Nil by mouth

Missing words

My last proper blog was January! I can’t believe it’s been so long – but I think that’s because there’s only really been one thing on my mind, and it’s been something I’ve not been allowed to talk about.. until now. 

Jude is going to be a big brother! (And we’re going to be parents to TWO! Oh god – every time I see a mum with two, I just think ‘What have we done??!’)

Our 12 week scan – they all look like blobs really, don’t they?!

     

I’m almost five months in now and finally, FINALLY feeling slightly better; more energetic and less hungover! I definitely don’t remember feeling this awful for such a long time when I was pregnant with Jude. The first trimester is by far the worst: sickness, tiredness, been off food, being on food – I was ill with an awful cold too, which was a nightmare. And all this, without being able to tell anyone – to explain myself – to anyone! I was cancelling plans with friends, turning up to work looking like I’d been out on the razz the night before, sleeping during the day (when I could), and was unable to explain that it wasn’t me being lazy and gross, it was just my body, coping with the early beginnings of a baby.

  Having a second baby is so weird. I have had lots of overwhelming feelings of guilt. Guilt for Jude, and feeling too tired and sick to play with him; guilt for the new baby and the lack of time spent thinking and being excited for him/her – there simply isn’t time this time!; more guilt for Jude and how much his life is going to change when he has to share his parents with a new sibling; more guilt for the new baby, and how different his/her first year will be in comparison to Jude’s. The list goes on. 

A little light reading – my mother’s day gift from bump

     

And then I pulled myself together. 

  I simply cannot spend the next 4.5 months worrying and fretting about what’s to come. Now is the time to enjoy the time we have with Jude (and on that note: summer holiday at 7 months preggers is already booked), look forward to the amazing time we have ahead of us – help Jude to become an independant little boy, who will be an AMAZING big brother, and generally chill out

  
   I’ve been feeling funny, not only about the concept of two children, but also about the actual birth. Most people would say that I had a great first labour. And, I know that in comparison to some births, I definitely did. The most important thing happened, and that is that Jude arrived healthy and I remained healthy. However, I was induced and had an epidural, which meant that I slept through almost my entire labour and didn’t really have to deal with any contractions or any pain during pushing (some people’s dream!). Prior to giving birth, I had hoped for a spontaneous labour, natural birth and as little pain relief as possible – I trusted my body 100% and wanted to connect with my baby through a relaxed, natural birth. The opposite happened. My body didn’t do as it was supposed to (possibly because Jude wasn’t ready to arrive and should have been left where he was?), and I had to have a lot of drugs in order to have him arrive when the hospital said he should. So this time around, I feel much MUCH more nervous about the actual birth – can my body do it this time? 

And so the ‘bumpies’ start again!

I have also considered a home birth. The last time, I was convinced that water would really help me in labour – I had a bath at one point in early labour while being induced with a pessary, and the pain from the contractions went away while I was in the bath – it was amazing! So this time, I would really love to have a water birth at home. But, I am very worried that my body simply wont be able to do it. While writing this, I am also very aware that I may well be wrong to be this nervous. I certainly know that I now have approximately 20 weeks to sort myself and my mental state out – my body can do it – it just needs the time it needs! 

   

Anyway, there you have it! Baby number 2 is well and truly on the way – second scan next week and we’re having another surprise – no finding out the gender for us (or you!). The only way is up…! 

At last, I am free!

The big finish

On 28th December, Jude turned 18 months old. 

He can walk (he can run and climb for that matter),  he can (very nearly) talk, AND, he has teeth. LOADS of them! He’s a proper little grown up lad, really. 

For the last 6 months, I have still been breastfeeding him, but only once a day before bed. This, it seemed, was completely fine with him; he didn’t ask for it at any other time of day – in fact, he didn’t even ask for it then, I just gave it to him, and he was also perfectly happy to have a bottle if I wasn’t in, or he was at my mums etc. Yet I continued to feed him myself when I had him at home by myself. It was ‘our time’ I guess. 

Breastfeeding was always my plan when I had Jude and I was lucky enough to be able to do it for as long as I have wanted to. If not, a little longer! I had initially made the decision to stop at 12 months old, but it just didn’t happen. It’s a weird old thing, breastfeeding. At the beginning of the baby’s life, and throughout pregnancy, you’re encouraged to breastfeed by everyone – “it’s the best thing for baby”, “it’s convenient”, “it’s free”, “no sterilising” etc etc. But then, after a few months it’s all about “so, when are you stopping then?”. Wow – ‘I thought you guys wanted me to do this for ages? We’ve only just settled into a flow!  

Anyway, about 3 months ago I definitely decided that enough was enough. At this rate he’d be four years old and still having it! (I know it’s right for some, just not for me). Steve also seemed keen to be able to lay some claim to them again too (ifyouknowwhatImean). 

Jude had fed on a nipple guard since he was about 4 months old. It meant that I was able to continue feeding him in comfort, and so they have just been a part of our feeding routine ever since and actually, in the end he wouldn’t feed without them. Which means that if I don’t have one with me he can’t be breastfed! It’s as simple as that. We visited Steve’s family in Cornwall shortly before Christmas and I forgot to take any guards with me. So it seemed like the perfect opportunity to stop breastfeeding. 

As it happened, I got really emotional about it and really sad that this time in our lives was over. I even fed him once or twice when we got back, but now I have officially stopped and we’re persevering with a bedtime routine that usually results in us wrestling for 20 or so minutes after his bottle, before he sleeps. (I used to feed him to sleep(!)). 

Milk from a bottle seems to have the same affect as Red Bull might. 

I feel liberated! I feel really proud of myself that I broke the cycle. Because actually, it did feel, at times, like I would never stop. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the time that we spent breastfeeding. As I said, I have been incredibly lucky. But I’m equally as proud that I managed to stop. It’s an emotional attachment that it’s difficult to break I think. More for me than Jude too. As long as he’s fed he really doesn’t care!

Although we have had a slight issue since we stopped feeding…….


