40 Weeks Old

It’s hard to imagine that on Tuesday the 28th you have been in my arms as long as you were in my tummy. You’ve been part of me for a whole 80 weeks. Those first 39 +4 weeks were wracked with worry, worry that somehow you wouldn’t ‘be’ and then there you were, the latter 40 weeks have been wracked with worry that you’d somehow be taken away from me. I’m not sure this worry will ever end, this motherhood lark is going to give me grey hairs.

This monumental fortnight started with a trip to Newquay to see Wendy and Lee in the morning and then we were awaiting the arrival of Granny and Grandad who are coming to stay for the week. Due to traffic and Bude Carnival we didn’t see them until the next day where they came bearing gifts. We had such a lovely day with them, it’s been a while since they saw you last and you’ve developed so much you’re like a whole different boy to the one they saw in June.

On the 18th I had a wee wobble thinking about your Grandma whilst listening to one of her favourite sings from when I was a little girl. I remember her turning it up full volume in the house and singing at the top of her voice, it seemed like yesterday and made me miss her so much. As soon as I started crying you stopped what you were doing, crawled over to me and climbed into my lap and gave me the most heartfelt cuddle. You stayed there for over half an hour bless you. To show empathy at such a young age is incredible, I didn’t think it possible. In that moment I knew that you’re going to grow up to be a loving little boy.

We’ve had lots of lovely walks and lunches out with Granny and Grandad whilst they’ve been down and I was very pleased when your grandad remarked how well behaved you were. See I think you are all the time but to hear it from someone else is always nice.

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On the 19th you had your 9 month review with the health visitor. She weighed and measured you and checked that you were hitting the developmental milestones that you should be achieving. Everything was fine.

On the 26th we were meant to go swimming with the other babies but due to late naps and asda deliveries we got there a little late so just enjoyed a lovely lunch and chat instead.

On the 27th I took you home for a few days where we had a lovely stay with Auntie and David again. Your uncle Simon and Aunty Jacqueline were down and you sent some lovely times with them too. We had some nice walks around Lyme and along the new sea walk that’s been built along back beach.

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We met a lot of your Grandma’s friends and an old work colleague of mine who all said you had her eyes, this meant the world to me as I so wish you could have met her, I can’t help but think you’ve missed out hugely by her not being in your life though Auntie and David dote on you like she would and for that we are so very lucky.

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Auntie bought you a Graco high chair from Argos for when we are staying there that you loved, despite still being a little small for. She even fed you your breakfast which was a highly comical sight to see.

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We also bought you some balls and put them in the paddling pool which you loved!

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Health
All good bar some bumps and grazes. Cruising war wounds, so to speak.

Teeth
Still no sign, despite grumbles and excessive amounts of drool.

Firsts
On the 16th you waved for the first time in a definite ‘Hello’ situation.
On the 18th you showed empathy for the first time, I didn’t know it came at such a young age and couldn’t have come at a better time.

Character
You are such a kind, caring, funny little boy. Everyone who spends any time with you tell us how chilled and happy you are, I’m so pleased because sometimes I fret that you’re not. You’re at your best when you’ve had a good sleep/nap and find the most ridiculous things hilarious.

Muscle Development & Coordination
Movement: Crawling, standing, cruising… The world (lounge) is your domain!
Standing: You’re becoming quite adept at this now and nothing holds you back. You are even trying to jump now.
Co-ordination: You amaze me almost daily with your progress. Your pincer grip is now mastered and I watched in awe when you wanted a blueberry that was just out of reach, you decided you couldn’t get it so grabbed a strawberry whilst I moved it into reach. As soon as you saw it you dropped the strawberry and grabbed and ate the blueberry, we could actually see your thought process and decision making, you amaze me!
Speech: No change here, still loads of babbling, raspberry blowing and the addition of lip reverberation (something Daddy can do but totally eludes me)

Entertainment
Balls and boxes, that’s all I can say… You love them! Combining them is even better and can provide hours (baby hours) of entertainment much to Lolly’s dismay as she scrambles to avoid another ball hurled in her direction.

