Oh my goodness, what a month July has been! Emmy turned 4 months on 1st July, and she’s now coming out of the month as a totally different baby. I swear I say this every month, but really, it’s true – they change so quickly at this age. And there was one particular week where she just seemed to learn a mass of new things all at the same time. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, as that was relatively later in the month!
Just a few days into the month, she hit her next big milestone – rolling back to front! She’d been trying her best to do this for a few weeks and suddenly got it one day, then looked very shocked about it! Unfortunately she’s not the biggest fan of being on her tummy, so every time she’s done this roll since then, she’s lasted a few minutes on her tummy then started shouting for me to rescue her…she’s apparently forgotten how to roll the other way! And unfortunately again, there was one day a couple of weeks ago where I couldn’t even place her down on her back for a minute before she’d flipped onto her front again and was shouting at me because of it – I couldn’t get anything done that day, but it’s okay because she’s very cute!
The beginning of the month also saw her start to try to sit alone – she’d been balancing in a supported sitting position for a few weeks, but I started propping her on my knees so she was still partially supported then so her hands were on the floor in a kind of “tripod sit”, and she was managing to hold it! Towards the end of the month, she’s starting pushing up from that and sitting without her hands to balance her occasionally now, but I still have to have my hands out on either side of her as we’ve had a few faceplants that have shocked her! We’re surprised at how strong she was at just 4.5 months by sitting by herself!
A couple of days after figuring out how to roll, we went away on her second holiday – and her first family holiday. We actually went back to the Peak District again, back to near where we were a couple of weeks before, but this time with Ben’s family. It was a celebration for a big birthday for Ben’s mum so we headed down on the Wednesday evening with his parents, then Ben’s sister and her boyfriend met us later in the trip. I think I might actually do a full post on the trip sometime as I have so many lovely photos to share from it, but as a brief overview – we visited Buxton and its beautiful Pavilion Gardens twice, taking a milk float tour of the spa town on the second occasion; we wandered the gardens of Chatsworth on a lovely sunny day; we explored Bakewell’s charity shops and discovered a baby clothing shop there (where we bought Emmy some headbands); and we visited the Monsal Head viaduct. We were lucky to have nice weather while we were there so spent quite a bit of time chilling in our Airbnb’s outdoor space while playing with Emmy. She was wonderful again – napping on the go when we needed her to. She really loves travelling and so far hasn’t been phased by changing of sleeping situations and whatnot.
Speaking of napping, this month has got so so much better than the last couple. As you might know, day time naps are where we really struggled; night time sleep hasn’t really been an issue for us, but we couldn’t manage more than 28 minutes at a time in the day time, resulting in Emmy being both undertired and overtired at the same time – about as fun as it sounds. When I talked about the Little Ones programme that we were following last month, we were just starting to get the hang of it but still very much struggling with the longer lunch nap. By some kind of magic, Emmy has now occasionally started managing that 2 hours at lunch time! She will wake up after one sleep cycle occasionally then will put herself back to sleep, and sometimes she’ll wake up and need resettling once or twice, but it’s a whole lot better than it was before!
She’s now about to resettle herself very well, and I’m super proud of how well she manages this. Before every nap that takes place at home (which is probably 75% of them nowadays), we do the pre-nap routine of dark room, white noise, sleeping bag, reading a couple of pages of a book. Then I simply place her down in her cot (she’s now moved into her big cot for naps since she’s started rolling consistently – eek!) and she’ll rock her head side to side for a couple of minutes before falling asleep. It’s key to get her down at the right time, so keeping her awake windows the right length – usually around 2 to 2.5 hours at the moment, which seemed quite long to start with to me, but is working perfectly for her. She now knows her nap routine so well that she’ll start yawning as we start it!
Speaking of rolling in bed, she did this for the first time a week or so ago. It’s something I was a little bit worried about, but also interested to see how she would deal with – once they can roll to their bellies, apparently it’s okay to leave them there to sleep, as long as you put them down on their backs, but it’s still a bit scary. Apparently it can also help them sleep better too, but I know Emmy isn’t a big fan of being on her tummy. Well, this one night, it was during the super warm weather we’ve just had (more on that in a minute), and she’d been fussing in the middle of the night – not crying, just kind of talking and slamming her legs around like she does most nights before going back to sleep (it’s her “practice” time seemingly!). She was being noisy with her talking then suddenly went quite quiet. She’s still in her Next To Me cot next to our bed so I reached over to see what she was up to – I do this occasionally to figure out where she’s laying. I felt her face which was turned to the side and realised her thumb was in her mouth – interesting as she’d never been a thumb sucker, despite her sucking her thumb in utero! I then placed my hand on what I thought was her tummy but realised her breathing seemed very very light – in fact, her tummy wasn’t really moving at all…because it was her back! She’d managed to flip herself over somewhat silently, was sucking her thumb, and had wedged her arm between our bed and hers! I was glad I realised as she could have caused herself some problems, so I decided it was best to roll her back, but she was very happy on her tummy and not really all that pleased I’d moved her *shrug*. We’re now thinking about putting up that wall on her cot and moving her over to the side of our room soon in preparation for night time transitions to the nursery soon – sob!
