Mama’s Little Helper

IMG_4704.JPGBaby Girl is now seven and a half months old. She’s able to play by herself long enough for me to empty the dishwasher (when she’s not trying to climb in it) or bash out a quick blog post.

But I’m keen to get back to some of the things I love to do. Primarily, baking. So this morning I’m baking for about the second time since Baby Girl was born. And no harm in starting her young while I’m at it!

A night with the devil

There’s no other explanation. On Saturday night the devil possessed Baby Girl.

She woke at 2:10 & despite our best efforts, our smoothest tricks, even trying her with a bottle, Baby Girl cried & cried & cried & cried until 8am when she finally succumbed to exhaustion. From 4am, barely able to keep my eyes open any longer, I woke the Other Half & we took shifts until 8am when we too collapsed.

We’ve never had a night like it. It was worse than when she was a newborn. Not least because her lungs are that much stronger & her voice that much louder.

The cause? Wind. We think. But to be honest, we’re still not entirely sure.

Unfortunately, we had also lost track of time & for the first time since she was born both stayed up late until 1am. Not a mistake we’ll make twice.

Rockin’ it

There are days you feel like this mom lark is easy. The world is your bitch. In short, you rock. You’ve got yourself & the rascal(s) up, fed, showered & out of the house before mid-morning feed; you’ve actually ticked something off the to do list; you’ve even made some baby food for the freezer & made a start on dinner for yourselves. I love those days.

Then there’s the days that when bambino finally goes down for their mid-morning nap, you catch sight of the hobo in the mirror. There’s porridge inside your pyjama top, prune smeared over your chin, something non-descript crusting over on your tracky-b’s &  bedraggled, greasy hair only just held in place by a clip. You’ve got 40 minutes. Be realistic. You’ll probably only get one load done today so shirts or colours? The dishwasher needs emptying as well & need 15 minutes to jump in the shower & get ready. You & the hobo exchange a look. And then you turn back to the living room, slump on the sofa & slurp your now cold coffee you made two hours before.

Yes, be realistic. You’ve got 38 minutes. That’s one minute to heat the coffee in the microwave. Five minutes to drink it. One minute to walk back to the bedroom. 30 minutes to nap.

I’ll give you one guess which day today is.

Review: Leapfrog Learn & Groove Activity Station

AKA: The Disco Donut!

(I realised after using Hyperlapse that it doesn’t record sound unfortunately… but maybe that’s a good thing…!)

An activity centre designed for babies four months & over once they can hold themselves upright. The height is adjustable so it grows with your little one. They can rest in the seat or stand fully supported while they hit, spin, whack, flip, ping & push all the bits & bobs around them. There’s a chewable microphone, shiny disco ball, DJ decks, music book & a keyboard that lights up in time with the music for your baby to enjoy.

The donut has two modes; ‘Learn’ mode encourages language development with the alphabet, numbers & colours along with fine motor skills. The ‘Groove’ mode has multiple nursery rhymes & dance steps.

Price:£85 (but there are loads going cheaper on eBay & Gumtree.)
Worth it? Personally wouldn’t pay £85, but ours was second hand & 100% worth the discounted price.

Thoughts: ****
Baby Girl absolutely loves this. It gives her the independence to stand on her own & entertain herself whilst I cook or potter around. Her legs were noticeably stronger after only a few days; the donut had clearly improved her confidence with standing & testing out her legs. Sometimes she find the table can be over stimulating or tiring, so you do need to keep an eye on them.

Double bonus is there is volume control on the table & you can turn the sound off completely – thank god! – though I find Baby Girl gets bored quicker without the sound. Double bonus is also a double edged sword.

Perhaps the best review I can give this is that a friend’s son (1 day older than Baby Girl) tried it & loved it so much they bought one off eBay the following day.

Downside: you will forever be humming Old McDonald. And ABCD….

Cabin fever

It’s been a quiet fortnight. Last week Baby Girl & the Other Half had awful colds. He was sent home from work so I was nursing the two of them. Feel like I’ve earned another Mama badge (like Brownie badges… But for Mamas). Then on Saturday I came down with full on flu & only today am I starting to feel back to my old self.

