No Internet!

So I’m still waiting for BT to connect our new house to the internet, hence my long absence from the blog.

Hopefully will be back in a few weeks when they get their arse into gear.

Come on BT!

The Day I Left Him

I have a small confession to make. It has been 4 months, officially 19 weeks, that I have not left my baby. Okay, so there has been the odd hour here or there where I went snowboarding or to they gym, to get my hair done, an evening out for a meal but I have probably never really surpassed the half a day mark.

The thing is, I know that it’s a good thing to leave him and his Dad is more than capable but I can’t help worrying; will he run the bath too hot, what if he leaves him to scream, what if something goes wrong, what if he doesn’t get enough sleep, what if he won’t eat, what if, what if, what if!!! The thoughts just circulate round and round and I’m sure if I let them they could very easily continue to escalate. And then I realise…I am being completely and utterly stupid! My boyfriend is an amazing Dad and I already think our son is in awe of him. Sometimes all that Roddy needs to do is look at Ruaridh and our lovely little boy starts laughing.

So yesterday I had my really whole day trip out, this was the day that Ruaridh turned 19 weeks. I had planned with my lovely friend Emily to go shopping in Edinburgh. I’m in awe of her a little as she has already spent her first night away from her little one. I imagine she might be quite a good influence on me!

I was a little nervous in the morning and admittedly a little grumpy too but as she pulled into our drive I think I literally skipped out the door. I don’t think I was quite aware of how much I needed a day away. And the one thing that could persuade me to do this was always going to be a shopping spree. I have always loved shopping and if I’m ever bored I find shopping to be the best cure.

And if you’re leaving your baby for the first time I would advise making all about you. Do something that you enjoy sooo much that you won’t be rea

Daddy & Ruaridh having a lovely time without Mummy!

Daddy & Ruaridh having a lovely time without Mummy!

dy to rush home! I think we made it back around 8pm! The odd text from my boyfriend to let me know how it was all going did help. Clearly they were having a great time and I’m not too sure that our son even noticed I was absent!

We had such a fantastic day that I barely checked my phone or worried about what was happening at home. What probably really helped were the two cocktails I had to accompany my lunch. They seemed to put me at ease quite early on! If you haven’t been to Tigerlily in Edinburgh I would fully recommend a visit, the food was amazing, the cocktails were gorgeous and the service was great. I probably could have dismissed the shopping trip and spent all afternoon throwing back cocktails  in Tigerlily but we decided that would be a bad idea, what with us being Mothers ‘n’ all.

Ladies That Lunch 'n' That

Ladies That Lunch ‘n’ That

I had planned to write much more but as my son has just woken up from his nap I best leave you. I haven’t proofread, or even read to make sure it all makes sense but need to go!

Until next time … x

 

 

 

 

 

25 things every woman should do before having a baby

I have always been a huge fan of lists. I remember I used to while away the hours at work compiling bucket lists; what I wanted to achieve that year, before I was 30, before I die… So it was with great excitement I opened up a link about a recent survey by Ovusense detailing what you should do before having a baby, a kind of pregnancy bucket lists of sorts.

I was bitterly disappointed not just because I pretty much haven’t achieved any but because it is so damn (I have a much stronger expletive in mind but my Mother reads this) boring. To illustrate my point I think you really need to read results of the survey below.

The Ovusense Survey

1. Be married
2. Own my own house
3. Matured enough to be a mother  
4. Have travelled
5. Cleared my debts
6. Completed further education / got qualifications
7. Have a garden
8. Been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday
9. Passed my driving test
10. Own a nice car
11. Have £10,000 in savings
12. Said goodbye to my party days 
13. Lost weight
14. Earning £30,000
15. Reached management level
16. Got a long-awaited promotion 
17. Reached the top of my game at work
18. Own my own business
19. Cut down on my alcohol intake 
20. Earning £40,000
21. Paid off my student loan
22. Earning £50,000+
23. Moved back to be near my parents
24. Completed a sporting accomplishment
25. Earned enough to afford a nanny
 
There are lots of things I think you should do before having a baby and not one of these features in this list! I think my main point, and what I learnt from the Ovusense survey is that the things you should do before having a baby should have nothing to do with having a baby. They should be about fun, spontaneity and freedom, as once you’ve had a baby all that goes out of the window (for a while anyway).

no long trips to Thailand for a while!

no long trips to Thailand for a while!

I have put together a couple of things that I wish I had done but I would love to hear from you. What do you wish you had done before having a baby!

 Emma’s ‘What I wished I had done before I had a baby!’