Like I said, we also had absolutely boiling weather this month – possibly the hottest I’ve ever known it around here in my lifetime, up to 36C one day! And of course, it meant I panicked about Emmy. I know there are babies around the world who deal with these temperatures and hotter ones every day, but we’re really not used to it being like this, and we’re really not set up for high temperatures – British houses are built to keep out the cold and keep in the heat! Our bedroom is a little bit of an issue as it has Velux windows which have blinds within them – this means that when we open them, the light comes in, right onto Emmy’s bed, of course! When closed though, the temperature soars. So we had to alternate between open windows, me getting up at about 4am to shut them, and keeping various fans and air coolers running.
My biggest worry was dressing Emmy appropriately. During the day times, she was mostly in a nappy – and I kept her cool one day by filling the tray of her high chair with water and letting her splash around it in, which she loved. But I worried about night times. Luckily I’d grabbed a muslin sleeping bag at Jojo Maman Bebe a week or so before the heatwave hit, intending to use it for Italy, but it worked perfectly with just a nappy or a vest underneath. It is a little (/lot) big for her still as it’s size 6-18 months, but it was better than her overheating!
And all this boiling weather was followed up by a huge storm. It started in the middle of the night with a lot of rain, so I jumped out of bed to shut the windows and was totally blinded by lightning! I was worried that Emmy would wake up and be frightened, but she didn’t care in the slightest – she only woke up when Ben and I started faffing because Ben got concerned about a house he was working on so had to grab his laptop from the car (in the pouring rain!!) to check it (he works in smart homes, so it was easy enough to check!) and I realised the nursery window was wide open too. After a quick feed, she was back to sleep though.
Emmy decided she had two more new tricks for us during July: standing and kissing! As I talked about before, she started being able to balance herself in a sitting position a little bit, so we practised a bit by pulling her into that sitting position from laying down quite a bit. Then one day, as I took her hands to pull her up to sit, she kept her legs very straight and pulled herself to stand instead. And boom, she was standing! Holding onto my hands, of course, but standing! I’d said before that I wasn’t sure she had particularly strong legs as during baby yoga, whenever we did things that required putting their feet on the floor, Emmy’s feet would curl under and her knees would bend – she just never managed to get her legs straight and rigid. Until she suddenly decided she wanted to!
Then kissing – as mothers do, I spend a lot of time kissing Emmy’s cheek. She’d started grabbing my hair a lot this month, so one time when I kissed her and she grabbed my hair, I thought she was just trying to pull it for fun – great game… – but no, she pulled me in by my hair so she could grab my face, then opened her mouth wide and shoved her face into my cheek with a “mmmwwwwaaa” sound then pulled back to smile at me! She now does it on command, but only when she wants to – things have to be on her terms!
Sadly in July, all of our classes finished up for summer, so no more swimming or baby yoga, but we did attend the Water Babies photo shoot before we finished and got some gorgeous pictures of Emmy swimming underwater. I’d hesitated over going to this shoot – it’s included free as part of their first term but you, of course, have to buy the photos you want at the end of it, and they’re pretty expensive. But we decided that you only get the opportunity for underwater photos of your 4 month old once in their life, so it was worth it to us. The shoot wasn’t held in our usual pool so we had to go down to York for it, but luckily it was on a Saturday so Ben got to come along and see Emmy swimming in real life for the first time. There were 4 sets of underwater swims as part of this, and it seemed like they were under a lot longer than usual, but I guess that’s to make sure they can snap plenty of good photos. Emmy was absolutely fine with it, although she did manage to flip herself the wrong way up in one of them somehow! And I’m so glad we’ve got these brilliant photos to share and to cherish now. She’s a little Nirvana baby!
While all our usual classes have finished, I discovered that there was still one class I could do over summer: MummyFit. I’d heard about this on Instagram and thought it sounded good. I’ve been wanting to get back into fitness after having a very unfit pregnancy – my pelvic pain prevented me from even walking anywhere after about 5 months pregnant. So I signed up for the free trial session and went along to the class in York. Basically you pop your baby down on a playmat in the middle then a qualified instructor runs a HIIT workout with the mummies in a circle around the babies. The gym itself where this took place is really fancy, and unfortunately the young man at the reception didn’t quite know where to send me so gave me some very vague instructions that sent me wandering round the equipment with a baby in a car seat! There were some lovely other mums there, including one other who was there for her first session and one who was very local to me, so hopefully I’ll see her around again…but I decided after one session not to go ahead with any more.
This was for a couple of reasons: 1. It absolutely destroyed me!! For 4 days afterwards, I was in pain. Not just a little bit of DOMS, like bad DOMS, realllllly bad. Like, can’t pick up my baby, can’t walk down the stairs, can’t sit on the sofa, DON’T TOUCH ME ANYWHERE. Worst DOMS I’ve ever had, and remember, I’ve trained for a run a Tough Mudder! But in reality, it probably was my fault. I’ve done yoga here and there and a lot of walking since Emmy was born, but nothing cardio. And one thing you should know about me is that I’m kind of competitive (you wouldn’t think it to meet me, but apparently I am!) and I have stamina. Our PT at work always told us to always give 100% , then give 10% more. So I did. And I paid for it. I paid for it really bad.
