Next 2 Me) and I can even lie with my head inside her cot and mush my face right up against hers which helps settle her. I often fall asleep in this position. Obviously I couldn't do that if she was in a cot in the other room...


Other weird developments this month: she's started vomiting a lot more. She's never been a sicky baby but in the last month she's had two massive projectile vomiting sessions (always in the middle of the night, always necessitating a complete bedlinen change for both us and her - yay!). It's horrible and she goes completely GREY afterwards, and looks all sad and exhausted. Really worrying. I think both times have been caused by a cold, as she's been coughing up a bit of mucus, and I've been ill for nearly a month now so I'm sure she's got it from me. But she's also been spitting up a lot more after her bottles - not loads, but enough to be annoying. I don't know if I'm feeding her too much or what, but she always seems super hungry and always stops when she's had enough. Honest. (Yes I know she looks a little rotund but I am NOT overfeeding her. HONEST).

I'm not sure if she's teething yet as there are definitely no visible teeth in her mouth, but she has been chewing on things more, drooling and also has bright red cheeks. So I guess she is? The health visitor said it takes ages for the first tooth to come through and that she may be irritable for a long time beforehand, so that's another yay!

In other news, we've started weaning her, and she absolutely loves it - I'll do a separate post on that. It's funny, when I read all these books on weaning and they said 'don't worry if she doesn't eat anything to begin with', 'don't worry if most of the food ends up on the floor' - Daphne has mastered swallowing EVERY. SINGLE. LAST. BITE. And then crying for more. Currently she's had baby rice, carrot, cauliflower, peas and sweet potato and has eaten all of them happily. I think they make a lovely change from her horrible chemical milk. Fingers crossed it means she's going to be a champion eater... after having dealt with a complicated pregnancy, her being born tiny, not being able to breastfeed, months of colic and now her not sleeping through unlike many of her NCT peers, it would be great if just one aspect of parenting came easily... please?!