Have a little patience – learning to love the randomness of the baby months

Randomness of babiesI remember most of Scrip’s baby milestones but, although they were very real and exciting at the time, I can’t now pinpoint exactly when they were. I mentioned to a friend recently that I wish I’d written a diary or even a few handy notes at the time – she suggested it should be mandatory if you were at least contemplating having more than one. Maybe an NCT exercise?!

The problem is, having a new baby means I’m ready and impatient to reach those milestones again – particularly the ones which will help order our lives a bit more. When can I get him into an (unforced) routine? When should he really be napping in the cot? When do his bedtimes start regulating? Don’t get me wrong, I love his gorgeous smiles, little chuckles and chubby babiness and I feel like I’m able to enjoy this time so much more second time around. It’s just that I know what’s coming and am keen to embrace it – but I don’t know when it’s coming.

Babies and particularly baby timing is random during these first few hazy months. Even now, 9 week old D’s sleeping in his pushchair and I’m not sure if he’ll wake up in 40 minutes or two hours. 

So although I’m keen to get on to the next stage I’m trying to encourage myself to wait until at least we reach three months to start thinking patterns and routines. And in the meantime, especially with the backdrop of a warm summer, enjoy as many of the small details along the way as I can.

The New Parent Olympics – could you compete?

New Parent OlympicsI know strictly speaking we’re not new new parents, but having had a gap of three years, at tricky times and in the early hours it certainly feels like we’re doing all of this for the first time. Some things come flooding back (the only way to treat nappy rash is to reach for the Metanium, always make sure the frills at the side of the nappy are facing out or face the consequences, no room should be without a muslin) and some feel like we’ve never experienced them before.

Much of it is logistical, fuelled by sleep deprivation, and a lot is about making the most of small windows of time. So I’ve been mulling a few new parent challenges that could be worthy of including in next year’s Olympics:

The five minute supermarket dash. Contenders need to collect at least ten items, spanning both sides of the giant supermarket with a grizzly baby and/or whiny toddler before either fully melts down. Bonus points for not knocking anyone flying en route and not giving into pester power for cheap toys or cheap sweets.

The service station nappy change. Contenders need to change a nappy on a dubious surface (often wobbly, rarely spotless) whilst avoiding baby touching any part of the changing table. Bonus points for negotiating the (often broken) straps and managing to have a toilet break yourself.

The me-time challenge. Contenders need to make the most of a rare child-free hour, courtesy of partner/in-laws/fool-hardy friends, by fitting in as many household tasks as possible – aim for at least 15. Bonus points for anyone who actually manages to rest during this ‘rest time’.

The cup of tea challenge. Contenders need to finish at least one cup of tea (which could be classed as lukewarm or above) fully, within a 24 hour period. Sounds deceptively simple but not many have succeeded.

The getting ready alone challenge – baby vs shower. Contenders need to wash, brush teeth and dress without the baby crying. Bonus points for using a variety of apparatus such as baby bouncer, crib with mobile, moses basket and fluffy towel on the floor and for singing nursery rhymes/nonsense songs continuously.

And the New Parent Olympics gold medal? A lovely smile from your baby…and a hot cup of tea.

I’ve been practising all of these in the last few weeks and would rate my chances. Could you compete?

101 things you can do with a baby carrier

 I’m writing sitting in the garden. It’s 8.47am and already warm. It’s looking like a beautiful day. Little D is snoring gently in the baby carrier and I’ve just been watering the garden: something I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do today. But with a bit of careful manoeuvring and a few yogic positions (the garden’s pretty cramped) I soaked the roses and gently sprinkled the sweet peas.

I love the baby carrier. This one’s an Ergo 360 and was a present from my mum from the Baby Show earlier this year (thanks to Emma’s Diary for the tickets). Much as D seems a bit calmer than Scrip was at his age and will actually sit for a few minutes in the bouncer (the Baby Bjorn is the best) he won’t happily stay for long enough for me to do too much. Maybe in time. But in the meantime I’ve been more confident this time round with popping him in the carrier when I need to get things done. Here’s what I’ve discovered you can do with a carrier and a five week old:

  • Make a cup of tea (only if really needed and keeping kettles far away from him)
  • Give a toddler a bath
  • Get a toddler dressed (socks are the hardest on an angle)
  • Blog (on my phone – just discovering this one)
  • Nursery pick ups and drop offs
  • Push swings (again…and again)
  • Chase a toddler (mock running – a bit Benny Hill)
  • Power walk to try and shed those baby pounds
  • Make lunch (side on)
  • Eat cereal (tricky with the milk)
  • Sit in the garden (not too strenuous, this one)
  • Wind the baby
  • Feed (apparently – not sure my body is quite made for this one…)
  • Make calls about those endless appointments
  • Watch TV (when it all gets a bit too active Frasier is my favourite)
  • Water the garden

(Ok that’s not quite 101 but it’s only been five weeks…)

New Wafer Wisps from Heavenly – organic snacks for babies and children

 

 Pushchairs, car seats, nappies, bottles – it feels like everything has moved on in the three years since Scrip was born. We’re a way off thinking about baby food for little D yet but I’ve no doubt there will be a whole lot of new options alongside what were Scrip’s firm favourites.

When I was weaning Scrip I started off playing it very safe with baby rice and mashed banana at five and half months. Then an NCT friend handed my little one a rice cake one grizzly lunch time and everything changed. She gobbled it up (or gummed it up), and from then on we moved on to baby crisps, crackers, toast, sandwiches, baby biscuits and lots more rice cakes. She loved finger food and mastered the art of holding and eating it pretty quickly.

