The beginning of June, which marked Emmy turning 3 months old, started off in the best possible way – on the first day of the month, we were round at my parents’ house and we got the biggest laughs out of Emmy, proper belly laughs that went on and on! It started with my sister hitting herself on the head with and dropping an inflatable doughnut, then my sister’s laugh just kept setting her off again and again. We’ve always said my sister has an infectious laugh! I was literally crying with laughter hearing her!
In not so great news, her nap strike continued into the beginning of 3 months. In fact, I really quite struggled at some points and was almost at my wit’s end on a couple of days when it was taking me up to an hour to get her to nap, at which point she’d got herself overtired and worked up, and, of course, would only sleep 28 minutes still. I’d taken to sitting and holding her in dark rooms throughout the day, with her literally attached to the breast still to keep her asleep just for a little bit longer – and that wasn’t all that fun, I have to say!
In an act of desperation, I decided to buy an app called Little Ones that has been advertised to me on Facebook since Emmy was born. I was sceptical about it, after seeing the “too good to be true” success stories they put out, but thought that maybe it could at least give me a few tips I could use, if nothing else.
And actually, it has worked. It’s not entirely miraculous – I don’t have the perfect napping baby now – but it’s miles and miles better than it was at the beginning of the month. Essentially we realised that Emmy was both undertired and overtired at the same time – yep, apparently that’s possible! She wasn’t getting the good restorative sleep that she needed during the daytime because she would barely make it through a sleep cycle before waking up (that 28 minute mark just wasn’t cutting it!), but I was trying to put her down again too soon, giving her too short of a wake window, which was frustrating her.
So a week or so into June, I started following Little Ones 3-4 month sleep programme which outlines a schedule to stick to as closely as possible with one short morning nap, one short afternoon nap and a long lunch time nap of 2 hours. I initially really liked this idea because it meant only one nap that needed to be more than 1 sleep cycle, so I didn’t need to fight naps with her multiple times a day.
I also followed their tips on helping baby go to sleep, so we started using a bottom patting method to settle her, which actually worked really really well. The point is to try to get baby used to sleeping in their own space with minimal input from you to allow them to self-settle, but at 3 months, they’re really too young to do this themselves properly, so you instead get them used to falling asleep in their sleep space rather than rocking or feeding to sleep before placing them down. It also involves having a dark room with loud white noise and positive sleep associations like a sleeping bag and pre-nap routine. I’d been trying to work on this before but struggling, but we’ve pushed on with it, particularly with their own recommended Baby Sleep Sshh track which sounds kind of creepy (multiple voices shushing!), but it seems to work.
In addition to this, we’ve also upgraded her nap sleeping space. Before she used to go in her swing for a lot of naps, but I was starting to try out Moses basket naps. She’s got a bit too big for that now, plus she’s starting to roll too so it’s not all that safe, but luckily I received a travel cot, the Kubbie Sleep with the Daydreamer nap attachment (free of charge to review on behalf of Emma’s Diary) and this has worked wonders. The Daydreamer part is shaped almost like a hammock and looks super comfortable.
We’ve also now graduated out of bottom patting to sleep as she started to tell me she didn’t like it, and the whole nap schedule and programme seems to be working! I currently put her down for naps at the recommended times in the programme with a consistent routine of nappy change, sleeping bag, white noise, dark room, reading a few pages of a book, then I put her down in the cot while she’s still awake and sing a couple of verses of a lullaby to her. Usually now she’s happy for me to leave the room while she’s awake and she puts herself to sleep in a few minutes, but if she fights it and cries out a few times, I’ll go back in and rock the cot gently (it basically just wobbles a bit and that soothes her somewhat!) and she’ll calm enough to go to sleep.
