Thursday, 30 April 2009

Countdown to Weaning - Part 2

The countdown to weaning in on. With only 2 days to go until Baby E has his first mouthful of food, he has started taking an interest in my food. This has been a long time coming and is perfectly timed. Yesterday Baby E was quite upset that I would not let him put my biscuit in his mouth, and he showed clear intention of wanting to get his hands on my breakfast cereal. He gave me one of those looks that speaks a thousand words ... 'but I want it Mummy, GIVE IT TO ME NOW!!!' He put up a food protest and refused most of his mid morning and mid afternoon bottle. Instead he had monster quantities of his breakfast, lunch and nighttime bottle. He seems to be showing signs of moving towards 3 meals a day. The proof is in the pudding, so we will find out today if things return to normal.

I hunted out the bamboo steamer this morning, as I have every intention of keeping as much nutrition in the vegetables as possible. We are planning to start with some carrot for three days. I am expecting carnage! No doubt Baby E will grab lots of food and smear it all over himself and me. The Steamer has 2 tiers so I shall do some sweet potato at the same time, and then freeze it for his next delicious taste of food. I have also ordered some apples and pear so Baby E can enjoy some delicious pureed fruit as well over the next few weeks.

Camera at the ready, stand well back to avoid the flicking of food. My brother is coming to visit with his Wife, 21month old little girl and English Bull Terrier this weekend. We better keep the dog out of the way or we will be licked to death as the food lands on us! Despite my earlier reservations I am getting quite excited about starting weaning. I may wash the steamer today in anticipation!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The First Childminder Session

Baby E visited the Childminder for the first time today. We spent a few hours with the Childminder to get him more accustomed to her company.

It is the 4th time Baby E has met the Childminder, and he seemed more interested this time. He is still not laughing when he is there, and I think this is his way of telling me he knows what is going on!

I felt quite nervous about visiting the Childminder this time. It feels so formal now we have confirmed that Baby E will be spending all his time there when I am at work. Someone else will get to cuddle him, play with him, and give him lots of kisses. This feels a strange concept, and not one that I warm to. I decided to stay with him today so he knew he was with friends, and we arrived at about 11am after his morning sleep. Baby E was very happy to be there, and was so occupied with what the Childminder was doing, he did not have much of his milk but instead wanted to play with all the toys.

Baby E had some cuddles with the Childminder, and played with the fabulous Lamaze toys for babies his age. The childminder helped him play, and he especially enjoyed the Lamaze toy with little horns. He got tired within an hour of being there, so we called the morning a success and prepared to go home.

Next week we are planning for Baby E to have his first sleep-over. I can show the Childminder how we take our day naps at home, and then once Baby E is comfortable sleeping there the Childminder can put Baby E to sleep. In preparation for this we are changing his day nap routing.

Baby E currently has the same day nap routine as nighttime, and it works exceptionally well. This is fabulous at home, however it is not favourable to carry an i-pod, lights and sound machine to the Childminder everyday. Today is Day 1 of using a Lullaby CD for Baby E to fall asleep to. So far Baby E has needed a little more cuddles before falling asleep, but it is no problem, and is going very well. Fingers crossed that by the middle of next week Baby E will have forgotten his womb music, and will be loving the Lullaby's!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

A perfect morning with the loose women

Sometimes I can not believe how lucky I am to have such a great life. I have maternity leave to spend time bonding with my new Baby who is absolutely fantastic and is always smiling and laughing. One thing I did not expect was to have met some wonderful friends during this time who I now see every week for girly chats and baby talk.

When I was pregnant one piece of advise that kept being given to me was to join groups to meet other mums. Most mums find maternity leave isolating compared to the world of work. Looking after a new baby can be a relentless and thankless job. Whilst I took the advise on board I knew I would be perfectly happy to spend time on my own with Baby E. I have found the whole baby experience relaxing and continually rewarding, whilst I wanted to join some groups to enhance my life with Baby E, the intention was to give Baby E the best start in life, and not for me to make friends. I am very comfortable in my own company and have loved taking time out from the busy working life to relax and spend quality time getting to know my baby. Meeting some friends along the way the icing on the cake.

After Christmas, I booked myself a place on a Baby Massage course (see previous blog), and was pleases to meet a group of Mums who share the same values. As the Baby massage course drew to a close, we planned to meet up at each others houses every Tuesday at the same time as Baby Massage. My house was so rammed full of stuff, that I could not see the wood for the trees. I had huge piles of things I was convinced I would find time to take to a car boot, or sell on eBay. I had also kept some baby things to give to friends when they had babies. I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to reveal to the girls my chaotic messy lifestyle. Even before I saw the other Mums houses, I was horrified at the thought that people would see my house at its worse, and judge me accordingly.

