5 months have passed since my last post. We have been on a crazy journey these past 5 months, with Isla’s first birthday, Christmas, the new year, walking, talking, eating, pooping, crying, laughing…
So Isla turned 1 on Halloween 2018, we had a party on the weekend for her, fancy dress theme (of course!)
We went as Moana and Mowi, we played and danced. Opened gifts, ate party food. I even baked a (dairy free) rainbow cake! Which I unfortunately didn’t get a photo of – it looked pretty amazing though.
We went to see Santa Claus at Souter light house one Saturday in December. It was £12 and would have been amazing if Isla was older, but not really aimed at her age group. Santa Claus gave Isla a selection box and we built a Christmas decoration.
Christmas for our family was a strange day, the first without my step-mum. It was so busy, I had to get Isla round all the family, while trying to squeeze in naps and snacks. During my childhood, we usually stayed at home on Christmas Day, one set of grandparents would come on Christmas Day and we would travel to see the others on Boxing Day. That isn’t possible with Isla as she was at her dads on Boxing Day this year.
Isla is now walking pretty confidentially, she says a few words, “hiya”, “dog”, “cup”, “quack”. She pretends to be a fish, she waves goodbye and hello, she also says “no, no, no” while waving her finger, she thinks she is so clever when she does something cheeky, she laughs and she loves.
I will try and keep on top of my blogging, but we have been struggling at bed time and I usually have chores to do once she is sleeping.
Isla has recently started “cruising”, one of my Mummy friends had gotten her son a paid of shoes, which got me thinking about getting Isla’s feet measured.
Luckily, my house has carpets, which means she isn’t slipping around with her socks on, however, when we go to Nanna’s house or to child friendly cafes, she is sliding about like an first time ice skater!
I decided to take her to Clark’s to get her feet measured, they are probably the most well known shoe shop in the U.K. and are also thought very highly of when it comes to measuring children’s feet. I took her down to our local Clark’s on Saturday after going to the park (oh, I wish we had her shoes while we were at the park, her socks got scruffy!). The staff member was so good with Isla, I asked if I could get a photo as it was the first time getting her feet measured. She had no problem with it, and said people ask all the time!
I didn’t actually plan on buying a pair of shoes while I was in the store, my plan was to buy a pair off the clearance website.
I fell in love with a pair of burgundy pre-walker shoes, which I decided to buy for Isla. They were £26, which I think it a rip off for such a tiny pair of shoes. I will probably not be buying shoes from Clark’s again, but for her first pair, I didn’t mind paying so much.
She doesn’t wear her shoes in our house as I am a firm believer that the best way to learn to walk is without shoes as it is natural. She wears them when we go out or to visit family.
Isla has two teeth now, and a third is on its way. It’s so strange seeing little teeth when she laughs, I’m starting to get used to them now, she’s not my little gummy bear anymore.
I wasn’t actually even registered at the dentist here, I told myself I would register once Isla got her first tooth, or in time for her 9-12 month health check, whichever came first. The tooth came first, and then a second popped through a couple of days later. So, I registered at the dentist and had my appointment, I made an appointment for Isla and took away the registration form for her.
Yesterday was her first appointment. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. How long would we be in there? Surely only a matter of minutes… She only has 2 teeth! Will Isla open her mouth for the dentist? I have been trying to teach her what to do but she just laughs at me. Will she bite the dentist? Probably.
I have heard recently that some dentists have told mothers to stop breastfeeding during the night once little has teeth… What a load of rubbish! I can see why someone would say that, breastmilk is very sugary. But to stop feeding during the night? I feed Isla to sleep, she will not go to sleep any other way for me (she will for other people). I was prepared to stand my ground with the dentist and say that I would not be stopping breastfeeding during the night.
The appointment was very quick, the dentist had a feel inside her mouth, which Isla wasn’t too keen on, she asked me how many teeth Isla had, made some notes on the computer and said everything looked great. She asked if I was breastfeeding and recommended that I rinse Isla’s mouth out after every feed (haha, no thanks, some days Isla can feed every hour!). She was very pro breastfeeding, which was amazing, telling me to keep going as long as I can.
