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Babies cry but…

Is it harder to love a baby that cries a lot?

Isn’t that just one big mother of a question right there?!  It’s huge!  I love this question!  I‘ve been asked this question and would like to share with you why, why I’ve been asked and why I love it.  Now if you read my blog but don’t follow me on Twitter then the last time I really blogged about my life as a new mum to Baby G was her birth story post however if you were following me on Twitter back in November & December you would have definitely been aware of some dark times here at Lancaster Towers, you may even have heard some crying and if passing seen floods of tears flowing from the door!  We are now in a good place and Baby G is a delight but for a while there things were seriously, seriously tough.  I mean like proper “considering-going-back-to-work-full-time-and-getting-a-nanny” tough!

Baby G is 15 weeks old now, so here’s a quick rundown of how those first few months with two have been. 

The first three weeks with two

Weeks 1, 2 & 3  At the beginning all was good with Baby G, breast feeding well, waking once or occasionally twice in the night to feed, sleeping most of the time.  Lil’ H adoring of his new sister but he was struggling with the change to his family unit.  His night time sleep went out the window.  My poor little guy desperately trying to make up his mummy time at night I think.  He went from sleeping through the night from being just a few months old to waking multiple times a night.  As a result of his poor sleeping his tiredness saw his behaviour spiral downhill.  Desperate to not be telling him off but everyone’s shattered, patience and best intentions have left the building and he’s being, well frankly naughty, so guess what?  He was being told off and frequently and that just made me so sad.  I kept thinking I did this to him, I knew this was all his emotional reaction to the change,  I now know and can see how hormonal a time it was too.  So positive mummy time dropped to an all time low and we spent the best part of a month in one very hideous viscous circle!

Farewell sleep, hello colic

Weeks 3-8           I had a moment of clarity amongst the fug of breastfeeding tiredness and could see the number one way to make some improvements was to tackle H’s sleep.  Bottom line was we wouldn’t be tolerating this if G hadn’t arrived so it was time.  There were two issues firstly he wouldn’t go to sleep by himself, insisting mummy/daddy stayed or he’d be out of bed and out the door.  Then there was the night waking multiple times a night.  I prioritised the night waking on the grounds it would have the biggest positive impact on his tiredness and therefore his behaviour.  We got the stair gate out and put on his bedroom for the first time ever and used aromatherapy and Indigo child essences (both which I still use).  During the day I introduced “The Sleep Fairy” and her chocolate coin incentive programme!  The premise was simple, Mummy had called the sleep fairy, she would watch over Lil’ H and if he slept in his bed all night she would leave a chocolate coin.  Lil’ H and I made a reward chart by drawing and cutting out and sticking on pictures and photographs a reward chart.  It has been invaluable to have a photo of Hugo asleep in his bed, he so clearly understood what we were asking him to do.  He loves going on the little steam train at Brookside so a straight week of sleeping in his own bed and a ticket to ride he would have! 

First night – when it came to bedtime I stayed with him whilst he went to sleep, 2am he woke, crying “Mummy” and rattling the gate, joy!  I went to him hugged him over the gate told him he was safe and told him to go back to bed.  He didn’t, I did.  I then simply spoke to him through the monitor and said Mummy would scare the sleep fairy away if she came into his room.  This was met by silence!  Quickly followed by the pitter patter of feet back into bed!  The sleep fairy came and left a coin and a very proud and not so tired boy awoke the following day.  Night 2 similar but I never went to him just spoke to him.  Night 3, the wheels fell off and I had to go into him and but of course there was no coin from the fairy in the morning L That was that though, the fairy came for three weeks and then had to be “dismissed”.  Which we did by her leaving a chocolate coin, a special present and a magic fairy wand, this is important because if we need to call the fairy back which we have had to a few times we use the wand when we are going to bed and ask her to help H sleep in his own bed.  To date it has been very effective – the Sleep Fairy and her chocolate coin incentive programme rocks! 