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Sleep
I’m happy to say you are back to settling early on in the evening again meaning Daddy and I get to have some time alone together. Your first stint of sleep tends to be between 4 and 6 hours now too. You did sleep better in your travel cot at Auntie’s mind. I’m thinking this is because you can move more freely in it as it’s wider and you do like to travel at night.

Growth
At your review you weighed in at 19Ib 13.5 oz and measured 71cm in length. This puts you in the 50th centile for weight and 25th for height.

Feeding
New tastes: Sweetcorn Fritters.
I still haven’t found anything you don’t like, though there are definite favourites such as yogurt, blueberries, strawberries and sweet potato. Your drinking has come on since the introduction of the Avent sippy cup and you spontaneously pick it up and have a good guzzle.

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36 Weeks Old

This fortnight saw you turn 8 months old, amazing to think you have been part of me for 17 months now. I seriously can not remember what my life was like before I knew about you. It sounds contrived but it’s true. It was always something friends said when they had children and I never really understood what they meant until I had you. What I did with my time back then is a source of intrigue.

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To make up for last fortnight we’ve done quite a lot this time round. The fortnight started with a lovely weekend as a family. On Saturday 19th we did lots of walking, down to The Weir where you and daddy had a nice swing together and you tasted your first chip 😏

Then down to Tommy Jack’s where we saw Kate and Grayson for a little chat. On Sunday you woke up a little wheezy but we decided to take a trip over to Budleigh to see Uncle Dan, Auntie Sam, Ella and Tom. You had your first bounce on a trampoline and you loved it, as did Ella and Tommy who, again, found you fascinating and doted on you. It’s lovely to see you all together, I just wish you were closer in age but there’s not a lot I can do about that one.

You were as good as gold and had a lovely day although that night you terrified us with your breathing at midnight so Daddy and I didn’t get much sleep, you on the other hand slept soundly after the initial meltdown. You were still a bit wheezy in the morning so I took you to the doctors. Of course you didn’t wheeze when we saw him but he checked you over. Your lungs were clear and temperature ok so we just had to monitor you. At the time of posting this you still have it but we now know it’s phlegm that you just need to cough up, it’s slowly going.

The weather has been simply incredible but because of this we’ve been pretty much trapped inside after our early morning strolls so we can literally ‘chill out’ under the ceiling fans. Though the ladies and babies did get stuck with us one Thursday as a massive thunder storm took us all by surprise.

On the 28th I took you home to Lyme Regis to spend a few days with Auntie. I bought an O Baby travel cot but had to purchase an extra mattress from Argos as it’s so hard, a fault all travel cots seem to have reading the reviews. It is nice and easy to put up and down though and doubles up as a play pen it’s so sturdy. Of course you don’t particularly like it as a play pen but it does buy me time to at least go to the toilet or put the washing on.

We had a lovely time at Auntie’s where you were doted on by both her and David who didn’t quib at nipping out and getting you a paddling pool and some fruit to save us a trip. It was so hot but we enjoyed al fresco meals and long walks along the Cobb and Marine Parade showing you my childhood haunts. Caroline and Grace came over to see us too bringing us a cot and highchair so we have one to leave there saving me carting them to and fro.

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On the way back home on the 30th we stopped off at Uncle Dan’s so we could drop off Ella’s birthday present and had a nice walk along Budleigh seafront and a naughty sundae. You also had your first sit in a proper swing at the park there, you appeared to like it despite it being a little on the large side.

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On the 1st we spent the day in the car driving up to Farnham for Jen and Phil’s wedding on the 2nd. You did amazingly well despite the awful traffic meaning it took a couple of hours longer than we had anticipated. We stayed in fleet at the Premier Inn there. Talking of travel cots, I wish I’d brought the mattress with us that we’d bought. The one provided was awful and you didn’t settle in it for long before we brought you in with us. I was so proud of how well you behaved in the restaurant that evening. It was late when we ate and you were so good, unlike the other little boy that was there screaming the place down (and he looked to be a little older than you).

Health
You’re still holding on to this mucus on your chest so I think I might take you to the docs again on Monday.

