Baby sleep: the truth

I don’t know about you, but I have a baby that thinks sleep is overrated.  I thought I had it made when Oliver slept through the night at about 9 weeks old, little did I know that he was just luring me into a false sense of security, only to get to 4 months and we were back to waking at night.  It wasn’t too bad because he was only waking once at about 2-3am, then sleeping until 6-7am and all he did was feed and go back to sleep.  We got into a good routine of his sleeping/waking times and then these past couple of weeks he’s suddenly decided he wants to wake up every 2 hours.  I feel like I have a newborn baby again, I’ve felt so exhausted.  I have always loved sleep. Pre-baby I was often found asleep still at lunch time, getting a good 12 or 13 hours in. The 2 hourly waking has been killing me. Especially now because he doesn’t sleep in in the morning as he used to, I used to be able to catch up on a bit of sleep because he slept until 10-10.30am. Now he’s awake at 8am and wants to play!  On Wednesday night we had our worst night, Oliver was waking every 1 or 2 hours, and he was crying everytime I put him back in his cot.  He woke Stu up, which is very unusual, he could sleep through a thunderstorm and not even slightly stir. At 4am he decided it was a good time to wake up, he didn’t want feeding, which usually would send him back to sleep, all he wanted was to wriggle around his cot, roll around his tummy and make noise.  It took him an hour to settle down and have a feed. I tried everything to help him fall asleep. Every time he started to drift off he woke himself up again within a minute.  It was the first night I had felt physically and mentally exhausted and actually a little annoyed at Oliver for interrupting my sleep! (I felt awful for this, but I could barely keep my eyes open).  

People say ‘just ignore them, they’ll soon learn’ but I for one can’t do that!  If he wakes, I wake, he’s not quiet when he wakes up. If he’s not chatting away, he’s running his arms or legs along the bars or hitting his mobile base.  Sleep training definitely isn’t for me, I could never do it, to me it just feels like you would be neglecting your baby and their needs. The ‘cry it out’ method just seems cruel.  Babies cry because they want comfort, not to manipulate you.  They’re hungry or just want a snuggle, and I could never deny Oliver a snuggle.  If he’s having a particularly unsettled night then he often sleeps in with us.  It usually means I am super uncomfortable, wedged in the middle of the bed whilst he lies spread eagle where I usually go.  If we had the room I would definitely be investing in a bigger bed, but with the cot next to our bed, there isn’t any space.  I know people will say I’m creating a rod for my own back but I would rather have a happy baby, and if this is what keeps him happy then I will continue to do it.  

Nap times are a nightmare in our house, most naps Oliver resists to the point that he gets himself in a state.  He’s fine going to sleep in the morning when we are upstairs and I’m trying to get ready, but as soon as we leave the bedroom he just won’t sleep!  I spent half my days last week lying down next to him pretending to be asleep, trying to encourage him to do the same, only to find myself being prodded and poked by him, thinking it was a hilarious game.  He will never fall asleep in my arms, (although I popped into see the girls at work last week and he hadn’t napped for about 4 hours and he fell asleep on my hip!) but as soon as Stu gets home from work, Oliver will nap in his arms!  So when I’m alone I have to put him down, usually in his PoddlePod, on the floor or in his cot, depending on what I’m doing at the time.  He’s just starting to outgrow his PoddlePod and can push himself off and roll out of it now, so I think we are coming to the end of using it, which is why I’ve started to just put a blanket on the floor for him to lie on.  I miss the good old days when I used to feed him and he would fall asleep on me and I would just have to sit there for a good half hour or more, super uncomfortable, waiting for him to wake up (who knew I would ever wish that!). He usually only take’s 3 naps through the day ranging for 10-45 minutes long.  I hate it when I read about people who’s babies nap for 1-2 hours at a time, I think of all the things you could do in that time!  By the time I’ve decided he’s actually asleep and have managed to eat something and done some washing up he’s awake again!  My ironing pile grows and grows because by the time he’s asleep enough to not be woken by the clunking of the ironing board, I manage to iron about 5 things and he’s woken up! 

Everyone says once babies have started weaning they’ll sleep better. All I can say is, I will believe it when I see it!  I think I will just have to welcome the next few months/years of sleepless nights with open arms, because the truth is sleep is massively overrated!


