Baby is in his own room

Posted by James | Posted in My Timeline | Posted on 05-05-2013

Our little boy has just turned 6 months, and he spent his first night in his own room last night.

Until now, he has been sleeping in our bedroom, first in his Moses basket, then his crib and now his cot. Well, actually he has slept in our bed a lot of the time too! He has always been within a couple feet from us. We could lie in the silence and hear him breathing, hear him rustling around. But no more, now he has hit the big “6 month” (I say that ilk he has just turned 40!) he is now in his own room.

To be honest, he could have gone in his room much sooner. The room has been decorated (space theme) and ready for weeks, even months. He sleeps really good as well, so we could have put him through no problem, but we have been selfish and kept him in our room for a bit longer. He’s just so damn cute!

He was up once for a feed. My wife always gets up in the middle of the night to see to him. I feel bad about that and I try to help out at the weekend, but during the week I have work and I need to sleep. That sounds harsh, and if he is upset and crying a lot I do get up to help, but generally I stay in bed. The tradeoff is a lot of the time I leave for work while My wife has a long lie in, so I guess it evens itself out.

He did so well sleeping all night in his room. We have a baby monitor with a camera so we can see him as well as hear him. It is fantastic and I wouldn’t be without one of these now. It’s made the “big move” a lot easier, to be able to see him, see he is ok and also so we know when his eyes are open if he is lying still.

Our First Family Holiday

Posted by James | Posted in My Timeline | Posted on 29-04-2013

We have just returned from our first family holiday, and it’s been amazing.

Apart from the first two weeks paternity when our son was born 6 months ago, and the Christmas break, this was the first time I’ve spent a lot of quality time with our son. I do enjoy my work and we need the money now more than ever, but it does mean I miss out on a lot of time spent with the little guy. I do get the weekends and nights with him, but I guess I’m just being greedy by wanting more!

Anyway, our holiday wasn’t anywhere exotic, just along my wife’s brother who lives about 200 miles away from us. We have an estate car and needed every inch of space to get all his stuff packed away. His favourite toy just now is his Jumperoo so that had to come with us as well. He loves that thing, I highly recommend you get one if your baby likes to bounce!

The only dampner on the holiday was we all got ill. And at different times too, so during the whole 10 days there was always one of us that was ill. Our son was first hit, then me, then my wife. Still, it was great to get away from it all.

The best part for me was having day after day to spend with my son. I don’t take for granted how lucky I am to be able to do that, and love every moment of it.

It was certainly a different holiday to what I’m used to. Beer was replaced by milk bottles, going out to restaurants or going to the cinema was replaced with eating in and watching films on TV but it was fantastic. It was also good spending time with my wife’s brother who is the proudest Uncle imaginable. He spoilt the little guy rotten with new clothes and toys. As he lives so far away it’s good to have some quality time with him.

Our next trip is in June when we are back to the same place for a family wedding. My wife has already been looking for little suits to buy. Something tells me he is going to be the star of the show!

I would say 6 months is a great time to go on a family holiday. I wouldn’t like to fly any great distance, but if you can drive somewhere it’s the perfect time as he is taking notice of everything, can sit and play with his toys and amuse himself.

Tell me about your first family holiday below…

Baby’s First Visit to the Dentist

Posted by James | Posted in My Timeline | Posted on 18-04-2013

Today we visited the dentist for the first time. It felt a bit strange going there as our son has no teeth yet, but they are keen to see new babies around 6 months old so we went along.

Before we could be seen, we had to register our son. This involved filling out a form, which I assume is a standard New Patient form they hand out to anyone regardless of age. I had to laugh when it asked if he has ever served in the Army. Emm, no.

It’s actually quite good timing for us going to the dentist, as we think his first tooth isn’t far away. He has been showing signs of teething for a few months now, since before Christmas, but last night it seemed to kick up a gear. He was up a couple of times in the night with the pain and has been restless all morning. I even thought I felt a tooth but after the dentist checked it was just the little bit of gum in the top middle of his gums (there’s probably a medical name for it, but I don’t know it).

