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Potty Training Under Two

I’m very pleased to say that we have now been nappy free for a whole 2 months! Although there are still definite perks of still having a toddler in nappies, I think the benefits of now having gone through the potty training and come out the other side outweigh those perks! 

Pippa was 21 months when we decided to take the potty plunge which may sound very young for some people but those who know Pippa will know she’s got a very big vocabulary and therefore seems quite grown up for her age. She had been using the potty around the house for about 3 or 4 months with no problems and even requesting to get out of the bath to wee on the potty or toilet. So one sunny day in May we left her nappy off in the garden and took the potty outside. She didn’t have any accidents all afternoon and told us when she needed a wee or headed off to the potty herself. It was then we thought, with summer coming up (and therefore more outside, less clothes time) we may as well go for it. 

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Potty training prep!

My first stop was Amazon where we purchased another potty for upstairs, a training seat to go on the toilet (so she won’t fall down ha!) a Koo-Di car seat protector, a Potette Plus (more on those later) and a Princess Polly potty sticker book. 

Pip enjoyed reading the book and sticking the stickers in the right place but I don’t think it actually made any impact on her potty training so that was maybe a waste of money but the other things are great. 

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Small bottom problems!

I also researched where to buy the smallest knickers as Pip is currently in 9-12 month leggings at almost 2, so I needed her new knickers to stay up (we already had problems keeping her leggings up now there was no nappy!) – Primark came up tops and we stocked up. 

I chose to go completely cold turkey with Pippa and completely take away the nappies except for nap time and night time. I didn’t want to confuse her with pull ups and actually when we put a nappy on her for bed she would still tell us if she needed a wee and would ask for it to be taken off for her to go on the potty rather than in her nappy so she definitely understood. 

I also picked to start on a Friday so that we had 4 relatively free days at home to really kick the potty training off. It actually turned out that the day we started we met up with friends at a splash park but Pippa was brilliant and using the potty all day! The one accident we did have was in the car when she announced she needed a wee and I was struggling to find a parking space! Unfortunately I found one a bit too late and Pip had done a small wee in the car but then continued it on the potty once we had parked. What saved the day here though was the Koo-Di. It’s simply a seat pad with a waterproof backing that soaks up any wees and protects the actual car seat so you just wash the seat pad rather than having to wash the entire car seat cover. 

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The Potette in action!

The following day we also ended up at the 5 star Grove hotel in watford (very posh) for brunch and once again, Pippa was great. The second day I opted to take the Potette with us as we would be inside for some of it. It’s the most brilliant product as it folds down to fit in a bag and folds out into a potty which you then put plastic bags over with a kind of sanitary towel stuck in them which soaks up anything. Then once the child is done, it’s all bagged up! The legs also flip outwards to turn into a seat to put on a toilet for the child. Honestly the best baby gadget I’ve ever bought and we use it EVERYWHERE. 

However as you can see, we actually ended up having a very busy weekend and obviously we had a few accidents but overall it was fine so don’t feel you need to lock yourselves away for a week in order to train your child, there’s no need and besides it’s when you’re out and about which is the real challenge anyway!

We also ended up going away to Center Parcs about 2 weeks in and as we were so busy we occasionally forgot the Potette but Pip was fine using a normal toilet (with one of us holding her!) for both number ones and number two’s – which luckily were also never an issue for her to do on the potty.

The only major issue for us has been, as always, nursery. From the start Pippa would not tell anyone that she needed a wee or take herself to the potty (which is in a separate baby changing room which is shut – also a slight problem) and just wets through all her clothes. Nursery approached us and thought she wasn’t ready and to maybe introduce pull ups but with her being so good at home I didn’t want to take a step backwards. Instead we started bringing in her own potty from home which has made a slight difference and she will successfully use it sometimes at nursery. However on most occasions she wets herself and I’m still having to pack 7+ changes for her every day she’s there. She even did a poo in her knickers the other week which I was totally shocked about as she has never done that before. We are still trying, and she’s getting better and has had two completely dry days at nursery so there is progress. We’re hoping when she moves up rooms once she’s 2 that with lots of other children doing it and small toilets she will hopefully start going at nursery as well as at home. 

