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Baby: Florence's 5 Month Routine

Up until around 4 months, Florence didn't have much of a daily routine and many books (and friends) say that it's difficult to establish one until 3 months onwards regardless. We have had a bedtime routine from when she was just a few weeks old but now her day is a lot more structured and I have to admit, I love it. I'm a big fan of routine and knowing what is happening when. And am also obsessed with hearing about other people's routines and what works for them with their babies.

Here's what a typical weekday usually looks like...

7am: Florence tends to wake up around 7 but it can vary between 6.30 and 8. She'll have her morning feed although if she's fed at 5ish she'll hang on until a bit later (she definitely doesn't need that 5am feed but that's a whole other story!). I haven't included her other feeds really as I tend to still feed on demand.

If Chris is working from home he will take her downstairs and play whilst I get some extra sleep. If it's just me we'll chill in bed for a bit before going down. She'll go on her playmat, or sit in her highchair and watch me unload the dishwasher whilst we listen to some music- 5 months old is great as she's so easily entertained!

9am: She'll be ready for a nap a couple of hours after she wakes up so we'll either put her in her swing chair, or put her in her cot for a sleep. She is having more naps in her cot now but the swing is handy for when we need her to nap before going out as she falls asleep more quickly. 

9.30-9.45: Her first nap of the day usually lasts between 30 to 45 minutes which gives me time to get ready for the day and have a quick tidy.

In the morning we sometimes go out to a class or to a baby group, or if we have a home day we'll just play on her mat, or in her inflatable play nest. She likes me singing songs to her and dancing too. 

12: Around midday she's ready for her big lunch nap which tends to be in her cot. For naps, I'll put her in her sleeping bag, I'll read her a book and then give her a feed to get her nice and sleepy. We'll put on some white noise (usually a fan or hoover sound!) and she's getting really good at settling herself to sleep. I find it fascinating to watch on the baby monitor.

1.30 - 2.30: This nap really varies but is generally between 1 and a half to 2 hours.

In the afternoon we will usually be at home, or will go to my parents who live down the road so they can play with her - they have two dogs and she loves watching them.

3.30/4ish: Sometimes she will need a third nap to get her through till bedtime - sometimes she'll just fall asleep on my boob and have ten mins there, other times she'll go in her cot for half an hour. We don't let her sleep past 5.

5/5.30: We have started giving her some purees so I'll usually give her one around 5.30 - sometimes I'll do this before her lunch nap. She is really enjoying trying everything - current faves are courgette and parsnip.

6 - 6.15: She is starting to get ready for bed earlier and earlier but we try and stick to starting the bedtime routine at 6ish. Chris will bath her (or I will if she's away) and she absolutely loves the bath - it's definitely her favourite part of the day. Sometimes we do some baby massage too. We'll then get her into her sleeping bag and read her a book (by this point she's usually so tired that she couldn't care less about the book!) before giving her a final feed and putting her down.

7: She's usually asleep by 7

Nights are a different game - wake-ups vary from 1 on a good night, to 4 on a bad night. We're trying to cut out feeds gradually so hopefully by 6 months we'll have her sleeping all night long (ahaha).

Daisy x

Baby: How Hypnobirthing helped my labour

As I mentioned in my birth story, during my pregnancy I bought the Positive Birth Company digital pack which is an online course all about hypnobirthing and as Siobhan says 'gives you the tools needed to create a positive, empowering and calm birth'. I was tempted to do a course but they were so expensive and I really liked the taster videos on Siobhan's YouTube channel. Both Chris and I watched the whole set of videos and it made a huge difference to how we felt about the birth and the birth itself. I think a lot of people think hypnobirthing is all about having a natural birth with no pain relief but it's really not, and is instead giving you the tools to deal with whatever happens - whether you are induced, go into labour naturally or have a c-section. I had gas & air and a water birth but would have gone for more pain relief if I'd needed it.

I thought I would share 5 points of how hypnobirthing helped me....

1) How I felt leading up to the birth - before becoming pregnant, I thought of birth as a really scary thing and didn't really know much about it. The course taught me all about the different stages of labour and what your body is doing and why (it's pretty incredible). It completely changed the way I felt about birth and I went from thinking I would have as much pain relief as possible, to wanting to do it with the least possible (which was a tens machine, gas & air, and the pool).

2) It gave me some great ways of dealing with labour - in a nutshell, the more relaxed and calm you are in birth the more helpful it is for your body as it is focusing on doing what it needs to. If you're feeling scared of it then your body will be producing adrenaline and taking away the blood from where it needs to go. The course gives you lots of ways of keeping calm and the ones I used most were the breathing exercises which I did for most of the 36 hours! It really helped to have breathing as something to focus on. I also found that because I knew what was happening with my body, I didn't freak out as knew it was all happening as it should - although I did have one panic during transition (which is when you move to the pushing stage) and said that I couldn't do it anymore! 

