Tag Archives: Writing

Everything is Easier With Sleep!

30 Jan

Hi Folks,

Happy New Year! Sorry its been a wee while since my last blog post. It’s been a very busy few months! I wanted my first blog post of 2020 to be more like my older blog posts… back to basics. More info, tips, advice & general rants about surviving day to day as a stay at home – work from home Mama.

I’ve been joking for a long time now that I’ll one day write a book on the bedtime routine I use for the boys, as they both sleep. I’m constantly being asked what my secret is. But to be honest… I have no idea lol. So… I thought I’d share with you all, what we do each evening. I don’t do anything magical, but, you mind find something you’ve not tried. Or, I might be just doing the same as everyone else.

I love reading blogs & I get a lot of my fave tips from other parenting blogs. So hopefully… I can pass some on to you too.

Firstly, I’d just like to say that I’m no guru or medical professional. This is only what we have personally implemented in our own home for our bedtime routine. 

Okay, so lets start right at the very beginning. Seth was born at 38wks via c-section. I was determined from day 1 to be this amazingly successful breast feeding Mama. That just didn’t go to plan. Within the first 6 days, Seth had lost over 14% of his body weight dropping from 8lbs to 6lbs 13oz. We were rushed into hospital – literally the worst day of my life. The guilt I felt was immense. That first week quite literally was sleep deprivation at it’s finest. I had Seth constantly on my boob & when he wasn’t attached to me – an electric breast pump was. I was emotional, recovering from major surgery, I felt guilt that I wasn’t providing for my baby & I felt let down by my breast feeding support nurse. Whilst in hospital Seth began to combination feed. With amazing support from my Husband, GP, Midwife, Health Visitor, Consultant & Paediatrician, I made the decision to stop breast feeding… I had zero milk. Still to this day – I struggle with the feelings of guilt & like I let Seth down in that first week of his life.

Once we were discharged from hospital, Seth gained weight steadily on formula. But, he struggled with extreme colic. It was horrendous. No matter what we did, he’d scream & scream. Even with the help of Infacol & a special milk, he’d struggle. We had a SnüzPod at the side of our bed as I just don’t like co-sleeping ( personal choice). But I’d say for a good 8 weeks, Seth slept upright on my chest or Grahams. It’d be the only way he’d settle. So it’d be hours upon hours of just sitting awake on a night in bed, so Seth could sleep & get relief from the colic. I remember on a morning, retching & throwing up from sheer exhaustion & my Mam telling me over the phone that she’d not heard of anyone dying from sleepless nights. Ah yes, just to add… both my family & Graham’s live quite a distance away from us. So we have no regular childcare or family just popping in to help.

After around 8 weeks, the colic settled, from then on, Seth would sleep 6hrs: Midnight to 6am. We used to class that as sleeping through the night. When you go from zero sleep to 6hrs right through, you feel like you’ve had a week at a spa retreat lol. Seth slept in his SnüzPod beside me until he was 5 & a half month old. He began to outgrow it at that point. So, he went into his own room in a full size cotbed. He looked so tiny. But he slept great & started to sleep from around 9pm to 6am, which was just amazing. At around 7 months old though, Seth started with partial awakening which lasted around 2-3 month. He would literally wake every 45mins screaming. All we could put it down to was teething. That was so hard. Functioning on such little sleep is tough. But, as a parent, you just want to comfort your baby. The only way they can communicate they’re hurting or they’re upset – is through crying. Thankfully, the partial awakening stopped as quick as it had started.

With Seth being our first, we had no experience of a sleep routine. Graham has always gotten home around 6pm/6:30pm, unless he has assessments to mark etc… then it could be much later. On occasion he does have nights away with work or through freelance work. But I’m always here with being able to work from home. We’d both agreed that we didn’t want bedtime to be negative or a battle ground. So, we have never ever used bed as a punishment. Neither of us agree with the cry it out method or self soothing method. I’ve also never let Seth nap in his room. When napping during the day, I’ve always let him nap downstairs. I just always wanted to keep the bedroom for bedtime to make a clear distinction between bed & nap. I’ve also been careful of danger naps… napping after 5pm has always been a no no, unless they’re poorly.

Seth’s routine from being 6 month has been:

  • No napping beyond 5pm… so I’d wake him gently from a nap if he was napping late afternoon or, I’d keep him awake by playing etc…
  • Teatime has always been around 4:30pm/5pm for the kids.
  • Bathtime 6pm – we don’t do bath time every night as Seth has always had baby eczema. Again, this is just a personal choice. I’ve always found, that a bath later than 6:30pm is too stimulating & tends to keep them awake.
  • CBeebies bedtime hour is always on in our house… PJs on, Milk & chill time. So we have no running around or loud toys from bedtime hour starting. Once bedtime hour is over – no more Kids TV. That has always been our rule. Kids TV is too stimulating, so nothing after 7pm. No tablets either & especially not in the bedroom. Again – that’s just personal choice.