During all this Baby G had been a dream, breastfeeding well, sleeping well, napping well.  Toddler sleep issues resolved, make way for Baby crying issues.  It came from nowhere when G was about 3 weeks old this crying started late afternoon say about 4:30pm ish and I would get her to sleep, like to totally floppy arm asleep, put her down and seconds later eyes wide open hysterical screaming.  It was colic.  That was my worst nightmare a baby with colic and it just got worse.  It was for a few hours in the early evening which go longer ‘til it was pretty much 6 hours straight ‘til 10:30pm when she’d be fed and go to sleep and then be put down exhausted.  Then it started to start earlier and earlier and earlier and eventually it was ALL DAY.  I timed it to go to the doctors one day she cried for 5 hours between 9:30am and 4:30pm and solidly without sleeping from 4:30pm until 10:30pm.  Baby G cried for just over 11 hours that day and that was a “regular” day.  She didn’t feed well, she cried, got wind, her tummy hurt, she cried more – yet another vicious circle.  I had the infacol, the Colief, the gripe water, the Gaviscon, the massage pad, a pal on Twitter was sending reiki, the white noise of the hairdryer was rescued with a white noise CD (which is great and we still use).  I’d cut out wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol, I’d seen breast feeding consultants and tried most bottles (Baby Born Free have all the latest on BPA Free, were hugely supportive and deserve a thank you!)  But Baby G was still crying it was getting worse if anything, if something did work it almost never worked again there was no consistency, no pattern, preferences or routine were emerging.  My hair was going greyer I swear visibly by the day, the stress lines were deepening and arriving at a pace.  I didn’t want to go out, it was so exhausting and difficult to visit other people, I was frightened she would just scream the place down, family or good friend or not I didn’t want to be observed struggling with my Baby.  I was in yet another very hideous spiral, this time one of very real and total panic.  Life felt like a tent with no pegs in a hurricane.  I don’t believe any child is “easy” they all have their moments and challenges and it just might not be whilst they are babies but it was only now that I understood what all the conversations I heard amongst my ante & post natal groups with H were about.  Only now did I “get it”, this was the nightmare they were all going on about!

Week 8                 By the time Baby G was eight weeks old she had the six week check, all was well, I’d been prescribed the gaviscon and I had returned twice because “my baby cries all the time”.  I wasn’t dismissed to say I was would be unfair, Baby G was checked out and I was told she was fine, it would pass but to come back if I continued to be worried.  I was worried, worried it might never stop, even my mum started to say “do you think there is something wrong with her?” Family and friends would visit – arriving with their knacks, tricks, secrets, songs and rhymes and declare “oh give her to me I’ll settle her.”  Part of me is proud of G that without exception she saw everyone off and didn’t settle for a single one of their secret-special-fail-safe baby–charms!  I had seen an osteopath when I was pregnant and I had taken Baby G along when she arrived.  I was back there on an emergency appointment to see if anything had changed or could be helped or preferably fixed.  I was running out of routes to explore, next step was going to have to be… I was all out I didn’t have an next step – wait until she was 12 weeks old and allegedly all this colicky screaming would stop that 12 week milestone was a lifetime away.  The osteopath was just lovely and listened and examined Baby G, placed her hands on her head and said, almost immediately, “this baby has an ear infection”.  In my heart of hearts I didn’t really think I’d get an answer from going to the osteopath, I was just dealing with such an alien situation it made me feel better to be doing something, doing anything, I just wanted her to stop crying.  “This baby has an ear infection” I was blown away there was a possible answer, now I feel guilty that wasn’t on my radar as an option, could I have know?  Should I have know?  Oh my God I could have an answer and one that is treatable – I was excited, inappropriately pleased my baby might have an ear infection because if she does we can treat it and she won’t be in pain and she won’t be crying for unknown reasons anymore.  Baby G had her a full osteopathic “MOT” and treatment and then we headed straight back to the doctors.  I called en route as it was gone 5pm telling them I wanted someone to look in my baby’s ears tonight.  The doctor looked in her ears and confirmed.  Calpol and antibiotics were prescribed.  Calpol and 20 minutes later I had a different baby.  We had seen her smile before but we didn’t see it very often, we didn’t know that she is a smiley girl and she is.  Just look!

Happy smiley girl

Best friends are allowed

So that is why my best friend asked me “is it harder to love a baby that cries a lot?” I love that question because I knew the answer without thinking, I love the fact that I knew without stopping for a nano second, I love the fact that the question made me really think about the first few months with Baby G.  I love that question because it says so much about the strength and openness of both our friendship and the people my best friend and I are.  It’s a friendship I am incredibly proud of .

So what is the answer to the original question “is it harder to love a baby that cries a lot?”  The answer is simple “No” but there are far fewer moments to recognise, reflect and feel that love because all of the attention that is demanded and exhaustion created by the crying.  It is harder to have those moments of calm and quiet and it is those moments when you gaze at your sleeping baby and get to experience rush of love for your child flood over you.

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Wordless Wednesday – second snow day!

Bombay Sapphire, slimline tonic, ice & a slice of lime

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Immunisation tips

Baby G is 8 weeks old now and has been called up tomorrow for her first lot of jabs, not a nice Mummy moment.  I found it pretty distressing first time around with Lil’ H and I remember I wrote an email for friends would had also become first time mums just a few months behind me to help them along.  I’ve dug out that email to remind myself and have prescribed myself a dose of my own advice … thought I’d post it as it may help others and I’d welcome other tips about managing babes during and after immunisations….

Dear Mummy Friends,
 
I hope this finds you well, I thought the information below might be helpful for you and your babes as you approach their vaccinations. 
 
