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Henry the Hungry, Hungry Baby

Henry has decided to eat everything in our house today. He has always been a hungry baby, feeding so much and often that it got to the point of doing nothing else. And now he is on solids, it is a lot better, as he stays full for longer. Well, he did. Today has been one of those days. Henry must be going through a growth spurt or something, because he hasn’t stopped eating and crying for milk. We’ve given him at least twice the amount of food as normal, increasing the amount per serving as well as giving him snacks, and he has had almost twice the quantity of milk as is his usual too.

It’s hard to keep up with his ever changing food habits. Just when I thought we had got into a routine. Thank god for the handy fruit pot I always keep in the nappy bag, just in case. Without it, I don’t know how we would have finished our meal without an ‘inbetween lunch and dinner’ drama!

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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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The Big Decisions

Becoming a parent comes with an untold amount of responsibility. There is someone dependant on you, for everything. Signing consent forms is another horrible one. You know that the injections are for the best, but signing your name under the field marked ‘parent/guardian’ makes you stop and think all the bad things that could happen if say, he had a reaction to the treatment…

Another of the less important decisions to make (but still just as hard to come to a conclusion on) is this scenario; he falls asleep in his highchair. Do you leave him to sleep in what looks like an uncomfortable position, or do you attempt to move him to his cot and possibly wake him up in the process? I still don’t know, and it has become quite a regular occurance of late. Since he’s started eating so much more, when he gets full, he gets sleepy too. Like me after an all-you-can-eat carvery.

Henry is one of those babies who really struggles to go to sleep. He fights it, even when he is clearly tired. He just wants to stay awake all day so he doesn’t miss a single thing. And I just wanted some time for a cup of tea…

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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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Not Keen on the Green

After trying lots of different foods in the past few weeks, we finally found a food Henry doesn’t like.

Spinach.

I can’t really blame him, it takes a while to get used to, and that’s when you know it’s good for you. He was so cute though. He kept eating it for a while, managing quite a few spoonfuls, but pulling disapproving faces and frowning. When he began to gag because of the taste, I decided to stop and give him some carrot instead. I’ll try again another day.

He’s so funny, he makes me laugh so much. I never knew a five month old could have such expressive facial reactions. He really is a joy to be around.

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First Train Journey

We took Henry on his first ever train journey today. I spent the day with Henry and my mother, shopping and drinking coffee in a nearby city. He was so brilliant all day, and didn’t cry at all. He was too busy staring at everything that was going on, taking it all in and soaking it up like a sponge. He got quite a bit of attention on the train too. I’m so proud of him!

He’s hardly napped all day. I guess the excitement was too much, and the thought of missing out on something was just too great. He’s fast asleep now though. He went to bed a little earlier than usual tonight, but I think that was for the best.

I even sat him in a highchair in a coffee shop, and fed him sweet potato that I made previously and some cooled boiled water in his beaker. He loved it, and was such a good boy! I’m not saying it was easy, especially compared to how it used to be, going out without a care in the world and only yourself to take care of, but he made things so manageable. It’s the best I can hope for, and I just love him so much. It makes me so excited about being able to take him on day trips without having to worry about how he will be.

And I have nice plans for my upcoming birthday this week. He was out for over seven hours and didn’t moan once. I just have to make the most of the nice weather while it lasts. I even managed to treat myself to a new hat. I spent most on Henry though. It’s really funny how I don’t even want to spend my money on myself anymore. I ‘invested’ in a few tops for Henry. One with a picture of a Smurf on the front, one with AC/DC on it and one with the Rolling Stones fourty licks logo.

I know, it had to be done!

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Addicted to the Boob

Henry’s been really good today, but tempting him with formula milk has been harder than I expected. I naively thought that the big hurdle would be getting him to drink from a beaker, as he refused the bottle from a very early age. After successfully drinking cooled boiled water from a beaker, I moved onto trying him with formula milk in the sterilised beaker. Yesterday, he started drinking it, frowned and then cried until I gave in and continued to breastfeed him. Today though, he has done better. He drunk just over three fluid ounces, which is a big difference, even though he frowned at me as if he didn’t like the taste. I’m sure he will get used to it though. It will make things so much easier for when I return to work.

I know that continuing to breastfeed while returning to work can be done, but it requires dedication to the cause, and I have been wanting to get him onto formula milk soon anyway.

I think it is a comfort thing as well as the taste, but I still plan to carry on first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

And he has been doing really well with his weaning. He had apple for breakfast this morning, and sweet potato for lunch. He’s learnt so quickly how to eat off a spoon and swallow solid foods. I’m really impressed at how easy that was, especially with all the advice floating around about needing to persist even when the baby doesn’t like a certain food, or pushes it all out of his mouth again. We didn’t really have any of that.

Clever Henry, I’m just so proud.

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Continued Weaning, New Tastes

We tried Henry with apple today, and he absolutely loved it. I don’t think we are going to have much of a problem trying to get Henry to eat new things. We’ve also given him a little formula in a beaker as he refuses the bottle now, and he drunk a bit of it. I’m going to try him on it every day, and see if I can get him to replace a daytime feed with formula, and gradually build up to only breastfeeding at night and first thing in the morning.

If this goes well, it will give me a little more freedom, so Henry can be babysat in the day. I might even be able to get my manicure that I was supposed to get as a little anniversary treat nine months ago…

He was a little upset afterwards though, and was fussing for the breast, but he will learn if I just keep at it, at the same kind of time each day. I feel guilty when he gets upset, but it’s best for the both of us to get him used to this now, rather than it be a big shock when I go back to work.

And it’s not like I’m giving up breastfeeding entirely. Combination feeding works well for a lot of working mothers, as well as a way to wean him slowly off the breast. It’s funny how most of the time (or when I make any big changes like this) I really want someone to follow me around and confirm that I’m doing the right thing. I guess it’s natural to want the best for your baby though, and I shouldn’t feel guilty choosing what is right for us. Besides, I’m probably stressing a lot more about everything than Henry is. He’s just happy playing with his soft toy zebra, and practising rolling over.

Which he is getting unbelievably good at. I will have to watch out or he’ll roll right into trouble.

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Eager Beaker Beaver

Henry now has two meals a day now, and today we offered him cooled boiled water in a beaker with his dinner.

As he refuses bottles, I had some doubts about his eagerness to drink from a beaker, but as it turns out he didn’t require much encouragement from us at all! I am going to start seriously considering putting him on to formula during the day and save breastfeeding for morning and night. It would mean an actual routine instead of just ‘feeding on demand’ and give me some more freedom.

I might just hang on in there until he’s six months though, because then we can go straight to follow on milk. Also, he’s doing so well with the weaning and everything that I don’t want to implement too many changes all at once!

It really is crazy how fast he’s learning and growing!