As Pippa was obviously ready for potty training we didn’t have too many accidents and these have got less and less along with the time she can now hold her wee’s for. Now, 2 months in we mostly have dry days with the odd couple of small accidents when she’s busy playing or doesn’t get to the toilet in time. Her accidents are usually a little dribble and she will then do a big wee on the potty once we put her on it. She also now takes herself to the potty (we keep it in the toilet downstairs).

We are by no means completely dry but the amount of spare pants I now pack are decreasing and i’m very glad we have done it early, if not simply to avoid doing it in the winter!

Top 10 Tips for Travelling with a Toddler or Baby

Over Pippa’s 20 months in this world, she has in fact done quite a bit of travelling. At 9 months old we took her to Gran Canaria, at 11 months we took her to Santorini and at 19 months we took her to Cyprus and each involved a lot of planning. As we have travelled so much with Pippa, I’ve been asked by lots of family and friends for advice, so I thought I would write down my top tips for travelling with a baby or toddler!

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  1. Plan & Pre-Order

As Pippa has got older and the more we have travelled, the less I’ve panicked about it but the first holiday definitely required the most planning. As babies don’t get a seat on an airplane until they are two and with it, a luggage allowance, packing is a challenge, and as we all know babies have THE most stuff! We opted for using our two large suitcases for our own clothes and one of our hand luggage allowances for a cabin suitcase for Pippa and the other cabin luggage as a joint rucksack. However the nappies we shared across everything as there was just so many!

Having a baby who was still having milk 4 times a day as well as 3 meals, I didn’t know where to start with what to pack food wise for her, let alone how much space it would all take up of our minimal luggage allowance!

With Pippa being formula fed, we usually used the powder but as this would mean sterilising water whilst we were away, on top of sterilising the bottles, we decided to take the pre-made 7oz cartons of formula. Now for those who haven’t worked it out, 4x 7oz cartons of milk = a lot, so we decided to pre-order it, along with some Ella’s pouch meals and fruit pouches, to the Boots at the airport terminal. This meant that we didn’t have to use up our precious luggage and weight allowance and as we were collecting once we had gone through security, there were no issues. Harry then filled up his (rather heavy) rucksack with the goods and away we went!

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2. Don’t Fret About the Flight

Flying seems to be the biggest worry but on all of our trips I’ve actually found the flying part fine! (up to 4 hours anyway!). On all of our trips I have packed Pippa’s bottle of milk, a cup of water and some food into a separate little bag inside my own so that when it came to security I could easily lay it all out in the tray without a faff. The security staff then call you to one side, scan everything and check it and give it straight back.

Travelling with a baby or toddler also means you get a bit of preferential treatment, getting to go through a separate security for families and early boarding (I’m not sure that’s a good thing though!) and obviously you are allowed to take your buggy right to the gate.

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Playing on the plane floor!
3. Pack Lots to Play

On the flight itself Pippa has always been great and happy to sit on our laps and play or sleep. I think people often think ‘oh I must get the baby to sleep on the plane!’ however I found when she slept the hardest! It meant I couldn’t move the entire flight and that meant I was so uncomfortable. Obviously some flight times can’t be helped and if its night time its night time but I definitely prefer a daytime flight with a baby/toddler, maybe with an hour nap squeezed in!

We took a bag of toys to keep Pippa entertained each time and now that she’s older it was actually easier to keep her entertained. We bought a few books and this water magic colouring book which kept her entertained for a good while and can be used again and again. We also uploaded some of Pips favourites to the iPad but surprisingly we didn’t use it as much as I thought and only used it to settle her down for a sleep.

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Pip joining us for dinner
4. Work With the Time Difference

We also found that on the holidays where the time difference was 2 hours ahead, we kept Pippa to UK time so she could then eat dinner with us at 7ish (5ish UK time) and could stay up until 9 for a little play (or boogie – on two occasions we were at weddings!) when we were out before we put her down to sleep in the buggy. It also meant she would wake at 8am rather than 6am – giving us a little lie in!

5. Spray Suncream

We had always bought spray suncream for Pippa, in particular the Nivea one that comes out blue so you can see where its going and ensure everything is covered. However it always ended up in a bit of a mess and clothes being coloured blue or coated with suncream. That was until our most recent holiday I discovered the aerosol spray suncream! It’s SO much easier to spray all over a wriggly baby or runaway toddler and its mist like quality is cooling too!