So when Heavenly offered their new Wafer Wisps for a trial, I was keen to say yes and start exploring what baby food was now out there. The Heavenly range is made up of healthy snacks for babies and children. Currently well known in Northen Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it was founded by Shauna McCarney-Blair who wanted to give her child healthy, organic food that was suitable for allergy sufferers.

The Wafer Wisps have just launched in the UK via Ocado and come in two flavours – “Pumpkin & Banana”, and “Spinach, Apple & Kale”. Suitable for 6 months+, they are designed to be super healthy – made from organic fruit and veg, blended together with ancient grains like buckwheat.

We all tried them – even me (a hungry breastfeeding mum!) Scrip liked them, although she is used to crackers with something now so we topped with some Philadelphia. My friend’s eight month old enjoyed them and my friend was pleased they were relatively mess free and dissolved in the mouth, with no sticky leftovers. And although I found the mixture of savoury and sweet a bit unusual, they tasted natural to me and not at all artificial.

So there’s a Heavenly thumbs up all round and one to remember when I’m weaning this very hungry baby in a few months.

Wafer Wisps are £2.19 per box 

To find out more visit the Heavenly site

 

My maternity staples – taking you through 9 months of bump

maternity staplesI definitely stuck to a capsule wardrobe during my pregnancy this time, and whilst some things were great for the early stages I’ve found there were a few classics I was able to wear from mini-bump to maxi-bump, and that stayed comfy and shapely along the way. Here are some of my maternity favourites this time:

H&M MAMA black stretchy jeans (£20)
These didn’t lose their shape or get too faded and I wore them for 4 or 5 months as well as after birth. They’re comfy and more flattering than a lot of maternity jeans.

Jojo Maman Bebe 4 Way Maternity cardie (£39)
My version was actually the thicker, winter version of this but it’s got the same shape. It’s nice to pull on when you’re not in the mood for tight clothing, it’s warm whilst being a layer you can take on or off and you can wear it in different ways. Plus there was plenty of room for my growing bump.

Gap V-neck long sleeve t-shirt (£14.99)
A great stretchy staple. Mine was purple (in a bid to move away from the blacks and greys) and it was long enough to pull down over trousers and not ride up. It’s been great for layering.

Vertbaudet Colline maternity sweater (£34)
This looks smarter than a stretchy t-shirt and is just as comfy. It’s been really versatile and I’ve worn it with skirts and trousers, to birthday parties and to work meetings. It’s also good for layering with a vest for breast feeding. 

Isabella Oliver blue dress (£40 on eBay)
Mine was similar to this but much less as I got it on eBay. I love Isabella Oliver and Baukjen dresses – in fact I’ve still been able to wear my non-maternity stripey Baukjen dress up until recently and it seems to ping back into place for post-maternity. This blue dress has been brillant for work, dinner out and most recently, a Christening. It’s smart but comfy and I love the shade. It’s worth signing up to emails as there are always promotions and great sales and the clothes are worth the investment.

And one thing I wish I’d had:

Maternity sweat pants (£20)
For some reason I never got round to buying these. I still had some harem pants from last time that I’ve been wearing but they’re really not very flattering. Something like this would have been great for weekend wearing (or weekday mat leave sofa slouching).

What are your maternity staples? I’d love to know.

Life with a newborn – #winning or #failing? 

 Ten days in and having sent my mum my standard morning sleep progress report text – a positive one – she replied ‘#winning’. Which made me smile. I’d had a few hours’ sleep strung together not once but twice. Result. 

It made me think. These last few days of starting to get grips with a newborn again as well as becoming a mother of two have had their ups and downs. Those winning moments are brilliant – you feel you can achieve anything. But as with anything, they’re balanced out by the little challenges (or fails) along the way. 

And that pretty much sums up the first week and a half (in between all the lovely moments and staring in amazement at our gorgeous little boy):

#win – putting him down and him settling straight away in the Sleepyhead
#fail – next wake up was a five hour feeding session. Who knew they were even possible? From one side to the other on and on (ouch) and grizzling in between

#win – soundly sleeping all the way around our first shopping trip
#fail – then taking 45 minutes to latch on…

#win – first time in proper clothes (including Little Brother top, obviously)
#fail – changing after 5 mins due to suspect yellow stains appearing

#win – figuring out the Ergo Baby carrier and having a nice stroll 
#fail – struggling with playground/swing pushing logistics with carrier on (frustrated Scrip)

#win – calmness in first bath – we use a Tummy Tub – and a helpful Scrip to sponge him
#fail – D inconsolable after leaving the water

#win – Scrip being curious and loving with him (mostly)
#fail – her enthusiasm bubbling over as noisy toys piled on top of him, waking him up (instant wailing)

I expect the pattern will continue like this for a little while, but the wins of being a family of four definitely outweigh any of the bumps in the road so far. 

Introducing our newest arrival 

 

Little D arrived on 15th April – the day before my birthday and the best early present I could ever have. I say early – he was 12 days overdue in the end and although it was all pretty intense and quick I was able to have a water birth in the birth centre and avoid an induction planned for two days later. 

Scrip is everything all at once – excited, proud, confused, a bit jealous. I guess it’s all to be expected but we’re involving her as much as we can whilst making sure it’s not all about D. She suddenly seems so grown up and even more loveable. 

And as for him, he’s pretty perfect. We’ve already had a tongue tie diagnosed and snipped, poor mite. So feeding is challenging but we’re getting there. He’s also very hungry so very little sleep but what did we expect?

Mostly I just can’t believe we have a new addition – and a male one (Scrip’s freshly washed baby clothes are largely redundant!) and we’re enjoying these special early days as much as we can. I know all too well they don’t last long.