Extreme sleep deprivation or Baby torture.

Fenn doesn’t sleep. She is not a sleeper. This baby is not for napping…

I am writing this at 4.30am, during the 7th awake session Fenn has had tonight. I can see how sleep deprivation was used as a torture method. I would confess to anything in order to get just 3hrs straight sleep.

Fenn actually slept through the night for 7 hours at the age of 10 weeks old. “Yes!!” I thought, “this mothering stuff is easy!” then gradually as she got older, her sleeping got worse and worse. She would happily go all day without a nap if she could, and then sleep only 3-4 hours a night, split into 3 or 4 chunks.

I seriously have no idea how this baby is alive and functioning, let alone looking so cute and happy.

It seems as though all of my friends who have babies who either give formula or breastmilk from a bottle have babies who sleep through. Some of their crotchlings have been sleeping 8pm-8am since a few weeks old and when they try to sympathise and tell me “Little Bobby woke TWICE last night! I know how you feel.” I want to punch them in the throat. There are others who get it, others who are also breastfeeding with babies who won’t take a bottle, others with eyebags so big they drag on the floor. Some of their babies improved once on solid food, but not all and not Fenn. 

I am a human doormouse and before getting pregnant would happily sleep for 10 hours a night. Nearly 9 months of chronic sleep deprivation has left me in a very bad place, both physically and mentally. The exhaustion means that I can’t focus of things, I worry about driving, I only want to eat chocolate and carbs, I have barely enough energy to get through the day let anone excercise and I have zero tolerance to pretty much anything my OH does. I have no idea how we haven’t killed each other. But one of the worst things are the thoughts of hopelessness and uselessness, thoughts that I am a crap mumma and that Fenn would be better off without me… the scary thoughts that spring from that. 

The night before last was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We had both got to breaking point. Something had to change. We have tried almost everything to get her to sleep, different routines, foods, bedding, cot angles, dream sheep, white noise, dim light, stories, no stories, shooshing, you name it, but the crux of the problem is that Fenn has no idea how to get herself off to sleep. 

Time to go cold turkey on the cry it out.

I will keep a diary of the Cry it out process… stay tuned for updates.

8 months old!

Today our little Fenn is 8 months old.

It is really scary. It seems like only 8 weeks ago that she was suction pulled into our lives, not 8 months.

She is really losing her baby looks now and is looking more like a little toddler. Her hair has grown massively in the last few weeks and she is so strong! She can twist and writhe like a conga eel in your arms and if you dare to eat or drink anything within her reach, she will grab and yank, including hot tea! Luckily we have been scald free so far. She also loves pulling hair, especially mine.

Developmentally, she is sitting up like a boss, and rolling around really confidently. She first rolled back to front about 8 weeks ago but didn’t bother doing it again until 10 days ago. She can now get herself down to crawling position from sitting (not gracefully, but no longer a fall) and knows that she wants to move… but luckily can’t yet! She is still really strong when we stand her up and can support herself when holding on to something. Mentally you can see her mind whirring all the time, when taking things out of or putting things into her little yellow bucket, or watching your mouth as you make certain phonics. She is weighing in at around 18lbs or 8.2kgs.

No viable words yet, but a real increase in ‘vocabulary’. She did say “haggis” last week, but I think that was a lucky combination of sounds more than her first word!

She still has no toothy pegs, but very hard gums and the usual teething issues.

Weaning is going really well. She eats pretty much everything with gusto, except rice and spicy things. She will give anything a go and loves feeding herself and making a mess. She still breastfeeds in the morning, evening and overnight, but often goes to Mimi’s (nanny’s) house during the day and copes easily without me!

Sleeping is still a challenge. She gets into a routine of going down at 8pm, waking at 11 and 3 and up at 6ish. Then when you get used to that she starts teething, gets ill or we go away and it goes back to 7+ wake ups a night. It is exhausting. We are looking into hiring a sleep coach.

One improvement is that she now naps in her cot during the day. She only ever sleeps for exactly 30 mins, but it frees me up a tiny bit!

I have already ordered her 1st birthday cake and we are starting to think about a little party. Sob…

6 months old!

Today Fenn is 6 months old! I can’t believe that our tiny baby is already half a year old and growing up so quickly!
Fenn is growing very nicely, and is now 15lbs 8oz. She is following her growth chart line exactly and is sitting firmly at the 30th centile. Everyone says that she is much smaller in real life than in photos, and I love her being my dinkysaurus. 

Fenn has mastered rolling from front to back, but is showing zero interest in rolling back to front. She will happily play on her tummy for about 10 minutes now before getting bored, and with her nappy off, can sit up on her own for a good few seconds! 

Fenn loves ‘botty out time’! I think that her cloth nappies provide so much padding, she rolls over too easily when sitting up.