The dentist appointment was really just a chance for us to meet the dentist, who gave us some advice about brushing, what food and drink is ok, what to avoid, etc. Basically all the stuff you learnt as a kid. One part that I hadn’t heard before was that teeth can defend itself against 3-4 sugar attacks a day. Any more than that is when the real problems start.

Children’s teeth can handle 3 sugar “attacks” a day, whereas adults can handle 4. What this means is if you eat/drink all your sugary things in no more than 3/4 sittings per day it isn’t as bad for you as if you eat some sugary stuff regularly throughout the day. For example if you have a bag of sweets, it’s better for your teeth if you eat the whole bag in one go than to graze and eat them gradually throughout the day. Of course, the best option for your teeth would be to avoid sugary treats, and you still of course need to brush and floss, but this is something I’ve never heard of before so I thought I would share it.

So, back to baby teeth. The general advise was to wait until we see the tooth appear then start brushing it right away. We see the dentist again at 12 months, so hopefully he will have a mouth full of teeth by then!

The Baby and The Dog

Posted by James | Posted in Advice & Tips | Posted on 16-04-2013

We have a dog, a Labrador who was around 4 years old when the baby arrived. She hadn’t really been around babies before so we were anxious about how she would react. The trouble is, although she is a great dog and always happy to see you when you walk through the door, she can sometimes be a little “too” happy. Hyper, I suppose is the word I’m looking for.

It can be unsettling for anyone, even adults for a big Labrador dog to come running up to them at full speed. She is just wanting to play and meet a new friend to lick and slobber on, but even so it can make people uneasy. It must be 100x times worse for a baby looking up at this big hairy goofy looking monster.

We spoke about what would happen if the dog acted badly around the baby. What if the baby was scared? What if she growled at the baby? What if she bit the baby? We knew if anything happened we would have to get rid of the dog, and even had one of our friends lined up to take her if we needed to.

It would be heartbreaking, but the baby would always come first.

However, as we soon found out, there was absolutely nothing to worry about. I keep forgetting that dogs are way more clever than I think. Our dog knew straight away that this was a baby, this was our baby and she had to protect it. Ever since our son first came home, the dog has been brilliant. I have to say, for the first few months while we were settling into life with a baby the dog was ignored a lot more than I care to remember. It must have been miserable for her no longer getting the attention she used to get.

Yet through all that she still acted perfectly around the baby.

Dog toys and baby toys

Our dog, like many dogs, has a lot of toys. Rubber rings, tennis balls, footballs, even teddy bears. She is a spoilt dog and our garden is evidence, as it is full of her toys scattered all over the place.

We have always been strict on her going anywhere near any of our sons toys, and it definitely is working. She knows which toy are hers. She can be in the middle of the room full of baby toys, you say “where’s your toy” and she will go around sniffing the toys to make sure she gets the right one. Of course, sometimes she gets it wrong, but generally she knows which toys to avoid.

The same cannot be said for our baby. He is just about starting to crawl now and grab and play with things. Anything lying about gets picked up and anything that is picked up goes straight in the mouth. We really have to watch him to make sure he doesn’t go near the dog toys. It’s funny, I thought it would have been the other way around!

Growing up in a house with a dog

I never really had a pet when I grew up. We had a goldfish (actually we had several as we didn’t really know what we were doing and they kept dying), and I had a rabbit when I got a bit older but never really played with it.

Now I have a dog I’m pleased to see my son growing up with a dog in the house. He is not scared of her. In fact he bursts out laughing and reaches for her whenever he sees the dog. It’s so funny to watch, he loves that dog.

Obviously with any dog you should not leave them alone with a baby, but we are lucky to have a dog and baby that get on so well. Just wait until he starts walking and running around, they will be thick as thieves!

