Two Under 2 - A life update 6 months in

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Whew! We’ve made it to 6 months as a family of four, and I think we all deserve a high five (or rather, Mommy & Daddy deserve a night of uninterrupted sleep, or maybe just a 10 minute lie-in, or wait, maybe just a hot cup of tea, I’d settle for that!). The past 6 months have been crazy, filled with nappies…and more nappies and then a few more nappies on top of that. And even though it feels like the days dragged ooooonnnnn and ooooonnnn this time has really flown past. Everyone said that it would be hard, and to be honest, I didn’t really believe them

Or rather, I didn’t really understand what hard would look like.

My first born, Everly, was (and still is) a unicorn baby…you know the ones that sleep like the book says they should (and then some!) who eat anything and everything, who play independently for hours at a time…the ones you don’t believe really exist. And so I really thought I had it all down pat when it came to having another baby. I just assumed that Everly turned out the was she did because of how we had parented. And while I think part of this is true, a whole lot of it has to do with her being a girl, being our first baby, and of course the things we have no control over, her nature and personality.

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Life since Aaron has been hard. It’s been hard for lots of reasons, not just because he has been a colicky baby, but also because of things like the small age gap between him and his sister (17 months) which means effectively I have two babies to care for. Also, with your second baby, you have far less time to sit and coo over them, and I was able to rest more when I had Everly (I spent the first 6 weeks REALLY taking it easy after her birth) and with Aaron, I was basically up and about and picking up a busy toddler after barely a week. It’s also been REALLY hard trying to co-ordinate two little schedules. I am very routine orientated, and somewhere over the past couple of months, Everly has needed to drop from two to one naps (I know, I should be thanking my lucky stars that she has made it this long on two naps) but that transition was quite tricky. Anyway, we made it and she has now settled nicely into her new one nap a day schedule, and thankfully still sleeps through the night (even through Aaron’s bad nights…long may that last!).

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I really don’t believe that my little boy is a very difficult baby, he has just been really different to Everly. A big component has been that I actually have forgotten what Everly was like in the early months. But, in saying this, Aaron is a whole lot busier than Everly was, he has already got 2 teeth (and two more are breaking through and he HAS not been a happy chappy for days on end before and after those pearly whites broke through…unlike Evs who only got her first tooth at nearly 8 months and ever since then barely makes a peep when they do) and from what I can tell from my friend’s with boy babies, he is a typical boy. He just wants to be close to his mommy, and he likes intense one on one interaction about 90% of the time. It’s not always easy for me to mentally sit down on the floor and play with him, when I feel torn between work on my computer and then the things that I love doing (photography, blogging and sharing our behind the scenes farm life on Instagram…but gosh writing that out here really does sound terrible…I’m basically saying playing with and talking to my baby is taking me away from doing the things I love doing…and that pretty much sums up parenthood haha). But I do think all of these thoughts are normal (please tell me I’m not alone!) and while the first 4 months for us were the hardest, the last 6 weeks have had way more happy & sunnier days.

Aaron is giggling and laughing, and developing his own sense of humor (typical boy style, the fist full on laugh was over ‘fart’ noises) and he LOVES being thrown up into the air. He is getting really good at sitting, and his slow-to-smile nature means that every smile you do get hits you with ALL THE FEELS.

Here is our new #TwoUnderTwo schedule, for anyone who might like to know how we (try!) to do things most days:

  • 06:30 - 7am both kiddos wake up (generally at the same time, which is chaos, but some days Evs wakes up before Aaron and then I get to spend a bit of quality time with just her while I get her changed for the day). I feed Aaron & change his nappy, and then pop some music on for him while I change Evs nappy and get her dressed.

  • 8am Everly has breakfast while Aaron sits in his bouncy chair (he gives me about 10 - 15 mins before he starts getting bored).

  • 08:30 - 10am Aaron has his nap. Everly and I go an play in the garden, read books, potter around the house.