Having Hugo vaccinated was a big deal for me and I really debated whether to or not, I mention this because I was pretty agitated this morning having spent a good few weeks making the decision (and by the way it is yet another no win catch 22 one!) and Lil’ H definitely picked up on it so my top tip number would be for you to stay very calm. 
 
OK so here is what Lil’ H had, how the vaccinations were given and how I managed him with them …
 
At 2 months they have two jabs – one in each thigh, the first contains Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Hib, Polio and Meningitis C and the second contains the Pneumococcal vaccine.  About 1/2 an hour before I gave him a dose ( 2.5ml) of Calpol, no idea how much he got as he spat loads out but I think it helped.  The first jab he didn’t seem to notice (he was already crying though so it was hard to tell) the second one does hurt them, it stings apparently and he definitely felt it as he gave the hideous “silent scream”!  I held him on my knee, they gave the first jab, I turned him round and they gave the second.  Top tip would be to dress him in something that isn’t too fiddly to get the legs out of – if its warm just a vest or sunsuit would be perfect.  Lots of cuddles and kisses straight after and I went to another room immediately to feed him at the health centre before going home – I think this is quite important as it is a shock for them.  I fed him again when we got home to get him off to sleep, my friend came over and gave him a Bowen treatment for shock.  He has definitely been more touchy today, wanting to be held and he was crying more than normal today and it was difficult to settle him up to about 5pm.  After that the evening and bedtime was normal. 
 
So tips are…
1.  Stay calm, it helped me to have Mr L there too.
2.  Dress babe in something easy to get his legs in and out of.
3.  Calpol 20-30 mins before the jab
4.  Feed babe immediately afterwards
5.  Lots of cuddles – skin to skin is also recommended so you could plan to return home and both go to bed for the rest of the day.
 
Hope it helps. 
Claire xxx

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Wordless wednesday

My favourite photo from our Cornwall staycation 2009 …
Beach & Bucket - what more does a boy need!

Beach & Bucket - what more does a boy need!

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99 British Mummy Bloggers on Twitter

Last week I found out that I am listed at number 10 in the list of – 99 British Mummy Bloggers on Twitter.

 

I am seriously very chuffed and flattered to be listed here amongst some really great ladies and gents who’s blogs and posts I really admire and enjoy. 

 

This list is compiled by Sally who writes a couple of really great blogs and by her own admission “gives great tweet”, so if you too tweet click here to follow Sally  and if you want to follow me, Id love that, just click here

 

 

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I bought my son an elephant …

So preparations for baby number two are well underway.  I am not willing to tempt fate by saying “nearly there” as my new kitchen, that’s the 20,000 swear word kitchen, has taken 83 days and still counting (it justifies a whole post in itself that tale!)  

However number one son, H’s, big boy bedroom is finished and he’s moved in – out of his cot and into a single bed – I am delighted to report the transition couldn’t have gone better.  He remains, touch wood, a great sleeper and couldn’t love his new room or the Elephant beanbag I bought him more.  I took a really lovely photo of him this weekend chilling in his room – an similar image of him age 13 in front of a computer game is, I am sure, inevitable! 

photo

I am so thrilled he loves his room as much as he does.  With so much changing in his world – from cot to bed, nappies to pants (not going quite as well admittedly!), from only child & only grand child to having the imminent arrival of a sibling in October on his horizon.  For him to love his room so much make me really happy.  His new room is where he wants to be if we’re at home, everyone who comes to the house gets “come play upstairs in my bedroom” – so sweet!

So household maneuvers continue – a bit of background for you … we thought about moving prior to baby number two but with three bedrooms and the housing market, or should I say lack of housing market, being what it is, we decided to stay put for a year or two.  Now we are rejigging how we use the space we have.  So the spare room and also my office/study have been converted into H’s new big boy bedroom freeing up his nursery for baby number two.  We have a sofa bed in the living room so will give up our master suite as and when we have guests.  Lets be honest who wants to visit anyone with two kids under three?!  More often we meet friends for weekends or holidays away as they all have babes too. 

I have set up my office/study in our loft area and I absolutely love it, just putting the finishing touches to my “hub/den/retreat” (trip to Ikea planned on Tuesday – wish me luck!) and I will post up some piccies of the finished space for you. 

The less positive side of increasing our household occupancy is that I am having to relinquish / share wardrobe space with my other half, ARGHHHH!  Some quite heated discussions have been had about clothing quantities and on that note I’m off, as R is out tonight, possession is nine tenths of the law and squatters rights rule when is comes to hanging and drawer space, well in my book they do anyway!

Ahhh, just previewed this post, I so love this photo of H, wish I’d taken it on my decent camera and not my phone though – does that happen to anyone else? 

Claire x

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