I went home and told my Fabulous Boyfriend something had to be done! I have had enough of being so cluttered that I can not appreciate my house. My Fabulous Boyfriend could not be more pleased, as over the next few weekends we embarked on a de-clutter exercise. I am so grateful he took a few carloads of things to the tip for recycling, and we were able to collect some items of furniture that his sister had been looking after for us. We moved the furniture round so my living room is now situated in the sunny front of the house and is much more spacious and airy. Thanks to our efforts, I have a new found love of my house, and am proud for anyone to visit. It may be in desperate need of decorating, but it is now free from the clutter that crowded both the house and my ability to enjoy relaxing.

Today was my turn to host 'loose women'. In my usual procrastinating way, I had not made any effort to do more tidying yesterday, so did a quick whip round this morning. Baby E seemed very excited that something was afoot, and so was wide awake through the time he would normally have his early morning sleep. We made the front room a little more presentable and laid out the play mats for all the girls to lie on. I had made a healthy treat to eat mid morning, which was up to my usual crazy cooking standards. I had once hoped that when you gave birth you naturally inherited an ability to cook gene ... how wrong could I be! While making the delicious frozen raspberry mousse I managed to break my hand blender and had to subject Baby E to more supermarkets whilst I bought a replacement and hunted for missing ingredients.

The Mums arrived with their girls. Baby E was the model baby, giving two of the girls kisses and cuddles. He did pull one little girls ear, but she did not seem to notice so everything was OK. As predicted, once all the Mums and Babies had arrived Baby E wanted to go for his sleep, which he did perfectly with no fuss or crying. I was very proud.

I had a fabulous morning, and am so pleased to find we have all become firm friends. My new found friends from baby massage have dubbed the group 'Loose Women'. We have all found like minded people with babies of a similar age. We can chat about what is happening with our babies and re-assure each other that everything is OK when we are feeling insecure and worried. It is great to find other mums who are sharing the same baby experience. We all gain a greater understanding of how we are feeling, and what are babies are doing.

I can not believe how lucky I am to make such good friends, and am so grateful that indirectly they have prompted me to get the house in a more organised presentable state. Every time the 'loose women' meet up we learn a little more about each other. It can sometimes be strange making new friends, but it feels so natural, and has meant so much to each of us to get together and chat about anything and everything. It felt great to have the girl visit me today, and I look forward to many more occasions where we will share experiences and our babies will grow up together.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Raspberry Blowing!

Baby E has found his tongue today for the first time. He was playing in his swing while I was in the kitchen making lunch. Above the delightful electronic classical music I could hear lots of raspberry's being blown.

I popped my head round the door, and found him with his tongue in full actions merrily blowing raspberry's and loving it! Until now the raspberry blowing has been using his lips only and he has easily bored of the novelty noise. Today he carried on blowing raspberry's for about an hour. He did not stop even when we were in the car on our way to visit the Childminder, and carried on the whole time we were there.

I love the noise so much, and he looks very cute having so much fun.

On a more somber note, my childminder reminded me that I have only 11 weeks until I go back to work. I am finding this more emotional than the countdown to weening. I intend to make the most of it, and enjoy every precious minute I have with Baby E.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Birth of Baby E - Part One

Baby E is now 5 months old, however I want to make a record of the experience of his birth. My Grandma said that giving birth was the most wonderful experiences of her life. I prefer to say that while giving birth was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, Baby E is the most wonderful thing I have ever created and he provides me with the most rewarding memories everyday.

Baby E was born on the 19th November 2008. He was 13 days late to his due date, and enjoyed living in my tummy so much that we attended an induction appointment on Tuesday 18th November.

The day of the induction arrived, and I was due to attend my appointment at 4pm in the afternoon. I spent the day with my Fabulous Boyfriend in his office in Derby so he would not have to take more time off before the birth than necessary. We walked into town to get some lunch, and sat eating our baked potatoes by the fountain in the sun. As we were walking back to the office I noticed the sensations in my tummy (something like a mild period pain) were becoming stronger. Over the next few hours as I watched a film in an office on my own the contractions became more regular, coming every three minutes, and lasting for 3 minutes.

My fabulous boyfriend and I were excited about this development as we set off to the Hospital for our appointment. We were hoping the doctors would tell us we were in labour, and I was secretly hoping a miracle had happened and I would be 8cm dilated and Baby E would give me the easiest birth in the history of giving birth.

