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....

Saturday, 24 September 2011


Well, we've made it to the magic three months - I'm told things should start falling into place from here on in!

To be fair, I think we're doing pretty well already. Charlotte's managing to nap more often than not in the flat now, albeit mostly only for 25-45 minutes; and she's virtually sleeping through the night. Most nights she's down by 7.30pm and she's been waking later and later for her feed... last "night" was 5.50 this morning!, then she went back down for another hour or so.

I'm really pleased I persevered with the breastfeeding, as that seems to be going OK. Keep wondering when I can lengthen the time between feeds (mostly still feeding every three hours, sometimes three and a half) - but if she's not up until 8am and then has her last feed around 6.30pm, there are only so many hours in her day to get another three or four feeds in.

I often get e-mails from various baby websites telling me what my 12 week old, or three month old, or whatever 'should' and 'could' be doing - always with the caveat that babies all reach different milestones at their own pace, and not to worry if my baby's not doing what others are. But you can't help but wonder "what if" - what if the fact Charlotte hates tummy time so much means she won't sit up/crawl/walk properly; what if her catnaps affect her development; what if she doesn't start talking in another year or so?

To be honest, I'm not really worried about the latter two examples, and even the first one is concerning me less as she's been making further strides in trying to roll onto her side - craning her neck, arching her back etc; and her back and neck are getting stronger and stronger when held upright. She'll be fine, and will do all the things babies are supposed to do - eventually.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


My respect for single parents and families where one parent is often away has increased massively in the past couple of days. My OH is away for a few nights, leaving me with Charlotte on my own for the first time. It's not the hard work that's an issue - I'm only doing what I do most days - it's the loneliness. There's an oddly intense loneliness that comes with being alone with a baby that's 100% your responsibility.

I guess I feel it a bit more as my OH works from home, so he's always around to bounce off when I have any problems or concerns.

But so far, so good. She even had her second set of jabs today - and despite letting out the biggest, blood-curdling screams I've ever heard for a good 10 minutes, she seems OK and happy now (actually she's asleep now, which is even better!). She's also put on enough weight to stay on the same percentile, which the Health Visitor (and I) was pleased with.

Charlotte's had a couple of odd nights where she's clearly woken up, but not seemingly for a feed. A couple of times I've popped her dummy back in and she's slept for another couple of hours before needing to be fed. The other night she was wide, wide awake at 0140 - so I just popped to the loo before going back to feed her. When I returned she was fast asleep again!

She's also lying in her Moses basket quietly 'muttering' to herself, or just staring into space, more - very quietly. So it makes me wonder how often she's actually wide awake, when we assume she's asleep in her room, but just silent - especially during her daytime naps (still only managing 25-45 minutes each time, but better than nothing).

And here's my cute picture of the week, for purely indulgent purposes!

On our way to the doctors in her harness for her jabs - her smiles were short lived :(


edit: Charlotte slept for ages last night after her jabs (and no Calpol) - heard the odd cough and murmur, but she seemed to sleep from 1915 until 0455, then back to sleep until 0730 after a feed. I say seemed - she's just done what I mentioned earlier - popped in check on her 35 mins into her morning nap, and she was lying there with her eyes wide open, totally silent. So all the time I assume she's sleeping and would just leave her to it until I hear her crying, she might not be asleep - so now I have no clue as to how much sleep she's getting...

Thursday, 15 September 2011


As Charlotte approaches 12 weeks, I've been really trying to see the patterns in her behaviour to see if it will help us with sticking to any form of routine. So far as I can tell, she can't go past two hours without needing a nap, or else overtiredness very quickly sets in and it's extremely difficult to put her down for a snooze.

That's particularly true when it comes to her nighttime sleep. She really needs a little nap sometime around 5pm to make sure she's not overtired by the time we put her down at around 1845. The last few nights we've made sure that's happened by taking her out for a walk, and she's gone down with barely a whimper.

She's also edging back to between three and three and a half hours between feeds, after last week's growth spurt and extra feeds. While we've been trying to do the EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time) routine, because she only catnaps, at least once a day it means Eat and Sleep fall at around the same time. That results in her falling asleep while feeding, or not sleeping well because she's hungry.

The first nap of the day is getting much easier to judge. It's usually around an hour and a half after she's got up, she's usually pretty easy to put down and she'll sleep for up to an hour. The only downside to that is that it falls at exactly the time I'd like to take her to a couple of sessions at the local Children's Centre (Baby Beethoven and Baby Stay and Play), which both start at 9am. So I'm giving those a miss for the time being, while we continue to establish a routine and pattern to Charlotte's day.

