Sunday, 31 August 2014

Pic of the week: #3

Joseph and Matilda on the day he turned 19 weeks (I think... I've lost count!) and she turned seven months old.


Saturday, 30 August 2014

Trying not to freak out about developmental milestones

I planned to write this post last week and then never got round to it... All about how 'it's ok if your baby isn't doing x, y and z' by their 'deadlines'... but that was before Joseph threw a curve ball. However, I still think it's applicable as I still find myself ranting about what he can't do 'for his age'.

"Should I be worried, Mummy, because you look kinda worried..."
So, Joseph turned four months old on the 19th and, according to all the baby books, the interwebs, and other #fourmonthsold babies on Insta' (I spend far too long over there), babies should be able to roll over at four months. Although he sometimes attempts, Joseph can't roll over. Another thing I've noticed four monthers doing is playing with/ eating their feet. Joseph couldn't care less about his feet. Therefore I've been quietly wondering recently whether anyone's at home in there, yet also trying to stay level-headed and patient with him.

When  one of the supervisors at a baby group I went to this week asked me how we were getting on, one of the first things that uncontrollably blurted out of my mouth was 'he's four months old and he can't roll over!!' To which she replied 'that's ok, he'll get there in the end'. Which didn't really alleviate my mumzilla side, yet my rational side really wanted to believe her. I also often catch myself saying 'why you no roll over?' to Joseph, too. So, clearly it's at the surface of my mind.

But what I want to use this post to get affirm in my head, if no one else's, is that it really is ok if your baby isn't rolling over at dead on four months. It doesn't matter if he hasn't found his feet when it seems like everyone else has - it's actually good in Joseph's case as it mean his amber anklet has a fighting chance of staying on him - and it doesn't matter if your baby doesn't do things at the same age that their baby friends did them.

The supervisor lady also said that babies do things in their own time, and she showed absolutely zero concern as to his development (although I don't really know what qualifications they have - not in a horrible way, I just genuinely don't know so I don't know whether they'd know if a baby was showing signs of not being quite right). She noticed that he followed me around the room when I went to get his food out of my bag, and commented on his reaction to a loud noise, so I'm taking those as positives.

The aforementioned curve ball is that Joseph started sitting up this week- two months earlier than she 'should'. After that baby group, I went to my mum's house and was sat with him on the floor. He was sitting between my crossed legs when I noticed that he wasn't actually leaning on me, so I moved away. To my surprise he stayed put for about 20 seconds... Long enough for me to find my phone, take a photo and a little video before he toppled over onto some empty new-toy boxes (he was fine). He sat up, still, quite a few more times throughout the day and what I noticed is that he needs to be focussed on something else to do it. The first time he was staring at the telly and the next few times he was staring at me whilst I sang to him.

I am signing and signing the 'Hello' song from Baby Sensory. (Pls inore the cluttered house!)

He didn't do it for the following two days, which made me wonder if it was a fluke, but he did it a few more times today... whilst watching TV again. (I do worry a little bit about how much he stares at the TV, by the way... He really cranes his neck and turns like an owl to look at it if I face him away from it!)

So, yeah, I am going to bite my tongue the next time I catch myself saying 'roll over, Joseph, roll over!!!' or 'yeah but he can't roll over' and instead I am just going to enjoy seeing Joseph doing his thing- even if it is in the 'wrong' order, give him plenty of tummy time, not compare him to other four monthers and, although I've taken his sitting up as a sign that someone is home and the cogs are a-turning in there, I really am just going to not let myself get bogged down with what he 'should' be doing by dead on the age that he's 'meant' to. From what I can gather, the only developmental milestone that's an issue is if babies walk before they crawl... but then again I missed out the crawling stage and I'm alright (apart from if I try to play any sort of bat and ball sport / sport in general) so even that's not a big deal.

They will all be just fine!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Mummy Time #8: Claire Sutton

I came across Claire's Instagram page via Lauren and saw a gorgeous mama who lived by the sea (I grew up by the sea), took pretty photos, and was clearly into cacti (one of my favourite things!), so I followed. A couple of days later, Claire posted a selfie and the recognition cogs in my brain started turning! It turned out that Claire and I used to hang out during our college years in sunny Eastbourne over ten years ago! Small world! Fresh from a trip to Portugal, I thought I'd add in some questions about travelling avec bebe.


Who are you?

Howdy! My names Claire. I'm 28 and I live by the sea in East Sussex. I have a 17 month old son, Wilfred, who was born on the 18th of March 2013. I'm a single mama, but still very close to Wilf’s daddy.

What do you do for a living?

