Babywearing 101

*Before reading on, please know I am not an expert on the subject my any means, but it can be confusing starting out ‘babywearing’ and having recently done a lot of research I simply wanted to share all my new found knowledge in one place here.

Before I had Bea, I had certain intentions – having a baby ‘wasn’t going to change my life’, where I went or what I did. I had decided I’d buy a baby carrier of sorts and our Ergo360 was an early purchase when she was 3 weeks old. Not long after I bought a stretchy wrap, so I could wear her around the house – keeping her close kept her happy and giving me my hands back. I heard a bit about ‘babywearing’ during my research into both of these but it’s become such a big part of our lives now and ignites so much curiosity among other parents and passers by when I have her wrapped that I thought I’d share a bit more of my experiences.

Firstly, what is ‘babywearing’? Well, it is what it says on the tin. Wearing your baby on your front, hip or back in a structured carrier, stretchy wrap or woven wrap (both sometimes called slings.) Why would you do it? Loads of reasons! I started wearing Bea in the stretchy at around 4-6 weeks (you can babywear from birth with the right carrier and knowledge,) when she went through a fussy phase and I needed to get my hands back to do things around the house. I found the Ergo too bulky around the house and couldn’t really sit in it, wheras the sling was just like hands free carrying. Fans of BW say wraps are ‘full of sleepy dust’ and mine rivals any other means of getting her to sleep, even the pram and car. I can also keep it on when we get back from a walk and she has just dropped off, or transfer her to the cot. Now she’s getting older and more mobile, it’s a lifesaver for that 5 o’clock meltdown period of tiredness pre-dinner. I can simply put her in the sling while I cook and she’s happy. Bea hasn’t got teeth yet but other babywearing mama’s say it’s a godsend for the fussy, clingy, teething baby or unwell child and you can even discreetly breastfeed in stretchy or woven wraps while you’re on the go. Going back even further, historically babies have been carried for thousands of years in many cultures, keeping them safe and secure and it’s now a big part of the attachment parenting movement to increase bonding between caregiver and child.

For me, going back to my original sentences in this post, it’s also given me a huge amount of freedom. I think few new parents think when they research that pram purchase endlessly that it can actually be really restrictive travelling anywhere with a pram. They’re huge, heavy, unweildy and often prevent you doing the most basic things like shopping between clothes rails or down jammed supermarket aisles, walking off pavemented paths, getting through doors and up steps, or on public transport. Even lugging our pram in and out of the boot is a hassle. With my wrap, I can take Bea anywhere my legs will carry me and keep her out of harms way in public places or give her a place to nap when we’re on the move. She’s interacting with me, seeing the world at my height and feels secure. I’m kind of evangelical about it. ;)

I’m focusing here on wrapping with a woven wrap – essentially a long piece of fabric that you can wrap in different ways to carry your baby in. You can carry your baby on your front, hip or back, from birth (when you know how,) for as long as you feel able, though most people stop around 2-3 years. If you think baby wearing might be for you, or like me, you want to keep wearing but are outgrowing your stretchy wrap, read on!

The essentials:
A great first port of call if you’re interested in baby wearing is your local sling library or sling meet – just google one in your area or look for one on the Sling Library site. They all stock a range of different types (not just woven wraps) of carrier that you can try and hire, along with friendly advice from experienced baby wearers.

What to look for in a wrap
There are MANY different wraps available and I’ll direct you to some stockists and highlight some brands in a moment, but first there are a few factors common to all wraps that you should consider.

  • Firstly, the blend, or what the wrap is made of. Wraps can be made from 100% cotton (the most common,) or a combination of fibres, like linen, wool, silk or even mohair, alpaca and baby camel! Different fibres give different qualities like softness, warmth or affect how easy it is to use, making it grippy, or adding some stretch.
  • Wraps also come in a variety of sizes. What size you need depends on your size and the size of your wrapee too, and affects what you can do with it – some of the many possible carries need more length whereas others are better with a short wrap. An average sized person usually starts with a 6, then as you learn you can decide if a shorter one is right for you but there’s nothing to stop you starting with a short wrap, you’re just a bit more limited with what you can do with it. This is a great blog post on choosing your wrap size. Oscha also has a sizing table showing what you can do with each wrap size according to your size.
  • Care. Baby wraps are first and foremost practical items. Your baby might soil the wrap in a myriad of ways, you might drag it on the floor or want to put it on in a muddy car park. Cotton and/or linen wraps can usually be machine washed and tumble dried. This doesn’t apply to silk or wool and other blends, which need hand washing and may be more delicate. The weave can also affect the wraps susceptibility to getting pulls from jewellery or velcro. Think about how careful you can realistically be when you’re choosing your wrap. Another great blog post on how to choose your first woven wrap.
  • Style. I was determined after months of wearing a hideous beige stretchy (that I bought because it was cheap and I didn’t know if we would like or use it) that I wanted a beautiful wrap this time and set about looking for one. I’ve always associated woven wraps with being a bit hippyish in rainbow weaves or faded dyes but there’s loads more designs and patterns out there in fact, from stripes to stars to intricate ethnic inspired designs right through to modern geometric ones. Just make sure you have a think about the points above before choosing style over substance. ;)
The most important thing is to buy something you love, as if you love it you will use it and that is what will make you get on well with BW – practise!

