I can’t believe I’m writing this, and Rio is nearly 5 months old in just a few weeks. It still feels like yesterday, when he was as light as a feather, I was a walking zombie (gladly, no more), and everything was all so new and exciting/exhausting/surreal… So much has changed since my last update, when Rio was just over 3 months. Not only has he nearly doubled in size, but he’s really developed into a proper little person with a proper personality! My routine has also changed and evolved, the sleep situation is better, and now that he’s older, there are more fun ways to play and activities we can do together! And finally, after months of trying and testing – I have summarised what baby essentials and brands we can’t live without…
Rio’s New Routine
If you read my first baby update last month, I was talking about how I started a routine with Rio already at 7 weeks. For us, that turned out to be a great thing, and Rio seemed to thrive since introducing this. Of course, a routine is not for everyone, but as much as it seemed to be beneficial for him – it’s also been great for me, to really give me a sense of structured purpose on an every day basis – knowing what I was doing at what time – loosely following the Baby Whisperer’s E.A.S.Y concept (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You). I also mentioned in my last update post, that although I have based my routine on this particular concept – I have slightly adapted it to work for us, as well as his needs (if there’s one thing I have learnt quite quickly, it’s that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all routine when it comes to babies!).
Last time, when he was just over 3 months old – we were following the 6 weeks-4 months routine – and now that he’s nearing 5 months old, we’ve moved to the next routine: 4-6 months, which I actually started a week after my last post. And this has been the best routine for us so far; by stretching out the feeds to 3.5 hours apart (previously 3 hours) – with more playtime/awake time, and having 3 proper sleeps, instead of 3 sleeps + a cat nap. Moving into this routine was easy too, and fortunately he quickly settled into it within a few days.
Current Day Time Schedule:
7am – Wake & feed
7.30 – 8.30am – Some light morning playtime
8.30am – Sleep (anything from 1-2 hours)
10.30am – Feed
10.30am- 12.30pm – Playtime
12.30 – Sleep (anything from 45min-1 hour). This is his shortest sleep of the day, and is often in the pram, either when I’m out and about, or for a walk in the park.
2pm – Feed
2.30pm-3.30pm – Playtime
3.30pm – Sleep (anything from 1-2 hours). This nap is often at home in his nursery.
5.30pm – Cluster feed
6pm – Light play time in his nursery, with nappy free time. Followed by bath time & baby massage.
7pm – Final feed
7.15pm/7.30pm – Sleep (in his nursery)
I’m happy to say that Rio’s sleep is finally so much better! He’s not sleeping through yet, but we’ve gone from 2 wakes, to just 1 wake each night, which I’m personally pretty happy about (and for me, this is totally doable).
In terms of how this happened, I personally think things helped when we started transitioning him into his nursery. He seemed to sleep much better there (as did we). Since my last update, when he had just started doing the first half of the sleep in his crib, within the cot – we’ve now moved him permanently into his nursery. This was a huge decision to make for us, but in the end, it was practically the only choice we had – as he had outgrown both his Moses basket and then his Shnuggle crib. And there was no way we were going to move the whole cot into our bedroom, as he was already sleeping the first stint of the night in his nursery anyways. So one night we just decided to do the whole night in the nursery, and that was it! Ever since then (fingers crossed may it last), his sleep has been so much better.
For security and comfort, I removed the bumper filling from the Sleepyhead and placed it underneath the main sheet (a great tip from a friend) – to create more of a cocoon feeling (as he’s now outgrown the Sleepyhead too!). I have also managed to transition him from the swaddle, and he’s now permanently in his Mori Sleeping Bag (I finally got there in the end!).
Current Sleep Schedule:
7.30pm – Sleep. I give him his final feed in the nursery with all the lights off. As soon as he is done feeding, I transport him straight into his cot, usually asleep.
Anything between 1am-3.30am – Feed. I’m currently getting him from the nursery and feeding him in our bed, and then straight back into the nursery after. I will potentially start feeding him in the nursing chair (when I have a bit more energy!).
7am – Wake and feed – the day begins.
So for me – for us – this is a huge improvement, and I personally feel like a completely different person! I’m still making sure I go to bed at a reasonable time, so I really manage to get a good stint of sleep before his first wake – yet, I still manage to enjoy a whole evening and an uniterrupted dinner from 7.30pm onwards, which is really nice.
