The Devil Mum: The Sleep Diaries, part 3

Devil mum

Once again, it’s been a long time since I last posted, and a lot has happened.

You may remember from my last post in the Sleep Diaries, that me and my beloved had parted ways. I was at my wits end, and wanted nothing more than his return. Well my friends, it is with great pleasure I can declare that we’ve been reunited once again. And boy, what a beautiful time it’s been.

Who do I have to thank? Well, that’s my not so public relationship with sleep training (until now).

*Waits for judgemental stares……*

Yep. Sleep training.

Almost everyone’s face drops when I tell them. I can instantly see the judgement in their eyes…

“She lets her baby cry? What a she devil!!”

Not everyone realises that sleep training doesn’t mean ‘crying it out’ and leaving your baby to cry all night. There are SO. MANY. METHODS. I place emphasis on this, because as a severely sleep deprived Mum, I wanted nothing more than to scour through pages and pages of information about which methods would make me a ‘good’, but unhappy Mum, or a ‘bad’, but rested Mum. After a lot of research, and I mean ALOT, I decided to try out the ‘pick up put down‘ method.

This lasted all of 45 minutes.

While it may work for other families, picking up D proved too stimulating for him, and just made things 10 times worse. All of that research I’d done to reach this decision, out the window in just a few minutes. Within the following 2 minutes, I changed my mind and decided to go with ‘controlled comforting/crying’.

As I said… Devil mum, I know.

I did alter the method to fit with what I was comfortable with though, which I won’t bore you with the details, but it was a bit ‘gentler’ than what the standard method suggests. Mainly because I felt God awful about doing this method before we actually started it. I scoured through forums, trying to find likeminded women to try and persuade myself that I wasn’t a horrible person, and that I was doing the right thing. This link best describes how we went about it. Good ol’ Jo Frost.

At first I thought I could cheat… I would properly follow the method at bedtime, but when he woke in the night I quickly gave up and started feeding him the second he became unsettled. I also thought getting into his cot with him and feeding him laying down wouldn’t count, as I wasn’t picking him up. Nobody would know, right? Well, nobody other than my baby… you know… the one who I was trying to sleep train. So, yeah… that didn’t work. Day by day his sleeping got worse and worse.

The following weekend, I decided to go all out.

I COULD DO THIS.

Within 2 nights D was sleeping better. Sleeping in 3 hour intervals rather than the 1 hourly wakings I’d grown accustomed to. Sure, I was up with him for a while at each waking, but he was waking less often.

Fast forward a few weeks, and he’s now waking once, maybe twice a night on a typical night. And it really shows – in both of us. D is so much more alert and happier in the day, and I’m actually functioning like a normal human being again.

No longer do I feel the need to call my husband crying because “my baby won’t sleep!!!!!”.

No longer do I spend my days searching the depths of Google, desperately trying to find out how to get him to sleep.

And no longer do I feel like an awful Mum, for sleep training my baby. I can now be the best Mum I can be, because I have the energy to do so.

And we all lived happily after.

The end.

(I hope…)

The Sleep Diaries: Part 2

Sleep diaries 2

It’s been a long time since I last posted. I’ve been going through a few inner battles with blogging as of late. One moment I want to completely stop, the next I don’t. The reason being, I felt I was giving out too much information about D – information that I felt should perhaps be kept between our family and friends. I rarely post photo’s of D on social media (I think there are currently a grand total of 2, on my private Facebook page, in which only friends can view my photo’s), and will never post them on my blog. The reason for this is to protect him and his identity. However I then started to think that I was baring far more by posting so much information about him on my blog, regardless of if the posts were accompanied by photo’s of him.

Anyway, after many, many inner arguments, I’ve decided to continue with blogging, so hopefully will be posting more often again.  I won’t however, be continuing the monthly updates anymore.


So, let’s get to the topic at hand. SLEEP.

