My Birth Story

First Birthday

As Amber turns One on Friday, and today (21st August) it’s a year since our Birth Story began, I thought I should share the story of her birth. Grab a brew, it’s going to be a long one!

For a little background information, I had gestational diabetes in pregnancy which means I was recording the food I ate and testing and recording my blood sugar levels 4 times a day. I also had extra scans to make sure Amber wasn’t growing too big. All was going fine, but I wasn’t able to control my blood sugar levels with just my diet (even though I was so so strict with myself) so I had to take Metformin tablets too. Amber was growing fine and there were no issues, but the consultant still didn’t want me to go over 40 weeks, so we decided on an induction. Two weeks before the induction, I was given a sweep which didn’t work, but they did allow me to try a second sweep. Again, this didn’t work so we had to go down the induction route. I had been 2cm dilated at the first sweep, but there had been no change by the second.

Tuesday 21st August 2018

Our induction was booked for 7am at Burnley Birthing Suite Induction Ward. We were taken into a private room where I got changed into a nightshirt and they gave me some sexy hospital socks to put on. The staff all made me feel at ease and helped to calm my nerves, I really didn’t want to be induced, but I’d run out of options and nothing else had worked. I didn’t know what to expect, but the process was quite straight forward.
They monitored me (and baby) for half an hour, there was hope they might be able to break my waters rather than go down the pessary route.

Half an hour later, I was still 2cm and my cervix was quite hard still so they wouldn’t be able to break my waters. The midwife inserted a pessary which would start the induction process. It was a little uncomfortable, but after having had two sweeps I was used to that. From there it was a waiting game, we decided Dan should go into work so he wouldn’t lose any wages and we would call him if anything happened. My mum stayed with me and we spent a long time just doing laps around the hospital and eating anything we could find that was diabetes-friendly. It turns out hospitals are not very well equipped for diabetic patients. After a while, I started to have pessary pains, which are like contractions but they don’t come and go in waves, they’re constant and mostly in your back. I tried to keep active by walking and bouncing on a birthing ball, but it was awful. At one point, mum and I had gone for a walk and I had to get her to push me back to the ward in a wheelchair because I couldn’t stand the pains anymore. Mum then proceeding to bash me into several doors, she’s not a great driver, haha! Sorry, Mum.

I had a nice warm bath which really helped with the pains, and by 2:30 pm I was pain-free again but fed up as it was looking like the pessary part of the induction hadn’t worked to kick start labour. I still had to wait 24 hours (from 7am) for the pessary to work so we had a long wait ahead. The worst part was it was roasting, it was still really hot this time last summer, and I’d asked for a fan but the midwife was struggling to find one for me. The woman across from me wasn’t letting hers go and she didn’t even have it on! At 4pm I threw up. The heat had got to me, and I asked mum to get me a sick bowl, she was too late and when she came back I’d thrown up all over the floor. Shortly after, they found me a fan so I felt a lot better after that.

birth5

That evening Dan came to the hospital after going home first to get changed and get some bits I needed, and my mum went home for the night. Dan was allowed to stay on the ward with me overnight, but there was only the chair or the floor for him to sleep on. He decided he would stay with me rather than try to sleep at home because he wouldn’t have been able to sleep sat at home anyway, and he wasn’t going into work the following day. We had a little cuddle on the hospital bed watching Little Britain, which can’t have been comfortable for Dan but he was being amazing and doing anything I needed and I needed that cuddle. Poor Dan then slept on the floor all night, he didn’t get much and actually ended up writing a blog: My first night in a hospital | The Bearded Dads Survival Guide

Wednesday 22nd August 2018

As Dan was shattered, and nothing was happening just yet, I sent Dan home to get some sleep for a few hours and my mum was coming to sit with me for a while again.
My pessary had fallen out in the morning but I let them know and they were reviewing me at 7am anyway. I was praying I didn’t need a second pessary!
Just after half 7 I was examined again and I was now 3cm and my cervix was softer so they could finally break my waters! However, due to gestational diabetes and me being consultant-led, I had to have 1-1 care from a midwife, so this meant I needed to wait for both a room on the birthing suite and a midwife. Just my luck the birth suite was extra busy too, and it sounded like there were some difficult births going on, from how busy they were. We didn’t ring Dan to come back to the hospital just yet, we decided to let him rest until either something happened, or I was being moved to birth suite.
Mum and I spent all day walking around and eating again. When Dan woke up he came over to the hospital and we updated him. At 7pm we were still waiting to go to the birth suite, and visiting had technically ended so I should have only had either Dan or Mum with me, not both, but as they were hoping to move me soon they let them both stay with me.
Finally, at 10pm, we had a room and a midwife! The midwife broke my waters, this took a little while as the student midwife had a go first but she couldn’t do it, so my midwife took over, she got it straight away. At this point, I was 4cm dilated, so things were moving in the right direction. I’d been practising Hypnobirthing before had, so Dan put the playlist on, we had the lights dimmed and I got into an upright position. Contractions soon started and it was back labour so 90% of the pain was in my lower back. I was in so much pain. I used gas and air to start with and then I had pethidine which did really help with the pain. I also had really bad heartburn, which made me throw up a lot. I went through so many sick bowls, so I then had an anti-sickness injection and some tablets for the heartburn, both worked fine, and I was then able to concentrate on my breathing. I used the breathing techniques I’d learned through hypnobirthing and I can honestly say this worked so well for me. I breathed through contractions, using the gas and air as well, I was calm throughout and I actually kept nodding off a bit. This also meant I kept waking up and responding to conversations I was dreaming that my mum and Dan were having. It was quite funny really. I had Dan on one side of me, holding onto the gas and air and passing it to me when I needed it, and my mum on the other side keeping me hydrated with some water. I would have liked to have been more active during labour and I did struggle to get into a comfortable position, but I had to stay on the bed as they needed to monitor Amber’s heart rate.

At around 3am I had a natural urge to push, so I told my midwife who said I wasn’t quite dilated enough so I then had the drip form of the induction to speed things up. I was examined at 5am and I was then 10cm so I started pushing. By this time I was sick of the gas and air, it felt like it was in the way when I was trying to push and breathe so from around half 5 I had no gas and air and no other forms of pain relief. At some point, (it’s a bit of a blur) they were struggling to be able to monitor Amber’s heart rate through the monitors they attached to my bump, so the midwife attached a different type of monitor to her head. This meant I had a piece of string hanging out of my vagina which with every push would come out a bit more, and then after each push, it would go straight back in. I remember the midwife, mum and Dan all telling me I was doing well and the Midwife would say “You’re nearly there”. She must have said this over 25 times and after a while, I was starting to think she was lying.

