Baby is Eating: To Puree or Baby Lead Weaning?

So ‘Little Dimples’ (I’m trying out new nicknames for my kids, as I’m getting a little superstitious about using their real names), turned 6 months last week and is now onto FOOD, yay!

The question is of course, ‘To Puree or not To Puree’.  My decision is to go the rather laxidazical route of the second child, which is to make it up as I go along and see how it goes.

With ‘Curly Headed Boy’, I didn’t know much about anything asI ‘d had so little warning about the ‘baby thing’, so I just assumed I’d go the puree route.  But after a couple of weeks of baby rice, he had a nasty stomach bug and then refused anything pureed.  I’m a pretty rubbish cook, so I was tearing my hair out making stuff that he then refused, especially as he wanted to be held all the time, so the whole cooking experience was a nightmare.  Then I went to a local Mum’s for coffee who passed him a strawberry when I mentioned my worries (I think that actually anyone with potential allergy issues is meant to avoid strawberries!), and heh presto he munched it down.  So I ended up sort of ‘Baby Led Weaning’, even though I don’t think it was even named at the time.  Which means, I cooked normal food (healthy, no salt etc), and let him help himself off my plate.

The downside is that obviously they can’t get lots of food into their tummies for quite a while (i.e months).  But as I was breastfeeding, it wasn’t too worrying.  The upside was several months later, when Curly headed Boy was munching on anything pretty much, and other Mums were having ‘lump refusal’.

So with Little Dimples, I’ve been letting her munch on cucumber for some time and suck my apples.  This week, I’ve given her baby porridge in the morning and evening, and let her munch on my crusts or some pitta bread.  At lunch time, I’m letting her munch on a slice of apple, or suck my banana into a big mush (she doesn’t like it squashed up); apparently fruit ferments, so it’s best during the middle of the day, which I didn’t know, but luckily was doing things the ‘right’ way around.

For a baby who has only had milk so far, it’s amazing to see her munching on bread, I really wouldn’t have imagined that it was possible.  But she can sit up really well, and has a couple of teeth; and one of my mummy blogger mates (muddling along mummy) said that is a good indication that a baby can manage baby lead weaning.

She is VERY keen on her food!  I’ll let you know which way things go and how she manages over the next couple of months.  My body is already a bit relieved, as I’m pretty sure her demand for milk has reduced just a little.

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Exhaustion …. What it feels like

I’m writing this for three reasons.  (Well, I actually started writing it 14 days ago, but have been that exhausted that it has taken this long to finish!).

  • Firstly to share with non mums what it feels like.  I’m sorry to do the whole ‘you can’t understand what its like’ card, but seriously, I reckon that only Mums or people who have illnesses or who work shifts, can really understand the true meaning of ‘exhaustion’!
  • Secondly so that other mums know it is not just them.
  • And finally to remind me when these days are over, that my body really is too old to get broody again!

It starts with overwhelming sleepiness. I like the feeling of this stage as for years I was a rubbish sleeper. My eyelids get heavy, blinking takes twice as long, and it takes a huge effort to reopen my eyes. Suddenly I find myself asleep on whinnie the pooh. Max (4.5yrs) will either be shaking me awake or kindly putting a blanket over me, depending on his mood. But in a couple of months time this type if tiredness will be potentially dangerous when little Willow starts to crawl; there are stairs, small toys, so many potential problems. I remember waking up oneday with a start to find myself asleep on the floor and max nose to nose with one of our old dogs, who just woken up was trying to work out if max was a dog (who could be bitten) or a child. (We sadly found him a safer home very shortly after, which was extremely heartbreaking to do, but he was worried, let alone us).

Soon sleep becomes more difficult though as the worst stage kicks in. Your head hurts, there’s a dull ache constantly behind the eyes, your stomach feels like a washing machine, and all I want to eat is chocolate. After days of sleep torture, where you are dragged out of a heavy collapse several times, I then find myself incapable of getting back to sleep, which is just the worst kind of torture ever. The brain gets noisy and I get GRUMPY!

When we are grumpy, the ability to be nice to people, give them the benefit of the doubt, have endless patience with the children and be fun rather than shout, disappears in a puff of smoke. But no one appears to be willing to understand or let you be grumpy, or not as grumpy for as long as I’d like anyway! Expectations are high, children are disappointed, husbands snap back and ‘normal’ people either think you are stupid or a cow.  I suspect this is where many of the arguments in the blogosphere/twittersphere/facebooksphere originate from.