A busy two weeks

The past two weeks have flown by for us.  Stu was off for the first week and my mum has been off the past two weeks (my sister is always off, except for a couple of shifts she’s been doing at the local hospital to earn some money during her break from uni), so we have had a very busy couple of weeks, having days out and a mini trip away.  I think Oliver and I are going to miss everyone this week, my sister is on holiday in Ireland with her boyfriends family, and mum and Stu are both at work.  I forget how horrible it is going back after a break from work, although when I go back after my maternity leave it will be even more difficult!  At least I have another 7 months.

Our first week was primarily focused on a trip up north, well to the Midlands, but that’s pretty north from leafy Surrey!  My sister was graduating from Loughborough University (with a first in medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry), so we travelled up as a family for that.  It was our first long car journey with Oliver, he behaved really well, he slept most of the journey, we made one stop for a feed, but other than that he was good as gold!  The ceremony was lovely, Oliver decided to cause a bit of a fuss at the start, Stu took him out for a bit to try and get him to sleep, he was having none of it and came back in just in time to see my sister receiving her degree.  He fell asleep pretty much straight after she got it, so we are sure he was protesting just so he could see her!

My sisters graduation

After the graduation, we made our way over to Stoke-on-Trent for our first family night away.  We had big plans to visit the Emma Bridgewater factory the next day.  I’m a big collector of Emma Bridgewater, as are my mum and sister, so I had been dying to go there for ages.  Having Oliver was the perfect excuse, as they put baby footprints on a plate for you, and as a big fan, this was a must for me!  This was our first night using the travel cot, when I had previously been away for the night I had dismantled his crib and taken that, to help him sleep, but now he’s in his cot it isn’t that easy!  I tried to make it extra cosy with an extra blanket underneath as the base was pretty hard.  Oliver went to sleep on our bed as usual, I popped him in the travel cot and we went to sleep.  He woke every two hours, which is most unlike him, so after a couple of wake ups I decided to keep him in our bed to see if this would help.  Of course he slept like a dream!  He loves snuggling up, so we had a nice snuggle and he slept for about 4 hours straight!

Fast asleep on our bed at the hotel!

We had a great time at the factory, going on the factory tour was so interesting and it’s great to see how each piece is made and decorated by hand.  We had lunch there, which was divine, did a bit of shopping and had a look around the walled gardens.  They had chickens there which Oliver was fascinated by!  We headed over to the decorating studio and got Oliver’s prints put on a plate and mum, my sister and I did a little bit of decorating some pottery ourselves.  We headed back on the 3.5 hour journey home, Oliver was great and we only had to make one stop to feed him.

The rest of the week was mainly focused on the run up to Oliver’s christening.  We had it at the local church and invited a large group of our good friends and family.  After the christening we had a party in the garden, it was a really lovely afternoon, we had lots of sandwiches,cake and biscuits and the weather was beautiful.  Oliver was on the most part well behaved, he is a very poor napper at the best of times, and at events where there are more than just our family, he always opts to stay awake, no matter how hard we try to get him to sleep!  I managed to get him to go to sleep eventually, but he really resisted!

Oliver and his godmothers

Oliver’s christening cake I made from scratch!

The second week we had the heatwave, which I already posted about.  We made Oliver’s first trip to the beach at Goring, he loved it, we didn’t actually go in the water as there was loads of seaweed and it was probably a bit cold for him anyway.  We had a lovely walk along the seafront and then made our way to the pick your own at Roundstone Farm in Worthing,  my mum and sister did all the picking, as it was just too hot for Oliver and I so we sat in the shade and watched them.  It’s a really great pick your own, they have just about anything you could want!

Cuddles at the beach with auntie Alice

Our guide fell asleep on the job!

The rest of the week we spent mostly in the garden.  Oliver tested out his paddling pool and he really enjoyed it, he loves splashing his hands in the water and he because the base is slippery he can rotate around at his own pleasure!  We saw a friend and her son on Thursday, hes almost 2 and Oliver loved watching him running around the garden, it will be cute to see what they will be like together next summer!  Friday was spent visiting my aunt and cousins with  mum.  We had a lovely afternoon and Oliver got lots of great auntie cuddles and cuddles with my cousins.  He’s the first baby on my side of the family and the first boy in a generation, as all my cousins are girls,so he’s pretty special!