She also tends to be at her most alert and active in the afternoon. She's started grabbing toys that are put next to her and being much more co-ordinated with hitting objects. She did get a bit upset when she couldn't work out that she had to ungrip her fingers to let go of something, but I think she's worked that one out now!

The absolute best moment came on Tuesday evening - just as we were about to wind down from playtime to nighttime. Charlotte came out with two bouts of the most brilliant laughter. It was proper, full-on giggling that had me weeping with happiness! I hope to hear much more of that in the weeks and months to come...

Saturday, 10 September 2011


It seems a very long time ago that Charlotte was managing to settle herself straight to sleep - or with just 10 minutes' coaxing. The past three nights have seen a return to the screaming ab-dabs for up to 40 minutes as she fights going down to sleep. I don't think it's connected to the fact that we've started putting her in her own room, as she was the same on Thursday night when she was still in our room. And I don't think it's connected to her apparent growth spurt either.

Part of the problem is that she's so overtired after not having had enough sleep during the day, which is well documented in this blog. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's in her Moses basket, pram or harness these days - she just won't stay down for more than half an hour. We seem to be putting her down at the right time as it's not taking too much effort to get her to sleep, but after that it's up to her and she's just not staying asleep. She doesn't wake up especially grouchy or crying - usually she's quite playful - which makes me think the catnaps are all she needs. But then when she's barely had two hours in total all day, it's resulting in a nightmare evening.

She also seems to react to the moment we start to wind-down and make it 'nighttime' by making the flat darker and quieter. While we're told it's really important to have a bedtime routine so she knows what's coming next and helps her to sleep, it seems to have the opposite effect on Charlotte - she knows what's coming... bedtime... and she doesn't like it. Her baths have been great, but after that she'll scream the place down until her feed, and then again until we've resorted to white noise, rocking and/or cuddles to calm her.

We know this is just another phase that will pass, but it feels like we're taking another few steps backwards in her sleeping at the moment. And it upsets me that the image that I have of Charlotte before I go to bed is of an upset and unhappy child.

But it is nice to have our bedroom back!

Thursday, 8 September 2011


Well it looks like our breakthrough in getting Charlotte to sleep in her Moses basket during the day may be down to her three month growth spurt - two weeks early. Her six week one came at around five weeks, so for her 12 week one to happen just before she's 11 weeks wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility.

In the past couple of days she's been much more sleepy than usual - down for a nap after being awake for little over two hours, sometimes not even that long. And she's gone from feeding around every three and half hours back to the old two and a half hours - and two nightfeeds instead of just one.

Hopefully it will only last a few days and we'll have a few more playful hours, a little less feeding, but also that she continues to go down for a nap without too much of a fight during the day.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Patience, perseverance and positivity.

Plenty of the first two are starting to pay off, resulting in the third.

Looking back over most of my past posts, I've realised I mostly talk about the problems and issues we've been dealing with. So I thought it was about time I highlighted some of the positives from the past few weeks - because there are more and more as each day goes by.

We're getting plenty of big beaming smiles - especially if we're smiling and laughing with Charlotte. She seems to love having her nose poked, and playing with the helium balloon is also still entertaining her greatly!

Since Sunday we've seen her do a few attempts at rolling onto her side, which is really encouraging. If she makes it all the way onto her front it might give her a bit of a scare, though, as she still hates 'tummy time'. I think we've managed 3 minutes maximum. But when we support her in a sitting position, her neck seems plenty strong enough, so being comfortable on her front will eventually come with time.

Charlotte will occasionally surprise us with the odd daytime sleep in her Moses basket. In fact today she managed THREE (at 0810, 1115 and 1400) varying between 25 and 40 minutes - but those cat-naps are better than nothing, and she only really fought two of them.

And she loves playing on her new Jungle Gym. She actually has three - two were hand-me-downs from a friend, but to make life easier for us, they're now at each grandparent's house, so we needed to buy one for our home! She's always very animated on it, with fantastic noises (squeals, gurgles etc), arm and leg movements (like she's running or galloping away from someone!) and she's getting better and better at focusing on a toy and batting at it.

She's also pretty content for lengthening amounts of time in her bouncy or swinging chairs, which makes life a bit easier for me as I can get things like housework and cooking done. I had been feeling guilty for leaving her in her chair for 20 minutes while I did something like the ironing; but she seems to amuse herself, I keep talking to her as I'm doing the chores, and I give her plenty of proper playtime throughout the rest of the day.

