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. 

So this is life

And the livin’ is easy

Its been a good few weeks since my last blog – about 6 to be (slightly more) precise. And I really have no excuse other than LIFE. It seems that it is possible to look after a child and do a job (albeit part time). Although, as every teacher knows – teaching ‘part time’ doesn’t really mean ‘part tme’, as you work at home on your ‘days off’ anyway!  But still – I’m definitely not complaining, life is good.


I even had a day to myself a few weeks ago. It was half term from school (I’m a teacher) and we had decided that Jude would still go to nursery on his normal days to try and keep some routine. This meant that I would have 2 whole days to myself. No Jude. The day came around and I dropped him to nursery in the morning, with every intention of getting lots of work done for school. That I managed, But I couldn’t believe how strange it was to be in the house alone. No Jude. No Steve. Just me and the cats. It was almost creepy! I missed him SO MUCH. I didn’t expect to! I am used to being away from Jude all day – I go to work. But being in the house without him was so strange, I hardly knew what to do with myself. By the second day of nursery I figured that perhaps I would feel better if I wasn’t in the house, so I took myself to school and worked there for the day instead. I also chose to try very hard to enjoy the time I had to myself – read a little, eat some food alone and enjoy it, etc. I think I could probably get used to savouring those moments in the future, should they occur again any time soon…

     

Being rather rash

We are now well into Autumn and the weather has been crisp and cold, just how I like it in winter – no rain please! Of course, Jude and I have spent hours running through crunchy leaves in the park and splashing in puddles (great after the rain has stopped!). Which brings me to my first small story… We bought Jude an (extremely cute) ‘puddlesuit’ as I strongly believe that all children should own one – afterall, they happen to be the ultimate in baby couture, and they’re perfect for when it’s pissing down and you don’t have a rain cover for the buggy as the zip broke on the unbelievably poorly designed cover. (Why has no one invented a better zip mechanism for these things??). Anyway. we took Jude out in the puddlesuit a few times – jumper underneath – and we had great fun. 


After our first ‘puddlesuit playtime’, we got home, took it off and it was soon bathtime. 

Jude had a rash. He wasn’t under the weather in himself, but (obviously), I did the glass test. The rash disappeared (phew). I didn’t think there was anything to worry about and assumed it would disappear soon. It didn’t. It got worse. I asked a few ‘medical’ friends and family what they thought and they suggested it might have been viral. I had assumed it was a heat rash from the puddlesuit. Afterall, rash appeared immediately after he started wearing it. And funnily enough, it disappeared once the rain stopped and he stopped wearing it…. I suppose we’ll never really know! I believe rain is forecast this weekend actually – I’ll soon find out if it was a heat rash or not! 

    

Accidental Damage

As I have been warned would happen, the accidents have increased somewhat since Jude became more confident on his feet. Jude usually bounces back pretty quickly, and we have tried to encourage him to ‘pick himself up, dust himself off, and carry on’ as much as possible – obviously, only when he clearly hasn’t injured himself. However. There was rather an horrendous incident a few weeks ago, involving Jude not doing as he was asked and a rose bush….

 Jude and I were playing in one of our local parks and we ventured into the area where there are lots of prettily-planted flower beds. (I was clearly not with it as I either a) didn’t notice they were roses, or b) didn’t realise the risk of taking a toddler into a rose bush ‘field’.) 

Jude was walking around on the grassy areas as I had thought/hoped he would do and having fun. However, he soon decided that that wasn’t entertaining enough, and started ‘teetering’ on the edge of one of the flower beds. I was a few metres away and I called him, telling him to come to me and not get in the flower bed. He didn’t listen, and tripped over the edge of the ‘dug out’ flower bed, falling face first into a rose tree – his face fitting perfectly between two extremely thorny branches. OH. MY. DEAR. GOD. I ran as fast as I could back towards my baby, who was wedged by his face, in a rose bush. I didn’t stop to think about how to remove him from the bush, I just picked him up as quickly as I could and cuddled his crying face into me, frantically trying to find his dummy to try and give him a little comfort. 