Seth is now 3 years old & has gone to bed for 7pm since he was around 20 month old. We take him to bed, he has a wee, we read a story & that’s it. He goes to sleep. Obviously, as a baby, it wasn’t as simple as that. So, after the partial awakening had ended. We always gave Seth his bottle upstairs on our bed around 7:30pm. Then, we’d let him fall asleep in our arms & we’d carry him to bed. If he woke in the night, we’d give him a bottle in our room but with no lights on, no TV. Just keep it super boring. No talking etc… So he’d have the bottle & go back to bed.

One night, Graham was away in London & I took Seth up for his bottle. I lay with him on our bed & he was just looking at me, as if he was saying “well I ain’t sleeping here”… so I carried him to his room & put him in his cot. I took the monitor downstairs & I sat just watching him. I half expected him to cry as he was still awake… but he didn’t. He just lay there stroking his quilt & fell asleep! From that moment, we would give him a bottle & then put him in bed awake for him to nod off.

Still to this day, Seth has his little ambient blue night light plugged in so it’s not super dark. He loves his room & his bed. He’s now graduated to a big bunk bed – he sleeps on the bottom bunk as he’s only 3, we do have blackout blinds & black out curtains in his room – mainly for when it’s Summer. But he still likes his blue light on.

When Ted was born, we already had a good bedtime routine in place, so Ted just kind of fell in line with that.

At this point – I just want to point a few things out that we do:

  • Both boys were bottle fed. Ted from day one as I didn’t want to try breast feeding in case I let down my baby all over again.
  • Both boys have used soothers. Ted always goes to bed with a soother.
  • I have always kept the cot free & empty of toys, bumpers etc… I never used a sleep/grow bag purely as both Seth or Ted would settle in them. So I always used cellular blankets & a tight fitted sheet on the mattress. Seth now takes his quillow to bed & Cub (his little Ikea Bear)
  • Both boys have slept in a full size cotbed – so they’ve lots of space to stretch out. Seth had the sides off his cotbed from 23 month old & then he went into a full size single/bunk bed from age 3.
  • During nap times, both boys have always napped downstairs.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/156200586@N06/44167779470/in/dateposted-public/

Nap times downstairs were a little bit of a mine field when Ted was first born. By this time Seth had outgrown day time naps & began going up to bed at 7pm. But Ted needed somewhere safe to nap. With a 2 & a half year old running round, I was always scared that a moses basket or a lounger would get knocked over. So, we went with a large playpen that had a firm memory foam & sprung mattress from iSafe. It was a life saver. It’s spacious & safe for Ted to nap in. We still have it now. Ted is 15 month old & loves his naps in there. I do allow soft toys in his play pen – purely as I can see him at all times. He doesn’t have toys in his cot bed upstairs. That’s totally free of clutter.

Ted follows the same routine as Seth with regard to when he gets his PJs on, bath time & tea times etc… From 8 weeks old, Ted has pretty much slept from 11pm right through. From around a year old he’s started to go to bed around 8pm, but recently, he’s started asking for bed once Seth has gone up. So, we put Seth to bed, then around 7:30pm, Ted will have a bottle in our room & then goes straight into his room to bed. We put Ted in his cot awake & falls asleep with no problems. We have video monitors on both boys in case they need us in the night. Ted sometimes will wake in the night for a bottle. But it’s literally a quick bottle & straight back to bed.

Ted was in a SnüzPod from birth to 5 month. He outgrew it from 5 month so he transferred to the Joie Kubbie Sleep which is also a side sleeper. He slept in that until he was 10 month old. The he went into his own room into a full size cot bed.

It’s lovely being able to have evenings free. But, being poorly or teething throws the sleeping lark out the window. But that’s just parenting, you have to expect sleepless nights at times.

When we go on holiday, we still follow our bedtime routine. That may sound strict, but Seth still only being 3yrs old, he doesn’t really appreciate a late night as a treat. By 7pm he’s asking for bed as he’s so tired. He’s so active, so he’s ready for his bed. Keeping the routine is constant. We’ve just always kept it up & over time it’s paid off. We’ve taken the boys out at night for meals etc…

I think in the beginning, it can be a bit of a shock to the system at just how much your life does change when you become a parent, but they’re only little for such a short time. Me & Graham met at University & we were together 7 year before we got married. Then we had 5 years together after we got married just us… so we have done the late nights out etc… I think we’re happy being home all snuggly now lol. I’m sure once the boys are packed off to University, we can become party animals again lol.

So there you have it… that’s our bedtime routine. See… I have no hidden secret. It’s just been keeping a good routine in place day in & day out. I hope you’ve found this useful?

Thank you so much reading 🙂

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

 

“Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning” – Diane Ackerman

18 Nov

Hi folks,

Well, we’re now into my most favourite time of the year… CHRISTMAS!!!! Yes… it’s only November, but I don’t care! I’m in full on Christmas count down mode! I’ve put my tree up! I just literally couldn’t help myself!

