Piper – 21 weeks

Piper turned 21 weeks on Thursday 19th October, making 19th October to 25th October her 22nd week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

What we did: We took Piper with us to see another primary school on Thursday whilst Tom was at nursery. It was a long tour but she did well in the sling and even had a short nap whilst we were out.

On Saturday afternoon I attempted to take her with Tom and I for our trip to the park. I thought I’d be able to feed her there and therefore maximise the amount of time we spent there playing. But she’s at that super distractable age and flat refused to nurse, so we had to go home again after just 20 minutes so she could eat. I had a bottle ready to take with us for another try on Sunday, but then Tom decided to have a rare afternoon nap, so we didn’t have time.

Otherwise it was a pretty quiet week for Piper.

Feeding: I’ve started to get some pain on the left side when she is nursing. I’m not sure why but think it might be a positioning issue, or a sign that she might be getting teeth. She was reasonably fussy this week so it is possible that she is teething, though I can’t see anything poking through yet.

As the failed trip to the park showed, I can no longer nurse Piper in public places. Since I have run out of freezer bags, I was giving her an extra bottle of breastmilk a lot of days this week since we couldn’t store it, so we can still go out and about without worrying.

Sleeping: oh sleeping. All over the place this week but we were hoping to find a nap schedule that would work for her and I think we are now there. She slept through on Thursday (19.00-6.00) after a day of very little sleep (due to nursery drop off and school visit), but seemed to have been storing up some tiredness because she took a three hour nap on Friday. I usually wake her if she gets too close to her feed but this week I was trying to follow her lead a bit more in order to discover the best sleep pattern for her, so I let her sleep. That meant we only had time to fit in two naps and she was then up from 15.00. We moved bedtime slightly earlier but she was still very overtired by the time she went down. She woke up several times that night, mostly putting herself back down, but needed a nappy change and then a feed at 1.00, so was awake for over an hour at that point.

Since she was clearly getting overtired with only two naps, we added the catnap back in and started capping her other two naps so we could move the catnap earlier in the day. This meant we were reducing the amount of day sleep she had overall but spacing it out more evenly so she didn’t have that long patch of awake time before bed. On this schedule she either slept through or came very close to sleeping through (ie. woke early but went back down after a quick coo or raspberry blowing session) on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. Monday was less good – she woke and cried out every couple of hours but put herself straight back down again. That day she had catnapped in the sling on our way back from the nursery pick up, so had slept quite late in the day, which I assume is what had disrupted her night.

At this stage I’m happy to call her night weaned and her night sleep is ok, though it doesn’t feel to me yet that we have things perfectly right for her to sleep through consistently. Naps have been quite hit and miss. She drops off very easily but was waking after 45 minutes for pretty much every nap this week. Most of the time she would then go back to sleep (usually by herself, but occasionally with a quick sush pat from me) but often would wake again half an hour later, and again half an hour after that at which point I’d get her up. There were one or two naps where she couldn’t get back to sleep, even with soothing from me. We are maybe not getting her awake time quite right but she has no sleepy signals anymore, unless you count actually falling asleep on the floor, which is presumably quite a late one!

Working on: She rolled! In typical baby style she waited until I was out of the room helping Tom in the bathroom on Friday and when I came back she was on her tummy. She then did it again after I put her back on her back. She wasn’t thrilled to be on her tummy though and hasn’t done it again since.

Other things: her personality grows daily and she is just so engaging. Laughing and chatting and blowing raspberries. I already love this girl to death but every day I fall more in love with her.

I had her on my lap on Friday whilst I was eating dinner with Tom and she was very determinedly trying to steal my food. She had a lick of an apple and gummed a piece of toast. I’ve tried her in the high chair though and she’s not yet picking up food and trying to eat it herself, so we aren’t quite ready for weaning yet.

The horrific screeching noise has stopped, thank goodness.

She has turned into an adventure baby and keeps wiggling off her fleece and onto the hard floor, so I keep having to move her back again.

She occasionally gives cuddles now by putting her arms around my neck when I pick her up.

We have one of those finger puppet books and she loves it. Tom often makes sure it is one of the bedtime books because he can see how much she enjoys it.

She’s wearing 6-9 month old nappies, partly because of her massive cloth nappies. 

Schedule: by the end of the week we had finally settled on something that appeared to be working, although it is still not perfect.

6.00-6.30 – up and feed

8.15-8.30 – nap 1

10.00 – up and feed

12.00 – nap 2

13.30 – up and short playtime

14.00 – feed

15.30 – catnap

16.00 – up. Plays in bouncy chair or high chair whilst Tom and I have dinner.

17.15 – feed (bottle)

17.45 – nappy off play

18.20 – bath and pjs

18.40 – stories with Tom

18.50 – bedtime ritual and feed

19.00 – sleep

Mostly sleeping through or only waking briefly then going back down without intervention.




8 things I loved about last week 

I loved getting my December weekly spreads and my 2018 year at a glance spreads all prepped in my bullet journal.

I loved getting the kids’ stockings sorted – yes already! Maternity leave means I need to spread the cost of Christmas carefully this year.

I loved being completely done with swaddling Piper. She’s so sweet in her cuddly sleeping bag.

I loved taking advantage of John’s night shifts to catch up with Great British Bake Off and the Apprentice.

I loved singing five little monkeys and wheels on the bus with Tom and taking it in turns to complete each line.

I loved seeing our friends Jon and Betsy for lunch on Wednesday. John and Jon have been friends since primary school and were each other’s Best Men. Jon is also one of Tom’s godfathers. They live in America so we don’t see them often and now they are expecting their first child so it will be even harder to get together in the future. It was especially lovely to see Jon and Tom playing together.

I loved eating loads of Moroccan food – I made a ton for lunch on Wednesday so there was enough to do three more meals.

I loved doing the kids’ 2017 photo books. I’ve done one every Christmas for Tom and will do the same for Piper so that they can look back over the years and see all the fun things we did.

This post covers w/c 16 Oct. 

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.


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.