I'm a fraud investigator for an insurance company (enter yawn here). Not my dream job, but it helps me provide a good life for my little prince.

How long did you take for maternity leave?

I took a FULL year! I was huge when I was pregnant and it was snowing and I thought I just can't risk a slip or a fall, or anything happening to my baby! I didn't care about anything else at that time other than him, so I took early maternity.

How did you feel when you returned to work and how did it change things?

I actually kinda liked it! In a weird way it gave me that time away doing something by myself, albeit it was work, but it was my work and kind of a social thing, too. Only so long I can sing ‘Raa Raa the noisy lion’!

How are you?

I'm actually a lot better now I'm by myself rather than with Wilf’s dad. Together it just didn't work, somehow it didn't fit. I know that sounds weird but  now we are apart it just somehow works! People are like ‘but you still get on?’ Yup! And ‘you still have family days out?’ Yup! It just works for us.

What do you do to relax?

Music and making jewellery is my passion, it's the fire inside me keeps me ME! 

Check out Claire's jewellery page: Deer Haven Jewellery

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

Usually have dinner with friends (I'm a foodie), or just relax with some ol’ country songs ;) 

How does a typical day go?

For me it's very different now from when Wilf was tiny. We don't have a super strict routine. He wakes up at about 7:30-8am and has fruit or cereal for breakfast before we get dressed and head out for the day… Or have a cosy house day (weather depending). He is like my lil buddy! We have adventures together; I dress him up all cute and take numerous photos of him. We go all over the place together.


How was your pregnancy?

Pregnancy, for me, was kinda tough. I had huge OCD issues about germs and bad things happening to my baby. It was my job to make sure nothing went wrong; I felt a huge pressure that if something happened it would be my fault... So I was super super, super healthy - no junk, nothing!

Any cravings?

Nope, just eating in general ;)

Did you find out what you were having?

Yes! We absolutely couldn't wait 9 months to find out!

How did you decide on a baby name?

I remember like it was yesterday! We were sitting in our car eating lunch and Harry said ‘I like the name Wilfred, do you?’ I was like ‘yes!’ And no other name felt right like Wilfred did.

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?

No antenatal classes; just One Born Every Minute, ha!

How was your labour?

Not great. I was on a drip to induce pregnancy for an hour and pushed for an hour and nothing happened. Before I knew it the room was filled with people and he was coming out (with their help) - emergency style, very scary.


How did you get on with breastfeeding?

I desperately wanted to breast feed, and I did for two months, but I was, unfortunately, not producing enough milk and had to stop. It was heartbreaking.

What does your baby eat?

Fruit, Fruit, Fruit! Oh, and ham

What was your approach to weaning your baby onto solids?

Wilf was ready to go on to purée at 4 months. I started with fruits and he just loved them (in small amounts ). I think it’s good to give them some flavours; milk must get boring, hehe!

Does your baby have a nap/ sleep routine?

Usually, nap time is at 11am and bedtime is at 7pm…depending on teething!

How do you keep your baby entertained?

Books are Wilfred's thang! He loves to point and the pictures and say what they are.

When you're baby's freaking out, what do you find helps them to calm down?

I sing, sing, sing my heart out! And stroke his arm; works every time.


Have you taken your baby on any holidays?

Yes!!! Ahhhh! I’m not going to lie; it was hard work! The plane on the way there wasn’t that bad, but we had a villa and I kept having to chase Wilfred away from the pool! I didn't have many toys with me, and he didn't have his usual TV faves, or juice… and two new teeth came through! He wasn't keen on the food either.  Also, on the flight home he’d done a massive pooh which leaked onto my dress just as we boarded our flight… And guess where my nappies were... In my suitcase! Ahhhh! Thank God for another mum who saved the day and had spares.

What were your baby holiday essentials?

Sadly, my iPad. He loved it. I think, for him, it reminded him of home. And the pool; he loved me holding him and swishing him around.

Was your baby's routine affected by being on holiday?

Yes! Badly! His travel cot was horrifically uncomfortable and he just couldn't sleep well at all. I desperately wanted to just have his cot and the cushions that he loves.


Does your baby have a favourite toy?

Any kind of ball is Wilf’s favourite toy. Or his Percy train.

What was your most recent baby or baby-related purchase?

I bought Wilf loads of Thomas the Tank Engine related goodies as he learnt to say ‘choo choo’ from a book and has been train-obsessed ever since!

What is your baby’s mode of transport?

