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Coupon Fanatic

I went into Boots today, armed with at least fifty or more coupons and vouchers for various baby products. I bought jars (exclusively for emergencies/day trips I’ve told myself) fruit pots, fruit pouches, cereals, formula milk and wipes. Nothing I purchased was full price, and I even got some of it for free!

The bags were unbelievably heavy, and the total came to around £38. Then I handed over my mountain of vouchers and the cost just dropped. It continued to go down and down, until I ran out of vouchers at around £21.

Not bad considering it is all stuff I would’ve bought/needed anyway, if maybe just not that particular brand. But it doesn’t matter to me and it certainly doesn’t matter to Henry.

And I wasn’t the only one in the shop doing it. I bumped into another mum with a bundle of coupons in her hand. Every penny counts!

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Petits Filous and Foodie Foodie

Henry had his first Petits Filous today. It was strawberry, and he just couldn’t get enough. His little mouth stayed open, and he was even diving for the spoon. You wouldn’t know he had just had breakfast an hour ago.

He’s firmly on three meals a day now too. Hungry little baby.

I’ve also bought a variety of fruit an vegetables to prepare for him to try. He’s had a lot already, but this time will be mango, avocado, papaya, butternut squash and sweetcorn on top of his already long list of foods.

I wish I had been less stressed about weaning. Before the whole process, I really didn’t know what on earth I was supposed to do, or when to do it, or how much. But I’m happy, and more importantly Henry is happy, with how it is progressing. So now I can stop stressing and just be comfortable in the knowledge that it will happen, and whether I feed him carrot or parsnip first really isn’t important…

It’s hard not to get a little anal about the details though. The amount of conflicting advice out there can really make you doubt yourself and your instincts. I end up following charts and other people’s schedules instead of thinking what is right for me and my baby, which is really quite dangerous. I just need to remember that the advice in books and on the internet is always quite generalised, and doesn’t necessarily apply to me.

A really good guide for weaning though, as I’ve found has a good structure to begin with, is the Cow & Gate 5 step weaning plan. I got it sent to me in the post, as I’ve been signed up to their baby club ever since I found out I was pregnant and went crazy signing up to everything.

It clearly sets out a guideline of what to feed (and what not to feed), and is a reminder of what you are actually aiming for. The whole point of the exercise can easily be forgotten when you are up to your eyes in sterilising fluid and bibs. You eventually want your baby to be eating three meals a day, progressing from milk to simple purees to lumps to solid food. And there was me worrying about whether or not he’s too young for this and that.

I’m very happy now, though, and I wouldn’t think twice about doing it all again! It has to be easier second time around, right? Apart from the fact you have two, of course…

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Post-Breakfast Nap & HiPP Sampling

I’ve entitled this ‘post-breakfast nap’, when in reality, it was a ‘during-breakfast nap’. I’ve bought him some new breakfast; HiPP Organic Banana and Peach Breakfast. I initially tried it with Henry because we happened to have a free sample lying around and we’d run out of bananas. I’ve been trying to establish a good breakfast and lunch routine, consisting of a porridge and fruit based breakfast, and a vegetable lunch. It would generally be something along the lines of baby rice and banana for breakfast, then sweet potato and spinach or carrot and parsnip for lunch. Anyway, I used this sachet of HiPP, and he loved it. He couldn’t get enough! It was mouthful after mouthful of peachy goodness. It’s really easy to make up (just add previously boiled water) and contains milk towards his 500-600ml daily intake. So I bought him a box, and when it runs out, I’ll be buying another. Obviously he still need variety, but at the moment it is his favourite breakfast.

It makes the first meal of the day quick, easy and enjoyable, and I’m really not a morning person.

This morning, he ate a whole bowlful, and remember we’re talking about a five-month-old who still eats ice cube size meals. He kept opening his mouth for more, and moaned if I took too long with the spoon (silly mummy)! Then, he fell fast asleep right there in his highchair. I cleaned his face and hands, and managed to get him into his cot without him even waking up. An hour later, he’s here shaking his rattle at me, as happy as can be.

