10 months.

New year, new monthly update. Christmas has flown by! We were so excited in the run up with all the decorating and gift wrapping and BAM just like that it’s all over. Hope everyone enjoyed the festive season whatever you choose to celebrate.

Much to my dismay I will be finishing maternity leave and returning to work next week. It’s been a bit of battle because I have ended up changing locations and days at the last minute so had to rush around and find a nursery since I had childcare sorted out with my mum. Anyway it’s all done now and Emery seems to be coping well when we have popped into nursery. Fingers crossed this carries on.

SLEEP. Our biggest achievement this month has probably been with sleep. We made have made some breakthroughs and even had nights where Emery has slept through for twelve hours!!! I think I will do a blog post all about our sleep journey so it’s documented. We do sometimes have one or two wake ups during the night which require a small bottle feed of 3oz but hopefully these will decrease over time.

WEANING. Don’t think anything exciting has been happening with food. Emery seems to be better with being spoonfed now but he still enjoys finger feeds, even if a lot of it ends up on the floor. When I do cheat foods and buy premade stuff he copes fine with the 10 month selection that is lumpy.

I have batch cooked a lot of finger foods ready for my mum’s freezer. Hopefully I can keep this up and do at least one meal each week and that provides five or six portions that can be used later on.

We’ve had two top teeth break through. Emery keeps sticking his tongue out and touching them. Perhaps that is why he was sticking his tongue out before as he could feel them ready to erupt. Touch wood but he hasn’t seemed too bothered by his teeth coming out. For some reason Emery doesn’t want me to brush his teeth anymore. He will open his mouth for me but after two swipes he no longer wants the brush in his mouth.

MOBILITY. Crawling is still a favourite activity. Emery was given a push along style walker which he does use but not always properly. Sometimes he walks on his knees and pushes the walker!

He’s very confident pulling himself up and surfs along the sofa or other low ledges but no signs of walking yet. Husband says Emery has been able to stand and support himself a few times but I don’t think he is that close. Perhaps I need to hold onto his hands and encourage him to stand. Although when I do Emery often just bends his knees.

SKILLS. Emery surprised me one day during a swimming lesson. The teacher was taking each child and saying “bye” to everyone in a circle. After one baby did an actual wave Emery sort of started waving. He also surprised my parents and brother when he did it at their house. Now I can’t remember where he did it first, but Emery must have liked the reaction as he has been doing it more often now. He understands “bye bye” more than “hi”.

Clapping hands is another movement he has mastered and enjoys the reaction he gets from that.

Emery has also learnt to point with his index finger, usually the right one. He also uses his index finger to touch things like in the “That’s Not My…” books. He can see which area is textured and pokes at it with his finger.

My husband thought Emery was left handed as that’s the hand he usually waves with but I think that is because of the way I carry Emery and it’s easier for me to help him wave his left hand. He points more with his right hand so I think that may be the dominant hand.

OTHER. I think Emery received more Christmas presents than everyone else combined but don’t think anyone minded. Obviously Emery enjoyed playing with the wrapping paper and the sparkly bows but he has also enjoyed playing with new toys that make different sounds and have different textures.

We have recently graduated to using the actual bath tub for bath time instead of filling up a small plastic tub and lugging it into the bedroom. Not sure which is worse for my back! Emery loves splashing about in the big tub though and he has a few more toys to play around with.

Lately Emery has been even more annoying during nappy changes. For a while I could get him to stand up against something but now he sometimes refuses to do that and crawls away super fast. Lying down on his back is a no go unless there is company and Emery is surprisingly cooperative.

We have had some settling in sessions at nursery to prepare for the big day. The first time we went in and I plopped him down Emery immediately bawled. I sat with him for an hour and he came out of his shell quite quickly and enjoyed playing with all the new toys. The second and third time I left him alone for longer periods and he doesn’t seem phased by it at all. Hopefully when he is in for the whole day he will love it and get tired so I can have a great night’s sleep!

Is anyone else putting their baby into nursery soon? Or is your child already in nursery? How did they cope? How did you cope?

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9 months.

Gosh how time flies! Emery turned 9 months last week and I haven’t written a post. I don’t seem to have time for anything now even though Emery naps better on his own and also he can play by himself and yet I have less time to do things. I don’t even binge watch TV shows! How am I going to keep this blog going when I go back to work after Christmas (cry!).

I wish WordPress could read the thoughts in my head. I’ve written countless of posts in my head but I just can’t seem to find any time to type them out. I truly respect mamas who make blogging their career. I can’t even keep up with Instagram comments let alone the Instagram stories.