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6. Pack a Paddling Pool

It may sound silly when you’re likely off to somewhere where you’ll be sat by a swimming pool all day, however we found a little paddling pool was a great way to keep Pippa out of the sun and cool as we could position it under our sun shade wherever we were sat. It also kept her entertained for ages and she was able to play in the water safely without us worrying she’d fall in the giant pool whilst playing at the waters edge.

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7. Bring a Good Buggy

As mentioned, baby’s come with lots of equipment and knowing what and what not to bring is key. Firstly we invested in a good buggy. We opted for the Silvercross Pop as we wanted something that reclined right back for her to be able to sleep flat in for naps and evenings when we were out for dinner and the Pop was the flattest I’d ever seen a buggy go! It also came with a UV protected hood that pulled fully over the pram so Pip was completely covered, not only for the sun but also general wind/noise around her. And of course it was lightweight and folded easily – very important!

8. Block Out Sun With a Blackout Blind

Before we bought the buggy we had also bought a SnoozeShade, it’s universal to fit any pram or buggy and blacks out the sun and light but allows air in and out so doesn’t create an oven underneath – I would definitely recommend. Something similar we always bought with us but never had to use due to the hotels having blackout shutters, was the Gro Anywhere Black Out Blind. It’s essentially a giant stick up black out blind that packs down very small so is perfect for blacking out a room when its baby’s bed time if needed!

 

9. Keep Sterilising Simple

For our holidays when Pippa was under one and we were still sterilising we used travel sterilising bags rather than lugging our entire sterilising equipment with us, especially as it required a microwave and we weren’t sure what the hotel facilities were. With the bags we just filled with water and added a sterilising tablet. I think it took about 1hr to sterilise but you could keep everything soaking in the bag until you needed it. The only issue was the smell from it was rather strong and toxic so we had to keep it in the bathroom or near an open window.

10. Buy a Travel GroBag

However my all-time favourite holiday/travel purchase for babies and toddlers is the Travel Grobag by The Gro Company. We bought a 1tog one last year for the really hot holidays and this year we bought a 2.5tog one as it was a bit cooler in Cyprus so early in the year. The genius thing about them is that they have an opening at the back and a two way zip at the front to allow it to be used with a 5 point harness. This meant we were able to put Pippa to sleep in her bag and strap her into the buggy to go to sleep when we went out in the evenings, then once we got home we could transfer her to her cot without waking her or taking her out of the bag. We also used it when travelling to and from the airport when transferring Pip from her cot to the car.

Hopefully that covers most things, we certainly found that doing and using the things I’ve mentioned above definitely helped make travelling with a baby or toddler easier and hopefully it will help you too!

More Childcare Changes!


It has now been a month since Pippa started nursery properly and I’d love to report back that she’d having a great time but unfortunately I can’t.
She cries hysterically when I drop her off and will not let the nursery staff put her down without her crying, meaning she is being carried around all day or on their laps. Apparently she clings to whoever I hand her over to in the mornings so she’s not actually attached herself to one person but seems to trust whoever I’ve left her with.

She also hates any change so hates going out in the garden or into any other room. During her first week she was in such a state whenever I picked her up, it broke my heart to think she had been that upset all day. She was trying to catch her breath from crying so much and had even lost her voice on one occasion.


As a result, Pippa has also become SUPER clingy to me like never before. I even had to get into the bath with her on a couple of occasions and she would ask for me a lot when at Granny’s which she never would before. She also stopped napping altogether and waking early crying for me and to come into our bed as she didn’t want me to leave her.

On speaking to the staff they just said they couldn’t give her the attention she needed all day so they had to leave her crying. Understandably they need to go on lunch but that would really upset Pippa. I sent emails to the manager with no responses and whenever I called to check on her they either didn’t know who she was or didn’t seem very bothered. On one occasion it took H over an hour and a half to get through to them on the phone. This week she has been ill so hasn’t gone in at all and I forgot to call until gone 12 on one of the days to say she wasn’t coming in but they hadn’t even noticed.

Overall we really aren’t impressed with the nursery at all but I just can’t go through moving her again. With the childminder I didn’t worry at all about her all day but whenever she’s at nursery I just find myself worrying all day and hate the thought of her there and have got very upset at work a couple of times over it. So much so we decided she was only going to go there for the bare minimum. I decided I would change one of my working days to a Saturday so that Harry could have her and although it would mean our weekend time together as a family was reduced, at least I knew she would be happy with Daddy, and a day less at nursery.