Friends and family might think you are over exaggerating when you tell them how long your baby screamed for, or how they will only sleep in your arms, don’t worry, I know you’re telling the truth! Some babies are easily satisfied and can just “go with the flow”, others are extremely fussy, hard to settle and require a lot of attention. These intense babies erupt into our world and create a storm of emotions for their parents. These babies are often seen as “high needs”.
Following on from Dr Sears’ list, I would like to share with you the six things that made me realise I had a high needs baby.
1) You can’t get anything done
Remember when you could cook dinner, wash the bathroom, do the laundry and watch your favourite TV show all in one day? Ah yes, a distant memory. Now you find yourself having to do everything you used to do in the short bursts of sleep that your baby has. When your baby is awake you have to be talking to him, looking at him or holding him at all times.
2) Routine… What routine?
Your baby is very irregular. You look in awe at other Mums who have it down to a T, their babies are bathed, fed and asleep for 8PM every night. You can’t hazard a guess as to when your baby will go to sleep, wake up, want to feed… They are very unpredictable.
3) “Don’t Leave Me, Mummy”
When you walk out of the room your baby has a meltdown, she’s looking around desperately trying to find you. Yes, pretty much every baby goes through separation anxiety, but with a high needs baby, it is a lot more intense.
4) You feel like a zombie
What is sleep? Why do people keep talking about babies sleeping through? Are they playing a cruel trick on you? You can only get your baby to sleep by being rocked, cuddled or fed and then they’re awake again in an hour… You know you’re parenting a high needs baby when you drink a gallon of coffee a day and pray for anything more than 40 minutes sleep at a time.
5) People think your baby is “spoilt”
You’re the only one who can settle her, she cries for you, for a cuddle, sometimes for no reason. I have heard people say that Isla is spoilt so many times, that she will grow up to be a diva. You can’t spoil a baby! You can’t give too much love, and with a high needs baby, they need a whole lot of love.
6) Mood swings!
One minute you’re playing hide-and-seek, your baby is full of smiles and giggles, the next she’s inconsolable. You have a happy, chatty baby and you turn away to boil the kettle, boom! Because you’re not looking at or paying all your attention to her, she explodes.
And after all of this, they will become a toddler… That should be fun!
We have had highs of 35 Degrees Celcius in the UK recently, something we really are not used to! Although now it is cooler and the sky is grey, the hot weather is set to return next week. It is extremely important to keep little ones cool. Here are some things that we have been doing to stop Izzy from getting too hot.
Lots of fluids! Breastfeed more often, when the weather is hotter and baby needs more to drink, our very clever bodies change the makeup of our breastmilk to meet our babies needs. If your baby is formula fed, you can give water (cooled boiled if under 6 months) between their normal bottles.
Give refreshing snacks (for babies over 6 months) such as cucumber sticks or a breast milk ice lolly.
Thin, loose clothing, such as a loose dress or a t-shirt which is a little bit big. When it has been very hot, you might even want to forget about the vest. On a night time, Isla has been sleeping in just a nappy & sleepsuit/vest (depending on the temperature in the room) with a very thin blanket.
Do not cover pram with anything, it might seem like you are doing good by keeping the sun off your baby, however, it can be extremely dangerous, as it actually makes it hotter in the pram for your baby, it prevents the air from circulating. I found this graph from Which? extremely helpful.
Keeping your baby in the shade and try to avoid going out during the hours of 11AM-3PM, as this is when the sun is highest in the sky and therefore the hottest time of day.
Close the blinds. Open the windows. Keeping the blinds closed during the day can help keep the room cool and opening the windows will create a through draft.
A cooler bath before bedtime can keep baby at a nice temperature. Try and do relaxing things before bed, so that baby does not get worked up or excited.
Have you noticed that your baby has become quite clingy recently? Isla has always been a high-needs baby, but over the past month or so she has definitely been more clingy, crying more often and being more cranky.