So… since I’m throwing myself into all things Christmassy… I have a lovely little gift guide blog post for you. The boys have been playing with & reviewing some lovely toys from Hape.

As most of you know… Hape are one of our most favourite toy brands. You just cannot go wrong with good quality, vibrant, wooden toys. I’m such a big believer in learning through play. Apart from when Seth is at Pre-School… we play all day long.

Where to start? Lets start with the lovely Hape Number Peg Puzzle. Seth loves this puzzle. The pegs are easy to get a hold of & the pieces are lovely & vibrant. This is great for number recognition. Seth is doing so well with his numbers… but does get confused with his number 6 & number 9 at times. So playing with this puzzle has helped immensely.

This puzzle is just so well made & is a lovely size. This is recommended for 3yrs & over, so I’ve been careful to keep it out of Teds reach. He’s in that phase of shoving everything in his mouth to bite.

Ted utterly adores his  Pepe & Friends Push & Go Cat.

It has a clever internal mechanism that allows the toy to roll forward when the back is pushed down and released. So he’s had fun pressing it & watching it scoot across the wooden floor in the dining room. Ted just loves anything with wheels. He loves crawling around the floor pushing it around. It’s a lovely sturdy toy this one. If it can withstand some rough play & being thrown around by Ted.. then it can withstand anything lol.

Baby Einstein Colour Mixer. Both boys have LOVED playing with this toy. It’s such a gorgeous clever little toy this one. This lovely toy identifies colours and lights up as you experiment with different colour combinations with the beads. It flashes in a rainbow light show & plays music. You can also switch between music & spoken words which are in both English & French. It’s great as it introduces little ones to colours & helps to encourage motor skill development. 

The pictures really do not do this toy justice. It is absolutely stunning when you see it. In the box, it doesn’t look like much… but it really is a lovely toy. So many fun elements to it. It has kept both boys quiet. And again, it’s very sturdy & well made. So, perfect for little ones.

So, if you’re looking for some gifts & stocking fillers for the little ones – look no further. I’m always blown away with the quality & design of Hape.

Thank you so much for reading & hope you’ve fun this review useful!

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx

 

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative posts – I have received gifting &/or compensation for featuring some of these items, but all opinions are my own.

Getting Organised with my Personal Planner

19 Sep

Hi folks,

Well we all know how hectic life can be! Whether you’re studying, working or just trying to juggle life… things can become rather chaotic if you’re not properly organised. 

With the hubster teaching in a University & me myself coming from an Education background & obviously being a Mammy to a very sociable little boy, we tend to work on an academic calendar when planning events, vacations etc… My Personal Planner is just perfect for keeping everyone organised & knowing exactly where we all need to be! 


This year I decided to go for the square Planner as I thought it would fit into my handbag perfect. You’ll also notice that I have the matching ‘Blogging Book’. My blogging book is my trusty notebook. I write all of my ideas for blog posts when I’m on the move but find myself inspired. I also keep all of my top secret info on what’s coming next 🙂 along with contacts & other bits & bobs. Having the perfect notebook to hand is simply essential! 

So… what is so perfect about the Personal Planner? Well, you literally design it yourself from head to toe. You choose the layout, colour, design etc… I love that it has a wrap around elastic to keep it closed. I mean there’s nothing worse than everything from your handbag disappearing into your notebook & then all of the pages becoming ripped & crumpled. You can even choose the colour of the elastic. These books & planners are lovely & slimline too, so they’re not too bulky. There’s nothing worse than a heavy, bulky planner weighing down you’re fave handbag! The books & planners come with a clear hard plastic front & back cover too so they’ll stay looking nice & crease free.


Inside your planner you get a ruler which you can use as a marker. And yes… you get to choose the colour!!! You will also be given a handy clear pocket to keep essential papers in, receipts & stickers! Oh & you get a sheet of stickers too!!! I mean who does not love a sticker!? 

Everything about the inside of the planner is designed by you. You can choose your colours, layout, whether you want a section for notes or to do list. You can even have an area for your weekly menu! And if you notice in the collage picture – I have an overview of 2018 in the back – this is essential for planning those all important weekends away & vacations! 

If you create a profile/account on personal Planner you can upload & add your all important dates; Birthdays… Anniversarys etc… so each year you don’t have to sit & write them in. You just hit a button & hey pesto – they’ll be automatically added to your planner for you!!! I mean how amazing is that!? Just think of all the time you will save! 

So whether you’re looking for the perfect planner to take to school, college, university, work or to simply manage your whole entire life & family… this is most deffinitely the planner for you! 

You can find Personal Planner on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram or simply head to their Website

Thanks so much as always for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed this review. What are you waiting for!? Go order that planner! Oh… I almost forgot… you can also buy gift cards! Perfect as Christmas is just around the corner… 🙂 

Love & Huggles,

Hayley xxx