"Congratulations, you successfully completed six months of parenting"

We did it - we made it to six months as parents! I honestly feel like it should be celebrated more than it actually is; the fact you've kept this tiny person safe, helped them grow, and still have an ounce of sanity left after half a year.

When it comes to Peyton's first birthday (which scarily feels like it's very close now considering how quick the last six months have gone!) it's definitely going to be a celebration for me and Tom, as well as her. I'm thinking cocktails, prosecco... we've earned it after all!

Peyton turned six whole months old right before Christmas.

Six months. I still can't believe it.

When she was first born I would look at people with babies who were six months and think how much bigger they looked and how it seemed like a million years away. Now, I look back at photos and videos of when Peyton was first born and I can't ever remember her being that tiny. She was so much tinier than we were expecting; given thats everyone was suddenly an expert on baby size and predicted she'd be massive because of the size of my gut. But she was just so, so tiny.

I found a newborn vest in the bottom of her changing bag the other day and, I won't lie, I filled up. It was just so small, I can't believe she ever fit in it. God, what am I going to be like when she's older if I'm falling apart over a vest at six months?!

Six months was also my original breastfeeding target; something else that seemed light years away in those early days and weeks. I've not shied away from the fact I struggled with breastfeeding at the beginning. Now, however, we're in such a good routine with it that I really enjoy it; and I never thought I would say that.

I have no fears about feeding her anywhere that she needs to be fed; we're like well-oiled machines now. Although, she can be a tinker when we're out and about and she's feeding. She's so bloody nosey that the second someone speaks, or she hears a noise, her head turns 180 and she's gazing round - leaving my tit fully exposed and on show to the world and his wife. Even when I try cover up with a muslin she yanks that out of the way. She's a monkey.

I haven't really thought about what I'll do with breastfeeding from now, I'm just going to take everyday as it comes. I don't want to try and force her to wean off it if she isn't ready yet; especially now she has started sprouting actual teeth. But, by the same token, I definitely do not want to still be breastfeeding a toddler, that is out of the question. I go back to work in March so I think she'll naturally start to wean off then, given that I'll be away from her for nine hours a day (sob).

Weaning is going really well, though. I can already tell that her feeds during the day are reducing. She now goes much longer in between than she did. Milk still needs to be her main source of nutrition until she's one but I am finding, especially at the moment, that when I offer it she declines it more times than she has it. That is, except, during the night where she seems to want to feed every two to three hours at the moment; which is bloody exhausting. It's no wonder she isn't feeding as much in the day!

She still won't take a bottle but she is getting really good with cups now, and takes milk really well from them. So I'm not worried about how she'll get her milk when she goes to nursery.

Hopefully, if we are still breastfeeding when she turns 1, we can start a smooth transition then from breast milk straight to cows milk and gradually get her weaned off that way. If she took a bottle I would start now and give her formula for a feed a day, then up it to two feeds etc. so to start weaning her off now. But, because she point blank refuses, I'm not sure what to do. I don't think I'd be able to give her formula in her cups because they'd need sterilising first. I know there comes a point where you can stop sterilising their bottles etc but I don't know when it is - maybe someone can enlighten me?

Anyway, for now, we'll continue as we are and just take each day at a time. Now that teeth are coming through we will just play it by ear with how she is with them. As soon as she starts biting me and it becomes a problem then I'll have to spring a plan into action to save my nips. I can't believe how sharp her little tooth that she has now is and the thought of it slicing through my nipple makes me want to cry already.

Enough about my nipples...

The last six months have passed by in the blink of an eye. People would always say to me "enjoy it, it goes so fast" and it's so, so true. Don't get me wrong, some moments it's felt like time was going by incredibly slowly. On the whole, though, it's gone so quick. I've already had over seven months off work now which is just mental.

In less than two months I will be back at work. I'm really not sure how I feel about that at the moment. I'm looking forward to going back because I love my job. I'm also looking forward to adult conversation, not having Peppa Pig on a loop all day, being able to actually use my brain and, of course, earning a proper wage again and waving ta-ta to maternity pay.

But, my God, I will miss Peyton so, SO much. I'm so worried that I will miss so much of her growing and developing, too. I know that is just the mum guilt kicking in; she'll love nursery and it'll make the days we do have together so much more special. But it doesn't make it any easier. I hope when she's older she'll understand why I went back to work full time and doesn't judge me for abandoning her.

The next six months are going to see so many changes for us all as she gets properly mobile, starts to get ready for her first word, cuts more teeth...

I can't wait to watch her grow but I do wish time would slow down just a little bit.

Reflecting on 2018 - a year of firsts

2018 was pretty incredible.

I said it about 2017, what with my hen party, my best friend's hen party, us getting married, my best friend also getting married, our honeymoon, finding out we were having P... but 2018 topped that.