So where can you buy a woven wrap?
Obviously, online. Many of the brands are european and BW is big in the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia. UK stockists of several brands I sugesst as starters include Love to be Natural and Pour La Bebe (Yaro stockists.)
Great brands to look at for starting out include Didymos, Lenny Lamb, Elleville, Firespiral and Yaro – all well priced wraps. Other well known ones include Girasol, Kokadi, Hoppediz and many more!
Like anything, there’s also a high end market for woven wraps with stylish designs and luxury fabric blends. My favourites are Oscha, Woven Wings and Sling Studio, but there are also many more including Pavo, Uppymamma and one of the most highly sought after, Artipoppe. With all wraps, but more so the high end brands, many are limited edition. There is an obsessive baby wearing community and many releases are snapped up within seconds of them being stocked online so they can be very hard to come by. Yaro slings can be bought for around £40, average prices for middle market are around £70-100 and the high end wraps can cost from £120+ – of course, the blend also affects the price, 100% cotton is always cheapest.
Which leads me to the second way you can buy – preloved. Woven wraps if treated properly can last a very long time so are often sold on. Because wraps often sell out very quickly they can be very hard to get hold of and become highly sought after, priced way above retail value, which is a little bit crazy at times. If you do want to delve into this world, there are fan pages for many of the brands where people buy, sell and trade their used (or sometimes new) wraps. Look on ebay, Facebook fan pages, or there are a couple of dedicated marketplaces on Facebook – BabyWearing FSOT and High End Babywearing FSOT. As with any unregulated online transaction though, take care. Use paypal for some buyer protection and ask to see the wrap in the sellers hand to make sure they have it to sell. It pays to hang around the boards seeing how people do it for a while before taking the plunge. The upside of all this selling and trading means you can often sell a wrap on if you don’t get on with it and trade up or just try something else out.

Once you’ve got your wrap, what next?

First up, your wrap if it is new or has been washed before being sent to you preloved, will need breaking in. If you feel it’s stiff or difficult to wrap with, PERSIST! When I recieved my first woven wrap (a size 6 Oscha) I was completely overwhelmed by how much fabric there was. A lot of sweating and tugging fabric into place, fear I’d drop Bea or frustration that I couldn’t reach, drag it into place, or get it tight ensued. I’d say it only took a few attempts before I felt more more confident and I still get better every time I wrap her. The wrap was also fresh out of the wash and softened up brilliantly in a couple of weeks.

As I said above, sling libraries are great for advice although you won’t be able to get 1 to 1 wrapping demo’s as they’re often busy. You can often pay for a consultancy session 1 to 1 if you feel that would be good and I think if you plan to BW a lot it would be a worthwhile investment. However there are huge amounts of tutorials online and BW bloggers. Most people start with a FWCC (front wrap cross carry) and I’ve linked here to a tutorial on how to do that carry by my favourite three youtube baby wearers: Wrap You In Love (above), Baby Wearing Faith and Wrapping Rachel. These are just some of the very experienced baby wearing women out there and it’s worth watching lots of them as they all have little tricks that can help!

