Lifesavers

Several blogging award ceremonies are now upon us. Every year, we nominate and then vote for our favourite bloggers – sometimes spending hours on one category because the category has three of your favourite blogs in it.

But where would we be without the little parenting lifesavers that have got us through the day so we could carry on blogging?

So without further ado, I present my Top 10 parenting lifesavers.

Breakfast biscuits – For when a proper breakfast is not going to happen. Without them, I would likely go hungry thanks to a mis-timed feed.

Bottle of water – ‘Nuff said.

Coffee creamer / whitener – For when a hot, milky coffee is not going to happen as soon as you’d like it. This stuff keeps hot drinks warmer for longer.

Nipple cream – In the early days, this stuff was liquid gold, especially the ones that didn’t need to be washed off before a feed.

Twitter – I’ve kept my sanity chatting to the lovely ladies and gents of Twitter. There’s either someone having the same day as you, or someone who just fancies a chat. I’ve spent many feeds stuck in the sofa with just the company of Twitter. It’s great.

Frozen meals – During the first few weeks we saved up left over portions of dinners so that if I was having a hectic day, I could just whack a meal in the oven. This has been a huge help with zero effort as all it took was cooking a larger lasagne, for example. This also saved our wallets (and waistlines) from buying takeaways!

Vanish – For those white to yellow vest days. I need to take out shares in this stuff.

Nursing Pillow – Apart from it’s obvious use, it’s also good for being a neck pillow for a last minute nap after a feed and T is on my chest. No more cricks in your neck.

Baby TV – Not my proudest life-saver, and when I caught myself letting him watch the TV I cried a little bit, but within the ten minutes I let him watch the telly during a challenging day I got to go the toilet and prepare some (decent) food. Although it is only ten minutes I still feel guilty about doing it, trust me.

My stretchy wrap – Probably my biggest life-saver. For when T doesn’t want to be put down, and I want to cook dinner. It also means I can nip to the shops without packing up the pram.

What are your parenting life savers?

K

3 Month Update

T is now 3 months old. 3 MONTHS!!

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Time is going way too quickly for my liking, although I’m still very guilty of saying to myself “ooo I can’t wait until T is doing this…”. I’m forever looking for the next milestone that I’m forgetting that I can’t then rewind once the milestone has been reached! I can’t wait until T is sitting up or grabbing toys – we have so many of them – but I’m also enjoying how he’s still small enough to lay on my chest after a feed, or how he doesn’t protest when we lay him down.

Milestones-wise we are in full smile mode, and not a day goes by that we haven’t had genuine smiling and sometimes something that looks like a lead onto a laugh.

T is also self-soothing with his fingers or a whole fist, and often sticks a few digits in his mouth after a feed but before going to sleep.
It’s very cute hearing him suck and slurp away on his porky fingers, but it’s not so cute when said finger is wiped across your face accidentally or after a 30 minute feed when someone doesn’t know how to remove said finger from the back of their throat and throws up the whole feed. Yeah. That.

Speaking of feeding, or certainly thanks to feeding, T is now comfortably fitting 3-6 month clothing. No more newborn or even 0-3 month clothing. Although T is obviously still a baby, he doesn’t feel like a baby-baby. You know?


He’s a big, fudgey baby now and no longer a teeny, tiny baby that can be scooped up and cradled. He has to sit over my shoulder so he can have a look around like the nosey Parker he is. With this, he’s now also awake for longer periods during the day, which is great as it means I get to play with him more.

Because of the longer awake periods, we’re now in a really nice bedtime routine and T is sleeping through from 8:30pm to 6:30am. He’s put himself in that routine and often starts demand feeding from 7:30pm until he falls asleep at 8:30. When he wakes at 6:30am he then has a 30-40 minute feed and is off to sleep until 9:00. Not bad! This gives me a good excuse to sit in bed with a coffee and express/tweet/blog/nap/all of the above.

And finally, and probably my favourite milestone, T has found his voice and is often heard cooing and chatting on the changing mat, in his Moses basket, in the pram, in the car, or when he’s just being carried around the house. It’s adorable and I find myself copying the noises or pretending we’re having an intellectual conversation about the economy. I’ve also been known to tell family members off if they haven’t heard the fact that T is talking to them. Cue incessant babbling from nanas, aunties, and uncles.

I’m loving this stage at the moment, and not just because T is only pooping once a week, but because he’s really interacting. He smiles and chats to most people and is quite happy being left looking at the fish tank or by the window. He’s a genuinely lovely little boy and I am so proud of his developments and achievements. I couldn’t be happier right now.

