A Day in the Life of 17 Month Twins and 4 Year Old

I’ve been having fun lately making videos for my YouTube channel Tiddler Tales. My latest one is a day in the life of our 17 month old twins and 4 year old girl.

The twins have had this routine from about 16 months when they progressed from 2 to 1 naps and now at 18 months we are finding bedtime is creeping more towards 7:30pm if they have their 2 hour daytime nap as otherwise they were waking too early.

Their typical day goes like this:

6-6:30am Twins wake up. We change their nappy and take them downstairs. They usually play, we read them books and give them some water or very diluted squash in a non spill 360 cup (http://amzn.to/2zC2USi) Sometimes they’re hungry early and we give them a piece of fruit like banana.

7am Their big sister gets up when the sun comes on her Gro Clock (http://amzn.to/2Aie6Xi) and when she comes downstairs she has a drink of milk or diluted fruit juice and we sit down together for breakfast. They usually have shreddies or wheetabix or porridge. I often take the opportunity of the boys being in their highchairs to get showered and dressed then my husband will get ready once I’m back downstairs.

The twins and their big sis then get dressed, maybe another nappy change is often needed if they poop, and they have a little play whilst we get everything ready for nursery (3 days a week). Teeth cleaning happens in the pram before we leave for nursery or upstairs in the bathroom when I’m off work. We help the twins brush their teeth as they still just chew and suck on the toothbrush!

8:30am They leave for nursery (3 days a week)

9:15am Walk to a morning playgroup on Mondays; Drive to gymtots on Wednesdays; play at home or outside at the weekends; Sunday morning church.

10:30am Morning snack and drink (fruit/crackers/rice cakes/toast)

Play before lunch.

12pm Lunch

12:30-2:30pm Nap time. One-on-one time with my 4 year old.

2:30/3pm Afternoon snack and drink

Trip out or play at home or garden until tea time.

5pm Teatime

6-6:15pm Bathtime (every other night)

6:30 Bedtime milk in a bottle (8oz)

Get pyjamas on, read stories, clean teeth.

7pm Twins go to bed either at same time or often we stagger timings by 10 minutes to enable them to go to sleep in peace as they sometimes fuss for a few minutes. Our 4 year old will read stories and go to bed by 7:15pm too.


5 reasons to LOVE 5 o’clock…

Hell… That’s a pretty strong word isn’t it. That’s how I describe early morning waking. Feeling constantly shattered, unable to focus in work, energy depleted, starting the day grumpy, feeling trapped in a seemingly never ending cycle of a baby waking early. You feel helpless to control the situation.

I currently long to rewind the clock to a few weeks ago when they all slept until a decent hour (anything after 6am is considered decent for 1 year olds). Some people LOVE waking early. Each to their own. I love my sleep. I don’t expect to lie in til 8 every day (trust me, that’s a lie in!), I just want to sleep even until 6am!! Please!! I don’t swear… normally… I really don’t like starting each day with expletives but this period, worsened by clocks moving back whilst the twins were poorly has really gone on long enough.

I hate feeling negative all the time and nothing I try is working so I’ve decided instead to try and see the positives and get light hearted about.

5 reasons to LOVE 5 o’clock:

1) I save £14.99 a month on a gym membership. Think of all the calories I must burn pacing up and down the lounge trying to get “twin 1” back to sleep. If only he’d just snuggle into our bed and fall back to sleep.

2) I can spend more time on my blog… when the tiddler isn’t trying to grab my phone and press every button. He might try and tweet a photo of my bed hair and sheep onesie (the laptop is banned from the lounge since he smashed the screen and broke the keyboard).

3) I get to wear my favourite Cath Kidston dressing gown for longer. I’m getting my money’s worth especially when the scheduled heating hasn’t come on yet.

4) I can blame any blonde moments on sleep deprivation. Was that really me that put the back door keys in the bin or the feral toddler?

5) The sunrises are good for the soul and it’ll make me into a stronger, better person for going through this. If I chant that for long enough will it become true? Cos right now I’m weak, crumbling and grumpy… You best buy some shares in Kenco.

