This is the third time I have done this. This having a baby malarkey. I’ve gone from being a first time mum, who quite frankly was shellshocked and living in a complete daze for the first few months of Mad’s life, to a second time mum learning how to juggle the demands of both a baby and a toddler, to a third time mum. An old timer if you will. And that experience definitely helps. I’ve found the early days this time around a lot easier, it’s almost like the privilege of having a third baby means that you get to be the parent you have always wanted to be. I’ve talked about it a lot, about the charm of having a third, but at the same time those early baby days aren’t always easy. Don’t get me wrong, this time I am acutely aware of the time passing me by so quickly and therefore I realise that the hard days will one day just be a blur, but at the end of the day having a baby does completely turn your life upside down, even the third time.
I’ve mentioned a few times before that our baby boy doesn’t sleep all that well. He also until recently wasn’t in any sort of routine. After getting myself massively stressed out as I constantly kept comparing him to his sisters, or worrying I was creating bad habits, I decided a few weeks ago just to go with the flow. I gave up trying to put him into his crib, I gave up worrying about the lack of sleep. Yet at the same time when we got home from our holiday in Orlando we decided that the one thing that stressed us out the most wasn’t the fact he woke up in the night, it was more the fact that he cried in the evenings and couldn’t settle himself. When he wakes up in the night, he stirs and I feed him so it doesn’t really affect us that much, and although I am aware this might cause me complications in the future, at the moment it works for us. But the constant trying to feed him to sleep and rock him to sleep in the evenings when we were trying to relax or work was causing us the most stress. We decided to try and help him learn to self settle and it’s worked a treat.
It wasn’t really anything ground breaking, but it’s completely transformed his sleep routine. Instead of putting him down fully asleep we instead put him down awake. I would feed him, put him down and turn his sheep on, and then leave the room. The first couple of days he would cry, but it was never full on crying as of course I would never leave him. Instead of me going in, Jon went in after a few minutes and gave him a reassuring stroke before leaving the room. Again he would start grumbling again, but we kept doing it until eventually he fell asleep. We did it again the next night and the night after that and after a couple of days he would go to bed awake and fall asleep. It’s bizarre but something so small has completely transformed his sleep. It means we now generally get an evening, he will go down at 7pm and not wake up until I go in and disturb him when I go to bed. I can put him down completely awake and he will fall off to sleep.
His naps during the day have completely improved as well. He has got into a bit of a routine where he goes down about 9.30am and he will sleep anything from an hour to three hours in the morning. We introduced things like putting him in his sleeping bag for nap time and shutting all the blinds which we weren’t doing before. Because he can now self settle mostly, if he wakes up he will generally nod back off again. In the afternoon it’s still a bit unpredictable as he isn’t as good as settling then for some reason, some days he will for an hour and some days he fights it but instead will fall asleep on the school run.
He’s also started weaning a couple of weeks ago. We are doing a mixture of purees and finger food, but at the moment he is only having one meal a day at lunch time. It’s not going especially well, I thought he would love food as he really was staring at our food when we were eating it, but at the moment it seems that he isn’t that fussed. I know it will get easier in time though and I am not rushing it.
I can’t quite put into words what a delight he is. He is the most chilled out, smiley and happy boy who literally grins at anyone who takes the time to look at him. He adores attention, loves watching his sisters and is just so happy to be around us. He still has his moments when we are at home where he doesn’t enjoy going on his mat, but it is getting easier every day. If we are out and about, he is just the best boy, we rarely hear a peep out of him, he loves to be pushed around in his buggy watching the world go by.
It really does feel like something has clicked the last couple of weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I am still so exhausted, a combination of going to bed far too late because I have to do work in the evenings, or just generally want an evening to myself, and then still being awake on and off in the night. I have huge circles under my eyes, but we definitely seemed to have turned a corner. He’s just absolutely wonderful and I am enjoying every second with him. I can’t believe I am lucky enough to be doing this again and getting the chance to help this little boy grow and thrive. We all know that routines change so quickly in babies, I am sure teeth won’t be too far away and that will probably change everything again, plus eventually he will need to go into his own room as he won’t be able to sleep on our bed when he is fully rolling, but for now I am enjoying this brief period of time where it all seems to just be going well.
I can’t believe our little bonus baby has been here seven months now. Yet at the same time I couldn’t imagine him not being here. He really brings so much joy into all our lives. It’s a privilege to be his mama.
Just a couple of photos as we are in Manchester this weekend, these were taken when we were wandering around the christmas markets.