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Baby | How We Got Oliver to Sleep in His Crib

Thursday, 29 December 2016
In our 8 week battle to get Oliver to sleep in his crib, we tried just about everything. The hot water bottle in the bed, the piece of clothing so he can still smell me .. even Ewan the sheep and his therapeutic white noise wouldn't settle our little one. He'd fall asleep so easily in our arms but no matter what we did, he'd wake up as soon as we put him down. We'd persevere, but after five or six cycles of rocking/singing him to sleep, waiting for him to get into a deep sleep, putting him down and then comforting him when he cried hysterically minutes later, we'd give up. 

For the first 8 weeks of his life, I slept (or dozed at the most) propped up with pillows surrounding me while holding Oliver on my chest. It broke all the rules on safe sleeping, but it was literally the only way we could function. I spent the first months dreading night time and the mental torture of trying the same failed methods with a tired baby screaming in my face and on top of that, I had the guilt of co-sleeping and the worry that something might happen.

We'd spoken to parents who have had a similar problem (and had also ended up co-sleeping) and all of them said the same thing - it's trial and error. Keep trying different things and eventually you'll find the winning combination. Every baby has their breakthrough night eventually. 

So we kept going and two weeks ago we went from sleepless nights to a full 9 hour sleep, with Oliver in his side-sleeping crib. When he woke for a bottle at 5am, I'd already been awake for twenty minutes staring at him in disbelief! I thought it might have been a fluke (as we'd had a few of those) but since that night, he's slept in his crib every night(!) and everything seems to have fallen into place. There's a few things that I think contributed towards Oliver settling at night but here's the top 3 and the most important ones in my opinion. Here's our winning combination - our breakthrough!

newborn baby sleeping tips

1. Acid Reflux - We noticed that Oliver would often grunt, cough and cough up when laid on his back. He wasn't bring up his milk, it was more like an acidic water and after reading online, it became clear he had all the symptoms of acid reflux. Things got worse around 5 weeks and after trying baby gaviscon (which just made him constipated and even more unhappy), we were prescribed Ranitidine. This is a liquid medicine given in a syringe into his mouth three times a day. It took around a week to have a noticeable effect but he's been much better. He still coughs up every now and then but it's no where near as bad. We noticed it was working when he started enjoying being on his changing mat!

2. Swaddling - I always knew that Oliver needed to be swaddled because his startle reflex would often be the thing that woke him up, but he just wouldn't let us do it. If we managed to wrap him in a blanket, he'd fight his way out within a few minutes. One night (at around 3am I'm sure), I discovered these velcro swaddles on Amazon and had to give them a try. On the first night, I watched Oliver startle himself several times but since the velcro held the swaddle completely in place, he didn't wake up. It must have made him feel like he was being held. Swaddling is definitely the best way to stop the startle reflex and I'm so glad we kept trying!

3. The Swing - A huge turning point has been getting Oliver to sit on his own during the day. Until then, he'd always need to be held throughout the day unless he was being pushed in the pram. He would cry in his vibrating bouncy chair or if I'd sit him upright on the couch with pillows. My mum bought him this swinging chair and it's been a total life changer. Oliver really enjoys being in the swing and it's adorable to watch him smiling and looking around. If he's tired, he will quite happily go for a nap in it and this has got him used to sleeping on his own and out of my arms. 

Did any of you have a baby that wouldn't sleep on his back? What was your breakthrough? 

5 Things I've Realised As a New Mum

Tuesday, 20 December 2016
When you're expecting a baby, some people are overly keen on telling you how your life is going to change. It may have been my pregnancy hormones in overdrive, but I always felt there was a slight negative tone to some of them. Masked by a slightly passive aggressive laugh, they would basically tell me to enjoy my life now, because it's going to be pretty hard when the baby arrives. 

It's definitely true that your life changes. But I'm far from looking back at my old life and wishing I had that again (except a full nights sleep, but that'll come back eventually). In fact, being a mum has made me realise a lot of negative things about my 'old life' ... 

Lifestyle Parenting Pregnancy Baby Blog UK GLASGOW

1. I used to waste so much time - When you have very little time to yourself, every minute counts. I can get showered, dressed and do my hair and make up in twenty minutes now whereas before, I could have taken up to an hour. That included several breaks to check my twitter, whats app my friends, send snapchats. Looking back, I wonder how many hours in every day that I wasted staring at my phone like a zombie. Oddly enough, now that I have less time to myself, I get so much more done.