Lastly – I have stopped comparing our sleep situation to others, as again, all babies are different, and there are so many variable factors and circumstances. Of course, I’m not giving up hope that he will sleep through the night one day, given he is above average with his weight – but it’s not something I’m beating myself up over that he’s not doing yet.
Our Go-To Sleep Gadgets:
Ewan The Dream Sheep: A soft cuddly toy with light and sound features, including actual womb and heartbeat recordings, as well as rain, vacuum and the harp (the last sound is my personal favourite). I actually consistently had Ewan in my bed during the remaining months of my pregnancy (with the sound of the harp on), so he would get used to the melody. And he still loves it to this day.
Whisbear The Humming Bear with CRYSensor: I started using this a few weeks ago, and I absolutely love it. Again, it has the same soothing sound the baby remembers from the womb (a hairdryer-like sound), but the difference with this one, is the CRYsensor function. Meaning, that after it’s been on for 40-minutes, it automatically switches onto the CRYsensor function when the baby starts to cry. It can be used on the car seat, pram handle or a changing bag, and it’s also a soft play toy, with rustling elements and contrasting colours and textures.
Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother: Lastly, I’ve also been trialling this toy out, which is fastened to his cot. With 25 minutes of classical music, with the option of soft lights and underwater imagery – I find that it really helps to calm and put him to sleep – but also keep him entertained, when I pop the light and movement mode on.
I only touched upon this briefly in the first update – but I am still exclusively breastfeeding, and I have done since day 1. Even after two rounds of Mastitis (which I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy!), I battled through it, and finally, breastfeeding is going well! I never realised how hard it would actually be though – and the first month we really struggled with the latch (he was tongue tied – which came back twice), and he would only feed via the nipple shield for 5 weeks. But we’re finally in a regular, easy and painfree place, and I love it so much.
I don’t know how long I will do it for, but my plan is closer to a year. But we’ll just have to see what happens, especially when we transition him onto solids at 6 months. He used to take the bottle (with expressed breast milk) just fine, which Sam or our family would give to him every now and again – but around 2-3 weeks ago, he started refusing the bottle. This is obviously not ideal for us, as now he’s literally solely depending on direct breastfeeding – but I’m staying positive and hoping it will sort itself out shortly. We will continue to persevere and give it to him on a more regular basis – although, any helpful tips from fellow baby mamas, would be much appreciated!
I’ve had a few requests from you guys in regards to playtime and the various activities I do with Rio. Firstly, I’m no expert, and simply just finding my own way, picking up tips from friends, and seeing what Rio seems to enjoy on a weekly basis. I have to admit, this is a part I have struggled with – as I end up feeling guilty so much of the time; constantly questioning myself if I’m doing enough with him, wondering if he is bored, and what else I can do to help his development! But again, hearing from other mum’s, I think it’s important to also give them time and space to play in their own company, observing their surroundings, and discovering their own hands, feet and general mobility by themselves.
When that said, I’m in an excellent NCT group, which is fortunately very active and social – so there are lots of various things I have signed up to and do on a weekly basis – such as baby massage, music classes (Monkey Music), baby swimming – and I’ll be starting a weekly Baby Sensory class with him in a few months. All of these things are obviously great for his development, but also social and fun for me.
In terms of other outside activities, I find just walking outside with him in his pram or my Ergobaby carrier is also a great way for him to absorb the surrounding, as well as bringing him along to restaurants and cafes, getting used to noise, and the hustle and bustle of London. Then when we’re back at home, I have various gadgets, bouncers, playmats and toys to keep him entertained…
Must-Have Baby Entertainment Essentials:
iCandy MiChair + Newborn Pod: The iCandy MiChair is a super stylish and beautifully crafted piece of furniture – which you can use on it’s own as highchair, or you can purchase the iCandy MiChair Pod, which simply docs on top of the highchair, and can be used from birth. We absolutely love this, and only wish we got this sooner, as it’s great for the baby’s to be more level with us; we pop him in it when we’re eating, so he can observe us, or when we are standing in the kitchen and cooking, when he watches his favourite baby sensory video. Once he outgrows the baby pod, which is any day soon to be honest (the way he’s growing!), he will shortly be able to start using the highchair (we’ve also got these iCandy seat paddings to make it more comfortable), and the highchair also cleverly transform into a chair and rocking chair (up to 6 years old). Granted, this is an investment piece, but the quality really reflects on this. And the fact that it looks good too, is always a bonus.