She now has very good hand to mouth co-ordination, and can put a teaspoon in successfully (empty at this stage) and remove (and lick) Papa’s glasses. She grabs and drags things towards her and can grasp some quite delicate things. She has always been a keen watcher… just taking everything in, but now she really loves watching! She sat and watched my OH do his shirt ironing for about half an hour yesterday. Oh, and she loves watching our cat skulk around…watch out Budson, you are next for the grabby grab!

Verbally, she is expanding her repertoire, with ‘brrrr’ and ‘mmmm’ sounds her current favorites. She loves to sing to herself, and giggles all the time.

We have been going swimming on Tuesdays for about 6 weeks now and she is starting to relax more and more. My mum now takes her in (while I go proper swimming) and it is good to see her relaxed whilst away from me for 20 mins. She is happily reaching out for floating objects now, and absloutely loves being sprinkled over the head with a small plastic watering can. Plus she enjoys drinking the pool water whenever she gets a chance. Any liquid with a decent urine content is her favorite. Pool water and bath water are delicious, but a tiny bit of fresh water from a sippy cup might as well be lemon juice, with the face she pulls!

Yesterday we gave Fenn her first solid food! We started with a tiny bit of mushed down banana, and a tiny bit of carrot from our casserole. I can’t say that she was overly impressed, but we will continue the fun tomorow! 

Cardboard was her first solid food…

Right, it is 4.57am and time to go back to bed!

5 months old

Today Fenn is 5 months old. 
She is the most wonderful, happy baby and is a joy to be around. Currently weighing in at around 14lbs 3oz, she has almost managed to roll over onto her front (She gets onto her side but her pesky arm just gets in the way!), is desperate to start crawling and loves sitting and standing up with support. She also giggles and coos and a-gooooos all the time, and has worked out how to squeal with delight at ear piercing volume.

Her coordination is improving by the day, she can join her hands together, and she is reaching and grabbing things now, including her toes.
In general she sleeps well, although she has stopped sleeping through and is now waking once or twice in the night again. We have just come to the end (I hope!) of another growth spurt, with her waking every 3 hours, being insatiably hungry and exhausted and grumpy during the day (but refusing to nap!) I am almost at newborn level exhaustion again. Zzzzzzz


Breastfeeding is still going well, although it can be painful when she is having a growth spurt and clusterfeeds all the time to increase my production. She still won’t take a bottle, but we are persevering with it and she doesn’t mind chomping on a teat to soothe her gums. I don’t think she would die if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, but it would make life easier if I could be away from her for more than 20mins at a time.
She is starting to be bothered by her gums, and needs to chew something almost constantly. She dribbles a lot too! She also seems to be getting a little stressed whenever she is left with someone other than me or Papa, even when I just pop out of the room for a second.

2 weeks ago we started swimming lessons. She wasn’t too sure the first time, and we had to get out early when she was a little bit sick down herself. Luckily none went in the pool and it wasn’t a megavom! The second time was much more successful and I think she may have actually enjoyed it a little bit. I will keep taking her every week as I want her to be comfortable in the water at a really young age. Yesterday my Mum took her in for her lesson while I went for a proper swim. Fenn was a little bit grumpy as she was exhausted, but she did really well away from me for 25 minutes.

As for me, I have finally been made redundant, which is great as I got a reasonably good pay out, and means there is no pressure to return to work. My baby clothing brand Mint Cake Club is in development and is set to launch in May this year. Lots of exciting things happening!

Fenn’s 1st Christmas.

Today is the 29th December 2016 and Fenn just enjoyed her 1st Christmas.

Now I am an athiest, but I do enjoy the wonderful tradition of Christmas. I love the history of celebration, the singing, the coming together and the food, and I love that Fenn will now get to start enjoying our traditions.

As a family, we decided to stop buying each other presents about 5 years ago. We were all well onto adulthood (I was the youngest), we all had everything we wanted and really had no need to run around, wasting money on things that people didn’t want or need, just for the sake of Christmas. Every year, when everyone else seems to be running around, stressed about getting the ‘perfect’ present for Aunty Sue or second cousin Bob, we get to spend time together, decorating our homes and really appreciating each other… Oh and eating! When you stop buying presents, it almost feels like you are a member of a secret society of calm. People look at you like you have 3 eyes when you tell them why you aren’t about to explode with stress and having to remortgage after Christmas… And then they think about it. I would recommend it to anyone.

However, now that we have littles in the family, we are buying them presents. 

We didn’t go crazy for Fenn. We bought her a teething ring. Yep, you read that correctly, a £6 teething ring. It is really lovely, suits our very particular taste and is something she will need in the coming year. There was no need to waste money on stuff she doesn’t need and won’t even realise she has. Other people bought her some beautiful wooden toys, some Lamaze toys and lots of lovely books, teddy bears and a few rompers. My step dad made her an amazing wooden baby gym, and my mum bought her some bells to hang from it. It is beautiful, entertaining for Fenn, comes apart to be stored behind the sofa and looks really lovely.

