Our 2015

2015 was a huge one for us with the arrival of T, after trying for two years to meet him.

img_6749
2016 will no doubt be just as busy what with T starting nursery, me returning to work, and T making general milestones like walking and, possibly, talking!

But before we start moving forward, here’s what our 2015 looked like.

Continue reading

Looking For Our Nursery. 

As mentioned in our last nursery post, T has to go into nursery. We can’t afford a nanny, nor is there an opportunity to have family look after T. This is our only option at the moment. It’s sad, but I’m slowly accepting it.

*********

Where we live there are TONS of nurseries within a 10 mile radius, which is actually a double edged sword. On one hand we have a vast choice of nurseries and can decide whether we choose one local to home or local to our places of work, choose one based on its learning style, or even choose one based on its food. On the other hand, and ultimately our deciding factor, because of the anount of nurseries we have, we also have our choice of costs! Nurseries are not competitive in the slightest, so having this many choices makes things difficult.

Nurseries argue that the reason why they’re not competitive is because each one is unique. Each one is so different based on the care they provide but at the end of the day they’re all doing one thing; looking after our children. A comparison between a chain nursery and a little independent nursery can often be no different… Until you get to the price. You would think that the chain, that often has more than one “branch”, would be cheaper as it’s making more money across the board, but no. You may then think that the little independent nursery would be cheaper to then compete with the well known nurseries, but no.

It really is a minefield.

So far, we’re at the viewing stage. I’ve already booked a handful of viewings and will be viewing them over the next few weeks. I’ve heard that once you get a “feeling” you’ll know you’ve found your nursery so I’m hoping I don’t have to view many before finding the right one.

The viewings, so far, are going well. There really are some wonderful places out there. With each viewing I’m armed with a list of questions, and thanks to our chums online we’ve been able to create quite the list:

Food selection.
– Packed lunches accepted?
Milk warming?
Nap times.
– Dealing with fussy babies.
First aid procedure.
Flexibility for shift workers?
Illness policy.
Extra hidden costs?
Exursions / outings?
Where will he be cared for?
– By whom?
Staff turnover.
Routines?

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only apprehensive parent when it comes to nursery, but it’s so hard not to worry that your baby won’t be ok.  Will the nursery be able to deal with T? Will he eat? Will he SLEEP?

I know a lot can change in a few months, he’ll be starting nursery when he’s a year after all, so it’s no good worrying about what’s going to happen later when even I don’t know what T is going to be like later. We’ll just have to wait and see.

What questions would you ask a nursery? Do you have any reassuring nuggets? How was your little one when they went to nursery.

K

Weaning: 1 Month On. 

I’m not sure what I expected when we started weaning T a month ago. I had no idea whether he’d like the tastes or the textures, whether he’d like the same foods as me, even whether there’d be spitting out, or even choking! I guess I told myself to take each day as it came, and that I did.

I’ve very quickly learnt that one day can be so different from the previous, and that’s no different when it comes to weaning. Some days he ate everything on his tray, other days he played with the food (even if he’d had that exact meal a week or so ago!). There was no obvious explanation so it was pointless trying to work it out.

Here’s what else I’ve learnt:

There WILL be mess. Face, hands, highchair, the floor, the dog, ME! Pretty much after the third time T dropped/chucked his banana on the floor I went to my local hardware shop and bought a plastic table cover. At least this way im not getting food on the carpet, and he can have it back if it’s been dropped (until it becomes a game!).

IMG_0119

There WILL be wastage. Similar to above, what misses the mat completely, ends up in the compost bin (or my mouth if it’s not covered in fluff). This can get frustrating as you’re torn between doing smaller meals so that there’s no wastage, but once it’s gone, it’s gone and T has nothing to eat.

IMG_0142

You WILL end up finishing off the odd bowl or plate of something. Which isn’t so bad if he’s eating veggies. Banana pancakes? Toast?  Not so much.

Poop WILL change almost immediately. It took a few days for the poop to really change but when it came, it came, and it wasn’t long before I started missing the breastmilk poops. It is cool, however, to see what’s been going down. Literally.

Going down the baby-led weaning route means you don’t really have to prepare much as they’re eating what you’re eating. So if I’m having a cheese salad, he’ll have that as well. The only times I have to prepare him something different is when I’m not having a baby friendly meal like Ryvita, or if I don’t want to give him toast for breakfast for a second day in a row because I am. I still have a few stable bits in the freezer like banana pancakes, mashed potato, pin wheels, etc. but these are generally used for days when he needs a bit more to his meal or a bit of variety.