And practice! Practice at home, wear your baby round the house, use a mirror to see what you’re doing and pick a time when your baby isn’t grouchy or hungry. Giving them a toy to play with if they’re big enough helps distract them. I now have 3 wraps, a size 6, a 3 and a 4. An Oscha and 2 Woven Wings. 1 silk and cotton blend and 2 merino wool and cotton blend. I’m still getting to grips with different carries, putting Bea on my back and the different lengths and blends but it’s been liberating and fun and satisfying learning how to wrap and keeping her close. I’ll certainly be doing it for a long time yet :)

I hope if you were curious this has answered some of your questions – feel free to fire more at me and if you’ve thought of trying BW, don’t let anything stop you. I love it :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Dream Destination: Merlin Farm Eco Cottages

Before heading back to work in a couple of weeks, Pete and I decided to make the most of my maternity leave and squeeze in a little holiday. You might remember last Easter I did a round up of places that still had Easter availability for a short break. I included Merlin Farm in that, an Eco cottage in my favourite corner of Cornwall and shortly after the owners Lucy and Darryl invited us to experience it for ourselves. It’s taken us this long to get down there but boy was it worth the wait. We spent last week in Constantine Eco Cottage on Merlin Farm and I truly didn’t want to leave!

I’ll start off by saying we’ve stayed in the area twice before, amongst other stays in Cornwall, on both occasions at The Scarlet – an adults only eco hotel on the cliffs overlooking Mawgan Porth Beach. It was so lovely but obviously won’t be somewhere we’ll be staying in the near future now we’ve had Bea. Although we’ve already been to Florida with her, now she’s getting so much more mobile it definately means we have to give some thought to holiday destinations that will be fun for her and not leave us stressed by watching her 24/7!

There are 3 eco cottages, (alongside a couple of other accommodation options, all suitable for kids but Constantine is permanently baby proofed.) That means a (still stylish) fireguard, built in stairgates to the upstairs bedroom and lots of baby friendly equipment like a changemat, cot, highchair, plastic cutery and cups/plates, and a big bucket of toys. All these details are done so well too – the toys are new and varied, from sensory stuff to books and wooden puzzles and the stairgates are wooden rather than being an eyesore.

All the furniture is chunky solid wood and wipe clean leather sofas meant we didn’t feel we had to watch everywhere Bea was in case of inevitable accidents. There’s lots of floor space in the living area for playing (we bought our usual playmat for her but she rolled round the whole place safely due to the fireguard and plug socket covers.) The master bedroom is downstairs with a twin room (that can be converted to a double) upstairs with a toilet and sink ensuite, perfect for little ones and where we put Bea each night in the cot, which was ready and waiting for us. Both are a good size and the whole place is big enough for a couple with up to 2 children I’d say.

It doesn’t disappoint for adults either. The kitchen has lovely wood worktops, heated slate floors and stylish SMEG appliances, there’s a big freestanding bath and walk in shower with REN toiletries and lots of piping hot water, and champagne (and other!) glasses to enjoy some fizz in the cottage courtyard out front, with a patio heater on standby for cooler temperatures. The views are incredible and those lovely doors slide right back to completely open the living space to the countryside. You can also feel good as much of the daytime power is solar powered on site, recycling is encouraged and the eggs left in the fridge when you arrive are from the hens and ducks just over the fence at the farm – perfect for little kids to enjoy watching, along with the other resident animals.


The location is great too, in a sheltered valley, just over the hill from the bay. There’s an off road track through a forest and holiday park below which brings you out on a pavement lined road minutes from the beach, a 15 minute walk down and a little longer on the way up, on account of the hill! Mawgan Porth Beach is wide and flat – perfect for little ones and there are a few little cafe’s and shops on the beach front too. There are big supermarkets in Newquay or Padstow, around 15 minutes away.

We spent the days in our usual haunts locally, walking on the beach, a day out in Padstow, eating nice food and returned each night to feed Bea, bath her and then cook dinner for ourselves once she was asleep, flopping with a glass of wine in front of the fire after. There’s a selection of kids DVD’s and we found the True Detective box set (definitely worth watching by the way,) to while away the evenings.

Pete jokes that it’s always sunny in Cornwall, but we were blessed with amazing weather. It was fresh but I don’t mind getting wrapped up out of season as sunshine is a bonus. After what seems like months of grey days it was so restorative breathing the fresh air and basking a little in the spring sunshine. The patio heater was even so good that Bea joined us for cocktail hour on the patio, although it wasn’t quite as glamourous or relaxing with a baby trying to wrestle the champagne glass from my hand. ;)

All in all, we had an amazing time. I was so sad to leave and head back up north on Friday morning. On the positive side, we’ve found a new favourite place to stay in our favourite corner of Cornwall. Somewhere we can enjoy with Bea too!

