Month: January 2014

Raising a glass to the other halves

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Not all of our other halves turn out to be the hands on dad we all expect when our little one is here, but the ones who do deserve a huge pat on the back from us mums.

When I was pregnant, there were a few occasions where I felt I was more excited about everything that was going on than my other half was. However, it must be hard to get excited if you can’t feel what the other person is feeling. There were times when I got very cross that he couldn’t feel baby Ring kicking right at the beginning – ”Oh for God’s sake, HOW can you NOT feel THAT?, it was a HUGE kick!”. Naturally, if you’re anything like me, and even more so when you’re pregnant, your mind starts working ten to the dozen, paranoia sets in that you’re the only one that’s bothered and you’re going to be doing it all on your own!

Fast forward to ‘holy shit the baby is actually here’ and daddy really stepped it up. For someone who has had such minimal exposure to babies, he really was a natural. Nappy changes, bath time, getting Toby dressed – he wanted to learn and do it all and I have to say he’s a pro!

I love that my other half wants to be a proactive dad. From taking an interest in what he’s eating to downloading apps to see if he’s reaching his development milestones to playing with him when he gets home. I can’t fault him.

It must be so hard for men, especially since their paternity leave is almost non-existent. It makes me really angry that men don’t get anywhere near the same amount of time as the women (in jump all the women defending their right to be off, as they’re the one who carried their baby, they’re breastfeeding and blah blah blah). Rubbish. Dad’s need just as much time to bond, and not only that, where is your support when you’re signed off from the midwife after 10 days? But that’s not what this post is about.

I just want to raise a huge glass to all the men out there who have to stomach leaving their partners and babies every morning to work a full day, come home and make those couple of hours before bed time count with their kids. We really do love you,

How do your partners make the most of their time with the kids?

J

Wonderful Weaning

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Every first time mum will have gone through the same questions about weaning; why?, when?, what?, how?, where?, WTF?!!!!

I have read so many guides, leaflets and books on weaning it’s actually ridiculous. Personally, they’re only good for one thing; recipes and coupons! Here’s my quick and concise view on weaning, answering all the above questions.

Why would you start weaning your baby?
Well, it’s obvious isn’t it? No. It’s not. There are so many different reasons mums start weaning their babies. Some do it only because ”that book says so”, others ”because my friend’s baby is”. The truth is, you wean your baby because they’re ready to move on to the next stage of their food. It could be that milk just isn’t filling them up any more, or it could get to the stage where, in a health professional’s opinion, they should be started on solids.

When should you start doing it?
4 months, 5 months, 6 months? Quite honestly, it’s when YOU feel your baby is ready. Not when a guide says so, or your mum-in-law says you should. Look for the obvious signs of not feeling full up, chewing at their hands (although this could mean they’re teething too) and staring at your food. Other people suggest that your baby should be able to sit up unaided – in my opinion, that’s rubbish. My little boy can sit up in his highchair on his own, but not the floor, and he’s quite happy and able to sit there and eat his food! I’d also suggest doing it when they’re not grumpy, I started doing it about 20 minutes before he would have his bottle.

What the hell do you feed babies?
Food, of course. I started with baby rice, others start with baby porridge. There’s no right or wrong. I agree that it should be mixed with your baby’s usual milk though, just so there’s something familiar going in their mouth. Weaning guides are good for getting the “first taste” ideas. It’s also best to introduce new things one at at time.; one of the best reasons for doing this is to identify any allergies they may have to the food! Just mix some of their milk in, feed them what you think they want (start with small quantities) and then once they’re finished, feed them the rest of their bottle.

Toby tries bananas
Toby tries bananas

How do you feed your babies?
With a spoon, a huge cheesy grin on your face and lots of enthusiasm. Another method may be from a pouch, eliminating any need for cutlery really. I haven’t tried my baby with a pouch yet, although I’m a big believer of home-made food, as you know exactly what’s gone in there. You can get a kit from Fill ‘n’ Squeeze for all your home made meals to be mashed and squished into a pouch for you to either freeze, or take out and about with you or feed to your baby straight away. Don’t get me wrong, I still use jars, but home made is always best!

Where should you feed your baby?
I started with doing it at home, and in a highchair (see previous review post). The last thing you want is to try it for the first time round the in-laws where they’ll tell you to “do it this way” or “try that” (mine didn’t, thankfully) or out in public somewhere. Make sure the surroundings are familiar. As my little one isn’t too messy at the moment, I do feed him in our living room. However, as he gets older I’ll move it to the dining room. That way he knows it’s time for eating, and if it does get messy (it really will) I don’t have to scrub spaghetti hoops out of the carpet.

WTF?!!!!
Exactly. WTF?, indeed. Nobody knows what it’s really all about (maybe the Hokey Cokey). Just go with what you feel is comfortable for you both and wing it!

Final Tips

  • As baby gets older, give them a starter cup with a drink in it so they get used to having one with their meal.
  • Once they want to try feeding themselves, give them a spoon as well so they can help you do it.
  • If they want to play with their food, let them. It makes it fun, they get to explore food and get messy! Who really cares if it adds to the washing?

