Our experience with bedtime and crying

Notice how the title doesn’t say “controlled crying” or “cry it out”. Yeah, I did that on purpose. Mainly because the method we use doesn’t have a name, we just did what felt right and what worked for us. If you read this and think, hey that actually is a method written about feel free to let me know! I’d love to read it.

Now this is a touchy subject. I’ve seen MANY heated discussions on bedtime methods and what people think is right and wrong for children. And I won’t deny the science or the methods out there in books and in documentaries but we decided quite early on that we would take parenting as a day to day thing, do what feels right and if and when it stops feeling right for us or our baby, we’d stop.

Until our daughter was 6 months old we had a pretty easy run, she would fall asleep in our arms and then we would move her to her cot and she would stay asleep until the next feed, whenever that may be. She never slept through but this is something we were and are still ok with. She would wake up at night, have a feed and nod straight back off to sleep. I’d either shift her back into her cot or enjoy a bit of co-sleep cuddles for the night, whatever felt right at the time.

After 6 months we started noticing her “bedtime” was getting later and later, because no matter how hard we tried, if she was being held around a light or tv or conversation, we was too curious to fall asleep. This posed an issue for us, because it meant I either had to go off to a dark room in silence and hold her until she fell asleep OR switch up our method. I endured 4 months of the first option before I’d decided enough was enough. And that’s when we introduced a proper, scheduled night time routine.

Kids LOVE routine. And we’d always had a rough routine of what order things are done in but never really set times. So we decided, start cooking dinner at 5:30, she eats by six, bath time by 6:30-7, book and bed before 7:30. “Bed” was into the cot with me beside her but not touching or talking to her.

The first few nights were tough. She sat and cried and cried at me, every 10 minutes or so I would give her a short little pat on the back and a reassuring “I love you” but I wouldn’t pick her up… she was tired and me picking her up would only prolong sleep. The first few nights it took about 30-40 minutes of crying. Not terrified crying, not hurt crying, not hysterical crying, just whingey tired crying.

Slowly but surely, the amount of time she would spend crying got shorter and shorter. After about 4 nights of the new routine she was only crying for 10 or so minutes. And by a week and a half I could walk into her room with her in my arms, place her down in the cot, pat her quietly for about 10 seconds or so, say I love you and leave the room with absolutely NO fussing or crying.

I was astonished. This was a child that hardly ever self soothed, now going to sleep almost entirely on her own, no fuss, and almost HAPPY to be going to bed.

Now I’m not here to preach, every baby is different and every parent will do things differently so I’m definitely not going to tell anyone what to do or that it will work for them. And I didn’t walk into this new routine thinking we’d see that much of a difference but HOLY, it has changed our lives. Our night times are almost completely stress free, beautiful in fact. My partner and I can enjoy alone time without fear of having to listen to tears, or trying to be quiet so she would go to sleep in my arms.

She doesn’t sleep through. She never has, but she’s easy to get back to sleep, so that’s never been a problem with us. I am just so surprised at how well this has worked for us.

I’d love to hear stories of bedtime success! No judgement from me either as to how you got there! It’s a long and tough journey but such a feat when you finally reach it. So share away in the comments!

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Violet Rae: 7-8 months

If I could sum up the last 2 months for Vi in one word, it would be mobile. She is crawling, climbing, sitting, standing, pulling things down, pushing things over and putting things in her mouth she probably shouldn’t. Turn your head for even a second and she’s off in a completely different corner of the room to before.

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You don’t realise how busy parenthood is until these months. Prior to this I could sit her down in one spot and be confident that after I’ve been to the loo and come back she’d be in the same place. Now if I leave her to go to the loo she follows me, with great enthusiasm, which quite frankly is a little intimidating when you’re doing your business.

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Nothing is private anymore, and nothing is just yours. If you’re on your phone, Violet wants your phone, if you’re changing the channel Violet wants the remote and god forbid if you’re eating without her and not giving her any. \

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Food is currently the centre of Vi’s world, besides booby of course. Never in my life have I seen an 8 month old as enthusiastic about food, ALL food, as Violet. Generally, anything you put in her mouth she will eat, and before she is even done chewing she is asking for more by flailing her legs and grunting.

Saying Dad, Bub and blowing raspberries is what she spends most of the day doing with her mouth (when she’s not eating). And the milestone of “mum” has been achieved, but only comes out when she is crying. To be honest I’m not sure whether to be flattered or offended by this, but at least she’s saying it right?