At 8am it was decided that Amber was not co-operating, and we were going to have to go to plan B. Although Amber was ready to come out, and I was pushing, her head was at a slight angle. They were hoping that me pushing would get her into a better position but she was being too awkward for that. The consultant decided a forceps delivery was the best course of action and they talked me through all of this. The consultant explained that although they were hoping to be able to move her into a better position with forceps, there was a chance this wouldn’t work and I may need a c-section. For this reason, I had to have a spinal, which is a bit like an epidural, but not as long-lasting.

I signed some paperwork, took off my jewellery and changed into a hospital gown. (I’d been naked for most of the night haha). They wheeled me down to theatre and Dan was taken to put some scrubs on. The pethidine had worn off a long time ago, and my lower back was in a lot of pain again. I was still having contractions and each contraction brought so much back pain with it. In theatre, the staff were lovely. I had one particular nurse who talked to me, held my hand and helped me breathe through contractions while I sat on the end of the bed, as the anaesthetist was trying to stick a needle into my spine for the spinal. It took ages for them to get it in because of my contractions, but they got there in the end, and it didn’t hurt as much as I’d expected, just a short sharp stabbing pain. Apparently, I had the spinal and morphine, which I don’t remember the morphine, but I remember the effects. As soon as the spinal and morphine started to work the pain of contractions were gone. I was in zero pain.  Within a few minutes, I went from unbearable pain to pain-free complete joy. I was suddenly much much happier. They asked if I wanted some music on, and said they had Spotify so I could request anything. Of course, I picked Disney songs, and they immediately put on ‘The circle of life’ from The Lion King. The perfect song to give birth to! We had a laugh and a joke and they all made me feel so at ease. I’d been very nervous for the spinal and the thought of a c-section, but they really helped to keep me calm.

Dan came in in his scrubs and we were ready to get started. The consultant used the forceps to turn Amber’s head and then they encouraged me to push. I couldn’t feel a thing so I’m not sure how much pushing I contributed but within a couple of mins she was out! Dan was able to watch the birth still, and one of the nurses took photos on his phone so we’d have photos but Dan wouldn’t miss anything. Dan managed to not pass out! We all thought he would but the adrenaline seemed to be keeping him upright.

birth4

So Amber was born on 23rd August 2018 at 09:41am. She was immediately placed on my chest for some skin to skin and she had a tiny little cry. I’m not sure what song was playing at the point she was born, but when she was placed on my chest ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ started playing, so that song now makes me cry every time I hear it.
She was taken over to the side of the room to be weighed and measured, and they had cut the cord but left it long so Dan could cut it too. She weighed 7lb 6oz and was 49cm long.

birth1
While Dan was doing that they gave me the injection to help me birth the placenta and stitched me up as I’d had an episiotomy. They then did something to contract my womb, the doctor told me about it but I didn’t really understand (or care) what she was talking about at that point. I found out after I’d lost 800ml of blood so I’m guessing whatever she did, it was something to do with that. All I remember is what looked like the doctor moving both arms elbow deep, in and out of my vagina. Is this possible? I’m not sure, but that’s what it looked like. I was numb from the waist down and too interested in my new baby girl to care.

birth3

We were taken to the aftercare bit outside of theatre and Amber was put back on my chest again. She latched onto my boob immediately, and I was so happy that part was easy. My mum hadn’t been allowed in theatre obviously, so she had been nervously waiting outside, once in aftercare she was able to come and see us, along with my dad. Mum walked straight past Amber (who Dan was holding out for her to hold) and came straight to me to give me a hug. She was crying because she had been so worried about me having to go to theatre. It made me laugh because I was so relaxed. She then, of course, grabbed Amber for a quick cuddle before going home.

We then were moved to the postnatal ward, where we had a little rest and then Dan started to inform the family of her birth. We were both just so happy in our little newborn bubble.

birth

Reading it all back, it sounds like quite a traumatic birth, a lot didn’t go to plan and there were some scary moments, but in all honesty, it didn’t feel traumatic for me. I was calm throughout, especially once I’d had the spinal, and it could have been a lot worse. Lots of other women go through much harder, more traumatic births than mine, and I honestly feel grateful for the experience we had. I’m grateful that Amber arrived safely into the world, I’m grateful I had such amazing support around me, I’m grateful Dan still got to cut the cord and be there to watch the birth, I’m grateful I got immediate skin to skin and that she latched on so easily. I love that our birth story has funny moments, Disney songs, and bits that make me cry. It was a beautiful experience, and I still can’t believe it was a whole year ago.

If you’ve got to the end of this blog, well done, and thanks for reading.

Love,

Em, Dan & Amber x

 

Advertisements

Weaning Journey

Baby Led Weaning

We have really enjoyed weaning Amber. It’s been stressful at times, and very scary a couple of times, but overall it has been so much fun.

We chose to wean Amber early, so we started weaning at 4 months old. We knew she was ready to start weaning, and the advice from the NHS is that if you do start weaning early, you shouldn’t start before 17 weeks. Amber was actually 18 weeks old when we started.
We wanted to do baby-led-weaning with Amber but that is definitely not safe before 6 months, so we did start with pureed food, to begin with.

First meal

Amber had her first proper food on Christmas Day which was so exciting. We blended up some veggies from our Christmas dinner for her to try and she loved it! For me, it was my favourite part of the whole day and I’m so glad we chose to make this a part of our First Christmas with Amber.

weaning5

Christmas Day

From then on we gave Amber one pureed meal a day alongside her usual milk, after about a month we increased this to two meals, so she had breakfast of porridge and fruit in the morning and a pureed meal in the evening. Her evening meals varied between blended up versions of what we had, such as chicken and veg or a food pouch. We initially used Ella’s Kitchen, but have since tried Heinz, Hipp Organic and Cow & Gate, and Amber has loved them all.

weaning6

At 6 months, we decided Amber was ready for baby-led-weaning, so we steamed some sweet potato and carrot and broccoli, to give her a few options. She ate nothing. She just chucked it all on the floor. I was so disappointed. So for a couple of weeks, we just kept trying with similar foods, but she just wasn’t interested in any of it and only wanted to be spoon-fed. At around 7 months, Amber (who was sleeping through the night) started to wake up in the night for a bottle, which she hadn’t done for ages. Someone suggested she may need feeding more during the day so we decided to add lunch to her daily routine. As it was lunchtime, and therefore earlier in the day, we decided to try again with baby-led-weaning. We gave Amber some buttered bread, cheese and Ella’s kitchen some melty puffs. Initially, she still wasn’t interested, then I remembered she had a baby fork in the drawer, so I put a piece of cheese on the fork and gave it to her, and she happily ate it! It turned out she just wanted a fork, and she loved the cheese.

weaning2

From 7 months Amber was then having breakfast of porridge, lunch of bread, cheese a snack and some fruit, and then dinner would usually be a food pouch still. Within a few weeks we started changed the pureed food at dinner time to baby-led meals, and soon found she loved pasta. I tried her with some spinach and ricotta tortellini, without sauce at first, she ate every bit. So the next time I added some of the sauce too. Any time Amber is being funny about food, I can guarantee she will eat her pasta.

weaning4

Amber now has a whole range of things for each meal, she loves beef, pasta, potatoes, all fruit, olives… there are too many things to list! She isn’t great with eating her vegetables at the moment, but she will eat them pureed, and we’ve found she loves the Ella’s Kitchen cod fishies, which are basically fish fingers (in the shape of little fishies) with peas and sweetcorn in. So they’re a great easy food with hidden vegetables that she loves.