The whole programme centres around the long 2 hour lunch nap which we’re definitely still struggling with – so far, we haven’t yet managed a consistent 2 hour stretch of sleep and I generally have to go back in and resettle her at least once during this nap, quite often with a feed back to sleep, but we’re getting there! She’s now extended her sleep cycles up to around 40 minutes currently, although it’s sometimes shorter, but rarely less than 30 minutes now which is a big change. And at the very end of the month, we even got one stretch of sleep where she did 1 hour 20 minutes by resettling herself around the 40 minute mark which was a huge success! I think she’s going through a leap where her sleep is changing at the moment – technically the 4 month sleep regression, but we haven’t had huge problems at night yet, only an extra wake up or two here and there – which means she needs better places
What I really like about this programme is that it’s a very very gentle form of sleep training that never leaves the baby to cry – you simply give them the opportunity to learn to settle themselves by allowing them to fall asleep in their own bed and slowly moving parent associated sleep methods away over time. I also love that it offers troubleshooting and alternatives – if the baby doesn’t manage the 2 hour lunch nap, there’s a catnapping schedule that you can use for the rest of the day which has been especially useful for our little catnapper! And it allows you to do the morning and afternoon nap on the go too if need be and if your baby can sleep in the car or pram, as long as you stick as closely to the timings as possible. Plus it gives suggestions of when to feed around the sleep schedule too to keep them sleeping longer where needed which makes life a bit easier as I’ve started to lose her feeding cues as she’s got older and started chewing and sucking her hands more for fun than because she’s hungry!
Speaking of feeding, as I think I’ve said before, it’s got so so much easier as she gets older and I just wish I’d believed when people told me it would do! As she’s able to support herself very well now, she can now just latch herself – and often does just do so in passing when I’m not yet prepared! – and I can even feed in the dark at night time when need be.
What isn’t so easy though is that Emmy’s always been a nosy baby, but now she’s super nosy and very easily distracted, meaning that feeding her out and about can be a problem. In fact, feeding anywhere where something interesting might happen – a cat walks past, a leaf moves, the sun shines on the sofa cushion – can be a challenge as she has to pull off to look! She’s also feeding in much shorter sessions now, often only 5 to 10 minutes, but the same number of sessions per day – usually 8 to 10. Apparently they get more efficient at feeding as they get older, but it has thrown me a little bit as I always set aside 30 minutes or so for feeding!
In terms of new skills, it feels like Emmy was a completely different baby again in June compared to what she was in May! As I said, I think she’s been through another leap because she’s doing all sorts of new things now and went from being super cranky over the end of May and beginning of June to very happy and smiley again.
She now doesn’t just grab and flail at toys, she successfully grabs them, pulls them in and holds very tightly onto them. She also has favourite toys that she prefers over all others – and her favourite one of all is a foil blanket! I’d seen these recommended everywhere as a sensory toy so I bought a pack of two for less than £3 off Amazon and she’s absolutely obsessed. A foil blanket can hold her attention for half an hour or more sometimes! It’s crinkly, feels interesting, makes a good sound, reflects the light and she can see her own face in it – what more could you want?!
She also loves her Oball – another toy that was well recommended but I didn’t really think would be that much of a hit. It’s lightweight and soft, so easy for her to pick up and hold – the only problem is that she tries to put it in her mouth and she just ends up sticking her tongue through the holes!
Jess the cat is also a favourite toy – this is one she got when she was born from her Aunty Beth. She loves sucking on her ears and trying to shove her in her mouth, and she even meowed at her in response to me one day…and then swore at her…listen carefully:
My dad pointed that out when I sent the video to them and it’s hilarious!!
We managed to pick up a Jumperoo for just £30 off Facebook early in the month which I was very glad of because Emmy constantly wants to be sat upright but obviously at the beginning of 3 months wasn’t able to do so yet. Technically it was a bit big for her at the start of June, but she was able to hold her head up in it, so we put cookbooks under her feet to let her bounce and only put her in it for a few minutes at a time. She clearly loved it straight away though as she properly laughed out loud when we bounced it the first time! Now she’ll happily play in it for half an hour at time, playing with all the toys on it, whacking the buttons and spinning the dials as well as bouncing – and her toes now touch the floor so we’ve been able to remove the books!
