Wah! I’m still absolutely stuck on six months – it honestly only seems like yesterday when I wrote the 6 Months Update Post! Maybe because I’ve been ill for over half of the past month – and there was Christmas and New Year to contend with, so it’s no wonder that the time has just slipped through my fingers. But I knew that it would, so this month I’ve been jotting down little notes and observations on a regular basis – you’ll excuse me if this post seems mega-organised with little headings and sub-headings? Thank you. Here we go.
- The Sleep Issue. Well, the sleep thing (lack of) was pretty hideous for about four or five weeks. Nothing we did worked – ignoring the crying, pandering to the crying, shushing, singing, pacing, rocking, television on low volume, television on high volume… In the end, as I predicted in my sleep post, I just embraced the sleeplessness and the baby-waking (every hour on a bad night) and wrote it off as a phase. And do you know what? It was. So much so that the pain of those weeks has almost entirely disappeared from my memory. (Almost. I have the myriad of empty eye-cream tubes and concealer pots and eye-patch mask packages in my bathroom cabinet as a reminder.) I thought that perhaps it might be a breastfeeding problem, because the baby gets used to feeding from you for comfort throughout the night, but then extensive “research” on Mumsnet and Netmums (confusing) showed me that there were thousands of people with the same issues, whether breast or bottle feeding. So yeah – if you’re reading this through a red-eyed fug, mainlining coffee and trying not to weep because you’ve been up all night, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be writing more about this, because there was one thing that did help, but it was so obvious that I’m almost embarrassed to tell you. (*whispers routine*) Enforced daytime naps (husband taking the baby out for a walk in the pram in the late morning, and in the car to the shops in the afternoon) helped massively. But we only really established this routine after the baby had stopped waking up so much, so it’s a bit of a chicken-egg situation.
- Rolling. Oh good God, there’s nothing like turning your back for ten seconds to find your baby halfway to France, trailing laptop charger cords behind her and trying to kick her way out of the window. We are on a major health and safety drive here – everywhere you look there’s a potential hazard! One of our main things to get used to is charger cords and not leaving things plugged in and also the problem of my husband’s constant coin-dropping. Every time he sits down, whether on the carpet, the sofa or in the car, all of his loose change just clangles out of his jeans pockets, it drives me mad! I constantly find money all over the floor, so I am considering making him wear a bum bag to keep it all in. Ha.
- General on-the-moveness. Rolling, sitting up (as of yesterday, actually!) and throwing the head around like some kind of crazy canonball; no longer can I just “pop to the loo” with the baby lying in the middle of the bed. I can’t turn my back for a second! Yesterday she managed to climb out of a Bumbo chair! I thought the whole point of those was that they kept them stationary! The on-the-moveness means that there is absolutely no way I can do any work when the baby is awake; I look back on those first months and can’t believe how much I used to get done. I think, on that note, that the time has come for me to look for a bit of help during the week. A couple of days would do it, maybe from about ten until four. But where does one look for this kind of help? A freelance nanny? Do they exist? Preferably one with PA skills and a knowledge of video editing – ha! That would be amazing. Basically I need a clone of myself. I should advertise.
- Weaning. We started weaning Angelica about a week before she turned six months, but we were quite non-committal about it, really, and just faffed around with a bit of breast milk mixed with baby rice to see how she liked the texture. Since then food has been mainly from the very convenient Ella’s Kitchen pouches, because we have both been quite poorly and the baby seemed to love them. I know, I know; they’re for emergencies, full of fruit, no nutrients because they’ve been heated, blah blah blah; it’s organic baby food in a pouch, people who are about to criticise, not Burger King! Freshly prepared food starts from tomorrow (with lumps and bits in, because she’s had smooth stuff for weeks and seems to have conquered that) and I’ll be back with a little food diary-style post when I get a moment. A friend gave me loads of Annabel Karmel books so I’ve been reading those at breakfast time – lots of the recipes are exactly the same as adult ones, which was reassuring. I thought that cooking for babies was going to be really complicated, but so far as I can tell it’s all common sense and lots of the stuff can kind of be siphoned off from the adult cooking to make a mini-portion, minus the seasoning and spices and so on. Thank God, because the idea of having to make two evening meals in my already manic day fills me with dread!
- Bottle-Feeding. I’ve got the breastmilk expressing down to pat, now, I’m pleased to say, and the baby now takes a feed every other day or so from a bottle. Mostly to get her used to the feel of the bottle, just in case I need to be away for a few hours. Ironically, I’ve been too ill to go anywhere, but I have a girls’ lunch this weekend and a couple of other engagements, so it will be interesting to see how she gets on. I sometimes think that my husband manages the whole baby thing much better than I do – he’s great at sticking to routines and getting the baby to take bottles and eat her solids… He’s my superhero at the moment – he has the absolute patience of a saint – but I’ll save all of that for another post. We use the MAM bottles, with teats designed especially for breastfed babies – you can read about expressing and bottle-feeding in my previous post here. I’m still doing about six, maybe seven breastfeeds a day, but I must say that they are dramatically shorter and more efficient than they were even a month ago.
- Hair Loss. Yeah, it happened. I reckon I have only about two-thirds of my previous hair volume and I have a bald patch on either side of my head, at the front, as though I have a receding hairline. I’ll be honest; it doesn’t bother me too badly, but I think if the receding gets any worse then I’ll have to stop wearing my hair up for a while! I’ve no doubt that constantly pulling my hair into a ponytail or bun is probably not helping the loss situation. I’ll keep you updated.
- Tummy. Better news here! Despite my daily Mint Choc Magnum, my tummy has shrunk drastically over the last month. It’s not flat (there’s a nice old loose pouch hanging about not knowing really what to do with itself) but it’s alright. I can live with it. I’m going to start doing some Youtube exercise routines in the living room from tomorrow, so let’s see if crunches might have some impact. Giving up Magnums would probably have more impact, but I’m afraid I just can’t compromise on those at the moment. A girl has to have one vice, surely!
As I’ve mentioned, I’ll try and address some of the above topics more fully in separate posts – I have loads of baby equipment reviews to do too. Once I get that clone of myself I’ll make a start…