We arrived and were shown the way to the induction ward along with another couple. The induction room could be my home for the next 24 hours if the doctors were to tell me I was not in labour yet. I was given the usual tests (urine, blood pressure etc), and we were allowed to rest until the consultant did his rounds.

With all our fingers crossed, we told the consultant that we thought something was already happening and he confirmed this with an internal examination, telling us that I was 1cm dilated. This was easy! If this was 1cm, then roll on the other 9cm, I was ready. The consultant confirmed there was no need to induce me, he performed a sweep, and then I was left to be monitored with a belt and heart monitor to measure the contractions and Baby E's heart.

During this time we chose to relax by watching a movie on our laptop. We chose a comedy as I had read it would lighten the mood, and laughter will help to combat any pain I may feel. The film we watched was so funny, that we struggled to contain our laughter! We had to turn the sound down low so as not to disturb all the other Mums. Some of them were already reaching for the gas and air so we were probably not too popular with our stifled giggles.

Once all the measurements were taken the midwife offered me a bath to help with the progression of labour. I felt like I was in heaven. I lovely deep bath was filled for me with lots of bubbles piled high to the top. The bath was wonderfully warm and was fitted with a temperature gauge so we could top it up with hot water when needed but make sure it was not too hot for Me and Baby E. We were allowed to relax for a few hours in the bath until the consultants did their rounds at about 10pm. I was closely monitored by the midwife for the whole time I was bathing, so we were happy that they knew if things were running to plan. My Fabulous Boyfriend took lots of photographs, and fed me food from the bag I had prepared. I took the opportunity to call my family to tell them we were all well, and that Baby E was on his way.

I spent this time practicing my breathing I had learned from my Yoga DVD. The golden thread breathing was working perfectly, and I could imagine myself at my favourite beach in Dorset watching the waves crash on the shore and then retreat back to the sea. I was feeling good about the pain management (as there was not much pain), and feeling strong mentally and physically to give birth.

We were thrilled that I did not have to be induced, and bubbling with excitement and anticipation at how the evening was going to progress. We had a lovely time, and were on a real high wave of emotions that we would very soon meet Baby E.

Countdown to weaning.

Why do I feel so emotional about weaning? There is a part of me that compares it to the emotions I felt about introducing a dummy, or moving from Breast Feeding to Formula Feeding. It feels un-natural to think about giving Baby E food, when milk has been his diet for all these months. It feels like a big milestone in Baby E's life, and seems to have come around much quicker than I thought.

Some Mums feel great about weaning. My friend the Competitive Mum, loves to mention her Baby is on solids (Competitive Mum's Baby is 5 weeks older than Baby E, and so much more advanced). Other friends with Babies of a similar age have started introducing tastes and small amounts of food to their babies, whereas I would love to freeze time now, and keep Baby E the same forever. Why do I want to stop him growing up all the time?

I have felt this way since Baby E was born. I have loved every minute of every day I have spent with Baby E, I don't want to lose the moment, I don't want to move on from the joy that I feel right now everyday. Baby E is so beautiful, I wish I could capture every moment and play them over and over again.

I need to face the facts and understand why I feel so emotional about weaning. Have I turned into one of those mothers who does not want their child to grow up? Will I still be calling him "my baby" even when he is 34! Will I be telling his girlfriends that no-one knows him like his Mum, and he will always be my Baby??? I am starting to feel this is not healthy.

I know that weaning him is one step closer to returning to work. I think this is a major fuel on the fire of my emotions. Hopefully once I have read my Annabel Karmel book, I will be feeling prepared, and excited about giving Baby E something interesting to eat each day.

All I know at the moment is that we are planning to start on the first May Bank Holiday, and I have not read the book, and I have not defrosted the freezer to make room for his meals. I am not feeling prepared, and plan to start in 10 days!

Baby E is 5 Months Old

Baby E is now 5 months old. I can hardly believe how quickly the time has gone.

Baby E is now enjoying active play, he likes to sit, then stand, then lean forward to grab a toy, then sit, and so the cycle begins again. He enjoys siting and watching me build a tower with his soft blocks, and then he stands up to grab one which knocks the tower over.

Baby E is starting to enjoy his door bouncer, and showed excitement for the first time today when I got the harness out to put on him. He plays in the door bouncer for about 10 minutes, and loves kicking up with his legs, and spinning around.

