Relax, Mom!

Little Man has been super-duper hungry lately.  All the books, most of the Health Workers tell me “babies will signal when they have had enough by pulling away, refusing, not swallowing, bla bla bla.  It’s basically a bunch of crap.  Since we have started weaning, if I let him, Elliot would eat until he explodes.  This has caused me to have constantly in the back of my mind one of the very first things I was told by a Doctor about him after we got him home… to be careful not to overfeed him because he is a big baby and we do not want him shooting off the top of the chart with weight gain.

Well.

Elliot is doing a good job lately of trying to teach me just to chill out and not worry about him – that he is doing just fine and will continue to do so!  I have battled most of my life with weight so I wanted to do what was best for him and I have been very good about taking him in to get weighed to make sure we are on track.  And every single time I start to think “Man, this kid is a piggo he eats so much, gosh I hope is he isn’t getting TOO big”  When I then take him in to be weighed, his weight plots DIRECTLY on his centile line which he has hardly wavered from since birth and the health worker is super excited and impressed that he is doing so well.  And every time I tell myself “stop worrying about him and just keep doing what you are doing”  Then another few weeks go by and he has again increased what he is eating by a significant amount and I again start to worry a little.  Well, not this time!  I am not going to think about his weight for the next month, that is my promise.

I think I have started to get a handle on how much to feed him to keep him happy but not to the point of bursting.  And he just started having chicken with lunch and WOW it has helped a lot with going the distance between 11:00 / 11:30 lunch and 2:30 bottle.  Before the chicken he started telling me he was hungry by 1:30, which was way too early for a bottle because then there would be no way he would make it until 6 for dinner!  I had been getting him by with water and a few bits of rusk to munch on and dancing aroud the house like a fool to distract him, but the protein is totally helping him so we will start giving him fish and other meats soon 🙂

Another thing – while on the topic of weaning and baby portions.  I really DO NOT know where we would be right now if Debbie (my sister-in-law) had not thrown into a bag of books for John’s Mom a copy of “The Contented Little Baby” by Gina Ford.  I had previously really agreed with everything baby lead and that routines were nice for the parents but not always best for the baby.  Again – load of crap.  Well, for Elliot anyway.  I still think that every baby is different and you have to adapt any lifestyle / routine to what that baby needs, but Elliot was a super hungry baby right from the beginning and we would have been trying to feed him nonstop if it was not for the suggested feeding/sleeping times and guidelines for amounts to feed.  I stuck to them for the most part and was obviously flexible if he truly was more hungry one day or needed more/less sleep, a baby should never just be left to be hungry if they truly are hungry just because “it’s not time yet”.  But that book also introduced me to her weaning book which has been another God-send for helping to make sure he was getting enough to eat without letting him pig out.  So if you are reading this Deb – Thanks.  You are part of the reason Elliot is a happy and contented baby!

Got My Fluffy Bum Back

Elliot’s bum (obviously)!  He has had a pretty yucky tummy bug for the last several days and I just couldn’t keep up with him, plus everything was getting stained (which I know I can get out, but I didn’t feel like dealing with it) so had him in disposables since Friday afternoon.  I know it was mostly because of the diarrhea and frequent wiping in combo with being in disposables but his poor little bum got so sore!  Had him back in cloth today and it’s almost completely better already!  Anyways, just happy to have my fluffy bummed little boy back 🙂  He is feeling much  better.  I guess we are lucky to have made it to nearly 5 months before he got sick but he could have just gotten a cold or something!

Bright side though, gave me a chance to get our entire stash clean and we got some adorable new ones (some new, some pre-loved) so I took some stash pics!

It’s actually amazing how not using cloth for a few days made me realize how much I love them!  I try not to get preachy about the cloth diaper thing – every family has to do what is right for them and make compromises somewhere but I honestly believe everyone with a baby should try at least one cloth diaper just to see if it could be right for them.  They have come so far in recent years with so much variety in style and ease of use.  It’s amazing!  It is a little sad to me that disposables have become such the norm that so many people do not even give cloth a second thought anymore.  Anyways, now I just need to curb the urge to buy more!  Should be easy as there are plenty of other things waiting to take our money right now lol.  Finally have our stash to a good number where I shouldn’t run out if I don’t wash every other day or if they take more time to dry than planned!