I’ll be back soon with more details about our trip and things to do in the area. In the meantime if you’re looking for a baby friendly break in the UK, I can’t recommend Merlin Farm enough. It’s perfect for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers – make the most of those out of school holiday rates and the glorious peace and quiet in Cornwall out of school holidays too.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

*Disclaimer: Rebecca stayed as a guest of Merlin Farm but you can rest assured if she didn’t like it, you wouldn’t be reading about it here.

Found: Hannah Carding Prints

We went to visit friends in Bristol this weekend and my friend Caroline (who has excellent taste in art,) had just bought three prints which I was really taken with. The colours were so vibrant in real life and a little quirky.

It turned out they were by a friend of hers, Hannah Carding, and available on Etsy.

Fun fact of the day: The collective noun for a group of ladybirds is a ‘loveliness’.

How’s that for a lovely start to the week?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS I like the tea towels too…

What to Buy: March

Happy Friday Readers!

Spring is definitely arriving in the city, and my thoughts are turning to less layers and warmer weather. Last week, I spent a few days in Miami doing my Maternity Leave handover with my Boss and it was so nice to feel the sun on my face. To be able to sit outside at 9pm having dinner was wonderful.

There are a few things I’ve been seeing in the shops this month that should make your “What to Buy” lists this month, and I’m a firm believer that if they aren’t snapped up now, you’ll regret it when the weather DOES get warmer to wear them.  I’ve been a little bit inspired by Laura in starting a Summer/Post-Maternity Box with a few things that will see me through the season, once Bubba has arrived.

Classic Kicks

Adidas Gazelle / Adidas Stan Smith / Adidas Superstar / Converse All Stars

I’m not sure about you, but I grew up with classic trainers. Mine in fact were a pair of Nike Air Cortez that were white with a navy swoosh, and they pretty much saw me through three years of my late teens. I mustn’t forget to also mention some white Converse All Stars which I’ve replaced countless times and still have today. The brand du jour though has got to be Adidas and I’m seriously tempted by a pair of Stan Smiths – something I’ve never owned. My boyfriend during my early 20s was an absolute “sneaker-freaker” but only for the classics so I have learnt from him – the shell-toed Superstars are also making me look twice. Great to wear with any outfit from a dress or skirt to denim, they are an easy way to effortless cool.

The Shirt Dress

alignone

Mango / ASOS White / New Look

I guess it’s no surprise to you all that these are all striped. I think you know me well enough by now, and how my obsession runs through most of my wardrobe. I like the easy feeling of these dresses, that they can just be thrown on either with heels for work (dressed up with a statement belt) or a pair of the aforementioned sneakers. I’m waiting to see what this Iris & Ink version will be like too – it may be a bit too lux for a new Mum, but I do like the idea of the shirt element for easy BF access.

D’Orsay Shoes

Zara / J Crew / ASOS

This is a term I’ve recently learnt, and the perpetrators of these shoes upon having done some research seem to be US brand Vince. Not a new style I know, but they do seem to be more readily available than I’ve seen in the past. I happened to start thinking about this shoe style after going to see 50 Shades for the second time (I know, please don’t judge me, Jamie Dornan is just so HOT!), as Anna wears them in a few scenes. I really like the tassles that give the J Crew pair something different, and I did try the Zara ones, but they are a bit narrow at the front for my wide feet. They are a great option though and a beautiful mix of pony skin and leather for those of you with nice petite hooves ;) I know Rebecca has also mentioned the ASOS Little Rock ones before (and has in fact worn them recently), and these come in various colours too (all of which happen to be on sale). On the subject of 50 Shades, the soundtrack is FANTASTIC. Definately one to download, although it does now conjure up scenes from the film in my head when listening to it ;)

70′s Denim

H&M / Marks & Spencer

Two trends in one here, since Denim and all things 70′s are around at the moment. Flares are something I’m just getting back in to – it’s liberating for the ankles that’s for sure! I also remember having a button through skirt that I wore A LOT when I was about 16, and it was my Mum’s from the actual 70s, so I’ll have to try and dig that out (nope, I don’t do a lot of throwing away much to the despair of my Husband). The M&S one above has been really popular and it actually sold out on line, but there are a few around in the shops if you call up customer services. These TopShop jeans are a good introduction to flares too if you’ve been a “skinnies girl” until now.