I don't drive so I go everywhere on foot or by train. I use a Quinny Buzz and I love it! It's so cosy and durable, an all-round excellent mode of transport. On holiday my mum took a stroller (I hate strollers) and I hated it! It felt so rickety and I can't see how they’re comfortable!

What are your baby essentials when you go out?

Wilf’s green with white polka dots blanket. I can't leave the house I without it!


If you could give your pregnant self some advice, what would it be?


What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?

Don’t forget yourself. Always, always make time for 'you'- it's so important.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?

Relax and enjoy it. It's the best journey; it will change you and make you a better person all-round. And it’ll make you so damn happy you could cry! 

Thank you so much for sharing, Claire! Good to be back in touch after all these years! x

P.S. Mummy Time will be taking a little break. Quite a few mamas have my Q&As, but I totally appreciate that everyone is busy so I don't want to put any pressure on anyone to them to fill them out in a hurry. If you're interested in featuring on Mummy Time, please email me;

Thank you for reading xxx

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Recent purchases: #1

I've been meaning to start this series for weeks but I never get around to it so I'm just going to start with my most recent purchases (excluding clothes for now because they're a pain to photograph). It's actually frightening how much I buy. I very rarely buy things for myself any more, and when I go to H&M I head straight for the kids section and don't even bother with the womenswear. I'm still obsessed with sensory toys too... Not sure if I've mentioned that on here, actually. But I am. I had to really hold myself back today and think of my dwindling bank balance; also, I got a sweet letter on Saturday morning saying I'd underpaid on my tax (I can't understand how because my work sort all of that stuff out) and there I was hoping for a tax rebate.

Anyway, here we go:

Lamaze Rainbow Rings: £7.99 TK Maxx. I pretty much want all of the Lamaze toys in existence. They're not really even that nice, but I've grown to love them.
Nelson's Teetha teething granules: Circa £4.50, available in most supermarkets/ stores like Boots. I used a few sachets of it before I bought Joseph an amber anklet and since then he's not really seemed to moan about his gums. Unless he was never moaning about his gums in the first place and I just attributed it to teething pain. I wasn't sure if they worked or they just served as a distraction. It was fun to see his face with it in his mouth - made me think he'd handle purées like a champ.
Woodward's Gripe Water: Circa £2.50. We gave this to Joseph after every meal for about four or five days as he seemed to be waking up with wind-pain but we didn't think it made much difference. Smells nice though.
Brica 'baby in sight' mirror: £15 Boots. Ok, so this is really pricey for a mirror but I really wanted to be able to see Joseph when he's in the car. The lady at the till told me to keep the packaging and receipt in case I changed my mind, which I thought was a weird thing to say, but it turned out that half of the people she's sold the mirrors to have brought them back. So it instantly made me think it was going to be rubbish. It isn't rubbish - it fits nicely on the back seat headrest and I can see Joseph in my rear-view mirror - but I do actually find it quite a distraction, so I can see why people take it back for that reason. I now know that Joseph falls asleep by the time we get to Thanington when we drive in to Canterbury. Bless him.
Wooden caterpillar: £2 Sainsbury's. He has a horrible face which I've not shown, but I love that you can twizzle him into different shapes. It's hard to explain, but it's cool. I like him more than Joseph does.

I like Amber teething anklet: £10.05 Amazon. I was a little bit sceptical as to their ability to aid teething pains, but I wanted to give it a go as Joseph was really ratty last week and someone at a baby group convinced me that their child seems a lot less bothered by his gums since wearing his amber necklace - plus loads of my insta friends swore by them too. I don't really like the look of necklaces so I opted for the more discreet anklet although I'm not sure of it's staying power down there - it's a little loose so when Joseph's bare-foot it slides off, and once he finds his feet I'm sure he'll be yanking at it.

I should be sponsored by Tommee Tippee.
Tommee Tippee bottle handles: Now £3 in Asda reduced from £4.97. Joseph's constantly grabbing at his feeding bottle so when my friend said that Tommee Tippee did handles that you can screw onto your normal bottles I had to buy them immediately. But today I saw them cheaper than they were last week. I don't use them at every feed, purely due to laziness, but they are cool. Joseph seems to like them.
Tommee Tippee 'first sips' cup: £2 Asda. I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that Joseph is growing up. It came with a #2 teat too which was handy as I could do with one extra. I think this cup is usually closer to £5.
Tommee Tippee weaning spoons. £2 per pack. Lovely colours and the ones that I've had my eye on. I got one pack for when we feed him (had to resist the aeroplane-shaped spoon) and one pack for when he starts to feed himself. I'm not ready to wean him yet, although he is now 18 weeks old, but he properly stares at me whenever I put anything in my mouth which makes me think he really wants to try food. Weaning scares me, to be honest. I don't feel I know enough about what to do, but I'm reading Rose Elliot's 'Mother, Baby and Toddler' book (which is mostly about what to make for vegetarian kids) and it has information about how to wean you baby too. Once I've finished I might be more ready!