2. Walking is the best therapy - Since me and Oliver have been going on long walks together, I've realised how much I love being out in the fresh air and how it can totally perk up my mood. There's nothing that refreshes me more than wrapping up in a hat and scarf and going out for a long walk with my little bear in the pram. Oh and the cup of tea to warm up when we get home .. bliss.

3. A little mess ever hurt anyone. I used to stress out in a messy house and it was always a priority to get the place clean and tidy before doing anything else. But now, during the day when I'm home alone with Oliver, it's inevitable that the place ends up a bomb site by mid day. I could find something to distract Oliver to let me tidy up, but then I'm missing out on fun times with him and to be honest, it'll end up messy again within a few hours. Life's too short to worry about mess all day. Now, I give the house a quick tidy when Andy gets home and just enjoy my time with Oliver during the day.

4. The little problems don't matter. It's a cliche but when you have a baby, your whole perspective changes. When you realise how lucky you are to have a baby, you stress a lot less about the unimportant things such as Tilly scratching our carpet to pieces (true story) or the length of time it's taken us to finish decorating! As long as Oliver is healthy and happy, everything else can wait.

5. I said all the things I now hate. I know this kind of contradicts the above but as a new mum there are a lot of things other people do, that you cant help but find irritating. The annoying same questions I heard throughout my pregnancy? I used to ask them. The vague/cliche/inexperienced advice people offer about babies? Pretty sure I did that too. Almost all of them are innocent on the other persons behalf but now I've heard it from the other side, I won't be one of those people again. 

Let me know what you think and leave a comment below!

Home | Printed Frames on a Budget

Saturday, 17 December 2016
If you've read my home styling posts before, you'll probably have a good idea of how much I love framed prints. I love the style of layering different frames on a shelf, and how you can add so much colour or style through the prints that you chose. You can pick up frames pretty cheaply from most homeware shops, but the actual prints can be a bit pricier if you want something good quality.

I recently discovered a little trick that can give you beautiful framed prints for so much less. I was in M&S picking up a birthday card when I spotted a few of the cards in the 'just to say' section which had really pretty designs. They had copper foil prints, cute quotes and different textures and I realised these were actually better quality than some of the prints I was buying on line. 

I bought a couple and framed them and I'm so happy with how they've turned out. It's something I wouldn't have thought of doing before, but framing cards is a much less expensive option and, compared with the lower price 'print your own' designs on etsy, much better quality. My favourite cards at the moment are from Marks and Spencer but Next have some really nice designs too. 

You could easily put together a lovely framed print for less than £10 or even £5 if you used a cheaper frame from Ikea or similar (this one above was £2.75!) With Christmas just around the corner, these would make a perfect present for a secret santa too. 

What do you think? Where's your favourite place to buy prints? 

What They Don't Tell You About Post Partum Recovery

Thursday, 8 December 2016
If you read my birth story, you'll know that I found labour a less than enjoyable experience to say the least. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect it to be a walk in the park but when you've never experienced that kind of pain, it's impossible to imagine it and therefore it's pretty difficult to prepare for it. All the way through labour, I kept telling myself that it would be over soon. That's another contraction over, that's another centimetre dilated .. another step closer to the finish line. The minute Oliver was born, I remember thinking 'it's over!' and then feeling a bit hard done by when the doctor showed up to start my stitches. In my desperation, I actually asked her, 'is this the final painful thing before it's all over?' and she said yes. I'll be home tomorrow, I thought, and this pain will all be a distant memory...

I wasn't prepared in any way for the recovery. I didn't know there would be a 'recovery' - is that naive? No one mentioned it to me beforehand. At most, I thought I'd be a bit sore for a few days but in reality, it took a good two weeks before I felt anywhere near normal again. 

Now, let me just be clear - this post isn't meant to scare anyone. It's not a doom and gloom kind of post. In the same way that labour is openly discussed, I think we should discuss post partum recovery too. Just like labour, it happens. There's nothing you can do about it, but at least you'll know what to expect.

tips for after labour

1. Tears, grazes and stitches - If you're unlucky enough to have had any of these, the recovery can range from mildly painful to full blown torture. It's sore to walk, to sit and don't even get me started on the pee problems. You might have heard about how painful 'the first pee' is after you've had a baby - no one mentions that it continues to hurt like that for a good week at least. I was scared to pee, so despite my insane thirst (see point 3), I was scared to drink anything. The pain started to get a bit better around day 8 for me, and gradually got better over the next two weeks.
Tip: A bath with lavender or tea tree oil helps to soothe and heal the area. For the pee situation, cold baby wipes are your friend. Luckily you should have loads of these to hand.