  • 10:00 Aaron wakes up, I feed him, change his nappy and then geenrally pop him in the pram and take him and Everly for a walk.

  • 10:45 Everly has a filling snack (usually homemade yoghurt with nut butter/blueberries)

  • 11:00 - 13:00/14:00 Everly has her nap (which can be anywhere from 2 - 3 hours long).

  • 11:00 Aaron has his solids (we just started about a week ago)

  • 11:30 Aaron goes down for his nap, which can be anywhere from 1 - 2 hours long.

    From 11:30 - 13:00 is generally when I get to have my only break from both kiddos. I don’t usually get longer than 45 mins, but there have been a few days when I’ve had 2 hours to myself. It’s wonderful! But it did take 6 months to get here, as usually Aaron would wake up as I was putting Everly down, or vice versa.

  • 13:00/14:00 Everly has lunch when she wakes up from her nap, and then the three of us play together until Aaron’s next nap.

  • 15:00/16:00 Aaron will have some sort of nap at this time, some days he has a short 30 minute nap, other day an hour. Other days, my wonderful Nanny will put him on her back while she does the ironing and I’ll take Everly out into the garden to play.

  • 17:00 Everly has supper

  • 17:30 I start running the bath, getting the kids pj’s and nappies laid out (this may sound strange, but as we use cloth nappies, the night time nappy is always a bigger one that has lots of layers, and so I go and fold them/get them ready.

  • 18:00 Bath time. I bath Everly while hubby get’s Aaron undressed and baths him. Then I take Aaron to his room to change and feed him, and then pop him down for the night. Everly gets changed and has story time and what she calls ‘talk time….soooo cute’ with Daddy, and I usually get to pop my head in to say goodnight.

  • 3:00-4:00am Aaron wakes up for a feed, and then goes right back to sleep till the morning.

It’s taken us a while to get to this point, and I’m so proud of my family! We had about a month recently of Aaron waking up multiple times a night, me feeding him often, us leaving him to cry and eventually settle himself to sleep (again, this has only been doable because Everly sleeps through the noise) and just general rough nights, but with lots of perseverance and consistency, we are back to a good nighttime routine again. I have no doubt this is going to change again, and I’m okay with that, because I know we will get back to our ‘normal’ again.

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In other news, I’ve been quite busy again lately with branding shoots & website design, which always pulls me in two directions. I also am in charge of our farm’s BEE certification, and we have our audit coming up in the next 2 weeks which has been crazy stressful, and really, really, really hard to juggle with two little ones. It’s the kind of work that needs uninterrupted focus time (haha yes I hear the moms in the back laughing along with me at the though of uninterrupted focus time when you have kids) but I’m getting there, and once this audit is done, hopefully it will be a while until I need to work on it again.

So all in all, we are getting into our groove and the latest fun milestone has been giving Aaron solids and starting his weaning journey. I’ll be doing more blog posts on that soon, but if you’ve got a little one and will be starting solids with them soon, here are all my blog posts on what we did with Everly:

Some goals we have now for our little family are to go on a hike, and when the weather warms up, to go camping. Are we crazy or is it doable? Do you have any tips for doing any of the above with two little ones? I’d love to hear from you!

Life with a Baby - Week 15 of Baby #2

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While scrolling through the hashtag I made for my little girl (please tell me I’m not the only one who scrolls through their own hashtags!), I came across the photo I shared of Everly at 3 months, and the corresponding blogpost I wrote on her at 15 weeks. As Aaron is 15 weeks old now, I thoroughly enjoyed reading through it and comparing my two babies. I’m so glad I have kept up with blogging, as it has become a wonderful walk down memory lane on so many occasions.