Ok, this one was for me :-)

Big love x

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Pic of the week: #2

Joseph being dressed by his grandma after his bath. His cheeks are so rosy at the moment! This was taken on Friday, the day before he turned 18 weeks old. Time is going too fast!


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Diary of an expressing mum: #3

On Thursday I went to a local NCT sling library event... I plan to write a bit about the sling library once I've been to one of their day or evening cafe hang outs... but, essentially, you can borrow lots of different types of baby carrier in a 'try before you buy' sort of set up for £5 for four weeks - you just have to put a cheque deposit down for the full amount of the sling or carrier. I borrowed a 'Connecta' (which I'd never heard of) in a bit of a gross Paisley print, but I just want to see if I like the way it feels. I plan to write a review once I've given it a good go.

Back to the topic...

I joined my local sling library's Facebook group and posted a picture of me wearing Joseph and asked for tips on how to get him within kissing distance (which is one of the 'rules' of babywearing); and one the peer supporters that helped me during my breastfeeding fiasco replied, recognised me, and we had a conversation via private messaging. She said that she'd thought about me a lot after the day I came to the breastfeeding group (in tears) because she didn't agree with something that one of the breastfeeding advisors had said to me. I told her that I'd not been back because I felt ashamed that I 'gave up' the next day and that the 'you can't help everyone' comment from the breastfeeding advisor made me feel like there wasn't much point in trying any longer. She said that was the exact comment that she disagreed with and that she'd had a word with the advisor once I'd left as she felt that it undermined and unnecessarily worried me, however the advisor stuck by her words and said that she felt that it's healthy for women to know that the NCT can't help everyone.

It meant a lot to have heard that Cat, the peer supporter, had said that to the advisor because it was something that really stuck in my mind. I still wonder whether I gave up too soon, but I also know that my relationship with Joseph has been so much better since I stopped. Less tears all round. I mentioned to her that I'd thought about trying Joseph on the breast again to give it another go and she said that I could come and discuss the pros and cons but that I'd need more specialist support than she could give. I concluded that I think I know in my heart of hearts that I'm too scared to try Joseph on the boob again... scared of the pain, scared of the sleepless nights and essentially 'starting again', not knowing how much he'd had and anticipating feeding times again. We're in such a good routine now that works for our family; I think I just need to let my breastfeeding aspirations rest. It definitely is a hang-up I have, to add to the others.

Joseph being fed by my brother... Although he's close to feeding himself!
I don't feel ashamed that I don't breastfeed Joseph directly from source any more. I happily got my bottle out at the NCT event and didn't care who saw - and I know that NCT people are very pro-breastfeeding so maybe some people did tut, but I don't care. Quite a few women I've spoken to have said they've felt incredibly judged around breastfeeding mothers and have even received hurtful comments when they've got their bottles out - which angers me so much as it's none of their business, it's not their child and they don't know the reasons why the mum doesn't breast feed.... There doesn't even need to be a reason. Cat said to me that she'd never judge anyone for how they chose to feed their baby- and that it doesn't even matter to the baby - what matters is that they're fed with love. I think that's a great viewpoint to have. I don't think it matters to Joseph what he's having as long as he's being fed. He really isn't fussy.

Joseph still has a mixed breast-milk and formula diet. I'd say around two thirds of it is breast milk and I still pump three times a day. I am coming closer to accepting that I'll stop at six months but it's the letting myself dry up process that I know I'll struggle with. As I say, it's definitely a hang up I have. I honestly can't explain it and I honestly don't judge anyone for how they choose to feed their baby. Please don't think of me as some judgemental pro-breastfeeding formula-hating person because that's not the case. But, equally, please don't judge me because I pump for Joseph. It's just something I've chosen to do, although sometimes I do wonder myself why I do it. It's inexplicable. 

Anywho, sorry if that was really boring! Enjoy the rest of the weekend x

P.S. You can read my full breastfeeding story here.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Mummy Time #7: Sophie Dowd

Teddy has got to be one of the happiest babies on Instagram and, after reading Sophie's Q&A, I can understand why... He has the funniest mama! I have never met Sophie in real life, although we have some mutual friends, but her answers made me laugh so much they made me wish I was in her NCT group! I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did!
Sophie with the adorable Teddy

Who are you?