Watch this space for an inspirational blog about how we combatted and overcame early morning waking, but for now “I love waking early!” (Said no parent ever)

Anyone got any tips we might not have tried?

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Keeping Your Cool in a Heatwave

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It’s not very often that the heatwave hits Britain but when it does it’s a ‘big event’.

The sunscreen, hats, sunglasses come back out; people start bareing their pale legs; parents with tiddlers start worrying about sun burn, heat stroke, nursery room temperatures.

This last one is my main thing because if we all don’t get enough sleep it just spoils the next day. So I’m left with lots of questions at bedtime and I must drive my hubbie up the wall!

1) Should we leave the blackout blind up?

Sun turns the nursery into a greenhouse so we close the curtains in the day and put up the blackout blind up at bedtime. We’ve then you’ve got the dilemma that it stops any air flowing through the window. But if we don’t put it up the tiddler will probably wake with the sun at some ridiculous time. Also if we leave it up in the daytime black absorbs more heat right?

*collapse in heap of indecisive heat exhaustion*

2) Bedroom door… open or shut?

If we leave it open there’ll be a flow of air from the landing window / other bedrooms to keep the room cool but the light floods in at 4am and the tiddler might decide this is a sensible time to play!

*collapse in heap of indecisive heat exhaustion*

3) Should we leave the bedroom window open during the night?

We want cool air to come in (although it may not if the blackout blind is firmly suckered to the window edges) but also don’t want the tiddler waking with the bird chorus at some unearthly hour. And what if the tiddler can’t get to sleep because she can hear the older children next door still laughing and playing out in the sun?

*collapse in a heap of indecisive heat exhaustion*

4) Fan on or off?

We usually leave the window open and fan on in the hours leading up to bedtime to get the room to a comfortable temperature. But do you then leave it on? What if the tiddler wakes feeling draughty… but maybe the fan will provide enough white noise to relax the tiddler into a slumber state.

*collapse in a heap of indecisive heat exhaustion*

5) Covers on or off?

I know a few babies who will only go to sleep in the security of their grobag or under a cover. If they have covers it’s not so big a problem as they can just kick them off when they’re too hot but trying to unzip a gro bag without waking a more lightly sleeping hot and sweaty tiddler can be tricky. And what if they wake in the night and need the security of their bag / covers to get back to sleep? You can’t leave them to sweat it out though.

*collapse in a heap of indecisive heat exhaustion*

So there we are.

We thought bedtime was difficult enough.

Add in trying to make the above decisions when the sun had melted your brain!

It’s tough when after a busy day the most important thing is…

…sleep zzzzzzzzz…


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Day 3: Potty training and holiday travelling

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After holidaying from home for the last couple of days today we’re off to spend the next week in a caravan park in Ayrshire, Scotland. After seeing the tiddlers excitement at playing in the sand in the park I’m really looking forward to seeing her reaction to the beach which is 5 minutes walk away from our caravan. There’s also an indoor swimming pool, playground and children’s entertainment on site!

Potty training is on hold for the 5 hour car journey. I don’t fancy scrubbing a urine soaked car seat. For future journeys I’ve ordered a Car Seat Protector that also fits the pram.

Arriving at the caravan park was met with squeals of excitement as the tiddler explored her new home for the next week. We showed her the bedroom with her cot in as bedtime always seems to go well when she’s already explored!

The long nap on the car journey enabled us to stay up a bit later and make the most of our first night out in the complex. Thankfully even after the excitement of the children’s entertainment, dancing and being in a new place she went straight into her cot without a fuss and only woke once for her covers to be put back over. Great start despite the torrential rain!

Travelling London with a Toddler

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We all learn from experience when it comes to travelling with tiddlers… that’s what I told myself when several things went wrong on our recent adventure to London. We were invited down for a friend’s 30th birthday bash and as he was a longstanding friend of my husband’s I volunteered to look after our 18-month-old at bedtime so he could stay for the party and we’d spend the next couple of days sightseeing as a family.

