Baby Two: Five Months Old

Our lovely Maxi is five months old this weekend – this is the first time I’ve done an update on him separately from his sister’s but she turns two next week so I’ll be doing a special post or two on that and then I’ll be reducing the frequency of her updates, probably to just two a year, although I’ll clearly still mention what she’s up to in other posts I write.

But back to Max, out of interest I just looked back at Alexandra’s five month update (not in a ‘comparing to see which child is better’ way but to see what she was up to at this point). She was majorly interested in hands and feet – Max hasn’t found his feet yet but has spent most of the month chomping away on his hands.

Their routines are roughly the same except she slept in a little later in the morning and went to bed ever so slightly later – and she was having a whopping 210ml five times a day, compared to Max who has 150ml. However it’s importantly to remember Alexandra’s feeds were all formula and only one of his is, and everything I’ve read suggests breastfed babies consume less. Plus he’s smaller too.

So what is he doing this month? There’s a lot of chatting and smiling. He loves to interact and is a real people watcher. He’s generally very contented! Max is trying to roll but hasn’t managed it yet and his head control is getting stronger by the day.

His doctor at our local hospital is very pleased with him and we’ve now got a weaning plan in place, which I shall share the details of once we get to that point.

Overall he is just the most delightful little thing to have around and he’s completely added to our family on the best way possible!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Food Glorious Food

Not even ashamed of her disgusting eating habits!

Not even ashamed of her disgusting eating habits!

Way back in May I wrote a little about how Alexandra’s weaning journey was going (here) and promised I would come back at some point with an update. Now I’m not even sure we can call it weaning anymore as she’s a full-time eater, no-milk drinker? But anyway, here’s a post about Alex and food:

A girl after my own heart, she absolutely loves food and has never refused anything that’s been put in front of her. Her favourite is anything bread-related, I think she’d live on bread if we let her. She definitely loves her treats but is also very good about eating vegetables, fruit and anything healthy.

I can’t say how often I’ve felt thankful that she’s completely taken eating in her stride and we’ve had no major worries with her up to now. I’m sure that may change and she could end up being one of those teenagers who only eat chips. But for now, on the eating front (and the other ‘biggies’ like sleep) we’ve been hugely lucky. I feel like this will trip us up at some point when we’re not expecting it (I guess the next big hurdle is toilet training, maybe it’ll take her til she’s 15 to learn how to use a potty?)

A lot of the time, she prefers to feed herself which basically leaves a scene akin to just throwing the bowl of food over the carpet and walls. But at least she’s having fun right? If we give her a spoon with food on it she (mostly) can get it in her mouth. We haven’t really attempted to get her to actually put the food on the spoon but I guess that’s the next stage. We’ll be stocking up on even more 1001 carpet cleaner (other brands are available) before doing so. The plastic mat I bought from Poundland when she started weaning has saved us from a lot of heartache so far!

So, all in all, a positive report there on a baby who LOVES her food – but it’s okay cause thigh rolls on babies are cute!

Harriet and Alexandra x

9 Months On

You forget how much they've grown until you put them next to a newborn!

You forget how much they’ve grown until you put them next to a newborn!

Three quarters of a year has passed since the lovely little human being we called Alexandra entered our lives. She turned nine months old on May 29 and what a nine months it’s been!

Alex is now moving around using a complicated system of rolls, commando crawling and odd frog hopping. Some of it looks a bit dramatic, like the end of an action film where the hero is desperately trying to crawl to safety using the last ounce of his strength before he pegs it. But still, it’s a form of movement! And no doubt proper crawling will happen very soon as she’s making huge progress every day and she gets up into the crawling position and rocks backwards and forwards.

She’s also moving between positions much more easily, trying to pull herself up from sitting to standing or lying down to sitting. It’s quite bizarre to get used to, when you’ve spent months leaving the baby in one place and coming back to see the baby in the same place and now baby can be halfway across the room in an instant.

Food wise she’s still having three bottles a day (hopefully soon to be reduced to two) and three meals. She absolutely loves food and has just got to the stage where she’ll cry if we’re eating and she’s not. She wants to eat anything and everything we’ve got and is particularly fond of oranges, yoghurt and any type of bread, but really isn’t fussy and will eat anything put in front of her. She’s also very good at drinking water out of her sippy cup too.

On the sleep front, we’re still generally getting around 12 hours from her overnight (from around 8.30pm) although sometimes she wakes for a minute or two wanting her dummy to be put in. We really can’t complain at all! In the day she tends to have around twenty minutes or so in the morning then maybe one or two naps in the afternoon, of varying lengths.

She absolutely loves going on the swings, hasn’t quite mastered the art of being gentle yet (either with mommy or her friends), still loves daddy more than anyone else in the world, doesn’t quite know what to make of her tiny cousin Zachary and is still a gummy bear with a grand total of zero teeth.