We have a dog, a labridor who was around 4 years old when the baby arrived. She hadn’t really been around babies before so we were anxious about how she would react. The trouble is, although she is a great dog and always happy to see you when you walk through the door, she can sometimes be a little “too” happy. Hyper, I suppose is the word I’m looking for.
It can be unsettling for anyone, even adults for a big labridor dog to come running up to them at full speed. She is just wanting to play and meet a new friend to lick and slober on, but even so it can make people uneasy. It must be 100x times worse for a baby looking up at this big hairy goofy looking monster.
We spoke about what would happen if the dog acted badly around the baby. What if the baby was scared? What if she growled at the baby? What if she bit the baby? We knew if anything happened we would have to get rid of the dog, and even had one of our friends lined up to take her if we needed to.
It would be heartbreaking, but the baby would always come first.
However, as we soon found out, there was absolutely nothing to worry about. I keep forgetting that dogs are way more clever than I think. Our dog knew straight away that this was a baby, this was our baby and she had to protect it. Ever since our son first came home, the dog has been brilliant. I have to say, for the first few months while we were settling into life with a baby the dog was ignored a lot more than I care to remember. It must have been miserable for her no longer getting the attention she used to get.
Yet through all that she still acted perfectly around the baby.
Dog toys and baby toys
Our dog, like many dogs, has a lot of toys. Rubber rings, tennis balls, footballs, even teddy bears. She is a spoilt dog and our garden is evidence, as it is full of her toys scattered all over the place.
We have always been strict on her going anywhere near any of our sons toys, and it definitely is working. She knows which toy are hers. She can be in the middle of the room full of baby toys, you say “where’s your toy” and she will go around sniffing the toys to make sure she gets the right one. Of course, soemtimes she gets it wrong, but generally she knows which toys to avoid.
The same cannot be said for our baby. He is just about starting to crawl now and grab and play with things. Anything lying about gets picked up and anything that is picked up goes straight in the mouth. We really have to watch him to make sure he doesn’t go near the dog toys. It’s funny, I thought it would have been the other way around!
Growing up in a house with a dog
I never really had a pet when I grew up. We had a goldfish (actually we had several as we didn’t really know what we were doing and they kept dying), and I had a rabbit when I got a bit older but never really played with it.
Now I have a dog I’m pleased to see my son growing up with a dog in the house. He is not scared of her. In fact he bursts out laughing and reaches for her whenever he sees the dog. It’s so funny to watch, he loves that dog.
Obviously with any dog you should not leave them alone with a baby, but we are lucky to have a dog and baby that ge ton so well. Just wait til he starts walking and running around, they will be thick as thieves!

Bottle Feeding

Posted by James | Posted in Advice & Tips | Posted on 07-03-2013

Before I get started on bottle feeding, I just want to point out that I do believe in the saying “breast is best”. If your partner can breast feed then by all means go for that option. It’s the best stuff you can give your baby, it’s natural and it helps your partner bond with your child.

However, from a purely selfish point of view, being a dad I am very happy with bottle feeding. It means I can be involved in feeding our baby, which is a great feeling. I get to hold our baby and give him a bottle, watch him drink his milk knowing I am giving him what he needs.

My wife and I were all for breast feeding. But our son had other ideas. I didn’t really think about this before, but the baby has to learn how to breast feed. Some of it is instinct, but a lot of it is up to you to hold the baby in a particular way, sit in a particular way and keep trying for as long as the baby will let you until it “latches on”. This is a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. Or it was for us anyway.

He did latch on a couple of times, but never really got the hang of it and would get frustrated and start crying. We tried for the first few days with the midwives, but he simply wasn’t getting enough milk so we fed him with milk formula from a cup. If you are trying to breast feed you shouldn’t use a bottle as well because it is different sucking relexes used and can mean the baby can’t breast feed.

We still couldn’t get him to latch on properly by the time we left the hospital but by that time we knew how to do it, so we were happy to continue trying it at our home.

However, after about a week of trying to breast feed at home, supplimenting his food with formula given to him from a little cup we decided just to move onto bottled milk.He was needing more and more milk and he really wasn’t getting enough from my wife or from the little cup.

We continued to alternate between bottle formula and expressed milk for about 2 months until the expressed milk stopped and he moved solely onto bottle milk.