Super Soft Suede

Wrap Dress / Jacket / Boots / Bag 

Another 70′s revival is all things Suede. From footwear, to accessories and clothing, it’s in most shops – both the real deal, and some faux versions. Whilst faux is probably more practical, there’s something very tactile about real suede. I’m hankering after the M&S Autograph Skirt that EVERYONE is talking about (how very original of me) which is due in May, but you can introduce it in lots of ways. For me, tan is the classic shade (who remembers the Suede jacket stage at school? That was 5th Year and Sixth Form in my world) but softer neutrals are a good way to go as well. The Accessorize bag above is one of a few from their new leather range which is gorgeous. The baby blue and bucket shape are very on trend for now.

In keeping then with last month, I thought I’d share another beauty bit that I’ve been using for a while and really do whole-heartedly recommend. I am a big fan of Dermalogica products as my skin can be temperamental – dry one minute and greasy the next – so this range really manages that for me. After a facial last year (where she used Dermalogica products anyway), I started to use the Total Eye Care cream. Honestly, it’s made such a difference to the skin around my eyes and I’ve really noticed a difference in lines and now lack thereof. Now it’s not cheap, but is lasts for AGES.

Hope you liked this month’s recommendations readers. Please do, as always, let me know if you buy anything – I’d love to see your choices :)

Have great months!

Erin xxx

 

 

7 months with Bea…

It feels like Bea’s sixth month has been full of big changes. We moved her into her cot, dropped her dream feed, she slept through the night, stopped sleeping through the night, there have been ups and downs!

Early in the month, as you all know already, we started weaning. That was a massive adjustment for me, trying to fit everything in between milk feeds and solid feeds. Between that and Bea’s new found mobility, it seems to be all go. Gone are the days I can go out for a coffee with friends without moving EVERYthing away from within Bea’s swiping reach!

It’s funny, it seems that (as with all babies I suppose) with some things Bea seems to do them really early and others she doesn’t get until late. Only at 28 weeks did Bea start banging things with her hand – slapping it down onto the table top or banging a toy down, when I have friends with much younger babies doing it much sooner. At 29 weeks she really discovered splashing in the bath. Before that she used to lie there looking very chilled out and now it’s all about slamming her legs down at 90 degrees to create maximum tidal wave style splashes!

28 weeks also marked the end of me being able to leave Bea and find her in the same position. She’s been rolling for a couple of months already but now, rather than crawling, is using rolling as a means to get all around the room. Once she added spinning on the spot on her tummy to turn 90 or 180 degrees, she could pretty much get anywhere.

At 29 weeks, she started pushing herself around backwards, using her arms to push her whole body back along the floor. I was sure this was a precursor to crawling and pretty much all month I would say I’ve felt it was sure to be something she did in the next week or so. But at 32 weeks now, we’re still waiting!

29 weeks also marked another sleep hiatus. Another cold stopped Bea sleeping and we were having lots of night time wakes. I always feed her if she wakes, partly because it’s a guaranteed way to get her back off to sleep and partly because I think, if I had a cold and woke up, I’d have a dry mouth and want a drink. When it turned into 4+ times a night however I got worried and even more so, when as the cold started to improve, Bea was still waking at 12 and 4ish, with habitual regularity. I had no idea what to do. Sometimes I wish I had done something to produce a (generally) good sleeper, so I knew what to do when it went wrong, but I don’t.

We have always put Bea in the cot rather than our room for the first part of the night (bed time to dream feed, when we move her in with us) and after a run of waking at about 12am I decided to just leave her there rather than wake for a dream feed, and get up when she inevitably did a couple of hours later. Instead she woke up at past 8am. We concluded that in fact it had been us waking her up rather than the other way around and she’s been in her cot all night ever since. I was so sad, but in a way it spared me making the ‘big decision’ and knowing it was better for her helped, even though it inadvertently came from desperation on our part!

I’d love to say that was the solution to the sleep issues but after 10 days of sleeping through until 7 or 8am-ish, we’ve been back to waking in the night again and then back again to sleeping after I restarted the dream feed. I actually don’t think it has anything to do with whether she sleeps or not, but it’s a vain attempt to improve things that sometimes works!!

The other big thing has been a few afternoons I’ve spent without Bea. At the time of writing, I go back to work in 2 weeks and I was already getting nervous about leaving Bea. Not just because I didn’t want to leave her, but because the people who would be looking after her (my mum and Pete,) hadn’t really looked after her at all yet. – I had left her with both of them, but only at night when she had slept anyway, so I was worried they wouldn’t know her little cues and quirks, or how to manage her routine (which is a bit haphazard!) I had booked a course for work in anticipation, and my mum spent 2 afternoons while I was at the course, looking after Bea. Fortunately it went very well – Bea was happy as larry and her afternoon with Pete while I went to a Spa was similarly successful. So I’m feeling happier that she won’t feel too disrupted without me.

