Piper – 11 weeks old

Piper turned 11 weeks on Thursday 10th August, making 10th-16th August her 12th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

Where we were: Another busy week! Piper and I spent Thursday at the new flat – she napped in her Moses basket in the bathroom whilst I painted and stripped wallpaper. Then on Friday we headed up to my in-laws in Suffolk for a friend’s wedding. You can read more about that here. Back in London, we spent Monday and Tuesday working on the flat then headed to my parents’ house on Wednesday in preparation for going to Somerset for the weekend for my cousin’s wedding.

Feeding: Nursing is still going well. She takes about 15 minutes per feed, including burping. Bottles are another matter though. Continuing on from our struggles last week, I gave her a bottle of thawed frozen breastmilk on Thursday for her five o’clock feed and she really didn’t want to drink it. She ended up getting so worked up that she was actually falling asleep in my arms from tiredness, so I put her down for her cat nap and then tried again before bath time. It took some persuasion but she did then drink 4 ounces. We realised that she prefers it a bit cooler – room temperature rather than body temperature – which is why she would accept it once the bottle was cooler.

I had pumped milk ready to take to our friend’s wedding but ended up leaving it in our fridge in London. Since it takes me a few pumping sessions to get a full feed currently, we   weren’t sure that I’d be able to pump enough to take to the wedding so actually did buy some ready mixed formula to see if she would drink that. She did drink a couple of ounces on Friday evening, but it took me about an hour to persuade her to have that much. Fortunately, I was able to pump enough to take to the wedding with us (I massively upped my water intake which helped a lot), and she drank that bottle fairly happily. We’ve continued to offer a bottle of fresh milk at room temperature every other day and she is drinking it ok, though does usually need to be bounced or walked around a bit to get her started.

As planned, I have added a pump session every evening. The amount I get is slowly growing, but is currently only at around 2.5 ounces and she will drink at least 4, so I’m only getting a full feed every two days. If we give her a bottle any time except 5 pm, I pump to replace the feed and sometimes I can also pump after her first morning feed, as she doesn’t always have both sides, so I am getting enough to give a daily bottle, but not to build up a freezer stash. Hopefully this will improve as my body gets more used to the pump and to providing a ‘feed’ at 9 pm every evening.

Sleep: We had a couple of good long naps this week but most of the time she is still waking at the 45 minute transition mark and needing the dummy to go back down for the rest of the nap. She surprised me by sleeping relatively well in her Moses basket at the new flat – still waking at 45 minutes but going back down with the dummy and needing to be woken for feeds. Considering we were ripping up a floor in the next door room, this was very impressive! We had to put her in the bathroom since we have no curtains currently, so it is the only room we can make dark.

For the first half of the week,  nighttime sleep was good. She was still waking once a night (hasn’t slept through again for ages now) but often not until 4 or 4.30 am, so we were both getting a nice long bit of sleep. However, she hit the 12 week Wonder Week on Monday and since then night sleep has suffered. She’s waking up earlier, more frequently, and taking much longer to go down after a feed. Usually I can feed her, put her straight back in the cot and she’ll give a few little grunts and then go to sleep. The last few nights though she has cried after being put down and I’ve had to give her the dummy. Even then it is taking her a while to drop back off and I often have to reinsert it. Hopefully this will get better again once the Wonder Week is passed. Can’t wait for her to be reliably self-soothing with her hands so we can drop the dummy and swaddle and hopefully get her sleeping through consistently!

Working on: she’s still working mainly on her hands but there has been a noticeable improvement in how smooth her movements are. She’s now batting at toys with a fair degree of accuracy and is starting to try to grasp things. She still hasn’t quite worked out how to suck her fingers, but will use one hand to hold the other one to her mouth and lick her fingers, so I think this won’t be far off. 

She’s still cooing a lot and we’ve noticed that she starts chatting more when she is getting sleepy (which will be something to look forward to once she can talk….) She is also getting better at following movement and can smoothly track a toy or a person as it travels across her field of vision.