Now, we’ve been on a budget, but we’ve found some really great products that have been so so helpful with Amber’s weaning journey.

We used Naturebond International’s fruit feeder as a really great way to introduce Amber to different fruits. It meant she could feed herself and get all the flavour of different fruits without any of the texture confusing her, and reducing choking risks. They’re also fantastic for teething as you can put them in the freezer for some frozen fruit to munch on. Amber hasn’t used hers for a while, but she really enjoyed chewing on them when we first started.

We never ended up getting any suction plates or bowls she just has some cute bamboo ones she’s been given as presents, but I’m kind of glad, because Amber has learnt to eat from a plate without wanting to throw it on the floor (doesn’t stop her throwing the food on the floor though). We initially just gave Amber food on the tray part of her high chair, but then we started giving her a plate or a bowl and if she tried to pick it up the plate we would take it away and just give her the food. She’s now at a stage where she will just eat cereal out of a bowl, no problems.

Amber hasn’t mastered using a spoon or fork to pick up food, but we have found it useful to have a baby fork that she can hold, so we can pre-load it with food for her to eat from. We also found some Tommee Tippee spoons that change colour with heat, which are great for making sure food isn’t too hot, especially porridge!

For pureeing food, we got a Tommee Tippee baby food blender on sale at the Asda event for £10. It’s been very useful for blending up meals for Amber, it is a nice small size, and has oz measurements on the side so it’s easy to make the right amount rather than too much. It’s also very easy to clean and comes apart very easily. 

For drinks, Amber has two Munchkin 360 cups which she has found drinking out of so easy, and they really are spill-proof. We use those for her milk with her meals, they’re really light and easy for her to hold. She also has a Bebamour sippy cup which has a straw, the straw has a clever design to make it spill-proof, so water will only come out of the straw through sucking. The straw also has a weighted end so it stays in the water, no matter which way up it’s tipped. We use this mostly for water and is usually the cup we take out with us wherever we go.

 

weaning1

We have tried many bibs and none are perfect. We use some that hate sleeves which are the best ones we have, but we really need to invest in a Bibado which attach to the highchair to prevent food spilling on their lap, but we’ve not had a chance (or the funds) to get one of those just yet.

We also don’t have a fancy all singing all dancing high chair, it’s a £30 odd one from Argos, its easy to move and adjust and Amber likes it. It’s got a cushioned seat so she’s comfy and it works as a high chair which is all that matters.

Snacks wise, Amber’s favourites have been Kiddylicious Vegetable Straws, Organix Mini Gingerbread Men, Ella’s Kitchen Melty Puffs, and Heinz Chocolate Biscotti. There are so many different snacks for different ages ranges, we tend to buy something different every time we do our supermarket shop!

weaninh3

Overall, we’ve loved Amber’s weaning journey. She’s had fun, experimented, and made a mess. She likes so many different foods because we’ve just given her as many different things to try as possible. We haven’t spent a fortune on fancy products, and it just goes to show you don’t need to. Weaning is about introducing your baby to food, not showing off expensive baby food products on Instagram.
My best advice for weaning would be to trust your instincts, google foods you’re not sure about, and just have fun. It’s stressful when you go to loads of effort and they don’t eat a bite, but just keep trying, like with all of parenting there are ups and downs, but you just need to keep it fun.

weaning7

 

If you’d like to try any of our baby-led-weaning recipes, we have a few on the blog here:

Baby Led Weaning

Thanks for reading!

Love,

Em, Dan & Amber x

From ‘Emma’ To ‘Mama’

mama life

Becoming a mama for the first time changes the way you see yourself, and for a lot of people it can be very scary and you feel like you’ve lost who you are.
For me, it wasn’t quite like that.

For a long time, before I got pregnant, I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted my life to look like. I was honestly very lost.
I had a degree in primary education and had worked as a Year 1 teacher for two years. By the end of those two years, my confidence was shattered, I didn’t feel like a good teacher. I felt like I’d wasted my degree and I was just so lost. I worked in customer services for a while doing night shifts, a whole world away from teaching, but I can honestly say I was happier. I was less stressed, I had more time and no one was expecting me to pull miracles out of my arse every day. It was freeing, but it still wasn’t what I wanted my life to look like.

In May 2017, I thought I was pregnant. My period was late, and it was never late. I took a test but it was negative, but I didn’t feel right. I had a tattoo appointment booked so we went to that, (getting our sad matching tattoos). I’m usually fine getting tattoos, I don’t faint or feel queasy usually, and this was a very small tattoo compared to some of my others. Halfway through I had to get the tattoo artist to stop because I was ready to pass out. Finished the tattoo and sat waiting for Dan to have his done I realised I was bleeding heavily, I’d started my period.

I don’t know if it was just my period being late and extra heavy, or if it was a very very early miscarriage. All I know is I was really disappointed to not be pregnant. Dan was too, so we talked about it and decided we did want a baby.

From then on, getting pregnant was my only goal. It’s all I wanted. My mum knew we were trying and every slight bit of sickness or pale look (I’m pale AF anyway) and she was throwing pregnancy tests at me. Every time they were negative I was so disappointed.

Christmas 2017. I didn’t really drink over Christmas, I just didn’t feel like it. Christmas day I had the smallest glass of bucks fizz, but that was it. Dan got merry as always, but I just wasn’t interested in getting drunk this year.

On 28th December, I fell down some stairs on my way out of work after the night shift. I was fine, just grazed my knee a little, it was only a couple of stairs. I told Dan when I got home and was telling him my period was a bit late but didn’t seem that late. He told me to do a test, which he never said the whole time we were trying. He was always pessimistic, but that day he said I should do a test.

I did the test and it was positive and I nearly fell down another set of stairs to run and tell him! We were both so happy.