TRAVEL. So the biggest thing that’s happened in the past month is that we have flown to Hong Kong and from there onto the Phillipines. We took a direct flight from here to HKG which was about 11 hours during the day. That was tough because Emery found it difficult to nap in the bassinet and he nursed a lot (not sure if I had enough milk for him). This meant I only had 2 hours sleep on the plane and we landed around 6am local time so we had the whole day ahead of us and it was tough!

Emery also suffered from jet lag for a few days. He would wake up at 2am. Initially I could rock him back to sleep but he didn’t like being placed into his second cousin’s cot (she has the Stokke) and eventually would be super awake until 5am. This meant our activities didn’t really take off much to the chagrin of my husband.

The temperature was around 25° and fairly humid so Emery was usually in just a babygrow. The locals were horrified and thought he was really cold and would often touch his feet. I think he was okay since he is used to the British climate and a lot of the time he was in a baby carrier so tucked very closely to my husband’s chest (husband enjoyed carrying him and bonding since it’s usually me that has Emery in a sling).

It was even warmer in the Phillipines but the locals there understand that it is super warm. The resort we stayed at had two pool areas and they were so clean and so warm. Emery enjoyed swimming and he did some underwater dunks which impressed other guests. Other children wore head to toe UVA protection suits whilst Emery only had his swimming trunks on so perhaps we looked like bad parents compared to the Japanese and Korean guests that were also at the hotel.

Emery seemed to be okay with the Hong Kong water (brought some UK water to mix) but perhaps the addition of Phillipino water might have been a bit too much as his poos gradually became looser. He was still drinking milk and playful so I wasn’t too worried. Annoyingly he didn’t want any of the food we bought in Hong Kong (which looked like it was important from Spain and France) but he had eggs and yoghurt at breakfast time and he loved the breadsticks (and probably salty) crackers.

Emery did really well on the flights. On the first take off I let him nurse as that’s what all the articles suggest when you Google “flying with a baby” but on the descent Emery was very fidgety and ended up just holding him in my lap and he was fine. The air stewards were super impressed and he even got a photo in the flight deck. I filmed some footage on the plane so I might make a video about our experience and upload it to YouTube. I have all the intentions of doing so but when will I have the time to edit such things?!

MOBILITY. Emery is confidently crawling and can easily pull himself up and drop himself down. He can slowly walk along the edge of something like a sofa but no progress in walking. Perhaps I should help him stand on his own first.

Emery was weighed earlier in the week and is 15lb 12oz which is small but on track for his percentile. He is also 64cm long. I forget how big his head is!

FOOD. Haven’t had much progress with weaning as the holiday seems to have halted us. The pre made purees we bought in Hong Kong stated 8 months but it was very smooth. Emery has had finger foods though so his grip is getting better but not quite got the pincer grip.

Still only have two bottom teeth but they are sharp. Had a small blip in brushing them on holiday as we had the toothbrush but no toothpaste.

SPEECH. No real words yet but he says “da da da” a lot. I’m trying to teach him “mama” instead hehe.

I am also trying to associate parts of the day with words like “time to sleep” and “it’s yummy” when we eat. The other day I was at my parents for dinner and my brother was saying goodbye and we are all sure Emery waved back. We all cheered and my mum quipped that he didn’t know why we were so happy.

Today at swimming the teacher took each baby and waved everyone goodbye. I am certain Emery started waving halfway through so that is something we will work on. He seems to understand “bye bye” more than “hello”.

ILLNESS. On the last day of our holiday we had a little panic. In the night I heard Emery coughing a little and he had a very stuffy nose. During the day he didn’t want much food or fluids and at one point I mentioned that Emery looked pale and then my husband went into panic mode and decided that Emery was clammy, feverish, and listless.

My cousin came to the rescue and booked us in with her daughter’s paediatrician. It cost over £100 for the consultation and meds (almost all can be bought at a UK pharmacy) and annoyingly but thankfully Emery perked up in the waiting room. We got the all clear to fly that night. He slept about six hours on a twelve hour overnight flight but could have been worse.

SLEEP. Don’t think Emery is sleeping any longer through the night. We’ve started doing gentle crying since coming home from holiday (after adjusting back to the time zone). I did want to do it before we went away but if it failed then I would have given in abroad so would have been confusing for him.

The first night Emery took 45 minutes to go down and I think going back to him didn’t help. On the second night he was asleep within 15 minutes so hopefully it will get less and less as the days go by.