Both H and I’s parents could also see that nursery really wasn’t good for Pippa (or us for that matter), and since my decision to work Saturday’s, Harry’s mum offered to do one day a week. With my mum also doing half a day it meant I no longer had to do work Saturdays. So Pippa now only has to do 1.5 days at nursery, which although isn’t ideal, I’m hoping she will eventually get used to it and she’s doing the bare minimum we can manage.


Today was Pippa’s first day with Nanny and for the first time in a very long time Pippa didn’t make a fuss or cry when I left for work, just got up and gave me a hug and kiss and said goodbye. I’ve never felt so happy. She’s definitely having a great time too by the photos I’ve been receiving and I can actually now relax at work…for 1.5 days at least!

Ditched by the Childminder, Again!


In my last post, Pippa was begining to improve at the childminders. It was then followed by a brilliant Christmas break where she wasn’t clinging to my side as I originally thought she would be, but was running around, joining in with the other cousins and children (mainly the older ones!) and overall turning into a confident little girl. 

I was hoping this new found confidence would continue once she was back at the childminders. However, although she has been very confident at the childminders own house and playing nicely with the other 3 children she looks after, whenever they go out to playgroups or anywhere with other children, Pippa refuses to get out of the buggy and cries. If she is convinced to get out (normally against her will) she won’t leave Charlottes side and if Charlotte has to tend to the other children Pippa cries. 

Before Christmas Pippa also had made progress with her fear of dogs and was happy to be around Diesel, the childminders dog. However this seemed to take a step backwards and she now freaks out and cries if he’s anywhere near, posing another problem. Then there is her irrational fear of the childminders husband which if she even hears his voice ON FACETIME, she has a breakdown!! 

The littlest one in the tutu!

I can’t explain any of the above as she’s just a totally different child with us. To be fair, she doesn’t like dogs but she doesn’t have meltdowns over it. But the rest we just can’t understand. We have been to birthday parties with 40+ children and adults with bouncy castles and soccer school and she has ran off to join in without a backward glance. We go to baby gym and she tells other children off if they’ve got something she wants. She is happy around male friends and family, sometimes taking a few minutes to warm up and come out of her shell, but again never a meltdown over it. 

It therefore didn’t come as a shock when Charlotte said she couldn’t have Pippa anymore, for the second time, and that we should find somewhere else. So here we are again, looking at having to get Pippa settled into a nursery. A nursery filled with children (that she’ll hate) and where her keyworker will have to look after other children apart from her (which she’ll also hate). I’ve opted to do two weeks of settling in, starting tomorrow with an hour stay and play session with myself and then on Tuesday I have to leave her there. I’m trying so hard not to make this too confusing for Pippa so I’ve taken some time off work so that I can be there but I still hate the thought of having to put her through this!

Maybe, just maybe this will be the right environment for her and she’ll love it, but we’ll have to see 😦

Being Dumped By The Childminder

 

Pippa has always been a clingy baby and even at her first birthday party she wouldn’t let me put her down without screaming the place down. It would also be a similar reaction if I popped to the toilet or upstairs and she was left with H. I’d always reassure her I was coming back but she would cry and cry at the baby gate until I came back.

Even up until the last month, she has only just started to feel comfortable going to my stepdad (who we see regularly!) and other men, previously she would cry and cling to me of they came anywhere near!

Because of this, I knew going to the Childminder would be a challenge however after the expected tears when I dropped her off for the first few weeks, she actually started to get excited when I dropped her off and eventually started reaching out every morning to go to her.

We still get some tears some mornings but it’s not the separation from me that is now the problem, but Pippa hates being separated from the Childminder.


We use an app with the Childminder called ‘Baby’s Days’ where she writes a daily diary of their activities and adds photos and videos. We have a brilliant Childminder and she is always taking the children out and about to the woods and the zoo and to baby classes, partly one of the reasons I chose her for Pippa. We too take her to these types of places regularly and she loves running around, joining in, singing and dancing. However when she’s with the Childminder it’s as if she’s a different child.