What is this sleep, you speak of?! I wish I knew… After about 4 months since my beloved sleep and I broke up (and even then we were on the rocks), I can’t seem to remember what it was like. It was a very sudden split, and I miss it so.

The last couple of weeks have been particularly rough, as Dom caught a nasty cold, with a side of a cough and sore throat – poor fella. Luckily that’s out of the way now, but teething seems to have returned with a vengeance (if it ever left). Leaving me with wakings every 1 to 2 hours.

In my last Sleep Diaries post, I mentioned teething gel. I was feeling ever so optimistic, and unfortunately this optimism didn’t pay off. At times it’ll calm him down, but this is short lived. And I for one don’t want to sit at the side of D’s cot, reapplying it every 20 minutes. Admittedly, at desperate times I have tried ibuprofen, which gives me about 2-2.5 hours respite. But I can’t dose him up every single night of the week. Can I?

One thing that has seemed to help, is sleeping on his tummy. I know, I know..shock, horror! It’s exactly what we’re told NOT to do. I still place D on his back to sleep, but he will now often turn onto his tummy while snoozing. While it does scare me, he sleeps a lot longer this way. Not really sure why, but hey, who am I to argue? Luckily we have one of those fangle dangle breathing monitors, which gives me a little more peace of mind.

At this point in time I’m not really sure where to go with this ‘phase’, other than wait out the storm. Everything’s a ‘phase’ isn’t it?

“My baby won’t stop crying”, it’s just a phase.

“My baby needs to be held all the time”, oh it’s just a phase.

“My baby won’t sleep through the night”, guess what? Just a phase.

To be fair, I think they’re right when they say this. Babies will grow out of all these things, eventually. It’s just a lot harder to accept when you’re tired, pulling your hair out (unless it falls out everywhere on its own, like mine), or you just need a moment to yourself.

One day, I’m told, I’ll miss the night feeds and wish I’d made the most of them. Anyone who tells me that, hasn’t experienced true exhaustion. Sure, I absolutely love cuddles with my son in the night, just the two of us. But hell, I bloody love sleep too. And functioning like a human, that’s pretty good as well.

Forgive me if I sound ungrateful, in any way at all. For I’m not ungrateful. Not in the slightest. I love my son more than I ever thought possible, and I love my life – but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could have a night with my old friend, sleep.

 

 

Review: Gro Anywhere Blind

Winter’s come to an end, and Spring has now sprung. The days are getting longer, and I hope, will soon get warmer. I’m so excited to spend the summer with my boy – I’m hoping not to go back to work until September which means I get the whole of summer with him.

While I usually enjoy the longer days of Summer, it may bring me a few problems this year.

Most of you will know by now that I have great trouble getting my son to sleep, and to stay that way for any length of time. I’ve noticed that during his daytime naps, it’s worse when it’s lighter in his room. Luckily, we have black out blinds fitted in his bedroom which solves the problem. But, when we go out, trying to get Dom to nap or sleep is an absolute nightmare.

Enter, the Gro Anywhere Blind.

gro1

 

I’ve always been a fan of The Gro Company. D won’t sleep without his Grobag, and I won’t sleep without his Gro Egg (I’m absolutely terrified of him overheating). It wasn’t until recently that I found out about the Gro Anywhere Blind.

I was delighted when I received the product -it came in a small portable bag, with the instructions written very simply on the back. No faffing around trying to get rid of a box, and umpteen plastic bags and booklets that I don’t need. I didn’t need to worry about cramming any cardboard into my recycling bin, or reading through pages and pages of instructions before I could try the product.

Not long after receiving the item, we went to stay at a friends house, so thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out!

When I first pulled the blind out of the bag, I was surprised at just how much material there was. Understandable, as it needs to fit windows of all shapes and sizes (it’s maximum coverage being 130cm x 198cm). Being little, I did struggle at first, but once I realised how to alter the size it, it was no longer an issue. The blind is pretty much a big black sheet, which has suction cups spaced around all four sides, and (very strong) velcro spaced in-between, to allow you to easily alter its size.