We Did It.

Elliot and I went to our first baby play group today.  It’s a group for birth -1yr babies and their Moms/Dads/Grandparents/Carers.  I felt so silly about feeling so nervous but I was so nervous about going!  I really don’t know why but sometimes I still feel very out of my element and even though I have lived here over a year I still feel like a foreigner.  It is so silly to feel that way really, almost everyone I have met here has been very nice and easy to talk to.  It’s just a strange little insecurity I can’t seem to shake.  I am sure time and getting out to do more things with Elliot will help get rid of it.

We decided to go to the group in Denmead (the village John’s Mom lives in) after a couple of recommendations to go there.  I am so glad we did.  We felt so welcomed, the staff and the other Moms that were there were so nice and I felt comfortable right away.  I think Elliot really enjoyed himself.  He loves watching other babies and people and I think it will be really good for him if we try to go every week!

Weaning

“Wait until 6 months”, they said.  Then, “Wait at least until 17 weeks”, they said.

Being a parent, I wanted to do what was right.  Being a first time parent meant I thought I needed advice to do that.  All I really needed to do was pay attention to my child, take the advice on board and do what is best for our situation.  Logic tells us that no baby is the same, no baby is “textbook” but it was difficult for me to feel confident in my decision to start giving Elliot solids at 16 weeks.  All the signs were there, he was starting me down every time I would eat something – like he wanted it too.  He was drooling like crazy and teething, he was waking earlier in the day and not as satisfied after his bottles.  He also had great head control and was sitting up with minimal support for a few weeks already.  He was ready to start exploring the world of solid foods, so start we did!

We did baby rice cereal for about 3 days then I introduced him to apple puree and started mixing it with the cereal.  I thought it would help with constipation to get him taking fruit right away.  It did!  After about a week on cereal and apple, we moved the cereal & fruit to the 6pm feed and started introducing other things every few days with the 11am bottle.  It has been about a month now and he is absolutely THRIVING!  He loves his fruits and veggies.  He has so far tried Apple, Pear, Peach, Plum, Prune (I use it sparingly to help when things get tough), sweet potato, carrot, zucchini (courgette, whichever you prefer), green bean, swede (I think this is rutabaga in American).  I am looking forward to introducing butternut squash, avocado and papaya in the coming days.

I have been doing a lot of reading on the topic.  All the different theories out there about what foods to try, when, how far apart, so on and so on and so on…  There are so many different opinions and ideas that it would be easy to feel lost and overwhelmed about where to go, but I learned my lesson already.  Slow down and LISTEN to my Baby.  Some things I have been reading that make a lot of sense to me have to do with the old “wait 4+ days between new foods”.  I understand the logic here, mainly to monitor for possible reactions, but there is a school of thought in regards to this that says basically – if there is not a family history of food allergies and you avoid the big ones like gluten, egg and cow’s milk… you can and actually should introduce many different foods quite frequently so baby gets a taste for a varied diet in both taste and texture.  I have to say, I really agree with this.  I think that you probably should not introduce more than one new food in a single day, but if keeping a detailed food journal – there is no reason why I need to wait such a long time between introductions.  So we are throwing that old rule out the window!  I am still going to give him a little more time before moving on to the more “difficult” veggies like broccoli and will wait until closer to 6ish months for meat & cheese, but I am much more relaxed about how things are progressing with him.  All you really have to do is watch him eat to know he is loving it.  He cannot get enough!  He sits there like a little bird with his mouth wide open waiting for the spoon.  If I do not have another bite headed his way by the time he has swallowed, he starts chewing on his bib!

The other thing I stumbled on this week is a multi-grain “baby’s first cereal” as an alternative to the traditional rice cereal.  It contains Quinoa, whole grain rice, millet and amaranth.  What I love most about it is that it is whole grain, a great alternative to the over processed white rice flour that we traditionally use as a first food.  It is still gluten-free, so I am not worried about using it instead of the rice cereal and it actually has smell, flavor and texture!  Yay!