Fenn asleep under her hand made baby gym. Also pictured is her teething ring (dangling between the pompoms).

It has been a wonderful Christmas, and we have started the following traditions which we hope to continue for years to come:

  • Visiting Father Christmas in his grotto:

I think we can all interpret what Fenn is thinking here.

  • Going carol singing.
  • Leaving drinks and snacks out under the tree for Father Christmas and the reindeer.
  • Buying one special bauble per year to hang on the tree.
  • Reading The Night Before Christmas and The Jolly Christmas Postman on Christmas eve before bed. 
  • Enjoying Christmas lunch with family and friends.

Next year we will do stockings and Father Christmas’ footprints.

I can’t wait until she is as excited about Christmas as I am!

3 months old

Today Fenn is 3 months and 3 days old. 

Where oh where has that time gone?! It seems like only yesterday that we were bringing her home from hospital and introducing her to everyone. Now she is smiling and cooing and a real little character.

The last 3 months have honestly been amazing. Fenn is still such a laid back baby, and she just slots into whatever we are doing with no issues. There have obviously been moments when she is grouchy and overtired, but I can count those times on one hand. 
At the moment she is getting over a mild case of conjunctivitis (pink eye), but that is the first problem she has had. 

Breastfeeding is still going really well… in fact, so well that she refuses a bottle. It looks like I will be breastfeeding until she is weaned…I just hope she doesn’t teethe too soon!

We are still using Little Lambs reusable nappies and Cheeky Wipes and Fenn never has poosplosions or nappy rash. I would recommend this combination to anyone!

I often look back over the photos and videos of Fenn from when she was first born, as I struggle to remember how tiny she was. I made the image below at 12 weeks old, showing how much she had grown. It is the same romper!

Fenn was 6lbs and a few days old in the first picture, and 12lbs and 12 weeks in the second. I don’t remember that romper being so baggy on tiny Fenn!

6 weeks old.

Today Fenn is 6 weeks and 5 days old.

Time is flying by so quickly! Is seems like only yesterday that she was a tiny newborn, and now she can support her own head and is on the brink of smiling.

At 4 weeks she had gained 2lbs, and at 6 weeks she is just shy of 4lbs total weight gain. We got her weighed last Monday at 5 weeks and 5 days and she was 9lbs 9oz! She is still feeding like a dream and as my flow is so good, she can get a full belly in 6 minutes. Yay, more sleep for me! 

One development is that she has started to be sick a little more. At 4 weeks, I was feeding her at night, changing her and then feeding her again. I have to change her first now, otherwise she will chuck up everything she has just eaten. It is good because I can get her back down to sleep a lot faster at night, but bad because the screams the house down if I don’t catch her early enough! 

On Monday my OH went back to work. He struggled badly, not only with the physical shock of having to get up at 6am and work to set hours without an afternoon nap, but also emotionally as he couldn’t see his little maggot during the day. Fenn and I have taken to walking the 20mins to the station in the evening to meet him so that he can have as much Fenn time as possible.

Things were going well and my OH was settling back into a routine and I was getting used to doing all the night feeds. Then on Wednesday evening he decided to go for a run and on his way home, only 50m from our house, face planted into the pavement. He was sprinting full pace when he went down and he was so tired from the broken nights, he couldn’t protect himself properly.

He came through the front door and I honestly thought he was having a stroke by the sounds he was making. Poor Fenn was ripped off the boob and plonked in her bouncy chair while I ran to take care of him. His hands and face were grazed and bloody, so I sorted some water and cotton wool to clean him up. He then pulled his trouser leg up, and oh my god, his kneecap was fully exposed! The skin and muscle on his knee has come away in a flap and you could see bone and tendons. Luckily I am not squeamish and I managed to calmly say “OK, I think we need to get you to A&E for some stitches.”

It is no longer possible to just jump in the car and whizz to the hospital as we have Fenn, so I had to ask my Mum to come over (she only lives 6 mins away) and we decided that she would drop him at A&E. It would only be a few stitches and a few hours and he would be home, right??

Wrong. He was told he needed to go to the other hospital (the one in which Fenn was born) as it has a 24hr x-ray department and that he would probably need surgery. We all jumped in the car and went to pick my OH up from one hospital and drop him off at the other one, half an hour away. 

It ended with him being in hospital for 2 nights and having 2 hrs of surgery under general anaesthetic to check that there was nothing in the knee joint and that all the tendons were OK. He finally came home on Friday night and has been hobbling around in a brace and on crutches since then. 

Sexy!

It is amazing to have him home, and he will be working from home for at least 2 weeks, which is lovely. Although I do now have a baby, a big baby and the cat to look after. No rest for the wicked…