On Saturday Stuart was working, so mum and I decided we would go and visit the lavender fields at Mayfield lavender.  We had never been before, even though it’s only a 45 minute trip, but we will definitely be going again!  It was absolutely stunning.  It was lovely to walk through, and Oliver loved reaching out and grabbing the plants.  We bought some fresh lavender in their shop and stopped to have some lavender ice cream, which was delicious. Oliver even tried a tiny bit on my spoon and I’m sure if he could, he would have given it a thumbs up! They sold just about anything lavender, lavender biscuits, tea, cake, jam, and a lot of different smelly products.  I think lavender is a great sensory plant for babies, it smells so good and they can feel it too, Oliver definitely enjoys playing with it!

​This week should be a nice quiet one, we haven’t got many plans, so I can try and catch up on some housework and the growing ironing pile!  The weather is meant to be cooler as well so I have no excuses to not do anything!


We have suddenly had a massive heatwave here in England, the weather is beautiful but it is boiling!  Keeping yourself cool in this kind of heat is hard, but when you have a baby you’ve got to try and keep you both cool!  The past 3 days as it’s got hotter, I’ve basically had Oliver in just a nappy all day.  He’s a hot baby anyway so in the heat we are having he is boiling all of the time!  It makes me laugh, we moan for ages that it’s not hot enough, but as soon as it heats up we end up moaning that it’s too hot!

We had Oliver’s baptism on Sunday, the weather was lovely, but a little muggy, we kept him in a vest all morning, until we went to the church where he got changed into his gown.  The church was lovely and cool, but when we left we were back in the heat again and we quickly got him out of his gown.  I had a lovely romper to change him into at home for his party, but it was far too hot for that so I decided to leave him in just his nappy.  He was very happy, he loves being ‘naked’ and everyone loves seeing a little baby with nothing on, all the lovely little rolls!

On Monday it was even hotter, about 29C, I popped him in a romper to go up to my mums, but by the time I got there he was boiling and grumpy, so I stripped him back down to his nappy and he was much happier. We went out shopping and all the shop assistants were laughing at the fact he was just in a nappy!  The worst thing is that he always decides he wants to be carried when we’re out, he’s baking, I’m baking and I’ve then got to carry around a hot sweaty baby.  I’ve learnt that if I pop a giant muslin over my arm I can use it as a bit of a barrier between us to try and stop us getting so hot together!  

When we got home I got his new paddling pool out and thought we would use it for the first time. We filled it with some lukewarm water, changed him into his reusable swim nappy and I paddled his feet in it.  I sat him down in the water and he started howling, I tried lying him on his back and he was still unhappy, so after a minute when he didn’t stop crying we got him out.  Once he had calmed down I thought he could try again, this time I lay him on his tummy and he LOVED it!  Because the base is all slippery he can manoeuvre himself around on his tummy which he loves.  He kept dunking his mouth in the water and licking the water as well! It really helped cool him down.

Today it has been so hot, about 32C, and we went down to the seaside which was lovely.  The sea breeze definitely helped keep us cool and I made sure Oliver was always shaded under his parasol, even though that means that you have to keep moving it about every time you turn a corner!  You shouldn’t use anything other than the sun hood or a parasol to cover your pram as it just makes it into a little sauna under there, and a hot baby is never a happy one.  I also lay him on a muslin, as the pushchair is dark and I thought it would be much to hot too lie on once it had been in the sun and probably would make him even more hot and sweaty.  I was with my mum and sister and we went for a little walk along the seafront, Oliver slept for nearly the whole walk.  The heat makes me sleepy, so I’m sure that’s what helped him.

When we got home we got Oliver back into his little pool and he loved it.  We were sat there eating ice lollies and he kept staring longingly at them, luckily I had made some breast milk ice lollies for him using the Nuby ice lolly mould a few weeks ago to help soothe his teething gums.  I went and got him one out and boy did he love it!  He kept grabbing it and pushing it back in his mouth.  He was chewing at it loads as I think his teeth are really bothering him at the moment.  I would definitely recommend making milk ice lollies to keep them cool in the heat, just put some expressed milk in the mould and freeze.  I’m guessing it would work the same for formula too. 

He’s now currently sleeping in his nappy, I will put a vest on later of the temperature drops, but it said it was going to stay about 20C overnight and our bedroom is currently 28C at 10pm.  How do you keep your babies cool in the heat? Any tips or tricks?


My little boy is already 5 months old!

