Sleep Training (done properly this time!)

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At the beginning of December I dabbled in some self-settling & sleep training, however it was all lead through Google, Mumsnet and various other online sources or word of mouth. From my blog you can tell it kind of didn’t work and by the end of December, beginning of January we were back to Pippa waking every couple of hours through the night. She would then not settle until she was picked up and rocked back to sleep by me but once I tried to put her back in the cot she would scream as soon as her body even came away from mine an inch!

I was exhausted and at my wits end. How could my baby at 4 and a half months still be waking so much? I literally couldn’t see how I was going to improve things and had various baby sleep books in my Amazon cart ready to be purchased, when my friend called me… Her friend’s sister-in-law was a qualified baby sleep therapist. Even just at this I was ecstatic, I was ready to pay anyone to help! However it got even better. She was just starting up her own business and needed some case studies to practice on – for free! It was a miracle and I didn’t waste any time in contacting her.

I had to provide lots of detail on Pippa and her sleeping habits, how her naps were, where, when and how long they were and what an average, worst and best night looked like. Here is what I provided for what was an average night (Looking back I can’t believe how far we’ve come):

  • Down at 7.30pm and sleep straight through until..
  • 11.30pm – waking crying for a feed
  • I then put on the small lamp in her room and change her nappy
  • I then take her into my bed and feed her
  • She’ll then fall asleep with her dummy in and this will either fall out once she is fully asleep after 10 minutes or so or I will take it out. I’ll then wait another 10-20 minutes or so before getting up and putting her down into her cot.
  • She will wake as soon as she leaves my arms so I cuddle her back to sleep and try again after 10 minutes. Usually I can get her down in the second or third try but all in all, from waking for a feed to back down takes about an hour.
  • Wakes crying at 2.30 but as she can’t be hungry I try and put her dummy in and stroke her head for up to 10 minutes but this has only ever sent her to sleep once! 99% of the time she continues to scream and thrash around and won’t stop for up to 20 minutes. After cuddling, swaying and shhing her back to sleep I attempt to put her down a couple of times before she stays down.
  • Wakes at 4 crying so as its been over 4 hours I will feed her.
  • I then put on the small lamp in her room and change her nappy
  • I then take her into my bed and feed her
  • She occasionally starts smiling as if its morning after this feed and it takes a while cuddling her for her to fall asleep again
  • Try to put her down, she wakes, I pick up and cuddle then put her back down.
  • Wakes at 6.30ish, again I cuddle her back to sleep and try and put her back down. If she won’t go down at this point i’ll take her into my bed and she sleeps on me until 8ish

I then met with the sleep therapist and we went over her plan for Pippa. From the initial email, she was so positive that Pippa would be sleeping through the night within just two weeks and her positivity continued during our meeting. It certainly rubbed off on me and I was so excited to get going so we started that night.

What she emphasised was that consistency and persistence was key, something I lacked the first time around. However I now felt much more confident in what I was doing and that what I was doing was right, having come from a professional rather than google!

She came up with a plan that was gradual so that Pippa wouldn’t feel abandoned or upset, starting with us sitting by her cot on the first night and moving further away each night until we finally can put her down and leave her. We would also occasionally talk softly and stroke her if she needed it. However putting her to sleep was never really the issue, it was the numerous night wakings.

It was here where things became hard. There were no longer any nappy changes during the night, no lights on during the night, no feeding during the night and no picking up during the night. This was the COMPLETE opposite to what we had been doing so I didn’t know how Pippa would take it and I was particularly worried about not feeding her during the night. I had noticed though (and you can see from the average night above) that she wasn’t feeding loads at night anyway and had already thought that maybe she didn’t need it. I was right, and I think it was doing these things (or rather not doing these things) that changed everything for us and Pippa’s sleeping.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering what we did do when she woke at night! We had to leave her crying for 10 minutes, timing it exactly. This was and still is the hardest thing about the whole experience. Coincidentally, H badly sprained his ankle the day we started sleep training and being a PE teacher, was signed off work for three weeks. If it wasn’t for him holding me back from running into Pip’s room and picking her up I don’t think I could have done it! It definitely helped to have him around over the past few weeks! After the 10 minutes is up, we can go in, put her dummy back in (which usually does the trick immediately!) and soothe her.

