Piper – 20 weeks

Piper turned 20 weeks on Thursday 12th October, making 12th October to 18th October her 21st week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

What we did: Piper had caught a cold at the end of last week and was very miserable with it at the start of this week, so I cancelled our planned trip to my parents’ house over the weekend. We were supposed to be attending my grandpa’s 93rd birthday and the last thing I wanted was to infect my grandparents or my cousins’ kids with our germs.

On Tuesday we went out at lunchtime to look at a primary school for Tom. Piper rode in the sling and had a good look at everything.

Wednesday we had friends round for lunch, so Piper got lots of attention and entertained them with her hiccuping.

Feeding: pumping is going better since I have upped my water intake and restarted drinking the tea. But Piper was wanting night feeds again some nights this week. I wasn’t sure if this was genuine hunger or comfort since nights were generally quite disturbed.

Since her schedule change, her 16.30 bottle feed is now only 2.5 hours after her 14.00 feed due to the catnap. Although she was still drinking plenty at 16.30, I began to wonder if she might be taking less earlier in the day because she had gotten used to having a big feed then. We started trying to push that bottle feed closer to 18.00, but because we had some days of interrupted naps, actually only managed to get it to 17.20 and 17.15 the two days we tried it. She didn’t have a night feed either night though so at least this seemed to be helping her get through the night. She also drank 9 ounces both days and looked like she could even have had more.

Sleeping: the first half of this week the cold was playing havoc with her sleep patterns. On Thursday she was super tired and not even managing an hour awake, but then struggled to take long naps as well. She also had a terrible night  – we saw every hour from 1.00 onwards.

By Friday she was feeling better and by Saturday was back to napping normally. However, she was still waking several times at night, but only sometimes seeming to be hungry. Some of these wake ups seemed to be because she was managing to get her left arm out of its makeshift swaddle – I began to recognise the noise she made when this happened because it was a very specific high pitched whine. She also began to break out during nap times. Since she seemed pretty frustrated at having her arm inaccessible and was working so hard to get to it, I decided it was time to be done with swaddling altogether and braced myself for some rough naps and nights.

Well…I was wrong. She was definitely ready and the transition was surprisingly smooth. She did struggle the first time she had her arm free (I released it mid-nap which was not a great plan) but managed to get back to sleep after some sush patting from me. She had also tugged her blanket free and was rubbing it against her face to help comfort herself. I checked the blanket VERY thoroughly for breathability and satisfied myself that it really would be impossible for her to suffocate with it, then decided to allow her to have it. I also kept checking on her regularly – mainly to reassure myself that she was safe with it. The next nap was brilliant and she slept for 2 hours straight. She also settled pretty well at night, though she still woke at 3 and struggled to go back down, so I ended up feeding her. She woke again briefly 90 minutes later but put herself back down after a bit of cooing.

Naps were pretty good the next day too, although we had to get her up early from her lunchtime one to visit a local primary. I had hoped she might take a longer third nap to compensate but she didn’t, so was awake from 14.45 until a slightly early bedtime of 18.50. That night she slept through until I woke her at 6.30.

Frequent night wakings in the second half of the night that aren’t hunger related can be a sign that a baby needs less daytime sleep, so I began to wonder if Piper needed to drop the third nap. It is very early to do this – Tom had it up until 7 months and 6 months is average. Piper is not yet quite 5 months. She has always needed a longer awake time at the end of the day though and, since we are already down to only 30 mins for the catnap, my only real options were to drop it and move bedtime slightly earlier, or shorten her first nap so the catnap occurs earlier in the day.

The next day we had friends coming for lunch and I needed to spend the morning cooking. I was hoping Piper might manage 2 hours for her first nap and a slightly longer awake time after so we could drop the catnap. But I forgot to give her the blanket when I put her down and she woke after just 40 minutes very upset. After half an hour of trying to resettle her, we got her up at 9.30. As a result she kept the catnap but it worked out being an hour earlier, so she was up from 15.30. We kept feeds to their usual time. That night she came really close to sleeping through again – woke briefly at 5.10 but went back to sleep until I woke her at 6.00 (we start early on nursery days so her naps fit around me dropping Tom off). It seemed like less day sleep was definitely the answer but we needed to work out a schedule that would work around Tom and give her enough day sleep to be happy, but not so much sleep she couldn’t make it through the night.