What are you top weaning tips?

J

Hello. My name is ‘Anxiety’.

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Stress, fear and worry can be classic signs of anxiety, and I have to say, I have experienced every one of these since having Toby.

I suffered a lot when he was first born for at least the first 5 weeks. I’d be fine all day, and then it’d get to about 5.30pm and the feeling, that soon became familiar, came washing over me. I felt sick, I’d cry and I’d have the most irrational thoughts about what would happen to my baby. People told me that I got the feeling because it was coming up to bed time and that I was subconsciously thinking about how fractured my sleep would be. Wrong. If anything, bed time for me came as a relief, especially when I got between the sheets, because Toby was safe in his moses basket, next to me, where I could hear everything and do what I needed to do throughout the night.

Thankfully, the feelings passed and have been laid to rest. However, they recently cropped up again in another form; separation anxiety. This firstly happened when we were practically forced to move Toby into his own room since he was far too big for his moses basket, and our bedroom would have been too cramped with his cot in there. So at 11 weeks old, we bit the bullet. My other half would’ve been more than happy for him to go into his own room right away, but as a first time, breastfeeding mum, I wanted to be comfortable and not have to be up and down 10 times a night!

Recently, I had to be admitted to hospital and the best option for Toby (now 4 and a half months) was to stay at Nanny and Grandad’s house. Would they do a good job? Of course they would, but you always think that nobody knows your baby like you do, and that nobody can do as good a job as you would. Alas, the anxiety kicked in again. What if something happened to him? What if he wouldn’t stop crying and they didn’t know what to do? What if he just wanted his mum? What if, what if, what bloody if…???

No chance, he hardly noticed I’d gone. Typical. And the next day, when I got to see him, I realised it’s all much ado about nothing! Despite all of my own fears, he was, of course, absolutely fine.

How did you feel when your baby came home? What about their first night away from you?

J

Cosatto Highchair -Review-

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You’d think buying a highchair would be straight forward, right? Wrong. There’s functions, safety and (of course) price to consider.

I’ve spent a good month looking for the “perfect” one and after a lot of “hmm-ing” and “harr-ing” over lots of different models, we decided to go for the Cosatto Noodle Dippi Egg.

Image courtesy of Amazon
Image courtesy of Amazon

Surely all you need is for your baby to sit in it so you can feed them or include them at the table? While that’s great for those of you who want something simple and straightforward, it’s extremely limited. The highchair may be too tall or short to fit at your table, or baby isn’t comfortable. That’s why the Cosatto Dippi Egg is an egg-celent selection. This highchair boasts no less than six height adjustments and three reclining seat positions – absolute gold if baby has fallen asleep! Height adjustment is determined with numbers on the front ‘feet’, helpful if you don’t want a wonky seat, and is done by holding in the two lower level, rear red clips. The seat position is amended by lifting the white button on the back and manoeuvring the back of the chair forwards or back.

The seat itself is lovely and squishy, patterned in pastel, neutrally coloured dippi eggs; some happy, some sad (you would be too if your head had been cracked open and some toast dipped in)! The seat pad is removable and wipe clean, an absolute must, and baby is secured with a 5 point safety harness to reduce wriggly-ness and escapees. These can be loosened or tightened. There is a footrest which does need securing with a couple of screws (included).

Other features include a detachable tray with 3 options of depth. Slide it on as you would any highchair tray – the only thing I would say is that it can seem quite chunky and clunky. This can be stored on the back of the highchair when not in use. Within the detachable tray is a green, multi-area removable tray (dishwasher safe) – ideal if you want to differentiate between snack times and meal times.

Easy to assemble, and fairly compact; I wouldn’t say it’s the best space saver in the world. It folds up enough to store in an unused corner and is freestanding. Nice and sturdy once open, all you need to do is grab the two higher level red buttons and give it a flick out until it clicks into place. It says suitable from 6 months, but my 4 month old sits comfortably in this no problem.

Don’t be content with the first price you see! Seriously, have a good shop around (Kiddicare, Mothercare, Boots, Argos, Online4Baby, branded website (Cosatto/Stokke/Mamas and Papas etc..)  to name a few) and compare the prices including delivery. I managed to get our highchair down from the RRP of £100 to £64.95 just by spending time finding the best deal. Don’t forget to register your free 4 year guarantee on the Cosatto website. It literally takes you 5 minutes.

Here’s my little one enjoying his food!
photo

What do you have to say about your highchair?

J

Foam Bath Support -Review-

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This product is absolute GOLD! Literally, do not waste your money on expensive, faffy baby bath products because this is all you will ever need. Trust me.

One of my good friends got this for me in a hamper at my baby shower and, at first, I was really hesitant to use it. If I’m being honest, it’s mainly because I wasn’t sure how to, and I really didn’t want to take the chance of thinking I knew what to do with it. I know that sounds utterly ridiculous but answers to the questions I had weren’t on any instruction booklet, because it didn’t come with one.