I always knew becoming a mum would change me, I just didn't realise how much. I've always been maternal and have always been so excited to have a baby and start a family.

2018 just fulfilled all my dreams and wishes. It was incredibly hard, don't get me wrong. Whilst my pregnancy was quite smooth sailing compared to how others have it, I did struggle being pregnant. I struggled with how much my body changed; and how rapidly. My size was a big issue, not only to me but to other people it seemed. People seemed to find it okay to comment on how big I was and pass judgement on how far along I looked, how big they thought my baby would be and when they thought I'd give birth, because "surely you can't go to full term if you're that size already".

It was horrific and sometimes it really got me down.

My body is still something I struggle to accept now. I hate my stretch marks, my saggy belly, my ginormous boobs... I have found myself being really critical of my body, something I got out of the habit of doing a long time ago. I really must stop, though. Not only for me but for Peyton. I don't want her to overhear me saying how much I hate my body and her to grow up thinking she has to feel the same way. I don't want her to think she has to conform to these unrealistic images we are drip-fed every single day, brainwashed into thinking are real life when, in reality, there's a hell of a lot of editing and filters been applied to the person before us.

I'm so thankful that I didn't grow up in a world with social media. MSN, MySpace, Piczo and Bebo were about as close as we got but even they weren't as readily accessible as it all is now as we didn't have internet on our phones 'back in those days'. I really want Peyton to be body confident because I know that, no matter her shape or size, she will be beautiful.

Right, enough of the deep shit! Back to reflecting on 2018!

Our first daughter, our first child, born June 20th. She was one week overdue and it was the longest week of my entire life. I won't go into my birth story again because I've gone into that, at length, before. If you'd like to read it again here is my version and here is Tom's version.

From there, it was my first birthday as a mum; her first bonfire night; her first trip to Selby firework display; her first time meeting Father Christmas; her first holiday; her first foods... all the firsts have been incredible.

She managed to squeeze one more first in, too, just before 2018 ended - her first tooth!

Yep, that's right, our baby girl has an actual, proper gnasher!

I spotted a dark hole on her bottom gum the weekend before Christmas and said to Tom I wondered if a tooth was on its way through. On Christmas Eve I could feel something bumpy on her gum, where the hole was, and by Boxing Day it had come through enough to be able to see it!

It's bloody sharp for a teeny, tiny tooth. Thankfully she hasn't bitten me while I've been feeding her, but I can sense it is coming. Each time I go to feed her my toes curl as she latches on in anticipation for the bite.

Her first Christmas thankfully wasn't ruined by the arrival of her tooth. She was still in great spirits; so much so that she was having way too much fun to nap at all during the day so went a steady 14 hours without any kip. Needless to say that she started to wear out around tea time and bedtime was welcomed when it came!

It was so lovely her first Christmas. We all went to my mum and dad's - both my family and Tom's. We did the same last year and my dad built a massive table to fit us all around.

It was so nice to be all together again this year, especially with it being Peyton's first Christmas. Her little face when she was presented with all her new toys was amazing. I could see she didn't know what to play with first.

Our house now looks like an off-shoot of Smyth's Toy Store, there are toys everywhere you look. Yet, despite all of that, her favourite thing to play with is a packet of Haribo and the tv remotes. She could have hours of fun with a bag of sweets, bless her!

2018 is going to take some serious topping. We've nothing even firmly planned yet for this year. We would like to go on our first family holiday abroad, so I expect in the coming weeks we will look into that and try and get something booked. Towards the end of the year I expect we'll maybe be starting to discuss/think about a brother or sister for Peyton (although it does heavily depend on how she is because if she's an absolute sassy diva nightmare we are waiting until she's older!) Before we can even think about baby number two I think we would probably need to look at moving house. We could stay where we are now with another baby but it would be way more cramped than I would like.

Suddenly 2019 feels like it's going to be filled with a lot of stress...!

Forgetting all of that for now, I'll worry about that when the time comes around, 2019 will see our baby girl have her first birthday, no doubt her first steps, her first word(s), her first day at nursery... there are still so many firsts that we have to look forward to; and I cannot wait!


It's just milestone after milestone these days

Peyton will be six months old on Thursday. SIX MONTHS.

I don't quite know where the time has gone. The first three months went quickly, but the last three just seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye.

We are getting to the stage now where it's constant milestones, too.

Obviously, we've already started weaning so we can cross that one off. But we've also just put her in her own room. This was a big one for me.

In my head, she was going to be in our room until around six months. But six months has come around so quick, as we've just established.

When we were buying the majority of the stock from Mamas and Papas, we decided we would get a SnuzPod instead of a Moses basket. We figured she would last longer in the SnuzPod as they were considerably bigger than a Moses basket; which would mean that she would stay in our room longer.

