I’ve never been someone who has really enjoyed too much of my own company, I’ve always been very social and I like to be busy. What terrified me most in those first few chaotic weeks of motherhood was never being able to get out again, forever confined to the house with no adult conversation. I think it was also good for my post natal state of mind to push myself to get out, and I think its good for babies to get out and about in order to learn about the world. Aside from Coronation Street, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the occasional ITV drama, I’m also not a huge TV watcher, and TV isn’t something I particularly want to be at the top of Henry’s list when it comes to entertainment… what ever happened to good-old-playing-in-the-street? Anyway…that’s a topic for another day.

So…if I haven’t already lost your interest with that epic ramble, here goes…

1. Waterbabies. This is my absolute favourite. We’ve just finished our first chapter and both me and Hen have absolutely loved it. His little face lights up when I put him into his happy nappy and he has an absolute whale of a time. He quickly started kicking when he’s laid flat in the water, he loves the repetitive songs and he confidently goes under the water (we have a great underwater photo to prove it, although it did test my nerves!)  I’ll keep going with the lessons as long as Henry is enjoying it, it’s been great for him developmentally and I think it will continue to be. And our teacher is fantastic.

2. Baby Sensory. I went to a course of four baby sensory sessions but found that a lot of the things they used I could buy from Amazon pretty cheaply and do it at home, which Henry seemed to prefer as he was the youngest baby there and some of the crawlers were a bit boisterous for him at the time. It inspired me to be a bit creative with baby play. Henry’s favourites were these chiffon squares, which he loves having blown over his face, an emergency blanket, which I play ‘peekaboo’ with & this spiky ball. (It’s probably worth pointing out that these are only toys we play with under my full attention!). The babies also sat on a large tray filled with cooked pasta, which I left Hen out of because he was only just four months and I was paranoid about him choking on some! Once I’ve chilled my beans when it comes to potential choking hazards I’ll be giving this a try. (We’ve just started weaning and choking is at the top of my worry list, right next to overheating!)

3. Baby Massage. We did this free at our local SureStart Centre. Who doesn’t love a massage? Babies are no different!

4. Walking. I started walking daily in the early days in an attempt to educate Henry on the difference between day and night, and to get us both a bit of fresh air. It seemed to work because while he’s not one for long day time naps as yet, I’ve so far not had an issue getting him back to sleep when he wakes in the night. *Touches wood*. It’s also lovely to walk with other mums, (or anyone!) to chat while babies inevitably fall asleep… or take it in turns to cry so that it takes three hours to do a forty minute walk. Either way I’ve always enjoyed myself.

5. Reading. I was such a reader when I was a child and I read to Henry everyday. I’m not sure if my efforts will pay off as he’s currently trying to eat the books I read to him but he seems to enjoy my OTT animated voices.

6. M&S Cafe. An odd one, but it’s a great place to feed babies, and both the staff and customers seem to LOVE babies and once I was so impressed by the service I sent a compliment to the head office while I was still in there. I always get chatting to someone, plus their avocado, cucumber and lime smoothie is da bomb.

7. Music Bugs. I’ve only actually been to one Music Bugs class but I thought it was worth mentioning as it was really good. They include a bit of sensory which added a little interest, they did on the week I went anyway. I really must go again! It did inspire me to buy some Halilit instruments which have gone down a treat (except for the cow bell which is so SHRILL! My ears cannot abide the noise that thing makes).

I hope I’ve given you some ideas for if you’re ever at a loose end. Let me know if you have anything you think I might like to try!

I’ve also got involved in some of the linky fun from You Baby Me Mummy and Mr & Mrs T Plus Three. Check it out here 

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Yesterday I experienced baby’s first tantrum. At six months old. Forgive me if I’m wrong because I’m new to this parenting game, but is that not a little early?

We’re in the second week of weaning and he had just enjoyed some banana, later followed by the usual milk feed. Somehow this wasn’t satisfying enough and, a boy after my own heart, he was reaching for my avocado which I happily shared. Showing a similar interest in my strawberries, I gave him a little piece as I ate each one, which he wolfed down as if he’d been searching for strawberries all his life. I was actually feeling pretty proud, watching him munch away, flashing his cheeky little smile after every piece.

Then they were all gone, and that’s when it happened. Tears, arms flailing, legs kicking… I tried to reason with him that there were none left, he ate them all. But he didn’t understand, he’s six months old. Luckily it didn’t last long and he was back to his usual chipper self, but it gave me an insight into some of the challenges the next few years might hold.

Send help…or strawberries.