The cuts were all down one side of his face. They were bleeding and weeping and he was screaming in pain. “What the f**k should i do?” I thought to myself… Jude was also muddy from the flower bed and it had somehow gotten onto my hands. I rummaged around in my bag to try and find the wet wipes and clean my hands, before using another wipe to try and dab some of the blood from his face. The cuts were now extremely red and angry looking, but at least Jude had stopped crying. I took a photo and sent it to Steve to show him what had happened. I also sent him some pictures taken shortly afterwards, that showed his son happily playing with the ball we had taken with us, in order to show that, actually, he was ok. Jude had bounced back as he usually did, although his face, his poor face, was red and scratched and sore-looking. 
I decided that it would be unfair to take him home immediately – he’d already been punished enough – so we stayed to play a little more (away from any nasty rose bushes!). As you can imagine, passing other people soon made me feel like I needed to explain why my child looked like he’d been attacked by a cat, and he soon showed an interest in a dog that was being walked by a (lovely) lady. I hastily explained “he just tripped into one of the rose bushes over there”, and the lady said “Oh, haha, I thought it was biro! Don’t worry, there will be far worse to come”. 

THANK YOU LADY. Thank you for saying the best thing you could have to make me feel like I hadn’t been a terrible mother. Thank you for reminding me that kids will be kids, and luckily they were just shallow scratches (that actually disappeared within a week). Thank you for not judging me. Thank you for that amazing, perfect, ‘nothingy’ comment. It wasn’t ‘nothingy’ to me. 

As soon as we got home I doused Jude’s face in Sudocrem, then later on used diluted TCP and cotton wool to ensure the cuts were clean. Then more Sudocrem. Then more Sudocrem. Then more Sudocrem. It went a bit like this for the next few days. And thankfully it worked and there is no longer any evidence at all of the ‘dreaded rosebush day’. 

But I don’t think we’ll go to that area again. Not for a while anyway….

   

The dreaded ‘H’ word

Jude is now fully settled into nursery and he loves it. He goes 2 days a week while I’m in work and he’s always in a great mood when we pick him up, he’s happy and clearly likes the staff there. We couldn’t ask for more really. Actually, scratch that. If I could ask for more, I would ask that nursery be a completely germ-free place. 

My request comes after almost 3 weeks of our poor baby suffering from a common cold virus. The trouble is, he hasn’t reacted like we adults would, he’s been super duper poorly. Hospital poorly. Even A & E poorly!

Jude had been poorly for a week or so – you know, snotty nose etc – the signs of teething really. A few days into the second week of illness, he looked like he might have an eye infection, so I booked him an appointment and the doctor gave us drops for his eye and antibiotics for an ear infection (that I had no idea he had). The next day however, things seemed to get a little worse. His eye was fine, he didn’t seem to be suffering with his ear, but I watched him playing in our lounge and I noticed that his breathing seemed rather laboured. His tummy was working very hard, going in and out quite vigorously and he sounded terrible. I phoned my (pharmacist) mum and put speakerphone on so she could hear Jude’s breathing. Mum suggested phoning the doctors again. The doctor suggested A&E. Wow. That moved quickly. Steve had literally just left for work and mum had the car at work with her. I booked a taxi and flung a few essentials into a bag, along with a sleepsuit for Jude (in case we had to wait for hours), some toys and books, the ipad for final-option-entertainment-purposes and some snacks. When the taxi finally arrived we made our way to the hospital. I tried to text Steve a non-frantic message, but I failed. I worried him, he couldn’t leave work as he was in charge so I just did my best to update as frequently as possible. A&E was great – we went through to the children’s department and they assessed him immediately and began an inhaler treatment. I’m guessing baby + breathing problems = fast service. 

The lovely doctor soon told us we would be staying in (all of a sudden things felt more serious), so that Jude could have the continued treatment overnight to open his airways.  We were treated amazingly, everything was very efficient and all of the nurses and doctors we saw were amazing. We were discharged the following morning. 

Jude is now fully on the mend (after another brief hospital visit when he seemed to go downhill again). On the funny side, the inhaler medication he was treated with made him hyper. This meant that our overnight stay involved him shouting very loudly into the bed control like it was a phone, using it as a beater on the metal bed in order to make ‘music’, and me chasing him up and down the corridors trying to keep him quiet until the wee small hours. He eventually crashed at about 2am, only to be woken for more treatment at 3am! All necessary though I suppose. 


