So I keep getting myself confused with these posts as technically when I’m writing them, Emmy’s only just reached 3 months (ie. 1st June = 3 months), but May counts as her 3rd month?! Anyway, we’re now into June and Emmy’s embarking on her fourth month, so we’ve got plenty to catch up on! May was a very interesting month in terms of development – in fact, it feels like she came out of the month a totally different baby to the one she went in as! Most of the ways she’s different are completely amazing and wonderful…a couple, not quite so wonderful. Read on to find out how!
May didn’t start off on a great footing as the very first day marked…dun dun duuunnn…vaccination day! I’d been absolutely dreading this as I’d heard horror stories of babies crying and screaming like they’d never cried before, not just at the injections but later in the day too, plus high temperatures, refusing food etc. I made sure to stock up on some baby Calpol as recommended and blocked out the rest of my day (and the next day) so I could attend to whatever she needed, whether that was feeling poorly, wanting to nurse all the time or anything else. Another baby from our baby massage class had hers the week before and had a really high temperature that evening, so much so that they phoned 111 to check everything was okay.
I tried my best to keep calm and relaxed on the morning so Emmy wouldn’t sense anything from me, and we headed off to the doctors. At the 8 week vaccinations, they have one oral one and 3 jabs, really not very nice when they’ve barely felt anything like it before! Emmy is so funny with anything in her mouth that isn’t breast, so even though they did the oral one first which is supposed to be “not that bad”, she started screaming at that and gagging on it. Oh dear! I calmed her down with some rocking but it was time for the injections – one in one leg, two in the other. She got more and more screamy with each one until she was screaming the house/doctors’ surgery down – it wasn’t particularly nice to see and it was a type of scream I’d never heard her do before! Luckily after a minute or so, it calmed to a whimper but she was looking at me with this face of utmost betrayal.
That afternoon, she was particularly sleepy and woke up crying a few times which was unusual for her, but I basically sat the whole day on the sofa cuddling her, feeding her when she woke up and letting her sleep on me the rest of the time. Fortunately she didn’t get poorly or have a temperature as we kept her topped up with Calpol so I think that helped, but I think it was also why she was so sleepy!
On that note, we also had to end the month with more jabs for her 12 week vaccinations, boo! This time it was just the oral one again and one jab, plus it’s not the meningitis one which is known for making them feel a bit poorly, so I wasn’t too worried. We got through these okay apart from the usual gagging on the oral one and a scream as the nurse pushed the liquid out of the needle, but she calmed down very quickly – I’m just glad it was just the one this time! Just one more round of jabs to go at 16 weeks now until she’s a year old now – we can get through this!
On a lighter and happier note, Emmy’s coordination really changed over the course of May. When we were finishing April, she was starting to reach for things, such as the toys hanging above her play mat, and occasionally batting them. She was also starting to try to grab and hold things too. By the end of May though, she was reach for the toys on her play mat and batting them every single time, and starting to grab hold of them with her hands and pull them towards her. She also started grabbing at my clothes and hair while feeding – she’d been sort of holding my hand while feeding a lot, but now she really goes for anything she can get hold of – I really need to get one of those chunky necklaces she can play with! Her grasping to hold and pull in toys started with Flopsy bunny (above) where she would wrap her arms round her and pull her in, and now she really grabs with her hands and holds.
She also started feeling our faces in the last couple of weeks of the month too which was very cute! We would be leaning over her talking while changing her nappy and she would go very quiet and concentrate really hard then reach both her arms up and very gently reach out for my face or Ben’s face. She even very very carefully stroked my eyebrows one day! It’s especially cute when she’s gentle like that, but hilarious when she gets excited and grabs your nose or shoves her hand into my mouth!
Emmy’s always had a very strong head and neck – it’s something everyone has always commented on, from the midwives in the hospital to friends and relatives – but it was this month where she really started to show it off. In tummy time, she’s always lifted it up a bit but face planted quickly and got moany – now she can lift her head, shoulders and sometimes even her chest and hold herself up for a good few minutes now! Our baby massage teacher told me she was going to be an early mover because of this – apparently she’s just got the shape for it!