When we travel we usually go by car and have all our ‘baby equipment’ in tow. This time we had a 2 and a half hour train journey followed by a couple of tube changes so had to travel light. No problem… We’ve done this before lots of times, how much harder could it be with a little person? As we usually take our travel cot everywhere in the car it slipped my mind to check the hotel actually had a cot! (They didn’t) After finding this out earlier in the week we just posted ours down “guaranteed” 48 hours delivery to arrive the same day we did! Except it just didn’t!!

Our tiddler had just started settling and sleeping amazingly the week before our trip and without a cot for her I ended up having a very frustrating couple of hours trying to get her to sleep on the floor, in our bed, in my arms… anywhere!!! Then she was just up and about during the night and subsequently by the morning we HAD to find a cot for the next night.

The weekend got worse before it got better… we rang the nearest Argos who definitely had a travel cot in stock according to their automated phone system and they opened at 9am according to the website. Great, reserved it. Arrived at said Argos at 9:15 and had to hang around for 45 mins waiting for them to open at 10am! And yes you guessed it, they definitely didn’t have a travel cot of any kind in stock. Fantastic. I was straight onto LateRooms.com and booked a 4* hotel for £54 including a cot and we got on with the day and tried to forget about the travel cot trauma!!


Visiting the Queen’s house!


We got the tube to Westminster and saw Big Ben, 10 Downing Street and then enjoyed a walk through St James’ Park in the sunshine. The tiddler was entertained by a variety of different ducks “rak rak”, chased a squirrel and when she got fussy we stopped for lunch before carrying on up to Buckingham Palace. We were entertained by the guards and Isabella pointing at them and shouting “daddy” was quite amusing. Met some friends, walked up the Mal and had a drink near Trafalgar Square while the tiddler napped. Then we realised we were near Covent Garden and they had an amazing display of all the James Bond cars featured in the films. After meeting another friend we wandered down to the river and crossed the bridge in glorious sunshine with views across various landmarks. I was amazed how much we were able to see without getting back on the tube, as negotiating the pushchair up and down the steps was one thing that worried me before. A handy tip someone told me before we travelled was to try and use tubes with a wheelchair symbol to make life easier but it’s not always possible.


“Wow!! Dine-saur!”


The next day we visited the Natural History Museum which I highly recommend with a tiddler! It’s free entry and they have a HUGE dinosaur skeleton in the entrance hall which was met by an excited “WOW DINE-SAUR, DINE-SAUR!!” as she nearly fell over backwards looking up at the enormous neck towering above her. They have a brilliant collection of every kind of animal you can think of and I was impressed how much it captivated our 18 month old. When lunchtime arrived they had a couple of cafés with a selection of sandwiches, fruit, and cakes at the usual tourist London prices you would expect but if you’d brought your own lunch there were some benches in the entrance hall. If you visit at a weekend I would expect long queues to get in. It was a Monday when we went and we still queued for 15 minutes. It was quiet once we were inside but they check every backpack at the entrance which takes time.



My top 6 tips for travelling through London with a tiddler:

1) Plan your route ahead to use wheelchair friendly tubes as much as possible. You can download a step-free tube route here.

2) Use a rucksack instead of a suitcase to free up your hands for carrying the tiddlers, pushing the pram, or lifting the pram up and down stairs on the tube.

3) Phone ahead to check the hotel has all the equipment you need e.g. travel cot available


Kensington Park Pond in the Sunshine

4) Use the parks – there’s so much green space in the city for tiddlers to run around safely. St James’ Park was good for feeding the ducks, Hyde Park has 3 playgrounds and the adjacent Kensington Park has the popular Princes Diana Memorial playground. For older children here is a list of adventure playgrounds across London.

5) Avoid queuing with an agitated tiddler to top up your Oyster Card as you can now use your contactless credit or debit card instead and it’s exactly the same price as using an Oyster Card and includes the same fare capping. You also save money by not topping up more than you’re going to use on the trip!

