Philip Potter

Dad Weeknotes, volume 6

Posted on 17 February 2018

Previously, on Phil’s dad weeknotes..


Last week, I wrote:

Luke’s been having some funny days where he has a much lower appetite than usual. He just eats much smaller portions than we’re used to. But otherwise he’s absolutely fine: just as happy and interested in things as usual, if maybe a little subdued. He’s also been a bit snotty, so we’re hoping it’s just a cold or something.

It was not just a cold. Luke had diarrhoea and vomiting on Monday morning. We called the doctor and were seen the same day: he checked Luke over and said it was a viral infection, and it should improve with Calpol, rest, and fluids, though we should call again if it didn’t improve. Luke slept a lot that day – I think he had 4 naps in total when he would normally have 2, and the naps themselves were longer.

On Tuesday, when I got Luke out of bed and changed him, I saw he had a dramatic rash on his tummy and back. So we called the doctor again, and were seen that morning. The doctor took one look and said it was a typical symptom of a viral infection and that, although it looked dramatic, it wasn’t something to worry about. Luke himself didn’t seem terribly bothered by it: he was more active than on Monday and wasn’t itching at his rash.

On Tuesday night, Luke didn’t sleep well. He was up multiple times, crying in his cot (which we hear loudly through the monitor). A note for non-parents on crying here: babies really do have different cries, and in this case it was the sort of cry which we didn’t feel needed a response from us. Normally he would get himself settled again and go back to sleep. However, this night, it happened several times.

In the morning, we felt he was well enough to take in to nursery. It was almost exactly 48 hours since his vomiting spell, which is the minimum time to wait before returning him to such an environment. Sonia took him in and I had a bit of a break. However, in the afternoon, the disrupted sleep caught up with me. It was a real struggle to keep an eye on him, to give him the attention and interaction that he wanted and deserved. He was still recovering from his illness and was a little clingy; I just wanted to sit motionless and for him to amuse himself. There was a good moment in the afternoon where I put him down for a nap and went and dozed in bed myself.

These sorts of moments are the ones I find the hardest: to be an adequate parent when you’re not functioning well yourself. But somehow we made it through the afternoon.


Luke had his first full days at nursery this week: 9 til 4 on Thursday and 9 til 4.45 on Friday. I thought I would have loads of free time without him, but I spent most of Thursday catching up with laundry, cooking, and cleaning. At least on Friday I managed to get a lunchtime climb in at Vauxwall.

Luke is settling in more and more. One of the things we have been a little concerned about is how Luke’s sleep schedule doesn’t align with the nursery schedule: Luke generally naps mid-morning and mid-afternoon, but the nursery structure has a single post-lunch nap. But the staff have been very flexible about letting Luke keep his existing schedule. And on Friday, he actually slept just the once, just after lunch.

The nursery staff are really good about giving a debrief at the end of the day. When I pick him up, they take me through his day: when he slept, how long he slept, how much milk he had, what size portion he ate at lunch, how many nappies he got through, and maybe some highlights of what he did that day. This has been really valuable to understand how well he’s doing and what he gets up to when we’re not around.


Luke has cow’s milk protein allergy, so we currently avoid feeding him dairy at all. Luke has continued to drink coconut milk with variable enthusiasm. He drank 2 oz (about 60ml) on Thursday at nursery, but only tasted it on Friday. He still eats his afternoon coconut yoghurt, so that’s something.

We are going to start a milk ladder: a structured process of reintroducing dairy to Luke’s diet to see how he reacts. We got the details from the dietician. Step 1 is a biscuit made with a dough that has a teaspoon of milk powder in it, and step 6 is drinking cow’s milk (or formula). The first few steps (biscuit, muffin, pancake) are homemade recipes so that the amount of milk can be carefully controlled. My mum is visiting this weekend and she has kindly offered to bake the biscuits for us.


Since recovering from his bug, Luke has had a phenomenal appetite. We did a vegan vegetable curry which is perfect finger food for Luke, and he wolfed it down. At one breakfast he had 1½ weetabix and wanted bread as well. Today, we had a tuna pasta bake and he basically had an adult portion. We wonder if he’s going through a growth spurt of some sort.

It’s nice that Luke has reached a stage where he is able (and insists!) to feed himself, rather than us having to spoonfeed him. It’s at least one thing that has gotten easier for us.

Those things your parents told you to do

The NHS recommends babies to have vitamin supplements. We have not been especially good at making this happen every day, and often gone days at a time without giving him his vitamins. But this week, we have managed to get more into the habit.

Similarly, you can start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they come through, but we have not been good at doing this every day either. When we do manage, Luke wants to do it himself, with all the enthusiasm and inaccuracy one would expect from an 11-month-old. We were given a tip to have two baby toothbrushes: one for Luke to play with, and one to actually clean his teeth. Watch this space for whether this tactic actually works…