If you are pregnant now and considering what to get for baby to sleep in in your bedroom, I'd highly recommend a SnuzPod. Peyton's slept in it every night, with the side down, alongside our bed. She slept in her Sleepyhead (another must-buy!) and has been happy and content, on the whole, every night.

However, I could tell she was starting to get a little bit cramped in her Sleepyhead. When I'd put her down for her naps in the day she liked sprawling out, but she was more restricted in the Sleepyhead. We decided that we would try her without the Sleepyhead to see if she could sleep ok without it before we forked out for the bigger, next size up Sleepyhead.

Friday night was the first night of this - we picked a night when Tom wasn't at work the next day incase we had an unsettled night. She went down absolutely fine but, when she stirred around midnight, she just wouldn't go back off in her SnuzPod. Each time I put her back down, and she was asleep, she would try roll onto her front but, because the SnuzPod wasn't wide enough, she just face planted the side and woke herself up. After a few attempts, I realised she probably needed to be in her cot.

I got up and took her through to her own room, but by this time she was wide awake. As soon as I put her in her cot she thought it was playtime and was flashing me all the big smiles while flailing her arms and legs around. Cute, but not ideal at 3am.

In the end, we succumbed and put her back in the Sleepyhead in the SnuzPod, and she was out like a light.

The next night, we decided to bite the bullet and put her in her cot, in her own room, from the off. We did our bedtime routine as usual and put her to bed in her own room. She was absolutely fine!

She woke up after 45 mins - which seems to be a common theme at the moment - but after a feed she went straight back down. We heard nothing from her until 2.30 when she woke for a feed. When I went to put her back down, she wasn't quite sure and took a bit of settling. However, after about half 15 minutes she soon soothed herself and was out like a light until 6.45am!

She was really tired all day yesterday, so I wondered if she was awake and rolling around for quite a while before she made enough noise for me to hear her and go get her up.

Last night she had a similar routine to the night before. Although, instead of waking up at 6.45am, she woke for a quick feed at 5.30am and then went straight back to sleep until just before 8am. I felt like a new woman sleeping in until 8am!

And so, tonight is the third night of her sleeping in her own room. She's been asleep just over an hour so far and, touch wood, she hasn't stirred yet. She seems to be quite taken with sleeping on her side/her front. As soon as I put her down she almost instantly rolls onto her front. She is a very good roller so I don't mind so much, as I know she can roll back to her back if she needs to. She is also good at pushing herself up, so I don't worry she'll get stuck. However she is comfy is fine by me.

She has also taken to sucking her thumb. It was inevitable, I knew it was coming. Pretty much as soon as she was born she was sucking her thumb!

I'm currently typing this from the comfort of my bed while watching Love Actually.

While I'm so, so sad that she's no longer right by my side, it's actually lovely to be able to watch a film in bed again, and have a shower in the en suite after I have put her to bed, and get ready for bed with the light on. It's also nice to not have to worry when I need to cough in the night and not accidentally kick her crib when I violently roll over.

I said to Tom the other day that we are coming into the period now where it is going to be milestone after milestone. We're still waiting for her to be able to sit up unaided. She is so close, but she just flops to the side a couple of seconds after letting go.

I've managed to capture a few split seconds before the flop which, if I posted on social media, would look like she was a competent sitter upper. However, in reality, she's just like a little drunk person who can't stay upright for more than a few seconds without being supported.

After the above picture was taken she just flopped to the side like a bike that you've taken the stabilisers off. I'm going to have to start putting a helmet on the poor girl soon, the amount of times a day she must just fall to the side and bump her head!

She'll get there when she's ready.

Another milestone that will come with her turning six months is my original goal of breastfeeding. I always said I just wanted to get to six months; something that seemed impossible in those first few days and weeks. Now, however, I can't imagine stopping yet. Given her reluctance to take a bottle, too, it's going to be difficult to wean her off just yet. She takes her sippy cup really well, and is happy to have expressed milk from there, but I don't think I could keep up the demand for milk and express enough everyday for her. So, we'll just have to take each day as it comes in terms of breastfeeding and work out when our final milestone for that will be. I don't really still want to be breastfeeding beyond her being 1, so if we're still going then I will definitely start weaning her off then. She can have cows milk then so hopefully I can just do a straight swap.

However, I'm sure when she gets teeth (yet another milestone!) that'll determine how soon we actually stop. It's making my toes curl already just thinking about it.

We're on the final countdown to Christmas now. I know she won't have a clue what's going on, but it's going to be so special for us. I can't wait to take loads of photos and videos to show her when she's older. I loved it, when I was little, watching videos back from my first Christmas.

If I don't get a chance to write again before Christmas (which is unlikely because, let's be honest, I'm hardly consistent at the moment!) then I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year! I will be back to spam you all with my life in 2019! xxx