Speaking of which, our baby massage classes continued and came to an end in May. There were 5 in total and we actually ended up with one private class as no one else was able to be there! This was the back massage one which I’d been a bit nervous about as it meant tummy time. Luckily Emmy absolutely loved it and I think this is what changed her tummy time game for the better – she now loves tummy time, especially if she’s laying on my knees facing outwards where she’ll happily coo and chat to anyone or anything in the room for 10-15 minutes! Anyway, in the (private!) back massage class, we used a neck pillow to support her, so I, of course, had to buy one from Amazon as soon as we got home – it was very necessary! It goes along with her Tummy Time book which is wonderful and keeps her entertained on her tummy for a while.
Ben also came along to our last baby massage class as he took the Friday before the last bank holiday off work. There were only a couple of us there for that one too so it was a lot of fun…until Emmy, who has always been called the “star pupil” at baby massage (I say show-off, she’s not like that at home!) decided she was super duper cranky and cried the roof off! Ben ended up pushing her round the room in the pram to get her to nap while I chatted! It’s super handy though as our baby massage teacher is very experienced with babies and children – as well as having her own, she teaches 4 classes with babies a day, teaches baby first aid and has worked with babies in hospitals. She has absolutely loads of advice on any topic to do with babies and actually said to me in one class: “Oh, she’s started teething!” before I even asked her about it! We’ve talked naps, feeding, injections, behaviour in older children…everything! I’m really excited to start baby yoga with her in a couple of weeks time now.
We also started a new class this month too – swimming, and she absolutely loved it. Up until she started swimming, she always liked bath times, sitting there very happily and just chilling in the water. But the first night after swimming, we put her in the bath and she just started splashing around like crazy and having a whale of a time! Now she smiles, laughs and plays every single time she has a bath – that’s the effect swimming lessons have had on her!
But the lessons themselves are absolutely fantastic too. She started at 10 weeks and we’ve had two sessions so far. The first one, I took her alone so I was quite nervous about getting her dressed and undressed by myself as well as meeting other parents – it’s something that makes me nervous every time I do something new! Luckily everyone was very lovely and had the same worries as me about getting them into swimming gear!
I might do a full post about the lessons at some point – maybe at the end of the term – but we did loads in that first session including bouncing them in the water, singing songs and even their first practice under water which was slightly terrifying! Luckily Emmy wasn’t even phased by it, just had big wide eyes and blinked at me like “what on earth happened then?!” For her second class, I had my mum come along which made life a lot easier to get dressed at the end and also meant we got some wonderful photos and videos of her in the pool too. Next week we’ve got her other grandma coming to watch!
At the end of April, we’d started on a fairly tentative bedtime routine led by Emmy which she sort of naturally fell into. Since baths calm her a lot, we’d been giving her one most evenings around 6.30-7pm and we were finding that after a feed, she’d be out until we went to bed at around 10pm then, so we thought we’d just continue it. That went really really well throughout May! So Ben comes home from work at just after 6pm, he plays with her for a bit before we go upstairs and bath her together, then Ben “resets” the living room while I get her out the bath, massage her and put her pyjamas on – sometimes he’ll come back up to help with that if he has time. His resetting of the living room means tidying up, shutting the curtains, setting the lights to very dim, switching on the baby monitor, setting up the Moses basket with MyHummy going in it, and having my phone and muslin ready on the sofa next to it. I then bring Emmy downstairs, do a bedtime feed and pop her straight into the basket once she’s done – and she’s out! This has been totally successful throughout May with only one night where she woke up half way to 10pm because she was still hungry and one night where we were out at a wedding which slightly changed the routine.
Speaking of which, Emmy had her first social occasion – Rosie’s wedding! I’d managed to find us some matching dresses for the event – mine was from Phase Eight at John Lewis and hers was Tu at Sainsburys, but they both had red and white pinstripes. I was kind of worried about the day since we hadn’t done anything like it before, especially the ceremony when I really needed her to be good as I was doing a reading, but she was absolutely fine! I’d thought about having my mum come to push her around in the pram outside, but we decided that Ben would hold her and, if need be, he could pop outside the church to calm her down. Luckily she was an absolute star during the ceremony and possibly the quietest of the young ones that were there who were all a bit older – aside from her one random shriek which just seemed to be a moment she decided she would test out her voice and her very loud case of hiccups…but those are nothing new with this one!
