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.

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.

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.

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



When Clocks Stop, Fun Starts

I have to admit to being ever so slightly controlling when it comes to time. Much as I would love to be an instinctive, child-led, responsive parent, I tend to have half an eye on the clock throughout the day. And, though I think that a daily routine is important in helping both children and adults feel more secure, eat better, sleep better, and manage change better, I do find that our routine has a tendency to err a bit too much towards the strict schedule side of things, which I am less comfortable with.

This week though, everything has been different. This is because my watch battery has run flat and I have been too disorganised busy to sort out a replacement. I would have thought that I would be lost without the constant reassurance of knowing what time it is, but in fact it has been rather freeing. It’s not as though I don’t have access to other clocks – there’s one on my phone, one in our living room, one in our bedroom, and one on any computer I happen to be sat at. There’s even one in Tom’s room. So I still have a vague idea what time it is, but am less able to check every minute and plan our day down to the last second. Which means we are operating much more to a nice gentle routine, and less to a military-style schedule.

Tom and I spent a lovely day together last Wednesday. It’s usually our family day, but Mr Techno has been busy with the opening of the new restaurant and has been around less during the week than usual (we did get him over the weekend instead though, which was both unusual and lovely). So I really wanted to make it a fun day for just the two of us, which are far and few between now I’m up to four days of work.

I put Tom in the sling and we headed to the playground in Millfield Park, which has the most amazing sandpit. Or I thought it was amazing at least. Tom was more interested in the ramp up to it – he was so proud of himself for being able to manage the slope and went up and down it over and over again. Then we played hide and seek around the little house for a bit and he had a go on the swings.

We left the playground and walked up the path back into the main park. Which caused a bit of an argument. Tom was absolutely adamant that he wanted to go play with the cars. No, not toys ones, the fast, dangerous, very big ones on the road. Unsurprisingly, I was not up for this plan, so a few minutes were spent picking him up, carrying him away, having him scream in anger, and then chasing him as he ran back towards the road.

Usually our day out would have ended at this point, with me checking my watch and deciding we had spent long enough outside. But with no watch to give me an excuse, I stuck it out longer than I would normally. And I am so glad I did. Because the running-chasing-and-carrying-away turned from a tantrum-causing event to an amazing game. I’m not entirely sure how it happened – one minute Tom was arching his back and having a shout every time I picked him up, and the next he was running away giggling and waiting for me to shout ‘I’m coming to get you’. Which was his signal to stop dead still and wait for me to come grab him and spin him round in circles. We played for at least an hour, until we were both exhausted. It was lovely.