In terms of sitting up, she obviously can’t quite manage it alone yet, but she loves being held in a sitting position and can now balance herself very well by just holding onto a finger. Because of this, I’ve been using her Bumbo here and there (although she likes to tuck her feet into it and try to escape!) and have also started experimenting with putting her in a high chair. We bought the Antilop one from IKEA as I’d seen it recommended, and with the blow up cushion inside it, she fits very nicely. I started putting her in it facing the mirror while I got dressed on a morning for a couple of minutes which she really loved, so then I started putting her in it for slightly longer stretches with toys on the tray to keep her occupied. She’s even sat in the same one at the pub now, although it was a bit big for her without the cushion and her flailing meant she was a bit all over the place!
I’ve also started turning her round to face outwards in her carrier sometimes too – she’s able to hold her head steady here and really really loves being able to look out into the world. In fact, when I try to face her inwards now, unless she’s very sleepy and needs a nap, she protests until I face her outwards, like “I’m a grown up now, Mummy, turn me round!”. The first go at this was out shopping with my mum and sister and she drooled absolutely everywhere all over her carrier – it was successful but very yucky!
My favourite thing that Emmy’s learned this month though is how to blow raspberries. In the first week of the month, she spent a few days doing nothing else but practising and practising blowing bubbles along with a “bbbbbb” sound. It was slightly hilarious as she would wake up at 1am to practise – not crying, not fussing, just blowing bubbles then putting herself back to sleep! Very cute, but also very loud! Then after a few days, she had it – she could blow raspberries with her tongue and lips too! It’s especially cute as she does it in response to us now and seems to think it’s how we hold conversations!
Around mid-month was the height of Emmy’s recent fussiness, and it really peaked on a day we went over to see my mum so Emmy could meet her cousin (second cousin once removed?! He’s my cousin’s son and I can’t quite get the relationship straight!). She was a little bit cranky when we first arrived, and it quickly devolved into her not wanting to do anything at all except for cry! Up until recently, she didn’t really ever cry – at least not properly unless there was a good reason, like vaccinations or being swaddled (which she hated!) – but she decided she quite liked crying and having tantrums this month! So that day wasn’t very much of a success! I ended up having to wear her in the carrier in the house, then we went for a walk which put her to sleep – I think that was what she needed!
June marked Ben’s first Father’s Day, and we had Ben’s family over for the occasion. I’d already got him a Dad T shirt from H&M when I got my Mom one, but we also got him a Disney reed diffuser (obviously!) and Daddy Bear keyring that’s personalised with an Emmy bear paw.
We had several other family and friend visits again this month, including one day where we went to her great grandma and grandad’s, then my parents’, then Ben’s parents’ for lunch, another day where I went over to my grandparents’ house in the afternoon during the week, a BBQ with Ben’s sister and boyfriend and my friend Fran, and…her first holiday!
We planned a trip to the Peak District with Charley and Frankie back when I was still pregnant, then set a date not long after Emmy was born. I was a little bit nervous about how it would all go – it was Emmy’s first long trip in a car at around 2 hours away (the furthest previously was to IKEA which is about 45 minutes), and also her first time sleeping somewhere that isn’t home, aside from the hospital. In addition to that, it meant throwing off her nap schedule somewhat as we needed to be flexible with what we were doing.
And Emmy did amazingly! The only tiny issue we had the whole long weekend was driving there. Ben’s work is on the way, so Emmy and I left home around 5pm to pick him up then continue the rest of the way. She fell asleep on the way there and woke up when Ben was getting in the car – and this was the problem! She was confused that we were setting off again and not pleased about it. We got onto the dual carriageway and she started crying, and it quickly devolved into screaming. So we pulled over and I fed her, but as soon as we set off again, she started up with the crying again. We really didn’t want that while we were on the motorway, so I got into the back with her and starting singing…and didn’t stop for an hour! She was finding my singing really funny, but the moment I stopped, she would cry – so singing it was! She fell asleep again as we came into the Peak District and had half an hour or so before we got there. When we arrived, we did the usual bedtime routine (although this bath happened in front of the fire!) and she settled without a problem.