Hand down my top! Every. Single. Cuddle. No attempt to actually feed (thank goodness), but still. And he doesn’t only do it to me – he does it to my mum too! It’s like since he doesn’t get that ‘skin time’, he likes to feel my skin as a comfort thing. I stupidly commented the other day that he doesn’t do it in public, but I was wrong! 

I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it (he bloody better!), or we’ll have to use bribery or something. 

It’s nice to still feel loved though. 

Waiting

I’m sitting here in the lounge and I’m showered, bag packed, snacks in, nails freshly painted, waiting for Jude to wake up so we can go out. It’s 9.42am. We need to be somewhere that is half an hour away by 10. Why is it that you can spend days, nay weeks trying to get the baby to nap so you can have some ‘me’ time, you can go weeks without being able to paint your nails and just when he naps ‘correctly’ and you have time, it’s when you don’t have time? 

I believe it’s a little thing called ‘life with a child’. A life that I love. And yes, we are due to be somewhere by 10, but who cares?? I’m back to work in 6 weeks and I know from then on my life is going to backflip all over again. In fact I’ll probably never have time to sit in the lounge and wait for Jude. Or write a blog. 

  

When do ‘New Mums’ become old mums?

With a little help from my friends
I have spent the last couple of weeks catching up with old friends. It has been brilliant, but has also come at a time when I have found myself feeling very different. Let me explain….  

  
I have felt quite lonely over the last few weeks. I’m not alone, but I have felt quite alone. I think it has a lot to do with having to find something to entertain myself every day. That makes me sound very ungrateful; I most definitely am not ungrateful, I LOVE my life. I LOVE spending every day with Jude and helping him to grow and develop. I LOVE being able to spend some evenings and some day times (shift dependent) with Steve and Jude together: my Family. But sometimes I feel like I haven’t had an adult conversation for days. Sometimes I just wish I didn’t have to be at home at 5.30 every evening so I can give my gorgeous boy his tea, then do his bedtime routine. 99.9% of the time I LOVE this too, but sometimes, just sometimes, I’d like to be able to stay in the pub later than 5pm. 

So I have decided to take action and ‘rediscover’ myself sort of thing. I am very lucky to have my parents around the corner and therefore can ask them for help with Jude when necessary. Steve also has a regular day off every week when we usually have a nice family day. Well, I have decided that I will use one or both of these facts to rekindle my love of live music. I popped out to meet some friends a week or so ago and had a chat with a friend who goes to see a lot of live music. She’s going to let me tag along from time to time. We have our first date with a folk singer called Vinna Bee at the end of this month, I can’t wait!  

  
We also had friends over for food and after dinner games last week which was brilliant. We tried to do this when Jude was much younger and it turned out to be a bit of a disaster; he wasn’t very happy, we talked about him constantly, our guests ended up being alone a lot of the time because we were sorting out food and baby etc etc. This time however, Jude still didn’t go to bed properly (I had put him down and he managed about 45 mins before waking up and by that time our guests had arrived so he knew something was going on and wouldn’t settle), but he was in great spirits and we put him in his highchair and he joined us until he was tired enough to go up for the night. Our guests got to see him too which was a hit (I think).  So I feel like I’m back in good spirits and have a ‘plan’. 

I finally had my haircut this week (‘Father, it’s been 7 months since my last haircut’), and my excuse to the stylist for the state of my hair, and the fact that I wanted an ‘easy’ style, was Jude. The hairdresser asked me how old my baby (that is ruining my hair-styling life) is, and when I replied with ‘just over 9 months’, I felt a bit stupid. Stupid and lazy and like I should have it down by now; nailing the personal care, makeup, facials, painted nails and hair. Or not. When should we (as new mums) be able to look after ourselves properly and be presentable again? Or will it ever happen? I keep fantasising about when I go back to work and have money again (which probably won’t happen as we’ll have other stuff like nursery to spend it on), about how I’m going to have regular facials and always, always have my nails painted and with no chips. I have a funny feeling there are lots of mums of older children out there laughing right about now. But when does the ‘New Mum’ label wear off? How new is New?

   

Breastfeeding and mealtime update

As I mentioned in my last blog, we have been cutting down on the number of feeds Jude has per day in preparation for my return to work. His breastfeeds are no longer of a high nutritional value and he is getting the majority of his ‘good stuff’ from his meals (which I will describe in a bit). So really, his feeds are primarily for thirst quenching, closeness and bonding. Jude can now ask for milk; he climbs onto my lap, gives me a big cuddle, then lies himself sideways as if he’s going to feed. If we’re standing up and I’m holding him, he will tap/hit my chest. Weird. Clever, but weird. Steve and I have gone full swing into teaching Jude the symbols/actions for ‘food’ and ‘drink’, referring to any meal or snack and water (as opposed to ‘milk’, which Jude already knows), so that we can try to avoid the big tantrums that occur when he’s hungry or thirsty. 

We have managed to cut down to 3-4 (but usually 3) breastfeeds a day so far. That’s an early morning feed, a mid morning feed before his nap and an evening feed before bed. Our day goes a bit like this:

  • 6-6.30am               Wake up
  • 6.30am.                   Breastfeed
  • 8-8.30am.                  Breakfast – fruity purée (usually pear, mango or nectarine) and porridge, toast with butter and fresh fruit (usually melon or mango)
  • 9.30ish.                   Breastfeed
  • 9.30-11am.             Nap (1-1.5 hours)
  • 11am.                       Snack – fruit, baby biscuit or homemade flapjack
  • 12-1pm.                  Lunch – Finger foods such as homemade frittata, cheese, celery, cucumber, cold pasta pieces, ham etc
  • 3-4pm.                    Snack – baby crisps, baby biscuit, fruit.*sometimes we have a breastfeed here too, depending on his mood*
  • 4-5pm.                    Nap (30 mins ish)
  • 6pm                          Tea – main meal such as salmon, peas & potatoes, kedgeree, lamb dinner, chicken casserole, pulled pork (all meals Jude has had in the past – made without salt of course!), a yogurt for dessert and a rusk or fruit for added finger food.
  • 6.30-7.15.              ‘Nappy off time’ & bath
  • 7.15-7.30.               Breastfeed and bed.         