I also worried about the meal – she seems to know when food is about to arrive and decides that’s the best moment for her to be hungry or fussy, and of course, that’s what happened when my soup was put down in front of me! We had the pram to the side of the table but she wasn’t having that – she just laid there shouting, not quite crying, just being loud, to herself, and since she was closer to another table than ours (luckily one that my cousin was actually sat on!), I didn’t think it was fair to leave her shouting next to them! I took her out of the room to bounce her around a bit which kept her calm and planned to swap out with Ben once he’d finished his soup, but one of the waitresses insisted that she take her while I ate my soup which was super lovely! Ben took over quickly though once he’d finished eating, and by the time we got to the main course, Charley had managed to completely knock her out with some rocking and swaying so we could pop her down happily in the pram, then I just had to listen to the first of the speeches just outside the room as she was feeding when they started.
The rest of the day, she was wonderful, and she even had a quick bath in the bridal suite – which for some reason she hated when she normally loves her baths?! We tried to implement our normal bedtime routine at the right sort of time by getting her bathed, pyjamas on, bedtime feed then down in the pram…and it worked! We’d gone back into the dining room and sat with a table where Rosie and some friends were, and she happily fed to sleep then was completely zonked out in the carrycot – even when we moved down the stairs, stopping in a billiards room for photos, and across a courtyard where the reception was held, she stayed asleep. And even when the music and noise started up! She ended up stirring just before the first dance, so I took her in with me to watch and join in, then we did some quick photo booth pictures and decided to leave. Unfortunately the music was just a bit too loud for her little ears in the reception area, and the only place away from the speakers was outside, but we were super impressed she made it that long! She was wide awake all the way home in the car but still managed to go to sleep for her normal night over night so that was wonderful!
While night time sleeping with the routine I mentioned before was wonderful throughout May, naps were…not. At night, she consistently slept from 10pm after a dream feed through to 5.30am, and some nights were 6.30am- 7am. But in the day time, we started getting naps of 28 minutes exactly. It just happened a few times at first and we laughed at how precise she was. Then it started happening with every nap, and we stopped laughing. Then she threw in nap fighting, where every single nap became a battle to get her to sleep, no matter what we did from trying to shorten her awake time, lengthen it, rock her to sleep, white noise, dark room, feed her to sleep – she would fight it every time.
At first I was saying to everyone, “Oh well, at least she sleeps at night, the days I can handle!”, but as we got to the end of the month, I was getting desperate and starting reaching out to people for help. It turns out that you also need that rest time in the day time. If it’s taken baby 45 minutes to go down for a nap, with you actively rocking, singing, pick up, pick down etc., it’s exhausting. Then for them only to be out for 28 minutes and waking up cranky because they’re obviously still tired…yep, that’s exhausting.
We think this was kicked off by a 12 week leap that started around weeks 10-11 as she’s always been a teeny bit earlier than is suggested – they say to go by due date rather than birth date, and I always thought her due date should have been the 25th (the original date we were given) rather than the 28th (the third due date we were given), so that makes a bit of sense, then of course, all babies are different so will hit leaps at different times. Anyway, we think it kicked off around then as she started becoming so much more aware of her surroundings and very very nosy! It also became more difficult to feed her in public as she would latch on and off while trying to see what was going on! She was cranky leading up to this then had a very happy weekend which I think was the end of the growth spurt then, but the beginning of the nap issues. We now wonder if it’s also part of the 4 month sleep regression, just a little bit early.
Hopefully I’ll have a happier update on naps in June as we’re trying something new the day I’m writing this, so we’ll see how that goes!
This was also around the time where she started really chomping on her hands and pulling at her mouth. We’d been suspicious for a few weeks that she was teething, but we were pretty sure of it here! The baby massage instructor confirmed it and recommended getting some weaning spoons for her to chew on, which she loved, and I’ve also been using these for her vitamin drops too. I’m imagining it’ll help her get used to the feel of spoons too, so that’s always good! We also got her a teething mitt around 11 weeks because, even though she had some teething toys then, she was too small to hold them herself and technically shouldn’t have them – don’t worry, it was always supervised with me holding them up to her mouth to chew on!
I actually ended up giving her some calpol one day because of her teething as she was really chomping, unable to nap, crying like she was in pain. It worked as she calmed down but we had a really scary moment when I gave it to her. I used the syringe that comes with the bottle and squirted it into the side of her mouth, but she started crying – I think because the flavour was a surprise – and then started coughing and choking on it because she’d breathed it into her throat while crying. She actually struggled so much to stop choking on it that I had to prop her up and start patting her back, then quickly lay her over my arm and pat her more vigorously. It was really quite scary as she went silent for a good few seconds and I thought she was really going to choke, so my brain was racing thinking about how I could grab the phone to dial 999, but luckily it wasn’t that bad and she stopped and started crying again quickly. I’m now really nervous to give her Calpol again so I think next time it’s needed, I’ll try with a spoon.