Harriet and Alexandra x

A Wee Weaning Update

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About a month back, I posted about our first few weeks of weaning (post is here if you missed it). I figured now would be as good a time as any to update on how Alexandra’s getting on with food. I won’t update every month as that could get incredibly boring but may do something when she’s completely off milk and on to solely solids. I’m going to put this into sections, more for my own peace of mind that I’ve covered everything I want to cover.

Milk:

When we began weaning, Alex was on five bottles a day of 210ml water plus formula (this equates to about 8oz in total once it’s made up). She dropped down to four bottles fairly quickly when she was eating only a small amount a couple of times a day, we had a bit of an odd blip for a couple of days where she went back to five but then went back down to four.

After a while I worried I was never going to get her down to three bottles but we’ve managed that about a week or so ago and she seems very content now just having one when she wakes, one during the day (she quite regularly splits this one into two sittings) and one before bed.

I think I’m going to give her about a month on this routine before actively trying to reduce the daytime bottle (obviously if she drops it herself before then I’ll go along with that). Then the next step will be stopping her morning bottle, which I think would be fairly achievable just by moving breakfast forward a bit. Then the idea is by the time she’s around one she’ll stop having formula, although she might still have regular milk as a bedtime drink if she seems to still want it.

Schedule:

Alex has her breakfast around 10am, if I give it any earlier she’s not really hungry enough after her morning bottle. Lunchtime is quite late really, around 1.30/2pm but can be later if she’s dozed off for a nap. Then dinner is about 6pm.

What does she eat?

What doesn’t she eat? Alexandra hasn’t refused anything we’ve given her. Current favourites are Weetabix, yoghurt and strangely enough she’s quite partial to a bit of spicy food. She’s obviously taking after her daddy with that one!

All in all, I’m feeling much more relaxed about the whole thing than I was for the first few weeks. It’s becoming much easier now, especially as she can pretty much eat what we eat (blended a little, although she eats much chunkier things now) and because she’s not fussy in the least. Just keep shovelling it in! (That’s where she takes after me, clearly)

Harriet and Alexandra x

Eight Months Old

Apologies this post is a few hours late. I’ve been busy trying to tackle my to do list, which I might talk about in a future blog. I might not though. The suspense!

It's true what they say about kids and boxes.

It’s true what they say about kids and boxes.

Tomorrow, Alexandra turns eight months old. A whole two thirds of a year. Only four months away from her first birthday. This fact scares me. I want to pause time and keep her how she is now for so much longer!

So, what did month seven have in store for our intrepid little explorer? Well, Alex has taken her A-Levels, got a mortgage and next week she’s starting her new job. Maybe not, but it does feel like she’s really grown up all of a sudden.

Moving:

She doesn’t want to spend much time lying down at all and so we’re doing a LOT of sitting down – she’s very good at it now and only occasionally over-balances and topples over. She’s rolling from back to front to back with ease and can get pretty much anywhere by rolling. No crawling yet but definite efforts too and with just a little more strength in her arms I can see her pushing herself up into the proper crawling position fairly soon.

Eating:

Alex loves her food and so far we haven’t found anything she won’t eat. She has three meals every day and we’re now introducing snacks too to try and reduce how many bottles she has (currently four a day). She’s regularly eating what we eat (but blended into lumps) for dinner and is getting much better with finger food. Before she’d just gum it and nothing much would happen but she’s now learning how to eat stuff properly.

Noises:

Alexandra has definitely developed her range of noises. She says ‘dada’ a lot – but I don’t think she’s associated the word with Dylan yet so I’m still saying it’s babbling rather than her first words. We also get sounds like ‘yeah’ and ‘nana’. Oh and so many squeals of excitement! We find she talks more when it’s quiet or she’s in the house, whereas if we’re out and it’s noisy she talks much less.

Others:

No teeth yet, still a little gummy bear.
18lb 11.5oz at her last weigh-in last week.
Still wearing 6-9m clothes but I’m not sure she’ll last all month in them!
Favourite toy: Lamby (predictably, he’s a lamb).
Swimming beautifully (she really knows what she’s doing with her arms and legs, once she can float by herself she’ll be off!) and even diving in off the side (with a little assistance)!

All in all, I think we’ll keep her for another month.

Harriet and Alexandra x

Weaning

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Here it is, finally a post about weaning. I’ve been putting this post off now for quite a number of weeks. I can’t really rationalise why, apart from the fact at the start I didn’t massively enjoy the process of weaning and I still don’t feel 100 per cent confident about what I’m doing with it all. But then I figure I’m in no way holding this blog up as a place to come for professional advice, I just tell anyone who cares to read a little bit about my baby and how life’s going for the pair of us. So I’m taking the plunge and at least starting this post. No doubt I’ll have more to talk about as the months go on and Alexandra starts having a more exciting diet.