Although this ‘schedule’ seems quite organised, note that each time period is an hour or so – we have ‘windows’ when we do things. That way, our day is more flexible and we can go out and see friends or go to classes etc, but we still have a shape to our day. We’re lucky in that Jude will happily eat his lunch if we’re out and about, as long as we have a decent highchair he’ll eat anywhere! 

Oh yes, and we let Jude try a very small part of one of his Easter eggs! A Thorntons Easter Bunny given to him by my dad as he thought he’d like the face on it!  I managed to get a good, but shocking photo as we gave him the whole bunny and just let him go for it! He seemed to like it, but not as much as I expected him to – he was fairly laid back about the whole experience really! 

  
        

Walking on sunshine

Jude seems to be extremely close to walking now. We bought him a wooden activity walker/trolley type thing and he has gone from not quite being able to control how fast it goes a fortnight ago, to climbing up to standing himself and walking it around the room rapidly and unaided! He has also started ‘launching’ himself from one piece of furniture to the next instead of carefully stepping. He will throw himself then take a few, unsupported steps between the two items of furniture. He’s getting braver and more trouble by the day! 

  
We have a little boy who is full of character and getting more and more personality by the day. He plays peek a boo with everything, from nanny’s scarf (while she’s wearing it), to the curtains if he can get his hands on them. We bought him a pair of soft pram shoes to enable him to toddle about (holding hands of course), while we’re outside. The nice weather means we’ve taken a few trips to the park recently, and he likes to get out of the sling or buggy and have a wander about. Soft shoes means that he can do so without ruining his socks! His feet will change shape very quickly once he starts walking properly so we’ll have to look into some proper walking shoes then! Crazy to think that less than a year ago he was our tiny, brand new, needy baby and now he’s becoming more and more independent every day! First birthday party planning will be in full swing very soon! Eek! 

Springy, bouncy baby

Sorry for the extremely late post – as you will soon find out, we’ve been very busy bees and I simply haven’t had time! I am however enjoying being able to blog when I can and about lots of random things, it feels more fun to blog as and when I can and not to a schedule. I also feel that it’s more fun because I get to talk about myself. And that’s pretty much heaven for me.
So. I’m going to use this post to update you on breastfeeding, which believe it or not, I have been doing the whoooole time, even though I haven’t updated you for ages. There has also been rapid development on the mobile baby front!

   

HUGE scary moment. 

Before I bore you with all the updates, I feel the need to let any mummy readers know (and please tell all the other babybrained, knackered mothers out there too), that a week or so ago, I drove all the way to a class with Jude in the car seat WITHOUT THE SEATBELT ON. I had walked to my mums car (which we borrow when we’re going to a morning class that is further than a half an hour’s walk away, as I can’t get ready in time!), I took Jude out of the buggy, popped him into the car seat and did his seat belt up. I then collapsed the buggy, put it in the boot, put myself in the driver’s seat and drove 15 minutes ish to our singing class. Then I got out of the car and went around to the other side of the car to get Jude out, only to discover I hadn’t done up the car seatbelt! I still put Jude in the front passenger seat (airbag off of course); we’ve done it ever since he was a baby and that’s still where he travels. When we upgrade his car seat, we’ll move him into the back and Steve can ride in the front again! I have recently wondered which seat in the car would be safest for him..? Front or back? Or does it matter?

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about my little booboo to try and let anyone who has also done something similar feel better. Oh, and knowing what you did too would be great and would make me feel better!! WE’RE NOT MACHINES. SHIT HAPPENS. THANK GOODNESS NOTHING BAD HAPPENED. 

   

Breastfeeding update  

Jude has now been exclusively breastfed for almost 9 months. Something I’m proud of, but something that for the past 5 or 6 months has come very easily and has just seemed like the natural thing to do. In fact, I’m finding it hard to see when we’ll stop. Or how we’ll stop for that matter. I have always thought that I’d deliberately stop breastfeeding, but I’ve also said that I didn’t want Jude to have formula milk. Not that there’s anything wrong with formal milk; in fact, breastfed babies should have extra vitamins over 6 months as breast milk doesn’t quite cut it; whereas formula has the added vitamins required for babies over 6 months. Jude does have a brilliant diet, which more than makes up for the missing vitamins in my milk. Anyway, I’m planning on reducing Jude’s feeds so that when I go back to work in June, he will only be having one in the morning and evening from me and an expressed feed from a bottle in the daytime. His main nutrition is coming from his meals these days, so it’s mainly for comfort and fluid intake anyway. Plus he has water with meals and throughout the day. So cutting back on feeds was going well until he got ill and all he wants to do is feed for comfort. It seems we took 3 steps forward and about 18 back! We’ll start again cutting back on feeds during the daytime and hopefully his night feeds will follow as he’s back to waking 3-4 times a night! He does only wake for 15-20 minutes at a time, but it’s so unnecessary as I know he can go for MUCH longer without a feed. 

Another thing that has happened recently is that he has bitten me. OOOOUUUUUUUUUUUCH! He now has 4 and a half teeth – top and bottom – and therefore despite the nipple guard (that I still use) it absolutely killed. I shouted “Ouch” and pulled his clamped teeth off my nipple. He cried. Wowee, it’s not nice and that’s an understatement. I was thinking that I’ll switch him over to cows milk when he turns 1, but only if he stops biting! We’re going on holiday in July and I’d love to not have to worry about feeding. I still have absolutely no regrets about breastfeeding though and if I ever have another baby I hope to be able to do it all again! 

   

Movin’ on up

Our nearly 9 month old is certainly giving us a run for our money these days! On top of coasting around the furniture constantly, we have had to put a stair gate on the bottom of the stairs now (our stairs go up from the lounge), as Jude can now climb! It’s brilliant and he loves it!  We allow him to climb up the stairs to the bath in the evenings with us directly behind him and it’s so exciting for him. He also dances every time music comes on. It’s unbelievable and SO cute. Steve and I are so proud and pleased that he’s got an ear for good music – anything with a bit of rhythm and he’s off! 