Her two uncles came to stay for a couple of weeks as well, they got to know the ins and outs of ALL of the new wiggles songs while they were here, and couldn’t shy from a dirty nappy. Violet was very happy to have their company, and took a few days after they left to adjust to how quiet the house is now.

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In the last 2 months Violet has also made great friends with another baby boy who is only 6 days older than her. Tarver and Vi do swimming lessons twice a week together and are thoroughly enjoying the company of one another after the lessons as well, even if they weren’t I think we would still hang out, having the company of his mum Lilly has been such a breath of fresh air. Since moving to Wynnum I haven’t had much of an opportunity to catch up with mummy friends, But since these guys are just around the corner it has been absolutely fantastic.

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We really have been caught up in the moment of it all. At this age time seems to fly by so quickly, and I spend most of every day captivated by the adventurous, mischievous and beautifully happy little girl she has become. It’s often hard to have the time to sit down and write, but I am very glad I am still doing it. Being able to reflect on previous blogs is already something I truly treasure, so look forward to many more!

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

Half a year, Ten times the personality

Our beautiful little girl turned 6 months old recently. Every time I sit down to write her monthly update I am always so shocked at how quickly time is passing. The days and nights at times are long but the weeks and months are frighteningly short.

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I world is an exciting place to a 6 month old. Just like their mouths are exciting new third hands. And everything that is in the slightest bit interesting, as long as she can reach it, will go in her mouth. The naps are shorter and the tantrums are more directed, in a “Give me that, or I’ll cry” kind of way. But the giggles are in abundance and the games she likes to play like peekaboo never get old (not yet anyway).

We are learning more with every day about her personality. She is so cheeky and playful but also cautiously shy. She will give a beautiful little smile to everyone she meets before burying her face in either mine or her daddies chest.

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She recently had one of her first nights without us, well not the whole night but a fair few hours, with her Aunty Emma. And she is having no issues with bottles that’s for sure, can feed herself actually! We were so glad to hear she wasn’t too fazed despite waking a few times with a ravenous appetite (not that that is out of the ordinary). We find that if she is at home she will generally be pretty relaxed regardless of who she is with, but if we are out she will only really settle with mummy or daddy. Home body like her mummy already clearly.

She is now rolling from front to back, and back to front. And will generally sit unassisted for anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes, provided she doesn’t get distracted by whatever is in her hands first. Tummy time is still a favourite and she can now spin herself fully around while on her belly, she’s yet to push with her legs yet to crawl along the ground. It definitely won’t be long though before she’s crawling all over the place.

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Food is the new and interesting thing in our daily routine, with home made purees both hot and cold for breakfast and lunch, not quite dinner yet though as her mood is generally dampened by the evening meaning she’s never really keen on anything but boob. We’ve tried everything from sweet potato to zucchini, raspberry and even steamed pears. She isn’t really fazed by anything at all and always finishes her food to the very last bite. I’ve been using the Fresh Squeezed Feeding Line, kindly gifted to us by our friends Bailey and Katelin at Violet’s baby shower. That is a super handy device that helps squeeze homemade puree into perfectly sized pouches which makes feeding time so much cleaner and with the pouches being disposable little to no washing up! I’ll be doing a youtube video in the coming weeks on how I make Violet’s food so stay tuned for that and let me know if there is anything in particular you’d like to see us make.

Although at times the clinginess can be frustrating especially at night when all we want to do is sleep and all she wants to do is play. It is all 100% worth it when those little eyes look up at you and her little hands reach around your neck as you snuggle her. I didn’t know it was possible, but I’m certain I love her more every day. And on the day she was born I didn’t think it was possible to love someone so much. So that’s an awful lot of love.

 

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

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Violet Rae – 5 Months New

I can’t believe I’m sitting here writing Violet’s 5 month update. How quickly has that gone?! Yet here we are.

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It is an incredible thing watching a child grow, and when it is your own child it is even more amazing. From barely opening her eyes or smiling when she was just hours old, to the squealing, excitable, playful 5 month old she is today. It’s amazing how quickly they grow and learn.

We are still very much on our journey together of breastfeeding, and as of late she has been favouring one over the other… oh the joys of having lobsided boobs! She’s also picked up the adorable habit of scratching me while she feeds to entertain herself, so if you see me on the street with a scratched up neck and chest, we do not have a domestic situation, my daughter is just fascinated with the feeling of ripping skin under her fingernails (which I do cut by the way, they just seem to grow at lightning speed).

