Goodbye Snuzpod: a cosleeping crib and my son’s sleeping issues.

Today we finally recognised that we had to give up on the Snuzpod cosleeping crib and that our baby is finally ready to sleep in his cotbed. He still fits in it at 8 months but two weeks ago he started crawling and sit up, therefore it wasn’t safe to use anymore.

I remember when I was pregnant I had already bought the cotbed for his room, but started then thinking if it would be best having a mose’s basket or a crib for the first months. I decided that a cosleeping crib was the best option for me, as the baby would have anyway outgrew the mose’s basket soon. I then stumbled upon what seemed the most discussed topic on the baby forum: better to have the Snuzpod or the Chicco Next2me? I must admit it, I chose the first for its look as I felt in love with it at first sight. But although this would have been a present from my mum, until the baby arrived I couldn’t quite justify its cost  (At 199£ is not a cheap option).

After having used it for 8 solid months, I couldn’t have been happier with it and I’m now recommending it to everybody! It made it so easy for me to cope with my baby poor sleeping habits, being at the perfect height next to our bed and with its opening side. Picking him up and putting him back down up to 8 times at night at least was easy and I never had to leave my bed. In the beginnings I would also remove the top from the base and bring it with me in the living room, as I always had him napping in there safely. The Snuzpod for me is a must have and worth all the money, it has been a great help with all the sleeping issues we experienced.

My baby from birth slept practically the whole night, waking up only for a feed. The health visitor said not to worry although it was unusual as he was steadily putting on weight, but in the first 3 months of his life I slept great and was feeling sorry for all my mum friends whose babies woke up every 2 hours. All that changed the day he was 13 weeks old, when he hit the dreaded 4 months sleep regression. From that night on, he kept waking up almost every hour, if not every half an hour on bad nights, and I’m afraid to say nothing worked and he slept poorly until last month. My health visitor was not helpful as for her the only solution to the problem was to let him fall asleep in the crib by himself. I tried everything aside for letting him crying out as it’s nothing for me. The pick up put down method didn’t work for us, he only screamed until he was hyperventilating anyway as soon as he was placed back in the crib and kept him awaken for his two hours cycle. I admit it was hard on me and I spent a few nights crying because of sleep deprivation. Before Christmas I managed to put him in his crib drowsy but awaken and after two weeks of resistance from his side he would fall asleep every time in ten minutes top.

This didn’t make him sleep through the night and he was still waking up five to seven times per night. I went to Italy for an holiday a month ago and the magic happened: he woke up only 2 or 3 times a night! I had two blessed weeks of good sleep, until two nights ago. My baby learned to crawl and sit up by himself and from then on as soon as I put him in the Snuzpod he gets on four legs and starts moving awaken again. It has been a new nightmare and I don’t know yet how to tackle the problem as it’s so recent. The only thing I understood is that I have to sadly put away my beloved Snuzpod and that it is time for him to sleep in his big boy bed.

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How to use a forum for new mums and maintain your mental sanity

Because I’m a foreigner living abroad, I used Internet and Google a lot when I discovered I was pregnant to understand better what I was going to face and what to expect from the health care system here in England, as everything was so different from what I knew.

That’s how I found this baby group online that offered practical information and advices together with a mum’s forum. It was indeed helpful for me as there were loads of new and not new mums sharing their experience and what would happen at every midwife appointment at the same time as me. At the beginning I was logging in daily and reading all the posts, until I noticed a few behaviours that, in my opinion, almost ruined the whole experience.

1. Be aware of the Nazi Mums! These are the mums that always know best and they are not afraid to tell you. It’s easy to spot one. When someone writes a controversial post, the nazi mum will shout her  opinion (often a copy and paste from the first google entry) and will make you feel bad about your choice. I saw it happening also when we all had a baby and some mums were discussing the option of early weaning. I was against weaning my child before 6 months and I preferred to wait as the NHS also recommends, but as long as you do not harm your baby I don’t see why some people need to shame others for their decisions. Same happened with breastfeeding, immunisations and other topics, just to name a few. I might disagree with the way other mums chose to behave with their children but aside from immunisation (where not doing it harm your baby and those around) I just think common sense and understanding is necessary. Specially when disagreeing is borderline with bullying.

2. Be aware of the copycats (and mass hysteria)! This happened all the time. I remember when we were told to count the baby’s movement in the middle of our pregnancy. There wasn’t a day where someone would post about not feeling the baby moving and called the midwife emergency number (but only after writing about it on the forum). This I find particularly disturbing, specially when your hormones are way crazy and you are already worried about everything that might go wrong. I can’t stress enough about counting the movement as it’s a good indicator about the baby’s health in the belly, but also remember that some days the baby might be quieter or you can feel him less. All this mass hysteria about not feeling the baby was, though, quite distressing for me and I’m sure half of the posts were made by attention seekers.

It’s reassuring to know someone else is having the same issues or the same experience as you are, and often they can help you by sharing their knowledge. But I found it these forums a bit overwhelming  at times, so the best thing to do in these cases is to have a good laugh and switch off the phone!

Travelling with a baby

 

Since we had our baby we had to travel twice: the first time was to gorgeous Cornwall by car, the second to Italy at Christmas.

We had our babymoon near Tintagel when I was eight months pregnant and together with my husband we felt in love with Cornwall. Walks on the cliffs above the sea, beautiful scenarios and wonderful landscapes. It was an easy decision to go back when  we had our baby. He was just three months old and we faced the long journey from London by car. It was easier than I imagined, although we had to plan multiples stops to get there. The gentle movement of the car made him sleep for long stretches, but when he had enough he screamed from the top of his lungs and the only thing calming him was us singing an Italian nursery rhyme he loved in that period  (imagine singing the same song for one hour straight…).