Next up, playtime. Well done HiPP.

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Swimming Fun in a Wetsuit

We took Henry swimming again this morning. Yes, I braved it after last time (see Crying in the Swimming Pool)… but it actually went very well.

I invested in (quite an expensive) baby wetsuit for Henry from the Splash About range, in a bid to make the whole experience more enjoyable for the both of us. I am pleased to report that it worked better than I’d ever expected. He stayed in the pool for fourty minutes before I decided to quit while we were ahead and slink on back to the changing rooms. On removal of the wetsuit, which was quite a challenge as it only has velcro down the back, I noticed that the inside was virtually dry! I couldn’t believe it. No wonder Henry was nice and warm and happy that whole time.

If I had known earlier, I would have just taken the plunge and bought the wetsuit earlier. The size is 3-6 months, and it is quite snug fitting on him, so we will probably have to fork out another £25 for another before long. It does work really well though, and for little babies like Henry who get very cold very quickly, it is amazing.

I would recommend it, despite the cost and the drawback of it’s tricky removal. Also, you still have to use a disposable nappy (or swim nappy with a liner which I’ve heard doesn’t work so well) but I’d be using those anyway so that doesn’t really bother me.

Hopefully I’ll be able to take him every week from now on!

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Windmill

Henry and I went on a walk along the seafront today, and this time we had my parents and brother for company. It’s nice to have the company, and Henry does love his family. I want them to be a big part of his life – family is important. I also invested in a parasol for his pushchair. It works perfectly, keeping the sun out of my son’s eyes.

He was very well behaved as well. We only had a tiny outburst in the shop, but he seems to do that whenever we go inside, he just loves being outdoors! It was such a nice day though, we could sit outside with our coffee and chocolate cake and feel very comfortable. Henry was snoozing under his brand new parasol from Boots at this point, without a care in the world.

My mother suggested I buy him a little windmill we saw displayed outside one of the newsagents. Henry absolutely loves it. He stares at it, and even stops mid-cry to gaze at its shiny spirals. It is the best £1.50 I ever spent. The entertainment is endless.

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Different Tastes and the New Highchair

Henry has had carrot for the past couple of days, so I decided to introduce him to some parsnip today that I prepared earlier in the week. He loved it, and kept opening his little mouth for more. He is getting the hang of eating off a spoon a lot quicker than I expected him to. Yesterday he even grabbed the spoon off me and put it in his own mouth. I guess he really was ready to start weaning then. I hate all these guidelines that don’t take into account that every baby is different. I should really remember this and use my instincts and the advice from our personal health visitor over the governments guidelines in future.

We tried him in his new highchair that came this morning too. We bought a purple snack highchair from Kiddicare, and it is brilliant. Under thirty pounds and it does the job. They have a lot of the same highchair but with different designs, all for £29.99 too. I chose the purple one because it looks rather nice and it matches our rug and curtains as well…

I should make up some more food for him, as it is so much easier just to get out a little cube of puree from the freezer. I’ll make some more carrot and parsnip batches, and try some sweet potato, then apple next. It’s all very exciting. I’ve been using my new Tommee Tippee explora food blender as well. It works so well, and I am really glad I got it. I don’t have the space to store a full-size blender or food processor in my kitchen. Also, from experience, I know that they tend to just get left in the box most of the time until one day you feel like making a smoothie or a soup and then afterwards, realise that it’s just made a whole lot of mess to clean up when you could have just bought a carton from the shop for a few pounds.

Anyway, it is lovely and small. It’s just the right size for making batches of baby puree to freeze, small enough to leave out on the counter inbetween the toaster and the kettle, and it doesn’t make too much mess. It is also really easy to cold-water sterilise in a bowl of Milton solution.