Working on: Laughing! She developed such a sense of humour this week and started giggling away at all sorts of things, including having her tummy tickled, ghost noises, and everything Tom does.

She got so, so close to rolling onto her tummy. Just needed to move her head over and she would have made it.

Other things: She is suddenly in love with Tom. They’ve been playing together lots and she thinks everything he does is hilarious.

She has started making this horrific screeching noise when she is frustrated with her toys. It’s an awful sound but doesn’t seem to mean she is upset.

She is also sucking on her tongue lots and smacking her lips.

We put together her high chair so it will be ready when she starts weaning in about a month’s time. She sat surprisingly well in it but is definitely still too lurchy to be safe eating. A few weeks more muscle development needed yet! 

Schedule: all over the shop this week! Hoping for more stability next week.

 

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10 things I loved last week

I’ve noticed lately that my thoughts are tending towards focusing on the negative – definitely glass half empty type stuff. I’d prefer to be concentrating on the positives, because I really am so blessed and it is worth taking the time to notice that. So each week I’ll try to keep a list of things I have loved about that week – this one covers the week commencing 9 October.

I loved that we have the internet again! We’ve been without it since we moved a month ago and I only have a very small amount of mobile data, which quickly got used up. But we finally got it installed on Friday so I’ve been able to list some items on ebay, update our budgets, and get started on some Christmas shopping. Plus, of course, get caught up with writing the kids’ updates and with reading blogs I love.

I loved eating loads of spicy Thai pickled cabbage. It’s salty and zingy and spicy and makes all the pleasure centres in my brain go off. I’ve been eating it at practically every mealtime.

I loved making overnight oats for breakfast. Filling and delicious and so, so easy to make.

I loved how randomly warm the weather was, so that Tom and I could get out to the park every day that he wasn’t at nursery.

I loved how much Tom enjoyed playing with the fort I made him out of some waste cardboard.

I loved that Piper has gotten over her cold and is her usual happy laughing self again.

I loved joining a network of local mums on Whatsapp. Looking forward to meeting some of them in real life before too long.

I loved reading Quiet by Susan Cain. I’m an introvert and it is pretty apparent that Tom is too. This is a brilliant book for highlighting some of the strengths of this type of temperament and also explores the underlying differences in brain morphology and genetics between introverts and extroverts which I found very illuminating.

I loved that John cooked dinner twice this week without me asking him to.

I loved walking to and from nursery instead of getting the bus. It’s about half an hour each way and I always feel much happier and more awake for getting that exercise first thing.

 

Piper – 19 weeks

Piper turned 19 weeks on Thursday 5th October, making 5th October to 11th October her 20th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

What we did: My niece and I share a birthday (6 October – she turned 3 and I turned 30!) so this week was all about birthdays. We started off by heading to my in-laws on Thursday as they were taking Tom and Rose (my niece) to the theatre. Piper napped well in the travel cot and enjoyed playing with her cousin.

Friday was my (our) actual birthday. Piper was also booked in to have her (very delayed) 16 week jabs at our old doctors’ in Walthamstow, so we went out for a family lunch at a tapas restaurant beforehand. Piper did brilliantly in the restaurant and slept in her buggy through most of the meal, then had a bottle whilst we finished up. She did not enjoy her jabs though – it was three separate injections and she screamed and screamed. It was heartbreaking to see her so upset. She was then a bit fussy that evening, but went down fine, which was lucky as my mum was babysitting her and Tom whilst John and I went out for dinner.

On Saturday we went back to my in-laws house for Rose’s birthday party. We came early so we could all have lunch and Piper could see everyone before the party started. She slept through the first half and napped really well, but wasn’t too sure about the party once she got up. She was a bit fussy anyway (presumably due to her jabs) and there were a lot of small children running around. She cheered up once most people had left and enjoyed some family time before we headed home.

She was home the rest of the week, apart from nursery pick ups.