I also weighed up whether it was worth the cost for me when I could do it at home, and decided ultimately, it wasn’t. This decision was made easier as their system to pay was down when I was leaving, meaning I needed to phone up to sign up, which I never managed to find time to do. It also fell at a really awkward time of day where Emmy would be just needing a nap, so getting cranky then falling asleep in the car on the way home, meaning we’d end up with bad sleep and a not very happy baby.
Instead, I’ve decided to commit to more walking, making it more strenuous when we go out by walking harder, faster and longer, and I’m going to try to fit in some home workouts and yoga when I can.
In terms of toys and playing, Emmy’s really started properly playing over July. She, of course, still absolutely loves her Jumperoo and has started properly bouncing in it – it’s my solution for a lot of her boredom when the weather isn’t nice enough to get out for a walk! So worth that £30 on Facebook! We also got a Skip Hop Activity Centre for her when it was reduced to more than half its usual price on Amazon Prime Day – this was one I’d had my eye on since she was about a month old. I’d been going back and forth on whether or not to just give in and buy one when suddenly it was reduced so it was a no brainer. She’s actually just a little on the small side for it still – her feet don’t quite touch the “saucer” underneath yet, so at the moment it’s living in our spare room and I use it as a safe place to pop her while I’m getting ready on a morning – she loves spinning the beads on the hedgehog and smashing the trees around!
We also bought a few smaller and cheaper things: two baby walkers – one of these is a stand up and push along type of one that was £5 in a charity shop in Bakewell while we were away with Ben’s family (and this purchase totally converted Ben to a charity shop fanatic too!); the other is a car shaped one that she essentially sits in and uses her feet to propel herself forward, although she hasn’t yet figured that out, which was also £5, but from Facebook again. I’m loving these bargains lately! Finally, the last “big” toy purchase was an inflatable nest from Lidl. It was another thing I’d been hoping to buy for a little while, with the plan being to take it to Italy with us as a safe place for Emmy to sit so that she wouldn’t fall over but could pack down nice and small since it’s inflatable. When we saw they were in Lidl, we knew it was fate so went to buy one, and she loves this SO much! If you pop her in there with a few toys, she’s happy for a good while, so it’s out all the time now rather than being something for our trip!
Coming towards the end of the month now, Emmy and I went on our first trip into York city centre by ourselves to set up a bank account for her. It’s a bit tricky getting into the centre as York is a very old city, meaning you need to park quite far out and manoeuvre a pram around tiny cobbled streets and in and out of wobbly floored shops, or you have to take a park and ride bus, trying to sort a pram out on that instead. My solution was to park in the centre but to just use the carrier instead, which worked pretty well. The only issue we had was that we had to wait 2 hours for an appointment at the bank (luckily we had some shopping to do!) then had to be at the bank for an hour, right when someone decided she needed a nap and wanted to be in a bed for it! Luckily she finally fell asleep in the carrier, but it took a lot of moaning and groaning which I’m sure the poor people in the bank didn’t appreciate!
Feeding this month has been a bit of a mixed bag. At the beginning of the month, I felt like we had it all right – she was having feeds that were getting shorter as she was more efficient, but the health visitors were very happy with that, and we weren’t struggling with latching or anything. But then came the distractions – and oh, is she easily distracted! We have one very nosy baby! So feeding in public has become trickier. At the beginning of the month, I was still able to get away with feeds out and about. By the end of the month, we were often relegated to the back of the car (which even then was distracting!) and having to find quiet rooms to sit in with blank walls behind us! Her feeds got even shorter at the end of the month too which had me getting a bit worried, but more on that in August’s update!
Instead, let’s talk about weaning! We went to a local council run class on weaning about mid-month which was really useful and reassuring. After going through all the signs of being ready and what you can give them, I felt like we were more prepared to start soon. I’d initially planned to wait until bang on 6 months before giving Emmy even her tiniest bit of food, but considering that she has excellent head control, was starting to sit up by herself (and had been sitting in her high chair for a few weeks at this point), was taking a lot of interest in food as well as her own bowl and spoon which we’d been letting her play with, and was starting to imitate my chewing when I ate (so cute!!), we set a date for her to try a bit of puree. So at just before she turned 5 months, we started with a tiny bit of sweet potato blended with some breast milk, and she absolutely loved it!
Our plan is to just give her little tastes of purees here and there over the next month to give her tastes of things and to get her interested in food – which she already very much is! We want her to love and enjoy food, because we’re very foodie people, and apparently the more tastes you can get them used to as early as they can manage it, the better. By the end of the month, she’d also tried avocado which she wasn’t such a big fan of, but I think that’s because it was cold! She also “accidentally” bit into a strawberry which gave her a bit of a shock – I think it was a flavour explosion that she wasn’t quite expecting!
And since I’m kind of rambling again (who, me? Never!), I’ll shorten a few more points of our 4 month update down:
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