3) It gave my husband a role - Chris enjoyed watching the videos and it really helped him to know what was happening and what he could do to help me. He counted my breathing constantly and also knew how important it was to keep hydrated and to keep eating food. He kept making me drink water and fed me grapes to give me as much energy as possible.

4) It gave me a great birth preferences template - the template is brilliant and makes your preferences really clear. I just amended what Siobhan had used in hers so it saved me a lot of work too! The midwives commented on how helpful it was and once they saw that I read that I was doing hypnobirthing they bought a diffuser into the room, and also added some essential oils into the pool.

5) Access to lots of positive birth stories - when you buy the course you get access to the Positive Birth Company's private Facebook group which is filled with people's positive birth stories. I really enjoyed reading these and it helped put in a good frame of mind when thinking about the birth. I still like reading them now!

I hope you found this useful. For £35 the course is such great value and I think it's so worth a try, even if you just come away feeling more informed about labour! Do get in touch if you have any questions for me.

Daisy x

Baby: The First 3 Months

It's hard to believe that my little baby girl is 3 months old already. I wish I'd written these posts monthly as the first few weeks are such a blur and everything changes so quickly! But I'm going to try it.

The first few days with Florence felt like a bit of a honeymoon period as she slept for most of the day (nights were a different story of course!). The first night home, Chris and I sat at the table with a homemade courgette risotto and a sleeping baby in the moses basket next to us. We were pretty smug and thought we had this parenthood thing nailed (ha, the tricks that babies play!). The first few weeks were basically spent with her sleeping, feeding and pooping (so many nappy changes!) and being in a little bubble. Chris would do all of the housework and I would just focus on breastfeeding which was pretty intense. Having family nearby - my Mum especially, was a godsend as she would look after Florence whilst I napped. This helped so much and made everything so much easier - just an hour of quality sleep goes a long way. I really appreciate how lucky I am to have that support. 

Chris is very lucky and had 4 weeks paternity which he split so he had two weeks off, two weeks at work and then two weeks off again. It was such a good idea as when she reached a month old she did become more alert and started to become less settled so it was lovely to have him around. However, at 6 weeks we had two weeks where he was away in San Francisco and in London which meant that I was solo parenting - I'm not going to lie we had some tough nights but it did me good as we got into our own little routines, and I think made me way more confident with her. Was very glad to have him home though, and again I was lucky to have family support and would stay with them quite a bit so that I had company as it can be a lonely business, especially when the baby is teeny and doesn't interact much!

At 6 weeks we started getting smiles which is the best thing ever and makes your heart want to burst. You can have the most terrible night and then you get a cheeky smile and the night is (mostly!) forgotten! At this point I also started going to some baby classes and this has made a huge difference - getting out and about has made me feel great and I've met some lovely women, and baby friends for Florence. It's given my week some structure which works well for me. I find I go a bit stir crazy if I have no plans for a day. 

Around the 8-10 week mark she became more unsettled generally - she had two colds and also her jabs (heartbreaking but obviously essential!) which meant that we had lots of crying and also needed lots of help with getting her to sleep. The game changer was reading that babies can't go longer than 2 hours without napping and if you get them to sleep before this point it's a whole lot easier and they aren't being overstimulated - this has proven so true for us and if she naps well, she's a much happier baby. Also, getting a swing to help get her to sleep (rather than breaking my back with the rocking) has helped tonnes - even though I was insistent I wouldn't get one! 

Conscious that this is a bit of a rambly post so I'll finish on how things are now. As I write this, she's  three months old so no longer my teeny newborn. Everything feels easier as we have got into a good napping routine (trying for three a day) and have started putting her to bed for 8 so we get a bit of evening to ourselves, although sleep after that is very hit and miss - a good night is a 5 hour stint and then one more wake-up, a bad night she might wake every 2 hours. The day feels more predictable (for now at least!) which is nice! I'm enjoying have a routine to my week with classes on Monday and Friday, and then a local baby group on a Tuesday which is usually followed by tea at someone's house. 

Florence is the best. I know I'm biased but she's just amazing. She's a bit of a diva, very stubborn and knows what she wants (unsurprising with two headstrong, stubborn parents!!). She is a chatterbox and super strong - her head control is great and she's so strong on her legs already. Her favourite toy is a Lamaze bird who we have named Eddie, and she loves to suck her hand/thumb/blanket when she's tired and trying to get to sleep. She has chubby cheeks, super blue eyes and is a very bald baby at the moment but is probably going to be quite blonde. We are besotted with her.

Daisy x