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Weaning: The S Words

Continuing our weaning journey, we have stepped up the finger foods and baby nibbles.

There are so many ways of weaning, and as Baby Girl gets older, food can be more exciting. We’ve done purées from the pouch, handmade purées that I have mixed in different ways, and lumpier purées to get her used to textures. I started giving bits of fruit and vegetable (after studying what to do if she chokes) to allow her to feed herself with something other than the spoon, and feel the different textures – and have fun!

Exploring snacks for finger food and a variety of tastes and textures has been more tricky. The right snack is brilliant for while I prepare the main meal at dinner; she bashes and feeds herself while I busy myself with the ice cubes of purées and mash. While others are great as puddings, mixed in with yoghurt or fruit. However, I have recently discovered that some of the snacks I have chosen are full of the dreaded ingredient: SUGAR.

Any weaning guide will tell you to avoid salt and sugar for baby’s food, which you would think would be fine. If that’s the case for babies, then any baby food should avoid the ingredients, right? Wrong.

Initially, I was checking the ingredients of everything I was giving Baby Girl; I wanted to check whether there were chemicals or so met get I should test her with before giving the new food combination. Ella’s Kitchen pouches and snacks are amazing! They have no nasties, no sugar and no salt. This means no worries. I’ve also found that Aldi’s pouches and snacks are really good too, similar to Ella’s Kitchen, no nasties, salt or sugar (just a bit cheaper, but a smaller variety than Ella’s Kitchen).

 

 


Here’s the tricky bit, as I became more relaxed, I stopped checking all of the ingredients. I trusted the well known brand names and the packaging telling me what the products were.

  • Issue 1: Farley’s Rusks.
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    Farley’s Rusks’ Ingredients: SUGAR

I bought these to give Baby Girl as a pudding finger food, or to crumble into yoghurt. It says ‘For All Ages’ and I remember having them, perfect! It wasn’t until I went to buy more that I realised there was a ‘low sugar’ version. Low sugar? Surely they should all be ‘no sugar’. Apparently not. I had given Baby Girl a whole load of sugar without realising.

  • Issue 2: Fruit Wafers
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    Kiddylicious Wafers Ingredients: SUGAR

While getting the rusks the second time round, I saw Kiddilicious Fruit Wafers. Perfect, I thought. Fruit based, soft enough for her to much on and hopefully not choke (as she had with rice cakes). Once I got them home, I realised that, yet again, they had sugar in. Not just the fruit containing natural sugars, but in the list of ingredients there it was. SUGAR.

  • Issue 3: Cereals

Now that I am back to checking ingredients of everything, it is impossible to find a cereal to give Baby Girl which doesn’t contain salt or sugar. She will have to stick to my homemade porridge.

My Solutions

I took to Pinterest (I love a good pin) in search of rusks and other finger food snacks that I could make sugar and salt free, and what a result! I found several recipes that used great ingredients for brilliant snacks.

  1. Teething biscuits from Imprintalish were easy to make and quite tasty (Hubby thought so) but perhaps a little hard. Baby Girl has tried them but they often end up on the floor while bashing.
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    My attempt at the teething biscuits
  2. ABC muffins from My Kids Lick the Bowl took a little longer (especially as my scales broke so I guesstimated as lot) but are so tasty! Baby Girl has enjoyed the taste and texture, as have I. A definite win!
  3. To try in the next couple of days, rusks from My Kids Lick the Bowl as they look scrumptious.

There are so many more that I would love to try, so fingers crossed for long naps so I can bake and save Baby Girl from those dreaded S words.
Note: I have no affiliation with any product or company, this is just my experience and opinion.

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Back to School…or Not

Let me start with the fact that I am a teacher. I love my job. I love the teaching and pastoral side, and I am very lucky to have progressed well in the years I have been teaching.

Today is the first day back for many schools, students and teachers. Getting stationary together, organising lessons, analysing the data of those in their classes, looking forward to seeing some of those students (and perhaps dreading a few). Not me. I am still on maternity leave, enjoying my Baby Girl.

I know that you may think, ‘what have you got to be anxious about?’ Well, it’s not about now. Yesterday would have been an inset day, getting to know new staff and knowing the plan for the year. I wasn’t there for it, so when I go back in December, I’m thrown in. I won’t know who the new staff in the department are, I won’t know the new systems, I won’t know the new students. And it will only be me who doesn’t know.

I have been considering how best to use my KIT days, but I also don’t want to leave Baby Girl. It is my normal conflict: I want to be with my daughter, I don’t want to go back to work, but I also need something else to do and know I am good at my job. Without working, my house becomes an explosion of my brain – fabrics, paper, decorations, courses – projects of every kind! (Feel free to check out my Facebook pages: Sewn by Jennie and Create Your Occasion)

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A snap shot of my Pinterest

To add another layer, I want to go back part-time, which means a demotion. I have worked hard to get to the point I have, but that must now be on standby because I want to value my time with Baby Girl. It doesn’t seem that you can have it all. I have a choice, which is important, but I need to sacrifice something – and currently, that is my career. Maybe it will give me time to do something else, as well as be the mum I want to be.