My mindset instantly changed. I had always felt like my purpose in life had to be about a career, or doing something amazing that benefits the rest of the world. But at that moment I knew all I wanted or needed was to be a mum. I felt like I had a purpose. Something I could do, and be great at. This is who I was supposed to be.

butlins6

So going from ‘Emma’ to ‘Mama’ was huge, life-changing, but in the best way. It saved me because I have a life I would not change for all the money in the world. I would do anything for Amber, I even gave up sugar in my pregnancy!
Being her Mama is all I need.

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Em, Dan & Amber x

 

From Newborn to 1 Year Old!

mama life

Every time Amber walks, makes a noise, feeds herself or ‘reads’ a book, I can’t help but think back to our tiny newborn that couldn’t do anything but sleep, shit and feast on my boobs! It is insane how fast the last year has gone and how much she has changed in that time.

newborn1

 

At the time of writing this blog, Amber is 1 week away from being 1 year old. So here is a little update on what she’s doing these days.

Amber can sit up, crawl, stand and walk all independently. She can climb the stairs (heavily supervised) and can safely get down off of things like my knee or the sofa. She constantly wants to explore and now that she’s walking she just wants to walk everywhere! She will not hold my hand to walk, she’s too independent for that! She gets overexcited and does a little run sometimes, which has caused a few bruises, she is currently walking around with a nice big bruise on her cheekbone which makes it look like someone has taken a swing at her! (Mum guilt every time someone looks at her face when we are out at the moment!)

If you’ve read my milk blog (Breastfed. Bottle-Fed. Fed is best. ) you’ll know she’s no longer drinking formula and doesn’t have bottles. She drinks whole milk or water from a spill-proof cup, but we need to start trying an open cup, probably just with water for now! She feeds her self well with her hands, and from a pre-loaded spoon. We still need to work on using cutlery and not throwing food on the floor that she doesn’t want.

atup

Communication wise she says ‘hiya’ and ‘dada’ a lot. She makes an ‘a’ sound every time we open the car door and she’s started saying the ‘g’ sound too. She can say ‘mama’ but chooses not to. She points at things she wants or places she wants to go to now, but generally, her communication skills are not at the level her movement skills are. I usually know what she wants or needs but it is difficult for anyone else to know, so her communication skills need some work, but once she’s at nursery I think this will come on leaps and bounds.

Overall, she is becoming an independent little girl and I’m just not quite ready for it. Where has my newborn gone? I miss the days where we could just cuddle on the sofa for hours at a time, now I’m lucky if she will sit still for more than 5 minutes.

Amber’s personality is definitely a bit fiery. She’s very independent, she knows what she wants and she hates when she doesn’t get her own way. She’s very cheeky and finds it hilarious when we tell her ‘No!’ and loves to play games. Her favourite games are hide and seek and run away. She has the best laugh and the most dramatic fake cry. She loves books and will sit and ‘read’ them to herself, usually in her little tent where she will then lie down for a nap. She is everything I hoped she would be.

standing

I can’t wait to see her personality grow, even more, she starts nursery soon and I just know it is going to open up more parts of her we don’t know yet. I’m excited to see how she interacts with other adults and children when we are not around. I’m excited to see what new interests she find, what little talents she has, what friends she makes.

The newborn bubble is gone, but watching our little girl grow is the start of a whole new adventure.

Thanks for reading!

Love,

Em, Dan & Amber x

Our relationship since becoming parents

mama life

First of all, I want to give you a little bit of background on our relationship. Dan and I met on a dating site in January 2014, we had our first date within a couple of weeks and were ‘official’ a few days later. By May he had moved into my mum and dad’s house with me and he asked me to marry him in September 2015. It all happened pretty quickly, and so much had already changed by the time I got pregnant. We moved into our first place together in March 2016, we have since moved two more times!

us2

Our first date

We originally planned to get married in October 2018, but we decided we really really wanted to have a baby and the wedding could wait, so we postponed the wedding by a year (but we’ve now cancelled).

Having Amber was completely planned and something we both really wanted so during my pregnancy we did gain a bit more of a bond than we had before. A different kind of connection than the one we had previously, as now we were growing a tiny human, our own little baby. We both were so excited to bring Amber into the world!
Dan has always been very caring, but he became even more so during my pregnancy. I suffered with gestational diabetes, and Dan did everything to look after me. I couldn’t stand to cook towards the end, I’d completely gone off food, but he cooked me nutritious meals, kept me hydrated, reminded me to check my blood sugar levels. He was amazing, and really showed me how fantastic he was going to be with Amber once she arrived.

Since having Amber, the first few weeks especially, Dan really went out of his way to make sure both myself and Amber had everything we need, he was so supportive when I was breastfeeding and did everything he could to make sure I was ok.  Don’t get me wrong, we still had (have) arguments, stress gets to everyone, but I think being in that newborn bubble made us very close. We have always been 50/50 when it comes to parenting, neither of us expects the other one to do more, and we both try to make sure the other one gets a break when it is needed.

It has been hard. Having a lot less time when it’s just the two of us, especially as Dan works nights during the week so we don’t even share a bed most of the time, we haven’t been able to get much quality time together. I think this has meant that we do sometimes have issues with talking to each other about anything that is bothering us, partly because when we do have some time together we want it to be nice and not be discussing anything serious or stressful.

family

We have had a lot of money issues this year, and yes, we chose to have a baby when we probably weren’t financially ready, but I wouldn’t change that decision. I’d rather have nothing, than not have Amber in our lives. The money issues have not made things easy though, and we do both get very stressed about finances (especially on payday).

The combination of stress, money issues and having a lot less time alone together, does mean that things get bottled up and we don’t talk about things as much as we should. I think both of our mental health has suffered a bit this year, and that is definitely something we need to work on in future.

However, when we do get a bit of time to ourselves, we try our very best to have a good time. We don’t go out much or go for meals or anything, but we try to have little date nights at home, where we will cook for each other and watch a film. By both of us making the effort and wanting to spend that time together, it has helped to keep us feeling like a couple and not just parents. It also helps that we do have a laugh, Dan is always making me laugh and we have so many little private jokes that always make us both laugh. We try to make each other laugh as much as possible, especially when life is hard and shit and we just want to cry. Laughter keeps us going.

us

I wouldn’t really say that our relationship has changed that much, more just that life has changed and affected our relationship. We still love each other, we still make each other laugh, we still argue, we still cook for each other, we still appreciate and respect each other. Life is just a bit different now, but that’s ok. I think the important thing is that we just stick by each other through the rough times and enjoy the good times, life is going to keep changing but we’re in this together so we will be ok.