I used the blinds on a fairly small window in comparison to its maximum size, so it required quite a bit of velcroing. Once I’d finished though, it fit perfectly! I was really pleased, it blocked out the sunlight perfectly.

IMG_6122.JPG

It was a particularly sunny day in this photo – it blocked the sun really well!

Once I was finished using it, I was dreading putting it back into the bag. You’ve probably experienced it… Finding something easy to get out, but impossible to put back in. But I was pleasantly surprised, I fit it back in in one go. It was so easy.

The fabric felt of high quality, and would be easy to rub down if any dirt were to get onto it (and let’s face it, is inevitable with little ones around). I love the star and moon pattern on it too!

The bag is also small enough that you can easily pack it into whichever bag you’re travelling with, or, you can just carry it on its own with the bags handle.

The standard price of the Gro Anywhere Blind is £29.99 (but Amazon currently have it on sale, for £19.99!!) Is it worth the cost? If you don’t have blackout blinds, most definitely. If you do, and travel a fair bit, then I would still highly recommend them.

Two thumbs up for the Gro Anywhere Blind!

The Liebster Award

Liebster-Award-Large

Raising my mini me was recently nominated for the Liebster award, by Frank from I’m not Grandpa – thank you very much, Frank! Please do take a few minutes to check out his blog. I’m delighted to accept, and pass on the award to my well deserved, fellow bloggers.

The Liebster Award is an award passed from blogger to blogger, in order to support, promote and encourage other bloggers on the interweb.

Raising my mini me started just 5 months ago, and follows my son and I, as I get to grips with parenthood as a first time mum. The support I’ve received from other bloggers, friends and readers has been immense. So thank you, to you all!


Now, there are a few rules that accompany this award. See below:

1 – Thank the person/blog who nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2 – Display the award on your blog. This can be done by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a widget (note: the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer)

3 – Answer the 10 questions about yourself that your nominating blogger chooses for you.

4 – Nominate 10 blogs that you feel deserve the award. These must be new bloggers (less than two years blogging) who have fewer than 1000 followers.

5 – Create a list of questions for your nominated bloggers to answer.

6 – List these rules in your post (feel free to cut & paste!)

7 – Inform the blogs that you nominated that they have been awarded the award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.


Here are my questions, and answers:

1.) What inspired you to start your blog?

I used to blog when I was at uni – I really enjoyed it but kept it private, I wasn’t brave enough to let anyone see. So, nobody ever knew about it! But when I got to the end of my pregnancy I thought it would be a lovely way to document my son and I’s journey, which again was private to start with, until I got the guts to go and share my posts! Hopefully he’ll enjoy reading it when he’s older …

2.) What blogging goal are you currently striving for?

To be honest, I don’t really have any blogging goals. I just enjoy writing, and it gives me a bit of ‘me time’.

3.) What activities to you enjoy outside of blogging?

I’m a bit of a nerd, and love a bit of crafting. Not that I’ve had time since having baby D. I love a good movie and a book (I know, how boring?!), I’m very much a girl of simple pleasures.

4.) What tactics do you employ on those days when blogging is hard & frustrating?

I only really write when I really feel like writing. If I have a case of writers block, then I generally tend to not write. I love reading other blogs though, which almost always give me inspiration to start writing something new.

5.) If you could have lunch with any famous person, who would you choose?

Leonardo Dicaprio, the love of my life since 1997 (Titanic, of course).

6.) What are your three favorite blogs to follow?

Surviving Motherhood

My Least Favourite Child Today

Hannah Gale

7.) What piece of blogging advice have you found to be most helpful?

Write for yourself, and don’t worry about what others think. There have been numerous times where I’ve been worried about what others would think of my post before I hit the  dreaded publish button. But then I remember that this blog is for myself – it’s a bonus if other people enjoy it.

8.) Are you a full-time blogger or do you also hold down a day job?

I do have a day job, I just haven’t been there for a few months (maternity leave), but when I go back I will remain a part-time blogger.

