The Wonder Weeks

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I heard about The Wonder Weeks when I was pregnant. I remember someone recommending the app to Hannah Maggs at some point on Twitter and I made a bit of a mental note of it. During the seemingly endless days in hospital when Millar was born, I downloaded the app; at that stage, he was weeks away from the first leap, but it was good to read about what was to come.

I recently downloaded The Wonder Weeks book onto my kindle too as I wanted to know more about each leap – I’m really enjoying reading in detail about all the things Millar will be able to do after the next leap.

The Wonder Weeks is a book detailing the developmental leaps all babies go through at specific times. They may vary slightly in timing, but if you get the app and load your baby’s details including their due date (not their birth date) then it should be pretty accurate.

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The early leaps were all tied in with reflux and a generally unhappy baby, but in the last few I’ve really noticed the difference. It explains the periods where your baby may be more fussy or clingy, as the world as they knew it alters before their eyes again.

I have particularly noticed this most recent one that Millar is bang in the middle of right now. He is so cranky – he’s getting cross with everything. He throws his toy on the floor, then cries because he doesn’t have it anymore. This is all part of the developmental leap. He is currently learning about relationships – learning that something that was close is now further away and he would like it to come back! It’s fascinating to watch (if a little tiring!)

He has just learnt to roll properly too. He rolled for the first time weeks ago, but he now rolls over and over again, purposefully, to get to a toy he wants. Thinking about it, this must be mind blowing for him. Before a couple of days ago, he lay where I put him and stayed put. Now, he’s suddenly realised he can move himself where he wants to go and the world must seem like a very different place. No wonder he’s cranky! (He has a cold too, which doesn’t help!)

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Having The Wonder Weeks app doesn’t change the fact that you have a grizzly baby on your hands, sadly. But I have found that understanding a little bit more about why they are being like that, and what they will be able to do afterwards, makes me a bit more sympathetic and helps me deal with it.

So we have another couple of weeks of the current leap to go, although in my experience they aren’t grumpy for the whole period – there are usually spikes of grizzliness and then relative calm in between. Last time he was back to his sunny, chirpy self about a week before the app said the leap would finish. I’m not complaining!

Millar’s amber teething anklet

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I was never that sure about amber beads for babies. It seemed a bit more hippy than I was comfortable with and so hadn’t really thought much about using them for Millar.

But about a month ago, I was getting through sachet after sachet of Teetha and Millar still was so dribbly and chewing his hands frantically. I thought it wouldn’t hurt, so did a bit of googling and found Amber Anklets. I liked the idea of an anklet rather than a necklace as I’m a bit paranoid about him choking himself.

Amber is supposed to work by releasing a natural anti-inflammatory when warmed up against the skin.

The anklet arrived super fast and when it came I put it straight on him. He’s a chunky 5 months and it’s still a little big, but I always put it under a babygro or under a sock, so it doesn’t matter and I guess it means it will last throughout our teething journey.

It’s hard to tell what effect it’s having, as it isn’t instant. It was more a case that suddenly I realised I hadn’t given Millar any Teetha for a few days – none at all. He still gets a little bit dribbly, but isn’t soaking through all his clothes by lunchtime any more, and definitely seems less aggravated by his teeth.

And to top it all off, this week he cut his first tooth – and I didn’t even realise! It wasn’t until he gave my hand a good munch and I felt it biting me that I noticed! He hadn’t been any more grizzly or unhappy and had made no fuss at all. He’s been wearing the anklet day and night for the last few weeks and I’m sure this is why this tooth caused so few problems.

So I no longer see it as a strange hippy mother thing – it’s one very useful, very important piece of baby kit that I wouldn’t be without!

If I had to find one criticism about the anklet, it would be that the beads are a little sharp. I think next time I would go for one with smooth beads, as he sometimes gets a little upset if it slips down onto the bony bit of his ankle and he lies on it. There are smooth options, so I probably should have chosen one of these.

I wasn’t paid for or asked I write this review – I bought an anklet to see if it worked…and it did – so I thought I’d share my experience. 🙂

Update: the lovely Tamara from Amber Anklets has offered to send me a smooth bead anklet for Millar to try! Excited to see how this compares 🙂

5 months!

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I kind of failed on the whole ‘a post every day of Millar’s 4th month’ idea…in fact I failed miserably! He’s now nearly 5 months and I haven’t posted for ages. I’ve had a bit of a blogging break as I really just didn’t feel like writing at all – which is unlike me.

I don’t know what it was – I was really enjoying Millar, but feeling utterly exhausted by motherhood, suffering from a bit of anxiety and when evening came, I just couldn’t face doing anything except staring zombified at the TV! I still feel like that a bit, but I do feel a bit more up to writing now so we’ll see how it goes!

So – Millar at 5 months:

Our biggest bugbear for a long time was daytime sleep. He simply wouldn’t do it – unless he was sleeping on me. It started to drive me slowly insane, as although I loved the cuddles, I felt so trapped.