My advice for new parents would be to just remember that you love each other and you’re in this together. If there is an issue, talk to each other. Remember to laugh and try to get some time for the two of you. Your baby is your world, but you have to make time for each other too, your relationship is still important too.

Sorry I’ve rambled on a bit there!

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Em, Dan & Amber x

Our Sleep Journey

mama life

Does your newborn not sleep? Is your 10 month old still waking every 2 hours? Does your baby never nap? I have the answers!!

…..

Ok, that’s a lie. I’m not an expert, I don’t have any amazing tips, and I definitely don’t have any secrets when it comes to getting a baby to sleep, but here is what has worked for us.

I’m going to put some little diary-type entries which are from messages I sent to my mum in the first few months.

The first night

Our first night as a family of three was spent in the hospital. Dan was allowed to stay on the ward with us, but he had to sleep in the chair which wasn’t the best for him. Amber was the quietest baby on the ward, she slept really well, woke for a couple of feeds and barely cried. She wasn’t even disturbed by the other babies!
Our first night at home she again slept well. We had a Moses basket for Amber, which was at the side of our bed. I didn’t want a next to me crib, and I loved our Moses basket as soon as I saw it in the shop. Amber was easy to put in the basket at first, the first night she was happy to sleep in there, but obviously woke regularly for feeds.

This soon changed.

26th August (3 days old) 

We couldn’t get Amber to settle in her basket last night, so we took turns staying awake to hold her. She just didn’t want to be put down. At around 6am we decided to try propping her matress up slightly so she wasn’t flat on her back as she seemed to want to be more upright. She then slept in the basket for a couple of hours. 

This worked well for the next few days.

31st August (8 days old) 

We didn’t get to sleep till 11 last night, Amber had a feed just after midnight and then wouldn’t sleep in her basket again. She slept on my chest till nearly 3am and then I put her in her basket. She woke for a feed at 4am, went back to sleep in her basket till 7am for another feed, and back in the basket till 9am. 

This was the start of the sleepless nights

2nd September (10 days old)

Amber slept on my chest for most of the night again. (This was our new routine). Dan took her downstairs at half 4 for two hours so I could get some proper sleep. She then had a feed at half 6 and slept in her basket until nearly 10.

67721437_2563962186956282_4658687202757181440_n

3rd September (11 days old)

Amber fed at half 10, slept on my chest again. I woke her at half 2 for a feed and then she slept in her basket till 6am. 

This went on for a couple of weeks. She would sleep on m chest for most of the night. I’d be sat up in bed and I would sort of sleep but any little movement or noise she made I was awake. I ached from sitting so still for so long, and I was very sleep deprived. Dan was still at home at this point, so he would sleep till around 3 or 4am and then take her downstairs for a couple of hours so I could get some undisturbed sleep. This worked for us but it wasn’t ideal. There were a couple of nights where Amber screamed and screamed and we were losing our minds. But we got through it by taking it in turns to hold and comfort her and making sure we both got a little rest.

sleep

8th September (16 days old) 

She slept in her basket! All night!! She woke up for a feed at half 1, again just after 4 and half 6. Each time she went straight back to sleep in her basket. Woke up again at half 9 for another feed. We all got a much better night’s sleep. 

9th September (17 days old) Also first night on my own (daddy works nights!)

Slept well again! Last feed at half 11, slept in her basket and didn’t wake for another feed until 4am. Then slept in her basket again till 7am.  

10th September (18 days old) 

Going well, last feed at 10pm, slept in the basket, woke for feeds at 2, 5 and 7. Still asleep at 10:45am. Girl likes her sleep.

As you can see there was no magic trick, we just tried not to stress too much and went with what Amber wanted. We kept trying to put her in the basket until she was happy to sleep there. One thing we found worked for Amber was swaddling her in a blanket. We tried with an actual swaddle blanket, designed for swaddling and she wasn’t a fan. She prefered her cosy blanket. I would wrap her up like a little burrito so she was all cosy and she would happily sleep like that in her basket.

At this point with Daddy being back at work, I was on my own during the night, during the week. Dan works nights so this meant I was on my own during the day until Dan would wake at around 2pm, and then from half 9 at night I was on my own again. Some nights it was really hard, others it was better. I do think it was easier for me at night because we got into a nice little routine and because it was just me and Amber, it was easy to keep to our routine. Also, I didn’t need to worry about waking Dan up in the night, he wasn’t there, so we could put the light on, have music on to settle her, feed her wherever I wanted. It definitely worked for us.

sleep6

25th September (1 month old)

Amber kept me up all night. Woke up a lot for feeds. Not really sure why. 

30th September 

Amber keeps crying. Every time I try to put her down she cries. Using the baby carrier to get her to nap, will not nap in the basket. Not sleeping great at night either and having to sleep with her on my chest again. 

We had about a week of rough nights, but we just kept going. Trying different things. We had tried a dummy with her but she didn’t like it. She would much rather fall asleep with an actual nipple in her mouth, haha!

3rd October 

Amber slept in her basket from half 9 till 2am woke for a feed and then from half 2 till half 5. Another feed at half 5 then slept 6 till half 8. Things seem to be getting back on track. 

5th October

Woke me up so many times last night and at 3am would not go back to sleep in her basket. We think she has a stomach ache, not pooping and seems like she’s got a sore belly. 

7th October

Slept from 11pm till 4am! 

At this point sleeping in her basket at night was pretty good, but for a couple of weeks she wouldn’t nap in her basket, she would only sleep during the day either on my lap after a feed or in the baby carrier so I couldn’t get anything done during the day. (although I did kind of love this, what an excuse to have a cuddle on the sofa and watch Netflix!)

9th October

She slept in her basket for a nap! She was awake when I put her in the basket and she actually went to sleep. 

22nd October (2 months old)

She slept through!! From half 11 till 6am. She slept and never woke for a feed! She then slept again after her feed at 6 till 8:45am.  

This was the start of Amber being a really good sleeper, but she still didn’t sleep much in her basket during the day.  Most nights she would sleep through, wake around 5/6am for a feed and go back to sleep for an hour or 2.

15th November (2 and a half months old)

Amber kept me up most of the night, would not sleep in her basket at all so she slept in our bed all night. Little pest. She was also being a pest at going to sleep at bedtime, Thursday nights she seemed to be particularly bad, no idea why. 

At around 6 weeks old we started giving Amber formula during the night rather than boob. This seemed to help with her sleep, it seemed to fill her up more and she slept better. So we had the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine in our bedroom, so night feeds were easy.

10th December (3 and a half months old)

Amber is getting too big for her Moses basket. We’ve made up her cot and she’s had her first nap in there. She napped for half an hour. She seems to like the peace and quiet in her bedroom. 