Although we were disappointed not to breast feed at the time, looking back it wasn’t exactly a disaster. We get to share the feeding duties, which means my wife can get on with other things while I look after the baby. She can go out and leave me to look after him for aslong as she needs. Also, breast feeding patterns are usually more frequent, meaning the baby is up more often through the night. There are a few couples we know who had babies around the same time and the mums look exhausted. Meanwhile, we are coping relatively well, sharing responsibilities and enjoying being parents.

It obviously costs money to buy the milk formula, bottles, steriliser, etc. as opposed to breast milk which is free, but the cost is pretty negligiable in the grand scheme of things.

If/when we have another baby we would still prefer to breast feed, at least to begin with. However, if the second baby ends up being bottle fed as well, we know it’s not the end of the world, and can actually be a good thing.

I know the debate between breast v bottle milk can be quite heated. We have seen people we know openly critisize others on Facebook for bottle feeding, saying it is not best for the child, etc, etc. I don’t want to spark any arguements here, I am purely speaking from my own personal experience. Our son is growing fast, he can crawl, nearly say his first words, he is happy and laughing the whole time. All that from bottle milk, so it can’t be that bad!

I sometimes wonder what we would have done without formula milk, it’s been great for us.

Baby Immunisation Injections

Posted by James | Posted in Advice & Tips | Posted on 24-02-2013

Something you need to prepare yourself for is the regular trips to the nurse for immunisation injections. These injections are needed to protect the baby against a whole list of nasty diseases.

Each injection protects againast a number of diseases, which is great as it means you only need a handful of jabs to be fully protected. The flipside of that, however, is each jab is pretty srong, and when they give 2 or 3 per visit your baby’s body goes through a lot!

My work is really good at letting me go to things like nurses appointments, and I’m glad I went to all the appointments. It’s not easy watching a needle being stabbed into your baby, but it is made easier when you are both there to help each other.

Our first trip to the nurse came at around 2 months, when he got 2 injections. They gave one in each thigh. I think they usually opt for the thighs, or sometimes the bum depending on where has the most “meat”.

The best thing we did was have a bottle of milk ready in his change bag. When the nurse was about to give the injections, we gave him the bottle. He was sucking his milk as the needle went in to take his mind off it. Don’t get me wrong, he still cried. In fact he screamed and I won’t lie, it was horrible to see and hear him in pain. However, the bottle difinitely helped. He cried for about 10 seconds (it was a LONG 10 seconds) then started sucking his bottle again and soon calmed down.

I’m not sure how this ould work if you are breast feeding. Are you able to make a bottle for one-off occassions like this? I’m not sure, but for those who botle feed you need to have a bottle on hand.

Then of course, there’s the second injection. Just as he calmed down from the first one, the nurse stuck the second jab into his other thigh. The same thing happened, he screamed, cried for a bit, then soon settled with his bottle to comfort him.

After the injections, they advise you to stay around for 10 minutes or so, just in case he has a reaction to the injections. This was fine as it gave us a chance to give him the rest of his bottle in the waiting room.

When we got home he was fine, but a little tired. He definitely wasn’t as chatty and active as he usually is, but the nurse told us to exect that. His body is dealing with a lot of goodies, so he was pretty exhausted for a day or so. We gave him some Calpol to take the edge off. I don’t know if he needed it or not, but it doesn’t do any harm (in small doses).

We then went back 3-4 weeks later for another couple of injections, then back for a final time around 4 months for 3 injections. When they give 3 injections, they put 2 in one leg and 1 in the other.

Every time we went to the nurse we made sure we had a bottle made up and ready. We have a bunch of thermal bottle covers that are excellent, they keep the milk at the right temperature for ages. Perfect for going out and about, or even to have in the house for keeping milk a bit longer.

Immunisation injections aren’t very fun for you or your baby, but they have to be done. It’s such a good peace of mind knowing your baby is safe from loads of horrible diseases and infections that are in the world.

My Experience With Colic

Posted by James | Posted in Advice & Tips | Posted on 24-02-2013

Here’s a word I had never heard of before I became a daddy – colic.