 

Pippa refuses to let the Childminder put her down and if her feet even touch the ground she cries. If she’s playing, the Childminder has to be by her side or Pippa has to be on her lap, otherwise it’s hysterical crying. At the toddler groups she just cries and won’t join in and gets very upset with similar situations when they are out at the woods or zoo; places Pippa loves to explore with us. When out and about she is only happy if she’s in the buggy, I’m assuming because she feels safe there. But she daily gets herself into such a state that our poor Childminder can’t bring her back round.

She is also terrified of her husband, who unfortunately works shifts so is often around in the day time. Even the sound of his voice in the other room sets Pippa off.

 

I could tell things were getting worse from the diary entries and seeing the childminder’s exhausted face at the end of the day when I picked her up. Then three weeks ago, on picking Pippa up, the childminder simply said she can’t have Pippa anymore. She was such hard work that she couldn’t tend to the other children and Pippa was so upset that it wasn’t fair on anyone. She said that she’s never had to admit defeat with a child before but apparently Pippa is one tough cookie to crack!!

I was so upset at the thought of having to find somewhere else and having to go through another however many months of heart breaking settling in for Pippa. However this is now where we are at and I’ve been on a mad search for another Childminder or nursery.

I’ve not found another Childminder that I like the sound of yet and have visited one but didn’t like it at all, making me realise how great Charlotte really is! If only Pippa knew how lucky she was!

We’ve also visited a couple of nursery’s but as Pippa is so opposed to joining in and busy environments, I just can’t imagine her enjoying the setting at all.


However since our Childminder dropped this bombshell, Pippa has actually began to improve! I even had a few shocked texts from Charlotte as she was so amazed at the transformation! She now doesn’t cry and drop off and runs off to play with the other children without a backward glance. She doesn’t cry half as much and has gradually got happier and happier. This week she has even let her husband play peekaboo with her! 

She has still yet to get out of the buggy and join in at playgroups but after asking the Childminder if she would reconsider keeping Pippa, she pretty much said yes as long as Pippa returns to her happy self after the Christmas break…fingers crossed!!

Pippa’s 1st Birthday Party

  

It was over three weeks ago now since we had Pippa’s first birthday party and although it was a bit showery, we embraced the weather and had a classic British BBQ!The theme was pink and gold and I managed to find some great bits and pieces online so I thought I’d share!

The hero piece of the table set up was the Happy Birthday banner from Ginger Ray, my new favourite party supplier! I also bought some gold polka dot and pink striped paper cups from them and the pink paper pom poms

  
I always wanted to get some of these old fashioned milk bottles and I found these on Amazon. I then filled them with pink lemonade and added the classic stripey paper straws. I also bought an 8L Kilner jar with a tap and filled it with Pimms which I was super excited about but forgot to get a photo!

  
I considered getting a cake made for Pippa as I knew exactly what I wanted but then one day I spotted this beautiful cake in Sainsburys and it was exactly what I was after! And at £10 it was a whole lot cheaper than having it made! However the cake topper I did have made by a company called London Sparkle who I found on Etsy.

The gold ONE letters were a last minute addition and were actually used for Pippa’s first birthday photos I took of her. They were just cardboard letters from Hobbycraft which I spray painted gold. 

  
My favourite find however were these first birthday photo props found on Amazon! We had some great fun with them and got some good photos and they were even in pink and gold!

  
We also got a light box from Very which I’ve wanted for ages and spelled out Pip is One. 

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Finally I then printed off the photos I’ve been taking of Pippa each month and hung them on string with mini gold pegs. One year in one picture!

Pippa’s New Bedroom Design

  
I couldn’t wait to get started on decorating Pippa’s room once we moved house. I loved her room in the flat so I planned to do it pretty similar, just with some additional touches. And here it is!

I used the exact same colour on the walls as we had in Pips bedroom at our flat. The paint was from Homebase and part of their Sanctuary range, named ‘Dusk’. However they’ve now discontinued the whole range altogether but luckily we had handy decorators who managed to match it to an old tin of it that we still had! I’ve always found it hard to find the perfect grey that isn’t too blue, green or black and this was it. It’s such a shame it’s been discontinued!

As Pip went from a carpeted bedroom to a wooden floor, I bought this H&M grey striped rug to break up the floor space.

 

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House Box shelves – Bloomingville, Rug – H&M, Blanket – Mamas & Papas, Chevron changing mat, Aldi
 
Her bedroom is very long and thin so I’ve kept everything along one wall to make the room feel bigger and it certainly works. From the room we saw when we looked around the house to the room it is now is a complete transformation! I never imagined she would have so much space in that tiny room but it’s now my favourite room in the house. 