The most likely reason for this is because at around 7 months babies go through a cognitive leap. During this leap, your baby will begin to realise that you and she are separate people. This is often referred to as “separation anxiety”, you may notice your baby becomes very upset when you leave her, whether that be for a few seconds to go to the loo, or a few hours to go to work. She doesn’t yet understand that when you leave the room, it isn’t for good and you’re coming back.
Up until now, your baby has thought of herself and you as one person, a single unit. And why wouldn’t she? After 9 months of being physically attached to you, it makes sense that it would take a while for your little one to start to learn that they are their own person.
So how can you help your baby through this?
Try and leave baby with people they know and see regularly (e.g. Dad or Grandma)
Have some routine to when you leave her and who you leave her with, for example, if you are going to work, it would be the same time each day. This way, your baby will begin to learn that when she is left with X person at breakfast time, Mummy will come back
When you leave baby, also leave something you wear often, such as a pajama top, your scene will be comforting to baby
It is a good idea to say “goodbye, I’ll be back soon” to your baby when you leave her, as she will begin to associate this with what is happening
It is better for your baby to see you leave, that way she will not panic when she realises you are not there.
Separation anxiety is generally something your baby will grow out of in time. Yes, it can be a very hard time for both Mum and baby, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!
When you chose to have a child, you signed on the dotted line for more laundry. If you have a good wash routine and a decent sized stash, you don’t really have to have that much more work to do when it comes to cloth diapering full time. Read why I chose to use cloth nappies here.
What Happens To The Poo?
Firstly, let me point out that if your baby is exclusively breastfed (no formula or solids), then washing is super easy for you, you just chuck the soiled nappy straight in the wash, because a breastfed babies poop is water-soluble. Okay, so what about formula fed babies or babies who are eating solids? When it comes to weaning poop (or formula poo), you’re gonna want to have a poop spatula or knife or spoon, just whatever works for you. We have a lovely pink spatula from Poundworld, it sits beside the toilet. The more solids your baby eats, the easier the poo is to scrape off, as obviously your babies poo becomes more solid.
How Often To Wash?
This question depends on how many nappies you own. I probably have around 35 reusable nappies, but there are a few that I really don’t like, I only use them if we are behind on washing/drying and are desperate. Let’s say there 28 nappies that we actually use, I could get away with washing every 3 days, however, to be safe I like to wash every other (and I only have 5 night nappies).
The Actual Wash… (I am washing mostly pocket nappies)
You’ve flushed your poo, now what?
Pre-wash – A cold rinse cycle with no detergent and no softener (on my machine this cycle runs for 50 minutes)
Main Wash – A long 40 Degree wash, not an eco wash, with detergent but no softener (this is a 2 hour cycle for us)
Rinse – A spin (this is a 10 minute quick spin just to take out extra water)
What Detergent Should I Use?
When choosing a detergent to wash reusable nappies with, it is best to look for something which has natural ingredients, and manufacturers often recommend a detergent in powder form. In our house we use Miofresh, which is a nappy cleanser, plus LIDL own brand washing powder. And NO SOFTENER.
Line Dry Or Tumble Dry?
The answer is either!
Line drying is great, it saves you money since you don’t need put the tumble drier on. Sunlight is a natural stain remover, so all those nasty poo stains will magically disappear! The only downside to line drying is that it is weather permitting, and in England, it’s sometimes quite hard to predict the weather.
Tumble drying is great because it is fast and makes your boosters feel super soft. Always tumble dry on a low heat, and try to avoid putting anything PUL in, so your shells and pockets shouldn’t go in.
In our house, if the weather is nice they’re on the line and then a “freshen up” in the dryer. If it’s not nice weather, the pockets/shells go on the radiators (which are rarely on) and the boosters go in the dryer.
Sorting And Storing
I usually stuff my nappies on a nighttime while watching the TV, but before stuffing them I put all my inserts in piles of what material they are, which makes it much easier as I just grab one from the microfiber pile and one from the bamboo pile.
You can see above how I store our nappies, I usually put my favourite ones towards the front, night nappies and extra inserts are on the shelf below. Everyone has a different storage system and it’s just finding what works best for you.