6) Download the Bubele App which gives you a guide to child friendly places around London. Go to bubeleapp.com and follow them on twitter @BubeleLondon


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My Top 10 Mummy Fails

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*No tiddlers were harmed (permanently) in the making of this post*

We’ve all had those moments. You doubt yourself as a parent. You feel sorry for your baby that had no say in the matter. Most of all you wonder whether you’re really fit to be responsible for someone so fragile and vunerable. Fortunately though when you chat to other parents you realise it’s not just you and that in fact everyone of us has had those moments. Just to make you all feel better here are my top 10 ‘Mummy Fails’. There have been many more I’m sure over the past 17 months that I’ve been parenting, but these are the ones that I haven’t blocked out of my memory for good.

So in order of severity, starting with the not-so-bad and ending with a corker that nearly had us calling the fire brigade!

Mummy Fail #10) Forgetting Nappies


Always carry a spare!

This is something that everyone will probably do at some point in their parenting lives… or maybe not. I got ready for our day out saying to myself “must refill the changing bag, must refill the changing bag….” in a kind of mantra fashion as I dashed around the house getting food for lunch, snacks, a change of clothes, a bottle of water, a book and a toy in case she gets bored in the car, a present for the birthday girl, hat and gloves, winter coat etc etc. I left the house and arrived at our destination without said nappies. Oops! Fortunately I wasn’t in the middle of nowhere and we promptly made a trip to the nearest shop to buy (very expensive!) nappies. D’oh!

Mummy Fail #9) Stranded Without Snacks


More Changing Bag Essentials

Snacks. They are every parent’s must have. It makes the day bearable, whether it’s a healthy pot of grapes or a quick-grab bag of rice cakes or the dreaded raisins that seem to make it into every nook and cranny of the car and pram. I never, ever leave the house without them… except when I do. Well… I only did it once and NEVER AGAIN!!

Mummy Fail #8) Forgetting to Change Nappy

I got home from the supermarket, quite pleased with myself that we’d managed to get round without any meltdowns and I’d got everything we needed for a change. Then I noticed the big wet patch… oh… her nappy that I put on 5 hours ago was a tad full. Oops! Felt quite bad but very lucky she hadn’t wet whilst we were out (sure I’ve got all that to come though when potty training).

Mummy Fail #7) Napping with a Musical Christmas Jumper


Offending Musical Christmas Jumper

This was a bad bad bad mistake. Our tiddler had been settling well for naps in the cot at the start of December after a few battles. That day she was wearing a Christmas jumper with a reindeer on the front. If you pressed the reindeer’s nose it played Jingle Bells. Unfortunately as she rolled onto her front the nose pressed and she was jolted awake to sound of Christmas tunes! She doesn’t resettle well if she wakes and this was one of those moments… I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time!!  This was a big nap #FAIL and the next hour was spent trying to get her back to sleep!

Mummy fail #6) Choking on a Letter

When my tiddler was 7 months old she wasn’t yet crawling but was just starting to turn on the spot and shuffle a little bit. I needed the toilet so set her up with a few toys around her. I wasn’t gone long and came back in to find her gagging and seemingly choking on something. As I hastily picked her up she promptly wretched and puked up her entire stomach contents including the offending chunk of paper. I had just opened my post and she had managed to reach the letter and chew a bit of paper off the corner.

Mummy fail #5) Distracted by Cup of Tea

There have been a few face planting moments in my tiddler’s development as she learnt to sit up by herself and crawl. This one, however, was well and truly my fault. My tiddler was 4 months old and I was at a baby group. I was sitting behind her as she was just starting to sit unaided for a few seconds at a time. She was doing quite well and someone tapped me on the shoulder to offer me a cup of tea. I turned around and got involved in a conversation over whether I wanted sugar, milk etc. when suddenly I was interrupted by shrill screams. My poor baby was face down on the hard wooden floor having fallen over sideways and missed the rug. She recovered fairly quickly and just sported a red mark on her forehead for the rest of the day just to remind me of my lapse of concentration.