I am glad that I haven’t gone down the ‘pre-made baby food in jars’ route. This has got to be so much healthier, and cheaper.

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An Early Return to Work Treat

Henry doesn’t approve of me wearing perfume, for obvious reasons. He is used to me smelling natural, and finds it comforting. But I have decided to treat myself to a new scent for the days when I go back to work.

I enjoy wearing perfume; it feels nice on your skin after a bath and I love it when you forget you’ve put it on and then suddenly catch a whiff of something lovely during the day. I bought ‘Laugh With Me Lee Lee’ by BeneFit. It is truly beautiful, go and smell some, you won’t regret it. Its packaging is a little treat too!

Henry doesn’t like it, but it’s a little gift to myself for when I have to be away from him. Distraction and reward; the two best things to help you through the day.

I might go and get a manicure or something too…

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Other Uses for the Baby Monitor

My other half just set up the baby monitor yesterday, and charged it overnight, as we’ve only just found it after unpacking the last of the remaining boxes. We decided on the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Digital Sensor Pad Monitor. Or ‘that thing’ for short. We eventually chose that one after looking around Mothercare with blank faces for what seemed like hours, partly because we have all the Tommee Tippee bottles and we trust the brand, and partly because it was on offer. We got it for around £60 in the end, and can be found for this price currently on Amazon.

Personally, I love it. For a baby monitor, it is really very clear. I can hear Henry breathing if I turn it up, and the monitor is positioned a fair distance away from him. The little sensor pad is a brilliant touch, especially if you are one of those parents who feels the need to check on him every few mintues like I am. I was a little unsure on how well it would work, but I really am impressed.

Now, we can watch a film after he has gone to bed in the other room, and I don’t have to keep pausing it to make sure he is still alright. He’ll still be in our room until six months, but now I’m not so worried about him moving to his room. It also has this really cute ‘talkback’ function. If you press a button on the side, you can reply to the baby. I’m guessing this is for reassurance, so he knows he isn’t left completely alone, but at the moment we just use it as a walkie-talkie. Fun for all the family!

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He Wants to Eat Constantly

I can’t tell if it is a growth spurt or a sign that he is ready to try weaning, but after the short while where we settled into a nice three to four hourly routine, Henry now wants to eat all the time. Where he used to sleep through the night, (it was getting to become a regular, ten hour, uninterrupted stint) he now wakes up four, maybe five, times a night. It is just like having a newborn again! He is just constantly hungry, and I have decided that I’m going to leave it another week until he is the recommended 17 weeks. If he is still desperate for more food, I will start to slowly introduce food starting with baby rice then fruit and vegetable purees.

I’ve got the Annabel Karmel ‘Top 100 Baby Purees’ book and I’ve got the cute, little, plastic spoons and bowls, the little beaker cups and those really excellent freezer trays. I ordered all my weaning products from Kiddicare, just because they are really reasonably priced, and their delivery is so quick and easy. There are so many different types and styles and brands out on the market, it’s really quite hard to make a decision when it comes to purchasing for your baby. Personally, I just went on a combination of price and previous customer reviews.

I’ll update with how I get on with that. I’m going to start boiling and freezing food for Henry in those tiny portions, as you can keep them in the freezer for up to a month. I think I’m going to start with carrot…

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The Best Toys for Babies

Don’t bother with all the expensive toys. Okay, so Henry’s vibrating, rocking chair is one of our most used, but I find that a lot of the toys are more for the parents than the baby. I get very excited by the ones with pretty colours, things to pull and bits to squeeze. Although it can hold Henry’s attention for a while (depending on his willingness to humour me), he is far more fascinated by cheaper alternatives. For example, the packaging that the expensive toy came in.

He doesn’t care about money, or what all the other babies will think of him in the mum and baby club. He’s perfectly happy to play with a muslin square, or look at himself in the mirror. I can’t blame him though, he is pretty handsome.