Looking after a baby whilst ill is definitely one of the most exhausting & difficult tasks I’ve ever endured.

By Tuesday I had to call in the backup. My mom came & took Baby Girl out for a few hours while I curled up under the duvet with a box of those special, extra soft, balm tissues.

With all this self imposed quarantine (I wouldn’t wish anyone or their baby this bug!) I’m getting the distinct impression Baby Girl is getting cabin fever…


Mama who?

Last week, we started back at Baby Yoga after the summer break. I’d been looking forward to a good stretch for weeks. But when we broke for summer, Baby Girl was just four months. Now she can sit up & crawl.

I spent at least half the 45mins of mums-yoga-time walking across the room & bringing Baby Girl back to the play mats. Then the 15mins of baby-yoga-time battling her to sit still on the mat with me. My time at Baby Yoga may have come to an end.

So today we thought we’d try an NCT a baby meet up* where she could interact with other babies without a prescribed agenda.

I popped Baby Girl on the play mat (the same puzzle pieces we have at home) & let her explore the toys.

IMG_4315-0.JPGShe went on to play without looking at me, even turning away from me completely for the next 30mins. She only began to interact with me because I sat directly in front of her. I was left feeling rather redundant! But was a nice half hour chatting to mums & drinking tea.

I’m reading a book at the moment about Attachment Theory & this either clearly exhibits she’s securely attached & confident enough to play on her own. Or avoidant attached & apparently indifferent to me. Let’s hope for the former!

*Tom’s Kitchen Canary Wharf every Monday, 2-4pm

Boob to Bottle & Lactose Intolerance

Breastfeeding for me was a love-hate relationship from the start. I enjoyed the quiet, intimate moments with Baby Girl & I appreciated the importance of it for her development & our bond. But I was frustrated by a DD chest (you try finding a nice wedding outfit suitable for that big a chest!). Though near the end I became less prudish – most of UCLH had already seen my goods so why deprive East London?! – I was increasingly fed up of having to consider what to wear that was suitable & decent yet not frumpy.

Furthermore, as Baby Girl became more active & inquisitive about the world, getting her to feed when out & about became harder & harder. And finally, as Baby Girl grew & was drinking more, pumping was proving more of a chore, causing me to feel ever more tethered & trapped while the Other Half roamed free.

So upon our return from France in July, at 4 months, we began introducing formula (Aptamil) for one bottle a day. Although Baby Girl was used to the bottle from her dreamfeed, the smell & taste of the formula was new. The first three days she refused it & I had to finish her off. I cried thinking she’d be on the breast forever. Day 4, she suddenly gobbled it down in one.

We then swapped formula for boob for a second feed the following week. The next week, three, & so on for five weeks until she was fully bottle fed. In week six, when the 3am feed should have swapped over, we simply dropped it as she was full & content on just five formula feeds a day. We also started weaning at five months, helping her feel fuller.

So no. I didn’t last until the recommended 6 months. But it was the right choice for us. I’ve managed two days out on my own & my first night out since finding out I was pregnant. The Other Half has been able to easily take over weekend morning shifts giving me a much needed break & even one night shift (that was a shock to his system!). We’ve even gone on two dates.

Alas, the high was short lived. With formula, Baby Girl’s wind increased until I was awake more than I was asleep at night with her screaming like I’ve never heard before. It was a few weeks after she had become fully formula fed, the penny dropped. She was lactose intolerant.

I used to be lactose intolerant & The Little Auntie (The Other Half’s 7 year old sister) was born with a lactose & soy intolerance, which she’s since grown out of. So we should have been on our guard.

The doctor suggested an elimination diet. No lactose for Baby Girl. So for four & half weeks now, Baby Girl has been on Aptamil Lactose Free stage 1 formula. And the wind is all but gone. She’s now waking in the night due to teething, but she’s her happy, smiley self otherwise.

So what’s next? We’re waiting for our appointment with a Paediatric Dietician to discuss advice on weaning & how to reintroduce lactose to her diet, as it’s likely she’ll grow out of it. But in the meantime, Baby Girl can’t eat most pre-prepared baby food jars & is on lactose free formula. Also no fromage-frais. Woe is Baby Girl!