The list of things that have gone in her mouth (to eat) other than boob however is rather short, which I’m happy to say as we didn’t want to start the real journey to solids until she’s 6 months. Of course we’ve had a bit of play with texture and flavor though! Pumpkin, rice cereal, mandarin and daddies fingers are all on the list, pumpkin wasn’t so much a winner… you can see her reaction on our youtube channel if you haven’t already and want a bit of a giggle -> Baby’s first solids . As I was saying about the six month mark, her brain and stomach will be a lot better prepared for more full-time solids then, so we’re not taking the food game in any way seriously until then, we usually only have a play when she seems interested in what we’re eating anyway.

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The sleeping situation is going great, of course everyone asks “Is she sleeping through?”, well no, but thats not the goal here with us, the goal is to get into a routine that works for us both. A regular bath time, quiet time and bedtime leads to better timed feeds during the night that don’t turn me into a zombie in the morning. She normally wakes 3 times during the night after going down at 7pm, she’ll wake around 9pm, around 1am and then again at around 4am and wake up for the day around 8am! Yay for sleep ins! (what’s the bet tomorrow morning she pulls a fast one on me just because I wrote that?)

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Violet also went swimming for the first time ever this month in a lovely heated swimming pool at the Mantra Chevron Towers on the Gold Coast while we were visiting her Nanny and Poppy and watching her uncles play squash. She absolutely loved it, we can’t wait for summer to take her swimming at the pool in our complex!

She’s rolling, grabbing and squealing with joy more often than not and usually only gets grumpy when she’s tired or wanting a cuddle. We see more and more personality shining through every single day, and despite everything I wouldn’t change a single moment that I get to watch her learn and grow for the entire world.

 

Emily @ Loving Little One

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The love of a Child

The love of a child is like no other.

It is the warmth of the sun on a cold winters morning. The smell of rain after an entire season without. The kiss of the cool water as you step into the ocean. The breath of fresh air after a long flight home.

It is in the way they smile, with their whole heart, as your eyes meet each other in the early hours of the morning. The way their fingers explore the texture of our skin as if with every day it is new to them again.

It’s the way that no one can settle them like the arms of their parents, the way your comforting coos and embracing cuddles reminds them that they are safe, and you are here.

It’s the fiery passion for their happiness and safety you’ve built in your heart without even realising you were trying. It burns brighter with every day you hold them in your arms, and drives you in every way to better yourself. For them.

It’s incredibly motivating and moving to see someone who is half of you and half of the one you love, look to you, with all of the trust in their entire world, and feel for you with nothing but overwhelmingly pure love. You, and only you, are the only thing in their universe that matters.

Suddenly nothing else is important anymore, not the world’s politics, not the price of fuel or the amount of money in your bank. It’s them, and somehow, through all the pain and misery the world might throw at you, the fact that they reach for you for comfort and for love… It erases everything you ever thought to be wrong in your life, and replaces it with a space large enough to cover solar systems and galaxies filled with nothing but your baby’s heart.

I can’t possibly describe exactly what it’s like to be a mother, it is a journey like no other and I feel incredibly blessed to have taken this journey, even if it was at an unexpected time. Violet lights up my world and has turned even the darkest parts of my life into something truly, remarkably beautiful.

Dedicated always to my Violet Rae

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

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Don’t tell me I’m too young to be a good mother

With a pink blanket under her head and her seatbelt nicely fastened I walked through our local supermarket collecting our groceries for the week with my daughter in the baby seat of my trolley. This particular week I decided to start purchasing foods for my daughter to try, now I’m not really about those premade baby foods (but if you are then you do you! nothing against it, just a personal choice) so I was putting things in my trolley like organic sweet potato, pumpkin and avocado. Unbeknownst to me the truth of societies still prehistoric views on parenthood was about to rear it’s ugly head.

As I turned the corner I very nearly bumped into a woman’s trolley which she had left in the middle of the refrigerated isle. I veered pretty sharply in order to miss the trolley,  which of course startled my daughter, no more then running into the other trolley would have anyway. She cried, like babies do, so I stopped momentarily to talk to her and comfort her out of her fright. Whilst I paused I unknowingly had blocked the woman from her stranded trolley, so she approached me with a louder than necessary “Excuse me!”. I pardoned myself and moved my trolley aside, my daughter still crying and myself completely in my own mum world deliberating whether to pick her up to stop her crying or to try and distract her with the dummy she had lost interest in five minutes ago. So it took me by surprise when the woman turned to me for a second time as said “she’s not yours is she?”