And all down to a common cold virus. Babies don’t cope as well as adults apparently?? Jude hasn’t been diagnosed with asthma, although his symptoms are the same as those associated with asthma. If we have more incidents like this he may well be diagnosed in the future. But this is just a bridge we’ll have to cross if we come to it! Babies are such complicated creatures! 

    

Siblings

Jude is 16 months old now and there have been many more new babies that have entered our lives since he was born. It’s always lovely to have babies around, but I have always found myself thinking ‘rather you than me love’. IfyouknowwhatImean. Some very good friends of ours have recently had their second baby (CONGRATULATIONS GUYS), and I suppose it got us thinking about the possibility of a sibling for Jude. We’ve always thought we would have another, but I suppose it’s a bit of a Taboo subject when you’re only getting 3 hours sleep a night! A while ago, a friend commented on social media that she was fed up of people continually asking her when she was going to have the next one. I don’t blame her – there is a societal expectation that once your baby gets to a year or so old, you will start planning for the next one. Another friend of mine has recently had her first baby and is already talking about the next one. I’ve told her she’s crazy! But in all honesty, every mother and father should simply have their next baby (if they want another), whenever the hell they like! What does it matter?? Here are some of the reasons behind ‘timings’ of second babies that I have heard (and thought myself): ‘I want them to be friends’. ‘I want them to play together’. ‘We can’t afford another’. ‘Lets wait until the first is in school’. ‘Hell no, I’m not having another for at least 10 years’. ‘I want them close together to get it over with and get back to work’. ‘Childcare is too expensive for one, let alone two’. ‘One of us would have to give up work’. ‘It would be nice if the first could help out a bit with the second’. ‘I want them to know they are going to be a big brother’. And so on and so forth….. 

I love having Jude on his own to dedicate all my time to. I would feel sorry for him if he had to share me. Then again, I loved having a brother, and Steve is a brother too – perhaps its natural for us to have another? 

Other bloggers scare me a little. Constance Hall springs to mind. She writes about the chaos of her own home and how difficult it is to run a home with quite a few kids. I can relate to her on some things, but I also feel like although Jude has brought his own amount of chaos to our lives, we still function quite well I think – but imagine having another baby too! Maybe it’s better to wait until he’s older? At the same time, we’ve just bought a house – we’re totally skint all the time! Then again,  how many people do you know that had loads of money when they had little ones? Everyone is skint at the beginning of building a family, right? 

As you can tell – it’s been on my mind a bit! But I can assure you, there is nothing on the cards just yet….. 

All in good time, all in good time:) 
And on that note, I shall love you and leave you! Goodbye for now, you lovely people x

Superbaby, Summer road-tripping and School

Social media boasting

I’m not one to boast about Jude on my private social media accounts. I do it ALL via my blog(!). But last week I simply had to show off via my Instagram account. I videoed Jude pointing to his head, hands, feet and nose when asked (by me) where they were. I’ll give you a little taster: 

Me: “Jude, where are your hands?” 

Jude: holds out his hands

Me: “Where are your feet?”

Jude: points to his feet

Me: “Where is your nose?”

Jude: points to nose and then shoves his finger so far up it I’m concerned for his eyeball

Me: “Where is your head?”

Jude: places his hands on his head and then tries to climb down off the changing box as I hurriedly stop the video.     

Anyway, this was me showing off my talented son. I have absolutely no idea how he knows how to do this. We haven’t taught him. He has just picked it up. And it’s not like Steve and I walk around saying ‘head’ and pointing to our head, or ‘nose’, and sticking our finger up it. He just started pointing at his body parts! I was reading a book to him one day and I read a sentence with the word ‘head’ in it and he just patted himself on the head! I was gobsmacked! This has kept happening over the weeks following. Every now and again, we can add in a different body part and he will point to it! We’re currently working on ‘ears’, but it’s a bit too similar-sounding to ‘eyes’, so we’re not quite there yet. Now we’re encouraging him, but he learnt head, nose, feet and hands all by himself. Seriously! Einstein child………….

