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I’ve not written an update on little Elsie since she was 5 months old and that’s mainly because I’ve been feeling rotten. It’s been a season of illness in our house and along with being pregnant I’ve not really felt like putting finger to keyboard. However, reading back over Elsie’s 5 month update I realise how much she’s changed and I really want to document all these little moments.

Elsie is now a fully fledged crawler and is desperately trying to stand up. Her curiosity knows no bounds; she’s pulling herself up on furniture, putting everything in her mouth and obsessed with cables, phones and laptops (another reason I’m getting zero blogging done).

It’s been a long time coming but I think we have a first tooth on the horizon too; her bottom gum has a couple of little white specks where the tooth has just broken the skin and we’ve had some horrendous nights to go along with it.

Speaking of sleep; Elsie is still loving a milk or two during the night. I’m hoping, now she’s on three good meals ( + snacks) and crawling, that she’ll start sleeping for longer periods. She’s also loving waking up pre 6am! It’s slightly irritating for Matt and I as it’s like waking up half hour before your alarm everyday but the real problem is that it wakes Florence and Logan up too. Florence is already shattered from school and usually she’d wake up 6:30-7am but recently she’s been wandering into our room at 5:50am.

I’ve had the letter come through to book her 9-12 month review which, in a weird way, I’m looking forward too. I think our little girl is doing brilliantly and I hope the health visitor agrees. Obviously I’m no expert so they might spot something I haven’t but fingers crossed she’s doing well.

As I mentioned earlier, Elsie is now on three meals a day plus the odd snack or milk in between. Her milks during the day are hit and miss depending on when she naps and her naps are hit and miss depending on whether she sleeps in the car on the school run. Everyday’s a little bit different. Elsie’s favourite foods are….everything. I’m yet to come across something she won’t eat. She loves homemade lasagne and pasta dishes but is equally as happy to scoff an Ella’s Kitchen pouch. She loves to gnaw on pear and cucumber and feed herself but she’ll also be spoon fed if needed.

I’m so excited to see you learn and develop your own personality – we can already tell you’ve got a temper on you! You’re learning so fast too; you move your arms to help me get you out of your car seat and when I say “Elsie, no” you just grin at me and carry on!

Anyway – I’d better get this posted otherwise you’ll be nine months before we know it. Love you little one x

elsie at christmas, first christmas

weaning, happy baby

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breast is best but it's not for me, fed is best

So, as the saying used to go “breast is best” but I’m firmly in the “fed is best” camp. There’s no denying breast milks benefits and I’m not about to pretend that formula is as nutritious. But I do know that breast wasn’t best for us. It wasn’t best for my kids, it wasn’t best for me and it wasn’t best for mine and my husbands relationship.

My first experience of breastfeeding was shortly after my sons birth in 2009. I decided I wanted to give it a go as, at that time, it was heavily encouraged and I didn’t want to feel like a failure or as though I was giving my son second best. I managed the post birth feed well and I was encouraged to continue. However, Logan had other ideas and showed little or no interest when he was presented to the breast. I was shown all kinds of positions to sit and lie in but I just sat sobbing on my hospital bed. I was alone, I was bleeding heavily, my son was crying with hunger and the nurses were reluctant to provide formula. I just couldn’t do it. Eventually we were discharged after having proved I could latch my baby but I knew I’d struggle when we got home and we resorted to formula. You see I said resorted….that’s what it felt like. Like we were offering second best and, after 48hrs of being a mum, I felt like I’d already let my son down.

My second born was again offered a breast feed after birth which went well but I was adamant she would be formula fed and my mind wasn’t being changed on that.  The midwife was lovely but she made a comment along the lines of it being a shame that I hadn’t continued breastfeeding as Florence had seemed to take to it so well. Again I felt guilty. But, at least my daughter was happy and content. However, I did always wonder if I should have continued.

When we finally found out we were expecting a third child I’d already decided to give breastfeeding another crack. I’d made more of an effort to read up on it and what I was letting myself in for. I was so determined to succeed that we didn’t buy any formula or bottles.

The feeding went well in the hospital and I went home with a breast fed baby who seemed to have a decent latch. I spent the first day at home in a permanent state of undress. Elsie’s grandad was already there looking after the other kids and I felt a little on edge that he might get a glimpse of something he shouldn’t as I was still mastering breastfeeding let alone doing it discreetly!

The days passed in a blur of nipple cream and breast pumps and eventually we got the hang of it, but at what cost? I’d spent no time with my other children, I slept in a separate room to my husband for months on end and I looked disheveled, at best. I snapped at everyone through tiredness and I became a little bit “I know what’s best for our daughter” which is inevitable after spending so much time with her. I don’t think I was great fun to be around in those first few weeks and the switch to formula seemed like a huge relief!

Suddenly we had all this time, we could go out knowing we had two whole hours before Elsie would be hungry, I could help my kids with their homework, Matt could bond with Elsie through feeding her himself and Elsie was happy and content between feeds. I absolutely take my hat off to women who can run their household and have a breastfed baby on their hip but it’s just not for me or my family. I know she will have received a lot of goodness from my milk but, at this moment in time, I shall be choosing formula for baby number four.

 

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breastfeeding, stay ay home mum

At one time; not so long ago, all I ever wanted was to be a stay at home mum. I wanted to spend the day housekeeping and caring for my kids. I wanted to research meals and make healthy dinners ready for when the husband came home. I wanted to be there for the kids when they’re sick instead of sat on the underground on the way to a meeting. I thought managing the house would satisfy me. But it just doesn’t.

If I have to pick up one more barely worn nightdress from Florence’s bedroom floor or scrub pasta sauce out of the grout in the floor under Elsie’s high chair one more time I think I’ll scream.

