Violet’s Three Month Update

Time is flying by so quickly, so of course I’m way behind on Violet’s updates (she’s actually 14 weeks now!) but I don’t want to miss her updates as these are the ones I’ll look back on, no doubt. So, here is Violet’s 3 month update – weeks 8-12. Thank goodness for taking so many photos, as time is passing by so quickly it’s hard to remember what happened when – however looking back at my phone, it literally tells our story day-by-day!

So, after Violet’s 8 week injections I remember we had a bit of a rough two weeks. She was super grotty afterwards with a temperature for a couple of days, plus it really messed up her sleep pattern. During this time, I stayed in with her a lot, I sat on the sofa, blogged, fed and cuddled her when she needed it and we just rode out the storm together – those pesky first injections, they really affected her!

Once she was on the mend, she started to really come on with her developmental skills, she learned to hold a toy for a short period of time and we keep trying over and over with tummy time, although she hasn’t quite got it yet. She has started to babble and loves to have ‘conversations’ where we talk back and forth.

During this time, we decided to change the way we were feeding. You may have read my breastfeeding story so far, by weeks 5 onwards I was exclusively pumping breastmilk and giving the odd formula top-up. Honestly, I felt like a human cow – it was so hard and my life revolved around my trusty Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump (which was fantastic by the way) it would be a cycle of pump, feed, wash bottles, sterilise bottles, repeat. I couldn’t have a life as I always had to be somewhere within 2-3 hours or I’d start to soak through my clothes (even with the best breast pads!) As Violet became more interactive and demanded my attention – she would get frustrated that I wouldn’t pick her up and play with her as much as she’d like in between feeds, mainly as I was pumping or getting the bottles ready for the next feed, so after battling through this way of life for around 4 weeks (hats off to anyone that exclusively pumps!), I decided something had to give and we made the switch gradually over to formula. I was so upset, honestly I was gutted at this point it hadn’t worked out for us, I loved breastfeeding but I always felt like it was an uphill struggle for us, we were always swimming against the tide, so when I was at my weakest I just let the tide take me and we stopped. I cried as my milk dried up, but when I realised how easy life would be just making bottles (especially with my shiny perfect prep machine) and I felt better. I gave Violet 10 weeks of breastmilk, I would have liked to do more but I’m happy we did what we did against the odds.

Since switching Violet over to formula and finding one that suits her (Aptamil Comfort) she has been absolutely thriving -she loves it, her colic issues are gone plus she has grown and put on weight perfectly. Maybe I am too hard on myself, she is just fine.

Anyway, on a happier note – at 12 weeks Violet had her first Waterbabies lesson and she LOVED IT! She loved the songs and splashing about in the water, she has even done a couple of underwater swims too! I am so glad we booked her into classes as it’s the highlight of our week at the moment then we spend the rest of the week singing the songs and practising our splashing in the bath ready for next week!

We also took Violet on her first ever big day out. We went to London to the Tower of London and for some Mexican food. She won’t remember it but at the Tower of London, we held her up to see the Crown Jewels, she was definitely interested in all the colours and sparkles! I made this vlog of our day out if you fancy a peek:

MONTH THREE: 

Feeding: Combination fed until 10 weeks – then moved to exclusively formula

Weight: Weighed at 10 weeks, she was 10lbs!

Sleeping:  She is SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. Yes, I said it, probably jinxed myself but from weeks 8,9 and 10 she was waking around once a night for a feed, then around week 11 she just started sleeping through and still does every night.

Skills: Grabbing and holding toys for short periods, feeling textures, lots of smiles, holding her head a little better, pulling my hair and sleeves, more eye contact, babbling sounds, blowing bubbles and raspberries

Favourite things: Grabbing at everything, hair, glasses, jumpers, toys, nappy cream, nappies – if she can reach it, it’s gone! She also loves looking at herself in the mirror and having a good conversation, her new swing chair (it can settle even the worst mood!)

Hated things: injections, having a sore tummy, not getting enough attention

Bathtime fun with Summer Infant Lil’ Luxuries Whirlpool, Bubbling Spa & Shower

Following on from my previous post, I thought I’d continue on the bath time theme by talking about another product that has really helped us make bath time as calming and as fun as possible for Violet – even in those early stages when times were really tough. We’ve gone from bath time being something of fear and dread (probably for us all!) to a really fun experience where we sing songs and have a good old splash about.