I’m Sophie, I’m 29 and I’ve been with my boyfriend, James, for just over two years. We live in a little house in Leeds with our ugly dog, Reggie, and our awesome baby boy, Teddy, who was born on July 16th 2013.

How are you?

Right now I am pretty tired, but I am always tired, even after 12 hours sleep. Trying hard to get in to the swing of the work/life balance but it’s so hard when the days are so long.

What do you do for a living?

I work on a little Yorkshire soap called Emmerdale as a 2nd Assistant Director. I basically have to boss actors around all day! I love my job but the hours are long. A normal day is 6:45-7pm. Hence why I’m always tired!

How long did you take for maternity leave & how did you decide how long you'd take?

All in all I managed to take 10 months maternity leave; that included a month of holiday that I’d accumulated while I was off. If we’d have been rich, or actually saved some money, I would have definitely taken a year, but we just couldn’t afford that last three months with no pay.

How did you feel when you returned to work and how did it change things?

I’m still getting used to it now! I was really dreading coming back to work, but I did a few ‘keep in touch’ days and they really helped. Made me realise that nothing had actually changed while I’d been gone and it wasn’t that scary. Teddy’s routine didn’t really change at all. He’s usually asleep when I leave and (on a good day) asleep when I get home. That was the worst thing about going back to work for me, I miss Teddy so much on those days. I have every Wednesday off, though, so at least I always know it’s only two days before I get to hang out with the little bruiser again.

What do you do to relax?

Well, it’s not very relaxing but I love going out. I’d say at least once a month I leave James on Daddy duties while I go out for a dance and a drink! Bad Mum! I also walk the dog and listen to music; all the usual stuff really. At one point after Teddy was born I got really into running, but I’ve been so slack lately... really need to sort that out.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

Sleep! I bloody love a good nap.

How does a typical day go?

Teddy spends two days a week with Grandparents, and one and a half days at nursery, so it’s quite hard to describe a typical day!  Wednesday is my day with him and it usually starts between 6-7am when Teddy wakes up. He has his milk while playing with his toys and then his breakfast about half an hour after that. He normally has Weetabix or toast. Or both. Yeah, he pretty much always has both because he’s a fatty. Then he plays some more before going back down for a nap at about 9am. So I use that time to get showered and dressed, although I have been known to go back to bed. When he wakes up we’ll go out somewhere, usually shopping, because Mama has an addiction, but we also meet up with my NCT friends a lot, normally at the hell that is … SOFT PLAY. Ugh, those places are the worst, just you wait! Lunch is about 12pm-ish, then Tea about 5pm-ish. I generally start putting him to bed at about 7pm, after In the Night Garden aka drugs for children. He has a bath every other night, sometimes less because he has eczema on his arms and legs that isn’t helped by all that water. He has a big bottle of formula and then I brush all five of his tiny little teeth. I read somewhere ‘make sure your baby spits out the toothpaste’ which is the most ridiculous statement ever. Sure, I’ll tell him to mow the lawn and walk the dog too. Then I put him in his cot, put his dummy in and leave the room. Only to return ten minutes later to find him standing up, laughing and twerking on the side of the cot, toys strewn all over the floor. This goes on for about half an hour when he eventually gives in and goes to sleep. 

I want Teddy's t-shirt!

How was your pregnancy?

I think I hated being pregnant. I’m sure I said that every day, but when I think about it now it doesn’t seem that bad. I kind of miss the bump and being able to get anyone, anywhere, to do stuff for you. I also miss being able to eat two puddings without being judged. Towards the end I got a lot of pain in my side, we think Teddy was leaning on a nerve or something, so the only ‘comfy’ position was lying flat on the floor which wasn’t always doable! I also had the worst swollen ankles you have ever seen.

Any cravings?

I was a vegetarian from the age of 16 pretty much up to my pregnancy, but then all I could think about was bacon.  Bacon bacon bacon. Loved it. I also ate a lot of cake, hated coffee and had a real thing for cleaning products. Particularly lemon Flash and green Fairy liquid. There was also a night when I was sniffing a tube of Germolene while listening to Gospel music. Don’t ask.

Did you find out what you were having?

We had a big conversation in the days leading up to the scan where we decided we wouldn’t find out. But as soon as we got in there and the lady asked us if we wanted to know, I pretty much shouted ‘yes’ in her face. James looked very confused.

How did you decide on your names and you already have the names ready before they arrived?

Teddy was the favourite all the way through really. A few others were thrown in but never really stuck. James really like the idea of him having a ‘proper’ name too so he’s Theodore on his birth certificate.