Here’s a comparison of Everly & Aaron at 3 months old:

My pregnancy with Aaron was a very happy and relatively easy one. I stayed as active as I could (going to Pilates for as long as I was able to) and Everly pretty much kept me active all day every day. We also moved house when I was 7 months pregnant (fun & games that was!) and Everly only officially started walking the day I gave birth to Aaron…so having to carry her around all day also helped keep me fit and strong. Although my birth didn’t go according to plan, again (I was hoping for a VBAC but my cervix just wouldn’t play ball…again) this time around the whole experience was a lot more peaceful because I had been through it all before. I was very grateful to go into labor naturally, at 38 weeks on the dot (just like when I had Everly) and I was up and about in the hospital the very next day, which really helped with my recovery time.

Here are all the posts I wrote on my second pregnancy, including a post on what to pack for hospital for both mommy & baby:

Not that I can really remember, but from what I wrote in my post on Everly at 15 weeks, she started really resisting her day time naps at this stage. This is nothing new for Aaron, as he has been cat napping like a champ for a good 2 months now, and surprisingly is actually now starting to settle into more of a predictable routine.

So…the total opposite of Everly.

I also thought Everly was an amazing sleeper at night, but it seems that Aaron is even better than her, and has been sleeping 11 - 13 hours a night since about 7 weeks old (I’m going to say that he is making up for his lack of daytime sleep…or perhaps he gets more than his fair share at night and needs less during the day?? Who ever really knows!).

While I haven’t read/re-read any baby books this time around, here is what I shared in Everly’s post that could give some reason for the unsettledness that happens at about this time:

  • The dreaded 4 Month sleep regression (in reality I feel like babies make up their own timelines when it comes to sleep regressions/growth spurts)

  • A growth spurt

  • Teething (I laugh looking back at this as Everly only got her first tooth at 7 months…so the fact that thought she was teething at this age really gives me a good giggle)

  • A Wonder Weeks developmental leap

  • Travel or disturbance of environment/routine

  • Transitioning out of a bassinet and into a cot (we made the move with Aaron today!)

  • Vaccinations (here in South Africa there are shots at 14 weeks)

  • And the most probable one...babies just being babies, growing and changing with no real explanation as to why they do what they do!

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Up Until Now

Aaron’s first few weeks were relatively smooth sailing, and he pretty much ate and slept all night. He slept about 2 -3 hours during the day, and stretched to about 5 hours at night. From about week 5 - 9, he had terrible gas & tummy trouble (I want to say he was colicky…but I now know that Colic is the word used to describe unsettled babies who generally are just not very happy/have sore tummies/are more on the niggly side of things). I tried every drop/liquid under the sun, but didn’t really notice much of a difference, and he eventually grew out of that at about 10 weeks.

We have also gone through a very hazy 6 weeks or so of crazy cat naps during the day, ranging anywhere from 20 - 50 minutes in length. I tried 3 days of intense sleep training, which I didn’t find to work very well, and then both kids got colds and I put all that on hold. Throughout all of this, Aaron continued to sleep REALLY well at night…sleeping from 6/6:30 - 7/8am with one feed at about 5am. But the days were shocking, and I rememeber pretty much crying at some point every day. I feel like things escalate from 0 - 1000 in a split second, and hubby would leave the room and I would be all cheerful and smiley, and come home 10 minutes later to find me in a complete heap, two screaming babies and lots of tears all around. But thankfully, each day seems to be getting easier, and I hope this continues.

In terms of routine & schedule, we follow the same bed time routine that we started (and still do) with Everly:

  • 6pm bath time (depending on the afternoon nap I’ll either feed him one side right before bath time or when he wakes up from his last nap which can be anywhere between 4 & 6pm). Then once out the bath it’s a quick massage, a nice big clean nappy (we use cloth nappies on both kiddos...click here to read more about our cloth nappy journey so far) and pyjamas.

