Gabriel is three years old

The birthday boy 10 days before his actual birthday

I am writing this sitting in Starbucks as Gabe has his second settling in session at his new nursery. At just three years old this will be the fourth nursery he’s gone to so we’ve been through all this several times before. I know he’ll be fine, and I really think that once he’s settled this nursery will be better for him than the preschool he was at before but it doesn’t make leaving him upset any easier. Read more

Getting ready for preschool // + My NameTags Giveaway

Getting ready for preschool with MyNameTags

After five weeks of holiday we now only have one week to go before Toby goes back to school and Gabe starts at his new nursery. He was going to the local preschool last year but as it is only open for 18 hours a week and we are entitled to the 30 funded hours he is moving to a different private nursery where he will be going into the preschool room. Read more

Top tips for surviving with a toddler in a plaster cast

Gabe at the pool with his cast protector on

If you’re a regular reader then you may know that Gabe managed to break a bone in his foot by jumping off the sofa a couple of weeks ago. After a bedtime trip to A & E he ended up in a plaster cast to below his knee. We were actually really lucky that it healed quickly and he only had the cast on for 11 days but I thought I’d share a few tips for coping with a toddler in a plaster cast. Read more

Gabriel is 18 months old

Well, OK, Gabe is actually 19 months old by the time I’m finally getting round to writing this, but hey, who’s counting?

So what can I tell you about Gabe at 18 months old? Well, I could start with his vital statistics, except I only know he’s about 83cm tall, and is wearing size 4 shoes. I have no idea how much he weighs! He is mostly wearing 18-24 month clothes (or 86 in European sizes) so he is definitely smaller than Toby was at this age – he was already moving into 2-3 clothes at 18 months, and had size 6 feet!

Gabe the cheeky chops is 18 months old

There are quite a few similarities between Toby and Gabe at 18 months though. At this age Toby could only say Dada, hiya, see saw, what’s that and shoe. Gabe’s vocabulary so far includes Read more

Gabriel is one year old

One year old already! Well actually it was Gabe’s birthday a week and a half ago but you know, life. Seriously though, I don’t know where the time goes. It doesn’t seem two minutes since I was high on gas and air, laughing because the midwife could see my bum, while Barry fed me jelly babies…and then Gabriel was born on our living room floor looking the absolute image of Toby when he was born.

Gabriel is one year old

And yet here we are, one year later. In a different house, a long way from the living room where that home birth happened.

First birthday Grimm's rainbow

I’m not going to pretend it’s been an easy year. With reflux, endless coughs and colds, chicken pox and the inevitable teething, Gabe has not had the easiest first year. There hasn’t been a huge amount of sleep for any one and I reckon I must have spent at least 50% of the last year rocking, pacing, pushing, driving, singing… doing anything I could to get Gabe to go to sleep and stay asleep. Things are slowly improving but he has still only ever slept through the night twice, and one of those was when he was about four months old. I know things will get better eventually – Toby didn’t really sleep well until he was two and a half and now he sleeps from 8 pm until 8 am nearly every night with the odd wake up every couple of weeks for a bad dream.

Apart from the sleep thing though (oh, and the not eating, but we’ll get to that later) Gabe is doing great. He’s developing a proper little personality now, he loves playing peekaboo and has just discovered the hilarious game of hiding under one of Toby’s muslins. He’s not walking or standing unaided yet, but he can crawl super fast, pulls himself up on everything and is cruising like a demon. He’s just like Toby though and won’t walk, or even stay standing if you hold his hands. He wants to do it by himself, his way.

Getting his own toys

He’s started being much more independent with his play too, and will happily go and get a toy (or all the toys!) out of one of the boxes and sit and play by himself. We’ve even started to get a few moments of Toby and Gabe actually playing together, or at least playing side by side without trying to grab things off each other so that’s a start!