     

Back to school

I have been back in school for 2 weeks now. That is with the children too! Yes, yes.. I know I only work 3 days a week (teehee), but still. Two weeks back after 8 weeks off with Jude, means that I’m going through the ‘return to work’ thing all over again. Including a HUGE row with Steve on my first day back, because I was extremely hormonal and emotional about going back to work. 


As well as me returning to work, our littlest family member has also had a big change in his life. Jude has started nursery. He goes for 2 days a week and seems to have settled in brilliantly! The photo above is of Jude at nursery. Playing ‘throwing and catching’ with one of the staff. Yes, I can see him at nursery. No, it’s not creepy. 

The nursery has web cams that parents can log in to online. They have a password that is changed frequently, and brilliantly; it can put parents’ minds at ease if it’s their little one’s first day/week/month, or if they have been a bit under the weather, for example. It’s safe to say that I watch the web cams on a regular basis, although I have impressed myself with how laid back I’ve been about Jude being in nursery. I think iit’s beacuse he’s clearly settled in so well. He still cries when he’s dropped off and also when he’s picked up. But his interaction with the staff there when he is picked up, is brilliant. He’s really comfortable and he is in a great mood when we pick him up; happy to be home, but seems to have had a nice day. So really, it’s quite a relief after moving him from our lovely childminder, into nursery. It’s definitely made him more clingy – he’s like a bloody koala – wrapping himself around us and clinging on! Lush though, and he’s very much a mummy’s boy since I’ve gone back to work again. I love it! Although it’s only 3 months since the last time I ‘returned to work’, his reaction has been so different this time – he’s grown up so much in that short period, it’s amazing. 

       

Happy Campers

Before Jude, Steve and I were keen campers and we had camped in many-a-lovely campsite, in many-a-lovely country. Until about 3 weeks ago, we hadn’t been camping for almost 2 years! We didn’t go when I was pregnant, although we had talked seriously about it – I was desperate to have ‘one last’ camping trip before our bundle of joy arrived. But we didn’t manage it as I was so preggers during camping season, and then our little bundle arrived!  This year however, I was really keen to take Jude camping and to do one of the things that his dad and I loved so much before we became parents. Jude was 13 months old and it seemed like the perfect time to take him. We were going to visit Steve’s family in Cornwall, so decided that it would be a brilliant opportunity to ‘try out’ our first camping trip with a little one in tow. 


It was a great success! We decided that Jude should sleep in with us, as we all know what the British weather is like, and we didn’t want to risk him getting cold if he was in the travel cot by himself. So we took our double air bed (yes, we camp in style!) and simply layered him up before bed. On the first night, we had a family meal at Steve’s mum’s house, so Jude was able to play with all of his cousins. We hadn’t visited Cornwall since Jude started walking, so it was great to watch him playing and interacting with them all properly for the first time! We fed and bathed him at his Nanny’s house on this night, and we knew he’d fall asleep in the car on the journey back to the campsite, so we were able to simply put him into bed when we got back. When Steve and I finally went to bed, I made the mistake of sleeping with him as if he was a newborn; protecting him from being rolled on and lying on my side ‘around him’, so my arm and neck soon felt like they may never regain feeling. Then I remembered that when he gets in wth us at home, I cwtch him into me and he sleeps with his head on my chest. As soon as I had remembered this, I flipped him over and cwtched him into me; we both slept a lot better and I finally regained the feeling in my arm! 

The second night was not as successful initially, as we put Jude to sleep in the tent and proceeded to have dinner, but he woke up and wouldn’t go back to sleep! The evening resulted in Steve and I going to bed earlier than we had planned and cutting short our ‘drinks and cards’ in order to get Jude off and not wake up the campers in the neighbouring tents. But once we were asleep, the night was much more comfortable than the previous night. 


When we woke the following morning, Jude was super pleased and gobsmacked that he could climb out of bed and play out in the morning sunshine. It was amazing to see him running around at 7am having a brilliant time. And THAT, is why we love camping and knew Jude would love it too. He just loves being outdoors and he had an amazing time. Steve and I had been organised enough to ensure that Jude still had his usual breakfast – we heated his milk on the camping stove and he had a slight variation on toast that didn’t need cooking – croissant! 

We even managed to put the tent back down without too much drama – Jude was happy to help with deflating the airbed, and we managed it all fairly smoothly. A fun, Cornish beach trip and more cousin-time later, and we were back on our way home. Can’t wait for our next camping trip! 


