Nope, I haven’t abandoned the DadBlog, it is still absolutely a thing… I’d say it’s been hard to find time, but if that were true I wouldn’t have been pumping out random posts about parks in Medway, my ancestors or how we’re trying to cut down our food budget. Truth is that I’ve struggled to find a way to write down and share about Charlotte joining us. Need to get on with it though, I know that sharing what we are going through right now will be great to read back on. So here goes..
We’re just over two months in to being parents and that time has gone CRAZY fast, it seriously feels like only the other week that we drove home from the hospital with a tiny human and not a clue what to do. Everyone tells you how much things will change and well, they’re right, our normal routines have been turned upside down. The same things are all still possible, but everything requires teamwork, extra effort and thinking through. Having a baby in our lives has tested us, we’ve both been at the end of our tether at times, frustrated, tired, exhausted but as a team we’ve supported each other and stayed on the right track. It is absolutely amazing though, despite it all, we love her more than we knew it possible to love something. The slightest smile and for a brief moment nothing else in the world matters and it’s all worthwhile.
It’s fair to say that sleep has been the thing we’ve found hardest. We still haven’t found a way to manage things in a sustainable way; every evening, night and morning is different. Some good, some bad, some terrible! I don’t think we’re alone, seems that what we’re going through is quite normal but it really is pretty hard. Over Christmas and New Year we managed well, Charlotte was beginning to develop a routine and with no other commitments we were able to manage to accommodate her needs in the evening or the morning and could do whatever we needed. Now that I’ve gone back to work, things have got harder again and she’s much more unsettled overnight. Victoria is of course off work, and so we’re trying to do our best with a system that involves her going to bed at 8/9pm, trying to get some sleep. Where I’ll then manage charlotte until 11pm or midnight, ideally feeding her, changing her, getting her to sleep and then taking her upstairs. Victoria will then get up worh her throughout the night feeding/changing as needed. The hardest part is that she just doesn’t seem to want to sleep when it’s night time and we can both be laying in bed for hours listening to her ‘chat’ to herself while we are both half asleep. Sounds like I’m complaining, not my intention, just sharing reality! Things I’m sure will get better in time.
Last week Charlotte had her first set of vaccinations, Victoria took her to the doctors where she had two injections, one in each leg. Victoria said that she had never heard her scream like she did and that the cutesy smile she was giving the doctor was wiped clean from her face quite quickly. We were warned that she’ll have a higher than normal temperature and that she may have some loose poops. To be honest, she’s managed just fine. More jabs next month (3 months) and then another set the month after that.
We’ve been managing really well with feeding, having switched to formula about 6 weeks ago. As mentioned in another post, we did our best with the breastfeeding, but it wasn’t working out. We seem to be the only one of our NCT cohort that is bottle feeding and it seems to be the only thing the group now talk about. Luckily, Victoria has a friend who is also bottle feeding so we’re not completely alone. We’ve both developed a hatred towards the phrase “Breast is Best” because it implies you’re not doing the best for your child unless you’re breast feeding. Not everybody can, and we’re confident we’re doing what’s best - so please fuck off with your inconsiderate phrase. We switched a few weeks in from Aptamil to Aldi’s Mamia. It’s a lot less expensive but importantly Charlotte seems to be able to manage it much better. We were struggling with the Aptamil, lots was coming back up, etc. I did some reading into the different formulas and they are all really, really similar. This seems to be working well, so we’re going to stick with it.
We did find that changing bottles helped a lot too. We tried the MAM bottles, then moved to the Tommee Tippee regular bottles. We’ve settled now on the Tommee Tippee Advanced Anti-Colic bottles which seem to be working really well. There’s Advanced and non-Advanced, the difference is that the Advanced ones have a green top and a straw that goes in the middle of the bottle to help with air flow (I guess). Just this last week we’ve moved from the 150ml to the bigger 260ml bottles. Charlotte now has about 6oz per feed and about 5 or 6 feeds a day. she is pretty consistent with knowing when its been fours hours since the last bottle. She now drinks a bottle much faster than she used to, despite the teet in the bottle being the same. We usually wind her about two or three times during a feed, getting her to burp is very rewarding! We have a Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine which has made making bottles so much easier. We also have a compartmentalised formula container which means you just have to dump the pre-measured formula in the bottle and then push the button on the machine. This is a great system. We have a belief that Charlotte is beginning to recognise the noise of the Perfect Prep machine, because sometimes she’ll stop crying, or at least calm down a little once she hears it (could totally be wrong!).
We’re not experts in this, but we’ve been following her development quite closely. The first thing we noticed was her looking at certain black and white shapes. By week four or five we noticed her first smiles to us (which is the most adorable thing). About 6 weeks she was beginning to really focus on things, change what she was looking at and even move her head to follow. She’s slowly started to make more noises and will ‘chat’ when she’s quite content and awake, this is really cute unless it’s the middle of the night.
In the morning we put her in her jungle chair (a bouncer) while we get ready and she will stare at the monkeys above her quite happily, smiling away looking at them. We have built a ‘stare station’ which we use downstairs, basically a wooden A frame with some toys and colourful shapes suspended from it, she loves this and will spend a long time quite happily having a good ‘ol stare. Baby sensory videos and Hey Duggee are her absolute favourite, she’ll be fixated with anything on a screen but big bold colours are what she’s most interested in. In the last few days she has been slowly grasping and grabbing, Victoria has put some wooden rings on the stare station which Charlotte enjoys pushing and moving around, she will also try and bash the monkeys in her jungle chair.
Very recently we’ve caught her mimicking some of the noises we make, Victoria has a great video of this. Very exciting! We get super excited over something new we’ve noticed and can’t wait to tell each other about it.
As you’ll have seen from the other posts on the blog, we’ve been going to a fair few walks. It’s been a bit difficult because of the weather but we try and go whenever we can. The buggy that we went for has been serving us well, the flat traditional pram part we have barely used, we’ve found it much more convenient to just use the car seat. She seems to like feeling nice and snug and it’s easier to make sure she’s warm in that part with the weather. The flat pram is also no use when going up and down pavements which is a problem round here with the way cars are parked. Car seat and the base has been very good, no complaints, seems really safe and cosy. We have used the lie-flat function of the car seat a few times, especially if she’s asleep in the push chair or we’ve brought her indoors from the car, where we’ll collapse it into lie-flat mode. The major frustration with the pram is that it could do with having a longer wheelbase, going up and down steep kerbs can be a bit of a problem, there aren’t drop kerbs everywhere.
Going to wrap the dadblog up there for now. I’m tired and it’s feeding time! Haven’t re-read this, so apologies for the nonsense sentences and spelling errors!