Gabe loves babbling away to himself too, and anyone who is listening – favourite words are still hiya and dada but just this week he has started saying mama too which is very cute. He still has a dummy for sleeping but he’s not that fussed for it the rest of the time and will usually take it out himself if we forget.

My baby is one year old

Weaning though, is slow going and we seem to have really regressed in the last few weeks. Gabe has always been quite fussy about food, which I think is probably related to his reflux. After seeing the consultant before we left Scotland though his reflux seems to be pretty much under control but still Gabe hardly eats any solid food. He was doing really well with eating for a while – I’ll admit he was mostly eating shop bought pouches, but he would eat some finger foods too. In the last month or so though he has decided he doesn’t really like being spoon fed so I have been giving him bits of what we are eating but he hardly touches that either. He still likes fruit pouches and he sucks it straight from the pouch himself. He’ll usually eat banana, and rice cakes, and bizarrely Linda McCartney sausages, but that’s about the only things he’s guaranteed to eat. He still has three bottles during the day and usually one in the night. I did try reducing his milk a bit but all that seemed to do was make him constipated and grumpy. He’s still growing and putting on weight fine so I guess I just need to keep offering him different things and hope that one day he gets an appetite. He’s just so different to Toby who has always had a massive appetite and when he was one he ate almost anything you put in front of him. I know I shouldn’t really compare them anyway. Gabe is nowhere near as big as Toby was at this age so maybe he just doesn’t need as much food as he did.

We didn’t really have any celebrations for Gabe’s birthday – in fact he went to nursery on his birthday so we just did some present opening when Barry got home from work. My mum and dad are on holiday at the moment and Barry’s mum has just had an operation on her back so we’re planning on having a bit of a house warming/ birthday party for both boys when everybody will be able to come.

Gabe checking out his birthday presents

Of course Gabe thought the wrapping paper was way more interesting than the presents, and Toby did plenty of helping with the unwrapping too!

The paper is more interesting than the presents

So there we are  – my baby boy is one. We definitely aren’t planning on any more babies so this will be the last time I write a one year update. I know lots of people feel sad when they realise there aren’t going to be any more babies but I can only be happy we’ve got through the last year and look forward to all the adventures that are still to come. And sleep. I’m looking forward to one day, hopefully one day soon, actually getting a full night’s sleep again.

0-12 months

Gabriel is eleven months old

I only got round to writing Gabe’s 10 month update a couple of weeks ago so not much has happened since even though this update is slightly late too. Eleven months old seems to have come round very quickly – I can’t believe Gabe is going to be one next month!

Gabriel is eleven months old

We’re still waiting for tooth number eight to appear so there’s been quite a lot of whinging still, and for the about a week he’s being refusing to eat anything much apart from fruit pouches. The last day or two he has started eating again but still no tooth!

Of course the lack of appetite could also be a bit of a reaction to the total disruption to his routine and the heat – since last Thursday we’ve been living with my parents until hopefully we get the keys to our new house next week, so everything has been different for him the last few weeks.

Despite my high hopes for Gabe’s new reflux medication it hasn’t quite been the wonder cure I thought it might be. He does seem marginally more comfortable at night he is still waking up at least a couple of times and often wants to get up around 5 am. Having said that, we have had a couple of nights where I’ve brought him into bed with me sometime in the early hours of the morning and he’s slept until nearly 7 am so maybe the tide is slowly changing…

Gabe standing at the TV

Gabe is the most active baby I’ve ever seen though so I don’t know how he manages on so little sleep sometimes. He never sits still, he’s always crawling off or pulling himself up. If you try and hold him he’s super-wriggly and often will try and dive out of your arms onto the floor. He is cruising round the furniture like a pro now and doesn’t seem to need to hold on for balance quite as much any more. I don’t think it will be too long before we see him standing on his own and even walking.