Mummy Fail #4) Bedtime Fail

After a busy weekend away and travelling back up north at bedtime my then 3 month old struggled to transfer from the car into her cot. After we’d tried for a while to settle her I ended up pacing up and down the nursery in the dark until FINALLY the screams died down and she fell asleep in my arms. I waited a while before putting her in the cot but as I turned round I walked right into the Jumperoo which set off the music loudly playing the lively tune which sure enough woke her again!!! Frustrated doesn’t quite do justice to how I felt as I started back at square one trying to settle one extremely over-tired baby. I learnt from that to turn the Jumperoo fully off before bedtime!!

Mummy Fail #3) Letting my Phone Near the Bath

My tiddler, like many others, loves my phone. After all, a few presses of the screen and her beloved Peppa appears! The other day I made the mistake of letting her take hold of it as I was filling up the bath. She often throws her bath toys into the bath and decided to throw my phone in. She probably didn’t have a clue why I reacted the way I did but fortunately after an evening with the battery out drying over a radiator it survived the ordeal.

Mummy Fail #2) Misjudging the Cot

We went through a bad patch recently when my tiddler was teething and struggling to settle at bedtime. One night, after leaving her to cry and going in and out of her room, it got to the point where I ended up rocking her. I usually keep the landing light on and the door partially open but the doorstop moved and I was plunged into pitch blackness. I settled her in my arms and as I put her in the cot I misjudged where the end was and her head hit the wooden headboard. The screams hit the roof and that was the end of my tether so and I handed her over to my husband and left the room to calm down.

Mummy Fail #1) Toilet Seat Stuck

Last weekend saw the biggest ever mummy fail which inspired this blog post. We have a trainer toilet seat which we bought a bit prematurely as it was on offer but she likes to sit on it on the floor when I sit on the toilet. Anyway, on Sunday I saw her playing with the toilet seat and putting it on her head like a hat but I was in the middle of doing something in the kitchen and I knew the seat was clean as she doesn’t actually use it yet. Suddenly she started whining and fussing and the seat was over her head and round her neck! She was starting to panic and cry, trying to pull it off her head. I just thought, well it went on, it must come off right? Not so easily! I started to fret as I pulled at the toilet seat and pressed in her ears trying to pull the darn thing off and it would. not. budge.

My husband was upstairs having a nap and was awoken to me running up the stairs shouting “Help! The toilet seat’s stuck on her head!!” I ran into the bedroom carrying a distressed tiddler with toilet seat attached and together we attempted to prise it off her head. So many thoughts went through my head: “What if we can’t get it off?”; “If we have to take her somewhere to get it taken off she wouldn’t fit in the car seat with a toilet seat round her head!”; “Do we call 999 to get the fire brigade to cut it off?”.


The toilet seat that was stuck over her head.

Suddenly I had a light bulb moment! I got the baby oil which was bought when I was pregnant as one of the must-have baby essentials and then stood unopened on the shelf… maybe it was waiting for this moment? After covering her hair with oil the seat finally worked its way off. Tears poured down her face and I cuddled her tightly vowing never to let her play with that toilet seat again!!

As I told my friends about this incident, who found it partly hilarious, I was gutted I didn’t take a photo and relieved to discover we were’t the only ones. My friend sent this link she’d seen and the incident happened the same day as us!!


So there are my Top 10 #mummyfails. I’ve learnt from each and every one but am sure I will keep making mistakes. Some things are inevitable mishaps, some are things we really should know better about but they really don’t make us bad parents. We are pushed to limit, made to multitask on a daily basis, and often quite sleep deprived so I challenge anyone to say they’ve never had a parent fail moment.