Our secret is a rather snazzy baby bath. When I saw the Summer Infant Lil’ Luxuries Whirlpool, Bubbling Spa & Shower, I just knew it was the one for us. I mean, isn’t owning a jacuzzi every girls dream? Being a bath-lover it is certainly mine and as they didn’t do them in my size, I thought maybe Violet would like a whirl (haha, get it) herself. So, yes she does own the most extravagant of baby baths, but she loves it and it’s totally changed our bath time experience so it must be doing something right!

So, whats so snazzy about this bath? Firstly, it’s a good sturdy size with plenty of room for your baby to grow, you can use either in your own bathtub or just on the floor, however I find using it inside our bath easier as you can let the water out easily and top-up the shower section with ease too. It has thick double insulated walls which helps to keep the temperature of the water warm (which is really important if you are a paranoid mother like me who uses a bath thermometer numerous times before putting her baby in). The bath has a detachable section which houses a water tank and shower unit, it’s also where the controls of the whirlpool and jets are placed.

At the moment as Violet is still too young to support herself, we are using the soft Newborn Sling that is provided with the Whirlpool Bath. It has a soft and cushioned headrest, with an ample fabric sling that really helped to keep her safe, secure and well supported during bath time. This also helps when bathing her alone as it’s tricky to hold her with one hand and access her shampoo/bubble bath with the other, so the support definitely helps the bath be slightly more ‘hands free’ in that department (although obviously I wouldn’t leave her totally unattended on there!). Only slight niggle with the newborn sling is that the fabric is quite often popping off the frame, this doesn’t seem to interfere too much but is a bit frustrating.

The super snazzy bit is the whirlpool settings – one is more of a water jet, the other is bubbles coming from the base of the bath. I’d say with the newborn sling in place, the bubbles are quite subtle as they are mainly absorbed by the sling but this is quite nice when they are so little as it’s more of a gentle massage or vibration at this stage which is calming, relaxing and not too overwhelming. I think when she can support herself and sit up unaided she will really be able to enjoy the bubbles a bit more, so far she is starting to kick her legs in the water, so she’s getting there with starting to learn to splash about!

The last feature is the shower head – the water comes from the tank rather than the mains, so you can check the temperature before you use. The shower is not amazingly powerful – which if it were a shower for me, I’d be disappointed with, but as Violet didn’t like water on her head at first, this was really handy as the water is so gentle. She doesn’t seem as affected by it as she would be if we were washing her down with a jug or even a handful of water (a side note is that I think her Waterbabies lessons have helped her with this too!)

So, as you can see from the pictures, Violet is thoroughly enjoying her baths these days and is one happy smily girl – I can’t actually wait for her to be interested in bubbles, rubber ducks and playing with beakers now! I’d definitely recommend the Summer Infant Lil’ Luxuries Whirlpool, Bubbling Spa & Shower, although I do think it has quite a high end price tag at £69.99  although I have seen it on sale on the website for £49.99 which is much more reasonable! I think we’ll also be using it for quite some time as it’s big enough to use right up to 2 years.

I absolutely love some of the Summer Infant products, I think what I love is that they take an adult sized product and shrink it down to baby size, like these amazingly cute little toilets (yes really!) which are going to be fab for potty training. Maybe we’ll have to add this to the collection down the line and create Violet a whole mini bathroom for herself one day!

 

Post written in collaboration with Summer Infant – all thoughts and opinions are my own

Review: Baby Dove Sensitive Range

When we first started bathing Violet, things really didn’t go to plan. Before I had a baby I envisioned our bath time being a sweet, bonding experience – I’d have a cute newborn splashing away in the warm water with a cute dollop of bubbles on top her head. Switch to reality and we had a screaming tiny baby, who hated bath time with a fiery passion. She screamed so much, her cries sounded like a bleating lamb, it was so stressful for us all. I also used baby soap for the first time and immediately she came out in a nasty red, itchy rash. I felt like a terrible Mum, not only had I tormented her with a bath but now I’d aggravated her soft, gorgeous baby skin. Well done me. 

Roll on another few weeks and I think we’ve just about cracked bath time after a huge amount of trial and error to reach an equilibrium with it all. The first big change is that she actually likes being in the bath now, she’s used to the warm water and enjoys splashing her feet. As long as we are quick, we can get through bath time without a peep. She hates being cold so we realised a big warm fluffy towel before and after really helps to soothe her into things and helps her to relax.

Secondly, we’ve finally found a product suitable for her super, super delicate skin –  the Baby Dove Sensitive Range. It’s so gentle and fragrance free, so finally we have something that agrees with her skin.