Self Sacrifice

Self Sacrifice

It’s obvious; you would do anything to make your child’s life a little easier, to make them more comfortable and to make them happy.

I spent last night sleeping on the floor of Baby Girl’s nursery, as it was her first night in her own room. She wasn’t aware – she went to bed as normal as far as she was concerned. I, however, could not bring myself to go to bed without her next to me. Hubby helped me make a bed on the floor from the beautiful quilts that had been made for us, and I nestled down. A couple of hours later, Hubby joined me for a few hours.

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One of our beautiful quilts.

I know a lot of people may think it is ridiculous; I can see some people’s faces at the idea of it, thinking that I am mollycoddling, that I need to be stronger. I know Baby Girl wasn’t aware, but that was lucky. What if she had been? What if I had been in my bed, fast asleep, and not heard her crying? These are the steps I need to take to make it to ‘normality’ and the potential judgement from others who didn’t do it like this, or think the above, is damaging to new mums. The possibility of criticism is enough, for some, to follow advice which does not work for them and cause even more anxiety.

I would sleep on the floor for the rest of the year, if it meant that Baby Girl was safe, comfortable and happy; my back could sustain the emotional comfort we would each get from it. However, I will try sleeping in my own bed tonight – I just can’t guarantee where I end up; these are the steps I need to take, and I should feel confident to do so, even if I am not physically comfortable.
Thank you to @HonestMum for the host of #Brilliantblogposts.


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Hunger Strikes and Sleep Resistance: Teething Terrors (part 2)

Hunger Strikes and Sleep Resistance: Teething Terrors (part 2)

I knew there would be more than one part. 

I’ve gone backwards and forwards with this; the last week has been touch and go with Baby Girl’s mood, all depending on how her teeth are. One moment she can be laughing, the next screaming, followed by an insane amount of dribble, thrashing about and ripping my skin from my chest and neck, then happily eating or watching the dog walk around. It’s extreme to say the least.

Hunger strikes

For the last week and a half Baby Girl has been on daytime hunger strike: her normal routine of eating in the morning, then every couple of hours became avoiding food while we were out (I assumed there were too many distractions) to only eating a couple of times in the day. She would then eat before bed, but not nearly as much as she used to, and then wake during the night for top-ups. Joys. 

I knew she would be okay; she was still having wet nappies, and seemed well otherwise – just maybe a bit tired. My logical side was winning. 

The strike seemed to end, she ate normally yesterday and napped appropriately to balance it out. The night before she even slept relatively well, waking her normal amount very briefly. Last night, however, was a different story…

Sleep Resistance 

Baby Girl did not let me enjoy the normality for long. Last night she went down around 8pm, and was then awake at 8.30, 9.30, 10.30 all building to the climax of 12.15 for nearly 2 hours. I tried feeding her, changing her, rocking her, just putting her back down…nothing worked. She just had to exhaust herself. 4.30 was the next wake up time, and then 7am. She just seemed to forget that it was nighttime and therefore sleep time (I know, they may not know the difference yet, but she was doing so well). 

The Fall Out

What this has meant is:

1. She would not eat this morning;

2. She has been stroppy when left (my shower was 20 seconds long, minus much washing);

3. She napped for 2 hours when we went out for a walk – when I couldn’t nap.

4. She fought her lunchtime/afternoon nap, following the routine at the top;

5. She has now crashed out nowhere near her cot, so I still cannot catch up.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the afternoon, and tonight, to see what new mood she can be in.

The Land of Nod

The Land of Nod

Sleep: the rare treasure that every new parent seeks, for themselves and their tiny person.

It is a competitive topic, filled with where? how long for? how many naps? which can be intimidating and anxiety inducing.

I’ve been lucky, I know I have: Baby girl has slept relatively soundly from 9 or 10 weeks, much like I did (as my mum likes to tell me often). There have been times more recently that she has been waking during the night – I was clearly lulled into a false sense of security with the 8 and a half hour nights I had from her previously – but she is calm and often drifts off within 10 minutes and a little feed. The last few days, after her injections, she has been napping a lot (4 times of 45 minutes to 2 hours at a time), which I assume is her immune system being kicked.

What I am getting more concerned about is the word I have heard at ‘mother and baby’ groups: sleep regression. “A sleep regression is thought to occur when a baby who is normally sleeping well begins to wake frequently at night and/or fights/refuses naps.  These regressions seem to come out of nowhere and can last indefinitely. ” (Wee Bee Dreaming)

Now, Baby Girl had been fighting naps, and seems to require a little more cuddling while she is drifting off to sleep at night. She becomes agitated, ratty and very teary; she flails and wipes her face across my shoulder; she assaults her own face with her saliva – starting at her mouth, moving to her nose and finishing at her eye. I know she’s tired, she sounds like she’s running out of batteries as she whimpers to the Land of Nod, but she is determined to avoid it.

At night, although she is going down a little earlier than she was before (another irritation when talking to other mums – although not new parents, those who have 20 somethings “Oh, mine were in bed by 7pm straight away.” No, they weren’t.) she is waking, with a thrash and flail, a few times in the night for those little feeds. My aim is to remedy this with her moving into her own room at the weekend; I hope I won’t hear her rustling and kicking so I can’t wake her further by getting up and checking on her. The next step in our Big Move, as she’s already in her cot and a slumbersac or gro bag.