Now I’ve had my fair share of questions in public, mostly regarding my daughter being my sister and my own mother looking too young to be a grandmother which are all usually met with a bit of a laugh and then me explaining that she’s actually mine. This time I felt a sting of judgement coming through. I smiled at my daughter and looked at the lady and said “she sure is! isn’t she beautiful, she’s four months old”. She peered at me down her pointed nose and said “Well I don’t think children should be having children, but she is quite cute. Bit of a shame” A SHAME. If you know me you would know I hate confrontation, unless I know you well enough to pull you up on something I generally let it slide for the sake of saving an argument. This is my family though and I’ll be damned if I let someone tell me that it was a shame that my beautiful daughter existed as my daughter.

“Thanks for your opinion, although I didn’t ask for it. Not sure how many children you know but not many of them are in 5 year relationships with the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. Guess I’m just lucky hey? Have a nice day” my heart was pounding and I was out of there as quick as I could go, neglecting to pick up the butter I was in the refrigeration isle for! I pushed the conversation to the depths of my brain hoping never to think about it again but after seeing a few fellow “young parents” attacked on social media recently for their age and their apparent inability to care and love their own children I figured now would be a good time to think about it, and god forbid, talk about it because it is 100% not okay.

All parents, regardless of their age, love their children, they want the best for their children and they will do anything they can to help them grow into wonderful, compassionate and loving adults. Regardless of the house they live in, the clothes they wear, whether they are married, how much they spent on their car, if they’re homosexual OR if they’re still what you would consider teenagers. If they were mature enough to make the decision to bring a child into the world then they should be admired for doing so, and for doing the best they can for that child.

The love you have for your child can’t be measured by how many toys you’re able to buy them, whether you could afford to send them to an expensive school or buy them all of the latest gadgets. Love is measured by the smiles, the hugs, the kisses and most importantly the empowering conversations you can have with them about becoming the greatest person they can possibly be. To care for the people around them, to love unconditionally and be accepting of everyone regardless of their differences.

I might not be 25 with a mountain of savings in the bank reserved specifically for having in children, my partner and I might not be married but we sure love each other like we are and we’ll give our daughter every ounce of love we have to give before we will ever let her feel unwanted or unloved. Young parents, don’t let anyone ever discourage you, your baby thinks you’re the greatest mummies and daddies in the world, and without you, they wouldn’t exist. You’re doing an amazing job, and if anyone thinks any less then maybe they should take a look at what’s missing in their lives before they make any negative comments about how beautifully full of love your life is.

 

xx Emily

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Dear Violet: Letter 1 – The greatest 10 weeks of my life (so far)

IMG_0186The beginning of a series of letters to my daughter Violet Rae, who today turns 10 weeks old.

Dear Violet,

Today you are 10 weeks old. I’m sitting here staring at that sentence and finding myself unable to truly believe it. Ten weeks ago today you entered the world, beautifully and loudly. I remember the instant you took your first breath and filled my ears with your cry, and your lungs with air for the very first time.

Already, in ten weeks you have taught me so much. To trust my instincts; motherhood comes naturally. To be patient; everything will happen when it is meant to, even your naps (no matter how badly I wish you’d close your eyes so I can sleep for 5 more minutes). To enjoy the early hours of the morning; There’s no point in wishing to be back in bed when your smile lights up the world, even while the sun still sleeps at 4am. To treasure every moment; you grow at the speed of light and I’ll be darned if I miss a single second of it. And that there is always more room for love; Before you I didn’t think it was possible to love anyone as much as I love your daddy, now as my love grows for you both every single day I truly see just how infinite and unconditional it can be.

You’re smiling more than ever now and showing us the things you love (and love to dislike). Booping your nose and talking to you, tickling you and bouncing you makes you so happy, as well as bath time just before bed and your play mat in the early hours of the morning when sleep seems to be the furthest thing from your mind. Nappy changes and sitting in traffic seem to be your least favorite things in the world, as well as that nasty runny nose you had two weeks ago that kept you up all night for so many nights in a row.You keep us on our toes thats for sure. You seem to know the exact instant that I sit down to eat dinner, because the second I do you decide that lying on your play mat or in your rocker is not at all where you want to be and you’ll just die unless I pick you up for cuddles again.

I’ve got to tell you a secret though Vi, even though you’ve only been around ten weeks I’m pretty sure your daddy has fallen head over heels for you. You should see how much he does for you, how hard he works. Up working late, and still waking up for cuddles with you in the early hours of the morning, even if it is only briefly. You’re his world and your smile makes his whole day, every day. So never stop giving him those, okay?

For ten weeks you’ve been the centre of my entire world, my every waking moment and every dream. But really you’ve been that for so much longer, and will be for the rest of my life. I can’t wait for every single moment.

 

All of the love in my heart is for you my darling, I love you now and always will.

Love, Mummy xx