Dove is a brand that has been around for years and years, in fact I’ve been using their products since I was a little girl, so it made sense to me to give the new Baby Dove range a go on Violet’s skin too. Dove have actually been creating gentle and mild products for 60 years now, would you believe it! Baby Dove is the new addition to their growing compliment of products and this new range goes beyond mildness to replenish essential moisture and nutrients in baby skin. It’s dermatologist tested, paediatrician approved and safe to use every day – even on newborns.

The Baby Dove Sensitive range includes three products, the Head to Toe Baby Wash, Lotion and Wipes. All of which are fragrance-free to take extra special care of babies with sensitive skin, it’s also hypoallergenic so clinically proven to minimise allergy risks and is pH neutral with tear-free cleansers.

The first product we tried from the range was the Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Head to Toe Wash. This is perfect as it’s an all-in-one baby wash, meaning we could keep bath times quick and easy, seeing as she is still just getting used to the sensation. The thick, creamy wash was so delicate on the skin, creating a rich lather with absolutely no scent at all.

We treat her bath as part of Violet’s bed time routine, so after her bath, I like to wrap her in a warm fluffy towel and give her a baby massage to calm and soothe her for the night ahead. She’s had some dry skin since her birth, so the Baby Dove Lotion helped to moisturise these areas, locking in the moisture for 24 hours.

The last product in the range is the Baby Dove Sensitive Wipes – I really loved these for nappy changes as they are so soft and gentle and the only wipe I’ve found to be moisturising to the skin without any harsh fragrances.

Using the Baby Dove Sensitive range has worked so well for us after our bathing disaster beforehand – it’s the only product I’ve found gentle enough to use on her skin and we’ve been so impressed by the impressive moisturising qualities for such a mild, gentle product.

Baby Dove believe that “there are no perfect mothers, only real ones” and after my bath time experience (well, and motherhood in general) I couldn’t agree more. The media portray this image of the perfect mother and before Violet arrived I naively thought that would be me, but things just don’t pan out like that. You can’t odds that your baby will hate baths or have super sensitive skin. We are all just doing the best we can and it’s uplifting to know that as mothers we are recognised and supported for that.

“From choosing a preferred way of feeding, educating and disciplining their child, or deciding if and when to go back to work, the Real Mothers Heard study revealed split views among women, ultimately showing there is not one ‘right way’ to parent. Even more interestingly, we note that all over the world, mothers are feeling the same way. We want mothers to know that when it comes to themselves and their babies, they really do know best.” – Baby Dove

Baby Dove is available in two ranges, Rich Moisture or the Sensitive Moisture. You can purchase them in stores nationwide.

This post was produced in association with Baby Dove

 

8 Top Tips for dealing with Colic

I don’t want to speak too soon, but now Violet is 3 months old I think we are out of the colic phase, although you never know – it could rear its ugly head again at any time. As a newborn Violet really suffered from colic, wind and all kinds of digestive discomfort, poor thing – we would have evenings where she would just scream for what seemed like hours. It’s such horrible feeling when you don’t know what to do to help them out.

According to the NHSColic is the name for excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy. It’s a common problem that affects up to one in five babies. Colic tends to begin when a baby is a few weeks old. It normally stops by four months of age, or by six months at the latest. Looking after a colicky baby can be very frustrating and distressing, but the problem will eventually pass and is usually nothing to worry about

Signs and symptoms of colic include:

  • intense crying bouts
  • crying in the late afternoon or evening that lasts several hours
  • your baby’s face being red and flushed when they cry
  • your baby clenching their fists, drawing their knees up to their tummy, or arching their back while crying. 

I’m by no means an expert but I feel like after 3 months of experience I have picked up quite a few tips and tricks along the way so I thought I’d share them here. I wish I’d known some of these right from the start, so hopefully they will help any new parents out there!

Be Calm

Firstly, if your baby is screaming uncontrollably – stay calm, take a few deep breaths before going to attend to them. When they see you they should see a safe, calming parent – not a frazzled, tired beast that just wants their bed (even though that’s how it feels!) Babies really pick up on vibes so if you are calm, they are more likely to follow suit.

Swaddle baby

Newborn babies are used to being tucked up tightly inside the womb so when they are suddenly on the outside with all this space to move about in and arms that flail about, they can work themselves up into quite a frenzy. We found holding Violet close and using a swaddle bag like the ergoCocoon Organic Zip-up Swaddle worked really well for us. Especially as we could either use it with her arms enclosed or have them out, which helped her to transition into sleeping in gro-bags later on.