  
I told you a while ago about a baby signing class that we started going to. I was quite cynical to begin with and didn’t really know what it could bring to us. How wrong I was. For a while now, Jude has done the sign for ‘all gone’ or ‘finished’ when he’s had enough food. We soon learned that he was doing that sign as he would throw up if we carried on feeding him! He has now started doing the sign for milk when he wants a feed. It’s crazy! I can’t believe it actually works! He is babbling away and often says sounds that sound like they could be words, so perhaps some time soon he will start saying a few things too. That’s the important part of signing; you must say the word at the same time – it is used to develop vocabulary and the signs are to aid understanding. And it appears to be working so far! 

Jude also waves now! He waves goodbye when people leave also waves across rooms/tables if people wave at him. It’s crazy how fast he is developing now – there seems to be a new thing every day, I am sure he’ll be going to school before we know it..

            
Devastating news

  With all this new life and new and exciting developments, we must always dedicate our time to those who are slightly less new. We had some very sad news this week; my grandma sadly passed away. She has been living with dementia for a number of years and this week her physical health rapidly deteriorated and we lost her last weekend. A very sad time. Jude had been spending time with my grandpa (his great grandpa) and we had managed to take him to visit my grandma in the home that she lived in. Sadly, due to the nature of her illness she was unable to interact with Jude very well, but I managed to take some pictures of them together, which we will always treasure. Rest in peace Grandma, we will always remember our childhoods with you and the years spent watching you in the kitchen making rock cakes and welsh cakes (with extra caster sugar please!). I still put crisps on soup from time to time… We love you xxx

Baby (and toddler?) brain

Before I had Jude, I was so switched on – I would notice EVERYTHING. I would never forget a face, I could walk down the street and say things like ‘See that person over there? Well, he came into the pub I used to work in once, about 12 years ago or something, and was so drunk he could barely stand up’. I used to remember things. I used to remember pointless, irritating things and annoy everyone around me. I was so alert, nothing could get past me. Being a teacher, the saying ‘eyes in the back of your head’ comes to mind. Well, I taught children who thought I was incredible that I could notice them chewing gum before they set foot in the classroom. Passing notes (or texting) was definitely a no go – nothing could get past me. I noticed things when we were out and about; buildings, slight changes to buildings or skylines. Anyway, you get the idea. 

  
I imagine you’ve all heard of baby brain. A very real ‘condition’ that occurs in the majority of, if not all women during pregnancy, whereby their brain seems to work on fewer cylinders than required. Mummies-to-be are forgetful, muddled and generally find it difficult to function in society. I most definitely suffered from baby brain when I was pregnant, and definitely for a time afterwards, when Jude had arrived too. Well, it seems that my baby brain hasn’t yet completely subsided. I repeat myself on a daily, if not hourly basis (although some would say I have done that for years). I have to write everything remotely important down, otherwise I have absolutely no chance of remembering it. For the first time in my life I use a wall calendar and it is COVERED. I also cross off each day (like in films) as they happen, just so I know what day it is. I think the whole situation is exacerbated by the fact that I’m still on maternity leave, so struggle to remember what day it is, let alone the date! This is helped slightly, by going to classes like singing and swimming, as they occur on the same day each week; but come half term, or a holiday like Christmas or Easter and the confusion occurs all over again! 

This is a subject that I have discussed with Steve on many occasions. He is brilliantly patient with me and for that I am thankful. It is however a subject that I’m interested to know whether it affects any others out there? Does it get better? When can I expect to be as snappy and on form as I used to be once again? Will it improve on my return to work? Or am I doomed to be a slightly ditsy and irritating mummy for all eternity? 

Front crawl, crawl and crawl

We’ve created a monster

Haha – not really. But my god, he’s a crazy child! The developments are coming thick and fast now; we have a third tooth – which could explain the miserable, snotty child we have had for the last week or so – we also have a crawler! 
 

my first valentines card as a mummy
  

The first crawl happened just before bath time; I was just about to take him upstairs after a good, long ‘nappy off’ session (during which Jude usually spends half an hour or so post-teatime being completely hyper, rolling and virtually leaping around on the towels we put down to soak up the wee). I was standing up, reading a text, literally just before picking Jude up to go upstairs, when a small, wriggly child passed in my eyeline, below my phone-holding-hand. I jumped to attention, quickly popped him back at the ‘beginning’ of his crawl and put the remote for the telly (baby catnip) a metre or so away. Then I turned on the video on my phone. He performed. He performed brilliantly and was met with huge praise and excitement from me.

  
I was actually quite emosh. It was such a big step in his little life – and the beginning of soooo many new things! I didn’t watch the video back, I wanted to save it and stop it from happening – or keep it special, keep it to myself – or ourselves – or, or, I don’t know! I suddenly felt troubled about how to tell/show Steve. I was really sad that he hadn’t seen the ‘first crawl’. Then again, I’d almost missed it! So rather than send him the video to watch in a hurried break during a crazy evening at work, I decided to show him the video when he got home so that we could watch it together and share the joy. Steve returned home in the early hours (he’s a chef) and I woke up which I usually do. We were able to watch the video together and it was a special moment after all…

   

Nevermind

 

I mentioned in the last blog that Jude was to take part (or not) in his Nirvana Nevermind-style underwater photo shoot the following weekend. Here is the story of how I thought I knew best and clearly didn’t. (Although I’m still pretty sure I do/did know best anyway).  