Other things from this week: Piper was a real hit at the wedding and did well being passed from person to person. She didn’t really sleep, but still stayed fairly happy and smiley.

She has started laughing, especially in the bath.

On Monday she started her third Wonder Week. I suspected she might be in one because she was slightly cranky (Piper only ever cried when she is tired so cranky for her just means slightly fussy and not wanting to play alone as much), and was suddenly using her hands much more accurately. Sure enough I checked the app on Tuesday and she was in the 12 week Wonder Week, which lasts 7 days. It’s mainly affecting her nighttime sleep but she is also wanting more attention during awake times.

Schedule: Wake times were really variable this week. A lot of the time she seemed to be extending them and was able to stay happily awake for an hour and ten minutes, but there was the odd time where she would start fussing after just 45 minutes and want to go back down. Loosely speaking we are still following the same broad pattern as last week.

 

Suffolk Weekend 

We are just home from a wonderful but exhausting weekend at my in-laws in Suffolk. They were actually not there, since they are away on holiday, but a friend was getting married close by, so we went up on Friday with the kids. We were joined by 7 of our friends, plus John’s brother and sister, our brother-in-law, and our niece, who is the same age as Tom.

We served up a barbecue on Friday night once the kids were settled, which got a bit merry. Ridiculous games were played, a stuffed stoat appeared, and my head was not feeling so great the next morning. 

Luckily the rain held off and we had a very relaxed morning. The kids enjoyed each other’s company, had a swim, got out every toy in the house, and generally made the most of the holiday atmosphere. 

We left Tom with his aunt and uncles whilst the rest of us went to the wedding. I had to nurse Piper during the church service, but fortunately the ceremony was very short and sweet. The bride was stunning, and we enjoyed drinks and canapés at the beautiful Butley Priory. I had brought along a bottle for Piper’s 5 o’clock feed so I could enjoy a few glasses of champagne. 

Piper behaved beautifully and was a huge hit with everyone. 


I sloped off just after the speeches to go put the children to bed (thank you to my brother-in-law who came to collect me) and sadly missed the meal, but enjoyed a snacky dinner with my in-laws. The others returned just before 10 and we played a few rounds of cards against humanity before calling it a night. 

Sunday was a predictably slow start, with plenty of bacon and eggs to tackle people’s hangovers. The kids enjoyed the sandpit and we headed back to London after lunch to face a mountain of washing! 

Piper – 10 weeks old

Piper turned 10 weeks on Thursday 3rd August, making 3rd-9th August her 11th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

Where we were: Tom, Piper and I went down to my parents’ house for a long weekend on the Thursday (John had to work). Both my siblings were there too, plus my brother’s new not-quite-a-girlfriend-but-actually-yes-she-is. And my parents’ new black Labrador puppy who is just two weeks older than Piper. So it was quite a crowd.

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Enjoying some granny time

The three of us also spent Saturday on the bank of the Thames at a little rowing regatta that I have participated in for almost 10 years now – there’s a crew of about 20 of us who have been doing it for ages which includes some of my closest friends from school. So again, quite full on for a young baby! Since the weekend was so busy and the rest of the month will be too, I’ve kept us mainly at home since we got back on Monday.

Feeding: Piper has been a speedy feeder since birth and used to finish in less than 10 minutes. She slowed up a bit this week, mainly due to all the distractions, and a couple of times I had to take her into a quieter room in order to get her to concentrate on her feed. She’s still done in less than 15 minutes usually, including burping between sides.

We did have some bottle issues this week. We offered her one on Wednesday. It was the first one she had had for about two weeks and that had been fresh milk, whereas this was from the freezer which does taste a bit different. She got very upset and didn’t want to drink it, but after half-an-hour of soothing and walking her around John did get her to drink 4 ounces (we did check the milk but the temperature was fine and it didn’t taste off or bad). I’m going to introduce a daily pump session so she can have a bottle every day and hopefully will stay used to the taste so this doesn’t occur again. We have several weddings coming up and I don’t want her to be refusing a bottle in church! I hate pumping but I do need her to take a bottle on occasion so it is worth the effort.