We put her in her cot for a couple more naps over the next weeks or so, but she still isn’t great at being put down for naps, but she was getting used to being in her cot.

20th December (just under 4 months old)

Amber slept in her cot last night! She wasn’t for staying in there at first, took a bit of effort. We were rocking her to sleep and she would fall asleep, but every time we put her down she would wake up. Eventually, we let her sleep in our bed and moved her to her cot at 11pm. She slept till 3am, had a bottle and went back in her cot. She stayed awake at first but we put some lullaby music on and she drifted off. 

From then on she slept in her cot every night, sometimes we had to let her fall asleep on our bed first and move her once she was fully asleep.

67870886_482679819184289_6925629181342515200_n

26th December

Amber slept for 11 hours and 45 mins, I think Christmas has worn her out!

Up until around mid-February (6 months old), Amber was being combi fed, by February she was only having breastmilk at bedtime. At bedtime, I would lay on our bed to feed her, wait till she was asleep and transfer her to her cot where she would sleep pretty much all night. Occasionally she would wake for a bottle, but this was rare, especially once she started having 3 meals a day.

It was a struggle getting her to go to bed after having just a bottle of formula, for a few weeks she still wanted that comfort of the boob at bedtime, even after a bottle. We tried with a dummy again but that didn’t work. We persisted with not giving her boob and eventually, she went to sleep in her cot after a bottle, with no boob.

From 6 months till around 10 months, Amber would have formula in a bottle at bedtime. Our routine would be a bath, some play time in her room, storytime, a bottle, and then bed. She would usually fall asleep in my arms after finishing her bottle, and I would put her in her cot and she would go straight back to sleep.

At 10 months we started moving from formula to whole milk. Once she was having whole milk at bedtime, we would put the milk into a sippy cup and give her this in her cot. At first, she wasn’t happy about being left to drink her milk on her own, but she soon learnt to lie down and drink her milk from her cup. At first, we warmed her milk, but slowly we warmed it less each time until she was drinking cold milk. She did, however, make quite a bit of mess, even though it’s a spill-proof cup. So glad she’s got a mattress protector!  So she now has (at 11 months old) a sippy cup of water at bedtime. 

We never let her cry when putting her down in her cot for sleep. She would moan and shout, and we would ignore that and leave her to settle her self, but if she was crying and obviously distressed we would pick her back up.

We did the same for naps, up until around 9 months old, nap times were hell! She would not go down for a nap at all. She would scream and cry and we would never let her just cry so we had to pick her back up. I tried lying next to her cot to get her to sleep, but nothing seemed to work. After a while, she seemed to get the hint that she wasn’t going to be carried around in the carrier for nap time and she started to sleep in her cot. We found giving her some milk or water in a cup at naptimes helped, as well as her Peter Rabbit teddy. We just had to be persistent, even now when she has naps, when we first put her down she’s not happy about it and will moan a bit, but she soon lies down and settles. Sometimes she settles within a couple of minutes, other times she lies there chatting to herself for half an hour first.

sleep7

Now at 11 months old, she wakes up around 6:30am, she has a short nap around half 10/11. She then has a 2-hour nap at half 2/3 ish and goes to bed at half 7. She sleeps through every night. It has been a couple of months since she woke in the night, and if it happened now I genuinely don’t know what I would do!

My only tips for helping your little one sleep is to just do what you think is best for your baby. If they want cuddles and co-sleep works for you then co-sleep. If they want to fall asleep in your arms, let them. Just do whatever helps, and keep trying new things. If you want them to settle in their own cot, just keep trying. Try to keep to a routine so they know what is coming. (Amber clings onto my hair when I close her curtains and put the lullaby music on because she knows that means bedtime, but she settles).

I hope I’ve answered some questions and I’m sorry this blog post is soo long!

Thanks for reading!

Love,

Em, Dan & Amber x

Mama Self-Care

mama life

With all the focus on mental health these days, it’s important for everyone to ensure they are getting a bit of self-care. For new mums and dads, I think it’s particularly to help you feel more like an actual human being rather than just someone’s mum or dad. Having children for the first time can be really overwhelming and sometimes you feel like you can’t have time to yourself because you should be grateful for having a beautiful baby and should want to be with them 24/7. Don’t get me wrong, I DO want to be with Amber every second of the day, and any time I’m not with her I miss her like crazy. But at the same time, we all need a break. Every parent needs a break. It is completely normal because raising children is HARD. So here are some of the things I do for some self-care.

A nice long shower

Most mums will agree, when you have a baby, having a shower suddenly becomes a luxury! Those few minutes of peace is absolute heaven. The best ones for me are when I can say to Dan, I’m having a shower and washing my hair, so Amber is all yours. Dan gets to have some Daddy-daughter time, which he loves, and I get some me-time.
These showers are the ones where I use a body scrub, a face scrub, a scalp scrub, wash and detangle my hair, shave my legs, the works! I can be in there for around half an hour if not longer. It’s bliss. Afterwards, I usually use a body moisturiser too and do my usual skincare routine. It’s not much but it’s enough to refresh my body and mind and re-charge my batteries a little.

A good brew

During Amber’s nap times, mostly I’ll end up doing whatever I was trying to do before she went for her nap but she wouldn’t let me get on with, like cleaning or washing up. However, when I know I need a few minutes of peace I’ll make a brew and sit down and drink it while it’s still warm. Sometimes, I’ll relax for a little while before getting up and doing some jobs and other times I’ll just sit there for the whole nap watching something on Netflix. To be honest, I probably watch Netflix most times! Haha.

Baby free nights

We’ve not had a complete baby-free night in a long time, but they are the best thing to re-energise yourself, whilst also making you miss your baby like mad!
A proper baby-free night for us is when Amber goes to my mums overnight. We usually drop her off in the morning on a Saturday and Grandma will bring her back late morning on Sunday. That full 24 hours gives us chance to do any cleaning around the house, and then eat a meal in peace, chill and just not have to do any parenting stuff, like bathtime or nappy changes. Just having some time away from those responsibilities makes a difference. It’s very rare we actually leave the house and socialise on these nights, partly because we don’t want to be social, we just want some time to ourselves, to spend time as a couple.

Cake

Life is short. Eat cake. I like to try to stay healthy-ish. But I’m not giving up cake for anyone, and if there is an opportunity to have some cake I’m having it! Nothing better than getting into bed with a brew, a piece of cake and something good to watch on the tv. So if you need a pick me up after a hard day, eat some cake!

Edit: After reading @cupofteatherapy_blog (on Instagram)’s latest blog post, I realised that all of my self-care happens at home and I rarely leave the house on my own. I definitely need to work on this!