I don’t know exactly when this got better – I think when Mark went back to school and I felt like I could get into some kind of routine again. I started rocking him to sleep when I saw him rub his eyes – usually about half an hour after his second bottle of the day – and then put him down in his crib. I started putting him on his tummy and that really worked. He always wakes a little bit when I put him down but if he’s on his tummy then I can just put a hand on his back and shush him until he drops off again. I’ve found that recently a dummy really helps him get to sleep, which is weird as he’s never really been interested before! He used to just sleep for 20 minutes but gradually this nap has got a bit longer. It’s now often about 45 minutes and sometimes up to an hour and a half.

He’s in his cot in his own room now so this has also helped. He will sometimes have another half an hour nap at about 4.30 ish but doesn’t always need it. He’ll usually sleep if we are in the car at this time and sometimes he will let me rock him to sleep again and put him down.

At night, he still usually sleeps very well – with the odd night of disrupted sleep. Bedtime, however, has become really tricky. He used to let me just put him down awake and he’d drop off to sleep within minutes, cooing gently to himself. The whole bedtime routine has become a bit of a palava recently though. He still loves his baths, but as soon as I get him out he screams the house down – our lovely massage time has gone as he gets in such a state. I thought he might be too cold so this evening I took him upstairs to our very warm bedroom and got him dressed there but he still screamed. He then gets himself into such a state that he can’t drink his bottle properly – last night it was horrendous, ten he took ages to settle as when I put him in bed he screams.

It’s so bizarre – he barely cries at all at the moment, but does so every night after his bath. Tonight I fed him upstairs in my bed rather than on the sofa so he could snuggle and relax. It did work (although he fell asleep drinking) but as soon as I went to put him to bed he woke up and started crying. He did settle ok with a dummy and me shushing him but it has knocked my confidence in our bedtime routine. I feel like we need to break the screaming cycle and thought it might work doing it differently tonight but it didn’t.

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He wakes up usually between 6 and 7 and then has a bottle at about 7 in my bed as Mark gets ready for work. It’s really lazy, but we’ve started going back to sleep after this bottle at about 8am – sometimes for 2 or 3 hours! It means we keep missing all of our groups, but I am loving all the sleep!

Millar now weighs 17lbs – his weight has slightly plateaued but I think this is because he’s not eating quite as much as he was. He now only has 4 bottles a day – I couldn’t get 5 into him anymore – but he rarely drinks a full 7oz each time. I try to get him to take 8oz at night and on nights where he falls asleep drinking, he will usually do this. Big news this month is that he is no longer on medication for his reflux and he seems fine. He can get very wriggly to feed, but he was like this on the medicine too so I’m glad that I’m not pumping drugs into him for no reason.
I’m really looking forward to starting to wean him, but I want to do baby led weaning so this will be at least another month. I’m not in any hurry – he’s not particularly hungry and his poor tummy gets so affected by things that I’d rather wait until it’s a bit more robust. He’s watching me eat all the time, but then he watches me do everything – including putting on makeup so I don’t see this as a sign that he’s ready for food.

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This last month seems to have seen the biggest developmental changes in Millar. The last ‘leap’ (from the Wonder Weeks) was a big one and I can visibly see the difference in him since. He’s desperate to be sitting. I’m trying to strengthen his core muscles by doing things like ‘Row row row your boat’ with him but it’ll just take time. He is using his hands a lot – particularly to grab my face…hair…skin…!

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He likes to stick his thumb in my mouth and his fingers up my nose. It’s delightful! But I love how dextrous he is now – you hand him a toy and he takes it. It amazed me how long it takes babies to be able to do this – I sort of assumed all babies can take a toy. He also loves his jumperoo and spends a long time carefully spinning the little dials and moving little bits of plastic from one side to the other. It’s very cute!

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Other progress is that he now loves his bouncer, which he used to hate and scream if he was in for more than a few minutes. It’s so strange how they change their minds so drastically! He will play happily in it for quite a while and if I’m baking or something I can put it on the table and chat to him as I get on with things – he loves to be involved!

He’s also started swimming lessons and loves splashing his hands wildly in the water and soaking everyone around him. We do have the same problems after swimming as after the bath and he tends to deafen everyone in the changing rooms. We couldn’t go this week as we’ve both had colds but it’s so much fun and the teacher is fab. I can’t wait to see him grow in confidence with it all.

Vocally, Millar is very loud and varied! He has learnt to blow raspberries and does this a LOT. Particularly when he’s tired. He also makes little sing song noises all the time and giggles when you surprise him or tickle him. Grandpa is particularly good at making him laugh!

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I have started private tutoring again this month and am really enjoying using my brain again, not to mention warning some money and giving Mark some time with Millar on his own. Sometimes he goes to Mark’s parents’ house, but mostly Mark has him and it’s been really good for them. I can be a bit of a control freak so with me out of the picture they can just get on with it.

The next month will be a busy one – Millar is being baptised in a couple of weeks time, then we’re off to the Lake District on holiday for a few days. I’m so excited to take Millar there as it’s our favourite place in the world and we even went there last October just before my 12 week scan, so it’ll be great to take him back as a real person!

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I will try to be better at updating my blog – it’s tough fitting everything in, but it’s a great record to have of everything we’ve been through so I will keep at it.