Gabe sitting in the bath

He’s loving the bath now too – he’s always quite enjoyed it but up until the last week or too wouldn’t sit in the bath so he couldn’t really do much. He’s decided he’s happy to sit now though so he can play with all the toys and the bubbles. We might even brave trying to give Toby and Gabe a bath together soon.

Gabe is eleven months old

Apart from the teething and lack of appetite Gabe has actually been much cheerier for the last few weeks. It could have something to do with the fact that we have actually, for the first time in what feels like months, had a couple of weeks where he hasn’t been ill!

That’s about it for this month I think. Gabe is eleven months old and I still can’t believe that next month I’ll be writing that he is one! And hopefully we’ll be all settled in our new house and I’ll be telling you that he’s sleeping through the night…well I can dream right?

0-11 months

Wishing away the baby days // Living with reflux

When Gabe was born I knew there was a good chance that he could suffer with reflux just like Toby had. I thought that having been through it once I would be better prepared to cope with a reflux baby the second time round but that didn’t stop the disappointment when I realised that, at just a few days old, Gabe was showing all the signs of reflux that Toby had; being sick after every feed, sometimes hours later, the back-arching, the hiccups, the gulping, the awful screaming if you tried to put him on his back… the list goes on.

Wishing away the baby days - living with reflux

At least this time I took Gabe to see our GP when he was only a week old and we were prescribed Infant Gaviscon, a week later we added ranitidine too. It took six weeks of screaming and trying to console an inconsolable baby before we got to the same place with Toby. But whereas with Toby the Gaviscon and rantidine controlled his symptoms reasonably well, Gabe hasn’t been so lucky.

The Gaviscon has mostly stopped the vomiting, although he can still be a bit sick, and sometimes hours after a feed. But despite increasing the dose in line with his weight the ranitidine just doesn’t seem to be controlling Gabe’s symptoms as well. If you’ve been reading my blog over the last few months you’ll know that Gabe has been almost constantly ill since about February, and every time he is ill, whether it’s a cold, or a stomach bug, or teething, his reflux gets 10 times worse.

He isn’t too bad during the day but at night reflux really rears its ugly head. Most bedtimes involve at least half an hour of crying (from him and me!), standing up and swaying, rocking, singing, doing anything I can to get him to calm down and sleep. A really bad bedtime can see the crying continue for up to four hours; even going out in the buggy or car doesn’t always work to get him to sleep.

And then once he is asleep he can wake two or three times every night, needing milk to settle him back to sleep every time, and then he’s awake and ready to start the day sometime between 4:30 and 5:30 am, usually having spent the second half of the night in bed with me.

And now, after 10 and a half months of this, I am physically and emotionally broken. My arms and back are in constant pain from holding and rocking a stone and a half of baby every night. The lack of sleep is getting harder and harder to cope with. I have spent the last 10 months simply existing from one day to the next. Instead of enjoying Gabe’s baby days I have been simply wishing them away until he reaches the next milestone that might bring with it an improvement in his reflux. Some babies get better when they can sit up, when they start eating solid food, when they need less milk, when they can stand up…. but we are still waiting for the improvement to come.

I can’t wait until Gabe is fully weaned and doesn’t need bottles any more. I can’t wait until he only needs one nap a day, and then no naps, so we don’t have to spend so long fighting to get him to sleep, and Barry doesn’t have to spend huge chunks of his time pushing him round the streets in the buggy just so he’ll have a nap. I can’t wait until he’s got all his teeth and we don’t have to suffer the endless sleeping nights that teething brings. I can’t wait until he can talk and then at least he can tell us what’s wrong and where it hurts instead of constantly having to guess and hope that whatever we’re doing is helping.

I know, really, that the only thing that will bring an improvement in Gabe’s reflux is time. We thought Toby was over his reflux when he was about the age Gabe is now and we weaned him off all his medication. But six months later we realised that wasn’t the case and got him back on ranitidine…and then it took until he was two and a half to finally get him medication free.