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Slumbersac
But what if it gets worse? What if this sleep regression set in, and she doesn’t just fight sleep, she avoids it completely? I am trying to keep her in a routine, but it may not be enough. As always, I will have to wait and see.

Note: I do not have any affiliation with any product or company, it is merely my own experience. 

A Little Prick

A Little Prick

Injections. We all hate them; I have never met anyone who said ‘I’m really looking forward to my vaccination‘, so knowing my little Baby Girl is having another round of needles sticking into her chubby little legs makes me uncomfortable to even think about. 

Today, she had her 3rd round of injections – plural, 3 to be exact. I thought I was ready, I thought I was calm, I thought I could handle it. To be fair, Baby Girl was very brave; she was happy enough before, gave the nurse a lovely grin, and only cried while she was being penetrated with the thin piece of metal which subsequently filled her body with several virus strains – 3 times! As you may be able to tell, it is far more damaging to me than her. 

She was fine afterwards; she didn’t want a feed, like she had the previous appointments, and  I wandered into town while she had a little snooze. At home, the playmat was the best place in the world for her, grabbing her hanging toys and yanking them to her mouth, gurgling in enjoyment while looking at me. I fed her happily around lunchtime and she was drifting off. Not long later, there was a change in everything…

She became grouchy while I made my lunch, a task that normally occupies her, and suddenly became incredibly angry; it seemed as if she was in immense pain with no warning, and a cuddle couldn’t cure it. I tried rocking, bouncing, holding her close but nothing stopped the screams or tears. I decided skin-to-skin was the best option, along with her next dose of Calpol: I could let her get cool with no vest, and snuggle into me for food if she wanted it. She didn’t. 

After a lot of trying to comfort her, including singing You Are My Sunshine over and over,  my dribbly, screaming baby threw up across my back, shoulder, down my front and between the two of us creating a warm, sticky glue. That was the problem. Just as I thought she’d be okay now, it continued. Across every surface near us, making it’s way down my body to my legs, her lunch was there. I tried desperately to catch it before it reached the floor, grabbing any item of clothing to mop it up. Baby Girl was still beside herself. I tried to mop it up from her and decided the only thing for it was for us to both get in the shower and rinse the stickiness off. This seemed to soothe her a little. Once she was changed into clean clothes she whimpered herself to sleep for the afternoon.

Sleeping off the ordeal

She has been in and out of sleep for the evening, and I am now watching her sleep rather than going back downstairs, just to make sure she is okay. I know she is, but what else is a mother to do? I also know the vomiting was most likely from the Calpol – it’s thick and sticky and requires a different way of swallowing for a breastfed Baby of 4 months – so if she needs it again, what am I going to do? Fortunately, there are no more jabs for 8 months, so I just have to hope she doesn’t get a fever from anything else. 

And fingers crossed for a good night’s sleep and a smiley baby tomorrow.

List Loving: Keeping Control

List Loving: Keeping Control

I love a list. Love! Whether it is a to-do list, a shopping list, or a box I need to read list: I LOVE a list.

When I was working, I would have my A4 pad and 3 coloured pens wherever I went. Any meeting I had would require me to be ready to write my to-dos or reminders, and depending on the role it fell under, the colour would change and it’d be written into one of the priority boxes. I was known for it, and often mocked, but for me it was how I managed the jobs, ideas and myself.

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My priority To Do List now
I have found that without the structure of the day, I struggle. I have very few places that I have to be at a certain time; most people would think it relaxing and a luxury; I find it incredibly stressful. So I have taken the inspiration from several blogs, but particularly Little Coffee Fox, and started a bullet journal.

For those of you who don’t know, this is pretty much what it says: a daily journal of things that you are going to do, and can then add more and more to it to make it personal and fun. While mine is nowhere near as pretty and creative as those featured on Little Coffee Fox, it is a great tool to settle a busy mind.

 

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Bullet Journal
Mine includes the daily tasks and things I’d like to get done – a to-do list separated into days – as well as a space each day for reflection and writing down things I am grateful for each day. This in itself is a positive way to ‘manage’ anxiety. At the end of each day, once I have put Baby Girl to bed, I tick off the tasks and add to the next day’s, as well as write down at least 3 things that I am grateful for, ending the day positively.

These things could be as simple as:

  • I am grateful for a sunny day.
  • I am grateful for Baby Girl having a nap.
  • I am grateful for Hubby cooking dinner.

But it all helps. This was inspired by Rhonda Byrne’s The Magic. 

These lists make me feel a little more in control. It means I can see that I have planned something and accomplished something. A lot of people say ‘Looking after your baby is you doing something,’ and, of course it is. But for someone who needs reassurance and control, these lists are a great way to add a bit of structure to unstructured time; in future, I can start getting more creative with them, adding colour and drawings to get something more out of it – but for now, it’s a list, and I love it!

*Please note: I have no affiliation with any site, this is just my experience.