Every week I go to my Yoga group and we all start by talking about something good that happened that week and something bad. The bad part is always sleep! How is sleep going for those of you with babies? And how did you start to get them ready for your return to work?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS
6 months, 5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months and the first month with Bea

Triple temptation: Sparkling sneaks


Carvela Jasper // Dune Ennis // Kurt Geiger Lucca

I’ve always been a jeans and converse girl at the weekends and now more than ever I’m in flats and re-discovering my love of trainers. I’m in need of an update in the shoe department this spring and top of my hit list are some statement trainers to give that breton tee and jeans a little edge. What could be better than leopard and glitter?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

What I have learned about : BLW [Part 2]

If you want to read more about our experiences with weaning, Part 1 is here. :)

We didn’t need much for BLW but I did buy a few things:

Lassig bib: Becky recommended these as Bea is small (Ikea do some but they would have been massive on her!) and they are thin so no bulky fabric to restrict her moving her arms to pick food up. They are still too big, particularly round the neck so we layer them with a feeding bib underneath and hope not too much goes down her neckline!
Edit: I should say, we have 3 of these and the other great thing about them is that I throw them in the sink after using, give them a swish about to remove the food and wring out. They’re dry in 5 mins flat! Then I start a clean one every few meals.

MAM Dipper Set (Green). Weaning spoons are flatter as babies can’t shape their mouths yet to take food off a spoon, but when I looked for some they’re all really long – I assume to reach further when you’re feeding them, but that seemed really counterintuitive if I wanted her to feed herself – imagine trying to fed yourself with cutlery longer than your forearm?! These were chubby for little hands and importantly, the right size.

Plastic bowls – we put Bea’s food straight on her tray but if I made weetabix or porridge I like having a small bowl for her food, so we’re not using all of ours u

Lock & Lock Food Storage Set
– for leak proof food storage and taking out with us.

Snacks: Organix corn snacks, Rice cakes and Heinz baby Biscotti! I didn’t even think about shop bought baby food as a result of doing baby led weaning, but discovered these through friends. They’re great for a snack if you’re out or to keep Bea busy while food is cooling or being made. The only downside is that they look like Wotsits or Monster Munch which is a bit embarrassing! ;)

Mamas & Papas Baby Snug . We’re still using this, sat on the kitchen island as it’s virtually impossible to find a high chair that is the right height for a kitchen worktop (let me know if you have!) We bought the ikea high chair too as a handy spare for friends visiting, but haven’t used it.

We also have a Doidy Cup that Bea isn’t getting on with that well and a Tommee Tippee First Cup.

So, what have we learned…

Timing is everything
It took me a little while to realise that feeding Bea solids was a matter of timing, too soon after a milk feed and she wasn’t interested, too long and she was starving, for milk. The same applies to naps, if she’s tired she just throws the food around, so I try to give her her milk, then wait about 30-60 minutes before trying food, which give me a big enough window before her next nap.

Meal times take ages. We can easily sit watching Bea eat for 45 minutes at most meal times. That plus the cleaning up means it’s a big commitment. But it’s usually hilarious too. :)

Just because she doesn’t eat something on one occasion, doesn’t mean she won’t wolf it down on another. This has happened with weetabix, porridge, yogurt and a spinach and ricotta base that I made into fritters once and she rejected twice on the trot. Later she devoured some lasagna made with the same filling and she has since eaten the fritters too.

Texture is key. Bea loves carrots and I guess I could let her suck on steamed ones but as I need her to be eating reasonably before my return to work I over do them a little so she can eat them. The same goes for making sure fruit is very ripe, pasta better done than al-dente, etc etc. For this reason we’ve not had much success with rice yet, even risotto.

As for downsides, well, we’ve had our first choking incident which was very brief fortunately and dealt with by a couple of swift blows to her back, but scary in hindsight. It did make me question my commitment to the BLW cause, but it was actually a piece of softish melon she had bitten off herself that was the offending food, so if it can happen with that, I’m not sure what lengths we’d have to go to to protect her completely.