  • +- 6:15pm feed the other side, burp & then straight into the cot by 6:30pm

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Here's how I put Aaron to sleep at night:

After his bath & last feed & burp, I pop him straight down in his cot while he is awake but drowsy, put his dummy in and walk out the room. Aaron sleeps on his tummy (unlike his sister who HATES being on her tummy…not matter how much I tried). If he’s fussing a bit, I may go in a few times to pop the dummy back in and give a few reassuring pats on the bum. This is the only time of the day that I feed before sleep.

And during the day:

I try to follow a 'wake-eat-change-play-sleep' routine during the day so that he doesn't associate sleeping with feeding, as feeding before sleeping makes life really hard as baby ends up refusing to go to sleep without a feed. This has become much more of a challenge with short naps. For the first few weeks of his sleepy newborn state, he would sleep about 3 hours at a time during the day, which meant every time he woke up it would be time for a feed. I roughly follow a 3 hourly breastfeeding schedule. I do the same sleep routine during the day as at night, Except this time he gets put down after play time. I generally try to follow the following wake time schedule, which is based on age appropriate periods of awake time:

  • morning wakeup

  • 1 hour of awake time

  • nap

  • 1hr 15mins of awake time

  • nap

  • 1.5 hrs of awake time

  • nap

  • 1.5hrs of awake time

  • bedtime

Up until now, it’s been really hard to follow a ‘eat, play, sleep’ routine, as the short day time naps inevitably mean I’m feeding him just before his next nap, otherwise I would be feeding him every hour. I am not against demand feeding, but I find we are all happier when we are following more of a set routine, and 3 hourly feeds works well for this. When (or IF) Aaron’s naps consolidate (apparently this generally happens naturally around month 5) then this will be much easier to follow. So in the meantime, I pop him in the carrier is he wakes up early and it isn’t time for a feed, this way he is happy to either be close to me, or nods off for a bit more.

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And Now

Sometimes it still feels like all Aaron does during the day is cry…I know this isn’t the case, but gosh it sure does feel like it some times. He is a typical boy (at least, from what I have been told and seen with my friends boy’s) he just wants to be held and is happiest when being worn in the carrier. This is completely the opposite to Everly, who could lie on her play mat for ages and ages, and was very content to just be. She also woke up happy after every nap, whereas Aaron wakes up rather grouchy and is happiest only once he has been fed.

Even though I feel frazzled most of the day (I’m sure this has less to do with Aaron and more to do with the fact that I have two kids to take care of and I work from home) each and every smile from him warms my heart and makes it all worthwhile.

I’m also SO thankful his nights are so good #longmayitlast.

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NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Current favourite nickname: Arrow

Loves: being in the carrier & watching his big sister

Hates: day time sleep (haha) being taken out the carrier

Teething: Not crazy amounts of drool, and not too much sucking on his hands yet

Eye Colour: Grey? Dark Blue? Hazel?

Hair Color: Dark Brown 

Weight: Weighing in at 6.2 kg's, the same weight as his sister at this age. I have gone through a week or so of worrying that I am no feeding him enough as I only feed him on one side per feed. He was 3.6kgs at birth, and Everly had doubled her weight by this time, so I’ll keep an eye on this. I’m trying to drink more water and make sure I eat a lot more oats (any other suggestions to increase your milk supply?)

Feeding: Breastfed

Sleeping Aids: His hands & a dummy

Current clothing size: 3-6 months

Currently eating/not eating: I’m eating & drinking everything I did before being pregnant, as well as when I was pregnant. I’m drinking regular coffee (although I try not to drink caffeine after 3pm) and I’m also still drinking my homemade kombucha. Although a lot of people talk about diet affecting their breastmilk, I really don’t believe it makes too much difference, and find I am a happier mom when I eat what I like.

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And that’s where we are now friends. Here’s hoping Aaron continues to settle more during the day, and that he keeps up the wonderful nights (I’m hoping he sails through the 4 month sleep regression!) but if not, I’m going to just try to remember that these are all such short seasons, and before we know it, he will be up and running after his big sister in the blink of an eye.

Chat soon!

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