Feeding: Piper is occasionally drinking as much as nine ounces when she has a bottle. This is made up of 4oz of formula and 5oz of breastmilk. Since she always has a bottle at 16.30 and is (mostly) going through the night without a feed, I essentially dropped two feeds at once (even though I do pump to replace the 16.30 feed). My supply seemed to have dropped a bit so I am being sure to drink more water and to take all the various supplements every day.

Sleeping: Piper slept through on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. She did wake at 3 ish on Sunday night and I expected to feed her, but gave her 10 minutes just to see if she could put herself back down and sure enough she found her thumb after 8 minutes and went back to sleep until 6. Naps were also good.

After almost a week of sleeping through (or nearly so), Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights were increasingly bad. She woke twice each night. The first waking was at a different time each night and she put herself back to sleep quickly with her thumb. The second waking, which was happening around 4 ish each night, she struggled. Since she had been going through the night I was reluctant to start night feeds again but she was clearly in need. We couldn’t work out though why she was also waking earlier in the night as it didn’t seem to be hunger (she was putting herself back down and not waking again for a few hours – if it was hunger I’d expect her to wake again within an hour or so).

On Tuesday evening I started to get a sore throat and then woke on Wednesday with a sore throat, sinus pain and a banging headache. Since I had a cold it seemed reasonable to assume that she did too, despite the lack of obvious symptoms. She’d been more tired than usual during the day and cranky during awake times. I’d thought she might be teething but a cold made sense too. Naps on Wednesday were awful so it was obviously bothering her. I don’t like to give calpol too often since there are studies that suggest overuse may lead to issues later in life, but I did give her a dose before bedtime on Wednesday – sleep being the best medicine I wanted to give her the best chance possible of getting a decent night. She slept until 2 so maybe it had helped a bit (other nights she had woken at 1 and midnight).

Working on: She’s been concentrating less on trying to roll this week in favour of playing with toys. She is so much more accurate and rarely misses when she tries to grab something. She’ll take a new object an stare at it whilst feeling it all over with her hands… and then try to put it in her mouth. She has also discovered her feet but doesn’t try to put them in her mouth, just looks at them and occasionally sort of strokes them.

Other things: We’ve always assumed Piper’s eyes would turn brown (John has blue eyes but mine are a very dark brown so we doubt I have any blue alleles to contribute). Sure enough they have started to change. Currently there is just a small ring of hazel around her pupil and so her eyes mostly look green. I can see little bits of brown radiating out too.

We moved her out of her swaddle and into a proper sleeping bag this week as the nights are getting colder and she keeps wiggling out from under the blanket. We are still using a muslin to keep her left arm swaddled within the sleeping bag though.

Schedule: Everything was very variable this week. Before she caught the cold she was transitioning to 2 hours of awake time but after she got poorly she was wanting to go down earlier again. In theory we are now aiming for this, although I don’t think we actually got there at any point!

6.00-6.30 awake and feed (woken at 6.30 if not awake earlier)

8.00-8.30 – nap 1 (start time depended on morning wake up but I tried to keep her on track for the next feed regardless by waking her if she was still sleeping).

10.00 – feed

12.00 – nap 2

14.00 – feed

16.00 – catnap

16.45 – feed

17.45 – nappy off play

18.20 – bath and pjs

18.45 – stories

19.00 – feed

19.15 – sleep

Slept through half the week, then woke twice the rest of the week, but only occasionally wanting a feed.

Piper – 18 weeks

Piper turned 18 weeks on Thursday 28th September, making 28th September to 4th October her 19th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

What we did: a very quiet week this week for Piper, who was mostly at home other than nursery runs.

Feeding: Piper has been finishing 6 ounce bottles for a couple of weeks now. It takes me two pumping sessions to get that much but I was concerned she wasn’t getting quite enough. We plan to gradually get her drinking a bottle of formula a day anyway ready for when I go back to work in January, so on Saturday I started by mixing one ounce of formula with the 6 ounces of breastmilk. She drank the full 7 ounces, so the next day I put two ounces of formula in to make an 8 ounce bottle. She drank 7 ounces again so we will stick there for a little while.