2. Post-partum bleeding - Your body's emptying out all the contents of your womb from the last 9 months, so it's usually a lot more than just a normal period and, TMI alert, there can be a lot of clots too. Remember though, tampons are a no-go so soon after labour so maternity pads are the only option. They're basically nappies so at least you're twinning with baby!
Tip: Don't try and get by with normal pads, buy the proper maternity ones because chances are you will need them. If you're not used to wearing pads, make sure you have some proper underwear too. By proper underwear, I mean granny pants.

3. Losing the Water - You'll lose water in every way possible in the first few weeks after childbirth. If you thought the third trimester frequent toilet trips had subsided .. sorry, not quite yet. Expect to sweat a lot more than normal too. The good news is that you'll notice it on the scales - as your losing all that water, you lose weight quickly so you'll probably drop a lot in the first two weeks.
Tip: Wear deodorant (obviously) and change your clothes regularly. FYI - you'll probably be doing that anyway since you'll be covered in baby sick. Yay.

4. Exhaustion - seems obvious, doesn't it? I always thought that the exhaustion in the newborn days was because of the long nights awake with the baby. I didn't realise that you get no time whatsoever to recover from labour. You're thrown straight into it. I was given my bed around 10pm after labour, Andy was sent home and I spent the whole night looking after Oliver myself. I was delirious with tiredness - there's no power nap before motherhood. I can imagine this is even harder if you've had a section.
Tip: The cliche advice is to sleep when the baby sleeps but that's easier said that done. My tip is to make sure you're eating and drinking enough - it's easy to forget when you're so engrossed in looking after the baby. Take help from friends and family if it means you can get a nap every so often.

My biggest tip is to tell people how you're feeling. Post partum recovery isn't discussed a lot so most people won't be aware of how tough it can be and how rough you might be feeling. Personally, when I've went to visit new babies in the past, it didn't even cross my mind that the mum might still be in pain. Don't feel like you need to accept lots of visitors, or that you need to go out before you're ready. Take your time, set your own rules and remember it will get better eventually!

Did any of you have any surprises after labour? What was the worst part of your recovery? 

Baby's First Christmas Eve Box

Friday, 2 December 2016
Two things you should know about me - I love Christmas and I love family traditions. This year is extra exciting because it's Oliver's first Christmas - we're a whole new family and we have a blank canvas to start our own family traditions. Of course, Oliver will be just eight weeks old and will be unaware of it all this year but I do want to start a Christmas eve box and keep the same one going as he gets older. This year, admittedly, it's for my own enjoyment but in years to come, I can't wait to see his little face when he opens it up and finds lots of Christmas goodies to start the festivities.

So what do you put in a baby's Christmas eve box? 

1. Christmas PJs -New pyjamas on Christmas eve will be another tradition for us and Oliver will be no exception. Of course, for him, it'll be a baby grow this year. I love this reindeer sleepsuit and this red one too. I always prefer the slightly more subtle prints when it comes to christmas clothes, as opposed to dressing him like a little christmas pudding. Although I can't deny that's still adorable.

2. Baby Book - This is more sentimental than anything although they do say that you should read to your baby from as early as a few weeks. Oliver loves when we sing to him and this baby christmas book has a Christmas CD with it too. Again, another thing that's probably for my own enjoyment - it'll probably end playing in the car, with Oliver crying at my horrendous singing voice.

3. Christmas Bauble - I want Oliver to have his own bauble for the tree on his first Christmas and when he have more children, they'll get their own one too. I love this my first christmas bauble but also like the idea of getting one with his name on it too. I know you can get lovely personalised things at the Christmas market in Glasgow and we're going next week for a look. 

4. Cuddly Toy - the obvious choice for a baby box, of course. How adorable is this little crochet reindeer toy ? I think a Christmas comfort blanket would be really cute too. 

5. Hat and Mittens - I spotted these 'My First Christmas' hat and mittens in Mothercare the other day and stupidly let Andy talk me out of getting them. Now I need to go back, because I can't stop thinking about them. I'd love to get a nice photo of Oliver in this hat in front of the Christmas tree this year! Cuteness overload!

6. Slippers - I saw these reindeer slipper boots and had to include them. These are probably a bit too old for Oliver at the moment but still a nice idea for a slightly older baby.  Imagine some chubby little baby feet in these? 

Do any of you have a Christmas eve box?

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