 

baby girl nursery artwork prints gallery wall
Naps Fix Everything Print – Sarah & Bendrix, I’ll Hide & You Seek Print – Nouvelle Daily, She Leaves a Bit of Sparkle Print – Vintage Rose Prints, Others print at home from Etsy
 
On the opposite wall, I have put up lots of pictures and created a gallery wall. Before we moved I kept buying more and more prints as I just fell in love with them. I thought I would struggle to find the space for them all but this long wall has created the perfect place for me to hang them and with some space to expand it further too!

 

baby girl nursery bedroom design
Weave – Holly & Teddy Weave, Initial picture – Not on the Highstreet
 
I even managed to squeeze a little picture and this bespoke weave from Holly & Teddy Weave above Pips cot.

  
I was also worried that her Eames style rocking chair wouldn’t fit in the new room as we still use this every night to read Pippa her bedtime story and give her her milk before bed. However there is a perfect little space for it, in the exact spot it used to sit!

baby girl nursery design
wall stickers – Vintage Rose Prints, bed sheets – The Modern Nursery, Cushions – Ferm Living, H&M and New Look, Weave – Holly & Teddy Weave

But by far my favourite thing about Pips room is the gold spotted wall! They are just wall stickers which I bought from Vintage Rose Prints but they just complete the room (and match the beautiful gold spot bed sheets!)

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

  
I’ve now been back at work, in a new job, for just over a month (with a weeks holiday inbetween!) and although I can’t say it’s easy by any means, it is easier than I thought it would be. 
We had planned for Pippa to go to a Childminder when I went back to work however with us going away on holiday the first week of August and the Childminder herself away during July, we agreed that Pippa wouldn’t start fully until this week, 9th August. 
Therefore during those first 4 weeks that I returned to work, we arranged for 3 half ‘settling in’ days at the Childminder and the other days Pippa would be looked after by either my mum, H’s mum or Harry who had taken time off especially. 
  
Pippa’s very first half day at the childminders went really well, I dropped her off and snuck away so she wouldn’t see me leave as she would normally be hysterical if she did see. I wasn’t back at work at this point so took the morning to do some bits around the house and it went surprisingly quick and I didn’t feel upset it any way. Until I picked her up. I welled up as soon as I saw her little shocked face that I had returned to get her and then cried pretty much the whole of the afternoon and evening! I don’t think it had really hit me that I would be leaving her like that for 3 days a week from now on and the guilt and sadness over the fact we no longer would be spending every minute together really got to me.

However when my first day did come around the following week, I was slightly calmer. In a way having family look after Pippa for this first month has actually made it much easier for me as I haven’t been constantly worrying that Pippa is unhappy and I know that whoever was looking after her, knew her well and she was comfortable with them. 
It turns out I really enjoyed going back to work and I don’t think I’ve ever settled so well into a job. It’s a lovely team and I discovered that having some time away from being ‘mummy’ was a breath of fresh air and allowed me to be me again, not to mention getting to sit down again, finish a hot cup of tea again and go to the toilet in peace again! The balance of working 3 days and the fact I am just 15 minutes away from home has been brilliant and I definitely couldn’t do anymore days. Knowing that I have a 4 day weekend with Pippa to look forward to at the end of the week is a great feeling.

However even working just 3 days has come with challenges and a distinct lack of even more time! I now have to supply lunch and dinner for Pippa so evenings are spent cooking and planning meals for not only myself and H but Pippa too and I’ve realised I need to be quite organised in order to give Pippa a varied diet but in freezable transportable portions! Mornings are also hectic when trying to get myself showered and sorted for a day at work alongside getting Pippa ready and packed for a day at the childminder’s whilst she wants constant attention. There have been a few days where I have turned up to work starving and realised I’d forgotten to have breakfast!

  
This week Pippa has done her full 2.5 days at the Childminder (the other half day my mum has her) and I think the fact that I am fully settled at work and Pippa is now used to me leaving her 3 days a week meant it has gone really smoothly. I have felt fine about leaving her and although I can’t call my mum at lunchtime to see how she is anymore, the Childminder does send me photos and videos which is amazing! She even has an app that she updates at the end of every day with all the photos, videos and a little diary so it’s all stored for us too see with our own personal login.

