The Dummy Debate

Sunday, 22 December 2013

This is a question that comes up time and time again and people tend to be quite divided on it, they're a bit like marmite in the parenting world.

At the start of my pregnancy, N and I were quite against dummies and just said that we weren't going to bother with them. Our main reason for this was because we didn't want Oscar getting into a bad habit with it and refusing to go to sleep/settle without one or waking up all the time in the night for us to put it back in.

However, when we were out shopping for baby things, I thought I might as well pick a pack up and use them if we felt that they'd be beneficial to Oscar in helping soothe him. - N wasn't too pleased about this but I just said we didn't have to use them if we didn't want to but at least the option was there.

I decided to pick up the Tommee Tippee dummies as we had the bottles (we switched to Avent a couple of weeks after he was born as the teats kept collapsing on themselves) and according to their website/packaging they help support the natural shape of baby’s growing palate and have a special teat that expands gently across the roof of the mouth which to support healthy teeth and gum development.
Dummies by other brands such as Avent and Mothercare's own range also offer the same thing though so there's quite a large selection to choose from and it's pretty much from an aesthetic point of view which ones you go for.

Once Oscar arrived it's needless to say that we did indeed go down the dummy route. For the first few days we were sans dummy and then in a moment of desperation when he was really upset, we decided to pop one in and see if it would help calm him down.

It did.

From that point on, if Oscar was upset for no main reason such as a feed/change/sleep etc, we would try him with his dummy and see if that was what he wanted. He would go down with it at every sleep time but we did encounter the issue we had feared where when it came out when he was sleeping, he would wake and cry for it until we popped it back in.

It was when we went away for a week and he was sleeping in his travel cot in a different room that we really had a problem, he was waking numerous times in the night rather than just occasionally and sometimes we were no sooner back in bed than it had fallen out again. This made for a couple of very tired parents and an unsettled night for Ozzy.

However, this all soon came to a stop as he seemed to find his thumb at about 12 weeks old and that solved all of our dummy related issues. He now only really ever wants his thumb and of course it's easy for him to find in the night as all he has to do is pop his thumb in rather than be unable to find his dummy. He sucks his thumb as his main way of soothing himself and also when he's tired. We do still have a dummy in his cot as sometimes he'll like to have it in at first and if it comes out during the night, he'll pop his thumb in.

At first we were a bit worried that the thumb sucking might become a serious habit that he could find hard to stop when he's older or that it could cause issues with his teeth developing but we'll just have to see how it goes. It makes him happy for now and I have read that quite a lot of babies stop sucking their thumb when they are ready, but we are prepared that it could be a difficult habit for him to break out of!

Overall, I'd have to say that I am in favour of the dummy.  One of the main positives that I was happy about was that research has shown that it can give protection and help minimise the risk of SIDS if you give them one as they go down to sleep as it can help regulate their breathing. It's also obviously good for baby to soothe themselves with and can help with babies who have a strong suck reflex that exceeds the time they would spend on bottle or breast.

The negatives are that they could potentially cause nipple confusion if you're breastfeeding, so it's recommended to keep them off a dummy if you are until they're about one month old. They can also cause the same issue as thumb sucking with teeth development and possibly causing a speech impediment. Of course, some people just don't like the look of dummies in a babies mouth and you could worry that you might be encouraging a lack of communication as they get older.

In my opinion, the positives and the negatives can balance each other out and if you use it sparingly, such as only at sleep times or at times of real distress, the chances are that your baby is unlikely to develop a bad habit with it and will be able to soothe themselves. You can also get glow in the dark dummies which are great for when little ones are a bit older and can spot them dummy and put it back in if it comes out! Or to be honest, handy for parents when you can't spot the darn thing in the cot when they're crying out for it at 3am...

What's your opinion on dummies? Could you never be without them or do you loathe them with a passion?

Oscar's Sleep Routine

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Asleep on your playmat - not a usual napping place!
Oscar has always been really great (to this point, don't want to jinx anything!) with his sleeping. The first night he was at home he slept 5 hours straight and has only ever woken once during the night for a feed and a change in the first 3 months and after that point, he started to sleep through. He now currently sleeps 12 hours straight throughout the night.

We have never nursed Oscar to sleep, from the very beginning he has always been put down awake in his cot or if he was falling asleep on us, we gently moved him into his Moses Basket. I think this was hugely beneficial to us having him being a good sleeper has he has never grown attached to sleeping on anyone. We use Ewan the Dream Sheep who I cannot praise enough, Ozzy absolutely loves him and he has been another key element in him going down to sleep.

Once we started trying to get him into a routine at around the 6 week mark, we did have to go into our room and soothe him a little and pick him up for hugs and reassurance and then put him back down again and walk out. This really only lasted a week or two and Ewan was his main comforter in helping him sleep.

Again, around the 6 week mark, when we started to implement the routine we ended up feeding him at around midnight and then he would sleep through until about 6.30/7 am. That was the starting point for us eliminating the night feed as we started to gradually bring back his midnight feed earlier and earlier (usually around 15 minutes earlier each night) and then he ended up having his last feed at around 8pm and waking somewhere between 7 and 8am.

Also, we have always had him sleeping separately from us, for the first 10 weeks he slept in his Moses Basket in our bedroom but he got too big for it so he moved into his cot in his nursery and has stayed in there ever since. I know a lot of people tend to have their baby in with them for the first 6 months but we didn't really want to do that - he is quite a noisy sleeper crying out in the night and kicking his legs despite being asleep and also his cot is really too large to fit in our room.
He has been really happy in his nursery and sometimes he even cries until you go and put him in his cot and then he settles down and goes off to sleep.