Let me know what you do for self-care in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Em, Dan & Amber x

 

First Family Holiday

family holiday

At the end of July, we went on our first family holiday to Skegness! We stayed in a caravan at Butlins for a week and we went with Amber’s Grandma and Grandad (Emma’s parents).
Originally we were supposed to also have Amber’s Great Grandparents too, but Great Grandma Mary (OG) has not been well so they couldn’t come.

The caravan park is just across the road from Butlins main site and they have an underground walkway so no need to actually cross the main road, it was a little walk from our caravan but we got plenty of steps in, and of course Amber just chilled or fell asleep in the pram when we walked back and forth.
The caravan was to sleep 8 people, so we had a spare twin bedroom to use for Amber, the bed frames could be moved so we were able to stack one on top of the other to make room for Amber’s travel cot. This meant we could put her to be as normal and she was very good at settling to sleep.
The only issue we had with Amber sleeping was that she would get woken up quite early by seagulls walking noisily across the roof of the caravan, and also one night she woke in the middle of the night and we really struggled to get her back to sleep! Eventually, she slept in our bed but I only got about 3 hours sleep that night.

Butlins itself was pretty good, they had a waterpark which we loved and spent a lot of time in because it was so so hot that week. We even got Amber a little float so she could bob along in the water. At first, she wasn’t too happy about going in the pool and was clinging on to Mama, but after a bit, she relaxed and by the end of the holiday she was even enjoying sliding down the baby waterslides with Daddy!
As Grandma and Grandad were with us, Amber played in the pool with them so Mama and Daddy could go on some of the bigger slides. We had a lot of fun on those!

butlins3

There was a lot of good activities in Butlins, and all the ones available for Amber were including in the price of our package, this included soft play, messy play, little tikes town and some fairground rides. Amber enjoyed some of these but the fairground rides were a bit of a letdown, the under 5’s rides she couldn’t go on because no adults could go on with her so they only ride she went on was the carousel, which she didn’t seem that interested in!

For older children, there was quite a lot of activities, but it seemed as though quite a few of them were at an extra cost. So I wouldn’t recommend going without some extra cash for activities!

We tried a couple of the restaurants in Butlins and considering they weren’t the cheapest, the food wasn’t great. However, the ice cream shop sells THE BEST ice cream so we all enjoyed that part!

From the Butlins resort, there is access to the beach which is really handy as it’s not far to walk. We took Amber down and she sat on the sand and paddled in the very cold sea. She wasn’t very impressed with this, but it was a nice experience for us to have as a family. We had planned to sit on the beach for a while and even took Amber’s pop up tent, however, soon after sitting down we had to leave because we were swarmed with little sand bugs. They were everywhere! We just couldn’t have sat there, which was a real shame!

butlins

They have a lot of different shows inside Butlins in the evening, and during the day there are loads of little kids shows with the Mr. Men, Teletubbies and Paddington Bear. The only show we went to was the circus. We were not sure how Amber would sit through it, especially as it started at 6.30pm, but she loved it and sat so well. The show was an hour and a half and she stayed entertained the whole time. Clapping her hands and jumping up and down, she had a really good time and always spotted the clown in the crowd before we did.

We did also take Amber to a little puppet show, but she wasn’t as interested in this. She liked the Mr. Men show and met Mr Bump afterwards, (she had her own bump to match) and on the last day of our holiday, we took her to meet Paddington Bear too, which I think meant more to me than it did Amber!

butlins2

We also took a couple of little trips into Skegness itself, and we found there was quite a lot to do! We went to a Seal Sanctuary which was really nice, there was a seal show and even a little seal hospital where they were caring for seals that had been rescued. I particularly liked that they do re-release the seals back into the ocean once they are healed, and any seal pups born in the sanctuary are prepared for life in the ocean and also released.

We then went to the Skegness Aquarium and I think this was the highlight of the whole holiday. Dan really loves marine fish and used to have his own marine fish tank, so he has been excited to show Amber some fish. Amber did not disappoint! She absolutely loved the aquarium, especially the big tank. We stood her in front of it and she was mesmerised by all the fish, it was definitely a dream come true for Dan. She even made a little fish friend, one particular fish just kept swimming in front of her, it was so cute.

butlins4

We had a lovely meal at a restaurant called Meanie’s in Skegness, just next to the pier. We all had a really good meal, everything was cooked fresh and tasty and not a high price tag! The children’s menu was especially good, we got Amber fish bites and chips with beans, which I expected to be just fish fingers but it was proper fish in batter, but in little bites. It was the nicest kids meal I’ve ever seen and she bloody loved it! I would highly recommend!

One night Dan and I went out for a date night in Skegness, we walked along the pier and went to the local cinema. It’s above some arcades and its a tiny 2 screen cinema but it was lovely. We watched the new Lion King and loved it! It was nice that we had the option to go out for a little date night. We got the bus to and from Skegness and it didn’t cost much, so we were able to have a little drink too.

I would definitely go back to Skegness for another holiday, we really liked it and there were more things we hadn’t got round to doing. However, I would not stay in or go to Butlins again because I do think it was a bit overpriced, especially considering the things that were an extra cost, on top of the price to get into Butlins.

butlins5

Overall, we had a lovely holiday and really enjoyed the week. It was nice to spend time as a family, have some new experiences with Amber (including a trip to urgent care when she fell in the caravan and bumped her head! She was fine!), and just enjoy the summer.

Thanks for reading!

Love,

Em, Dan & Amber x

First Birthday Preparations!

First Birthday

I’d like to say we’ve got an amazing birthday party planned, all Peter Rabbit themed with games and loads of presents and amazing food. The reality is there is no way we could afford to do anything massive for her birthday.

Our financial situation right now is shit. This will be changing very soon (exciting news coming soon) but for now, it’s going to be a first birthday on a budget. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that. She’s ONE! She will not remember her birthday, she will not even know what is going on. So all that matters is that we have a lovely day as a family, and we celebrate by being together and having fun.

So, here are some of the ways we are having a special first birthday on a budget.

Presents

In terms of presents, we know that Amber will receive plenty of gifts from family and friends, and at the end of the day, birthday’s are not about how many presents you get. Therefore, Dan and I are not going to be buying Amber any presents for her birthday. We are not being cruel, it is simply unnecessary when we know she will receive gifts and we will be doing other things to celebrate her birthday. We may also buy her a gift or two after her birthday.

Cake Smash

I love the idea of a cake smash and I know Amber will love getting all messy and covered in cake! However, I do not have the money to spend on a professional photo shoot, as lovely as the photos always are. Our plan is to have a DIY at home cake smash. Dan is making the cake, we are going to decorate a blank wall in the living room, put Amber in something cute and let her go wild. I have a decent camera that I don’t use very often and a tripod my grandad gave me, so we should still get some fantastic photos, and it’ll be a great memory for us. The clean up might be a nightmare but at least we have laminate flooring! Haha!