Two weeks ago we finally got to see a paediatrician at the hospital after being referred by our GP back in April. Thankfully this doctor agreed that Gabe’s reflux still isn’t under control and has prescribed him omeprazole to try. Gabe has been taking his new medicine for just over two weeks now and it does seem to be helping. He has been more settled at bedtime but he’s still waking up in the night wanting milk, although perhaps not so often. He is teething quite badly at the moment too though so it’s hard to tell. It’s teeth numbers seven and eight that are on their way, one has just cut and so hopefully the other isn’t too far behind and then perhaps we can all get a bit more sleep.

Of course then we’re moving house next week which will be a massive upheaval for everyone. I’m really hoping we see an improvement in Gabe’s sleep soon though because I have a feeling the move will bring with it some disturbed nights from Toby too.

I’m in a Facebook group called ‘Living with reflux’ which is mostly for parents of children with reflux. I know from reading the stories on there that there are so many families who are dealing with situations much worse than ours and I really feel for them. But still, I can’t help but feel sad that reflux has stolen much of the enjoyment from both my babies’ early years. I have spent the majority of the time wishing for them to be over. And even though we never had any plans for a third baby, there is no way I would risk having another baby with reflux. I just couldn’t cope with this again.

 

Gabriel is ten months old

Yep. That’s right. Gabe is ten months old. Another two months and he’ll be one. And actually because I’m so late writing this month’s update he’ll actually be one in just over six weeks!

Gabriel is ten months old

When I wrote Gabe’s nine month update he had about 10 chicken pox spots and I was hoping he was going to get away with a mild dose but no such luck. A couple of days later and he was covered; they were all over his body, his bum, his face, his head, in his ears, eyes and mouth….it was horrible and he really suffered for the next week. Despite not scratching any of his spots he has ended up with a few scars on his body and one right between his eyes – hopefully it will fade a bit over time but I don’t see what else we could have done to avoid them.

And it just doesn’t get any better for my littlest bear – the week after he had recovered from his chicken pox he got another stomach bug. He was sick one evening then seemed OK overnight but was sick five times the next day. After he’d got over that he seemed to be really struggling with his reflux and then started teething again… It really is never ending! Despite all the illness we have still managed to get out and about a bit this month and Gabe seemed to enjoy having a go on the swing a few weeks ago.

Enjoying the swing

Hopefully though there is some light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel. I can actually feel a tooth on one side and the other one doesn’t seem to be too far away. And last week we finally got to see a paediatrician at the hospital after being referred back in April. The doctor has prescribed Gabe some new medicine and so far it does seem to be helping so fingers crossed things are on the up at last and we can all start getting a bit more sleep soon! At the moment Gabe is still up at least once or twice a night (and often more) and is usually awake and wanting to get up at some time between 4:30 and 5 am. Most nights he ends up in bed with me in the early hours too. I wouldn’t say I was an enthusiastic co-sleeper but I just do whatever I can to get as much sleep as possible at this point.

In spite of all the illness Gabe has made some big developmental leaps in the last month. He is super speedy at crawling now, making it very difficult to get this month’s milestone card picture!

Gabe won't stay still

He has learnt to pull himself up to standing which he is incredibly pleased with himself about. He’s started cruising along the furniture too. It does mean we have to be in a state of constant vigilance though as he is still a bit unstable and hasn’t quite worked out how to sit back down properly yet either so he always seems to be seconds away from causing himself an injury!

Gabe only wants to stand up

Our progress with weaning has been slow this month as being ill and teething has affected Gabe’s appetite quite a lot and I think because of that he has’t really grown or put on much weight in the last month either. His co-ordination is improving all the time though and he is getting much better at feeding himself finger foods, although he is still mostly spoon-fed. I’m hoping we can get him more used to lumpier food over the next couple of months and he can eat the same as the rest of the family. He usually has three bottles of milk during the day now, but also has at least one or two during the night as well. I’m hoping that getting his reflux under control will help us stop the night feeds too.