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It turns out this clue was above Pippa’s cot the whole time!

Another thing the therapist emphasised was that sleep breeds sleep, therefore sorting out Pippa’s daytime naps would be key. I was given a rough schedule detailing when naps should be with a 1hr nap in the morning, 2hr in the afternoon and another 20 min power nap in the evening. Looking at this, I thought it would be impossible! Pippa did nap 3 times a day, however I was lucky if I got 30 minutes, let alone 2 hours!

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We often take a little walk for Pippa’s evening power naps.

To tackle this I was to no longer let her nap on me, or on the sofa, bed or anywhere else, but to be in her cot, in the dark and if she woke before the hour or 2 hour mark to leave her cry for 10 minutes to see if she went back off again. Amazingly, the first time we did this Pippa slept for 2hrs45mins! I couldn’t believe it! Whereas previously I would be straight there getting her up if she stirred, it turned out that most of the time she was still tired and would drop off again before the 10 minutes was up. My main concern with this method was how I was ever going to go out again! I pretty much cleared my diary for two weeks in order to pin down these naps, however now that Pippa has settled into her own nap routine I know what time she will be sleeping and can arrange things around her. As long as she gets one good nap in her cot a day, a nap in a car or pram won’t hurt!

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So, the therapist had said she would be sleeping through within two weeks… then on day 10, she slept through! This unfortunately didn’t last every night but she has slept through twice since and even within the first couple of days there was such a huge improvement that she is now only waking once or twice during the night, often settling herself without us having to go in. The problem is that it’s the dummy that she is wanting when she wakes and we did try one night without it (on advice from the therapist) but Pippa got so so upset that it made me even more hysterical than her, so we decided to forgo the dummy ditching until a later date.

Not feeding her at night also massively helped with her feeding and she started taking 5oz, then 6oz until we had to up her bottles to 7oz! She now has four feeds a day of 6 or 7oz – something that seemed so far off just a month ago!

3 month baby update
I definitely miss this 😦

Don’t get me wrong, I desperately miss cuddling her to sleep or having her in our bed (trying to get a nice snuggle out of her now without her wriggling away is a mission!) but I don’t miss the sleepless nights and sheer exhaustion and frustration! However I know that in time, the odd nap in my arms here and there won’t hurt as she will be so accustomed to her routine.

So for comparison here is Pippa’s new and improved routine!

  • 6.30am – Wakes (literally like clockwork!)
  • 6.45am – Feed
  • 8.30am – 1.5hr nap
  • 10.45am – Feed
  • 12.30pm – 1-1.5hr nap
  • 2.45pm – Feed
  • 4.30pm/5pm – 20 minute power nap
  • 6.15pm – naked time (for Pippa!!)
  • 6.30pm – Bath
  • 6.40pm – dried and dressed
  • 6.45pm – bedtime story
  • 6.50pm – Feed
  • 7pm – Bed (and hopefully not waking until morning!)
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Pippa’s Weekly Wardrobe

  
Now that I’ve caught up with life, these are much more recent photos of Pippa in some of her more recent outfits. Although she’s now 5 months, we’re only just transitioning into the 3-6 month clothes, with some still being a bit big for her (dungarees!!)

1. I LOVE these leggings and I think I’ve posted them before but this time they are with a plain grey bodysuit. Sadly, these are now looking a little tight on Pippa’s newly chunky legs so I think I’ll be heading to Zara for some more! 

2. It’s quite handy this dungaree set from George at Asda is on the large side as they are a perfect print for spring so will hopefully still fit her in a few months time. They are corduroy too which brings some added cuteness!

3. Unfortunately you can’t quite see from the photo but this little folksy dress from M&S has little rabbits, foxes and other woodland animals all over. I couldn’t resist teaming them with these amazing Pom Pom booties from H&M too!