I just can’t believe how time has flown! Christmas is three weeks away and once that is done I’ll be back at work. Emery will be with my mum though so at least I don’t need to worry about leaving him with a stranger. I hope they develope a close bond.

Swimming progress.

My husband was aghast when I told him how much baby swimming lessons cost. He said, “Why don’t we just take him swimming ourselves?” To be honest, I do think it’s expensive but I don’t think Emery would be as competent in the water without the lessons.

Emery was not keen on baths for the first few weeks. He would scream before he went in, during and after. Bath time was not fun time. That seems to have changed since Emery has spent more time in the pool. Could be a link or could just be him getting used to water.

Either way I am glad we took him to lessons. I phoned a few swim schools prior to signing him up. He is on the bottom end of the weighing scale so I was concerned he would be too cold. A friend had told me her son would shiver during his lessons. Schools often use a pool located in a health centre, hotel, or a school so temperatures can vary. One pool I contacted was a hydrotherapy pool and they assured me the temperature would be warm enough. Luckily I needn’t have worried as Emery didn’t seem to be bothered in the slightest about the temperature of the water.

I have a friend with a baby a couple of weeks younger and they attended a different swim school. Her baby swum underwater without any assistance during his first term. At the end of the summer term we had done two second swims underwater but we’d always held onto baby. I found out, however, that her baby did not ‘know’ when he was about to go under. In our classes we trained the babies to listen and feel cues as to when they were about to go under so they would close their eyes and prepare the gag reflex.

Swimming is also a great way to tire babies out. Sometimes I pop him in the car seat and by the time I’ve walked to the car he is already asleep!

We are approaching the end of our second term and I am so proud of Emery. He really enjoys going in the pool and has a lovely smile on his face when he sees his teacher. He knows when to prepare himself to go underwater and looks like he’d be great at the butterfly stroke.

Have you taken your baby to swimming lessons or have you taught him to swim yourself?

8 months.

I keep telling people that Emery is seven and a half months old. Time is flying by so quickly. How can he be 2/3 of a year old already?

MOBILITY. Emery is really adept at pulling himself up now. He has also recently learnt to lower himself slowly back down. We have a walker at my parents’ house so Emery doesn’t get to use it as often as he could. I wonder if that would help him learn to walk faster. He can pull himself up and then slowly move along it.

It’s tough keeping an eye on him as he can crawl pretty quick. I’ll go to wash my hands in the kitchen sink and before I know it he has his hands in the dogs’ water bowl.

LEARNING. We visited London a couple of weeks ago and at some point figured out how to blow raspberries. That was his thing for about a week but luckily he isn’t doing that so much now so I don’t need to keep wiping spit off his face.

This little boy is so curious. He wants to see everything and touch everything and sometimes put it in his mouth too. If you show him something new he will want to grab it. The other day he pulled himself up against the bedside table and wanted to grab onto everything my husband had dumped there. He also loves pulling drawers open, opening cardboard boxes, and generally getting into all sorts of mischief.

I’m sure we are far from talking but Emery likes making sounds like “Da! Da!” and he loves it even more when someone else says it along with him.

Bath time has become better again. There was a period where Emery would cry after I picked him up out of the tub and this did not provide a calm bedtime routine. We missed swimming for three weeks due to a virus but it looks like he remembers what to do when he goes under. He wasn’t as smiley in his latest lesson but perhaps he just needs to get used to it again. I love that he loves being in the water. Hopefully he is a good swimmer. I really enjoyed swimming when I was young.

SLEEPING. Emery still isn’t great at napping. He did have a one hour nap once but all the others have been half an hour or, usually, much less. He still needs to be held or rocked so it does hurt my back if we have to do this for a while. Or more than once.

Night are still tough. Sometimes Emery manages a four hour sleep and that tends to be the first half of the night. I think next month I’ll just have to tough it out and do a gentle crying method as I don’t think I will be able to function at work the way I cope now.

WEANING. I think we have made a little progress as he has gotten better at taking food off a spoon. These past few days I’ve taken adult food (minus the salt etc) and mashed it up for Emery and he seems fairly contented eating it. Some days he eats a lot and others he doesn’t. Which is annoying as when I heat up a lot he doesn’t eat a lot. Isn’t that always the way?

I also cooked up a batch of spinach, cheese and thyme mini muffins which seemed to go down well. There’s a number of other finger food recipes I want to make but time always seems to elude me. Need to try harder!

We’ve also made great progress with bottle feeding. It’s not advised but my mum poked a hole in the teat as she said the flow was too slow and lo and behold she was right! Emery has been drinking lots more from a bottle now although I sometimes have to shove the bottle into his pursed mouth before he decides he does want to drink it. We have even managed 7oz once (it may not seem like a lot for an 8 month old but he’s never really had more than 2 oz each time I tried a bottle).