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?

I tried reading a baby book but put it down as soon as I got to the labour part and never picked up again. We did NCT too which was the best decision we made. We didn’t necessarily learn that much, but the friends I made I wouldn’t be without now.

How was your labour?

I had a pretty straight forward labour. It started with a feeling of being poked up the bum with a rolling pin (in Asda!) and then about 8pm when I was doing the washing up I had my first contraction. By midnight they were three minutes apart and I was in a lot of pain so we headed to the hospital. When we arrived they didn’t realise how far on I actually was so they put me in a waiting room behind the reception. I was swiftly moved out of there when they couldn’t hear their phone calls over my wailing and my fist thumping the TENS machine. We got put in an active birth room at the LGI, I was give Diamorphine- which sent me a bit mental. I called James ‘Gary’, asked him if he had any plans for the next day and then demanded ‘blorange juice’. I also had a lot of gas and air, which I’m sure does nothing, but it was kind of a distraction. Teddy eventually showed up at 9:30am, after the midwife telling me that he would definitely be here by 7pm. What a liar.


How did you get on with breastfeeding?

I breast fed Teddy for nearly four months. Exclusively for about two, then I started to add in some formula feeds. He dictated when I stopped, really; he would just cry and cry into my boob until I gave him a bottle of delicious formula. That started to happen more and more until, eventually, at around four months he was exclusively bottle fed. For the first week I really hated breast feeding; it was painful and there were a few tears, but after a couple of weeks we got into a routine and in a strange way I started to enjoy it. I remember crying when I had totally stopped because I felt so guilty, which is ridiculous. I hated the way midwives made out that breast is the only way- it really isn’t.

What does your baby eat now?

I started weaning Teddy at five months, mainly because he’s a big lad and milk just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I tried baby rice but his face told me not to do that again. I just moved onto pureed veg and fruit and he loved it. After about a month of purees I introduced finger foods, like toast and cucumber etc. He really REALLY loves eating, it’s his favourite pastime. Now he just eats normal meals three times a day with snacks in between. He likes sandwiches, spaghetti and chicken stew. But basically he’ll eat whatever you give him. If it was up to him he’d live exclusively on bread and yoghurt.

Does your baby have a nap/ sleep routine?

He has a morning nap from about 9-10am and then an afternoon nap from about 1-2.30pm.

How do you keep your baby entertained?

At the moment Teddy is not really interested in toys. He likes shoes…and wires…and the dog’s bed. So at least that’s cheap! We bought him a little swing for the garden which he really likes. He also loves music, his taste is pretty questionable but he’s a pretty good dancer.

When you're baby's freaking out what do you find helps them to calm down?

With Teddy, if he’s having a freak out, it’s nearly always because he’s tired. So we put him to bed. Recently he has got a lot more clingy and wants a lot of cuddles, so sometimes that’s all it is. Oh and when he’s teething, we know about it.

Does your baby seem to suffer with anything and what do you do to help it?

Teddy has mild asthma and eczema, both of which flare up with cow’s milk. But he has creams and powders and everything else which keep in under control.


Does your baby have a favourite toy?

His favourite toy is Mr Potato Head. No one is as funny as that guy.

What was your most recent baby or baby-related purchase and why did you buy it?

The swing which we bought because he loved the one in the park so much (and it was well cheap). His Grandma and Grandad got him a little tricycle thing that we can push him in.

What has been the most useful thing you've been given?

My friend Hannah bought him an Ewan The DreamSheep. It has four settings that play things like the washing machine/hoover/the sea and a lullaby (babies are weird!) Definitely the most useful, it really helps Teddy get to sleep even now.

What is your baby’s mode of transport?

At first we had a Mamas and Papas Urbo. It was really good because it was small and easy to fold up. We’ve recently replaced it for a Mamas and Papas stroller now he’s bigger.

What are your baby essentials when you go out?

Spare clothes, snacks, water and nappies. And, at the moment, a hat and sun cream.

Teddy on his first birthday 

If you could give your pregnant self some advice what would it be?

STOP EATING SO MUCH CAKE!!! Relax, read a book, go to the cinema and SLEEP, because soon you won’t be able to do any of that!

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?

To not panic or be one of those uptight, worry - about - everything Mums and you will be rewarded with a chilled out happy baby.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?

Do NCT! I was sceptical at first but it was definitely the best decision I made. Remember you’ll be off work for nearly a year, on your own with a baby. You need friends that are going through exactly the same thing as you to hang around with and make those awful singy songy, happy clappy baby classes more bearable.