Gabe enjoying some lunch

Gabe has also started making much more distinguishable sounds now too. He says hiya and although we’ve not quite got Dada yet he does say ‘a-da’ instead. It’s very cute.

I think that’s probably about it for this month’s update. When it comes time to write Gabe’s eleven month update we will be mid house move and he’ll have to deal with lots of disruption to his normal routine. We’ll be leaving the house he was born in which is a little bit sad but hopefully by this time next month we will be getting settled into our forever home. And please, everybody, send all your wellness vibes this way because I would love Gabe to have a month where he isn’t ill at all.

0-10 months

 

 

Gabriel is nine months old

I’m a bit late with this month’s update – Gabe was actually nine months old last week while we were on holiday at Center Parcs but with that, house viewings and the chicken pox I’m only just getting round to writing this.

Gabriel is nine months old

Well in last month’s update I said I hoped there would be less illness this month but unfortunately that hasn’t really been the case. On top of his habitual cold Gabe has also had a stomach bug which he caught off Toby but whereas Toby was just sick a couple of times then back to normal after a couple of days, Gabe had really nasty nappies for almost two weeks. Almost as soon as he got over that Toby got the chicken pox and then it was inevitable Gabe would get it too. His first spot appeared on Monday and today he’s still only got about 10 so I’m really hoping that is it and he is going to escape with only a mild dose of the pox. On top of all that he is still suffering with his reflux, particularly it seems at bedtimes, and our paediatrician appointment which was scheduled for 17th June (already about three months after we were referred by the GP) has now been moved to 15th July!

What do you mean it's the wrong way round

On a happier note Gabe hasn’t had any more teeth this month, although I did think he nasty nappies were due to teething for a while. Weaning has been a bit all over the place, along with Gabe’s appetite this month. He’s still being spoon fed most of his meals but he is getting much better and chewing lumpier food, and at picking different foods up and eating them himself. Rice cakes and yoghurt have been firm favourites this month along with lots of different pouch meals (we’ve mostly been using the HiPP Organic 7+ month ones). We’ve also changed Gabe’s formula to HiPP Organic this month. I’d heard that a lot of reflux babies find it gentler on their tummies, and I was also hoping the prebiotics in it would help get his insides back to normal after the stomach bug. I don’t know if it has actually made any difference but he isn’t any worse so we’re going to stick with it for the moment.

Gabe enjoying lunch

With all the illness, and the disruption of a holiday sleep is still rather illusive. We’re having lots of night waking still but whereas I used to be able to settle him with his dummy and a rub on the back or a cuddle now he nearly always needs milk to get back to sleep. I’m pretty sure this is because of his reflux rather than hunger as Toby used to be exactly the same. It never made any difference how much he ate during the day he would still need milk if he woke in the night. At least for now Gabe does usually go back to sleep quickly after he’s had his milk so I don’t have to be awake for too long in the night. We’ve been doing quite a bit of co-sleeping this month too – mostly when he wakes for the second time at about 4 am and isn’t that keen on going back to sleep. Usually if I bring him in bed with me at that point we manage another hour or two of sleep.

Crawling takes concentration

The big development this month has been that Gabe has started crawling! He started off just commando crawling but in the last few days he’s pretty much crawling up on his hands knees. Which means nothing is safe any more and we’ve had to break out the playpen again. Gabe isn’t a huge fan for any length of time but at least it gives me somewhere safe to put him for a few minutes while I go to the loo or something!

Crawled for the first time

I haven’t had Gabe weighed for ages now but using the probably very inaccurate method of weighing myself then both of us together he weighs 19lb 3oz. He’s still wearing 9-12 month clothes but I think we’re going to have to move into the next size soon, at least for sleepsuits as he is so long, especially with a massive night time cloth bum too!

Gabriel from 0-9 months

I think that’s all for this month, I just really, really, really hope Gabe makes it to 10 months without getting ill again!