Our son got colic from about 3-4 weeks until around 10 weeks. Colic is basically when a baby cries for no obvious reason, and it’s horrible. There is a list of things that can be wrong with a baby – hungry, needs to burp, needs a change, is sleepy. But when they have colic that list goes out the window, as they cry regardless.

There are some remedies and help available. We used gripe water for a while which seems to help, but only to a degree. It doesn’t get rid of it completely.

It was always worse at night when he was more tired, and also after a bottle when his tummy isn’t settled. It led to some long stressful evenings, but when he did eventually go to sleep that would typically be him until the morning, unless for a feed then back to sleep again.

It got to the point where after most, if not all feeds he would be really sore and uncomfortable.

The best thing we ever did was change his milk formula. We had been using the same formula since he was born. it was the stuff teh hospital gave us, Cow & Gate, and he was fine for the first few weeks so never thought it was the formula that was causing the problem. Also, I wondered if there really was that much difference between all the makes of formula. However a friend of my wife said she had the exact same thing with Cow & Gate baby milk, and said when she switched to Actimel it solved the problem.

I was skeptical, but the change was instant. As soon as we switched to Actimel he has been great, no more colic after feeds. He does still get a bit uncomfortable after feeds, but he seems to be able to burp so much easier. I don’t know if this milk is a bit softer on his tummy, but it’s definitely helped.

I hope you don’t experience colic, but if you do please share any of your tips or advice below for others to read…

My First Trip Away

Posted by James | Posted in General | Posted on 20-02-2013

This weekend has been the first time I’ve been away from baby since he was born as I have had to go away on business for a few days.

Baby’s First Christmas

Posted by James | Posted in First Few Weeks, General, My Timeline | Posted on 25-12-2012

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you have a great festive, filled with friends, family and good times!

Nesting

Posted by James | Posted in Advice & Tips | Posted on 07-12-2012

If you are like me, you have an ever growing list of tasks to do around the house. I need to paint the windows, paint the fence, replace the grout in the shower, fix the light in the kitchen to stop it flickering. The list is endless. And my wife, god bless her, makes sure that for every one thing I stroke off the list, another two get added, just to keep me on my toes.

I write this post as a heads up, a warning if you will, to anyone like this who is about to become a dad for the first time.

Things are going to get worse.

Mothers to be typically go through a period of “nesting”. For me this kicked in at around 5-6 months through the pregnancy. This is when the mum to be has the need to get the house perfect for the arrival of the baby. I suppose it makes sense, no one wants to bring a baby into a shithole. So, be prepared to be busy getting the house in tip top shape before the baby arrives.

For me, some of the tasks I had to get done, under orders were:

  • Fix the draft coming in through the baby bedroom window
  • Powerwash front steps and path
  • Fix hole in wall of our bedroom
  • Put up various mirrors, pictures and shelves that have been lying around for months
  • Buy new car / sell old piece of junk car
  • Fix outside light
  • Paint living room walls and skirting boards
  • Put up new lights in bedrooms

The list was a lot longer than that, but you get the idea. Note I am not a joiner, electrician or anything practical, so each task took twice as long as someone whol knows what they are doing would take. In fact, I remember when I put up the bedroom lights I somehow knocked out power to half the lights in the house. It stayed like that for about a month befoer I managed to solve the problem! Thank goodness it was the summer so we could still see!

I don’t want this post to sound like I am moaning about this. It was tough to basically have no time off between my dodgy DIY efforts and working full time, while looking after a pregnant wife. However, looking back it was great I got all that done before the baby arrived, otherwise it would never have been done.

Notice there was no mention of painting the baby room. We did not know what the sex of the baby was going to be, so we left that job until he arrived. He was sleeping in our bedroom for the first six months anyway, so there was plenty of time to get the bedroom sorted.

So, if you are planning to enjoy some time off with your feet up before the baby arrives, you’re in for a shock! Or maybe not, maybe my wife just made up this whole “nesting” theory to get my ass in gear…

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