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

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:

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:

6 months with Bea…

Bea @22 weeks Copyright FlorenceFinds.com

Last time I wrote about my time with Bea, we had had a very rough month but things were looking up. Month 6 was a month of two halves. The first half glorious and fun, the second slightly more trying! 😉


A fun family selfie taken on New Years day

After all the drama of having the lounge re-done before Christmas, I made a pact with myself – no more work on the house before my maternity leave finishes in March. I wanted to enjoy every last moment with Bea as I really felt I’d almost lost a month with her while the work was going on. As soon as Christmas was over I really started enjoying things, and after her bad run of nap trouble things seemed to settle. I accepted that in fact, Bea was getting the vast majority of her sleep overnight and didn’t need much in the day, and she settled into a 3 (short) naps a day routine. I was really sad in a way when 2015 dawned as 2014 had brought us so much joy. We were no longer in the year Bea was born in!

Her growing up is becoming so much fun though! Like everything, her first few laughs were few and far between but now I can make her to laugh, pulling funny faces and being silly – all the things I never thought I’d do.

At 25 weeks, Bea spent the whole week sucking in her bottom lip and making her lovely little mouth into a tight line, whilst making noises like her lips had been sellotaped shut – just another phase, but an amusing one! It was put to an end by her first proper cold which seems to have been the prompt for everything to go wrong in the sleep department too!

Bea @25 weeks Copyright FlorenceFinds.com

First we had a few nights of waking several times between bedtime around 7 and her dream feed at 10-11. Then we had a couple of nights of waking up in the early morning around 6ish, although fortunately going back to sleep. Then a week or so of waking in the night again, a couple of times each night. This latter pattern was caused by her cold and a cough which kept waking her up and it was pretty miserable watching her feeling so sorry for herself, not to mention exhausting. I know I shouldn’t complain but there doesn’t seem to be anything worse than having a baby who sleeps less than they were doing previously – I wondered how I ever managed when she was tiny! Once again, I’m none the wiser as to why it all happened, but it stopped as suddenly as it started.

Bea @26 weeks Copyright FlorenceFinds.com

The end of the month and her 25th week reached a peak with us starting weaning! We decided to go baby-led and started just before she was 6 months – it was the weekend and convenient for Pete to enjoy too. I’m going to write a full post about it soon, but it has been so much fun so far. 🙂 She really does get more any more enjoyable every day!

How are those of you with babies all getting on then?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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

Would you: Do Baby Led Weaning?

It’s a big month for us this month. Aside from #JanuaryJoy (yes, it’s still going on and there will be more posts this week!) Beatrice turns 6 months soon and we’re thinking about weaning. It seemed the perfect time to get these discussion and sharing posts going again and hear your thoughts on weaning. Please do share your thoughts and experiences – both myself and the readers find these posts so helpful I know, so thanks in advance!


Image from Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food

So, weaning. I think I’ve said before that I live in quite a hippyish area of Manchester and I could be forgiven for thinking that everyone does baby led weaning. Before having Bea it seemed like BLW was just the thing to do but I wasn’t sure if I was fully on board with it – it looked messy and I wondered if it was just the latest middle class fad. Since having Bea my thoughts were that I couldn’t do BLW; I’m going back to work when she is 8 months old and as she has thus far been exclusively breast fed (and I have no plans to add in formula once she’s over 6 months,) I’m aware some of her milk feeds will drop, even if I express and that she will need to be getting some nutrition elsewhere.

So I bought the baby led weaning book, fully expecting to disregard it but I am strangely drawn to the idea now. For those not familiar, the book suggests allowing your baby to start eating soft but normal foods (like steamed broccoli for example,) anytime after 6 months that they show an interest. No purees, no spoon feeding, just let them feed themselves. The catch is that the first couple of months or more are very much about learning and playing with food. Babies don’t know how to chew food or pass it back to their throat to swallow initially, but then slowly learn and improve. Milk feeds remain the vast if not entire basis of their nutrition which on reflection actually makes more sense as breast or formula milk is way more nutritious than a bowl of pureed carrot or apple will ever be.

And now I don’t know what to do. I think I want to do BLW. It seems right for Bea and for us. Everything we have done so far has been based around listening to her – her sleep routines and so on but is that because they suited us? Some passages in the book liken giving purees to force feeding and make it sound awful, when like many other baby methods in various books on sleep or behaviour, millions of children have been brought up like that without damaging lasting effects. I don’t really buy into the theory that BLW makes kids less fussy and choose healthier options in later life – surely fussiness is natural toddler behaviour thats inevitable as they get to exercise some choice combined with a bit of boundary pushing, and once a child is exposed to sugars etc, won’t they need some parental moderation of those things naturally? I do however like the idea of her self moderating her intake, just as she has whilst BF. On the other hand with pureeing Bea would eat what I gave her, I wouldn’t have to worry about the salt or sugar contents as I’d be making it and she would no doubt progress easily to being less milk reliant as I go back to work. I still plan to keep feeding her as long as expressing, feeding when I’m home (which is going to be 4 days out of 7 after all,) and my milk supply allows. I wonder if my leaning towards BLW is partly emotional attachment to BF – I do feel guilty that my return to work may impact on her feeding even though I know I should hold onto it as long as possible given the benefits to both of us. Many people tell me that their BF baby just has water or initially some expressed bottles when they are apart, then BF as usual when they are together, but is that me being selfish and hanging onto it, when she might actually really miss it or be hungry in my absence?

So, there’s lots of food for thought there and I’d love to hear your experiences, particularly around your return to work. In case it’s relevant, she won’t be at nursery initially but with my mum at our house or with Pete, so whatever we choose will be easy to continue in my absence.

Wade in readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...