On some lighter notes, here are a few more things Emmy did during May, in short form because I’ve already said a lot!
- We went out for lunch with Ben’s parents to a local cafe and made coffee cake in the afternoon.
- We had 2 days of “poonami” in a row where she completely destroyed two outfits as well as requiring me to have a change of clothes as she was sat on my knee!
- She spotted the window in the hood of her pram for the first time and was totally mesmerized by the trees overhead!
- We bought new clothes from Sainsburys (first pair of jeans!), Tesco and the Disney Store – the latter (above) is just about my favourite outfit of hers ever but is age 3-6 months and fits already! Apparently they run a bit small, but still!
- We went to my office again to pick up a parcel and she had a lovely cuddle with various members of the team – then cried when she was handed back to me!
- She discovered an empty crisp packet was the best toy ever! (Don’t worry, she grabbed it while I was right next to her so I was letting her feel the texture then she wouldn’t let go!)
- We discovered her favourite way to chill now is sitting up – it’s almost like she’s saying, “Hey, I’m not a baby any more, I want to sit up like everyone else!” Unfortunately she was still too small to be sat up too long in any way except on me, but by the end of the month, since she was holding her head up by herself for long periods, we decided to try her in the Bumbo for the first time and she loved it! Just a few minutes at a time for now, but she’s very happy she can be independent now!
- We took two trips to Iceland (the supermarket, not the country!) because apparently mums go to Iceland ;D And it was the best decision ever because, after being a bit of snob about freezer food earlier in my life, it turns out they have an amazing Chinese takeaway selection that tastes really good and their sweet potato fries are amazing. Also the women on the checkout fell in love with Emmy both times #justsaying.
- We had a couple of lovely girly shopping trips in May – one with Charley to York Designer Outlet where we shopped all morning, and Emmy napped on Charley’s shoulder (apparently her favourite place to sleep!) and had some lunch. The other was with my mum and sister to York centre – the first time Emmy had visited the centre! – and is where we picked up her Dumbo outfit.
- Emmy also came fabric shopping with me earlier in the month. After clearing out my wardrobe, I decided it would be fun to start the restock with items I’d made, so I bought a pattern eBook and planned a new, coordinated, wardrobe. So far I’ve only been able to cut out and stick together two patterns, not actually start on any fabric or sewing, but, you know, newborn no-napper over here!
- Around mid-month, Emmy started making b and l sounds occasionally in addition to her usual guttural chattering. She mostly ikes to say “goo” and “haaii” a lot though, which sounds a lot like she’s trying to greet you! She also started making attempts to grab her toes too around 9 to 10 weeks.
- We had two “cultural” outings this month – Byland Abbey and Fountains Abbey. She was wonderful on these days out and I can’t wait to do more of them!
- We took passport photos so she’s ready for her trip to Italy in September and also bought another pram for this trip that we’ll also use for Florida next year – we decided we needed one that folded more quickly and easily than the original one we’d bought, so we’re sending the first one back. The new one just happened to come in a Mickey Mouse design too – I swear we didn’t even know until we’d picked that model then spotted it!
- We went for a meal to a pub in our town with my family where Emmy apparently really wanted some beer!
- We had a weigh in one day (which went well! She’d dropped some centiles previously but was back up to where she was before again) then we went for a walk around our town and discovered that they’d put a new boardwalk in over some marshland – very pretty!
- Sarah and Beeley came over to visit and we went out for lunch at the same local cafe that we always go to nowadays – it’s good, okay?!
- We took a trip to IKEA, ate hot dogs and spent about four times as much as we planned – it was Emmy’s longest trip ever away from home so far!
- The evening of the IKEA trip and after Ben came to baby massage with us, which was the Friday before the last bank holiday, our hairdresser came over to dye and cut my hair and Emmy cried through the entire thing, whoops! No idea why she got so cranky that afternoon and evening but it didn’t make for a very relaxing hair appointment!
- After discovering that she quite likes tummy time, she discovered a new favourite position to chill in – on her tummy, facing outwards on my legs. She loves chatting away to everything she can see here!
And one final exciting one that deserves its own paragraph, Emmy rolled for the first time in the middle of May from belly to back! She did it a few times that day and has only done it a few more times since, but exciting! She’s now working on rolling back to front and is trying REALLY hard but isn’t quite there yet!