At the moment, he’s only having breakfast and lunch as I’m finding it hard to find the time to offer a dinner once he’s had another feed after lunch, a nap, and then another feed as it’s then time for a bath and then bed. I could try and fit it in around 5pm but he’s sometimes mentally getting ready to settle down by then. When he does get round to having a dinner/supper though, he’ll likely be having dinner on his own, which I don’t like the thought of, as S gets home so late and I’d rather eat with her, and I don’t want two meals, but then that factor isn’t as important right now.

I was/am quite nervous of choking, so I’m still reluctant to offer things like red meat but watching him at the moment devoir tougher things like red pepper is starting to gain me more confidence.

Of all the things to come out of taking a baby led weaning approach, eating out is one of them! It makes it so much easier! All we have to do is share our plate or get a side of veggies for him.

IMG_0166IMG_0197-0
It’s been a fun month, albeit stressful. It’s exciting watching him try all these new flavours – I’m looking forward to him trying his first Christmas dinner!

K

7 Month Update. 

T is now 7 months old!

 

This month emphasises why I should have started our milestones photos on our bed rather than the moses basket!


This month really has flown by, which I think is down to weaning as it’s made my days even busier than they were before! In addition to the usual jobs around the house, days when I’m out, boobing or playing with him, I’m now having to think about meals. Once one meal is done and cleaned up, I’m off to the next one once he’s boobed and (sometimes) napped in between.

I’m also having to prepare bits for the freezer every few days. Not because he’s eating it all, but because I just want some stable bits stored so I don’t have to make it fresh; whether it’s mashed potato or banana pancakes.

I’ve tried doing large batch cooking but it’s not often long before he needs another feed, or just some company, so I can’t get involved in too much, and I try and avoid “mum stuff” (if that makes sense) at weekends as I want to do family stuff!

Milestones wise, T quite happily sits unaided now. He rarely topples, but when he does it’s because he’s overreaching for something or the dog has barged past and knocked him over.

T still has no interest in rolling or moving at all which, I know, is a godsend as he stays where I put him, but at the same time this means he gets frustrated easily when he wants something. I’m not overly worried (yet) as he’s sitting up and his legs are incredibly strong when I stand him up on my legs. Knowing my luck he’ll just get up and walk one day.

Things are going suprisingly well sleep-wise. As mentioned last month, we introduced him to the cot in his room. The first night he woke 3 times every 3 hours, the next; twice every 5, and the next he slept through! We still every now and again get hiccups where he’ll wake shortly after being put down or really early like 4am, but after a quick plug of the dummy or a boob he’s then back off until 7am. I’m really impressed and genuinely didn’t think he would settle but, so far, it’s been alright!


These past few weeks have, by far, been my favourite time. He engages a lot more with the things you put infront of him; clearly trying to work it out, he communicates a lot better; albeit babbles, but now they’re not just screams. He no longer seems to be this “vulnerable” baby. Sure, you can’t leave him alone for more than 30 seconds but you can play a lot rougher now; not in the chinese burn kind of rough, but the (gently) throw up in the air game rough, or the rolling up and down in your arms game rough.

Although I’ll always miss it, I’m slowly dealing with the fact that our newborn baby is no longer here and, if anything, I’m starting to feel excited about what the next 6 months are going to bring (especially Christmas!). I just don’t want to look back one day and remember how I constantly felt sad about T growing up because he was no longer this or that. I actually want to look back and remember all the new and exciting things we experienced together, and how happy that made us. It really is a once in a lifetime experience, and I should enjoy it!

K

The Pod, by Mountain Buggy (Review) [AD]

When T was a newborn, going out for an early dinner or meeting S for lunch was relatively easy (once I got over feeding in public). Most of the time I was able to feed T before I went out (or give him a top up / one for the road) and once we’d got to our destination he’d be asleep in his pram or the wrap.

Now that he’s a bit older, and also weaning, going out for lunch is not such a simple task. Not only do you have to contend with a baby who doesn’t always want to sleep as planned, but they definitely don’t want to sit still on you whilst you eat your lunch. Plus, they want YOUR food.

Although these days you have a huge amount of restaurants and cafes that provide highchairs, if they’re all taken or if you’re in one of those restaurants that say they’re child friendly by providing meatballs and pasta as their kids meal option but their highchair looks like a weapon of torture or sits-a-mile-away-from-the-table-because-it’s-been-purchased-last-minute-and-not-with-the-table-in-mind, you’re pretty stumped.

That’s why I found The Pod by Mountain Buggy to be a really useful tool when eating on the go, making the majority* of restaurant tables adaptable to you.

The Pod is simply a fold away highchair, but the level of design makes it rather clever.

Firstly, it’s light and compact. It folds/collapses into a neat carry case that can be put in the bottom of your buggy, in your car boot, or in your rucksack.