Jude had been poorly the week of the shoot so we didn’t go to his lesson. And when I say poorly I mean, like, really poorly. Fever and all sorts. So we skipped the lesson, but I spoke to the teacher who recommended that we go along to a different lesson later in the week in preparation for the photo. The teacher of that lesson could tell us whether or not Jude was ‘ready’ to do the photo shoot. (I have to be honest, we’ve been dunking (also known as placing them underwater carefully and calmly ‘catching’ them whilst underwater) the babies now for 12 weeks or more – I couldn’t see how a dunking on a Sunday morning would be any different from various dunkings on a Wednesday. But anyway. So. We took him to the Saturday morning lesson and at the end the teacher said that it was ‘up to us’, but she didn’t think we should take Jude to the photo shoot the following day. Aaaanyway, I decided that Jude had only been grouchy in the lesson because he wasn’t used to the teacher, some of the swim styles and the pool generally and by his third dunking he reacted perfectly normally – in fact, the first one was probably only so bad because he hadn’t done one for so long as we’d missed the lesson. Plus, if we didn’t take him now, by the next shoot he’d be nearly 11 months old! That definitely wouldn’t be as cute or amazing……(Getting the idea yet??)

So the next day we took Jude along for his underwater photo shoot at 7 months old. He was in a brilliant mood and was splashing and shrieking excitedly in the pool – perhaps because he was glad to be in a familiar pool. The person in charge took him and he did his first dunk. Both staff members – dunker and photographer – immediately told me there seemed to be something wrong with his shoot – he had gone under and reached straight for his ears. I explained that it could be as he had been quite congested, but they told me they would not do any more dunks. 

He was fine! In fact, we went back to the ‘playing in between photos’ area and he happily splashed and played some more. Then we miserably got out of the pool, got changed and left with ours tails between our legs. 

I was mortified. I ranted and whimpered all the way to Sainsbury’s (where we decided to go as we now had so much spare time that morning) and as we were about to get out of the car, Steve told me to pull myself together. I wailed dramatically, “I can’t” and burst into tears. Whaaaaaat?! What was wrong with me? Why was I so upset?  The only conclusion I have since come to is that I wanted a memory of Jude swimming at 7 months. Not nearly 11 months. But still, a bit of a dramatic overreaction anyway. Plus, he’s GORGEOUS – he’s definitely going to be just as cute at 11 months as he is now! And, I took a photo of us together in the changing room on our first taster session when he was only 4 months old – now that is cute!  

     

 Life without Jude

post-match napping from Wales’ biggest fan
 

Steve made me go out last week. Only for a few hours one evening, but he said that I never go anywhere without Jude or him and I was to go out and do something that I enjoy. So I did. I went to Simple Knots Craft Club – a lovely evening once a month held by a friend where crafters of all shapes and sizes pop along to a lovely little coffee shop (that sells alcohol but I failed to realise this until about 5 minutes before I was due to leave, dammit) and do craft. I LOVE craft. So I took myself along, armed with a small, half made, handmade, jersey octopus that I was halfway through blanket stitching, and had coffee, cake and chats with some strangers. I knew 2 people there; my cousin kindly looked after me and all in all it was a lovely, sociable evening. And I only talked about Jude for half of it. I think. It was really strange to be out without both of the main people in my life. I’ve done it once before when I went for a boozy dinner with one of my best friends, but that was slightly fuzzy, so less obviously without them. This time, it was strange, but fun! And I look forward to the next one – that is, if I fancy it… It’s hard to get yourself to do things without your baby – even though there are MILLIONS of times a week when you think to yourself ‘what I would give for a night – or even an hour – without the baby’! Strange times and new, different lives ey?

    

Movin’ on up

 

Sudocrem-needing, post-crawl session knees
 

It’s been almost 2 weeks since the first crawl. What started as a kind of lolloping, foot-knee-thing, has now turned into a fast knee-knee-hand-hand crawl EVERYWHERE. The new, rapid crawling has also enabled Jude access to new and exciting places in the house and means that he can now climb up EVERYTHING. He can speedily go from one end of the couch, along to the other end, onto the chair and around onto the coffee table in seconds. Steve has even started timing him crawling from the far end of the living room to the kitchen. 33 seconds is the record. So far. We literally can’t turn our backs for a minute.  Oh, and the cats. Poor lovelies, Jude likes to chase them. He managed to corner the most timid one the other day and she actually had to leap past him in order to get upstairs and find refuge. I’ve given them cushions on the dining table that they can use if they wish – far away from grabby, shrieking babies! So far they have both chosen to stay closer to the ground, but we’ll soon see whether that lasts… We’re trying to teach Jude that the best way to deal with the cats is to be gentle, and I think he knows this, but he just hasn’t quite figured out how to make his hands actually be gentle yet. All in good time!

        
You may have noticed that it’s been almost 3 weeks since I was supposed to have written my last blog; this one is almost a week late! I think it’s best if I start to write on a weekly basis again – but shorter blogs. So, all being well, the next blog will be in a weeks time (which it should be anyway), then a week after that and so on and so forth. I may even blog more frequently, about things as they occur instead of going on and on once a week/fortnight. Anyway, the thought’s there! We’ll see what actually happens shall we??

That’s all folks!
Ciao x

Ho Ho Ho!

It’s all go!

 

LOADS to talk about this week! We’ve been full throttle weaning which is going really well, but ill go into more detail later; Swimming lessons; Christmas shopping (joy!) and probably the biggest news, Steve’s sister got married. Please bear with me, it’s currently 2.30am and the blog is late again (don’t ask!).

    

Swimming 

Thanks to mum for chipping in, for the past 4 weeks we have been going to Waterbabies swimming classes. It’s something I’ve always wanted Jude to do; get used to water early on. And I don’t just mean the bath, I swam quite seriously as a child, training and doing some competitions and I am keen for Jude to love swimming too! So imagine my disappointment when, for the entire taster session, Jude bawled and bawled. For the whole half hour session as well as twice as hard in the changing room afterwards. Disaster. And extremely stressful. Babies crying in a small, wet, child-unfriendly changing room. Not pleasant at all. 

However, luckily over the last 4 weeks of real lessons he has become more comfortable. The first lesson we went to, I emerged onto the poolside and he spotted the water and actually, physically jumped. Jumped!! Then started trying to clamber over me. He held on extra tight. Lovely to feel wanted but awful to think I was about to force my darling into water he clearly didn’t want to get into. He started that session with a bit of a grizzle, but soon calmed down. The next week was even better. And this week he has started splashing in the bath and, yep, you guessed it! In the pool too! It finally seems as though as he is enjoying it! And he’s brill at underwater swimming too…! 

