Hello again

I haven’t posted in a while… this is due to the massive adjustment of returning to work. 

I’m on my fifth week back in the office and I feel like I’m finally getting into my groove with regards to my job and my routine at home with my Little Man.

It’s hard, so very hard to leave him everyday. His smile when I walk through the door in the evening makes it all worth whole though.

Last time I posted, LM was barely crawling. However, he’s now wanting to walk all the time with support. He grabs my fingers and pulls himself to standing, from there, he proceeds to walk where ever he wants to go. It’s at times like these I’m thankful for only being 5 feet tall… my back kills as it is. If I was any taller I’d be in agony!

I’m hoping to post more now that I’m in my groove a little more!

Much love

N x

End of an era 

Today feels like the end of an era. 
It was my last day on my own with LM before I return to work on Monday after 9 months of Maternity Leave. Hubby has taken the rest of the week off as holiday to spend with us.
We went along to Bounce and Rhyme at our local library, as we’ve done most Tuesdays for the last 9 months. As always the ladies who run the session were friendly and lovely. LM loves bouncing around and playing with the other babies.
We went for lunch with a couple of the Mums afterwards. It was so nice and we stayed at the pub for 3 hours. Don’t worry, only 1 alcoholic beverage was consumed!!
I’ve made a group of awesome friends who we see each week at B&R and I’m going to miss seeing them as much. I really don’t know how I’m going to cope with going back to work. 

Weaning – update 

For the last 2 weeks I’ve been gradually weaning Little Man from breastfeeding to bottle feeding between 8am and 6pm in preparation for him starting nursery on Monday (Yikes!).

Week 1 was the morning bottle. LM will have a breastfeed first thing when we wake, then a bottle of formula milk around 4 hours later. This has worked out ok. He only takes around 2 ounces of milk, but as my boobs don’t have a gauge perhaps he only drank this much from me. 

4 hours after the morning bottle he’d have a breastfeed and then a breastfeed at bedtime. I also breastfeed if he wakes overnight.

Week 2 was the afternoon bottle. LM started to have the afternoon feed as formula instead of breast.

It’s been emotional for me. I’ve learnt that:

1. Formula milk is expensive. I paid £11 for a tub of Aptamil milk. Breast milk was free! 

2. Bottle feeding is fiddly; I have to sterilise, make up bottles, wash up…

3. Bottle feeding takes preparation. If I go out I only had to remember my boobs when breastfeeding.

4. LM likes his milk cool! But he loves the boob… men are strange.

5. I miss the snuggles during the day. I don’t get the same closeness when bottle feeding.

6. My body has adjusted ridiculously well. I only begin to feel engorged right before the bedtime feed.

7. My NatureBond breast pump is brilliant. During the night feeds I squeeze it on to the boob I’m not feeding from and it catches excess milk. This saves me expressing for LMs cereal in the morning.

8. Hubby still doesn’t help with the feeding during his days off. Even though he can now make the bottle and feed LM without my in put. 

9. It has taken trying 5 different bottle brands to find one LM likes. He’s chosen Nuk. German engineering in a baby bottle… both Hubby and I work for German companies. It’s taken over our lives.

10. The Perfect Prep was worth £60! I hit the roof when hubby bought it as it’s a lot of money. It does make a bottle in 2 minutes though without me needing to measure out water or worry about temperature.

I’m still breastfeeding first thing, bedtime and overnight. I’m happy to keep going with this for as long as LM wants. I love the ease of breastfeeding and the bond. 

Returning to work – wardrobe 

So, I return to work 2 weeks today. This scares the hell out of me! I’m worried about leaving LM, getting all the housework done around my job, working with an idiot that I’m now supposed to share my work with and also about how I’m going to dress. The wardrobe issue is probably the easiest to tackle.

Before I fell pregnant I had a work “uniform” of quirky outfits from Yumi and Desigual. I loved my work clothes! Since having LM I’ve lost 10kg in addition to my pregnancy weight. The result is that none of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit!
I’ve had to buy a new work “uniform”. This is the first time that I’ve had to really shop on a budget. I’m lucky that I live near an outlet centre so can get some bargains! As I’m sure you’re well aware: Statutory Maternity Pay is SHIT.
I’ve bought 2 pairs of slim boot cut jeans from M&S:

A denim skirt from Dorothy Perkins 

And a cute Desigual skirt

I’ll pair these with basic T shirts and cardigans. Once I stop breastfeeding completely I’ll start to wear dresses again.
Hopefully these will all work together to help me feel more confident about returning to the office.
I’ll deal with my other worries later!!

Wonder-ful weeks

Little Man is now 36 weeks old. Since he was born I’ve read a number of parenting books to discover when he should be hitting particular milestones and why he behaves in a certain way. 
Every book that I’ve read has slightly different guidelines than the last so I quickly learned that there is no strict rule as to when babies hit milestones and that I shouldn’t read so many baby books! 
I’ve stuck by 2 books/series as they seem to be based on studies of actual babies and parents as opposed to just opinions of parenting “experts”.
The first of these is the Wonder Weeks by Hetty van de Rijt and Frans Ploot. I have also got the app (App store on iPhone). 