      

  So there you have my most recent life with Jude. All great fun. I had better stop now as he’s woken from his nap and his standing in the cot, manically bashing the large picture frame stored between the cot and the wall, against the cot and the wall. Until next time!  

     

Mother of a big personality

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

  We took our one year old on holiday. And it was fun! We took him on a plane. Twice. And he was brilliant – he just slept! We took him into a rather small, glass box with no air conditioning in Limogues airport and sat there for 2 hours while our flight home was delayed and he only had 1 MASSIVE tantrum. (And that was after almost 2 hours of running around grinning at everyone and emotionally lifting and helping everyone through their delay, so we can forgive him!). And he fell asleep immediately after the tantrum. How is it, that Jude will wake up if we so much as switch on the bathroom light, but he can sleep through A PLANE LANDING?? I’ll just leave that there….


So generally, Jude smashed the travelling part of our holiday, we couldn’t really have asked for anything better. Sleeping in a new bed and in a new country however was not so straight forward. Don’t get me wrong; we had some nights when he slept through (!), but we also had some nights when he simply did not sleep. The outcome therefore, of having to settle a one year old in an other country, was that Mission Reduce Breastfeeding was a no go. In fact, it was more like Mission Feed As Much As You Need To, To Get Him To Sleep. So the complete opposite of what I had planned happened. There are some gory details of this further down in my usual ‘breastfeeding update’ section; for those who don’t want to hear all about the trials and tribulations of my boobs! 

So our first ever family holiday abroad was wonderful. We didn’t worry about what Jude ate; being in a gite/apartment meant that we were able to cook our own food for him and generally keep his mealtimes pretty much in his routine. The new environment definitely pushed Steve and I to be more flexible in what Jude ate and when; having turned 1 (I think) has also been the turning point in his eating (and our feeding him) – he has tried all sorts and even started to feed himself from a spoon/fork! It came about from Jude refusing his evening meal; Steve had the brainwave of encouraging him to feed himself with a spoon – pasta and sauce – messy, but he pretty much finished it! We’ve been so lucky in that we’ve never really had problems with Jude eating anything; he’s always tried everything we’ve given him and usually liked it. But it seems that with age, comes a strong will. And that, is going to be a challenge! 


We were slightly concerned that, having not taken Jude swimming for a good 3/4 months – since he finished his lessons – would mean that he was afraid of the swimming pool. How wrong we were! He loved being in the water with everyone and he even managed an underwater swim and nailed it! Of course, throughout the summer we have been very careful with Jude’s sun protection and he hasn’t had any pink patches at all. He has still managed to catch some rays and even has a little tan! His hair is so blonde from the sun, people in the street keep exclaiming at how blonde he is! So funny as Steve and I are really quite dark! (I even had some highlights put in and I have to admit, it was initiated by the fact that I wanted to look more like my boy’s mother!). 


   

 Don’t blame it on the sunshiiine

Our return to the UK was greeted with unusually glorious weather, which was a very pleasant surprise. So as Steve had a few post-holiday days off, we spent one of them at the beach. A sandy beach. We hadn’t spent time at a sandy beach on holiday as we were using river beaches, which are slightly different. But this sandy beach visit was, shall we say, interesting. A 1 year old has literally no concept of sand, or the places it can get into. Or the concept that wif up I get wet sand on you, you can’t get it off unless you use water. And if you get sand on your hands you can’t eat anything without it being crunchy, gritty and sandy. And if you have sand on your leg and then you touch your leg with your hands,  your hands will get sand on them and then your food will get sand on it too and so on and so forth. No concept at all. Oh dear. 


So our lovely idea of an afternoon at the beach started off in rather an interesting fashion, involving a lot of sand and wet wipes. And some sandwiches (literally – LOL) and a small amount of sand-coated cucumber. But once our picnic was over with and Jude was able to explore and rediscover the sea and how good it is for paddling (as long as you avoid the JELLYFISH), it was a lovely afternoon! Jude is so confident around water now – he just wants to paddle in all water (local park rivers too). Even bathtime seems to have changed – he moves around in the bath now, almost crawling and playing with his toys. 