Well, 20 weeks, he isn’t the full 5 months until next week! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone, my tiny baby is no more, I now have a proper little baby boy, who likes to touch everything and is so interested in the world.  This past month he has taken some big steps.  Firstly, he has finally mastered the roll, he has been able to roll from lying on his tummy to his back for a long time now, but going back the other way he couldn’t quite master.  A couple of weeks ago, he suddenly started really thrusting himself on his side, in an attempt to get over, he slowly started working out what he needed to do to roll, firstly he worked out how to get his head in a position he wouldn’t suffocate himself with, then he worked, out how to get his little legs over, and lastly he worked out how to get his little arms over.  The first couple of times he managed to get over, he got his arms stuck underneath and he was groaning with effort to get them out, so much so he managed to flip back over, then one night before bed, he finally got them out from under him and performed the full roll! Stu was looking after him whilst I was in the bathroom, he quickly called me through to see Oliver happily lying on his tummy looking proud as punch.  Now every time he has managed to roll over I have missed it!  He did it the next day when his auntie was over and lots of other times with daddy, but whenever he’s with me he just stays put!  

This month has also seen Oliver moving from his crib to his cotbed.  I kept him in the crib for as long as possible, but since learning to roll he took a preference to sleeping on his side, which in a narrow crib wasn’t really possible.  It meant both he and I were awoken multiple times during the night with him rolling into the side and making a lot of noise when he kicked his legs out and swung his arms around.  He’s still in with us (as its recommended to sleep in the same room until baby is at least 6 months to reduce the risk of SIDS) so we just had to re-jig our bedroom furniture slightly to accommodate the cot.  I prefer to have him right next to me as I like to be able to see/hear him at night, so he sleeps on my side of the bed, and our bed has been shifted over and Stu has a gangway on his side to get out of bed now, which he isn’t too happy about (he’s worried he’s going to have to get up quickly one morning and wack his head on the wall!!).  Oliver is LOVING all the space he has in his new cot, he does little rotations in the evening and turns himself around so he’s lying widthways across the cot, then looks at us like “I don’t know how I got here!” We have the Mamas and Papas Harbour cotbed, my Grandpa kindly bought it for us last year before he passed away, so it’s quite a special piece of furniture for me.  I can climb in it at night to feed Oliver, it’s surprisingly roomy and can hold the weight of a fully grown adult!  It’s much easier than lifting him in and out as he’s getting heavy, and it’s a bit of an awkward angle because the cot’s right alongside the bed.

He’s become much more interactive now, Stu says he much prefers it now you can see Oliver’s little personality coming through.  He’s definitely going to be assertive and will know his own mind, he’s already quite strong willed!  He’s definitely going to be a bit of an attention seeker, he loves being watched, and if you aren’t watching him directly he will squawk at you until you do (or if you’re close enough he will poke you in the eyes, nose or mouth or grab you!).  He now reaches out and takes things off of you or if he sees something he wants he tries his hardest to lean over and get it!  Just the other day he was sat in his Bumbo and I had left my tube of Jaffa cakes next to him, he spent a good 5 minutes trying to turn himself around and lean over to grab them!  He’s definitely starting to notice food a lot more now, and I can’t believe it’s only a month until he starts weaning, where the time’s gone I don’t know!  He really recognises people as well now, he gives my mum and sister the biggest smiles when they come to see him, special smiles like he gives mummy and daddy, I guess it’s because he sees them almost every day.  He is such a smiler, today when I popped to the health visitors clinic to get him weighed, he was sitting there smiling at all the staff, babies and mummy’s!  I’m very lucky to have such a happy, content (99% of the time) baby and I count my blessings every day!

This month Oliver:

  • Learnt to roll from his back to front
  • Learnt to blow raspberries
  • Attended his first wedding (and was a superstar for daddy during the service as I was a bridesmaid)
  • Started doing stomach crunches
  • Dribbled a lot!
  • Chewed everything he can get his hands on
  • Pulled a lot of flowers off of mummy’s plants (and some from the local pub too!)
  • Is now 16lb 7oz
  • Wakes 1 or 2 times a night for a feed
  • Is generally a happy content baby unless he’s over tired
  • Is in 3-6 month clothing
  • Is exclusively breastfed
  • Thinks mummy and daddy’s dancing is hilarious!
  • Wants anything we have in our hands

His favourite things:

  • His Bumbo, he loves being sat up!
  • Vtech roll and wiggle caterpillar (he loves me singing along!)
  • Chew rattle and rattle ball that he got in his wedding party bag
  • Manhattan baby chew toy rattle 
  • His Jellycat Lamby and Bunnies
  • Tiger
  • Having daddy cuddles (and mummy cuddles too!)
  • Being thrown up in the air
  • His jungle night light
  • The monkey puzzle
  • Being outside
  • Flowers