4. This was the first time I’d put Pippa in jeans and although they do look rather cute, I prefer a soft legging! However for a lazy New Year’s Day it had to be done, especially paired with this ‘lovely little princess’ sweatshirt from H&M

5 Month Update

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I’ve always found January a strange month, getting back into the swing of things always takes a while after Christmas. This year has been even worse as three days after H went back to work he sprained his ankle and has been signed off work ever since! So it has kind of felt like the Christmas holidays never ended and our usual routine has not only been thrown off by having H around 24/7 but also by the fact we have been doing sleep training with Pippa and got her into a completely new routine of naps and sleeping!

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The sleep training has taken up a lot of this month as it’s a two week intense schedule that has meant we haven’t really been able to go out in order to get Pippa into a good routine. There’s so much to tell, I could write a whole blog on it – which is what I’m going to do! So this will be coming shortly!
Prior to this, Pippa’s sleeping was just getting worse and worse with her waking every 1-2 hours a night. It was like that first month all over again and we had even started going to our parents to nap in the day whilst they had Pippa for a few hours!
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However the sleep she has had since has obviously been paying off, as just this week Pippa has started to sit up on her own! She’s now so strong and loves to be sitting or standing…or bouncing now that she has also entered the realms of the jumperoo! A godsend for getting a few minutes in to have a cup of tea!

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Just this week, one of my friends with a baby born the same week as Pippa was saying how she suddenly realised she can’t refer to her baby as ‘newborn’ anymore, and she’s so right. Pippa has become a little person now, one that looks up when I call her name, smiles when I enter the room, holds her hands out to touch my face or her dads beard and strokes my arm when I’m feeding her. I absolutely love that we are now getting something back when we interact with her but at the same time it’s bitter sweet how quickly she’s growing up!

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As the six month mark is now fast approaching, we’ve began to think about weaning. Before Christmas we were really struggling with Pippa’s feeding as she was still barely taking 3oz with each feed and had dropped off her centile. I thought she would never be ready for weaning as she would barely drink her milk! On a whim we decided to change her formula as she had always been on Aptamil. We had heard good things about Hipp organic so decided to make the switch and within a day of changing, Pippa was guzzling down her 4oz bottles so well that we upped it to 5oz and then later on to 6oz. A couple of weeks later I had Pippa weighed again and she had shot up above her 9th centile line and the rolls on her little legs have been increasing ever since!
So now that Pippa is eating so well I’m really excited to start weaning, especially as her funky chevron highchair arrived today! I’m hoping to do a mix of baby lead weaning and purée but I’m happy to see where the journey takes us!
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Pippa’s Weekly Wardrobe

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I’ve been slacking quite a bit with Pippa’s weekly wardrobe posts, they are now more like Pippa’s monthly wardrobe so i’m having to put two together this week! Even looking back at the photos I can see she’s changed so much and these were when her body hadn’t quite caught up with her head just yet!

As it’s finally getting cold, i’ve started to get Pippa in some knitwear, so these are just a few of her winter warmers!

  1. A very cute, knitted all-in-one from GAP which I find is great for lazy days at home when she needs something a little warmer on.
  2. One of my favourites as this cardigan was knitted by my mum and goes perfectly with these floral leggings from Tu at Sainsbury’s. Unfortunately Pippa likes to eat the collar though!
  3. I think the tights are my favourite part of this outfit and they came with this knitted dress from Boots.
  4. I love this jumper from The White Company and she wears it quite a lot, simply to get the most out of it before she grows out of it!

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I actually think majority of these outfits no longer fit Pippa 😦 I suppose it is about time we moved on from her 0-3 clothes!

  1. It’s hard to see from the photo but this Next grey jersey dress has a cloud print all over. I love a cloud print, as you can see from the cloud leggings featured later, so I love this dress and the little stripy tights that came with it! Luckily this one just about still fits, so has a few more wears in it yet!
  2. This M&S checked dress was bought for Pippa when she was born (in the summer) so now that it fits her, it’s slightly out of season as it’s a thin cotton. However I just stuck a white long sleeved bodysuit underneath and added some tights to make a great little winter outfit!
  3. We have a lot of things in this print from M&S as I find it really pretty and not too pink! The pinafore dress is cord and comes with a little white bodysuit and pink tights.
  4. After putting these on Pippa this week and spending all day pulling them down to reach her ankles, I’ve had to accept defeat and admit that sadly these White Company cloud leggings no longer fit! They are still available in stores though so I think i’ll be purchasing some more in the next size up!

