Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Mothering Sunday - your 5 day warning!

This Sunday is going to be my first Mothers’ Day, or Mothering Sunday, as I should say.
I’m told that we celebrate it from when, in years gone by, girls who worked as servants were given a day off to visit their mummy.  I’m glad I only have to play when I go to nursery!  I made my Mummy a card today, and Daddy is going to help me pick out a really special present.  I also hope he’ll subsidise my budget, because I haven’t been able to save much yet!
I believe that there are much deeper religious connotations to Mothering Sunday than most people celebrate now, but I’m looking forward to celebrating my mummy, giving her some pretty flowers, and spending some “quality time” with her.  I might even let her have her cup of tea before it gets cold!
Let me know how you’re planning to spoil your mummy.

Tattoo or not tattoo?

I don’t know if there’s something in my milk at the moment but after yesterday’s skirt around the whole breast milk vs formula debate, I seem to be craving a bit of controversy!  Rather than a full on dip though, because it’s already past my bedtime, I’m going to wave my toe in the general direction of the tattoo debate.
It seems to me, you either love them or you hate them, but there’s no denying their permanence.  The one that caught my eye today was a dummy, on a grown man’s neck.  I haven’t been grabbed yet by the urge to have one (give me half a chance!) but I guess you pick one because it shows something that’s important to you and means something.  But how do I know what I like today is what I’ll like tomorrow, let alone when I’m not a baby any more?  I wonder if the man with the dummy on his neck considered that.  Maybe he liked them once upon a time and now wishes he had something a little more adult, or maybe he’s into dummies now. He looked more Tiny Tempa than Tommee Tippee, but what would I know?
So, what motivates people to have one, or several, and how do you ever decide what you’re going to have – that you think you’ll like forever?  I’d love to know what you think . . .

Monday, 28 March 2011

You're doing a great job!

I was listening to the radio today and I heard a programme about being a mummy or daddy for the first time, and how scary it can be.  Apparently, all you grown-ups remember the first time you bring us home, and often wonder “what do we do now?”  It’s a shame I don’t recall it at all – it sounds like a momentous occasion!
I guess it’s bound to be daunting, but look at it this way – you’re the first mummy and daddy we’ve ever known, and we think you’re absolutely great!  When we’re that tiny, we babies have very few needs so go through the list and you’ll get there.  “Feed me!” and “Change my nappy!” were my most common demands.  And, if we’re honest, they’re still the things I shout for loudest.
In my first few days in this place, Mummy and I spent a lot of time practising feeding.  I know she really wanted to feed me herself and it did seem to be going quite well.  But, I have Daddy’s appetite!  I ate and ate and ate, but Mummy couldn’t produce the milk fast enough.  I lost quite a lot weight and Mummy and Daddy were worried, until a really nice midwife suggested giving me a little formula after my breast milk.
A lot has been written and said about breast versus formula milk, and my mummy got quite stressed about it because she felt she was failing in the most basic of mummy duties, but she wasn’t.  On the contrary, if you ask me – she could have persevered, but she would have only proved a point to herself.  She was a far better mummy for realising the issue and dealing with it.  We carried on with breast feeding till six months, but I just got a formula top up after my feeds.  I like to see it as a pudding after my meal!
The programme went on to talk about instincts, and what happens if it seems like you don’t have any.  Like I said earlier, we babies think you’re doing a great job and it really doesn’t matter if you don’t do things like your friends, or your sister, or your mother-in-law.  We’re all individuals so it makes sense that we need an individual approach.  There’s nothing wrong with getting advice, whether you read a book or talk to someone, (or they talk to you!) but take the bits you like, and don’t give the rest of it another thought.  You might think someone else has more experience of being a parent, but no-one has more experience of being a parent to your baby.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

My advice on starting solid foods - the practical bits!

Now, I apologise if some of the things I cover today seem to be a bit obvious, but often it's the simple things you forget when you're starting something new.
- we babies are more likely to eat if we're sitting comfortably and facing forwards, so a highchair is a good idea
- give us plenty of time to eat. It can be tempting to hurry us up, but that's just really off-putting, so allow for more time than you would need yourselves at mealtimes, and absolutely don't force us!
- I'm pretty clear when I've had enough - I turn my head away. It's a pretty standard baby communication method
- you don't need to be a great cook; to start with, we just want very simple things - a bit of baby rice or cereal mixed with our regular milk, and take it from there.
Once we start to get the hang of the rice, mashed carrot or parsnip is a good bet. Boil the veg to soften it, and then it's much easier to mash smooth enough. As far as I'm concerned, the more textures and flavours we can try, the better, but don't add any salt or sugar to our food. When we get a bit older, we can start having the same as the rest of the family. I'll talk about that in more detail some other time.