Sightseeing was relatively easy, armed with a baby carrier or the pram for going around in villages like St. Ives. Our baby carrier is the Ergobaby 360 four position and we liked it because we could both wear it and it’s very comfortable for the baby, securing him with a leg position that doesn’t arm his delicate hips. We faced walks along the cliffs like this and more difficult paths while our baby boy slept quietly and was protected from the challenging weather of Cornwall.

Our pram is not a fancy one but it’s very practical. I felt in love with the Stokke when I was searching for one before he was born, its style and design are breathtaking if you can afford that price. I was quite adamant though I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a pram as I honestly don’t see the point but it was so difficult to find one that had good quality and lower price. Our choice ended on the Uberchild Evo, which offered a travel system of three pieces for a very reasonable price (£230). The frame is quite light and I like both the carrycot and stroller, but the car seat in my opinion is not the best and not very comfortable, specially when the baby is so small. I would not recommend it if you are planning to use a car seat a lot, with us living in London and not owning a car (we rented a car for the holiday) we didn’t use it massively so it would do. The other downside is that you have to buy it without the chance to seeing it or trying it first: at the baby show in London I was stopped by a soon-to-be father who also bought that pram and he was so happy he could see mine to have an idea of what to expect.

One of the best items we had with us was a travel cot with bassinet: I can’t stress enough how much the bassinet was worth it, it made it so easy for me to take care of the baby during the night as I am quite short and I would have not been able otherwise to pick him up nor put him down easily. Our friend lent us one, it was a Joie travel cot and it was super easy to assemble and put it away once we were done. We stayed in an AirBnb and the room was spacious enough to accommodate it easily.

Forget about travelling light with a baby then! We had so many things for him that our shared luggage was the only thing we could afford to bring for me and my husband together. Remember also to bring a bucket and a stain remover (we had with us saint Napisan, which removes every stain a leaking dirty nappy can make), you will for sure use it on a daily base.

That was a special holiday for my family as it was our first and although we had to consider his rhythms and routine during the travel, it was relatively easy to keep going around as we were used to do when we were just the two of us.

At Christmas we flew to Italy to spend it with my family, and also the airport experience had been easier than I expected! I used the baby carrier in the airport and this made everything simpler. We didn’t have to bring with us neither pram nor travel cot as my family provided these for us luckily, so we travelled lighter on this occasion. I was quite wary on the plane and afraid he would have cried disturbing the other passengers (I used to be one of those adults who would try everything not to seat next to a child during a flight and this didn’t change yet lol!) But with a bit of entertaining and being my boy naturally curious the flight went smooth and I might say pleasantly. On the way back though he made such a poonamy he was covered almost up to his head: and let me tell you, changing a baby in the airplane toilet is not an easy task, Houdini would have had problems too handling himself, a baby and a changing bag in that small space! The task was really difficult and, as I’m going to fly to Italy again this week, I’m praying he won’t do a dirty nappy in the plane anymore!

I’m going back to Italy this week as practically all my family birthdays, including mine, happen on this month and I also have a dear friend’s wedding next Saturday. On the way back I will face travelling with my baby solo for the first time. Gone are the days where I could enjoy the flight with a book as entertainment and my beloved copy of Vanity Fair Italy (this was a guilty pleasure of mine and a sort of habit, as I always had one when travelling), hopefully I will be able to manage it in the best way possible. If not, then at least I’ll have some more material for a new blog entry!

First blog post

The first post is intimidating me since more than a week. I thought deeply and asked myself: if the first post should define who I am as a blogger and what direction this blog should take, how can I put it in words? Will there be anyone out there interested enough to read it?

And I think the best way to do it is to introduce myself: I’m an Italian woman who moved to England more than six years ago and, since seven months, I am the mother of a wonderful baby boy. I have not always been a baby lover if I have to admit it, the factor that sold me and my husband the resort for our honeymoon in Mexico was that the complex was an adult only! But in these last months my life got flipped-turned upside down (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air nostalgia anyone?!?) and I couldn’t imagine it differently now. Last year I arrived to a point in my life where, when my husband suggested we had a baby, the idea of having one was just so natural and we embraced it with passion.

Still, I’m not going to swoon or post super cheesy motivational pictures on social media that say “A woman does not wear her most precious jewel, she gives life to it” or similar (we all have someone like this among our contacts and posts like this one make me wonder why I am still in contact with this person…). Having a baby though is a huge part of me now and as a first time mum there have been, and will for sure be, clueless moments where I was asking myself and the world what will happen and what should I do. I hope I will be able to entertain someone with my misadventures, especially considering not only motherhood was completely new to me but coming from abroad the process of having a baby with the NHS was totally different from the experience all my friends who did it before me in my home country shared with me.

I am also an art lover, I devoted my university path to studying art and hoped to develop a career in this sector. I am now working for an auction house, although not in the sector of my choice but this allow me to be surrounded by great art and to keep enjoying privately what this amazing world can offer. Art and my love for travelling goes together, and not being able at the moment to see the world as much as we used to do when we were baby free is the only thing I miss the most. I loved to plan a visit into details, reading guides and travel blogs searching for ideas on what to see and how to combine my passion for visiting historical places and art galleries together with a simple discovery of that particular place (hoping my husband would not be too bored in the meantime!!!). I’m really looking forward to being a tourist again, this time with a third little travel buddy with us. I’m quite lucky he is amazing to go out with so far, I hope this continues and that I can transmit him my love for going out and visiting amazing locations everywhere.

This is a little part of me, I hope I can show more of my passions and life through my words. And if someone arrived to the end of this piece, thank you for giving me a chance.