      

 
      

Christmas shopping

Jude and I went into town to do some Christmas shopping. At the beginning of December. In the rain. Now, anyone knows town in the entire month of December is never recommended, with or without a baby. But we smashed it! He was amazing. He slept as we arrived (first sleep of the day) and as he woke, I nipped into the John Lewis feeding/changing area to give him a spot of munch, then changed him and we were back on our way! Then home before the next feed. Brilliant baby, shopping not so fruitful. 

So, feeling confident Steve and I popped in again a few days later. Same circumstances, slightly less rain. But this time, there were 2 adults to 1 baby. Should be easy! We visited a few shops before deciding Jude would probably need a feed and nipping into M&S café. Jude had a feed (although not very long as he fell asleep), the grown ups had a toasted sandwich and got on our way wedding outfit shopping (wait for it!). No more than 10 minutes later, I emerged from the M&S changing room clutching a gorgeous lacey bodysuit for underneath my wedding outfit, only to be greeted by a screaming baby. I knew I should have fed him for longer. Steve kindly volunteered to purchase the gorgeous lacey bodysuit whilst I popped back to the café to feed again. 

On entering the café, I realised there was very little room, and especially none in any discreet spots. So I meandered over to the only table I could see, which happened to be in the large, glass, echoey atrium area at the front of the café, overlooking the main high street. In front of me was an older looking gentleman, waiting for (I assumed) his wife. Behind me was a lady my age with a little boy a little older than Jude. I parked the buggy, sat down, and attempted to ‘prepare’ for feeding, whilst juggling a squawking baby and trying not to flash Bob in the corner. Jude was so wound up that he wouldn’t latch, screaming louder and louder and causing a huge kerfuffle. I could feel eyes looking right at me (and my boob). I was getting hotter and hotter and more and more flustered and Jude was getting louder and louder. The lovely lady behind me offered some kind words of support, but it made no difference. This was a disaster.

 Eventually, after what seemed like about a month, Steve turned up with my gorgeous lacey bodysuit. Thank you! He held Jude whilst I stood up to get the changing bag for a nappy change. If it’s not food it must be his nappy. I stood up and was met by a sea of eyes. Angry eyes. Eyes whose quiet little M&S lunch had been disturbed. Uh oh.

 I quickly grabbed Jude and legged it to the comfort of the babychange. Except there was a queue. And Jude was still crying. Wow, could this get any worse?! My bobbing whilst waiting had calmed him down and eventually the lady and her little boy came out of the changing room and we entered. No sooner had I put him down, the screaming started again. And I could hear another mummy outside waiting to come in! I took a peek at the nappy before going through the trouble of removing it and it was completely clean. No need to change. So I quickly packed up and we made our way back to the table. But this time Jude was calm. Simply the change of atmosphere had helped. Babies are so weird. He fed, finished and sat up making gorgeous faces and grins at the lady behind us and anyone else who looked in his direction. Unbelievable. It had been the worst crying -in-public session we had ever had. Not helped by the location of a huge, echoey glass box. (Note: never sit there with Jude again). As we left the café, Jude grinned at everyone we passed and we even managed a comment of ‘he’s gorgeous’ from two ladies who had previously been looking horrified at his behaviour. Haha! Talk about dramatic!! I was exhausted! And luckily the car park was about to run out so we had to leave pretty sharpish. Definitely not as successful as the last trip, that’s for sure! 

   

Wonderful wedding

  

As I mentioned, the main event this last week has been Steve’s sister Shelly’s wedding. CONGRATULATIONS to Shelly and Adam, it was a brilliant, beautiful day and night. The last big event in Steve’s  family (discounting Jude’s birth) was his other sister’s wedding, when I was 35 weeks pregnant and huge. So the biggest part of this wedding for me, was getting my outfit right. A winter wedding outfit that would make me feel good, look good post partum and allow me to breastfeed (until the evening anyway, when Jude would be having expressed milk). So it would need to be a skirt and top. (Nursing dresses are gross and not worth the money when you can make your own!). 

So this is what I came up with:

 

Tutu skirt (wintery wonderfulness, Carrie Bradshaw style), a gorgeous lacey bodysuit and a crop top for ease of feeding. Greyish hold ups and to top it all off, stunning silver stilettos (the highest shoes I’ve worn in a good 3-4 years!). I was very proud of this outfit. I just wish I was a teeny bit slimmer. I should probably have gone for a run or two in the weeks leading up to the wedding, but you can’t win ’em all. 

Now, I don’t know if other people get this, and I know that everyone thinks their baby is the most gorge, but something happened whilst we were away that I had to write down for the blog. We arrived at the beautiful hotel in Cornwall fairly late and decided only to take in the things we immediately needed. The rest could be picked up from the car later on. So we carried our vitals down from the car park and I had Jude facing outwards in the Baby Bjiorn. (Looking cuuute in his bobble hat, if I do say so myself). We wandered into the reception and checked in. The girl on the desk didn’t even look at Jude. How is that possible?!? He was looking so cute in his bobble hat and looking directly at her! She just completely ignored him! WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER?! I decided to write about this as I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets this from time to time? Please let me know that I’m not just a Jude obsessed mother whose baby isn’t actually that gorgeous..? Now I know babies aren’t for everyone, but isn’t it impossible to ignore a smiley baby when they’re in your eyeline? Maybe she was just having a bad day….. But then surely he would have cheered her up? As you can probably tell, the receptionists failure to smile at my baby and to reinforce how gorgeous I think he is, has really bothered me. 

       

‘ Christmaaaas, Christmasssss’

  
I took Up Children’s Clothing to a Christmas fair this week. It was not very successful (wrong crowd), and the lead up to the big day was extremely stressful as I wanted to take enough of a selection to sell some, as well as samples of everything so I could take orders. This meant that I stayed up until almost 2am the night before preparing and finishing off bits and bobs. For nothing. Well, I sold 4 bibs. Covered my costs but didn’t make any actual money. Nevermind! It’s all fun, and on the plus side, I have had a lot of online orders, so much so that I’ve actually felt stressed. And I don’t want to feel stressed, not when I’m on maternity leave and want to spend as much time as possible with my active, interested-in-everything little boy. So the final orders of 2015 are completed and it’s time to have a break (and finish off Jude’s activity mat in time for Christmas!). Any orders placed now will not be sent until January. But go and check out the Facebook page! Oh yes, another thing I’m trying to do is finish off the website… Told you it was all go! 