Normally when we’re in the Peak District, we go out for a meal or two at a local pub, but this time we decided to eat in and to keep our days pretty casual. We ended up doing a day for a wander in Bakewell and went out for a lovely walk another day with a quick outdoor pub lunch at the end, that ended up being over an hour to wait for the food! It was especially lovely as there was no pressure to do too much and having Charley and Frankie around to play with Emmy too was a lot of fun! She did so well for her first trip away, and now we’re super excited for our next little holiday which is back to the Peak District in July with Ben’s family.
When we arrived home from the Peak District though, it was time for Emmy’s 16 week vaccinations, boo! I was especially concerned about these ones for a couple of reasons: she’s much more aware now, so I knew she would kind of know what was coming (plus there are 3 of them again!), and because she’d been so happy after coming out of a cranky phase for the past week or so before these jabs, and I didn’t want them to ruin that!
Well, of course it did! She absolutely hated the bit where they stabbed her 3 times, of course – although she bucked up after one leg and tried to give me a smile, so the nurse felt really bad putting the final one in! And that afternoon was awful – she just cried and cried. I nearly asked Ben to come home from work because I just couldn’t soothe her! She was pretty sleepy but struggled to sleep – I think because she was in pain on her legs – and wouldn’t sleep on me, which made me feel really sad but strangely proud too because she just wanted her own bed where she ended up sobbing herself to sleep while I stroked her, poor thing! I ended up sitting in the dark room with her anyway! We decided to do Calpol from a spoon with this time rather than from the syringe, which she really really hated last time, and this was slightly more successful.
During June, we also started baby yoga classes. The baby massage class we’d been doing for the previous 6 weeks came to an end and this was run by the same woman, so I was definitely up for doing yoga after such a good experience with her. This is a much larger class, with 8 or 9 babies each week, but luckily I know one from baby massage and swimming and have met a few others in our local weigh, stay and play group. I wasn’t sure what to expect from baby yoga as I know some classes focus on yoga for mum and others focus around the baby – it turns out that this one is baby focused and we basically spend the whole time singing songs and moving the babies to them as well as using some props and toys. The goal is to get them to learn more about their own bodies, how they can move them and where their limbs are in relation to their body, with focuses on showing them how to roll, sit up, crawl and stand based on their ages. Emmy absolutely loves this class, as do I.
In other class news, baby swimming is still going really well. In the past couple of weeks, she’s started doing some underwater swims by herself which is pretty scary for me, but she’s really not all that phased by it!
Towards the end of the month, we moved Emmy into 3-6 month clothes, particularly sleepsuits which were getting really tight over her legs – she must be longer than she is round! In the last couple of days of the month, she started successfully grabbing hold of her toes too and trying to put them in her mouth – it won’t be long till they’re there now I’d say! This also got her rolling consistently onto her side and (spoiler alert!) preparing for rolling onto her tummy in her early July.
We ended the month with some beautiful warm weather, so we had Ben’s sister and boyfriend, and my friend Fran over for a barbecue where Emmy found Beth eating crisps absolutely hilarious for no apparent reason, and where she also had her first breastmilk ice lolly – technically a milk cube in a mesh feeding bag. She was very confused at first because it clearly tasted familiar but she pulled the funniest faces at how cold it was! It was a little bit messy though! Earlier that day, we went over to my cousins’ house as Eva turned 6 and Mollie, who’s now 8, was absolutely smitten with Emmy and so good with her!
The next day we had a meal out with all of Ben’s family and Emmy sat in a high chair in a restaurant for the first time! Not for long though as it was pretty hot and we were also there right over her lunch nap, so she got a bit cranky, meaning Ben and I had to take her for a calm down in the baby changing room then rush through our meals to leave early. Luckily she had a good sleep in the backseat of the car where her 8 year old second cousin William sat with her, then was feeling much happier for the gathering back at Ben’s Aunty Sue’s afterwards, so the day was a lot more successful later on, and a good ending to Emmy’s third month.