Sleep: I miss our nice long 2 hour naps! Piper has been suffering from the ’45 minute intruder’ for a few weeks now and we rarely get more than one day of good naps. We didn’t have any this week, but that was partly due to being away from home. Our first day back she did two really good 2 hour naps in her moses basket, but then we moved her into her new cot and she went back to waking up at the 45 minute mark again. Hopefully this will get better as she gets used to her new sleeping environment, but we are going to be away so much this month that it may take longer than it would otherwise.

When she wakes up after 45 minutes we first give her five minutes to see if she can resettle herself. If she can’t, we go in and offer her the dummy and she will typically doze for the rest of the nap, but doesn’t seem able to get back into a deep sleep. We’ve given up shush patting or rocking though as our presence just seems to wake her up more and I can’t really spend 45 minutes shush patting her with a toddler to entertain as well. Tom didn’t take a long nap until he found his thumb at about 20 weeks though, so I’m still fairly happy with how naps are going.

Nightime sleep is generally good, though she had a lot of problems settling at the start of the night at my parents’ house. The room we use there is very light and just above the kitchen, so pretty noisy. Once we got back home she was fine again, even in the new cot. She did wake once every night this week for a feed – it has been over a week since she last slept through (by which I mean from when I put her down at around 19.30-19.45 to at least 5.30 with no wake ups at all). However, she is definitely hungry when she wakes and is now sleeping until our desired wake time of 6 am pretty much every morning, so that is a bonus. She also settles very quickly after her night feed and we are generally not up for more than 20 minutes max – I can definitely live with this!

Working on: Piper never really suddenly found her hands the way Tom did. She’s been aware of them from at least 3 weeks old and has been working since then to get control of them. She definitely stepped it up a level this week though and can now get them to her mouth pretty consistently, though she can’t then keep them there. She also struggles to extend her fingers at the right angle to suck on them. She has started to try to grasp things that are held above her and will bat at a toy or my hand if I hold it for her.

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Already trying to steal big brother’s toys

Piper has been extremely chatty this week and can already make quite a wide range of different sounds. My mum reckons she’ll be a talker! She especially loves to chat to me during bath time, which is still her favourite time of day.

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Cooing to the lights on the ceiling (and yes I was just there to catch her if she suddenly learnt to roll). Stickers courtesy of Tom.

Other things from this week: Piper has been a sling baby since birth, as I often have Tom in a buggy still for longer outings and we don’t have a double one. Plus I need my hands free for him. This week she had her first ride in our big buggy, with the newborn insert in, whilst we were at the regatta. She was very content in it and actually slept much better than I expected, though I did have to rock her to get her down.

Schedule: I use the term schedule in a loose way. Wake-up time and bath time I do by the clock. I’ve also found I can’t persuade Piper to nurse properly if it is much sooner than 3 hours after her last feed, apart from in the late afternoon, which determines when her feeds are to a certain extent. Other than that we follow her signals for when to put her down for naps or get her up for a feed. She was managing about an hour of awake time this week so days looked broadly like this, though you can assume we were actually up to 30 minutes earlier or later on anything except wake up and bath.

6.00 – up for the day and feed (I wake her up at this time if she is not already awake)
7.00 – Nap 1
9.00 – Feed and awake time
10.00 – Nap 2
12.00 – Feed and awake time
13.00 – Nap 3
15.00 – Feed and awake time
16.00 – Cat nap 1 (in the sling if we are picking Tom up from nursery)
17.00 – Feed and awake time
18.00 – Cat nap 2 (she rarely sleeps well for this and it is the only time I’ll give the dummy at the start of the nap, so she’ll at least doze. We’ve tried keeping her up though and she is just a mess by bedtime so we prefer to at least have her in her cot where she can get some light sleep and is less likely to be over stimulated. Plus Tom needs my attention at this time of day)
18.45 – bath time
19.00 ish – bedtime ritual and feed
19.20 ish – feed over and cuddle
19.30-19.45 ish – into cot for night
One wake up any time between 1.30 and 4.00 – feed and straight back to sleep