Calming Noises

Babies love calming sounds like white noise or heartbeat sounds as it reminds them of being in the womb. Two lifesaver products were a White Noise app on my phone and Ewan the Dream Sheep – both of these make lovely calming sounds that seemed to work so well to soothe and calm when Violet was having a colicky moment. If all else fails, just making a soft ‘ssshhhhhh’ sound can also work wonders, I still do that now, apparently when the babies are in the womb the placenta makes a similar noise, so it’s really familiar and calming for them.

Elevated Sleep position

This one worked wonders for us. We bought the ClevaMama ClevaSleep+ which is a wedge type cushion that propped her up at an angle for sleeping. This can be much more comfy for them when they have wind and can help with reflux too. The only thing we found with this is that she wouldn’t settle on the wedge alone as she was used to being cocooned in her Sleepyhead Deluxe Plus, so we ended up using it underneath her sleepyhead to raise it slightly – that still worked well for us though!

Move, Move, Move!

I can’t believe I didn’t wear away the varnish on our wooden floors after the hours I spent in the night just pacing up and down (and up and down and up and down again). Babies love movement, so if they won’t settle get up and walk them about, baby carriers are a lifesaver for times like this. I’ve also heard of parents going out at 3am in the car, although this wasn’t the case for us as Violet hates her car seat so getting her in it would just be even more stressful.

Check their feed

Whether they are breastfed or bottle fed, sometimes what they are eating can be the cause of tummy troubles, wind and colic as at this stage their little digestive systems are so immature. Violet has been both breastfed and bottle fed, so a product that worked well for us for both types of feed was a lactase enzyme drop called Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops. These can be added to either expressed breastmilk or formula. This helps to break down the lactose in the milk, which can often be the root cause of the colic symptoms. This worked really well for us, we have only just stopped adding this to Violet’s feeds at 3 months, I’d highly recommend giving it a go!

Wind your baby

It might be tempting to just ‘dream feed’ your baby to sleep then quietly pop them down in the cot before they wake (I’ve tried this many times as you just don’t want to wake them after they’ve taken so long to settle!) but by doing this you could be causing more pain/discomfort for them down the line. Always wind your baby after a feed by rubbing or patting them gently on the back. If they have trapped wind the other end, laying them on their back and gently moving their legs in a ‘cycle motion’ to help ease things up.

 

Baby Massage

Baby massage is said to really help their digestive systems too. You can take a class or if you are like me, I just learned a few tips from Youtube and that seemed to work well too. Most of it is just getting them to relax and stay calm, so even just a gentle soothing rub with some baby oil or lotion will help, even if you are not sure what you are doing!

So, they are my top tips – let me know if you give any of them a go. I think one of the main things I can say about colic is – IT WILL PASS. At the time, when you have this screaming baby on your hands it’ll feel like forever, but honestly it is just a phase. There are ways to help them and it will pass. Don’t think you are doing a bad job as a parent when your baby is screaming inconsolably, it’s normal. I hope these tips and tricks help, even just a little bit! You’ve got this Mama (or Papa!) 🙂

 

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Post written in collaboration with Care Plus Co-Lactase Infant Drops however all words and opinions are my own

One Year On – A Family Portrait

This time last year, I was midway through the IVF process. My life revolved around Dr’s appointments, ultrasounds and injections. Oh, the injections – there were so many! In total I injected myself for 14 weeks every single day – sometimes even twice a day. That’s around 126 injections I administered into my own skin. I remember wincing at the first ever one, pointing the needle towards my tummy and looking away as I did it. It got easier over time. All I can say if that our baby was so very wanted, I longed for her and I knew she would be so loved. Every needle, every headache, every moment of anxiety, apprehension and fear was worth it a hundred times over.

So, that brings us to now –  a year later we are officially a family of four – the wonders of science!! So to celebrate how far we’ve come and our gorgeous supergirl Ultra Violet, we marked the occasion by having our very first family photoshoot.

The photos were taken by the very talented Brighton based photographer Kitty Wheeler Shaw. I’d seen her work on Aine’s blog and thought her style would suit us all perfectly. I know I’m a blogger, but I’m actually pretty shy in front of the camera and V is even more so. Anything that included awkward posing would just bit a disaster. Instead, Kitty just hung out with us and we played with Violet in the nursery, then down on the beach and you’d almost forget she was there, we were so comfortable. I’m so pleased we did it and were able to capture photos with Violet while she was so small, even in the few weeks since the shoot she looks different already!

Anyway, enough of me – I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!

Big thanks to Kitty for taking such beautiful photos of us. If you like her work, you can see lots more and get in touch with her via her website or Instagram.