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Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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  1. There is no medal for enduring labour without pain relief. If you want the drugs, take the drugs. I was determined to use only gas & air, my TENS machine and water. 12 hours in I broke my TENS machine. 20 hours in, having had 4 hours sleep the last 40 and getting to that point with only bathwater as relief I was exhausted and crying for the epidural…and the diamorphine when the epidural wasn’t available quickly enough. And I’d do it again next time.
  2. NEVER GOOGLE. I’m a worrier (I blame my mother), but I scared myself silly more times than I care to remember in the early weeks. If in doubt, see a real doctor or midwife, not Doctor Internet.
  3. Enjoy being bored, because you’ll never again be able to make that complaint. It also goes without saying to make the most of lazy weekend mornings. I think I’ve laid on my sofa once in the last six months.
  4. Take opportunities for days out or mini breaks with partners, friends and family, it won’t be as easy for a while.
  5. Babies do not feed & sleep in a Gina Ford-esque fashion. You cannot fathom a pattern and it’s best to go with the flow. It’s also NORMAL for your baby to be happiest on you. My brain, filled with feeding-sleeping-pattern nonsense, thought something wasn’t right, made worse with midwives expressing shock night after night when my baby would not stop feeding. I genuinely think this played a part in my ability to breastfeed.
  6. A top and tail bowl is the most useless piece of equipment and I have never used it. It’s a good job they only cost a few quid.
  7. As above, shaped swaddle blankets. Utter crap.
  8. It’s ok to cry. I was pretty pleased if I managed three days in a row without tears. PND played on my mind a lot, and thankfully I wasn’t affected but I think it would be useful to prepare new mums for the emotional roller-coaster, and helping them to recognise if something isn’t right.
  9. You’ll cope, and you’ll enjoy it.
  10. Despite your horror at the labour photos presented at your NCT class, you won’t give a flying fart about being naked during childbirth, it really is the last thing on your mind. In fact, if it would speed things along you’d do a few nude laps around the hospital.
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In typically British fashion, I spent most of last week whinging about the rain between cries of ‘when is summer coming?!’. Then, in typically British fashion, the sun has arrived and my complaint is now that it is too hot. Not too hot for me I should point out, but the hot weather has added another thing to my long list of things that I worry might happen to the baby… ‘Will a bird try and peck the baby while I hang the washing out?’, ‘Can he drown himself if he drinks too much water?’, ‘What if he hides porridge in his cheeks like a hamster and then goes to sleep?’. My brain is already at worry capacity.

So with Sunday came sun, we went to his swimming lesson and barbecued in our very shaded garden. On Monday I woke up with enthusiasm for embracing the weather and set off for a lovely summers picnic at Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens. I packed us up, bundled us into the car, turned the air-con up and off we went.

Half way into the journey with a whinging six month old and the weather anxiety sets in; ‘I shouldn’t have come, it’s too hot for him. What if he overheats? What if he gets sun stroke? What if the factor 50 I’ve slathered all over him is faulty and he burns?’ I decide to stop off at the supermarket to check on him and to calm my nerves with a bottle of sparkling water. We set off again and he’s remarkably quiet. ‘Oh no, he’s too hot. Is he breathing?’ I stop at the traffic lights and poke him on the forehead. He moves and I breathe a sigh of relief.

Finally, nerves just about in tact we arrive at the destination. Lay out a blanket in the shade and wait for our friends to join us, all the while feeling tremendously guilty for bringing him out rather than sitting him in the kitchen next to the open freezer door.

After I pretty nice afternoon we come home, the narrative of my paranoid brain following a similar pattern to the journey there. Bedtime comes and his room, that he’s only been in for two weeks is pretty warm. So I decide the only thing for it is to sleep on the floor next to the cot so I can experience the same temperature as him, therefore know if he’s too hot…

Am I insane? Tell me I’m not the only one who’s mind is consumed by irrational worries? There’s no wonder I keep forgetting appointments, mixing up dates and double booking my poor friends. My baby brain cannot process any more information.

Now we’re on the third day of this glorious heatwave I’m a touch more rational. So I’m off to cover us in suncream, don the sun hats and sit in the garden. After all, there are mums in Australia who seem to cope just fine.

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Poached, grilled, baked, fried… whichever tickles your fancy the end result will always come out tasting, well… fishy.

Fish talk aside the same can be said for parenting. Everybody parents differently but everyone emerges from childhood an adult, albeit with different interests, personalities and values. But it’s this difference that keeps the world interesting, brings some people together and ultimately means that not everyone gets along.

I’ve always had very clear ideas about how I want to bring up my own children, influenced largely by my own childhood and the amazing upbringing my parents gave me, along with the reading and research I’ve come across myself. I won’t go into the ins & outs of what I think now because I’m not here to preach and I believe that every well-meaning parent is free to make their own choices based on what works for them and their child, and I respect that choice. I also know that every child is different, and parenting techniques that have worked for one child may not work for another, even a sibling.

Therefore when I see the furore in the media over Victoria Beckham kissing her daughter on the lips, why it is even a subject of great debate astounds me. Kissing her children is her choice as a parent and she shouldn’t be shamed or criticised for it, her choice should be respected and as long as children are happy, what does it matter?

Similarly, mothers shouldn’t be shamed for they way in which they choice to feed their baby. The most important thing is doing what is best for you and your baby, and only you know that. Mothers who are shamed for breastfeeding in public makes me so angry. But at the same time, mothers who can’t, or choose not to breastfeed shouldn’t be made to feel bad either. Again, it comes down to choice, and choice should be respected.

It’s all too easy to cast judgement on others, but perhaps the world would be a kinder place if we all came together with a mutual respect for individuals and their decisions. Because at the end of the day, who doesn’t want the best for their child?

 

 

 

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