K

Days Out – Our First Lesson with Puddle Ducks

Me and S have always been water lovers. We love swimming, we love our showers. We swim in pools and sometimes in the sea (if we can be bothered to walk over the cobbles of Brighton Beach). So naturally, we wanted to get T used to swimming early on in his life so that by the time we go on our holidays, he’ll have no issues jumping into a pool or having fun in the sea.

Apart from going to the local pool and just having a splash around, we didn’t know the first thing about introducing babies to swimming. We certainly didn’t want to do anything wrong so that he’s then traumatised later, so we decided that we’d do it properly and get T into some classes early on.

Of course these classes are more for the parents, so they can learn how to be confident in the water with their babies,but it got T into the water as well – so we were happy.

We decided to go with a company called Puddle Ducks as we met the guys at a baby show we recently attended and they were lovely. Other companies also seemed to have larger classes, where as Puddle Ducks had smaller, more personal classes. Finally, to be quite honest, other companies were way more expensive, some a lot more expensive. Puddle ducks seemed more reasonable and value for money. 

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I arrived at the Brighton Hilton Metropole early on Wednesday. Before arriving, I was excited at the thought of having the class in the hotel pool – it was going to be quiet with, hopefully, lots of space to change but that got quickly thrown out the water when I realised the hotel car park was £4 an hour!! So I had to park at an alternative car park last minute – thankfully I was ahead of time.

Arriving in the leisure club’s lobby I was greeted by the owner of Puddle Ducks. He ran through the procedures and where everything was and then showed me to the changing rooms. It was really well organised, even more so when I found out there was a buggy room assigned to puddle ducks.

In regards to the hotel facilities, I wasn’t overly impressed with the changing rooms. Not only was there limited baby changing facilities, but there were only about 20 lockers within the changing room, unless you didn’t mind leaving the changing rooms in your costume to find the other lockers in the hotel corridor. By the time I got us both changed my back was in agony. With this in mind, every effort has clearly been made to make the time in the changing rooms comfy. There were several changing mats, a travel cot for older babies; so adults can change, and a nappy bin provided by the guys at Puddle Ducks. 


I think the thought of having these classes in a hotel is lovely, but it’s certainly not practical. I wouldn’t be impressed if I was a guest at the hotel, hoping to have a leisurely swim, and found a dozen crying babies in the changing rooms taking up all the locker and bench space, stinking the place out with nappies. Maybe they’re warned beforehand, but the fiesty Italian lady next to me certainly wasn’t impressed (maybe it’s because I accidentally put T’s nappy in her open locker rather than mine).

Puddle Ducks are clearly a very popular company. When I arrived, there was already a class in the water and another class waiting on the side. Despite all this, they’re very organised; which is reassuring. From the military operation of getting changed to getting in the water, everything is meticulously planned so that is all goes smoothly and safely. 

When it was our turn, we went through some health and safety bits and then got going. The instructor had a lovely system set up when it came to getting in and out. You placed baby down on a soft wet mat, she then took them into the pool and then handed them to you after you got in. This was great as I had this awful fear of having to step in one handed down the ladder, or slipping on a sloped entrance.

The class itself was great. It was really relaxed and went at a nice, steady pace. Crying babies were welcome and the classes were adapted for babies with reflux. We learnt different holds and techniques to water enjoyment, as well as how to make us more confident in the water with our baby so that they’re relaxed. Of course there was singing – but that didn’t sound too bad thanks to the echoey pool! Considering it was only 30 minutes, we managed to fit a ton of positions in. T absolutely loved it and only cried when we got out! I also felt more confident in regards to handling him in the pool.

I can’t wait for next week as well as future swimming sessions locally. Next week we learn how to dunk!

K

We weren’t given anything for the purpose of this post. 

We Are The Mums Who…

This week, we were kindly nominated by Lauren to join in on a feature called “I am the mum who…” which depicts what kind of mums we are. Seeing as there are two of us, we both wanted to get involved!

We don’t usually do these sorts of things, but this one stuck out as it gave us the opportunity to do something different and think outside the box.

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Looking after the “Us”. 

Me and S have been just “us” for a long time. We’ve always had the freedom to accept invites to parties and stay out late. We wouldn’t have an issue going out for dinner or having a lay in at weekends.

On top of this we were often able to be quite romantic and spontaneous.

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So when T arrived, everything we once had went out the window. Of course we didn’t mind, it’s what we always wanted, but we had to make sure that it wasn’t lost forever and that we as a couple weren’t lost.