If you decide not to cook, there are plenty of really good ready made baby foods available. I have my favourite brands, but other babies might like different things. My mummy finds them really handy to take if we're going out for the day because they are pretty hassle-free. If she buys me a pouch of food, I quite like just sucking the food out - who needs to bother with a spoon?! One or other of the supermarkets is usually doing an offer on baby food, so it's easy to stock up.

It's worth mentioning vitamins at this point. Once we get past about 6 months, our needs change and we need a different mix of vitamins and minerals. If your baby is still breastfeeding, there's no need to stop, but a supplemnt is a good idea. Formula already has everything added to it. Often, if you're making your own foods, there is a risk that you boil out all the goodness trying to make it soft enough. Another good reason for considering the vitamins!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Starting Solid Food and Weaning

I love milk, but I was really keen to start solid food and add a bit of variety to my diet.  I know the guidelines say “around six months,” to make sure babies’ little digestive systems are up to it, but they are just that – guidelines.  I was doing everything I could to tell Mummy I was ready to try;
-          I could sit up properly, so the risk of me choking was lessened
-          I put everything in my mouth; toys, or anything else I could get my hands on
-          I watched Mummy, Daddy and Big Sister eating and followed the food to their mouths
-          I even tried reaching out to grab food
Eventually, they got the message and I had my first taste of food at about 5 months.  Mummy gave me some baby rice to start with, just to get me used to having something other than milk in my mouth, and to let me practice moving something around with my tongue.  It was a novel experience, and thankfully, they gave me some pureed fruit pretty soon afterwards; I didn’t know any different at the time, but quite frankly, the baby rice tastes as good as one of my cardboard books, but without the pretty pictures!
Mummy knew that because I was younger than six months, I should avoid certain foods, like bread, eggs, fish, and unpasteurised milk and cheese.  And nuts, of course, but they’re still a bit of a choking hazard.
My friends and I are all on solid food now and if our mummies were to do it again, our advice would be:
-          Don’t rush us
-          Let us have a go – we want to try using our fingers, and it helps improve our co-ordination
-          Mix the first foods with a bit of regular milk, whether that’s breast milk or formula, so the taste isn’t completely alien to us
-          Don’t force us! Some days we fancy it, others we just don’t.  We’re like grown-ups that way – sometimes you’re really hungry, other days you don’t each much at all.  Sometimes you really fancy something in particular, other days it’s the last thing you want
-          Let us try lots of different things – it’s all new to us and we want to experience as many different flavours and textures as possible
Good foods to try us on to start with are baby rice and mashed fruit and vegetables, like bananas, carrots, parsnips.  I ought to say that avocados are a good first food, but I think they’re revolting!  That’s just me.  Whatever you choose, make sure it’s smooth enough for us to swallow.
And please don’t worry about the mess – it’s inevitable!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Ready . . . Steady . . . GO!

I’m finally on the move!  Persistence was the key and I’d been practising for what seemed like forever.  It all started when I thought about bearing some weight on my arms.  My second leg kept getting stuck under my bottom and that held me back for a while – it wasn’t even really a shuffle at that stage, and boy, was it frustrating! I’m embarrassed to say, there were a few tantrums.
I think Independence might be my second name.  It’s about time I started calling some shots around here – I’ll choose where I play, and if I don’t like what I’m given to play with, I’ll select something myself, even if it doesn’t fall into the conventional ‘toy’ bracket.  Today, I’m liking plug sockets.  It’s only right to point out to Daddy all the potential trip hazards so I’ve been waving loose cables at him wherever I find them.  Someone could do themselves a nasty injury!
I think Mummy and Daddy were beginning to wonder if I’d ever figure it out.  Daddy didn’t crawl but perfected a bum-shuffle, and Mummy went straight to walking.  Even I am impressed with the speed I’ve built up in just a few days! 
I think grown-ups should just chill out – we babies will manage to get around, don’t you worry!  Some of my friends have been crawling for ages, others still aren’t.  I sometimes wonder if I should have held out a little longer.  I mean, why bother getting up to fetch something myself when if I scream loud enough, someone will just bring it to me.
So, must dash now – I’ve seen something on the other side of the room that needs investigating quickly!

My First Post!

I’ve been on the planet less than a year but already I have an opinion on most things. People need to listen to the little ones!  So, I decided to speak up for the small people.  I did the hard bit and set up the blog to give me a window to the world.  I now just need to write on it! 
Daddy keeps telling me to do something useful or he’ll make me join the army, so I hope this counts!
Thanks for reading.