Soon perspective goes. That’s when there are tears hiding behind my eyes constantly all day long, and all I can see is an interminable long haul ahead with no hope of rescue. And frankly I’ve been tempted to throw both kids out of the window.  I hate the crying bit.  I hate the pathetic bit.  When I’m out of it, I can see how useful it can be (I’ll post about that in a few days, as I’m on my way out, cross fingers).  But when I’m in it, it feels like big dark sticky goo.

So don’t feel sorry for me, or be put off having kids, because it isn’t every day or forever, and I wouldn’t change a thing.  It’s not their fault that tonsilitus in one (mega puke city!), inevitably is passed to the other, and then other things go wrong like child-care etc.  But when you see a mum parking really badly or slowly, be patient.  She may very well be stupid, but she may also be operating on minimum brain cells due to the exhaustion.  Remember, it’s one of the most effective forms of torture, and lack of sleep can kill you!  When she snaps at you, hold your tongue and give her a hug instead. Most of all, have realistic expectations on what she can achieve and tell her how fabulous she is for managing it.  Finally remember, ‘this too shall pass’ (one of my mates favourite sayings, you know who you are SB!), and normal service will resume very soon, with a much cheerier version of me/your wife/mum/friend/workmate/neighbour.

To be continued …. Tips for picking up the pieces when exhausted.

Hints and Tips Pregnancy

These hints and tips are just things that worked for me, so I thought I would share them just incase they work for someone else, please share them with anyone you know who is pregnant.  Now obviously it is always wise to check with your health professional about any of the supplements and vitamins that I talk about below, as I am not a specialist, just a Mum.

Because I had turned 40 while I was pregnant I was a great deal more focussed on my health.  I was much more vigilant on taking Pregnacare (vitamins specially formulated for pregnant or nursing mothers) extra, which includes Omega3 tablets as well.  I also took a liquid Iron supplement called Spatone for a while (liquid iron doesn’t tend to constipate you like the pills do).  Then when I got more tired I replaced Spatone with Floradix, which is a liquid iron and mineral supplement; much more effective, but also more expensive.  Ironically, I had to be much more healthy this time because unlike the chocolate & crisps I existed on in my first pregnancy (the only thing I fancied when feeling sick every day for 9 months), I only felt well when eating very small portions of healthy food.  The outcome was that within 2 weeks of ‘little pink’ being born, I had lost all my pregnancy weight; but don’t start getting jealous, because I do have the weight from pregnancy no1 still ;o)  ‘Little pink’ also came out nearly 3lbs heavier than ‘monster/angel boy’ and appeared a great deal stronger.  Of course, these outcomes could be nothing to do with my strategies, but hey, it’s possible and I do think that it’s worth remembering that diets are a no-no when pregnant, but you aren’t actually eating for two full sized people when pregnant either!

One thing I didn’t get to do as much of as in pregnancy No1 was exercise, because there just isn’t the time for it.  I was worried, but afterwards realised that just being a Mum of a 4yr old was enough, even with the onset of SPD (hip and pelvis pain due to the body releasing too much relaxin) which meant I wasn’t very active.  But that didn’t seem to cause problems with the birth.

I was really focussed on tieing up lose strings with my two businesses when I was pregnant, so I didn’t do a great deal of preparation.  Then I suddenly realised that if I had wanted to do ‘Hypnobirthing’ that I hadn’t left myself with enough time to do it.  When I looked into it more deeply, I realised it probably wasn’t for me anyway, as due to my training I have heard too many hypno/meditation audios with ping pong music and sickly sweet voices (no disrespect to them, just not my cup of tea).  But I did need something, and having found a scottish guy called ** Andrew Johnson who creates hypnotherapy iphone apps and downloadable audios.  One of my mummy blogger mates introduced me to him on Twitter and I was lucky enough to get to beta test his pregnancy app.  I can therefore definitely recommend his Relax, Sleep and Pregnancy Apps/Audios as I slept brilliantly in the last 2 months of pregnancy (normally very difficult) and was very relaxed in the build up towards the birth.  Of course he has an unfair advantage with the scottish accent, which is naturally relaxing, and I can’t really give an in depth analysis of his hypnosis techniques as I’m pretty much asleep nowadays on his first couple of words.  This is pretty amazing, as I’ve never been the best sleeper, had loads of pain from SPD in my pregancy, and used to find it really difficult to sleep when I’d been woken frequently by a baby.

I was also really lucky to find a Doula a couple of months before the end of my pregnancy, which was cutting it a bit fine if baby had come early!  She also had a pool, which was great as I found them difficult to find.  I thoroughly recommend a Doula if you can afford one, or look for a Doula in training if you are short on cash.  This would be a great use of the cash that you (currently) get from the government near the end of your pregnancy.  If you live near me, then check out Herts Doulas.