Thank you so much for sharing, Sophie! x

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Snuggles with Grandma

My mum just loves to hold Joseph. The day before yesterday she pretty much held him for six hours straight, and there's no telling her 'mum I'll hold him while you eat... you need to eat' as she survives only on biscuits and insanely sugary coffee when Joseph is around / at all times. Luckily Joseph loves being held so he doesn't mind whatsoever, but when you tell my mum that he needs some time on the floor for tummy time and to practice rolling, she has a really hard time leaving him be. Here are some pictures of the two of them over the last four months. I should've really cropped a bunch of them but I don't have time as we're off to Baby Sensory and a mobile farm this morning! 
Newborn 'hospital' snuggles
First visit at home snuggles
Park snuggles
Messy house snuggles
Plane pyjamas snuggles
Mid-conversation snuggles
Church shop snuggles
M&S cafe snuggles
Sleepy snuggles where his bib looks like a cape
Sleepy spare pyjama snuggles
Awake spare pyjama snuggles
'that escalated quickly' tantrum snuggles
Long may the snuggles continue!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Is it normal to feel a constant sense of impending doom?

A diary extract from when I was eight.
When I fish Joseph out of his cot for his dream feed at night, there's a huge part of me that's excited to see him, because it's been a whole four hours since I last saw him (and we don't use a baby monitor), but in the back of my mind there is also a dread that he will be cold and, well, dead. When I hear his breath, I feel instant relief and I hold him for an extra few seconds, grateful that he is ok. Then when I put him back down I look at him, lovingly, but also feel a sadness in case it's the last time I'll see him alive.

Every time I hear him wake in the mornings, I feel thankful that he has woken up... But then I look at the time and sometimes think 'Damnit, Joseph! Can't you sleep for another hour?!'

I feel quietly nervous when I take him on car journeys in case of an accident, and I'm worried about holding him in his carrier for too long in case his hips dislocate.

We're travelling to Goa in February for a family wedding and rather than being excited about it, I'm worried that something disastrous is going to happen - a plane crash, a bombing, malaria, food poisoning... I could go on. I used to be an incredibly nervous flyer as a kid and I distinctly remember clutching at my Rosary and teddy bear whilst crying at take-off for a number of flights. I used to irritate flight attendants and unnerve other passengers, I'm sure. I got over it in my late teens but even missed out on a couple of holidays with friends because of it (one of which, had I gone, would've resulted in me meeting mega-babe Leigh Lezark), but with the news lately, and the fact that we'll be flying over war-zones (unless they've changed the flight path),  I can't help but feel twitchy about the whole thing.

Before Joseph was born, I guess partly because of all the extra tests I had, I was worried he'd be still-born or have something seriously wrong with him. Other mums I knew said the same thoughts had crossed their minds, and my midwife said it was normal too, so that put my mind at ease. However, I find myself already thinking similar thoughts about baby number two, if and when that happens.

When I was eight, and even younger, I was terrified of World War III starting and my brother being conscripted (I actually think some of my thinking was a bit OCD because I'd think 'I have to do 'xyz' otherwise a war will start); beheading (French Revolution style), was acutely aware of my mum's mortality, and felt incredibly sad for all the families in war torn countries on the news. One of the reasons I have an aversion to church is because I remember hiding under the pews crying my eyes out, feeling sad about what felt like everything (missing my relatives in America was also a big cause for a hole-in-chest feeling in my younger years), but trying not to show it because it would make my mum sad that I was sad. I eventually grew out of such thinking, but I feel almost like those thoughts have resurfaced again now that I have Joseph. I often wonder what sort of a world I have brought a life into and what the future will hold for him.

This kind of leads me onto other thoughts about how the way 'you' are can affect your baby; your fears and anxieties can become their fears anxieties. I really don't want Joseph to be aware that I'm nervous about our holiday and, on a lighter note, I really don't want him to pick up my fear of spiders because I want him to get rid of them for me when he's older!

I went a little off topic there, delving into my psyche, but I guess I just want to know whether other parents think such things?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Pic of the week: #1

Joseph & I in his Granny's garden. He turned seventeen weeks old that day.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Granny's garden

I consider myself incredibly lucky to get on well with my mother-in-law, Fiona. Over the last (almost) ten years she has always been welcoming, supportive, interested in my well-being, understanding, loving and generous. When I needed some time away from university, to try and get my head straight, I once escaped to her house for a weekend even though Ruari wasn't there- and really appreciated that I was able to make myself feel at home.