So anyways, Elliot turned 19 weeks old on Tuesday and he is now enjoying a little fruit with his morning bottle, veggies with his mid-day bottle and cereal mixed with fruit in the evenings.  He is a very eager eater (woah, say that 3 times fast) and is doing great!

Oh, and of course – I am making all his food myself.  Why wouldn’t I?!  It’s so easy!    Steam/bake/boil, food processor, into freezer pots and just pull out what I want each day for the next day!  We have a rainbow of baby food in the freezer to choose from!

Here is baby boy enjoying his green beans today!

They still exist!

The Milk Man.  Someone I had thought went the way of the history books until I moved here and saw the little white van holding up traffic one day.  I Knew they still had milk deliveries here but I never looked into it until recently.  I saw the “Milk and More” commercial and went to check out their website and liked what I saw!  They deliver lots of every day stuff – but it seemed  a little redundant as I normally order my weekly shop from Tesco online anyway and have it delivered – why not just get milk there too?  Well… This is the coolest thing!  My Milk Jug!

It is a reusable plastic jug that I keep in the fridge and buy refill bags that I just drop in and snap the corner of the bag under the lid then the cap pierces it open.  75% less packaging makes me feel warm and fuzzy – and the bags are still recyclable!  And the cost is not much different from I was paying, and its good milk!  Win!

Teething

A random, new parent rant:

Teething is such a funny subject to me.  If you think about it, it’s sort-of a random, non-specific group of symptoms that are shared with other causes and every baby experiences these symptoms differently and at different times.

Why do I ponder this?  Well… when Baby exhibits symptoms that someone thinks could be related to teething, they ask “Oh, is Baby teething?” or “Are his teeth bothering him?”  or something similar.

Well first of all, how the h e double hockey sticks are you supposed to really know with any certainty that it is a “teething” thing that is bothering baby and as a new parent that has never gone through a baby teething – I can’t really recognize things like that anyway until we have “been there, done that!”

Basically there is a small group of things we can say with certainty.  Elliot is drooling like someone turned the tap on, and shoving everything he can get his hands on into his mouth and rubbing said items on his gums when he is not sticking his tongue out andrubbing it on his gums, also his gums feel more bumpy than they did the week before.  I guess these together mean he is teething, so I answer “yes” to the “Is baby teething?” Questions.

Odd rant, I know – like I said, It’s just a funny topic to me.

Growing!

Yes, Elliot is still growing like crazy – right about 17 pounds now!  There is some other growing going on right now though that has really caught me by surprise… in the garden!  I still have a really difficult time getting used to thinking about garden work during the winter months (mainly Jan and Feb).  I just go into ‘winter shutdown’ and don’t think about the Garden at all!  I went out to the garage the other night to get something out of the freezer and I noticed my Butterfly Bushes and other shrubs are budding!!  I have not done any work toward trimming the garden back from last Fall.  I just didn’t feel like it when I was 8-9 months pregnant and then after Elliot came… well, you know we just didn’t have the time or energy!  The problem now is the shrubs, pampas grass and perennials need to be hacked back and cleared but it is so wet out there and everything is going to just keep growing!  I must get to it!!  I did make a little progress today, got the Butterfly Bush cut back to just a stump and cleaned the seed heads & dead stems from some of the perennials.  I just need it to not rain for a couple of days so the limbs will dry out enough to run through the shredder!  And, the grass needs to be cut, as it never really stops growing here – just slows down.  I have a lot to do over the next couple weeks but I really want my garden to look nice this year so I will just keep doing a little bit each day!

It is still a challenge to get my brain to realize things start growing here in January.  My daffodils are already over two inches out of the ground and I am sure clearing that Butterfly Bush out of the way will only make them grow faster!  So while my family & friends in Michigan & Illinois are digging out from Blizzard 2011 – I am complaining that the early days of spring have started to sneak up on me.  Sorry guys, your spring will come soon too!!!)