Pippa still cries every time I leave but I know she’s having an absolute whale of a time and our time apart just makes our time together even more special.

The Wonderful World of Weaning

weaning baby porridge
I can’t quite believe Pippa has been on solid food for 2 months now and although I love it and love seeing her trying new foods everyday, (there’s something weirdly satisfying about seeing your child eating well!) trying to fit in 3 meals, 4 bottles, 3 naps and play time is a bit of a mission and explains why this blog is so late!
baby-led-weaning
I could see from 5 months that Pippa was more than ready, she was watching us eat and mimicking our mouth movements and trying to grab whatever we were eating. So one day, at about five and a half months, whilst having Sunday dinner at my mums we just put a couple of boiled carrot sticks in front of her. And they went straight in her mouth, no issues whatsoever!
weaning
The next day I went out and bought some various veg and purée’d it all. We started off with broccoli and she couldn’t of eaten it fast enough! She was like a little bird, mouth open awaiting the next spoonful and absolutely no gagging or choking which really surprised me.
Throughout that first week we tried a different veg every day from cauliflower, sweet potato, butternut squash to carrot, Aubergine… You name it, she tried it and she ate it. All! At first I used her milk to purée the food with as it meant getting a bit more of her milk into her and also made things taste a little like her milk so would be more familiar to her. However now, more often than not, I just purée it with boiled water or the water that has been used to boil/steam the veg. After the first couple of weeks I then started mixing veg and mixing up different flavours and adding herbs and spices.
weaning baby porridge
I started off with giving her a lunchtime meal and as this was going so well, then introduced breakfast a few weeks later. For this I have just been giving her natural yogurt with fruit purée or porridge (selfishly for ease!) either homemade or the powdered ones by Ella’s Kitchen or Aptamil.
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Again Pippa couldn’t get enough of the porridge so we then went into 3 meals a day. By then Pippa enjoyed feeding herself so for tea I now try and give her more finger foods such as toast with hummus, avocado or homemade pastes and dips on or just some fruit that she can feed herself with. She also loves the Organix finger food snacks and rice cakes and these can keep her occupied for a while!
ella's-kitchen-first-foods-weaning-book
When Pippa was born I was bought the Ella’s Kitchen First Foods book and it has been a godsend. It has hundreds of really simple, easy to follow recipes and takes you through from their first mouthfuls to one year old.
However lets be honest, who has time to prep 3 different homemade meals everyday of the week (as well as feeding yourself) so I also buy the Ella’s Kitchen pouches for those days where I’ve forgotten to defrost a meal (easily and often done!) or if we are out and about. However Pippa has now come to realise that whatever comes out of a pouch is much more appealing than mums home cooked meals…
Up until 7 months this was all going so smoothly and I was busy whipping up exciting foods and freezing them into as many little pots as I could find. (Don’t underestimate the amount of weaning freezer pots you’ll need, there’s never enough!) Then Pippa started to completely go off her food and wasn’t interested whatsoever. Things she had previously loved she was now refusing and the main issue was she was refusing to be spoon fed anymore. So I was now trying to find finger food for 3 meals a day and even then she wasn’t that interested. She then fell ill with a stomach bug and then tonsillitis so it has now been 2 weeks of refusing food altogether and not really taking much milk either. I also discovered yesterday after getting her weighed that she’s lost weight and is now back to what she weighed 7 weeks ago! So here’s to hoping the next few weeks we get back on track with Pippa’s eating and that she starts to feel a bit better!
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And to finish off here are my weaning must-haves:
  • Ella’s Kitchen First Foods Book
  • Weaning pots. These from Jojo Maman Bebe are great for the first few weeks when the portion sizes are small and the addition of stickers for the pots is a bonus!
  • A bodysuit bib – the mess and stains are crazy! This from Sainsbury’s is brilliant!
  • A good highchair. I absolutely love our My Babiie one, it folds away neatly, the height adjusts so easily, the tray is adjustable too and not to mention the funky chevron print!
  • Tommee Tippee Baby Food Steamer Blender – I haven’t actually got this (yet…) but it looks genius!

Sleep Training (done properly this time!)

baby-sleep-training-routine

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!

power nap
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!

baby-sleeping-through-the-night

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!)