9.) What is your favorite post on your blog thus far?

Oh god… ummm… I’m torn. Can I have 2?

I would say my Birth Story post. Purely because I love reminiscing about when my little boy arrived.

I also like my post about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. It’s quite a sad post, but it’s really meaningful to me, and I had a number of people contact me to tell me that reading the post had helped them – nothing beats that.

I usually prefer funnier posts, but the above are much closer to my heart.

10.) What social media platforms do you use and which one is most effective for you?

I mainly use Facebook and Twitter, but I sometimes (rarely) Pinterest and Instagram when I really like the photo’s on the post. Facebook is most definitely my most effective platform though.


 

I have chosen the below 10 bloggers to nominate for the Liebster Award:

The Contented Family

Soul Shape Fitness

The Flex Routine

Parenting in Pyjamas

Coffee and a Cardigan

Mummy Boo Boo

SarahFace – The Bittersweet Breakfast Blog

Away on Vacay

Mum is the Word Blog

Travel Fairytale


 

Now, the questions for the nominated bloggers above :)

1.) What inspired you to start your blog?

2.) What blogging goal are you currently striving for?

3.) What activities to you enjoy outside of blogging?

4.) What tactics do you employ on those days when blogging is hard & frustrating?

5.) If you could have lunch with any famous person, who would you choose?

6.) What are your three favorite blogs to follow?

7.) What piece of blogging advice have you found to be most helpful?

8.) Are you a full-time blogger or do you also hold down a day job?

9.) What is your favorite post on your blog thus far?

10.) What social media platforms do you use and which one is most effective for you?


 

So there you have it, the Liebster Award has been passed forward :)

p.s. Please do visit the nominees pages – they’re all really good!

5 month update

5monthupdateAlmost half a year. That means only 7 months until I go back to work, and leave Dominic. 7 months is a long time, but when I’ve already been off for about 6 months, it seems like nothing. At the moment I’m really dreading it. Not because work is awful, but because I’ve become so accustomed to being with my son at home.

As always, Dominic is changing so much. Much more than when he was younger (I say that as if he’s actually old…). Right now I feel like if I blink, I’ll miss something huge.

Here we go.

Baby

Last month I mentioned that I was trying to wean him off the boob, and onto breast milk in bottles. The aim of this was to allow me to leave the house for longer than 2 hours without worrying that he was screaming the house down, trying to avoid the bottle. Anyway, a month later and we’ve improved significantly. He’ll now finish a bottle with no tears. Well, last week he did. We haven’t had a chance to try since as I’ve been too tired (ahem, lazy) to pump any milk.

Now that we’ve reached this goal, I’m happy just occasionally feeding him with the bottle. I figured that there’s only a month left until we start weaning him onto solids, so he’ll need milk less and less as time goes on. And I love feeding him myself – it’s just a bonus if he’ll take the bottle while I’m out!

Growth wise, Dom seems to have had another growth spurt. Months ago this would have upset me, I was desperately holding onto his tiny baby self. But now I feel so differently, him growing excites me. And, it means I have a whole new wardrobe of baby clothes, now that he fits into the larger sizes we got when he was born. I just need to figure out what to do with his mountain of newborn and 0-3 month clothes. I’d quite like to have a quilt or teddy bear made out from them!

We’ve been trying to encourage him to hold himself up with his arms during tummy time this month. But so far, it’s not going so well. The poor thing swings his arms back in a swan like position – he looks like a banana. No matter how many times I bring them forward, they instantly swing back again. Bless him, he’s obviously a swan at heart.

We are still in the same position as we were a month ago (possibly even worse) with sleeping. Our little man just doesn’t want to sleep. We’ve been trying all sorts, and will continue to do so. But that’s for another post. We’ll get there :)

Me

Kind of running out of updates for me… nothing new to say! How boring.

I think 5 months on, it’s time to remove this section from the monthly post ;)

That’s all for this month!