I also want to increase the amount I pump, so I’ve started taking a few supplements to increase my supply. I’m making smoothies that include brewers yeast, flaxseed, and oat milk and drinking a couple of glasses a day. I’m also mixing a couple of teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in with a cup of Pukka motherkind baby tea once a day and have upped my water intake. This started working straight away – the first evening I was able to pump 3.5 ounces instead of 2 and the second evening I got 4. I was also able to pump almost 6 ounces when I pumped to replace the feeds instead of the 3-4 I was getting. Between these two things I’m hoping to be able to give her an 8 ounce bottle every day and also be able to start building a freezer stash.

Sleeping: Naps went great on both Thursday and Friday. I did hear her occasionally at the 45 minute mark but she was putting herself back down straight away and I even had to wake her for some feeds.

Thursday night was less good. She woke at 1.30 and was struggling to put herself back down (though moaning rather than crying). I was just about to get her up to feed when she went quiet sucking her thumb. Then she woke again at 3.30 for a feed and again moaning at 5.30. Friday was much better with just a feed at 4.45.

Since it had been a week since we started leaving one arm out and she seemed to have adapted, I tried leaving both arms out on Saturday. It took her slightly longer to go to sleep for the first nap and she then struggled at the transition point – I was just about to go in with the dummy when she managed to fall asleep again by herself and slept another 20 minutes. She then wanted to go down a bit early for her next nap and was asleep almost before I left the room! That nap was pretty awful – she was waking every 15 to 20 minutes and taking a while to go back to sleep. I ended up getting her up a bit early and decided to go back to just one hand out for the next nap. Much as I would love to be done with the swaddle, it made no sense to be rushing this transition since she wasn’t yet rolling. She slept better for that nap though she did still wake a couple of times and then put herself straight back down.

Saturday night she came close to sleeping through, not waking until 5.15 and then just chatting and sucking her thumb for about 20 minutes before going back to sleep until my alarm woke her at 6.00. Sunday she seemed tired and even fell asleep on her playgym whilst john was looking after her (I had taken Tom to the park). She napped really well but just seemed especially sleepy for some reason and was wanting to go down early for every nap.

Naps were good Monday and most of Tuesday but then she struggled to get to sleep again after the transition point for her last nap on Tuesday. She went from chatting for about 20 minutes to crying so I went to try to help. After another 20 minutes she was still awake and crying so I went to make her bottle but in the 5 mins I was gone she fell back asleep. Wednesday morning she again struggled at the transition mark and just wasn’t going back to sleep. I began to wonder if she needed longer awake times. I got her up early from that nap but then pushed her to stay up a bit longer for the next nap and it was much better. Looks like another schedule change is on the horizon!

I noticed that the nights she had slept through or nearly so were when she had her bottle at 16.30 so I tried giving it to her for that feed on Tuesday and she slept through until 6.20, then did the same on Wednesday. Jackpot! It’s a bit sad because John is rarely home at that time of day so will miss giving her the bottle but it is worth it if it helps her to sleep through.

Working on: she is getting so close to rolling, especially in nappy off time. She gets almost all the way over but can’t yet work out how to tip herself over her bottom arm.

Other things: Got the first full belly laugh from her on Friday. I had her sat on my tummy as I was lying on the floor and kept lifting my head and shoulders up to grin at her. She found it hilarious.

Piper has started making that raspberry noise, especially when trying to roll over.

She is so attached to her thumb now she has found it. It’s almost always in her mouth. I often have to remove it before I can feed her.

Schedule: same as last week but sleeping through some nights. Changes to come though with lengthening awake times.

Tom monthly summary – September

What we did: We started the month by celebrating Tom’s third birthday. After a busy August and with a house move to plan, I didn’t feel up to arranging a big picnic as we’ve done for him in previous years, so instead he celebrated at nursery with his friends on his actual birthday then we had a family outing to Pizza Express the day after. John’s parents then came round on Saturday with more presents for him, which he very much enjoyed.

Thursday 7th September was Tom’s last day at his old nursery. He started there at just 6 months old. I felt quite emotional and so did the staff but Tom didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. I’m not sure he completely understood he was leaving.

Tuesday 12th September was moving day. Tom had helped me over the weekend to pack up some more stuff, then went with my mum and Piper to the park on Monday so I could supervise the packers who were doing the rest. I had worried that Tom would be disturbed seeing the whole flat in boxes but he actually handled it well. He was also really genuinely helpful over the next few days of unpacking and constructing furniture. He appears to have taken the move mostly in his stride and was a lot less bothered by the whole thing than I thought he might be, though he did ask a few times when we were going back home.