Was it suitable from birth? Was it to use in the “adult” bath, or just as a support in the baby bath? Do I put it in the sink? Was it for me to eat if I had a craving towards the end of my pregnancy? So I Googled it, just to make sure.

Anyway, this has literally been one of the best baby products I could’ve ever thought about getting. It’s practical, easy to use and best of all, cheap! Just pop it in your big bath and fill up with water to a level you’re comfortable with (I usually let the foam sit just under the water. Don’t forget your baby will sink into it slightly, depending on how big they are) and place baby on the foam. This eliminates any chance of what I like to call “baby bath arm” – you know, the awkward attempt at holding your baby while simultaneously trying to wash them or play with them.. yes? That. Your baby can finally be “hands free” and you can wash them and enjoy playing with them. It also gives them a chance to have a good splash once they’re a little bit bigger.

Image

One thing I will add, and this is just my personal opinion, is that the base is probably better for babies from birth up until about 3 months, rather than the stated 6 months. Our baby tended to lay with his arms up above his head and only splash with his legs. We had been using this for quite a while but didn’t realise our little one felt somewhat restricted by it. However, we had a family weekend break where we hadn’t taken this with us, and he absolutely loved the bath without it. Lots of splashing and wriggling around, so we decided to stop using it. But it’s down to you and your baby.

Even though this foam support is described as having a ”non-slip base”, it’s only true as long as it’s weighed down by your baby. Otherwise, it does tend to float around in the water.

Lastly, once you’re finished with it, remember to wring it out, literally like a big sponge and pop it at the end of the bath to dry.

Please remember that, even though this product offers support for your baby, you should never, not even for a few seconds, leave your baby alone in the bath!

J

Baby’s first Christmas gifts

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Ever wondered what in the world you could possibly buy a baby for Christmas?

Me too.

”They don’t need a lot” I hear you say. I disagree. Babies do need a lot, a hell of a lot, and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to delegate out gifts for the first year of baby’s life. In the long run, this saves you a bit of money, saves gifts getting duplicated and you have everything you need for the next year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to shell out on gifts for my child, I just don’t see the point in going completely all out. Yes, I took him to see Father Christmas, but no I didn’t spend hundreds on him. He won’t remember it, but it’s still nice to create memories.

Here’s a list of gifts that our little one received, just in case any of you were stuck for ideas.

Fisher Price rainforest jumperoo
VTech first steps baby walker
Fisher Price laugh and learn puppy
Fisher Price laugh and learn cookie shape surprise
VTech playtime bus
Bath toys
Usborne illustrated classics for boys
Usborne illustrated stories of Greek Myths
Usborne illustrated stories from Aesop
Hairy Maclary full set of books
Various learning books
Handcrafted wooden alphabet puzzle (dinosaur shape)
Giant floor puzzle
Little Lad’s Moneybox (Pot of Dreams)
ELC sensory stacking rings
ELC discover cylinder
Stacking cups
Safari rolling toy
Clothes and shoes (always in the next size up, at least)
Money (for his little piggy bank)
Mickey Mouse lullaby soft toy
Playgro bendy ball
VTech moosical beads
VTech splash and learn duck
VTech musical tambourine
Buzzing Brains click clack track
Sassy wonder wheel highchair toy
Emma Bridgewater dinner set
VTech toot toot cars (emergency vehicles)
“I love you, mummy” book and soft toy set
Reindeer bib
My 1st ever Christmas bib

I’m sure there are lots more ideas to be had, but these were the ones that we had. Other additions could be baby walkers or pushchair toys to toy boxes and keepsakes. What did you buy your baby for their first Christmas?

J

Christmas survival tips

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As we all know, Christmas can be stressful enough without having to think about a baby. As a first time mum, I was mildly aware that baby’s routine might not coincide with Christmas day plans. Here are my top tips for surviving that ‘one day a year’.

  • Decide where Christmas will be spent (and possibly Boxing Day too). Trying to please everyone is virtually impossible, so don’t bother trying. We went for a ‘mini break’ (a 10 minute drive) for 2 nights to my in-laws; leading on to my next tip.
  • Grandparents! Some of them are too overbearing, some of them are not attentive enough, but some of them are juuuuust right. I suggest using them to your advantage. Let them feed the baby, or take them off your hands for 5 minutes, it’s your chance for a break too. Most importantly, Christmas is all about family and I believe everyone should be together as much as possible. It’s theirs and baby’s chance to engage with someone other than you, and it allows you to sit back and admire the most beautiful gift of all.
  • Keeping to your routine is essential. Stick to baby’s nap times, feed times, bath time and bed time as much as possible. An over tired, ratty baby isn’t something you want to be dealing with. You could, of course, be using that time much more wisely; a drink of mulled wine, filling up on the food and sitting on your bum watching Elf, or some other rubbish Christmas TV.

What are your top tips for surviving Christmas?

J