Teeth
Lots of drool, lots of chewing but no sign of anymore coming through just yet.

Firsts
Trampoline on 20th July.
First doctor visit on the 21st July. It was very strange seeing your name come up on the screen.
On the 22nd you started climbing things… Anything so you’re up on your knees. You look so proud of yourself when you do it and are fast wanting to bring your feet under so you stand but haven’t quite mastered this yet.

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By the 24th you were climbing to standing and have since mastered this nicely, even daring to let go of own hand.
An 8 hour straight sleep on the 27th.
On the 28th you had your first night in your new travel cot.
The 29th saw your first time on the Cobb also your first splash in a paddling pool.
First time in a proper swing on the 30th at Budleigh Salterton’s park by the sea.
The 1st saw your first trip along the A303 past Stonehenge… You were thrilled

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Character
You’re in a Wonder Weeks leap phase at the moment and are a little more clingy than usual, in fact I can barely put you down without you whinging, crying or crawling over and climbing up me to be held again. Then you spin around and want to get down again, and so the cycle continues. You do love your pram though and calmly sit in it, expecting a trip out no doubt. You love the outside too, in fact you can’t get enough of it which is a shame that it’s so blooming hot at the moment as it means we’re holed up indoors to keep you cool.

Muscle Development & Coordination
Movement: You’re climbing up and over everything now, nothing appears to obstruct you without a concerted effort to conquer it.
Sitting: Mastered
Standing: You’re doing this brilliantly now, with support of course, and you look so proud when you’re up even letting go so that you’re only holding on with one hand.
Coordination: Improving daily. You love tapping and banging things together and rarely miss your mouth with your spoon now except when a little over zealous.

Speech: Same.

Entertainment
Anything and everything that you can climb so you’re in a more upright position. Drumming… You’re properly banging blocks together and on things now and will mimic us when we tap on things that make a noise.n fact mimicking is your new favourite pastime, be it sticking out tongues, drumming, tapping or facial expressions you are mimicking us… It’s kinda cool.

Sleep
On the 27th you slept a FULL EIGHT HOURS STRAIGHT!!!! You didn’t do it again!

Growth
I haven’t got you weighed this fortnight.

Feeding
New tastes: Chips (naughty I know), Melon, Blackberry, White Potato, Bean Pate, Three Bean Chilli, Macaroni Cheese, tea cake,
You’re finally making a concerted effort to drink now but soon revert back to hurling your cup around. You seem to be dropping some milk feeds at night and don’t seem to be feeding as often during the day either.

Due to a drop in milk feeds (I assume) my cycles have returned which has been met with panic, panic that you will soon no longer need me, stupid I know as you’ll need me for a few years yet but the thought of our special bonding, quiet time together may soon be over is really quite upsetting.

Weaning: Our First 10 Days

Our journey into uncharted territory has started.

On the 26th May 2014 we entered the realms of solid foods. I’m not going to lie, I was terrified.

As I mentioned in my previous post on Weaning I was confused by which approach to take, whether to go down the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) route from the start or follow my Annabel Karmel book and start totally with purées. I had decided, then, to do a sort of combination, you know, start with baby rice, then purées then add solids into the mix at a later date.
I think I over thought the whole thing. I ended up a complete mess.
I was angry that my BLW book didn’t have a more comprehensive format for me to follow and got totally confused at the whole affair. I was cross that D wouldn’t give me any input whatsoever except “I thought you were going to combine”. I was, this is true, but the more I thought about it the more I thought how ridiculous that was. We’d waited until the 6 month mark so Noah was all-round ready for solid foods so why was I even considering purées? But as soon as I had convinced myself I was going to BLW then I thought about purées again. I was quietly going insane.
Everyone I’ve spoken to have almost scoffed at me when I’ve expressed my fears over weaning all declaring what fun it was and that I was thinking too much about it. I think I kinda just wanted someone to tell me what to give him and when but that wasn’t going to happen I’m kind of all out at sea on this too.