IMG_9457

To assemble, simply fold out the two brackets – like the ones you get in school woodwork class – and affix to the table you’re sitting at.

IMG_9733

Because they’re screw clamps, you can fix the seat to most* tables; thick or thin. *The only tables you’re not recommended to use The Pod with are ones that don’t have four legs; such as tulip tables, don’t have solid legs; such as fold up tables, as well as round tables, or glass tables.

The chair is made out of a tough canvas and has a solid seat that the child sits on and a metal bar that runs around the back, acting as a spine. Once assembled, it’s a strong and sturdy chair that really isn’t going anywhere. Also, because it hangs from the tabletop, it doesn’t take up unnecessary room!

 

We’ve used it several times now. It was our seat for T whilst in the caravan on holiday (the ones you can hire really do have a life of their own) as well as in pubs, restaurants, and park benches for picnics. We also take it with us when we go to friend’s houses for dinner.

Even if T isn’t eating, it means he can sit with us rather than be left on his playmat or passed between laps. It means he’s always included, which is great whilst weaning, and at the same level as us no matter where we’re sitting (another issue with conventional highchairs!)

IMG_9712-0
What I like most about the seat is that it will last T a long time. Because of the generous leg space, in comparison to other highchairs, and general strength of the seat, it’ll be able to hold T into toddlerhood and (maybe) beyond.

In the past, when we went out with friends who had kids, there was always this roulette of having to check whether the restaurant provided highchairs or even whether the place was too busy – a sure sign that all the highchairs will be in use. If they didn’t provide highchairs, or the place was too busy, we often had to a) go somewhere else, b) wait for a seat, or if we didn’t want option b) we had option c) which was leave the babies in the buggy; taking up lots of room. This solves these issues very simply.

K

We were kindly given The Pod for the purpose of a review but all thoughts and opinions of three product are our own. 

Our First Weaning Experience

We decided to start weaning roughly around T turning 6 months and us returning from our holiday. We could have started a bit earlier but we didn’t want to start something so new to going on holiday.

For the past month or so he’d been really interested in our food whether we were sat on the sofa or at the dinner table. From the moment we picked the food up he was on us like a hawk. If he was close enough he’d go for a grab. On top of this, he also got distracted easily when feeding – the milk wasn’t quite grabbing his attention at times.

So upon our return, we went to our local farm and stocked up on lots of veggies. We’ve decided to do a mix of baby-led weaning and mashed food as we’re keen on getting T used to flavours quickly but at the same time we also want him to get used to chewing and holding food in its natural form and shape early on. We have a spoon ready but most of the time it’ll be preloaded for him to feed himself.

Doing a mix means that food will become a meal sooner, filling him up, but he’ll also get used to varied flavours and textures at the same time. If it’s meant to be mashed it’ll be mashed, if not he can have it in it’s true form. We didn’t like the idea of baby rice. Not only does it look and taste horrible but there’s no actual harm in getting him straight on the adult food (within reason) as long as it doesn’t have added salt, sugars, honey, nuts, or Mercury based fish.

His first taste of food was mashed sweet potato and a sprig of broccoli.

IMG_9846
I thought this would be a good start as there’s plenty of flavour and there was little choking hazard.

After rescuing quite a bit of broccoli from the pockets inside his cheek, he eventually got the hang of biting/sucking and then dealing with what was in his mouth. He ended up polishing it all off without wastage!

I’ll admit, it was a bit nerve wracking. I was so scared of T choking but he actually got used to it quite quickly. It’ll probably be a while before I give him anything that doesn’t naturally dissolve/melt, but even with this in mind I still have a nice, varied meals planned. I still need to read up on certain things but as far as I know he can have almost anything.

This week was sweet potato and sprigs of brocolli – I added sticks of cheese to the mix on Wednesday, and then carrots and tomatoes through the week. Next week will be poached pear with a variation of breadsticks, cucumber sticks, red pepper, or cauliflower. I really want to vary the textures and tastes.

At the moment we’re just doing lunches. I’m thinking of introducing a breakfast after two weeks but this may change. I’m also still breastfeeding on top of food – which can get confusing when it comes to timing, however it’s very much up to him whether he takes a boob. I tend to find giving him a feed 30-40 minutes before lunch at 12:30/1pm means that he’s not hungry but is open to the offer of food on his tray. We’re hoping to make weekends a bit different and offer T something from our plate instead of something just for him, this could be anything from lasagne to fish pie!

This is really fun, and considering I have issues with mess, the mess isn’t bothering me. If anything, the fun of weaning (choking aside) is calming me down.

There’s so many things I want T to try. I can’t wait to really explore.

What were your baby’s favourites? How did you conquer the fear of choking?

K