It’s also not as easy as the hype would have you believe… Bea can’t eat everything we eat as a lot of our food has hidden salt – I’m not confessing to a highly processed diet here, but you do have to read labels like a demon as things like bread, cream cheese, pesto, tinned tomatoes etc all often have higher salt than you should be giving to a baby. I make things easy by making more than we need of things like pasta and then varying the sauce – a bit of tomato one day, melted cream cheese another, and pesto on another day, for example. For things like the fritters or spinach and ricotta lasagna, I freeze portions. And because we often eat our evening meal later than Bea, I often give her leftovers from what we had for dinner, for lunch or dinner the next day. I do make her special food sometimes, just as you would with purees, but mainly because it’s natural to want the best for her and I enjoy making new things for her to try, or for example in the case of the spinach fritters, I was keen to get some iron rich foods into her.

Lastly, it’s such an all-comsuming process. Before weaning we were in a good routine, still breast feeding on demand and didn’t have to worry about schedules or fitting in meals or taking food with us anywhere. At first it felt quite restricting, preparing meals, thinking about feeding her, being prepared to do so with bibs and the like, and the time it took up. But I don’t know how differently I’d feel if it was purees, at the end of the day she has to eat and we’ve just adjusted, as you do!

The whole process has been really fun though. I love seeing her try new foods and flavours and it’s fantastic seeing how much she enjoys her food. It has also been amazing, and I can’t emphasis this enough,) seeing how much it has improved her motor skills. She now (at 7 months) passes food from hand to hand, repositions it in her hand to get a better grip and is learning how hard to grip things so they don’t get squashed in her palm or squeezed out if they’re slippery. She will use two hands to keep something in her mouth and is starting to develop her pincer grip. Her oral dexterity is better too, she can now chew things and pass food around her mouth more, sucking flesh off fruit and then dispatching the skin from her mouth with lightening efficiency! So, it was a great choice for us.

I hope you found this useful if you’re around the weaning stage like us or coming up to it. As before, just shout if you have any questions and please do share your experiences and tips in the comments too!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Resources:

How to Wear: February

Hello Readers!

Well February has been a mixed bag hasn’t it? We’ve veered from really beautiful, Spring-like weather mid-month to snow (where we live anyway) last weekend. It’s also been an extremely busy month for me work-wise and coupled with being almost 7 months pregnant and knowing we have a house that has no roof, I feel pretty exhausted to be honest.

I did enjoy a few precious days away with Richard and Calum just before Valentine’s Weekend. We decided to head to the New Forest (barely an hour and a half from us but it felt like far enough away for a nice break) and spent a few nights at The Pig.

Honestly, we love these hotels having now stayed at three of the four. I think for me it’s all in the marketing (“a restaurant with rooms”). They are so low key. Very little to do except wander round the kitchen gardens and check out the animals; perhaps have a little treatment in the Potting Shed; sit in one of the comfy public rooms and enjoy a cocktail whilst you play “Pass the Pigs” (does that remind anyone else of their childhood (the game not the cocktails!) or is that just me?) or just read, and really, chill out. Anyone who knows the properties will know the food is exceptional too and a fantastic added bonus.

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One of the Comfy Lounges at The Pig, Brockenhurst

A delicious array of home-infused Chase Vodka’s and of course, homemade Sloe-Gin. Must visit again when alcohol is on the menu ;)

What we loved this time was that they treated Calum like a king. The family room we had was wonderful, and the little treats that he was given throughout the stay were priceless.

Anyway, I digress a bit, as this is supposed to be a Style Column, but what we did this month dictated largely what I’ve been wearing.

Work-wise, it’s been all about pointy flats and dresses. Most of the dresses are non-maternity, either they just fit (thanks goodness for the shift shape that’s in this S/S) or they are a size larger than I usually take, and the flats are some I have and also supplemented by a new acquisition in these. I also made a cheeky purchase from my What to Buy Feb list – the TopShop stripe dress. This does come in Maternity too, but I decided against that and went for the normal one and it’s fine.

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Casually, it’s been all about sneaker- flats, jeans and oversized jumpers. Perfect for this transition weather. I do love the Zara boots above I picked for a steal in NYC. They are such a beautiful colour IMO ;)

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The other thing I’ve rediscovered is my love of a hat. There are certain styles I can’t wear (I struggle with a Trilby) but wearing a hat is something I’ve always loved and winter is the perfect time to try some of the lovely felt styles out there. This TopShop one has been a favourite over the last couple of weeks. You also can’t go wrong with a bobble hat. Mine (from Bobbl) is great as it’s a nice mix of Black and Navy which goes with a lot of my wardrobe.

So, how have you worn February? Did you pick up anything in the What to Buy list from earlier this month?

See you back here in a couple of weeks!