1. Got drunk and partied way more. 

2. Gone on more dates.

3. Travelled the world.

4. Gone on more romantic holidays with the boy

5. Spent a year abroad in a hot country

Clearly mature (neurotic?) enough to be a mother. Look how well protected my son is!

Clearly mature (neurotic?) enough to be a mother. Look how well protected my son is!

x

 

 

Silent ‘but deadly’ Reflux

Over the past few months I have started writing this post a million times. I have always ended up deleting it, never knowing quite what to say. Reflux was such a huge part of mine and my son’s life that no words I can write will ever really illustrate how miserable we both were!

Reflux was such a gradual process that it was so easy to miss, especially as I had never heard of it! I think a lot of Mums haven’t, but for those who have experienced it, it is one of the most awful experiences.

Reflux is the word used to describe what happens when the stomach contents – food (milk) and acid – come back up into the gullet or into the mouth. Most babies have a degree of reflux because the muscular valve at the end of their food pipe hasn’t developed properly yet. It’s only when strong acid from the baby’s stomach comes up into his oesophagus that it can be painful. Around 50% of all babies will experience some reflux during their first three months.

Looking back I think it started early on for Ruaridh. I started off breastfeeding and most of his feeds lasted up to two hours with a half hour gap between each feed. Whilst there was definitely some cluster feeding going on I am also convinced he was using me for comfort. Then for at least one feed of his day he would scream and scream. Nothing we did would help. I called out the health visitor but was told he was probably a windy baby and it could be colic, (a common misdiagnosis of reflux). I love my health visitor and it was an easy mistake to make, Ruaridh was putting on weight and on the whole appeared to be thriving. All his other feeds were fine so off we went, bought some infacol and carried on, hoping that the 3 months would pass and he would grow out of it quickly!

The weeks went on and the three hour screaming fit after the night feed just became part of the daily routine. During this time nothing could be done to comfort Ruaridh so we just used to ride it out as best we could. We cuddled him and helped him as best we could but we soon realised we needed some extra help, so following a recommendation we asked maternity nurse, Caroline Barley for some help.

Caroline immediately put us into a flexible routine to ensure my son got enough to eat and enough sleep. The routine was great and I called Caroline to tell her but also explained that Ruaridh was still crying for three hours every night. He was also starting to cry after some of his other feeds. Caroline observed him during his feeds and this was when I she mentioned he could have ‘silent reflux’. Just like reflux but without the sick, so harder to diagnose.

Each baby with reflux can display symptoms in different ways. For Ruaridh it was screaming through his feeds, feed intake decreasing over the weeks, arching his back during feeds, rubbing his heels together, screaming if you put a bib on him/showed him a bottle/put him in a feeding position, not wanting to be laid on his back, possetting milk hours and hours after feeds, frequent hiccupping, the list goes on….

Now every Mum is programmed with something that makes us want to stuff our babies up like foie gras. I can’t put into words how devastating and miserable it is to see your baby in so much pain that although they’re starving they can’t bear the pain of eating. It becomes a viscious cycle, where getting 3 ounces into your baby takes 3 hours and they become exhausted – they can’t sleep as feeds take so long and they feel in pain.

So much advice is given on how to deal with a reflux baby but some of it really angers me. One doctor told me to feed less but more frequently. This was at the point where Ruaridh was only taking an ounce per feed (at 8 weeks old). He was hating every feed and it was easy to see it was the most miserable time of his day. I tried everything – kept him upright to feed, upright after feeds, settled him on his side, fed small amounts frequently, baby massage, put his nappies on loosely. I laugh at it now but things were so dire I even tried feeding him in the bath. It would have become to easy to lose patience or resent him but I just felt gutted that he was in so much pain, I just wanted to make him better. I dreaded letting anyone else feed him and feeds were so awful that I just wanted to manage everything at home. The only way he could be soothed and eat a little more was with a dummy. Dummies help wash the acid down and I will be forever grateful to the dummy for allowing my son to eat!

Things are better now – thanks to infant gaviscon. We tried it twice, the first time it didn’t work but as he got bigger and could take a sachet per feed it worked wonders. Overnight he went from taking 1 or 2 oz per feed to 7 or 8. I couldn’t believe it! Now when Ruaridh sees his bottle he makes these really excited noises and given our past experiences with feeding I swear I could cry in happiness every time I hear his excited hungry noises.

You can feel completely alone when your baby has reflux. You can feel like it will never end. You can’t have people round and you can’t feed in public. It is an isolating experience. This blog is so small and doesn’t have a big readership but if you stumble across it and you are going through reflux please get in touch! Sometimes just knowing that you are not the only person going through it can help your sanity. And I promise you, it will get better, it might just seem like a million miles away right now.

