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The beauty of a one year oldNovember 21, 2015

Adam is asleep, the whole cot available and his head is jammed right into the corner, his legs bent against the bars. Babies sleep in the oddest positions, trapped limbs seem to be his latest craze. When he wakes he’ll roll if he can, move to a crawl position and sit himself up, an automatic movement that will help him wake up further, but sadly also curtails any remaining shut eye time. I’m yet to discover how to train him to lay down himself! Mostly we don’t mind, he’s happy when he wakes and will content himself crawling and walking round his cot. It’s one of the beauties of him being this age, as as he turns 13 months tomorrow there are a few things I’m really glad to have left behind in the first year.

Sterilisation – oh the faff. We splurged on a steam steriliser and let the bottles pile until we could fill the thing. Our friends are in the last throws of pregnancy so we lent it to them and removing the big clumpy white thing from the kitchen was truly liberating. Whether we steamed, almost burning fingers on hot plastic, using a microwave or left out big sploshy cold water containers with the overriding smell of disinfectant, the goodbye is brilliant.

Accompanying that is formula bottles, expensive milk in all it’s fake-ness and boiled water none the less. Moving to sippy cups with standard water at mealtimes and cows milk for other times is lovely. Not only is our wallet celebrating but we’ve found ourselves drinking a lot more milk too… milkshake anyone?

Dull toys. To be fair we’ve not really gotten rid of any toys so far, but it’s lovely to see him play with toys rather than just munching on them. Now we bounce balls, open and close doors, connect, recognise, fill and empty. Toys for under 6 months are over-glorified teething rings basically, past 6 months aren’t bad, but over a year and things get much more fun.

The food panic and the art of preparing reject-able food. While Adam’s diet still features extra fruit and veg, having to prepare and purée unsalted simplified food is behind us. It’s a disheartening process, having to make an amount of food big enough to use the whizzer but small enough to feed a tiny tummy. Oh batch cooking is supposed to be the answer but if fresh slop gets a turned up nose then reheated has little to no chance. And you just know your tummy growls will be your kitchen soundtrack.

What don’t you miss?

Grub grub – Part 3 : weaningJune 1, 2015

A few months back I met up with my two mummies in the city, we stopped for a drink and to feed our three little boys. I remember clearly then watching the two mummies with their bite sized and finger mashed food as I bottle fed Adam who is the youngest of the trio. Weaning was already on my mind and while their meal wasn’t by any means a disaster it did seem a lot of work.

Weaning is an emotive subject. I’ve never seen such high strung message boards and outright anger displayed as I have when people discuss when to start. Medical professionals appear equally torn, some insisting on the 6 month mark, others (like our Serbian doctor), insisting during the 4th month is the right time. And when you decide to take the plunge there is more debate on what to feed the little one, how much and when. I’ll happily admit I found the whole thing quite daunting. 7 weeks in and I’m relieved to say it’s wasn’t nearly as traumatic as anticipated.

Like everything connecting to feeding a child there is much debate and little instruction. Nobody wants to be definitive as children are so different. ‘As long as the child is healthy, happy and gaining weight’ is the mantra that spurts forth, but it’s a unreassuringly subjective line to many, especially those who don’t get to weigh in very often. So that five month old who is chomping MacDonald’s chips can be sitting next to a child who will get only milk for another month and both really are doing just fine.

Like most we muddle through. I sided with the late start people using spoons, admitted our diet is not veggie heavy so jars would be in the picture and got used to sharing my food with Adam when possible. I must admit preparing refills for the jars has had mixed results, I still fret over if he’s had enough, but he eats well and finger foods are still a game he enjoys. Jars, like formula milk, disposable nappies, spoon led weaning, and so many other things fall short of the co-sleeping, constant baby wearing, potty trained at 2 months parents, but who cares. I’d rather grab a jar of (what legally has to be nutritionally balanced) purée, order a pizza, and spend the afternoon laying on the bed hearing Adam say ‘glug glug’ in glee and giggling until my eyes leak!

Grub grub – Part 2 : bottlesMay 9, 2015

I love our chunky bottles, and munchkin loves facing the room while he eats! Bottles are one of those essentials that even the ‘earth mama’ type people know they will have to get eventually. As you know, bottles entered earlier than I would have hoped, I placate myself by knowing many contained expressed milk in the early weeks.

Whether I expressed, decanted, or mixed up there were plenty of googling moments. Follow the guidelines and it will take you over half an hour to make one – with a screaming baby… oh yeah! – we ended up using the prefilled with water to 80% workaround, but there are plenty of others out there to discover. Then there is the minefield of seterilising methods and the joys of add-ons. For my pennies worth, get the handles and the powder pots, they are VERY worth it. I’m also glad ours are all interchangeable, it’s the little things you know!

The powder is horrifically high priced, a box will only last 4 days. Think we’ve tried about 7 different types now, and while they are all essntially and legally quite similar, it doesn’t feel that way. The best thing about formula is the guidelines for amounts, you can deviate from them as much as you dare, yet their presence is really helpful if you don’t have a midwife on speed dial.

Overall, bottles are both essential and great, they negate the two big uncertaintiess of breastfeeding – Did they get enough? + How long should I continue? – Plus, they throw in modestly and the ability to hand your child to someone else. And this is true weather you express religiously or hang the cost and pour straight from the fridge. The only thing to remeber is to change out the teats as they get bigger, not that we forgot…oops.

Washing the bottles each morning is now as much part of our daily ritual as putting the washing machine on at night. When we are off out we grab a pre loaded powder pot and a topped up bottle. It’s not the natural mother way, hang that, it’s our way and it keeps us smiling.