On top of this, it’s very easy, especially when you’re tired, to turn on each other and snap, and there have been occasions where S and I have done this. So to make sure we weren’t on a downward path, adaptations have already been made to make sure we’re still Sharon and Kate…

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Work as a team. We’ve always done this, but it’s more important now that T is around. During the night feeds, for example, I’ve recently agreed to S going to get T from his Moses basket and changing him whilst I slowly wake up and get myself ready. By the time S has finished and brought him back in, I’m awake and ready. S then goes back to sleep whilst I feed him. Other things include S doing dinners at weekends, and walking the dog before work. This team work makes everyone feel involved and it means we’re sharing the workload.

Avoid talking about T (all the time).  We love T dearly, but dinner times, especially now, are dedicated to non-baby stuff and more “us” stuff.

Going to bed early. We don’t want to wipe our evenings out, but going to bed early sometimes gives us a chance to just snuggle and chat. We still sometimes have evenings on the sofa catching up on shows we’ve missed, but going to bed instead some evenings mean we get time to ourselves without the distraction of technology.

Seeing the romance in things. It may just be being given an extra sausage at breakfast (ooo err), or saving your last rolo, but little romantic gestures like this make all the difference.

Over time, and once I have a regular expressing pattern, we hope to leave T with his nan and go on a proper “date” with each other. This may, at first, start off as just having an afternoon to ourselves at home or a cinema date, but we aim to one day have a whole evening (and night) to ourselves!

Don’t get me wrong, I already feel guilty about planning on handing T over or talking about how we want to be alone, but I really value the alone time with my wife as well. We’ve worked hard to make us what we are so I certainly don’t want to lose it.

K

2 Month Update

T is now 8 weeks old, almost 2 months! He has been on this planet 56 days! It doesn’t sound like long, and it isn’t really, but when you think about the changes that have occurred in that time it feels like time is really flying by and that T is growing up so quickly.

T’s physical look has changed  significantly in comparison to 2 months ago.

He’s almost holding his head up independently 100%, often holding it up for long periods whilst on his tummy. He also doesn’t let his head drop suddenly half as much when either on my chest (hitting my collar bone!) or being carried.

He’s now comfortably fitting 0-3 month clothing, and even some 3-6 month clothing depending on where we bought the clothes. He fits most things on his waist but perhaps needs a bit of growing to do on his legs.

When the health visitor visited last (at approx 6 weeks) he weighed in at over 12Ib – by now he’s probably hitting the 13Ib mark. I was concerned he was a little weighty as I know friends with older babies that aren’t that far ahead weight wise, but the HV said he was perfect. Length and head measurements are apparently perfect also – all measuring on the 95th centile whatever that means. Apparently, he’s nicely in proportion.

Sleep

This subject is a big one; one I’ll dedicate to in a separate post, but to summarise we finally think we’ve cracked T’s sleeping at night. He now has to sleep with a wedge under his mattress in his Moses basket so that he sleeps at an angle, but for some reason he likes it. Before, we’d have 30 minutes of sleeping alone (if you can even call it sleep) before he’d stir. This then resulted in T sleeping on me just so all three of us could get some sleep.  It was a nightmare.

We currently put T to bed at 8:30pm/9pm and he sleeps for 4-5 hours solid. After this, he’s then waking every 2 hours for a nappy change and feed.

I couldn’t be happier about this. Of course I’d like more sleep, who wouldn’t, but in comparison to what we were getting; this is bliss. All thanks to a wedge.

Feeding

I’m still exclusively breastfeeding, with T feeding every 2-3 hours unless he’s out for the count on my chest or if we’re out and he’s asleep.

I’m also expressing at least once day when I find the time. I either express between the 2am/3am mark after a feed as the opposite boob to the one T’s fed on is often left engorged, or around 6am before T wakes for his 7am feed.

When I do find time to express I’m getting about 4-6oz a time. I’m quite pleased about this as I’m getting quite the stock in my freezer.

Milestones

T is now properly smiling and not because he’s farted. Although there’s no pattern to his smiling, as in I can’t always guarantee a smile when I do a certain thing, he’s definitely smiling at us doing something.


The smiling is probably my favourite thing at the moment – it absolutely melts me. It finally feels like I’m getting something back, if that makes sense. It doesn’t seem all take take take on his part anymore. Of course parenting is rewarding in itself but to get a reaction back from your baby because you did something is so magical and a real reward.

It’s now getting into our summer months which means longer walks in the evening and days on the beach, not to mention a nice time to start swimming now that he’s had his immunisations. I can’t wait.

K