Their theory is based on studies of babies who’ve displayed the same behaviours at the same time since the due date. These periods are then linked to developmental leaps. The leaps then translate into skills. 
The Wonder Weeks book describes each “leap” in detail. I’ve followed this since LM was 8 weeks old and it’s been pretty spot on to predict when he’ll have a leap in development. He’s cranky, sleeps poorly and is clingy pretty damned much when the book says he would be. 
He’s currently on Leap 6 – the World of Categories. He’s a little “behind” in terms of the skills that he should display after each leap. He’s currently mastering some skills from Leap 4 – The World of Events and Leap 5 – The World of Relationships. All babies will master the skills that they’ve acquired at different rates and different orders. LM tends to master the Body Control skills before the others – this week he’s mastered attempting to crawl. 
The book has helped me understand why LM is grumpy and sleeps poorly at certain times. It also suggests games, activities and other tasks which can help Baby and therefor help you.
There’s also a Milestones Guide – I’ll review this another time. 
If you’re a new parent and have an interest in why and when your baby will develop mental skills, then translate them into physical skills I’d recommend reading this book. It’s available from Amazon and most good book retailers. 
The second series is Gentle Parenting by Sarah Ockwell-Smith. I’ll review this later. 

Judgy bitch

Before I became a parent I used to be a judgy bitch. I hated crying children and would always think “why did you have that child if you can’t control it?” when I saw a child misbehaving. I used to wonder why Mums took their babies to Cafe Nero when all they’d do is cry and disrupt everyone else’s coffee. I also used to silently accuse Mums who gave their children crispy-style snacks in their pushchair of not feeding their child healthily and of parents who let kids watch kids tv of not stimulating their children enough.
I now hate people like the old me. How can you judge something that you know nothing about?
I now know that children have tantrums and that it’s natural. They are learning everything as they go and sometimes it gets a little too much for their little brain. They don’t understand that the toy they so dearly desire costs money that the parents might not have, or whatever conflict is causing that current meltdown . Instead of judging these parents I now sympathise as I know my little one will be in the same place in a couple of years.
Instead of tutting at the lady who’s baby is crying in the coffee shop I now smile at her and even offer to hold baby while she gets her much needed caffeine fix! It ain’t easy functioning on very little sleep, especially when you’re at home alone with a little monster who won’t sleep/ shut up. Sometimes you need a change of scenery and the local coffee shop is a great idea. The barista at Cafe Nero in town knows my order by heart. 
I salute the parent who gives their child snacks to keep them quiet, sometimes you need the break or the quiet. I’ve been there! Organix snacks have become a staple on my pushchair journeys! Yes If rather LM has cucumber sticks and hummus, but these just aren’t practical and take time to prepare. 
I applaud the parent who uses the tools around them to occupy their child when they need to get the house cleaned/ get the calls made etc! At times Thomas the Tank Engine has been a substitute baby sitter for me. I’m cool with it. I’m sure that a little TV does not a psychopath make.
To anyone who I’ve judged, I’m sorry. I was a 20 something non-maternal lady who thought she knew all about the world. I’ve heard it said that Parenting is the easiest thing to advise on but the toughest thing to do. It’s so true.
To anyone who secretly judges parents. Please don’t. Smile nicely at them, offer help if you feel necessary. Parenting is tough enough without the eyes of strangers on you.
To parents going through it. May the odds be ever in your favour! Do what you have to do to stay sane and keep your little one happy! Screw anyone else.

Weaning, take 1

My Little Man will be starting nursery 4 days a week when I return to work in 4 weeks time. As a result he’ll need to be able to drink formula milk from a bottle as I won’t have time to express enough milk to send to nursery with him.
I’ve exclusively breast fed him for the first 8 months of his life. I’m super proud of this achievement and sad that I’ll need to reduce this bonding time. Due to being exclusively breastfed he isn’t keen on taking a bottle. 
We’ve so far tried 4 different brands of bottle and 5 different bottles before we’ve finally found one which he accepted. I’ll review these in a later post. 
We’ve also tried 2 brands of formula! He flat out rejected the Cow & Gate stage 2 formula, so we tried the Aptimil Follow on Milk, he’s accepted this on the second try. 
I’ve decided to try and get him used to Formula on the bedtime feed first as this is the only feed where my husband is consistently home to help. It’s taken 3 bedtimes before LM has taken the bottle and then gone to sleep. For the next few weeks we’ll continue this.
After a week or so I’ll try to swap his morning nap feed for formula and continue this for a week or so to allow my milk supply to adjust and to enable LM to get used to it. 
After a week of that I’ll do the same with his afternoon feed. 
After this, all being well I’ll pick back up the bedtime feed and swap his early evening feed. The reason for this is that I’d still like to feed my Little Man but I think this will be limited to his wake up, bedtime and night feeds. 
I’m hoping that my body will adjust! I’ll keep the blog updated with my progress.