Baby E's sleeping pattern is changing. His day naps are becoming less predictable, with some days sleeping all morning (from 9am - 12pm), and then a light 30 minutes in the afternoon. Some days he does not sleep in the morning, and some days he has his usual 3 sleeps. This makes it hard to plan my day as I am not able to commit to see friends in the morning. Baby E has also started waking a little earlier in the morning, and last night he started chatting and moving in his crib from 4am! This is not good for my Fabulous Boyfriend who still has to work as sadly we have still not won the lottery.

This change in sleeping is both a sigh of a growth spurt (Baby E has less creases at the moment), and a sign that he is warming up to weaning. Another emotional milestone that feels bigger than his age! I have armed myself with my Annabel Karmel books and hope that knowledge will help with my sadness that my baby is growing up.

We are planning to start weaning on the first May Bank Holiday. Baby E will be 5 1/2 months, and so ready to take the next step ... I only hope I will also be ready.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Heyfever and pregnant or breastfeeding.

I have suffered from hayfever since my teens. Despite my efforts to tell myself it is all in my mind, every year my hayfever gets worse until I can no longer go outside during the months of April - August without taking antihistamine. This is fine if you are happy to take drugs for five months of the year, and spend lots of money on eye drops, inhalers and pills. It is another case entirely if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and suffer from hayfever.

Like many mothers, I chose not to take any drugs during my pregnancy. I wanted to ensure that the baby that I am nurturing and growing inside me was as perfect as could be, and had the best start in life. I knew hayfever would be a problem when I was pregnant or breastfeeding however I was determined not to succumb to the drugs, and had full resolve to go cold turkey for the season. Maybe I would not suffer from hayfever while I was pregnant, maybe my new healthy diet would help.

How wrong could I be! Within a few weeks of the hayfever season starting it was unbearable. I could not go outside for more than a minute without my eyes watering, my throat swelling, my nose running and constant unfaltering sneezing. I could just about make it to the car everyday to travel to work, and prayed that the air conditioning would work in the office so a window would not be opened. This was not the life I planned while pregnant.

Suffering from hayfever when pregnant or breastfeeding is so debilitating. I felt trapped, and hated the thought of spending the summer and so majority of my pregnancy indoors with no fresh air. I was even tempted to reach for the antihistamines! Fortunately my Fabulous Boyfriend was at hand to stop me. He promised to hunt the shops until he found a solution. My Fabulous Boyfriend found a herbal remedy for hayfever sufferers that was safe to use when pregnant or breast feeding. He return with "HayMax" in two varieties (Haymax Lavender, and Haymax Pure).

Haymax is a none drug solution to hayfever, and so is suitable for hayfever sufferers who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Haymax is an organic sunflower/beeswax drug free pollen barrier that you apply regularly around the bottom of your nostrils. It catches the pollen and prevents it from travelling up your nose thus stopping an allergic reaction. I was amazed that it worked ... it really worked. No runny nose, no sneezing, no sore or swollen throat, and no headache. I used Haymax Pure during the day, and Haymax Lavender for night-time. I slept much better at night than when using drugs, as Haymax does not stop working unless you wipe it off your nose, whereas drugs can stop working half way through the night, and you may not be able to take anymore until morning.

I personally found that Haymax worked better than any other treatment for hayfever. I find it amazing that it is not more widely known as a solution to hayfever particularly for pregnant or breastfeeding women. I found it to be such a good barrier against heyfever that I have already started to use it this year ... and I am not pregnant! I am still using the two pots I was given last year, so don't need to rush out and buy new drugs as last years are out of date. It is more cost effective, and wonderful to know that I am doing the best for my body and my baby.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Baby E is 19 Weeks old

Baby E is now 19 weeks old. He is continuing to change and develop each week.

This week he has started dribbling for the first time. Baby E has had teeth growing in his gums for several weeks now, and has been putting everything and anything into his mouth to chew on. So far this has been without dribble ... until now. Baby E has the ability to soak any toy or item of clothing he puts into his mouth within minutes. He particularly loves sucking on his Giraffes ears or horns, and makes both these and the head very soggy.

Baby E has discovered a new noise. He has started whining, in a pathetic eeeh eeeeh high pitched stylee. At first I thought this was a sign that he was being clingy, and wanting his Mummy, however it appears that he uses this language when he is tired. It gives me another sign that he needs a nap along with rubbing his eyes, scratching his head, and showing signs of general unsettled behaviour.

We have now turned the pushchair to forward facing. Baby E used a form of communication known as screaming to tell me that he was no longer happy in his pushchair. After a few walks where he chose to scream at the top of his voice ... only to stop screaming as soon as I picked him up. There was obviously nothing wrong with him so there was only one thing to do. I decided to turn the seat around so Baby E could see the road ahead. This was particularly difficult when holding a wriggling baby on the side of the road as it required two hands minimum. I was relieved to find it worked, and Baby E is back to his normal happy self when we go out for walks. The weather has been particularly warm for this time of year, so we have enjoyed some long walks in the sunshine. Baby E is very good and happy to let me smother him in Nivea Childrens factor 40 suncream, he tries to eat most of it, but at least I know he is protected against sunburn.