     
Weaning update

  

We started weaning Jude on purees about a fortnight ago. We started with carrot (he hated it), and moved onto apple, banana and sweet potato as well as mixing these together. He has also recently tried baby porridge, which he loves. Everyone talks about ‘baby led weaning’ (BLW), and I was interested to know why it’s considered to be so good. Having done a bit of reading, and spoken to people about BLW, we have decided to stick with a bit of both. Giving your baby purees and seeing the faces they pull, along with the mess they make is a brilliant part of weaning in my opinion and I really wanted to be able to do this. Plus, feeding with a spoon means you know that your baby is actually getting the food in front of them and it doesn’t all just end up on the floor, or in their hair (although a lot of it does!).  BLW means that baby is given finger foods from 6 months; they feed themselves from the beginning, eating what we eat. And while I think allowing baby to feed themselves is great, Jude has been interested in food since 4.5 months; too young to be given finger foods. He will, however feed himself with purée on the spoon, so when he’s 6 months we’ll definitely start with finger foods. Just in time for Christmas! Yippee! 

We had our first scarily poorly baby a few nights ago. Jude had had such red cheeks he looked like a garden gnome in the daytime, which seemed like teething, but that night he slept for a total of about 2.5 hours. He was burning up; his skin was so hot I didn’t know what to do, yet he had goosebumps on his little legs. And the tears…. Oh the tears! He was so sad. We gave him Calpol as frequently as we could, but it didn’t really help with sleep. Eventually I managed to nap with him on the couch downstairs as Steve was in work early the next day. It was an awful awful night. But babies are seemingly much more resilient than you’d imagine and 2 days later he was right as rain again! We got through it and I’m sure there will be other nights like it. One thing that has happened is that he seems to have gone off solid food. I have wasted a lot of purée and porridge over the last 2-3 days. So we’re going to now give him a break until he shows an interest again. No point in forcing it upon him, as I found out it just results in sick and tears. Oh, the joys! 

     
Breastfeeding update

Why do people stop breastfeeding…..? Could it be because their babies start to weigh so much it actually hurts your arms?!? Haha! Jude’s head is so heavy now, I often find my arm aching. I am still going though, and he’s still loving it. I feel proud that we’ve reached 5.5 months and haven’t introduced any formula at all, just stuck to breast. I have considered giving Jude formula in the evenings in an attempt to get him to sleep for longer as he’s still waking up frequently. But I’ve recently read some research that suggests that it makes no difference whether it’s formula or breast milk, baby will wake at certain stages in their development  anyway. So we’re going to stick it out, and introduce solids little by little, until we will breastfeed less and less. We make a good feeding team actually!

     

Such quick changes

 


Jude can now sit up, he also spends a lot of time trying to put his feet in his mouth (or anything else for that matter), Although he hasn’t quite managed to do it yet! He sits up in the bath, he’s loving his Jumperoo (or the circle of neglect, as its affectionately known. A friend gave us that name!). So, onwards and upwards. Can’t wait for Christmas! We’re putting the decorations up this week, I can’t wait to see his reaction! He’s almost half a year old would you believe…?!

Life after birth

  

  
The unglamourous reality.

One morning during the first week home I realised the true extent of the damage, measured by the amount of products I use every morning. No, they’re not Clarins or Dior, or even beauty products, but my god they make me feel better! I used to see pregnant women and feel broody. Little did I know just how ghastly and unglamourous pregnancy can be. I loved it, don’t get me wrong, I was growing another little person and the miracle of life etc, but I moaned and winged A LOT of the time. According to my mum, this is because I am a) a drama queen, and exaggerate everything and b) a hypochondriac, so found a lot to complain about! 

2 weeks into the actual postnatal part and I’m still winging (I don’t want to be one of those people who ‘changes’ when they have kids now, do I??), but I’m just getting on with it. Currently sat with Jude lying on my bed in front of me, writing this with one hand, and expressing every now and again from my ‘bad’ boob. CLASSY.  

We’ve been out and about quite a bit since Jude arrived and everywhere I’ve been people have said “wow, you look great, you’re a natural” etc. now, I don’t know whether they actually mean it, or I look so bloody dreadful that they feel compelled to say something nice because they feel sorry for me. Similarly, during the pregnancy people were always telling me how ‘blooming’ I looked. Blooming massive more like. I put on 4 stone, so certainly didn’t feel great. But the point is, that both pregnancy and postnatal times can make you feel pretty gross, unglamourous and miserable, and that’s a pretty fair representation. But you also feel AMAZING, and people being nice, whether falsely or genuinely (you’ll never know) is great. Slap a bit of make up on and paint your nails every now and again and you’ll survive. It can only get easier. And I’m telling myself that one day I’ll feel glamorous again. One day. 

Going it alone.

Steve went back to work this week. 

This has been difficult, not only because I have had to keep Jude alive by myself, but because I have felt a huge amount of guilt for being the lucky one that gets to spend this extremely important time with him. 2 weeks is such a short period of time, yet Jude has changed so much already. I can feel myself becoming one of those pushy parents; I’m getting excited about the way that he follows my voice and can bash his car seat toy to make it jingle  (albeit accidentally).  

But Steve isn’t seeing this stuff. He’s working. And he’s working long, exhausting shifts (he’s a chef) which means when he comes home he’s shattered. He doesn’t complain, but I know he’s on ‘the edge’. That’s the thing with breastfeeding; I need to be here, on tap, to make sure our baby boy grows up big and strong. But it’s just sad for boobless daddies that’s all.
 
Exhaustion.

