Finding Neverland

I need to find Peter Pan. Quick. Baby Girl is simply growing up far too quickly for my liking. There’s a smaller & smaller gap between milestones. Now she’s standing!

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Mama who?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boob to Bottle & Lactose Intolerance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And she’s off!

Baby Girl is crawling!

She’s been so close for so long just pushing herself around backwards. And on Wednesday morning we were sat on the play mat when she suddenly got up on her knees & started moving her arms. Just like that.

It still surprises me how suddenly they can wake up one day & just be able to do something. Wish I could learn new skills that quickly!

My baby is my boss

This post is from a blog I follow, Underneath the Elephant. My first reblog, I couldn’t resist. Not only is it wonderfully written but Natalie Smithson (@UnderTheEleMum) has managed to capture motherhood perfectly. It was like looking into a mirror of myself & Baby Girl & brought a tear to my eye. Couldn’t have said it better myself: Baby Girl really is my boss.

Underneath the Elephant

Baby contemplatingI remember with real clarity the day my baby daughter first looked at me with an honest question. Mum, why do I feel so bad? Can’t you make it go away? Big eyes, wide open. Her beauty in that moment was devastating. She destroyed the tough outer wall of my heart with one wilting look. With a temperature as high as my alert, we both hoped she could just sleep it off. Up until that day I’d only considered dreaded questions like Mummy, what’s the square root of 289? With a smug surety, I knew these were years off yet and by then I could blame my age for ‘forgetting’ the answer. For now, my daughter is taken care of without question. Life happens to her. The temperature came and went, but her world was beginning to take shape. What she sees is uncomplicated. I am all she knows. It’s…

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Parkercise

Today I officially started the war on my final few pounds left to lose & the flabby stomach Baby Girl kindly bestowed upon me.

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Post-class realisation I have a lot of work to do to get back in shape…

I hate running. The Other Half loves running & kept saying it would be a great way for me to get some exercise. But when I say I hate running, I mean I really hate running.

But the East London authorities have started an initiative offering free exercise classes throughout the week in various parks in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Olympic Park & East Village E20. They’re offering everything from running clubs to Boxercise to yoga, all are run by trained professionals.

This weekend I went to Abs, Bums & Thighs. It was a rude awakening for how unfit I am these days – & only so much of that I can blame on pregnancy… My only saving grace was that the thighs work I was on top of my game after all the bouncing squats soothing with Baby Girl!

The class was brilliant & the instructor knew his stuff with regards to postnatal limitations, giving me alternatives for some of the harder exercises while I build up my strength again.

To anyone in East London (or who can get to East London) I would highly recommend checking out the Our Parks website & seeing what’s near you. They’re relying predominantly on word of mouth so #TurnUpToneUp & tweet (or blog).

You can also find them on twitter: @OurParksUK

Or get the iPhone app or Google Play app to manage your bookings & profile. (NB: you only seem to be able to make bookings via the website currently.)

Teeth!

Last weekend, 1 day before she turned 6 months, Baby Girl’s first tooth broke through. A few days later came tooth number 2.

It’s been a hard week or so with a lot of waking in the night & a lot of paracetamol (within the recommended dose amounts & not exceeding 4 doses a day), lots of head scratching & chomping on anything in sight.

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6 months

Where has the time gone? How are we half way through Baby Girl’s first year? How is it September?! I’ve been looking back at the thousands, yes, thousands, of photos we’ve taken & can’t believe how much she’s changed.

Those sleepy mornings in bed together in the early days seem so long ago. Now she just pats my face & gurgles until I get up & play. Which is lovely in its own way… But the occasional lazy morning wouldn’t go amiss!

Baby Girl is so close to crawling now. She just hasn’t got the arm action yet, though she seems to have got the hang of shuffling backwards. Which just frustrates her as she can never reach the yellow rattle!