Baby E has settled in well to his day naps in his crib. We have established a little routine, where I ask him if he needs to have a little sleep or night nights. We change his nappy, put on his growbag, have cuddles for a few minutes, Baby E lie down in his crib with his womb music and lamp on dim settling. I then turn on his lights and sound machine, and he settles to sleep while watching the display. He is normally asleep within two plays of the lights and sound. If he has trouble settling I pick him up and give him more cuddles to help him go to sleep. He seems very happy with this routine and gives a little smile when I put him in his crib.

Baby E has started to instigate game playing. He loves to play Boo! and will often pick up his muslin and place it over his face. He then gives a quiet giggle and kicks his legs. We start saying "where's Baby E, Where's Baby E" and he will remove the muslin for us to say "Boo!" at which he laughs. If he wants to play again, he just places the muslin over his face again. This is fantastic, and very entertaining.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Crying Baby

Listening to a crying baby is very hard. Leaving a crying baby to cry is even harder.

This morning I am slightly traumatised by a Facebook comment from a new mum with a 14 day old baby. The post said ... "This ignoring crying baby stuff is very very very hard!!!"

There are two very divided parenting styles with regard to leaving babies to cry. The most old fashioned of those is that leaving your baby to cry for periods of time will teach them to settle themselves. That babies have a time in the day where they cry, and some people choose to leave them to cry-out. This may have a time and a place, and is dependent on the nature of your baby. I would certainly not advise any parent to try this with a newborn baby, I view this as baby abandonment, and find it completely heartbreaking.

Babies cry as a form of communication. They are trying to tell you something. Babies have many different types of cry, and it is hard to differentiate between them when you first bring the baby home. We believe that this was the case with Baby E, and we found that Baby E cried when he needed food, nappy changing, cuddles, winding, sleep, too hot, too cold, was over stimulated.

My brother came to the rescue when Baby E was born and recommended a fabulous DVD called Dunstan Baby Language. The Author is Australian Mum Priscilla Dunstan, who spent time listening to her baby crying and worked out what her baby was telling her. This is fantastic news for all new mums, as we need no longer get frustrated that we can do nothing about listening to our baby crying. The DVD gives short tutorials showing the different type of baby cries, and explains what they mean. It literally translated them into a language we all can understand. As soon as I watched the DVD it was as though life was so simple, and we knew exactly what Baby E was telling us. It really worked.

Dunstan Baby Language told us that Baby E was hungry. We found this to be a common occurrence, and only when we satisfied his hunger did we find that Baby E started communicating on other needs such as wind and finally tiredness.

It breaks my heart to think that new Mums are not listening to their baby's needs, and hoping that if they ignore the crying it will go away. Babies are people who deserve more respect than being ignored. I would not dream of ignoring a family member or work colleague who I found crying, so why would I not extend this philosophy to my own baby. Baby E was with me every day for nine months, my body comforted him, and nurtured him. He knew no pain, nor hunger nor loneliness. I want life outside the womb to be as enjoyable as I can make it, and so never let him cry, never leave him hungry, and never let him sit in a wet nappy (another thing I have witnessed new Mums doing).

Of course there are times with a newborn baby where things can be a little overwhelming, and you feel like you are about to crack. I can recall a few times in the early weeks where Baby E was crying, and I could not settle him. I was tired, and very emotional, I could not see clearly and so I would just start crying with dispair. I would cuddle Baby E and rock him gently, and will him to be calm, all the time crying! This is no help to a 2 week old baby, so my fabulous Boyfriend would always rescue me. He would let me sleep, and have some Daddy - Son time for a few hours. Baby E could spend this time with his Daddy, and I could have some Mummy time and get some well earned rest. Once we found and understood Dunstan Baby Language, this situation stopped occuring!

We spent time getting to know our Baby when he was born. Within a few weeks, we were tuned into Baby E's needs, and were able to give him everything he wanted. Baby E gets lots of cuddles, lots of love, lots of time playing with Mummy and Daddy. From birth he was a contented happy baby, who willingly played on his own from 3 weeks old, never cries when you put him down to sleep at night, and slept through from 8 weeks. Baby E loves to chatter and laugh, and he only cries as a form of cummunication when he is trying to tell us he needs something.