The bottom line is, despite the usual evening screaming fits and getting her to sleep in the day, Charlotte is a very happy, gorgeous, fun baby. In fact, she's got so much personality and seems to be progressing so well, it's very hard to think of her as a 10 week old baby. To us she's a little person - not a baby hardly at all. She's fab!

Sunday, 4 September 2011


I go one good day with Charlotte and then start questioning everything - is she feeding enough, sleeping enough, too hot, too cold???

Last night was very warm, and despite the fact she'd been asleep for a good couple of hours and was in the same number of layers as the previous warm night, I panicked that she was too hot. So we stripped her out of her 1 tog sleeping bag while managing to keep her asleep. But then she fed really fussily at 1am, so I thought she was still too hot and took off her sleepsuit. It took a couple more feeds, a change of nappy and fretting over whether she was now too cold in just a vest and sleeping bag to get her back to sleep. I know it was all my fault as I'd fussed and fussed over her and woke her totally up, but it meant she didn't go back down until after 3am.

Why I didn't just stick with what we'd done the night before which worked perfectly, I don't know. But a vest, sleepsuit, sleeping bag and sheet (to keep her arms swaddled) seemed excessive in 24 degree heat.

Her Dad did the morning feed the next morning with expressed milk (slowly managing to get that back on track) to give me a bit of a lie-in. But I can never relax and only managed about half an hour's extra sleep. I still worry whether she's getting enough food from me, despite her obvious happiness and alertness and (mostly) good nighttime sleeping. I guess I've just got that total 'new mum neurosis' and - as my OH keeps telling me over and over - I've got to learn to relax; she's a baby - not yet three months old - and she'll do what she wants.

Friday, 2 September 2011


Sorry to be all repetitive, but it's that age-old issue of daytime sleeping again.

After a good day yesterday, we've had a really bad day today. I don't think she got much over an hour's sleep all day, which I know can't be good for her - and that's likely to have a knock-on effect on tonight's sleep.

At her weigh-in this week, Charlotte had put on a little more weight, staying on the same 9th percentile, so the health visitor wasn't concerned. When we asked her about her sleeping, she said cat naps weren't a problem (Charlotte's only been doing the odd half an hour here and there just lately) - so long as all her sleep is adding up to around 12-14 hours in a 24 hour period. I think most days/nights we average around 10 hours.

The news that cat naps aren't a problem made me a bit more relaxed. But I'm still getting really wound up and frustrated when she won't even nod off when it's really obvious she's tired (all the usual signs - yawning, rubbing her eyes and ears, grizzly). And as I've mentioned several times before, that lack of sleep affects her feeding too. Twice today she nodded off on the breast, which meant she wasn't full. The second time, I just let her sleep on me for half an hour as I was so concerned by how little sleep she'd had.

My OH seems a little too relaxed about her daytime sleep, which winds me up a bit, as I feel like I'm the only one striving to get Charlotte exactly what she needs. He says we're giving her the opportunity to sleep (walking her in her pram etc), but there's nothing else we can do to actually make her fall asleep and stay asleep. But even some of those fail-safes are now failing. If she does manage to nod off in her pram it's now for little more than half an hour; even the car is a little hit and miss.

Yesterday, however, was a good example of what a good day's sleep can result in. I took Charlotte out for the day to a nearby town - partly to give my OH plenty of space and time to work without interruptions and for a change of scene for me. Charlotte and I had a little bit of play time on a picnic rug, and after her feed she promptly fell asleep in her car seat which was on her pram - and stayed asleep for more than two hours!

That evening, she got herself off to sleep beautifully. She woke briefly at 2315 which didn't seem to be for a feed, so we tucked her back in and gave her a dummy - and she promptly slept for a further five hours - nine in total. All very good for her, but I was constantly clock-watching - thinking she'll wake any time for a feed, why hasn't she woken for a feed... then, it's been 8, 9, 10 hours since her last feed.

So, as she slept like the proverbial baby I still didn't manage to catch up on any lost sleep. I think that tiredness exacerbates my frustrations over her daytime sleeping. And that frustration inevitably sees me end up in tears. I don't think I've gone more than a day without crying in recent weeks. It's only because I care so much for Charlotte, and want to do everything right by her - and I guess I feel I'm failing a bit at that if I can't get her the sleep she so obviously needs...

edit: so much for worrying what sort of sleep she was going to get. Went down pretty much by herself by 1930 until 0130 for a feed. Then back down until QUARTER PAST SEVEN (albeit the OH tucked her back in when she was squirming around a lot at 0430 and he was awake anyway). Despite my concerns over her daytime sleep, I really am aware at how lucky we are that she has her big chunks of sleep at night.