Apart from that I didn’t do much preparation, not just because it was my second, but also because you can order pretty much anything online nowadays.  Some big shops have slow delivery times, but ebay and amazon are really quick.  You don’t even have to panic about buying nursery furniture to be honest, because you might end up with kids like mine who never use it (p.s. Ikea nursery furniture tends to be the most reasonably priced, everything else seems to be at a premium).  It really doesn’t need to cost loads to have a baby, you don’t even need to buy an expensive pram as slings are often preferred by little ones.

Here is my Hospital Bag list, which was also for use after the birth if at home:

  • Birthplan, Antibacterial wipes, Energy drink and snack, iphone speakers
  • For baby: 2 vests, 2 allinones, cardigan, hat, gloves, blanket, newborn nappies, cotton wool & wipes
  • For me: Face cleaner wipes, moisturiser, tinted moisturiser, shampoo, shower gel, toothbrush & paste, maternity pads & throw away knickers, 2 nightshirts, 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 pair of trousers, 1 pair flat shoes, 1 bra and knickers, cardigan.

Here is the list of what I was told I needed in addition for a home birth:

  • Waterproof covers (from DIY store), torch, small table, kitchen roll, pampers changing mat (put under seat in loo to deliver placenta into), lots of old towels, bucket.  My Doula provided the pool and homeopathy kit.

This was my list of what to do when things kicked off and I either had regular contractions or my waters broke (I didn’t have to find babysitters for Monster/Angel boy as I was going to have a Doula with me and hubby was looking after the dogs and my son:

  1. Phone Husband if he is at work, plus Mums available to pick up Max from nursery (not necessary thankfully!)
  2. Phone Doula
  3. Start Filling Pool and put on immersion heater just in case.
  4. Phone Delivery Suite
  5. Cancel cleaner
  6. Make sure room warm and baby towel & clothes are on radiator to warm up.
  7. Put on music/tv

The biggest tip I can give you is to take care of yourself.  I know that you will feel guilty if there are things that you are not able to do, but it’s only a while, and it’s worth knowing that you did everything possible to keep yourself and your baby healthy.  Here is a link to my other blog on the birth, incase you fancy knowing how it turned out in comparison to birth no1, which was incredibly different.  Hope these tips are useful, good luck with everything!

** I have just become an affiliate for Andrew Johnson, mainly because I’m likely to recommend him lots and it seems daft not to!  However, I don’t expect it to be massively lucrative, as most of you will be buying iphone apps, rather than downloading the audios, and I’m pretty sure there is no way of tracking those ;o)

What Will Cause The Most ‘Pain’ If Not Done By The End Of Today?

In ‘ye olden days’, i.e. 2 months ago before the arrival of ‘little pink’, my second child, I used to ask myself what might seem a slightly dark question when sorting out my plan for work/life balance.  I would think about being elderly and sitting on my death bed, looking back over my life.  ‘What would I regret not doing?’.  Would I miss doing that piece of admin, writing that document, working with that client, or playing with my son.  In some cases, I really wanted to write, or the client session was going to be really interesting and couldn’t be at another time.  But in other cases, the sun would be out and it was definitely time to make a memory and go and have a picnic.

This would really help me to be clear on what I wanted to achieve, and how I wanted to do it.  I’m not the type to go pushing ahead with my business, and put the kids last.  It’s not wrong, it’s just not me, and most of all kids just want us to be ourselves.  I’m also not the type to not have another string to my bow; that is, I’d be a rubbish stay at home mum!

But now my life has changed, and is much more practical and much more short term.  My question is ‘What will cause me the most pain if I don’t get it done by the end of today?’.  It helps me with the juggling act (which frankly I’m not doing well at), because ‘little pink’ could wake up at any moment and then demand attention for the rest of the day.

Today, I needed the washing dry, but I also needed to write, just quickly, so that I felt that feeling I love for a moment.  I’ve also made myself a long glass of squash and got some snacks ready, as I’m conscious that her milk demands are increasing.  Which also means sod any thought of a diet for another week!

If I get a chance I’ll phone the two mates who left me a voicemail or text.  Max is at nursery today, so I might even get a chance to interview a ‘Mother’s help’, but most of all I need a little peace and quiet after the easter holidays, when I made a couple of fatal mistakes; I’ll blog about them later in the week, but they are all about feeling unappreciated because you do a pile of stuff ‘for’ people and forgot to work out your compensation package ;o)

A great question, can be worth it’s weight in gold.  What questions help you?