Anyway after fretting and putting it off for too long we started, and this is how it went… kinda

Day 1: Carrot (steamed, batons & mashed)
I wasn’t having much fun. Not much fun at all. In fact I went into such a melt down that it took me an hour to prepare one sodding carrot!
I had decided to purée, then not, then purée, then not, then definitely to purée except puréeing half a carrot is not an easy task, in fact it’s totally impossible. I ended up getting the masher out then finally a fork to mush it up. The other half I had left steamed in batons and on preparing Noah decided I hadn’t steamed it enough. I mean how soft do they have to be for lords sake? We were finally ready to go nearly two hours after I started to get ready.
I needn’t have worried.
He didn’t eat a blooming thing.
I don’t know what I was expecting, probably that he’d pick up a carrot and happily, after a bit of initial trepidation, get the whole thing down. He didn’t, far from it. He did pick up the batons and put them in his mouth but then grimace, gag and drop it on the floor. So we tried the mush, no luck here either, he just pushed it out with his tongue and short of forcing it into his mouth, which is not something I ever plan on doing, we were on a non starter.
However, I have decided total BLW is the approach I’m taking.

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Day 2: Carrot, Mange Tout, Sweet Potato, Broccoli (all steamed)
Again, nothing swallowed. In fact not a lot went into his mouth today except one carrot stick which was met with a grimace, a gag and lots of drool.

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Day 3: Sweet Red Pepper (grilled and skin removed)
Nothing swallowed but he did lick a strip once before launching it on the floor.
At this stage I realise Noah has developed a rather nasty cold and I wonder whether this is why he’s not showing much interest and I think I might put it on hold for a few days until he’s better.

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Day 4: Pear
I’m eating a pear and Noah is looking rather amorously at it. I offer it to him and he happily sucks away on it so decide I’ll continue.

Day 5: Carrot & Broccoli (steamed), Strawberry and Melon.
Nothing but a lot of squishing between fingers and throwing on floor.

Day 6: Porridge (a taster of my breakfast) and breadstick.
Again nothing swallowed. Lots of grimacing where the porridge was concerned. The breadstick was a little more successful, Noah happily chomped into it but continues to spit everything out after gagging on each morsel. I’ve decide there’s too much crap in breadsticks so am going to stick to toast from now on.

Day 7: Porridge with mushed banana.
Just lots of mess. He has decided he loves to throw his bowl and cup around with great delight. I’m actually still treading on missed porridge.

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Day 8: Sweet Potato (steamed in batons)
No interest, none at all just squishing them in his hands and smacking them.

Day 9: Strawberry, Melon, Mango (in batons)
I think we’re making progress. I didn’t want to give Noah fruit so early because I don’t want him to develop a sweet tooth before mastering vegetables but thought I better try, he might simply not like the other things I’m trying. He loved the mango after a while and sucked on it quite nicely, the strawberries just got mushed up and the melon was launched. I’ve learnt strawberries stain. Note to self: Buy more Vanish stain remover.

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Day 10: Broccoli & Carrot (steamed)
We have the most success today. As soon as I put the broccoli on his table he picks it up and shoves it in his mouth and sucks on the florets. Lots of hilarious grimacing ensued and when he chewed chunks off there was an awful lot of gagging until the pieces fell out of his mouth but I really think we’re making good progress.

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At each ‘meal’ I’ve given him a Tommee Tippee beaker with some water in it, mostly this has been launched on the floor but he has taken a few sips and swallowed it, though this has been on a choke or swallow basis.

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I’m looking forward to getting a dining table this weekend so he can sit in his Tripp Trapp at the table instead of in the Bumbo… I’m not entirely convinced it provides the best eating posture.

I have worried that he isn’t actually consuming anything and again have toyed with the idea of baby rice and purées but having spoken to a couple of other mothers who have said their BLW babies have taken a few weeks before they have swallowed anything I have decided to continue as I’ve been going. After all this isn’t about providing nutrition, it’s about exploring textures and flavours and baby rice doesn’t provide any of this.

BLW essentials:
A semi naked baby (and preferably mummy too)
Bibs… LOTS of bibs! (Thank you Katie)
Splash Mat
Vanish Stain Removal
Vanish Carpet Mousse
Wet wipes or flannel and water

BLW is a very messy affair, be warned!