Beforehand (as in during pregnancy and the first few months of Alex’s life), I’d always said I’d probably try a combination of baby-led and traditional weaning. For the non-weaners, baby-led is essentially giving the child finger food for them to feed themselves with rather than spooning purees into their mouths. When the time came to wean at six months (ended up being a week before due to various reasons, not long after I published this post which I’d actually written weeks before so it probably looked as if I’d done a massive U-turn!) we initially started giving her purely foods she was feeding herself. I say feeding herself, pretty much none of it ended up being chewed and even less actually swallowed. People around me then began talking about the importance of getting a variety of flavours into them before around the eight-month mark when they can become fussy. So we decided the introduction of purees couldn’t be a bad thing and that we could always go back to solely baby-led if traditional weaning wasn’t working.

As it was, she took to purees like the proverbial duck to water and, although she does have finger foods to try herself, we now spoon feed her something three times a day. She’s on a variety of foods now: sometimes she has what we’ve had for dinner but blended down, sometimes she has something specially made for her. Our steamer and the blender we bought ages ago in readiness for weaning have been excellent as it takes less than ten minutes to get something prepared for Alex, or occasionally I have a mass blend and then freeze some stuff up ready for future use.

So far we haven’t used any pouches of shop-bought baby food, not being a snob about it but thankfully I’m managing to find time in the day to make our own. From what I’ve heard, Ella’s Kitchen are best as they don’t add any unnecessary junk into their food, but when I had a look in one shop they were £1 each! Which seems really steep when I can get quite a few meals from £1 worth of veg, or by simply taking a bit out of what I’m cooking for us. Despite not being a keen cook (I’m one of those people who can throw together a basic meal but I cook to eat rather than enjoying the process, Dylan is definitely head chef in our house when it comes to anything fancy!), I’m actually really enjoying putting meals together for her and seeing which flavours she enjoys. She hasn’t refused anything at all which is fabulous, for some reason she absolutely loves Weetabix! The process of eating it is always accompanied by ‘mmm’ and squealing if I don’t get the next mouthful to her quick enough.

At first I was very worried about weaning, whether I was doing the right thing, whether she should be spoon fed or baby led etc. There just seemed to be all sorts of things to worry about after we’d got into a nice little routine with our days and knew where we were with bottles. I knew I had to be positive about the experience otherwise Alexandra would pick up on the weird vibes, but finally weeks in I’m not really worrying too much any more. She got weighed recently and is actually now nearer the 75th centile than the 50th so she’s piling the weight on. It’s stopped feeling like such a faff now and it’s just a normal part of our day to feed her as well as her having her bottles. I could probably still do without the dreaded ‘weaning poos’ though!

Harriet and Alexandra x

Seven Months Later

How to add to your child's cuteness: 1. Dress them up in hilarious outfit. Extra points if seasonal. 2. Make them hold a teddy and grin like a loon.

How to add to your child’s cuteness:
1. Dress them up in hilarious outfit. Extra points if seasonal.
2. Make them hold a teddy and grin like a loon.

Well here we are, seven months into this epic journey today. Alexandra is basically a grown up now and we expect her to be moving out and getting a job any time soon.

There’s been a lot happening this month, most of which I’ve already documented in some form or another on this blog, but let’s repeat because I’m a big fan of forgetting what I’ve told people and saying it again and watching them roll their eyes at me. She’s now in her own nursery, being a big girl in her big girl bed. We’ve mastered sleeping through the night in her own room (I say we, I still don’t sleep through the night, but she does). The general pattern now is she’ll go down anywhere between 8 and 9pm and will maybe wake once for the dummy to be put in before getting up for the day around 7.30/8am.

Dummy wise she now consistently goes to sleep without it but does want it to get back off to sleep if she wakes in the early hours. We’d started trying to wean her off it a little for daytime naps but then she got a cold (again!) so it seemed mean to deprive her of something which helps her sleep much more easily. I don’t think we’re doing too bad to only have it in for naps and a couple of hours in the morning, but this is something I want to cut down on in the coming months.

Weaning is the topic of an upcoming post so I won’t talk about that at all here, I’m sure the suspense will kill you all but basically the gist of it is the baby now eats mushy stuff.

We’re getting much better at sitting (again I’m using the wrong pronoun. I am fabulous at sitting down and have been for a while), up to about ten minutes unaided but only if she’s occupied doing something else. I think she has ‘stabilisers syndrome’ (where the kid is riding along quite happily after mom/dad has let go of the bike which no longer has stabilisers on, but as soon as they realise no one’s holding the bike up they fall over dramatically) as she’ll topple to the side or face plant pretty soon if she doesn’t have something to hold/play with/focus on when she’s sitting up. She’s rolling from back to front all the time now and manages to scoot around in her cot with ease. She still doesn’t go from front to back so when she’s on her tummy she just bleats helplessly until someone comes and rescues her.