She’s an inquisitive one, sitting up unaided, responding to her name & reaching for everything in sight. Then promptly throwing it on the floor. That’s including the iPhone, which she’s clicked is just a distraction for Mama. But more & more, she wants to stand on my knee, expecting me to help hold her there for longer & longer amounts of time. Who needs dumbbells when you have a 16lb baby.

And of course, Baby Girl is a chatter box. Being my daughter (& my mother’s granddaughter) it was inevitable. She babbles away on the play mat, she sings herself to sleep & she coos & calls to us from her highchair. She watches our mouths intently as we respond & you can see the concentration on her face as she desperately tries to form the same sound. But snorting is her favourite though. So ladylike.

But perhaps most exciting of all, right on schedule, Baby Girl has her first two teeth. We felt the first on Saturday as she chomped down on my finger in Rome airport (ow) & the second on Wednesday morning. One toothy grin coming right up!

Everyday brings something new. As cliched as it may sound, it really is incredible watching someone discover things you’ve come to take as instinct for so long. Any day now Baby Girl will be able to clap her hands (cue a hundred clapping games a day to show her what to do – no luck yet) & the idea that she doesn’t even know that action exists in her mind yet is astonishing to me. I wonder what tomorrow will bring…?

title image how to survive airport delays with a baby

How to: survive airport delays with a baby

We went to my dad & H’s house nestled in the stunning Umbrian hills in Italy last week.

Thankfully, we didn’t have a repeat of France two & a half months ago. She was positively non-plused by being somewhere new, different & unknown. If anything, she was just excited to be surrounded by flowers. Apparently we have a hippie baby.

But  – there’s always a but – the house has no wifi. So we didn’t receive the email from BA on Friday explaining that due to strike action at Rome airport our return flight was delayed by a few hours.

So we arrived at Fiumicino at 10am to find we had six hours to fill rather than two & a half. Only it wasn’t six hours. It ended up as ten. With a six month old baby. We’ve had better Saturdays.

So, without further a do, here’s our survival guide for surviving ten hours in an airport with a baby.

1. Pack extra muslins. Anyone with a baby knows, this needs no explanation.

2. For bottle fed babies, take extra bottles & formula. This was our first trip on bottles. We planned for the two expected feeds while travelling & one spare with a spare portion of formula. Seven hours into our delay, we were looking at using our spare bottle & starting to panic about what happened if we didn’t make it back before we needed another. After this experience, we’ll always carry more than one spare bottle & plenty of formula. If worst comes to worst, you could dunk the bottle in boiling water & refill using bottled water with low sodium levels. But if you run out of formula you’re stuffed.

3. Take your pushchair to the gate. Or you’ll have very tired arms after the first hour!

4. Pack dummies. Even if you don’t usually use a dummy, they’re helpful for take off & landing.image

5. If there’s no wifi in the airport (have you mistaken a time machine for your plane?!) turn on your data. Just do it. It will keep you sane.

6. Avoid the restaurants where your complimentary food vouchers are valid. Just don’t bother. Spend good money instead. We got £45 of food vouchers from BA. We tried quite a few over nine hours. None were good. None.

7. Be prepared to act like an idiot in front of others. Keep your baby entertained at all costs. Strangers would rather listen to you sing Row Row Row Your Boat for a fifth time than listen to your baby’s world coming to an end.image

8. Don’t lose your rag. Especially with members of staff that aren’t even from your airline… (Sorry to the lady from Delta manning the information desk. In my defence, the desk wasn’t very aptly named. More like ‘no-information desk’. Just saying…)

9. Treat yourself. Go on, you’ve earned it. For me, this was a donut about five hours in. For the Other Half, it was a Blood Mary when we finally took off.

10. Laugh it off. You’ll find the time goes a lot faster if you laugh rather than cry.

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Mr. Dragon and Owly qualify for frequent flyer miles, right?

For more trips on travelling with a baby, see my previous post after our holiday to France with a three month old or How to: survive a baby on a train.