So am I enjoying it now? Yes, I think I might be. Though I still have no idea what I’m doing it is lovely watching Noah making new discoveries.

Toast tomorrow….

Weaning

It’s nearly time for my little boy to start a new chapter in his life, that of solid foods. I’m not ashamed to admit this terrifies and excites me in equal measures. On one hand I can’t wait to see his little face as he makes new discoveries, to find out what he loves, what he likes and what he hates to see him getting enjoyment out of food. On the other hand I fear him choking and have no idea what I’m doing.

The first dilemma for many (not me) is when to start this journey? I have and will hold off until he is 6 months old following World Health Organisation (WHO) advice. Now I know this is a generational thing and people will share the opinion that this is a load of old bumpkum, I mean generations of people have grown into fine healthy adults having been weaned at 3/4 months. I was one for a start, although I do remember my Mum telling me that I wouldn’t eat anything other than yogurt from her finger tip for months, was this maybe a sign that I wasn’t, as was expected, ready to wean? Yet my brothers eagerly tucked in as soon as the process started.

I have the opinion that someone, somewhere did a lot of research into these current guidelines. The WHO didn’t wake up one day and think let’s upset the apple cart and put back weaning by three months. A lot of money and expert advice would have been invested and sought before coming to this conclusion and, wanting the best for my son I plan on adhering to it.

Don’t get me wrong, if he was ravenous all the time and not thriving then expert advice would suggest weaning sooner and I would most definitely have started earlier and about two weeks ago I thought this may have been the case. However, on weighing him and seeing that for the first time ever he’s climbed a centile it’s evident he’s thriving so I’ve decided to wait. As it turns out I’ll be holding off a couple of days after he reaches six months as this huge milestone coincides with a long awaited trip to see my Dad up country and I’d rather start this journey at home than in a hotel room.

I still have no idea what to do, in one sense weaning at 3/4 months as my parents (and my friends) did was easier. You puréed food and spoon fed your baby… Simple. Now there’s the added spanner of the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) movement. This is where my confusion starts, this is where you have a choice and choices have always been my downfall. One of the beautiful things about being a vegetarian and eating out is that it removes, or greatly reduces, a choice and therefore I make a quick decision on what I want to do 😄

Put simply BLW means allowing your child to feed themselves from the start of the weaning journey. No more processors, no more purée. Apparently at six months your child is developmentally capable of feeding themselves and all you have to do is hand them food in suitably sized pieces!!! Easy! So why can’t I get my head round it? Why am I struggling to make a clearly defined decision on this being my course of action? I have no idea, my biggest fear of BLW is choking I suppose, it’ll be the first time he’s swallowed anything that isn’t milk (or Calpol) so choking is a very real possibility though I’ve been told they don’t choke, just gag!!

When I was pregnant with Noah my best friend told me about a book by Annabel Karmel that became her bible when weaning her two children (now 11 and 9) at three months so I bought it. I love it. I love the recipes and I love the fact that it gives you a timetable to follow, a step by step guide so to speak.

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Maybe it’s because of my personality but when I’m learning something new I like to have a structure, a method to follow if you will and this fab book gives you that, but it also involves puréed foods and spoon feeding. Then I had Noah and I heard about BLW so I have recently bought another book on BLW by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett hoping that it’ll give me the same sort of structure… Of course it doesn’t, that’s not the point of BLW.

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People say BLW babies are less fussy when it comes to food, I’m not sure that’s entirely the case as many spoon fed babies have loved all sorts of food and who’s to say these non-fussy BLW babies would have been non-fussy spoon fed babies. There’s no way of knowing that. I know of BLW babies who are very fussy eaters so this theory doesn’t always follow suit. I do get, however, that BLW babies will, from the start, be used to different textures of foodsand would probably be less put off by these textural foods later on.

So what am I going to do? Who the heck knows! What did you do? I like aspects of both regimes so call me a coward but I think I’m going to do a bit of both. I’ll let you know how I get on in a couple of weeks.