  

Breastfeeding/feeding update

As mentioned above, breasfeeding is still very much going at the moment! And now I have mastitis as when we returned home, we reduced feeds back to normal again (morning feed – evening feed) pretty much straight away, and now I’m poorly. (But don’t worry readers – antibiotics are doing their thing as we speak!) 

It’s crazy that after almost 13 months of breastfeeding, there are STILL issues! 

We are now a very long way into our (to use a clichéd term) breastfeeding ‘journey’. And, as mentioned before, I am most definitely ready to stop. I’d like to have at least a year breastfeeding free, before getting pregnant again (yes, I said it – there may well be another child at some point(!)) So, since returning from holiday I have made huge efforts to start to stop. I have introduced a bottle of milk before Jude’s morning nap. When he seems like he’s getting sleepy, I have given him a bottle and then tried to get him off ASAP after he’s had that. It had taken a while to get him to take a bottle of milk in the first place – for a month or so, we have been giving him milk with his breakfast cereal, so he would get used to the taste. Before, he would just have fruit purée with his cereal, now he has both milk and purée. Anyway, it seems to have worked as he will now take a bottle of it. I am trying to associate milk with napping so that eventually, when I cut out his evening feed, he will have a bottle and go to sleep. (That’s the theory anyway). The trouble is that at the moment, Jude will only fall asleep for his morning nap if we take him around the block in the buggy. He doesn’t associate the bottle with sleeping. That was, until today it seems…..


This photo is of a sleeping Jude, who was put into his cot awake, following his morning bottle. It seems we may well have broken through a barrier. I am still feeding Jude to sleep every evening and if he wakeS in the night. But this, it seems, may well be the beginning of something new. TOUCH WOOD. FINGERS CROSSED. WITH A BIT OF LUCK. WATCH THIS SPACE. 

It’s taking a while, and I’m really really really going to miss breastfeeding, it has brought a closeness that I could never have imagined before. Anyway, I’ll keep going.. The next feed to go with be the early morning feed. Wish me luck!!

   

One year on…

I set myself a weightloss target before going away as I knew I’d be getting the bikini out and I wanted to feel better about myself. I know that there are lots of bloggers who talk about not worrying about your baby weight, but I put on 4 stone, and in all honesty, my weight was rather unhealthy. So I chose to run, and alter my diet slightly so that I would be healthier. And it worked! I met my weightloss target the day before we went away. (I put 3lb back on while we were away – I blame French patisserie and wine – but have lost it again since returning). I haven’t done anything drastic (except running – now that is drastic), just slightly altered some of my bad habits. I’m feeling much better about myself anyway, so that’s good! 

One year on, we have an amazing child. I’ve always joked he’s Einstein, and I’m not one to show off constantly on social media – but sometimes I just want to boast and shout about how amazing he is! I feel like this blog is one way that I can boast now and again, so here goes: not only is Jude running around like a little terror most of the time these days, but he’s chatty and tries to make us laugh all the time. He loves nothing better than putting things on his head and running around unable to see. He thinks it’s hilarious. He has also finally learned to clap! (at about 10/11 months), and he wil clap every time someone tells him he’s a good boy! Or says ‘yay’ or ‘well done’! He has brilliant understanding of things that I say to him. We have a few regular words now – ‘Mamama’ ‘Dadada’, ‘more’, ‘gone’, ‘cat’, ‘dog’. But he is also using the signs that we have learned. He signs ‘milk’, ‘more’, ‘duck’, ‘bird’, and he uses a sign for ‘thank you’. This is not the sign we have tried to teach him for thank you, but he seems to understand that when he’s given something, he should say thank you. BRILLIANT. 

He’s also turned into a really loving, cuddly boy that likes nothing better than cwtching in with his dummy and his mummy. It’s true love that’s for sure. What an amazing little boy we have. Bring on the next year! 

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! 

Rave time

I simply have to write about this wonderful piece of equipment. 

  
What an absolutely brilliant invention. Now I know they are used daily by adults on building sites and in other noisy situations like drilling concrete etc, but what if you wanted to take a baby somewhere noisy and you were afraid (or you knew) that they would freak out with the loud noise? Like, for example, a rugby match in a pub in the rugby capital of the world (Wales) on the last day of the six nations…? 