Party

For our baby shower last year, we had a little party at home. We had some nice weather so we put the BBQ on, decorated the garden and just had a nice time. So for Amber’s birthday, we plan on doing the same. If the weather is good! If not, we will have it inside our little house. We will make a little buffet, put some handmade/ cheap decorations up and just have a nice time. Amber has a few little friends so they’ll be invited and she will have the best day because she will be surrounded by people she loves and the food she loves! Haha! Also, her Nanna Lorraine makes amazing cakes and she is making Amber’s first birthday cake, which I can’t wait to see!

The day

Amber’s birthday is on a Friday, and we will both be off work, so we are going to spend the day as a little family and then have the party on the Saturday. As Amber LOVED the aquarium in Skegness (see holiday blog coming soon) we want to take her to another aquarium on her birthday. The Sealife centre has gotten a lot more expensive these days, so we’ve decided to go to The Deep instead, which to be honest, is cheaper and is much better value for money. Amber’s favourite thing in Skegness was standing in front of the big tank and watching the fish. At The Deep, they have much much bigger tanks with lots of very colourful fish, she is going to be mesmerised! It’s the perfect day out for Amber, and by booking online we will save a little extra on the ticket price. Plus, at The Deep, your ticket is valid to re-visit as many times as you like for a full year, which we will definitely be taking advantage of!

Thanks for reading and if you have any suggestions of free/very cheap things we can do for Amber’s party please let us know!

Love,

Em, Dan & Amber x

Breastfed. Bottle-Fed. Fed is best.

Breastfeeding

I exclusively breastfed Amber for the first 6 weeks of her life. I hoped to exclusively breastfeed for longer but she just wasn’t getting enough milk and she fed so often that I didn’t get a chance to express to up my supply. During those 6 weeks, I breast fed at home, in McDonald’s, in a Toby Carvery, in the Museum of Science and Industry, in a chippy, on Blackpool pier, in baby changing rooms, at other people’s houses, in the car, etc. Each place was a little bit scary, but I had plenty of support and I was ready to challenge anyone who would dare tell me I couldn’t feed my child. No one ever did though, so I guess I’ll never get to squirt my breastmilk at anyone!

breast1.jpg

From 6 weeks we started combination feeding her. We started by just adding a bottle or two of formula each day, and she was mostly still breastfeeding, with a little top-up of formula occasionally. We also started giving her a bottle when she woke for her night feeds, meaning Dan could feed her during the night too. We slowly upped her bottle feeds and by 16 weeks she was mostly having formula and only really having boob at bed time to help her sleep. For the next few weeks, we tried to stop these bedtime feeds and it took some effort but she finally started to settle at night without them. So at 20 weeks she was no longer breastfeeding. I’m very proud that I managed to exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 weeks and that I was able to provide my baby with breastmilk all the way up to 20 weeks, even if it was a very small amount towards the end. I really miss breastfeeding her because I know it helped us to create an amazing bond, but it was the right decision for us.

This means that we used formula from 6 weeks old, alongside breastfeeding. We chose to use SMA Pro Formula and we had a Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine. Amber never had any problems with SMA formula and we were lucky that the first one we chose worked for us. The prep machine was fantastic! I would definitely recommend it to everyone, it’s so quick and handy, especially for those night feeds. We actually kept our prep machine in our bedroom so that it was easier to get a bottle ready for her during night feeds. But once she started to sleep through we put it back into the kitchen. The main issue we had with formula feeding was with bottles. We were given Tommee Tippee bottles as a gift whilst I was pregnant, so we decided to give these a go first, even though I had been told they weren’t great for getting babies to latch on especially when previously breastfed. Amber really didn’t take to them well at all so we started looking for something else. We decided to give Nuk a try as I could order just one of their bottles on amazon to have a go. She took to this so much better and was much happier having her bottle so we got a few more Nuk bottles. Once Amber was having more formula than breastmilk, we decided to try her with the Tommee Tippee bottles again as she had been bottle-fed for some time and we didn’t want them to go to waste. She finally was able to use these fine so from then on we used a combination of Nuk and Tommee Tippee.

fed

Amber never had as much milk in a day as most babies were so we did wean her early (see weaning blog coming soon) but up until around 9 months (after she had stopped breastfeeding), she was having a morning bottle after breakfast, an afternoon bottle and a bedtime bottle. At around 9 months we started to mix some whole milk into her formula to start the transition away from formula. We gradually increased the amount of whole milk in her morning and afternoon bottles, until eventually, the only formula she was having was at bedtime. We then started to replace her morning bottle with a snack and a cup with water in. By 9.5 months she only had 2 bottles, one whole milk bottle in the afternoon and one formula bottle at bedtime. We then started to add whole milk to her formula for bedtime until we ran out of formula and she was having whole milk only in her bedtime bottle. We then switched this to a cup at bedtime and encouraged her to drink her milk from a cup by herself in bed. It took about 4 days for her to get used to, but she did and was then able to settle herself to sleep with her cup of milk. She was 10 months at this point and was having whole milk in a cup at bedtime and a bottle of whole milk in the afternoon. We then started to switch the bottle in the afternoon for a cup and decided to give her a cup of milk and a snack in the front room, before taking her upstairs for her nap. At first, she drank half of the cup of milk before leaving it on the floor to play with her toys. So I took her up to bed with her cup so she could drink the rest before her nap. It took a while for her to nap but she did eventually nap.

The last stage we’ve gone through is moving from warm milk to cold. We warmed up her whole milk in the cup so it was just warm, then slowly each time made it less warm. So now she has her milk cold, straight from the fridge into her cup and drinks it just fine. However, we did find that she spilt her milk quite a bit when drinking in bed, mostly because she is laying down. So she now has her milk in a cup with meals, and water in a cup for naps and bedtime. She’s adjusted to this very quickly, especially with the recent heat.

I didn’t realise a year ago, how much our feeding journey would change, and how proud I would be of each stage. I’m so proud that I was able to breastfeed exclusively for those first 6 weeks. I’m so proud that I managed to continue to breastfeed and provide formula for Amber up to 20 weeks old. I’m so proud of Amber for adjusting to these changes so well. I’m proud of me and Dan for making decisions that we felt were right for our baby, not what others tell us to do.

I hope this blog has provided some insight into our journey, ours is not the ‘correct’ way and I don’t want to tell anyone how to feed their child, this is simply what has worked for us.

Breastfed. Formula-fed. Fed is best.

Thanks for reading!

Love,

Em, Dan & Amber x