Skip & Hop Play Gym: Rio loves this play gym! It includes a mirror (which he loves), a clever phone parent pocket so the family can tune in, a hooting owl, a musical hedgehog, a dancing fox and more! We use it for both lying down so he observe what’s ahead, or for tummy time, when you can simply move the playgym down to his level.
BabyBjörn Bouncer Balance Soft: I love this bouncer, and if you’re going to invest in just one bouncer – I would definitely recommend this one. It’s super lightweight and easy to transport from room to room, as well as to travel with, as it’s easy to flatten. I particularly like the ergonomic design of the bouncer, which gives proper head and back support already from newborn days (until they’re around two years old). It’s super soft and snuggly too, and it also helps develop your baby’s motor skills and balance in a natural way (no batteries needed).
4Moms mamaRoo Baby Rocker: If you’re going to invest in another bouncer – we’ve also got the mamaRoo, which in contrast to the BabyBjörn, is electrically driven. It bounces up and down, sways from side to side – with 5 unique motions, including car ride, kangaroo, tree swing, rock-a-bye and wave, and you can select from four soothing sounds including rain, ocean, heartbeat and fan, or play your favourite songs, with the option of an MP3 plug in. With an overhead toy mobile and a removable infant seat, you can use it from newborn days as well. I really love the versatility with this bouncer, and fortunately it’s always kept him entertained! It’s more of an investment piece in terms of the price, but we’ve been really happy with it.
Galt Baby Playnest & Gym: I was recommended this by a friend, who has a son who is older than Rio, and she swore by this playnest to help him eventually being able to sit up on his own. The fabric covered inflatable ring, is soft supporting and multi-sensory with the detachable play gym. The reasonable price reflects in the quality (and look of it), which I haven’t been that impressed by. But Rio seems very happy in it, and makes a change from lying flat on the play gym.
Lamaze ‘Freddie the Firefly’ Toy: This is Rio’s all-time favourite toy – with lots of colour, multiple textures, shapes and crinkles, a teether, squeaker, and various other things he can chew and touch. It easily clips onto the stroller, carrier, changing bags, or your play gym – I basically never leave the house without it.
Matchstick Monkey Teething Toy & Gel Applicator: As he’s already started teething, and wants to chew anything in sight, we’ve (already) been through our fair share of various teethers. But his absolutely favourite (basically, the only one he will use) is Matchstick Monkey. It’s easy to grip, flexible and soft, and with the clever toothbrush tip, it also helps massage the gums, and you can cleverly apply teething gels/granules on it too, to aid teething pain.
Jellycat Monkey Soft Toy: His favourite soft toys, are from Jellycat, and his favourite one is the monkey, which he’s already very attached to!
Obviously, I have a lot of other gadgets, toys, playmats & books to keep him entertained (who knew how much stuff a baby needs/gets given!?) – but these are the current essentials I can’t seem to live without.
Finally, another thing you’ve also asked me to share, is what baby clothing brands I love! Well, there’s just so much… And it would be impossible to list every single brand on here, so I have summarised it by category to make it slightly easier to navigate.
Quality: Joules & Mori (the best baby grows)
Basics: Mothercare (go-to for all Rio’s basics, such as vests, plain babygrows, bibs, etc.) & Petit Bateau (timeless & classical pieces)
High street classics: H&M, Next & Gap (affordable and easy)
Designer & contemporary retailers: Alex and Alexa & Melijoe (both websites have the best selection & mix of designer, contemporary & independent brands)
Personalised: My 1st Years (anything personalised basically – and great for gifts)
Note: I have been gifted a few of the above recommendations purely to try them out (no strings attached) – but none of this is sponsored recommendations – and I’m only sharing the products which I genuinely love, and which has been working for us.
And as always, please leave a comment below, or drop me an e-mail, if there is anything else you would like me to cover in my next update!