I had seen these fabulous Ear Defenders for babies before – in fact, another mummy friend Ceri posted a photo on social media the other day of her little one at a music festival. A MUSIC FESTIVAL I hear you say?? Well, yes! Because they are absolutely brilliant! 

  
Living in Wales basically means that once a year, I enthusiastically watch Wales play rugby in the Six Nations tournament over the course of about 7-8 weeks. This year however was a double whammy because over the summer, it was the Rugby World Cup too. I watched all of the rugby World Cup games from the comfort of a house, as Jude was so little. The last few weeks however has been the Six Nations and I have watched the majority of those games at home too. We managed one in a quiet pub in Cornwall, where Jude wouldn’t be scared by the shouting as there was hardly anyone there! But the last game I was hoping to watch in a social situation. The problem was that it was likely to be noisy. Extremely noisy. It wasn’t going to be at the stadium (although, now I know the ear defenders work, We’ll definitely be taking him in the future!), but it was going to be in a local members club/pub type thing. 

At the last minute I managed to find a shop that sold them in store and whizzed in to town yesterday morning to pick up a pair before the game. I was sceptical as to how well they would work and if Jude would even keep them on! But he did! And they were wonderful – we managed to watch the whole game, which involved a lot of shouting as we scored 9 tries (Go Wales), and Jude didn’t even flinch! He happily waved at the whooping, cheering room and watched the rugby on the big screen and enjoyed every minute. Until that is, he fell asleep! In the middle of a room full of shouty rugby fans! If that’s not proof that they work then I don’t know now what is – he was happy and comfortable enough to sleep – awesome.

  
So, if there’s anyone out there who is wondering whether these wonderful things are worth purchasing, I would tell you YES! There was a choice of 2 different brands in the shop I bought ours from, and I did go for the pricier pair – they cost about £14, whereas the others were about £7. I guess I thought it was worth spending the money for something that could be more effective. They are PELTOR ‘kid’ Ear Defenders and did I mention they were fab?

The curse of the social butterfly

I’ve always heard parents complaining about their children being ill and talking about how they must have picked it up at nursery. We have found out the hard way that although socialising your baby is important; babies need to mix with other babies and pick up germs to build their immune system, when they do get ill, it sucks. In fact, it can be scary… Last weekend, Steve, Jude and I went to visit Steve’s family in Cornwall. This time it was extra special as he was old enough to interact with his cousins and get to know his Aunties better. We had been to all of his classes the week before despite Steve and I being super ill, and we had a lovely family time in Cornwall with long dog walks on the beach, cosy pubs and family meals. Plus Jude went to a soft play properly for the first time for his big cousin Chloe’s birthday!   

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A humungous THANK YOU to Steve’s mum Bernie and her partner Trevor for giving up their room for us again so that we could all be in together. Unfortunately, Jude didn’t sleep very well while we were there and we were soon to find out why… Our time to go home again soon rolled around and Jude had been grizzly and needy for most of the weekend. By the Monday (our going home day), he was flushed, snotty and miserable. I decided that it would be best to try and get a doctors appointment for when we got home, as he seemed really wheezy – but mainly he was inconsolable, which was the worrying part – so I managed to get a late one. After the last 2 appointments I had been reluctant to ‘waste’ another appointment (the last 2 resulted in the doctor telling me both times that there was nothing wrong with him), but this time he was definitely not himself.

After we arrived home, we went along to our appointment and then the scary part happened. The doctor gave us the choice: take him to hospital or go home and see how he goes.

   
TAKE HIM TO HOSPITAL?!?! WHAT? That escalated quickly!

I told the doctor (as an afterthought) that he had seemed to find it difficult to breathe in the morning when I had brought him into bed with us and she immediately told us to take him to the paediatric unit to have him checked. Anyway, although we were pretty worried by now, he seemed to cheer up (thanks to Calpol) so we felt a bit better.

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After 5 hours of waiting in hospital, our boy was asleep in my arms and I asked a nurse how long we were likely to be. By this point Jude seemed to have improved somewhat and I couldn’t help but think it would be best for Jude if he was at home, asleep in his own bed and recuperating. A doctor soon came to check him over and we were thankfully sent home. A scary few hours to say the least! A virus on his lungs had caused Jude to find breathing really difficult. Unfortunately as it was a virus, there was no medication for him and he was contagious. He must have caught it from someone at one of our classes. The incubation period (according to the Internet) is 7-14 days, so he could have picked it up anywhere!