Mainly, she wants to bounce ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Honestly, I’m thinking of sending the people who make the jumparoo some money to thank them for all the babysitting their device has done for me. It’s a magic miracle worker, designed to let any tired mother catch their breath or, you know, eat/make an effort at cleaning something in the house. If she’s not in that, then most the time she’s bouncing up and down on anyone foolish enough to hold her. My thighs look like mouldy pears they’re so bruised from being jumped up and down on repeatedly. It’s a fun look.

Apart from that, she’s still got a super cute face designed to let her off the hook in any and every situation. I really like her, probably more this month than any of the previous ones (am I allowed to say that?)

Harriet and Alexandra x

Whining About Weaning

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Weaning is one of those topics which really divides mothers (and prospective mothers, and even just incredibly nosey people). Some people believe we should be forcing tasty morsels down our baby’s throats from pretty much the second they cut the umbilical cord. Others see no rush to get onto solids and are happy to wait a few months before they try out proper food with their baby.

I’m firmly in the latter camp. I accept there are occasions where a health visitor or doctor may advise early weaning, usually if there’s some sort of medical problem which necessitates it, but other than that I think all the research screams ‘wait til six months’ so that’s what I’d rather do.
Now Alexandra is five and a half months there’s almost a temptation to start trying her with foods, but equally she’s not quite sitting up by herself yet and I just don’t think she’s ready. Yes she puts everything in her mouth: tasting things is part of exploring and there’s nasty teeth coming through making her want to rub her gums along things. Yes she watches sometimes when I eat: but equally she watches me while I fill my pill box every week, should I be encouraging her to try some warfarin? She’s five months old and the world is new and distracting and amazing, colours and noise astound her and she wants to know what’s going on.
As someone choosing to wait to wean it seems like there’s a lot of pressure to ‘cave in’. Examples of people being weaned early and not immediately keeling over are banded around regularly. I myself was on baby rice aged 12 weeks. But the facts speak for themselves. We know early weaning is more likely to cause problems later on in life.
Plus I invite anyone advocating early weaning to look at my child, really properly look at her. She’s 23 weeks old and putting on weight along the 50th centile. She’s been following the 50th centile for as long as the health visitor’s been tracking her weight. She sleeps all night and is a happy, smiley baby. Does it look like she’s desperate to eat? Does it look like she’s malnourished?
Alexandra is perfectly happy on a bottle. She knows no different. But as a mom I feel confident to rely on the experts as well as my own instinct that we’re fine solely on milk for the next few weeks. Yes it will be amazing trying out different foods with her and hopefully instilling her with a healthy appetite for the rest of her life. But she has years and years of eating solids ahead of her, there’s no rush to make her grow up just for the thrill of telling people your baby eats solids or a cute Instagram picture. My baby thrives on milk and I thrive knowing she’s fine and dandy doing just that!
Harriet and Alexandra X

Baby Bits

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about my pregnancy is getting to buy little bibs and bobs ahead of our daughter’s arrival. I’m one of those people who’ve always loved shopping for friends’ babies so getting to do it for our own is majorly exciting for me. Although we’ve slowed down what we’re purchasing as we don’t want to have loads of stuff we’ll never use, we have seen some adorable stuff in the past couple of weeks which we haven’t been able to resist!

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This gorgeous swimming costume was just £2 in Primark! I’m on the lookout for some tiny cossies for her as we want to take her in the water as soon as possible, this one’s 9-12m so she won’t be using it til next summer but I can’t wait until she fits into it!

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I picked up this beautiful long-sleeved bib in Boots for just £2.50. I was drawn in by the cute design and then when I realised the price I just couldn’t leave it there! Then I saw this pack of two bibs in Aldi at the weekend, which again are long-sleeved but these are a kind of towelling material on the front. So baby is getting well stocked up already for once she starts weaning!

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This set again won’t be useful until she starts weaning but it was just a couple of pounds from Aldi and contains every from spoons and plates to snack pots and sippy cups. I like the feeling that we’re well prepared for those early feeding days!

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This was actually a gift from my mom, who’s become obsessed with buying teddies! This is a gorgeous little rattle from Next and I love the fact it’s an elephant as bump’s first (in utero) holiday was to Thailand! It also keeps reminding me how much I want some stuff with ‘born in 2015’ on as that’s what the label says – I’m hoping we’ll find at least one outfit for baby with the same on it.

Harriet and bump x