On Tuesday 19th September, we went back to the old flat to do a last clean and take some old and broken bits of furniture to the dump. John took Tom for a haircut whilst I cleaned. I think going back there and seeing it empty was actually really helpful for him in processing the move. At least he no longer worries that any of his toys have been left behind!

Tom started settling into his new nursery on 20-22 September. I had originally intended to stay the whole hour for the first day but he got straight into playing so I left him after about 15 minutes and went to the shops. The next two days he spent the whole hour there solo and had no issues.

We went to my in-laws for Sunday lunch on 24th September. My sister-in-law and her family were also there and, as usual, Tom was thrilled to see his cousin Rose. He especially enjoyed walking to the South Bank and seeing all the boats on the river.

Tom started nursery properly on Monday 25th September. He goes two days a week – Monday and Thursday. The first day went absolutely fine, although when I picked him up I discovered he hadn’t been to the toilet all day! He hadn’t had any accidents either but it can’t be good for his bladder to hold it in for so long. He ran straight to the potty once we got in. The second day he was a little worried about going and didn’t want to leave the flat. Once we got to nursery though he was fine, if a bit quiet, and was happy for me to leave.

We are getting to know our new green spaces and have made several trips to the local park. We also went to explore the East Ham nature reserve and Tom enjoyed spotting squirrels and birds.

Behaviour: For most of this month Tom’s behaviour was much improved, though he was still pushing the boundaries a little bit. He’s gotten better at responding to the phrase ‘listen to me’ or ‘I don’t think you are listening’ which are good markers for when he is getting close to crossing a line. However, the last week he began to act up a bit again. I wonder if the effects of the move were catching up to him.

If Tom does something he knows he isn’t supposed to he will always tell me about it, even if I wasn’t there to witness it.

He’s slowly improving being gentle with Piper, but still hits her occasionally. I can’t trust him alone with her yet. But he will also be really sweet cuddling and kissing her and sharing his blankies with her.

I still have to remind him to say ‘please may I have’ instead of ‘I want’. Hearing ‘I want, I want, I want’ all day is something that really triggers me so I’m hoping he’ll get this soon!

He is getting good about tidying his toys and will sometimes do it without being asked.

Working on: Tom has been getting more interested in dressing himself and now puts on his own pants, trousers and shoes, though he can’t yet manage socks. He also can now get in and out of the bath by himself. He’s still working on right and left. He’s been really interested in puzzles this month and is getting good at completing them with a little help from us. He has also mastered using his crinkle cutter knife and loves to help me cook.

Playing with: Tom got lots of new toys for his birthday. He’s especially loving his duplo, the board games I gave him, and his dinosaurs. He also loves our new mop bucket because the strainer spins around when you press the foot peddle.

Sleep: Tom coped really well with missing naps quite a few days this month. My in-laws gave him a gro clock for his birthday and he LOVES it. Every morning he comes to tell me that ‘the sunshine is up’ and he enjoys saying goodnight to the sun too. The only issue we’ve found with it is that he won’t tell us if he poops during naptime because he thinks he has to stay in bed until the sun comes up!

Eating:  since moving to the new flat, I have started giving Tom an empty plate and then letting him serve himself or choose how much of something he has on his plate. This has worked really well – he is much more likely to clear his plate now and he will take and eat vegetables without being prompted because he knows he won’t get fruit or yoghurt until he has some.

Potty: Tom has been ‘trained’ since February but we had ongoing issues with days of lots of accidents and lots of protesting about using the potty. He also tended to save pooping until he was wearing a nappy at nap or bedtime. But this month he made a real step forward. 80% of poops and 100% of wees went in the potty and he takes himself with no prompting from us. I used to be quite cynical about people waiting until three years old to train their kids but this experience makes me think that we might actually have saved ourselves some stress by waiting longer. Mind you, we would then have had two in nappies which I really wanted to avoid. He still wears a nappy for sleep and will do until he starts waking up dry some nights/naptimes.