Ruari's parents live in a beautiful spider-filled Elizabethan house in a little village near Ashford and, thankfully, Fiona is retired from full-time work as a teacher so has been around to keep me company during my maternity leave. I try to visit at least once a week for the change of scenery, and Joseph seems to really love looking around the house (and snuggling someone with ample chest)!

Fiona is a very keen gardener and, today, Joseph was most content spending time with her in her brand new greenhouse. I know she's looking forward to introducing Joseph to gardening, flowers, growing and nature, when he's old enough, and I couldn't help but get excited at the thought of all the fun they will have together. This time next year Joseph may even be growing his own little sunflower or tomatoes there.

My thoughts then extended to the sheer amount of adventures he's going to have in their gardens (there are three) and possibility of having cousins (or even brothers and sisters!) to play with in them. He is such a lucky boy!

I hope Joseph will enjoy spending time here and will adopt his Granny's green fingers!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Four month sleep regression?

Hi. So, I'm tired. Joseph should be tired, too, but instead he's happily trying to roll over on the floor whilst I express milk for his tea. He's wearing his Bruce Springsteen t-shirt from H&M and I'd really love if he did actually roll so I could write a post called Rock n' Roll, for the lolz.

So here's why I'm tired...

After hearing from Sammi that her son, Casey, has been sleeping from 7pm-7am for the last few weeks (and is almost four weeks younger than Joseph) we thought we'd be brave and try dropping Joseph's 11pm dream feed. For the first couple of nights he slept right through! Woohoo! He woke up a little earlier than normal (6.30am) but that's manageable. On the third night Joseph woke up at 2.30am but I suspected he would, because he didn't have his usual amount before bed, so I had a bottle ready for him and he went straight back to sleep until 7am. Then on the fourth night he woke up hourly from 2am!! I couldn't put it down to lack of food this time as he'd taken the 'right' amount during the day, plus he didn't seem hungry - he'd just bite down on my knuckle rather than suck, but I noticed he was bringing his knees up to his chest. He settled each time when I put a dummy in his mouth but he seemed to then wake up when it either fell out or he'd spit it out (I guess). We started giving him Gripe Water, in case it was gas, after each meal using the syringe in our Summer baby care kit but he'd just dribble most of it out so I'm not really sure how much of it he actually got. Last night we re-introduced the dream feed but he woke at 5am then 6am - still really sleepy but just whiney so I didn't think he was ready to start the day so, again, I put the dummy in his mouth and he seemed to settle (although I was laying awake). Then when he woke up again at 7am, Ruari got him up for the day. 

After posting about it on Instagram, someone suggested that he might be going through 'four month sleep regression' (Joseph will be four months old on the 19th), which I had no idea was even a 'thing' and linked me to this article by The Sleep Lady (who I had no idea existed).

Here's an extract:

This (very common) sleep regression is characterized by a distinct change in your baby’s behavior. Some indicators that you’re experiencing the 4 month sleep regression are:
·         Increased fussiness
·         Multiple night wakings (especially if your baby has just begun to sleep longer stretches during the night)
·         Reduced naps or “disaster naps”
·         Changes in appetite

Parents often can’t figure out why their sweet baby is suddenly a sleep deprived, fussy, cranky, overtired baby overnight. They begin to question if it could be an ear infection, teething, lack of supply (for breastfeeding moms), or maybe he’s got reflux…the list goes on. What parents don’t often realize is that around this time your baby’s sleep rhythms have also changed (just to throw more into the mix of their little world changing).

What The Sleep Lady says really resonates with us and, the thought of an ear infection had crossed my mind as I noticed Joseph touching his ear this week for the first time, so wondered if he was trying to tell me that it hurt. He's also been sucking on his lips and fingers a lot and trying to put blankets in his mouth, so I wondered if he was teething. Then, as mentioned earlier, there's the gas suspicion. Sort of unrelated, but a new thing this week, is how vocal Joseph has become. 

In terms of indicators she mentions, aside from the night-waking, Joseph has never been a good napper, but even after his near sleepless night he barely napped.... and I was beat! He also seems to want back the ounces of milk I cut back on a couple of weeks ago (he was dragging out his morning feeds for hours, almost up until he was due his next feed) and for a week it worked well but now he seems to be looking for it again so I've met him in the middle and have increased his morning feeds up to 6oz as of today (for a while he was on 7oz then back down to 5oz as that was where he'd stop and then drag out the last 2oz).

What is comforting is that The Sleep Lady says that all of these are all just healthy signs of growth and development. She also offers tips to help parents through this time (snugggles and reassurance are my number one) and she also says that it's around this time that baby may roll over. So maybe before the day is done, Joseph will have rolled in his Bruce tee!