  

Speaking of tiredness, I am exhausted. It’s crazy how lightly I’m sleeping. Sometimes I feel like I may as well not bother going to sleep. I’d get much more done! I always thought I’d be an ‘active’ mother. Like one who has the house spotless when daddy comes home and has baked and cooked lovely, nutritious meals for us. No chance! Looking after a baby is actually more time consuming than you think! I mean, you have to feed (and breastfeeding on demand means that this can’t really be planned too rigidly), wind, change nappies. Jude will nap alone (thank goodness), but even then I need to be in the room so that I can check he’s still breathing every 6-7 minutes and feel the back of his neck to check his temperature. (Yes I do this approximately 47 times a day). So everything takes that little bit longer. Plus, there’s the ‘lovingly watching him because he’s just so amazing’ thing that takes up at least 3 hours of the day. So all in all ‘stuff’ just doesn’t get done as quickly as it should! 

 I have tried napping when Jude naps as loads of people have recommended that. The thing is, I don’t want to nap at 10am and 1pm, it’s 5pm when I’m shattered and he is the most active and awake he’s been all day! So I’m generally knackered. Which is normal (apparently).

 Hormones.

  

Every now and again I feel like my hormones are settling down…. I probably shouldn’t over-analyse these things, because then I end up crying about ‘not feeling like me anymore’ and just being so tired! The problem now is, that I can’t tell whether I’m tired or hormonal. OR BOTH?! 

Either way, stealing Steve’s Galaxy Ripple and then popping to the local shop to pick up 3 chocolate yogurts and 4 more Galaxy Ripples to replace the one I ate is reminiscent of being pregnant… Or breaking up with a boyfriend as a teenager… Or generally just dealing with hormones!! 

So, all in all, we’ve survived another week. 

Oh yeah, and Jude DOES NOT like it when I drink orange juice. My god, his poor tummy can’t cope with with orange juice-infused breast milk! 

The day our lives changed forever….

 At 9.39am on Sunday 28th June 2015 my life changed forever. My baby boy,  Jude was born. 

I had been planning this moment for months. My completely natural birth; I had decided that using only hypnobirthing and water for pain relief would lead to being completely and utterly ‘in touch’ with the birth and I would feel every moment. 

Ha!
I should have realised that the more I planned, the more likely it was to be a disaster. 

I use the word disaster in a melodramatic manner. Jude’s birth was worlds away from my planned birth, but I feel remarkably ‘ok’ with it. Nay, I feel elated! 

At one point I took a selfie with the anaesthetist behind me about to insert the epidural that I had practically been forced to have.  Everything had happened sooooo slowly over the initial induction,  then as soon as ‘the powers that be’ decided I was ready, everything happened so quickly! I had completely lost control of my perfectly planned, relaxed, natural, drug free, spontaneous birth…

how did i get here?

Jude is a week old today!

We have managed to keep him alive for a week! We actually high fived this morning having nailed almost 8 hours of sleep overnight and had a successful feed. Some days I feel as though we were born to do the whole child-raising thing, then I find myself crying hysterically in our bedroom having handed him to daddy as he’s refusing to feed or reaching for the dummy we said we wouldn’t give him because he’s so upset with wind he can barely breathe. 

Jude has a problem with my right boob. My left boob is apparently much more appealing. For those of you that intend to breastfeed, remember this: once your milk ‘comes in’, your boobs fill up pretty rapidly. This makes them go hard. This is known as engorgement, and a baby struggles to latch onto (get a good suck on) engorged boobs. So, Jude doesn’t like my right boob. This means that my right boob got ‘engorged’ and he hated it even more. I didn’t know this could happen. I went for 3 days of hysterical feeding attempts and sometimes 6-7 hours between feeds (gasps of horror!) and generally felt dreadful. Midwives came and gave me ‘advice’ (which mainly involves complete strangers ‘helping’ me by grabbing my boob and forcing my nipple into his mouth), as did a breastfeeding consultant and not one of them mentioned engorgement. A short spell on Google and a few sessions on a manual breast pump eventually rectified this situation and it seems that slowly but surely we are getting there with the breast feeding.

 I don’t know how I would have coped had I given birth ‘pre-internet’. 

So, 1 week in and my life revolves around feeding. But it is the best feeling in the world so I’m cool with it. In fact, it’s a pretty amazing thing:)

  
Nappies. 

Steve, my partner and Jude’s daddy updated his Facebook status this week. This is a big deal because he never usually does anything on Facebook, let alone actually posting something.

 It said ‘of the 14 photos I have taken today, 5 of them are of poo’. 

One of the antenatal sessions we attended talked about baby’s poo and how it changes over the first few days of their life. So in order to keep a record of what was going on in his nappies, in this day and age photos seemed like the best option! 

On top of the photos, we managed to work out that at just 47 hours and 45 minutes old, Jude had done 8 poos! What a beast! Apparently this is a good thing… And whilst his poo smells so sweet, I don’t mind!

…This brings me to the times affectionately known as ‘poogate’ and ‘peegate’. And they are exactly as you can imagine. I have already had the honour of being peed on whilst changing his nappy twice in 1 change and Steve has been subject to this behaviour 3 times since his belated arrival, as well as having to deal with a pooing baby mid-change! To add insult to injury, a friend visited today and Jude politely sniffed out his dislike and utter fear for anything remotely poo or vomit related and had his first explosive poo nappy. All up his back and through his lovely new frog-covered baby grow! (Which incidentally is perfect for the hot weather we’ve been having and consists of a tshirt-style sleeve and short-style leg – lovely!) I think it’s safe to say our poor guest won’t be volunteering his cwtching services any time soon. 

We’re still here and persevering.

On top of the feeds, the nappies, the poo and the unplanned labour, we have had hormones, good-intentioned mothers (first grandchild), poo, mother-in-laws, swollen feet, mucus vomit, winding, poo, tears (mine and Jude’s), midwives, weight loss, slings, sore nipples, weight gain, lack of sleep, expressing, poo and more poo!

But we’ve survived. A whole week.  And although I don’t want to wish the time away, I think we might just be able to manage raising our baby boy. In fact, I can’t wait!