Emery sprouted two bottom teeth this month. They are so sharp. He bit me on the arm once and boy did it hurt! Need to learn to get into a routine of brushing his teeth. He doesn’t seem to mind it which is good! My vet told me to brush my dog’s teeth and I bought a toothbrush and dog toothpaste for him but sadly I didn’t stick with it. I hope I try harder for my baby! I personally enjoy brushing my teeth so I hope Emery takes after me.

We are going on holiday next month so hopefully he will behave on the flight. Not sure how the sleep thing will go but fingers crossed!

7 months.

How is it possible that my little man is now seven months old?! We were late with our weighing (once due to a clinic change and the other because we were urgently car shopping). Emery was 14lbs on the dot at the last weighing, which is low for his age but he seems to be following his curve.

MOBILITY. Last month he was beginning to crawl and he is almost there now. He still sometimes stops for a break but if he wanted to go from one end of the room to the other he could definitely do it. He enjoys crawling around to uncrew radiator valves.

Emery is also able to hold himself upright. He can push himself onto his knees to grab things. If the ledge is low enough he can also push himself onto his hands and almost stand up.

Until his aunt mentioned it, I didn’t realise that he was able to support himself one handed. For example he can be on all fours and then transfer his weight onto one hand so the other hand can grab things.

SLEEP. I have been trying to introduce sleep associations. Yes, I’m a bit late with that but the return to work is looming over me and I will need to be well rested! We have had a sleep routine of bath, massage, dimmed lights, nursing, lullaby and shushing. The tough bit for me has been that Emery has always been nursed to sleep so working hard to break this habit slowly. I recently purchased Ewan the dream sheep (he has a soothing glow and plays bedtime music or white noise for 20 minutes) to act as a sound association. I used a Winnie The Pooh comforter for a while but now I just have a muslin to act as a comforter because they are easy to dump around the house. My friend has also generously lent me a Sleepyhead mattress because Emery has a tantrum when he realises I’ve placed him into his cot and the padded sides make him feel secure and like I am still cradling him. It’s not miracle cure but it appears to be helping slightly.

Emery was an okay sleeper for a breastfed baby but for the past few months his sleep seems to have regressed. He could manage a few hours a night in his cot before waking but it regressed to 45 minutes! These few changes seem to be positive as he usually does 2 hours now before waking for a feed. I also think swaddling helped in the early months but he began rolling over so didn’t want him in his swaddle bag. He was also really good at wriggling out of a blanket swaddle.

My good friend also successfully and surprisingly managed to get Emery to nap from shushing and bouncing one lunchtime. I have done it as well since then but there is also a lot of crying and backache involved. I need to make myself persist and not take the easy way out by nursing him for naps.

WEANING. We started weaning at six months. When my mum and nan made congee (like a savoury rice porridge) Emery gobbled it up but when I made it he hardly had any. I also tried baking and mashing a sweet potato but he didn’t seem keen on that either.

I always envisioned myself as the kind of mother who blended all her own baby foods but perhaps it’s Emery rejecting my first attempts that I turned to buying puree pouches! Ella’s Kitchen is great but pricey after a while. Lidl make some nice organic flavours and Aldi do as well. Even though I protested my husband bought a bunch of Heinz jars but Emery seemed to enjoy them. He even gobbled a full jar one Sunday.

I suppose as long as he is getting all his nutrients and trying new tastes then it can only be good. We’ve done some finger foods too (sticks of apple, pear, carrot, potato) which Emery loves. He is good at picking something up and sticking it in his mouth. Sometimes food falls on the floor before it’s finished. Luckily we have dogs to vacuum up anything that drops off the high chair.

Does anyone have any tips for weaning? Are you doing purees or baby led or a combination like us?

6 months?!

sixmonths

Last week Emery hit the 6 month mark. I think it’s so crazy how time has flown by so quickly! That also means two thirds of my maternity leave is over. Time goes by so fast. In my head I still think it’s May but autumn is settling in. There is even a new car registration (67 plates) out now.

SLEEP. Not going to lie, it has been tough. Especially during the first couple of months. I was a first time mother trying to figure out how this motherhood thing works whilst running on very little sleep. I should have known that Emery would not be a great sleeper seeing as he barely slept the first night we were in hospital. I was so grateful when my husband came back to us the first morning and I had an amazing three hours’ sleep.