Have you had any big oops moments? I’d love to hear any mummyfails or parentfails you’ve had with your tiddlers! Comment below or tweet me @tiddlertales. 😀
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Ending our Breastfeeding Journey – Part 2: Self-Settling

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Self-settling… this is every parent’s dream. For some, it sadly stays just a dream at least until the child is older (I don’t know many adults that still need their mummy to help to get them to sleep). However, for others it can actually become an amazing reality and one that makes bedtime and naptime stress-free, predictable and most of all a God-send! It usually enables the baby / toddler to be able to sleep through the night. I’ve read a few books on this subject and most agree that this is something you must teach your child… I don’t really like the phase ‘train them’ but I have to agree from personal experience these tiddlers need a bit of encouragement and consistency until they get the message it’s sleep time.

I’m going to talk through a few things I’ve found to be useful, some techniques we’ve used and I hope this can help another sleep deprived parent out there. I’ll tie this in with breastfeeding weaning as I feel encouraging self-settling for us tied in with night weaning and stopping breastfeeding at bedtime.

1) Establish a Routine

The idea of just going with the flow seems appealing at first. Babies seem unpredictable initially and you don’t always know when they’re going to get hungry or tired. Eventually a little routine does appear, even from as young as 3 months, if not younger. In my personal experience it is hard work, if not impossible, for a baby to self-settle to sleep when they are overtired. My baby only starts showing obvious sleep cues when she is already overtired and so by the time I tried to settle her to sleep it was hard work… lots of tears, rocking, sometimes just breastfeeding to sleep. I soon realised I was going to have to clock watch and make sure I jumped in there before we reached the dangerous overtired realm.

I remember when my baby was 5 months old and it was a morning when my family were visiting and she was quite happily playing. I picked her up and said “right it’s time you had a sleep”. My mum immediately said “but she doesn’t even look tired”. I took her up to her cot, brought down the video baby monitor and showed her the picture of her fast asleep and she was shocked! I’d like to say every nap time was that smooth… by all means it was NOT! However if you keep at a good routine, your baby will learn to know what happens next, you know what your day will look like and when to arrange trips out, and most importantly you will have a much happier, more content baby (not to mention mum!).

2) Controlled Crying for Wimps

Once you’ve got a nice routine established it’s time to start gently encouraging your baby or toddler to fall asleep on their own. Different people find different techniques work and generally up until 4 months the ‘shush, pat’ technique works well. We started controlled crying at about 4 months. There’s text-book controlled crying which has good recommendations by the NHS and then there’s “controlled crying for wimps” that we did. For nap times and bedtimes I’d go through the same routine in this order (except adding in bath, milk and stories at bedtime):

1) Change her nappy whilst ssshhhhing
2) Put her into a sleeping bag (and pjs at bedtime)
3) Say “it’s sleepy time now, night night” whilst drawing the curtains (also used a Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind)
4) Put her down awake in the cot and walk out the room.

… and initially she’d cry. I timed 1 minute… a very, very long minute. Then went back in and she’d need calming. Then I’d walk out again and she’d cry again. I got braver and timed a longer 2, maybe 3 minutes. I kind of made it up really by listening to her cries. If she cried on and off with pauses I gradually learnt this was her way of ‘crying down’ to sleep and I could leave her longer and only went in if the cries became continuous and accelerated. I found going back into her usually made her crying worse so listening to her cry and the type of cry was really important. Some days she’d just ‘cry down’ for a couple of minutes until she fell asleep. The longest was probably 15 mins of on and off tired crying but I knew it was worth it when she needed the sleep and woke a refreshed and happier baby!

If the cries accelerated and she was overtired I’d usually just breastfeed her to sleep. If I got the timing right I could just put her down and she’d go off to sleep without any fussing which is brilliant! I found it all comes down to timing and getting the routine right and making adjustments as they get older.

3) Weaning off Feeding to Sleep; our version of “Pick Up, Put Down”

So you might be thinking “but controlled crying worked for you so why did you start doing pick up put down?” Well… we went through period of colds, hand, foot and mouth, another developmental leap, holidays and the combination of all those, plus starting to spend days at nursery when I returned to work, put her out of sync and overtired. She really struggled to self settle so we became reliant on the pram or car for naps again and feeding to sleep at bedtime and the night wakings had started again. This all took its toll on me as I needed sleep to function at work and my neck pain flared up during breastfeeding.

