Tag Archives: parenting

Holly has ditched the “Do Do” (dummy)

Dummies. Love them or hate them, most parents have some opinion on them. We decided to give Holly a dummy when she was about 4 weeks old. I breastfed her but she was using me as a pacifier, which meant I became quite exhausted very quickly. We didn’t particularly want her to suck her thumb. Our thinking behind this was that we could take a dummy away from her one day. However, we couldn’t take her thumb off of her.

When Holly was around 11 weeks old, I realised that she didn’t really need her dummy during the day. Mark and I decided that we would only let her use it, for naps and bedtime. This worked really well. It helped us to sleep train her. Since she was 6 months old, we can probably count on 2 hands how many broken nights sleep we’ve had (we feel very blessed!). Holly has never had an ear infection or had an upset tummy which can sometimes happen with babies who have a dummy.  However, over the last month or so, Holly started to become anxious and fretful when she couldn’t find her dummy immediately at bedtime. This made Mark and I talk about how and when we should “deal with the dummy”.

To be honest, we were gearing ourselves up for a traumatic couple of weeks. We were even planning on waiting till Christmas (for Holly’s 2nd birthday) and taking some time off of work to allow for tears, tantrums and sleep deprivation. But, surprisingly none of that happened. About 10 nights ago, Mark and I got Holly ready for bed, read her a bedtime story as usual. However, we looked at each other and automatically knew what the other was thinking which was “we’re not going to give her the dummy”. We distracted her and settled her down to bed gave her a kiss goodnight, shut the door and waited.

Holly squeaked “mummy do do, daddy do do” after a couple more minutes she was silent. As the hour passed, we realised that Holly had gone to sleep on her own! No tears, no upset nothing. We thought it was too good to be true. She slept till 2am and woke for 2 minutes before settling herself back off to sleep.  I wanted to make sure that Holly could sleep without it for both naps, and during the night and while she was staying away from home. She did.

We’re so proud. We’ve never been fans of “tough love” and have followed a more baby-led, instinctual style of parenting. It works for us and has kept our little family very contented.

Holly doesn't need the dummy now

One year with Holly

This post is inspired by Mick Inkpen’s children’s book “One year with Kipper”. Even before Holly was born, Mark would read the Kipper books to “bump”. If you’re unfamiliar with this story, Kipper documents the year by taking photographs.

Last week, we celebrated our daughter’s first birthday. Being first time parents, this year has been what I can only describe as a magical mystery tour. Holly was born at 17.06 hrs on December the 9th 2009 following a very short and incredibly painful labour.

I will never forget the midwife smiling at me as she put Holly on me and asked “what do you have?” I looked at Mark who was crying and said “we have a baby girl.” It was one of the most amazing and precious experiences of my life – at that point our new daughter kicked me in the throat! We named her Holly because of the Christmas season and chose the middle name Elizabeth to continue a family tradition. Her Aunty Becky (my twin sister and best friend) has the middle name Elizabeth which comes from our great Grandmother (Charlotte Elizabeth) an incredibly warm and special lady who would’ve been 112 yrs old the following day had she still been alive.

So what can I say about Holly. Well,  to us and to those who know her she has a number of names; our favourite is Holly Hula (she danced the Hula if you put her on her feet as she tried to balance). She has reached all of her milestones so far within a normal range and some  early. However, I truly feel as long as children get there in the end, that’s all that matters.

But this post isn’t about her milestones, it’s about our milestones as a family. It wasn’t easy to begin with. Our classes with the National Childbirth Trust were brilliant at practicing breathing techniques during labour but nothing prepared me for the rude awakening I had when I took Holly home.

I truly felt I’d been kicked by a horse, so it was with great difficulty that I learnt to sit down. To top it  off, Holly had a tongue tie so I struggled to feed her for 10 days. I felt that I was failing before I had begun. I thank the Lord for my husband! He would bring me a drink, put something very silly on the TV (often the Mighty Boosh) and tell me that I was doing an amazing job. My new year’s resolution was that I was going to enjoy Holly and stop stressing about everything – something that I have stuck to as much as I can ever since.

People have often said to me, “Enjoy her, she won’t be little for long”, I can honestly say we have embraced every moment that we’ve shared with Holly. I think that we’ve been extremely lucky to have her.

Mark and I feel that we have blagged our way through this first year. We were aware of a number of different parenting styles, but we’re glad we did it our way (as Mark said to me, there is no one right way of raising a child but there are lots of wrong ways to do it, it has to be what you feel is right for you and your family). Holly eats a fantastic diet, sleeps throughout the night, in spite of having a 2-3 hour nap during the day and is a social butterfly. Perhaps I’m biased but she is one of the happiest and most content little girls I have ever met. My mother-in-law says “you know this isn’t usual, she has such a sweet good-tempered nature”. What else could we ask for? Our baby is healthy and happy and makes us laugh every single day. I can imagine that a child can put an enormous strain on a marriage but Holly has made Mark and I even stronger as a couple. Every time she reaches a new goal, we glance at each other with enormous pride.

Each night we go into her room to check on her before we go to bed. We look at her and then look at each other in awe of our greatest achievement in life. Our little girl brings so much joy to us and our wider family. We feel truly blessed to have her in our lives.  I hope you enjoy the photographs of Holly’s first year.

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