His current routine involves him waking up at around 9am, having his breakfast and then he has a nap at about 11.30 for anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour and then he has his lunch. Usually he is ready for his afternoon nap an hour after lunch which he has in his cot which usually lasts for 2 hours although he does go through phases of waking up after an hour or sleeping for up to 3 hours which we just let him do. He then has his tea and then another short nap for about 45 minutes and then he is awake until he goes down to bed at 9pm after having his final meal.

I'm not sure how much of it is down to good luck and how much of it is down to us getting him into a routine but we are extremely happy that he is such a great sleeper (obviously!) and I do think that Oscar has really benefit from having a routine as he knows when he's going to be getting fed, when his nap times are and when his bedtime is.

I spent a lot of time whilst I was pregnant reading all about the different ways to do things with your baby and for me, having a routine and not using any co-sleeping or attachment parenting was something that I thought would really work well for all of us. Oscar has always been fully supported by us and whenever he has been upset or needed a reassuring hug we have been there for him, but I do feel that he is a much more settled baby because he knows how to self soothe.

Week 27 & 28

I might start changing these updates to fortnightly as although you are advancing, I'm not sure that each week will be that different from the next! We'll see :-)

In the past couple of weeks, I mentioned it in your last update but now you really reach out for everything. I bring your food in, you want it. I get my phone/camera out to film or take a picture out, you try and take it, it's so cute. You have a really determined look on your face to have it!

You are drinking 3 6oz bottles of follow-on milk a day, one 7oz bottle of juice at lunch and another two smaller bottles of juice throughout the day, you seem to enjoy having your juice and it's helping you with going to the toilet too. Of course, you are having 4 meals a day too - you have definitely inherited mummy's sweet tooth - you're still not a fan of savoury meals but love all the fruit ones.

You can now grab with two hands properly (as you can see from the photo above! Don't worry, we still feed you.) and you are very strong on your legs when we hold you up on them. I am thinking it's possible that you might not be much of a crawler as you have always hated being on your front and you might skip that bit out and go straight to walking when you're ready.

Your language comes on more every day and you have a new little selection of sounds you like to make including "adada", "daai"  "mama" and "mmmi" among lots of squeals. You still love watching Baby Einstein and this is when you make most of your noises, I think you're trying to talk to the puppets!

You will have had your 1st Christmas by your next update, how exciting is that? I'm sure Father Christmas has got lots of lovely presents for you to enjoy.

Lots of love,

Mama xxxxx

Week 26

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Hey Ozzy!

You officially turned 6 months old this week, I can't believe it. You seem to look much bigger this week than you did last week, I'm not sure if you've had a growth spurt or not but you are starting to look like a real little boy rather than just a baby.

You're still on your quest to sit up on your own, you are improving all the time but you're not quite there yet!
You have pretty much outgrown all of your 3-6 month clothes and we've had to get you a whole new wardrobe practically.

You've moved on to the Stage 2 milk as now you're eating at every single meal, you didn't need the Stage 1 anymore. I think it was too much for your little body and now you're having baby juice at one meal and your milk for the other meals. We've got a sippy cup for you but at the minute, you prefer chewing on it's handles rather than trying to drink from it!

You are so aware of everything around you now and also try and grab EVERYTHING. You also hate being put in your car seat (and your coat!) and without fail will cry every time you are put in it. We are looking at getting you a bigger seat so that you are less squashed up but we need to see if it will fit in our car first.

Love you lots,

Mummy xxx

Baby Christmas Picks

Friday, 6 December 2013

Stocking (can be personalised) - £5.00
Santa Booties - £3.00

I can never resist an opportunity to dress Oscar for the occasion - I was looking forward to picking his
Halloween costume before he was even born! So I thought I'd put together my pick of Christmas cuteness to share. I spotted the All In One in store and thought it was so adorable! I want something comfy for him to wear on the day rather than being too dressed up as we're only going to be relaxing at home or at his grandparents. I already have a santa hat for Oscar that seems to be glued to his head, he looks so sweet! This elf one is just as adorable.

What are your favourite Christmas baby items?

Weeks 24 & 25

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Ahh, I'm sorry Ozzy, I missed a week! Bad mother.

We were pretty busy last week, after a family hiccup meaning I spent most of the previous week at home with you with Daddy, it was the complete opposite as it was your Grandma's and Auntie's birthdays two days in a row. We were round at Grandma's every day last week and you loved it, they lavish you with attention and your little face is so cute and happy with everyone smiling at you and amusing you constantly.

We didn't do anything much on Grandma's birthday as you had a long nap and it was too late to go for our planned walk by that time but on your Auntie's birthday, we went out for lunch at a lovely restaurant (The Botanist) which was your first outing to one. Your face lit up and you stared around in wonder at all the sights and sounds around you, there were fairy lights twinkling above you which you enjoyed. You were so well behaved and just sat quietly and then went to sleep, getting admiring glances.

You've been getting more and more of an appetite and now you're getting a taste for certain foods - your favourite being strawberry and apple puree, it smells like jam and you love it! You now enjoy grabbing your feet a lot and you've started to make proper noises - some sound like mama and dada! You are so smiley and get really excited over your food and make mmm noises when you eat.

You recognise your bottle and cry when you see one, even if it's empty. You saw me drinking from a bottle and you started crying as well. You now reach out for your toys and hold them and look at them properly, you still try and eat everything though. You can also take out your dummy and put it back in and keep on flailing your arms around, it's so funny to watch!
You're still trying really hard to sit up and your neck has gotten so much stronger recently. You've moved up into your new gro bags, 6-9 month clothes and new nappy size. You're growing up so quickly, I can't believe you're 6 months old in 2 days time, it's flown by. We love you so much and more each day.

Mummy xxx

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