I suppose in the long run, it’s a good thing that he has had this as his immune system has been given a run for its money, but it’s an awful thing to be told to take your baby to hospital. Thanks goodness it’s over now and he’s well and truly on the mend!

Hopefully our next visit to Cornwall will be just as lovely AND we’ll have a healthy baby to boot!

  
 

 

 

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

“You can run with us, we’ve got everything you neeeeed”

I put on 4 stone when I was pregnant. That’s 25.5kg if you’re in the Eurozone and 56 pounds if you’re in The States. And yes, I know that’s A LOT of weight. All of the books etc tell you that the average weight gain during pregnancy (for a woman of ‘average’ pre-pregnancy size), is 1 stone 9 lbs or 11.3kg or 25 pounds. So I basically gained double the ‘average’. (I’m very aware that these days, the word average doesn’t mean an awful lot in the grand scheme of things, but for me, 4 stone was 40% of my starting weight!) I’ve had knee trouble since having Jude and I’m convinced that it’s because I put on so much weight and my poor knees can’t take it. Anyway – you get the picture.

I also developed a terribly sweet tooth whilst pregnant. Now this most definitely could have been an excuse – maybe I just used my pregnancy as an excuse to eat dessert; whilst in the pub everyone would be having pints and I’d have an ice cream sundae! What?? It would make me feel better about not being able to drink alcohol……  The pre-pregnancy Me would have always chosen the savoury option (olives, cheese etc), whereas during pregnancy (and now post pregnancy), I choose the sweet and sugary every time, so my weight is still considerably higher than where I am happy. And the point is, I’m not fat fat, but I’m not happy with my weight. I had hoped that my sweet tooth would subside after Jude arrived, but 8 months later and it’s still there as strong as ever! Since Jude’s arrival, I have lost just over 3 stone (19kg/42 pounds), but there’s still a way to go and now we’ve booked a holiday abroad that will require bikini wearing and will include an extreeeemely slim ‘sister-in-law’. 

It’s time to get motivated.

I am aware that if I just stopped drinking booze and eating dessert, the rest of the weight would probably fall off. But where’s the fun in that?? I need dessert and alcohol to help me through the day and in particular to help me through teething. So I’ve decided to exercise…… 

I decided that I would simply have to buy myself some new PE kit if I was going to do something productive and actually exercise in order to make a difference to my body and fitness. So I purchased some rather attractive running leggings (complete with funky, gold-coloured, metallic dotty pattern) and a highly technologically advanced anti-sweat, breathable running top and sports bra (for my massive, breastfeeding boobies). 2 months ago, I also invested in a rather sexy pair of running shoes (in the January sales) and wore them out and about with Jude, just casually looking sporty and trendy (!!) for approximately erm.. 2 months before finally putting them to their proper use last week. 

 I have been for 3 runs now in about a week and a half. When I say runs, I mean that I leave the house and ‘run’ around the block for what I have now discovered using an online website-mappy-thingy, is approximately a mile (or 1.6km) before returning home again. I run non stop. I don’t walk AT ALL. But yes, it’s only a mile. And when I reach the end, I feel like I’m about to die. You know how people say running is ‘so good for your mind’ – it ‘gives me head space and time to think’?? Well, that definitely doesn’t happen for me. All I think about is how dreadful I look, lolloping along the road. My head is simply full of how red my face must look and how it’s a good job I’ve got headphones in so I can’t hear my tight, raspy, shallow breathing. I’m definitely not a natural runner. I can almost feel the weight thumping down on the road and being wrenched back up again as I lift my foot again for the next painful step. Sound dramatic? Well, let me assure you – it is! And despite purchasing – and I quote – ‘Running Shoes’, I can’t run on the pavements around my where I live, as I slip over! So I have to run on the roads, which is even more attention-drawing and embarrassing. 

Anyway, as much as I know I look awful, and I can only manage a mile (at the moment) I’m still going to go at least twice a week, and fingers crossed the rest of this weight will come off…

And I can still keep eating desserts.