It is important for me to thank a few people now –

Caroline Barley – without you I don’t know what we would have done. You realised that it was reflux as soon as you saw him eat. You gave me strategies that helped me encourage him to eat. You were on the other end of the phone when he pretty much stopped eating and you helped me get him the treatment he needed.

My Mum – the week I visited you he was at his worst. You helped me deal with it and made me see the dummy was absolutely necessary!

Infant Gaviscon – currently a daily part of my son’s life. You have allowed my son to enjoy his food again. Hopefully our relationship will end soon but thank god you’re there for us when we need you!

Emma x

For more information on reflux you can visit: http://www.nct.org.uk/parenting/what-reflux

Please note that infant gaviscon have nothing to do with this post and have no idea it has been written!

Back to my roots…

 

#nofilter #backtomyroots

#nofilter #backtomyroots

 

Oh god, it’s happened – I have Mummy hair!

After months and months (pre-baby) of getting more and more highlights put in to my hair I have finally lost the battle and gone back to my roots! I’d been thinking about it for a while mainly because my hair was getting into such bad condition, not helped by the fact that Ruaridh has decided he likes to grab it and chew it, (a natural but lesser known remedy for teething!).

So yesterday, I bit the bullet, handed Ruaridh over to his Daddy and treated myself to a couple of hours with the local hairdresser. Two hours and a lot of hair dye later I emerged from the salon (just like that bit in ‘Stars in their Eyes’) and headed home a bit afraid of showing my boyfriend. It was okay though, he declared he thought I’d looked cheap before and looked much classier now. Thanks! Men always know just what to say, don’t they?!

But it wasn’t just me who got a new look yesterday! Love & Lullabies also had a lovely makeover courtesy of the amazing Ellie Illustrates. I can’t believe what an amazing job she has done. I wanted a blog that ‘looked’ like me, that said something about my life and the subjects I would be writing about and she got it absoloutly spot on with the very few and vague pointers I gave her.

Yesterday, signifies the start of the summer for me and the start of my life in Scotland! Val d’Isere was great but I’m looking forward to a summer of mummy and baby fun, kicking off for me with some wakeboarding (which I couldn’t do when I was pregnant) and baby swimming for Ruaridh – so here is to a summer of adventure!

x

 

 

 

Home Sweet Home

This is my 3rd season living in Val d’Isere and the first time I’ve realised that unless you are drinking or skiing there isn’t a whole lot you can do – especially with a 3 month old baby in tow.

There are only so many walks you can go on without being completely bored and only so much money to allow you lunches out. So it was with great excitement that I booked my flights home and that I am now counting the days until my final (but 6th) flight this season.

Living in Val d’Isere can be absoloutly amazing and no doubt will be with my little boy – when he’s slightly older and can appreciate it. But for now I have to be honest – I am fed up of living in a tiny apartment, of sleeping on a mattress on the floor that takes up the whole room and having nothing to do with a little baby.

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What makes my departure all the more exciting if the project that awaits me back in Scotland – our new family home! Last year we decided to put in planning to convert some Stables and whilst we have been out in France the builders have been beavering away. It won’t be quite ready when I get back but I’m so excited about picking out paints, carpets and generally making it homely. It will be so nice to have all that space and finally get set up somewhere and sort out Ruaridh’s nursery! I hope he likes it too! I think the living room is bigger than our whole place out in France.

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I can’t wait to get home! Come on Saturday!!

 

x

Eating my Words

Aah the day started with such hope and a feeling of being ‘in charge’.

It was only this morning that I swore I would do none of the following to help my little boy get to sleep:

1) Rock him to sleep

2) Take him for a walk

3) Let him fall asleep on me

4) Give him his dummy

And how many do you think I managed not to do?

None! Yes, that’s right. Throughout the course of the day I am guilty of doing all of these things!

I started today with good intentions, full of hope and misplaced (?) confidence. We got off to a fantastic start. It only took 15 minutes of shouty crying for him to fall asleep. It wasn’t a pleasant 15 minutes but I managed it and he got to sleep without being distraught. But as the hours passed it became harder and harder to encourage him to sleep.

For his next sleep he was in his pram but the crying this time was louder and my boyfriend was at work (sometimes having an extra person around for support is really needed). I rocked him in his pram to calm him trying to make sure I didn’t rock him to sleep but one minute he was screaming at the top of his lungs and the next he was fast asleep! Damn! Really didn’t want him to rock him to sleep!