 

 

Everything Changes

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When I last wrote on this blog, Tom was less than two years old. A lot has changed in the last 18 months. Tom is now almost three, chattering away in full sentences, potty trained, learning to dress himself and with very strong opinions on what he will and won’t do. And most importantly of all, he is now a big brother, since the arrival of our daughter Piper on 25 May 2017.

With two children to house, there are some big changes for Mr Techno and I too, and we bought our first flat in East Ham last week. We are still living in Leyton in our rental flat for the moment whilst we replace floors and paint walls, but hope to be in by the end of September. This means more big changes for Tom – not just a new home but a new nursery too. He’s been at his current nursery since he was 6 months old so we will all be sad to leave that familiar environment behind. We’ve found a lovely new one for him in East Ham though and I hope to get him registered this week. Piper will join him once she’s 6 months old, as I’ll be returning to work around then.

Outdoor time has been suffering, what with a new baby and lots of work to do on the flat. But I’ve missed having this blog as a record of our lives. I’d love to have had a written record of the early days with Tom, so I’m starting again so that I will have a record of Piper’s babyhood, as well as to chart life for Tom as a preschooler (and beyond?) This is going to be much more of a diary than it was previously and far less focused on outdoor adventures, though I hope we will continue to have many of those too. After all, a new neighbourhood means new parks to explore and a new baby means we have another child to introduce to this wonderful world.

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Trip to Sealife

I’m not entirely sure what my brother-in-law does for a living, but his job seems to net him an incredible number of perks. Luckily for us, one of these included discounted tickets to Sealife – the aquarium on London’s South Bank. Mr Techno had work, but Tom and I headed there last Sunday to meet Mr Techno’s brother, his sister, her husband, and their daughter, who is the same age as Tom.

It was pretty epically busy, since we had forgotten that it was the last weekend of the Easter holidays. It did take away from the experience a bit, as we had to duck and weave round the crowds to see anything. Also, small toddlers, dark spaces and crowds are not a winning combo. Luckily we didn’t actually lose either of them, but Tom did make a few bids for freedom.

It isn’t the easiest place to take photos either, so apologies for the shockingly poor quality!

Sadly, we were all annoyed from the start by the insistence that you wait in line to have a picture taken before going in, which meant we had a really pointless five minute wait. With the group behind us complaining loudly the whole time.

Once we got into the aquarium proper though, things improved. We saw starfish, seahorses, lion fish, sea rays…and a whole bunch of other fish I can’t really name but which were pretty cool. Tom was especially enamored of the clownfish, despite never having seen Finding Nemo. I liked the various seadragons, which disguise themselves as leaves, seaweed, branches etc.

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We walked through the shark tunnel too, though that seemed to freak the toddlers out more than anything. Then there was a rainforest section, which included alligators, piranhas and terrapins.

By this point, the toddlers were a bit over the whole thing and wanted their lunch and naps. So we were pleased to see a sign saying we were ‘surfacing’ which we assumed meant we were near the end. Sadly…not so much. There weren’t really any fish left to see, but we had to walk through two further exhibits – one about the Thames which was mostly focused on the sewer system – and one with looped clips from Frozen Planet. Both of which seemed pretty pointless. And of course there was the obligatory gift shop.

Overall I have to say I wasn’t too impressed. With the discount we got and the toddlers being free, it was just about worth the money. Without the discount… I would have been pretty disappointed. The crowds didn’t help of course, nor the toddler crankiness at the end. But it felt like there was a lot of filler, especially towards the end. Plus the penguins were on holiday (due back in May) which was disappointing!

Fortunately, the food market on the South Bank filled the food requirements and we headed back to my in-laws house in Waterloo for toddler naps.