Using a swaddle bag at home seemed to help. There have even been nights when I’ve been able to have a miraculous four or six hours of uninterrupted sleep but mostly Emery sleeps in his cot for two hours (if I am lucky) and then wakes up. For the first few months I would stay up and breastfeed and then try to put him back in his crib (apparently I have a light sleeper who prefers sleeping in someone’s arms and instantly wakes upon transfer) and repeat the cycle through the night resulting in a very sleepy mama. Then one night I decided to co-sleep and haven’t really looked back. I follow all the co-sleeping guidelines but the anxious mother in me still wakes throughout the night to check on baby.

MOVING. Emery has been good at holding his head up from the get go. Even before he was 8 weeks old he was holding his head up pretty high. He began rolling over before 4 months and I find it extremely hard to change his nappy. I no longer change him on the table in case I’m not on the ball for some reason. Sadly changing him on the floor also means he rolls over onto his front almost straight away and now he’s starting to shuffle himself forward.

My husband thinks Emery will be crawling soon. In fact, if he wanted to, Emery could propel himself from one side of the room to the other. He can move one knee forward and do some sort of funny movement to move himself forward so he is halfway there. I worry that one day I’ll turn around and he will have disappeared somewhere!

Emery can also sit up by himself for a while but he does tend to topple over. There is no crying and usually he turns it into his shuffle crawl. I also accidentally discovered that he can stand up on his own if he is holding onto a ledge. He can’t stand for long but he seems to enjoy being able to.

WEANING. My mum has been kind enough to make Emery some congee (it’s like baby rice, very popular in south east Asia) when we go to hers or when she visits. He enjoys sticking toys in his mouth and he really loves eating congee. There is no need to coax him to eat, he just opens his mouth when the spoon comes close. Thankfully his poos have been all right so far.

Husband is really championing baby led weaning. I like the idea of it but I worry about the mess. Plus we have two dogs who will be waiting to catch any fallen pieces. At least they can vacuum the floor for me. I think we will do a combination of puréed foods and baby led weaning. The only thing stopping me is my laziness. I need to make a better effort of blending food up for him to try.

HAIR. The first real haircut was done just after five months. Much to my husband’s dismay my mum had already trimmed Emery’s fringe. We first went to a specific children’s salon but they were fully booked. We then went to a men’s salon where my husband likes to go. He got his done and initially agreed to the £24 price for Emery. I said no.

Eventually went to another hip barber and there was and guy there who did Emery’s hair for £10. He sat in daddy’s lap but don’t think he enjoyed the experience. I kept some of his hair from that day. Not sure what I’ll do with it though.

PERSONALITY. Emery is so alert now. He is awake for a lot of the day (too much, he hardly naps) and he can amuse himself with his toys in his playpen for a short period whilst I rush around trying to squeeze in some housework.

He is quite aware of people. He definitely knows who I am and he enjoys bonding with daddy and maternal grandmother. He has a good time with grandfather too. Emery is amused by the two dogs, especially when they are running back and forth chasing after toys. Emery can be clingy sometimes. It is nice when he is passed back to me and stops whinging but I know he needs to get used to others as well.

It’s been an interesting six months and I’m sure it will only get tougher but hopefully there will be some laughs and triumphs along the way. If anyone has tips on weaning then I’d love to hear them!

Battle of the cruelty free baby wipes.

I have decided that one of the products I am regularly going to review is baby wipes. They are a staple in any parent’s arsenal. Some people even use them for cleaning. Now, the most earth friendly sort of wipe would be a reusable wipe that you soak in a solution, use, then wash and repeat. This process, however, is not for everyone and I’d say most people would find them inconvenient (and I also say you should give them a try!).

The minimum criterion is that the wipes tested in this series are cruelty free (ie no animal testing involved) but some wipes may also be classed as ‘organic’ or ‘biodegradable’. For the purposes of comparing them all, I will buy the ‘sensitive’ version if available. I haven’t completely decided what I will be comparing apart from cost or ‘wetness’ but I’m sure I will figure that out along the way.

In other news Emery turned 5 months old last week. Time has flown by so quickly! I’m starting to panic that he hasn’t got a fixed sleeping routine or even a daytime routine yet. He began rolling over just before he was 4 months old but he does it so quickly and easily now. He doesn’t enjoy being on his back so much anymore. Emery is also much more alert and curious about the world. He will reach his hands out to touch things (and sometimes pop them into his mouth). He has become a serious dribbler and chewer so it looks like teeth are on their way. He no longer falls asleep on the boob and he will stop feeding and ‘go about his day’. I just hope he has put more weight on at the next weigh in.