Later he was feeding and fell asleep on me. Having missed so much sleep throughout the day I didn’t want to wake him so I spent the next 40 minutes frozen in the same position. Yet again he woke after one sleep cycle and refused to go back to sleep,  not even drifting off when my boyfriend took him for a walk in the pram (I’m starting to notice a pattern here).

Finally we got to his last feed of the day. The feed that has always been a problem. This was the feed when his reflux used to be at it’s worst. He had his bath as normal but as soon as my boyfriend leant him back to feed he started screaming. This is something we’re so used to now and it only ever happens on this feed. It could be leaning him back, the sight of the bottle or just putting a bib around him that is enough to send him into a crying frenzy and tonight it was loud, never breaking and felt utterly horrible to listen to. At this point I gave in. We popped the dummy in and he calmed. A minute later he was happy to feed and he continued to feed calmly. We had to do the same mid feed, and towards the end of his feed, just the same as we did when his reflux was really bad.

He’s now tucked up in his moses basket. Currently without the dummy and sounding calm. He’s making these cute little sounds that he does when he’s tired. I think he’s going to fall asleep without his dummy or any help from us. In fact as I’m writing I can now tell you he has drifted off! Yes!

So, do I feel bad about any of these things? Not one bit. Not every day will run smoothly and you can’t get it right all the time. We’ve made progress today and that’s what I’m going to focus on! Most importantly, Ruaridh is happy, healthy and completely loved.

Fingers crossed we get that little bit further tomorrow but for now I’m off to enjoy a well deserved glass of wine.

Ruaridh Vs Mummy – Going to sleep and the dummy

I hate the sound of my baby crying. I can’t stand it. I see his little face all scrunched up and red, the sides of his mouth turned down and I just want to make everything ok for him. And this is why I for the last 2 months I have done everything in my power to stop him crying when he has to go to sleep.

His sleeps usually involve one or more of the following:

  1. Rocking him in his chair until he drifts off
  2. Taking him for a walk in his pram (miserable in the rain or snow!)
  3. Giving him a dummy only to have to replace it when he cries as it falls out
  4. Letting him fall asleep on me only to have to stay in the same position until he wakes

All of these, as you can probably see, are completely impractical.

So I have made a difficult decision, no more!

No more will I walk through rain and snow to help him sleep, no longer will I spend 30 mins  sitting uncomfortably on the floor to rock him to sleep and no longer will I give him a dummy. It may sound mean, it may sound harsh but doing it early on rather than in a few months I believe I am doing the right thing.

The hardest will be the dummy and whilst this post is about more that his dummy I probably need to explain this in a little more detail so you can understand both mine and Ruaridh’s attachment and fondness for his little green dummy.

For quite a while his dummy was a lifesaver. Ruaridh had silent reflux. It got to the point where he started to refuse feeds and at most would only manage 2oz before descending into inconsolable tears. We would struggle through each feed and most evenings were spent coaxing a screaming and unhappy baby for 3 hours. It was a completely miserable time for all concerned. Finally I gave him a dummy to help soothe him when nothing else could. Anyone who has experienced life with a reflux baby knows how miserable things can get and I plan to blog about this more in the future when I can be certain that those times are well and truly behind us!

Thankfully, there was someone who listened and helped us. Thank god for Caroline Barley (of Tears to Smiles) who recognised his symptoms and helped us get him on the right medication. For the last month he has been on medication (infant Gaviscon, amazing!) and we have seen a vast improvement. He can now manage 5-7oz a feed and the days of screaming through every single feed are finally behind us. We no longer need the dummy to help him eat or help him sleep, but of course he doesn’t realise this!

It is now very tempting to give him his dummy when he is put down to bed or for a daytime nap and I have. I’ve never done it for every sleep. Just here or there but I’m starting to notice him wanting it more. Many would say to just give it to him. But I know he can fall asleep without it, often happily.

So this morning we did our first ‘no aid’ sleep. He spent 15 minutes crying before he was peacefully asleep. He didn’t sound upset, more shouty and annoyed with us! He went through waves of crying then going quiet. It was the longest 15 minutes ever for someone who hates their baby crying and doesn’t really believe they should ‘cry it out’. But I can’t help him fall asleep every time. He needs to learn how to sleep on his own. I can’t say that there won’t be times where I give in but for right now I am determined to help my baby learn to sleep the right way.

So thank you dummy, thank you rocking chair – you’ve served me well but our relationship is over. I may call on you in the future but I hope it will be no more than a brief fling.