Friday 29 April 2016



Sometimes, when people tell me my babies are 'good', I sort of want to shout... 'NO! I've worked on having a routine that works for us!!' But usually I smile coyly and instead spout something about being very lucky.  In recent years some parenting guidebooks have terrified new parents away from routine and leaving them to fend for themselves. All right, maybe a little dramatic, there are lots of guides that suggest different ways to establish a routine but generally the feedback I get from new parents is that it is a little overwhelming and over complicated.

It doesn't have to be. It is really simple. Decide how you want your day to work with feeds and sleeps and then label that your perfect day. You cannot have a perfect day everyday. This is fact. Babies are humans and some days they are hungrier, some days they are sleepier and some days they are just plain grumpier. If your routine goes to pot then shrug it off and start again tomorrow. It is never the end of the world and it certainly shouldn't be something to fret about.

Now... I have to be honest with you and admit that I LOVE routine. For myself. To my detriment sometimes. I am that person who always gets on the train in the same place (the perfect and most appropriate place on the train), my morning routine (pre children) was timed down to the minute (i.e. 6.27, brush teeth)... I hate myself a little for admitting this out loud. So I get that I am maybe a little extreme. But the reality is, babies also love and crave routine. From incredibly early on they learn a pattern, i.e. when I wake up, I get fed; or when I am given this snuggly toy, it is time to sleep. Giving your baby signals is comforting and means that the day isn't a constant surprise to them. This world is entirely new and baffling to the little cherub, so any familiarity is a source of comfort.

I like to aim for a four hour routine (it should never be more than four hours bar one long stint over night). My son got on board with this almost immediately, my daughter was on a three to four hour routine for much longer and still at 16 weeks flits between the two.

Ideally, my day would look something like this -

7am - Feed
8am - Sleep
11am - Feed
12pm - Sleep
3pm - Feed
4pm - Sleep
7pm - Feed
8pm - Sleep
11pm - Dreamfeed

But your timings may work better with a 6am or even an 8am start. As I mentioned, Camille couldn't hack 4 hours between feeds, she would sometimes feed at 7am and then 10am. And that's cool, because that is what worked for her and we made it work for us as a family. But knowing roughly when she was going to feed means I can do stuff with my big boy, I can travel at good times and I can plan feeds to work with the school run. 

At about 10/12 weeks, babies can manage a little longer awake. Camille now spends an hour and a half awake at each window. I tend to put her down in her pram for her sleeps in the day, this allows me to go out when I need to (particularly necessary with Seb and school runs for my niece and nephew) but also it makes rocking her back to sleep easy if she stirs. Babies commonly stir somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes into a sleep, this is totally normal and is to do with their sleep cycles. It doesn't mean that they want to wake up fully after this time as twenty minute cat naps are not great for anyone, especially a baby.

The third sleep in the day is always the first to shorten. This allows babies to have their awake window before the night time sleep. Camille is more of a grazer feeder than Seb and because of this she has settled to do a split feed at this time. So she will often wake somewhere between 4 and 5 and want a small feed, she will then feed again at about 6.30/45 before going to bed. This is a really good example of where knowing and being able to read your child is paramount to a good routine. There isn't a one size fits all routine for babies, or adults for that matter!

I have helped many families establish routines with their babies (both newborns and older) in the past. If you are interested in establishing a routine for your family and want a bit of guidance, do get in touch and we can work out what works best for you!


Thursday 28 April 2016

Baby Number 2

So I have have spent the last few months buried under a pile of never ending washing that newborns seem to bring with them. Which has resulted in very little blogging... prior to that I was in a pit of depression about my SPD/PGP (post on that to come...).

Most importantly, I now have a gorgeous baby girl, Camille. Seb is being a wonderful big brother and absolutely adores her... admittedly she isn't trying to nab his toys yet... so I'm sure we have all that fun to come!

Best big brother

I had an absolutely amazingly perfect home birth. It was everything I hoped for. When I woke in the night for the third time, I realised that the pain I was feeling wasn't just SPD pain but in fact was the start of contractions, I remained calm though inside was bouncing up and down with excitement... my little girl was on her way! I managed, to his delight, not to wake the husband until 4am and that was only to let him know that I was in labour. He went back to sleep for a while after that whilst I listened to my Natal Hypnotherapy in a bid to continue to rest and get myself in the right frame of mind. My midwife arrived in the early morning and Seb woke up. We packaged him off to next door and Mr NQP set the pool up in the living room. At this point the contractions were still all over the place and not particularly strong. I found, unlike my first labour, that I was most comfortable lying down. 

Team work, through the contractions
'Do what your body tells you!' my midwife reminded me. So off we went to bed... I think we watched some friends episodes while everyone left us to stay in the calm. It wasn't long before they ramped up a gear and Friends just wasn't cutting it anymore! My midwife came back and upon seeing a contraction suggested maybe I should get in the pool! 
The pool was absolute bliss, so incredibly relaxing and just so comforting to be in my own home with the people I had chosen around me. As it was a home birth I was able to have loads of people, so as well as my husband and midwife, by the time I was in the pool I also had my mother, mother in law and just in time to see the delivery, my sister in law. Established labour for just three hours and my beautiful vernix covered baby arrived safe and sound. 

Happy, healthy baby girl

I had opted for a physiological third stage, this means no immediate injection of oxytocin to encourage the uterus to contract. I also had wanted delayed cord clamping but as the cord was fairly short and we were in water, after 10 minutes I asked for it to be cut as I was finding it hard to not drop Camille back under the water! A few moments later I had the urge to push, the placenta was delivered and unfortunately it was all downhill from there. I suffered a post partum haemorrhage and lost an estimated litre and a half of blood. However, if anything, this shows how safe home births can be. My dream team were quick to action and I was got carefully out of the pool and laid on the floor. The lovely, doting Grannies took Camille to dry and dress her and I was given synthetic oxytocin to stem the bleeding. An ambulance was called to get me to hospital. By the time the fabulous paramedics arrived, I'm told the bleeding was under control and they calmly took me off to hospital for fluids. I was fairly dozey throughout this, I felt very safe with my dream team, but a little like I was watching from the outside. I think at one point I asked if there was anything I could do, but was told fairly firmly just to lie still!

Once in hospital, I was well looked after by some lovely doctors and midwives, given some fluids and more syntocinon via IV to ensure the bleeding had well and truly stopped and had some clots removed, this was by far the worst part of the whole process and the only thing I needed gas and air for! This whole process, though entirely necessary, was a little gutting as it meant I then had to spend the night in hospital which is what I was desperately trying to avoid! Camille was brought in by my mother in law and sister in law and I had a little cry as I saw her for the first time since the birth a few hours before. We shared lots of hugs and I fed her for the first time. 

First feed and skin to skin
When we were eventually discharged from hospital the next afternoon armed with iron tablets and a promise to take it easy. We took our little Camille home to meet her big brother. The next couple of weeks were pretty tough, she was an absolute trouper but I found my continuing bed boundness (not a word...) extremely frustrating. But with very low iron, I really needed to rest. I was so sick of bed already but this was the only way I was going to get better!

I am incredibly lucky to have an incredibly supportive family, especially my husband. He was an absolute rock during labour, always doing the right thing at the right time and remaining remarkably calm, even at a time that was more than a little scary for him. So a huge thank you to him and all the family for their marvellous love and support.

So here she is at 16 weeks (oh my goodness, where does the time go) and she is an absolute angel. The smiliest girl I know and absolutely perfect (I promise, I'm not biased...) I hope to carry on giving you some insights into parenting, how I see it, my top tips both as a nanny and as a mother and hopefully some giggles along the way.