I promise i’ll try and keep these posts more up to date from now on!

Pippa’s First Christmas

baby santa outfit

As a family we LOVE Christmas and look forward to it every year. Last Christmas was particularly special as we discovered we were having a baby and told our families on Christmas day with a bauble which had little ribbons of paper inside reading ‘we’re having a baby!’ This year we are even more excited as it’s Pippa’s first Christmas and although she won’t remember it, we will and it’s lovely to have the memories.

baubles
Excuse the picture – it’s the only one I could find, taken and put together by H!

When Pippa was just 7 weeks old we created a new bauble for our tree at one of the baby groups I go to. A lady from Made by Me Mobile Pottery Painting came along and painted Pippa’s feet and then printed them onto a bauble with the words ‘Pippa’s first Christmas’ on the other side. I absolutely love it and it’s very special to me so made it to the front of the tree this year! We also had a beautiful little one made with Pippa’s name inside by a little brand run by one of H’s sister’s friends, aptly named, Pip and another from H’s parents with Christmas 2015 on.

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As I’ve been off work over the whole of the Christmas build up this year, I’ve felt so festive! I went out and about Christmas shopping a lot and had time to make sausage rolls, mince pies and a Chambord trifle! It was also nice to be able to have a mulled wine in the evening this year too! Pippa and I also got a bit creative and made some ‘mistletoes’ Christmas cards for the family.

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The Elf on the Shelf made an appearance in our household this year too. I had never even heard of it but H was on the ball and ordered Pippa one which we have named Ivy. The idea is that you adopt an elf and it appears every year on December 1st to watch over the children and report back to Father Christmas if they are being good or not – a great incentive for a few years’ time!! To make it more fun for the kids (and adults!), the elf moves around every night to be in a different place each morning. So this year H decided to jump on the bandwagon and hid Ivy the Elf in a different place each morning for me to find. It was great for putting a smile on my face at 6am getting up for the morning feeds, particularly as this year Ivy can get away with being a bit naughty whilst Pips is none the wiser!

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Although Pippa definitely didn’t have a clue, we couldn’t let her first Christmas pass without a visit to the big man himself. So one day when H was off work we took Pippa to a children’s farm nearby to see Father Christmas. Despite the extortionate price for a visit that Pippa will never remember, H and I had a great time! It was really Christmassy and we also got to go to Santa’s toy shop and pick Pippa a toy, then build a bear in his workshop and visit the reindeer. I can’t wait to make it an annual trip!

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For Christmas day itself, H and I decided to each spend £25 on Pippa (I think we both got carried away and went a little over budget!) and not tell the other what we had bought so it was a surprise for us both on Christmas day. This was a great idea that I think we’ll stick to for the next couple of years at least. We even managed to find Pippa a matching stocking to ours! My presents consisted of some sensory toys, some clothing, blankets and a couple of other toys whereas H bought lots of books and educational toys. You can see exactly what we picked (and a bit more from Christmas day) in my first vlog over on my new YouTube Channel – yes, cringe! ha!! (Embarrassed emoji!).

sit me up cosy

After opening our presents at home we spent the day at my mums then went over to H’s family in the evening followed by visiting even more family on Boxing Day. I was worried that Pippa wouldn’t like all the people as she previously would get very clingy and cry in crowded situations, however I couldn’t have been more wrong! She LOVED all the attention and was all beaming smiles at everyone, barely napping as not to miss out! However this then didn’t bode so well for the few days after Christmas when the excitement had died down and all she wanted to do was be stood up, sat up or held and screamed any time she was laid down on her play mat! Luckily she received a Bumbo Seat and a Sit Me Up Cosy from her uncle and aunty which have been great for keeping her sat upright as she can’t quite sit on her own just yet! We are also awaiting the arrival of the Baby Einstein Friends Activity Jumper (basically a cheaper version of the Jumperoo!) which from what I hear from my NCT mum friends, is a godsend!

So now Christmas is over and H is back to work so we’ll be back to our usual routine, counting down until next Christmas!

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