Last month when Jasper was 15 months old, me and James took him to Cbeebies Land. We went on a Thursday, stayed overnight in the Cbeebies Land Hotel and then came home on the Friday. It was a really fun trip and a great place to visit with children, even as young as Jasper. It was quite expensive though and I found there wasn’t as much interaction with the characters as I would have liked. I did a lot of research before we went to make the trip run as smooth as possible and so we could get the most out of it. I also learnt some things whilst we were there so I thought I would share my top 11 tips for parents when visiting Cbeebies Land at Alton Towers.
Jasper has never been a great sleeper, he is amazing in every other way but sleep has never been a strong point, so I am quite well versed in sleep deprivation. Before Jasper was born I used to be one of those people that loved sleep and needed around 10 hours sleep most nights. Now you will hear me say things like ‘we had a really good night last night’, when I got 6 hours of sleep and that’s without even mentioning that it was in 3 blocks! So I thought it could be useful to share my top 3 tips for coping with sleep deprivation.
How am I writing Jasper’s 15 month old baby update already?! He is 15 months old today and walking pretty well now so he is definitely a toddler (even though he will always be my baby). I say this at every single stage with Jasper but he is just at an amazing age at the moment. He’s learning new things every day and understanding more and more and it is so amazing to watch. I love looking back at these updates* to see how much he has changed and I hope they might be useful to someone wanting to know what to expect with a 15 month old.
Last week I took Jasper to get his feet measured and to get his first pair of shoes. Since he was not confidently walking yet we went for the crawling/pre walking shoes so that they are still really flexible as his feet get used to walking and he gets more sturdy. When we were in the shop he kept curling up his toes because he wasn’t used to wearing shoes so it was really hard to get them on. Then when we did manage to put them on he pretty much refused to walk or stand in them because he had no idea what was going on. The first few times after this he kept tripping up over them so we let him wear them round the house quite a bit to get used to them.
About 2 weeks ago, I was just pottering around in the kitchen and Jasper stood up at the door and took like 6 steps towards me. It was literally the craziest thing and I wasn’t expecting it. He had been standing and pulling himself up for ages and had taken the odd step here and there but not really without holding on.
Returning to work after having a baby can be a daunting experience. You have been off work in a baby bubble for a while and the thought of having to now work can seem impossible. How will I fit in getting ready for work, the commute and actually being in work alongside nappy changes, playing with my baby and all the other things I need to do? I know I definitely had these thoughts! The other day I read an article that said most first time mums don’t want to go back to work after having their babies so I thought it might be useful to share my experience.
Some people see going to work as a way to challenge their brain, the opportunity for a hot drink and a way to have some balance with mum life, which is brilliant. I found that, whilst these things are true, I spent several months worrying about my return. What if Jasper needs me? Will I miss him too much? Will my brain have turned to mush? I have now been back at work for nearly a month and, whilst I would still rather be with my baby, the return hasn’t been as bad as I expected and working is fine but I definitely built it up in my head way more. I worked my first full day this week and I even managed to do it without taking a nap at my desk! But I did video call Jasper half way through the day because I missed him, he waved at me and kissed the phone then carried on playing so it really helped me to see he was happy.
Over the weekend I changed Jasper’s cotbed from a cot to a bed. He has never actually used it as a cot, he slept in his Snuzpod for his first 5 months and has coslept with me ever since. I have tried on a few occasions to get him to sleep in his cot but it just resulted in him waking up crying every 15 minutes and lots of banged heads on the bars. Jasper has never been a great sleeper anyway, so I up until now decided it was best to cosleep so that I could at least get some sleep between wake ups. But I feel like now he is at a good age to be introduced to the idea of his own bed and bedroom.
Today Jaspy turned 1! I can’t believe I am actually writing this post the year has gone by so quickly, the phrase “the days are long but the years are short” really is true. It doesn’t seem like 2 minutes since he was born but it also feels like he has been with us forever. It’s been a really amazing year watching my baby grow in to the most loving and funny little boy he is now!
About a month ago, we decided that it was time to start trying to wean Jasper off milk feeds in the night. Before this he could be awake up to 6 times in the night and wanted milk up to 3 of those times. As he is breast fed, I needed to do all the wake ups with him and I was starting to reach a point of complete exhaustion after 11 months of little sleep. It was really starting to affect my mood and ability to function throughout the and with my return to work looming we decided that this would be a good time.
Overall he has done really well with this change. Typically he will now have his bedtime milk between 6pm and 7pm and then next have milk between 5am and 6am so this is quite a big improvement fo us compared to what it was before. I think only once in the last few weeks have I caved and given him milk at 4am. Generally his sleep has also improved a little bit, he does still occasionally have up to 3 wake ups in a night or periods of being restless but it has still got better. Also because he doesn’t have milk in the night anymore it means daddy can help more in the night which has been useful more me to try and catch up on some sleep.
Just for a full disclaimer even though Jasper s playing in his cot in the picture below, he has never slept a full night in there. He has pretty much co-slept with me since he was about 4 months old because he was waking up so regularly it’s the only way I could get any sleep. I secretly really like that he sleeps in my bed so I can watch him sleep and we can we extra cuddles.
With maternal mental health week drawing to a close, I thought I would share my story of learning to cope with separation anxiety. Before I had Jasper I had never really suffered with anxiety or any mental health issues really. And although I was aware that having a baby could lead to things like the baby blues and post natal depression, I had never really given it much thought and I really didn’t think I would experience these conditions. I now realise that maternal mental health is so important. It’s not surprising really given that you go through a massive life changing experience. Then mix that with all the hormones racing through your body, it’s no wonder that your mental health could need some support.