When we decided to re-teach self-settling at 12 months and wean off breastfeeding at night, controlled crying more often than not caused the cries to accelerate and we found she calmed better with cuddles. Returning to work was also a hard time of separation so I found this method best for both of us. My husband took over bedtime and if all else failed I stepped in with the boobies! It actually went surprisingly well and we started seeing a difference within the first week.

First night:
– breastfeed earlier downstairs
– husband took up and changed into pjs and read stories
– played in the cot with dim lighting to get her used to it.
– started fussing so he rocked her, walked around the nursery and sang until she settled in his arms.
– put her down in the cot once settled and she cried so left room for a minute
– went in and rocked again until asleep and put her down asleep.
– during night she woke once at 10:30 and wouldn’t settle rocking so needed a short feed.

Second night:
– bath and change into pjs
– breastfeed in light room then hand over to husband
– read stories whilst rocking in chair
– put down in cot and screamed so rocked her until calm (2 minutes)
– put down and was quiet for 30seconds then stood up and cried so rocked again until calm (30 seconds)
– put down in cot, rolled over and slept!
– woke once in the night and husband rocked to sleep.

Continued as above for first week with husband going in during the night if she woke and gradually reducing the rocking motion and putting down as soon as settled. If she cried when we put her down we’d leave for 1-3 mins before returning to pick up.

By the second week she’d cry when first put down but after leaving her for a minute we pick her up and she mostly goes calm straight away within 10 seconds. We’d then put her down awake but calm and she would be able to get herself to sleep. We continued doing the same if she woke at night which worked 90% of the time. Some nights it was easier to just give a quick breastfeed if she really wouldn’t settle.

3) Weaning off Breastfeeding onto Other Sources of Milk

I was quite fortunate when my baby was little that I was able to interchange the breast and bottle whenever was convenient. My husband would do the dream feed until 11pm with a bottle of expressed milk which we started reducing at 6 months and completely stopped at 7 months. If I ever went out I was confident she’d be fine with a bottle. When I started back at work when the tiddler was 10 months old I’d breastfeed morning and night and she’d take a bottle in the afternoon from the childminder.

At around 11 months old I started introducing a bottle a bedtime but until we taught self settling she’d need a breastfeed afterwards as part of her wind down to sleep routine. My plan was to make bath, bottle, bed her routine and encourage self settling however… At 12 months old the tiddler suddenly decided she no longer wanted to take a bottle. Now in hindsight this wasn’t a bad thing as she now confidently drinks from a cup but at the time it ruined my weaning plan!

I tried milk in every kind of other cup initially, it didn’t matter whether it was cows milk, formula or expressed milk she just suddenly seemed disgusted by all of it!!!! I was so frustrated at time. Anyway one day she was hankering after my (luke warm) cup of tea so I let her have a sip and she seemed to love it. So I had a brainwave and decided to put a decaf tea bag in an inch or 2 of boiling water, filled the rest with full fat milk and pretended it was my cup of tea. Sure enough she was desperate to try some. It was a bit messy so I put a straw in for her and she drank the lot! Over the next week I gradually made it more milky until one day just switched it for all milk and she didn’t notice a difference!

Since 13 months our routine has been like this:

  • 6:30-7am wake
  • Milk on waking
  • 7:30/45am breakfast
  • (9:30am catnap for 15-20 mins until dropped this consistently at 15 months)
  • 11:30-12 lunch
  • 12pm nap for between 1.5-2.5 hours (able to make this later start if had a morning nap)
  • 3pm snack
  • 5pm tea
  • 6pm bath
  • 6:15-30 milk and stories wind down in bedroom

As your baby grows developmentally you may need to find other tricks to encourage self-settling as we found we had set backs, especially during the ‘leaps’ and periods of illness. We also struggle with not having a set routine every day as with the childminder she won’t sleep for very long and therefore is overtired by bedtime. This sometimes has an impact on the next day and I still occasionally breastfeed if she wakes early or won’t settle rocking. I’m finding now at 16 months she is less interested in feeding and will just snuggle into our shoulders when she’s tired. I can’t say our breastfeeding journey is completely over yet as we still sometimes have set backs with self-settling and recently when she had a vomiting bug and wouldn’t drink water I knew she was getting fluid through comfort breastfeeding. When she’s well though she settles well and mostly sleeps through the night.