Erin xx

What I have learned about: BLW [Part 1]

As the title suggests, we decided to go for baby led weaning (BLW) with Bea. I had so much to share about this particular topic that I’ve split it into 2 posts. Today is mainly our experience, and on Thursday I’ll be back with Part 2, sharing our essentials for BLW and tips. (And we have Erin’s fashion fix tomorrow if you’re not interested in weaning!)

My main concern with BLW was the emphasis that ‘food is fun before they’re one’ and reliance on continued milk feeds, while they (very) slowly increase their solid intake. At the time of weaning, I was going back to work in less than 2 months and was still feeding 5-6 or more times per day plus a dream feed. I decided I’d give it a month and if she still wasn’t taking much in, reconsider our options then.

Why did I go for BLW in the end? It just made sense to me. I read the book, and developmentally, it all made sense; why feed a baby purees when they can feed themselves? I felt I was relaxed enough to accept if she didn’t eat much because I was used to trusting her intake whilst breast feeding and I knew she was able to feed herself as EVERYTHING was already going straight into her mouth. She wasn’t quite sitting up when we started – as in, sitting unsupported in the middle of the floor, but was perfectly upright in her baby snug. It also appealed to my style of parenting. Within sensible limits of her having some structure, I prefer her fitting in with us. We eat out a lot (still) and it appealed to the lazy part of me, that I could just fed her the kinds of things we eat, ad hoc.

We started weaning 5 days before she was 6 months old. I had been determined to wait until 6 months exactly, despite the grandparents regular chimes of ‘she’s so ready for food!’ but when I did a bit of reading prior to starting, there is conflicting evidence about the benefits of postponing solids until 6 months (increased gut maturity, reduced risk of allergies…) against possible risks (one recent study found a 4 fold increased risk of diabetes if children were weaned before 4 months or after 6 months.) In the end it was simply convenient to start at the weekend so Pete could participate too.

In the very beginning my focus was on exposing her to as many tastes as possible. I didn’t restrict her to popular first tastes to babies (like sweet vegetables) and simply chose things that were convenient for her to eat – things that were naturally or could be made, stick shaped. One of the key ideas behind BLW is that babies feed themselves, which I found very limiting (babies of 6 months usually can only grasp stick shaped things and it takes weeks and months for them to develop the motor skills to pick things up with their fingers or grasp handfuls and release them into their mouth,) so we quickly introduced a weaning spoon which we preloaded and held out for her to take and put into her mouth herself. She was successful right from the beginning (as I knew she would be because of her tendency to put anything and everything straight into her mouth,) and that made things like weetabix, porridge and yogurt easy enough and moderately less messy.

Ah yes, the mess. I was warned BLW would be messy, so I was prepared for it and to be honest, I don’t think it has been that bad. We bought sleeved bibs (see below) and a piece of oilcloth tablecloth to cover our marble worktops. Apart from on herself, the majority of the mess is from dropping her spoon at the side of her seat or onto the floor and whatever is on it splashing off. I tend to eat with her (at least sitting with her,) so regularly spoon catch and keep a cloth handy to wipe up these spills as we go (because dried on weetabix is like cement, be warned!)

If you don’t have a baby or want to hear about nappies, you might want to skip this paragraph. ;) Because I wanted to give Bea every opportunity to progress with weaning, we very quickly worked up to 3 meals a day, even if they were small. It took about a week before we started to see bits of food in Bea’s nappy (undigested) then after 2 weeks her nappies changed completely, confirming that she was taking a decent amount of food in. We are a month on now and she has dropped down to 4 milk feeds; One on waking, one around lunch after her morning nap, one after her afternoon nap, and one before bed.

So readers, I’d love to hear if you have anything to add here or if you have any questions for me. I’ll do my best to answer them. In the mean time, can anyone suggest a worktop height high chair that isn’t ridiculously expensive?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Resources:

Triple Temptation: Spring backpacks


John Lewis Backpack // Boden backpack // Orla Kiely Backpack

I’ll be honest, when backpacks came into fashion again a couple of seasons ago, I thought it was a pretty unpalatable trend. However, as these things often do, the trend has grown on me and now it happens to fit in with my lifestyle brilliantly. I more often wear Bea in a woven wrap when I’m going on our errands rather than use the pram so a backpack would be perfect, and it suits my more casual sporty style currently. I’m thinking a backpack would be the perfect upgrade from a changing bag when the time comes.

Can I tempt you with one of these readers, or have you seen a better one?

Love,
Rebecca
xo