I’d be interested to hear what techniques you’ve used to help your baby to sleep through the night, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked? There’s so much controversy around different techniques people use but at the end of the day you have to do what works for you and your family so you all get a decent night’s sleep!

New Years Resolutions for 2015… dream on!

225 Thoughts

After the busyness leading up to Christmas and travelling up and down the M6 visiting family I really like that time before New Year. I always try to take some time off work and just relax, catch up on sleep (taking turns to have a lie in!) and reflect on the previous year and what New Years Resolutions I want to try and keep for the year ahead. 2014 was an exciting year watching our little newborn develop and grow into a little toddler with personality, charm and of course some cheekiness! We’ve had some fun holidays, I celebrated my 30th in Crete, we’ve had a couple of nights away from the tiddler (although one of these was spent throwing up into the toilet… not alcohol related… another illness passed around the family and friends), celebrated her Christening and 1st birthday, had the excitement of a road and ferry trip to Germany for a wedding, and had several playdate weekends with her cousins.  This year I resolve to do the following things to ensure our family has an even happier and more fun-filled New Year.

  1. I resolve to stop feeling guilty about too much screen time… it’s not like my tiddler spends her days sat in front of the TV, just sometimes in the evening before tea when she’s starting to get hungry and tired, it has saved me from my toddler escaping across the room with her pooey bottom sticking in the air and having to retrieve her just before she sits on the cream carpet.
  2. I resolve to watch what I say. I don’t have a particular potty mouth but with my tiddler saying new words now almost daily she’s bound to pick up on the odd word uttered when I break something or when there’s a looney driver cutting me up at a junction. She copies sounds amazingly well and is sure to pick up on slip-of-the-tongue words or phrases and blurt them out at some inappropriate moment.
  3. I resolve to make tea with 2 hands… the one-handed tea making usually occurs when a nap has gone wrong or when I’ve been in work and the arrival home is fraught with an overtired and over-hungry tiddler. This I can’t do much about really except revert to resolution number 1. I just might have to use more of my free childminding service in the form of Peppa Pig or Mr Tumble.
  4. I resolve to get down on the floor more and play WITH my tiddler instead of burying my head in my phone (usually on Facebook, Twitter, or writing down ideas for the next blog). This hit home to me when I was down on the floor with her but had to send a quick text and she came up to me, furrowed her brow looking very disgruntled and pushed my phone away with a “naahh”. That was me told!
  5. I resolve to take my tiddler swimming more… We went quite regularly up until she was 10 months old and then just a combination of working the days we usually went and her picking up continuous illnesses from the other kids at the childminders’ meant we just haven’t been very often. I loved swimming as a child and want her to grow up with that confidence in water too.
  6. I resolve never to meet a childless friend for coffee at their house. ALWAYS meet in a public place… preferably one with toys. There are usually no breakable ornaments, precious photo frames or glass vases within reach. Otherwise, it’s not the most relaxing catch-up, and makes following an adult conversation nearly impossible when you’re diving off the sofa every few sentences to stop your friend’s home from being destroyed.
  7.  I resolve to have a date night with “Daddy Pig” once a month… at LEAST. This will involve changing out of my puke-stained, pasta-sauce-smeared clothes, washing my hair, shaving my legs and finding some “going out” clothes at the back of my wardrobe and actually going OUT! Of course babysitter availability permitting!
  8. I resolve to keep my resolutions this year!

Wishing you all an even happier and fun filled 2015! What are your resolutions? Please leave me some comments and set some resolutions too xxx