I love being at home, I’ve always been a bit of a homebody and like my home comforts. I like having control of my day and I like not having to answer to anyone. I love that I can do all the things with Elsie that I never had the chance to do with my other kids because I went back to work. I love that I don’t have to pretend to like the people at work or make ten coffees every time I want a hot drink because the polite thing is to make one for everyone. I like being home to accept parcel deliveries and having the freedom to pop to the post office during the day.

Despite all the things I love about being at home I’d never want to be a stay at home mum EVER again. There are two particular reasons which have led me to this conclusion; not only do I feel like I’m getting dumber by the day but I just can’t leave Elsie – and that’s not because I don’t want to.

Even when Matts holding her she’s looking over to see where I am. If a family member comes into the house she clings to me like a limpet. I’ve never had such a clingy baby and as much as I really, really want to go out and do stuff with my husband I can’t leave Elsie with someone knowing she’s going to cry. I know that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind and I don’t mind a bit of that but it’s the person looking after Elsie I feel sorry for.

Last week Matt and I had to go to hospital for our 12 week scan and we left Elsie with one of our good friends. We left her for about 1.5hrs and we came back and I could hear her crying before we even got in to the house. I felt awful for our friend and I felt awful for Elsie as she just looked so sad.  Matt and I haven’t done anything together in months and I’ve not been away from Elsie for more than about two hours since she was born.

It’s hard being a stay at home parent who doesn’t earn too. I have to somehow pass the time without spending any money. I’m not used to earning nothing and it’s really hard. I’ve worn the same boots day in day out for years and they only cost about £12 to begin with but I just feel so awful buying anything for myself when it’s me who put us in this position. People say “oh go and grab a coffee, get out the house” but a coffee will cost me £3 and I’ll have to juggle a 7 month old baby who just wants to twist and turn and grab and pull at everything she can find. It’s easier just to stay home and make yet another instant coffee for myself. I’m longing for the warmer weather so we can go for walks a little more frequently. However, when you’re hurtling into the second trimester with baby number four, walking will soon be at the bottom of my to do list.

I feel as though the ten years of work I did get under my belt before leaving to be a stay at home mum are now null and void. Who’s going to care about what I did before I had all these babies? I’m not saying I want to go back to working in a corporate environment or try and build a massive career for myself but I do want to work and whether that’s at home or elsewhere I want to work without trying to juggle it around children. I want to put 100% into what I do. I want to feel improvement. I want to do something I enjoy.

I’m not ready for the scrap heap just yet.

 

 

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I’m feeling so uninspired recently and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I have an urge to sit and write lots, make plentiful notes in pretty notepads and film tonnes of videos and edit my heart out. But then I just don’t. I sit during nap times and think thank f**k she’s asleep and wonder how I’ll cope through until bed time.
I’m the sort of person that likes to do something properly or I don’t want to do it. I like to put my all into something and produce something I’m proud of. I’ve written many half hearted blog posts just to ‘get something up’ but they’re mostly sitting in my drafts because I feel like a fraud writing something just for the sake of it. Who cares what colour nail varnish I’m loving this week or what my meal plan is? I don’t!

I think since Florence started school we’ve been on a slippery slope of illness. Florence has had a cough since the week before half term and she’s just coming to the end of it. Since then Matts been ill, Elsie’s been really ill with a high temp and all that jazz and I’ve just come down with the same cough and cold Matt had. I cried at the breakfast table this morning as I wondered how I’d find the energy to make a sodding pack lunch. And actually I did make the pack lunch and then Florence informed me she wanted hot dinners *insert red angry emoji*

I’m praying, with all my mite, that we’re all going to be back on top form by Christmas Eve because I really want to immerse myself in it all. It’s our turn to have Logan with us for Christmas Day and seeing as it’s Elsie’s first Christmas it just feels like it’s going to be really special.

I guess I’ve said all I need to. Hopefully just tapping this out has made me feel better. Bugger, ive got to go anyway….Tesco’s is here. I bloody hate putting the shopping away.

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I’m a few days late with this update on, not so little, Elsie and I considered not bothering but then I thought about all the cool stuff she’s done this month and I really wanted to make a note of it so we can look back on it with her in years to come. My mum and dad kept a baby record book of my milestones when I was a baby and I absolutely love looking at it!

So probably the biggest change in Elsie’s life this month has been the introduction of food.  We decided we’d try and wean Elsie a little earlier than advised. To us, she seemed ready. She can sit, with padding, in her high chair and we get the full on grabbing at our food when we’re eating something with her on our laps.  I had Marmite on toast for breakfast last week and Elsie was sat on my lap. Every time I tried to eat a piece of toast she’d try and grab it from my hands so in the end we gave her a piece big enough for her to hold and she sucked it until it fell apart. I don’t think she actually ate any but she loves Marmite!

We started her weaning using these Babease pouches; they’re totally organic and suitable from 4mths. I’m a bit advocate of making homemade food for the little ones, especially during weaning, but as Elsie is still so young I felt more comfortable knowing the Babease purees were specifically designed for babies of her age and I didn’t need to worry about any hidden lumps. It’s one of the easiest times to ensure your kids get a great diet because believe me, as they get older its hard to say no to all those naughty treats!

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Elsie’s been weaning for a good 2-3 weeks now and she has  2-3 meals per day – it just depends on our schedule that day. She has a mixture of pouches and homemade food and I’ve found one of the cheapest ways to feed Elsie is to bake a sweet potato and then divide the flesh into four zip lock bags. Each bag makes more than enough for a small meal for Elsie when combined with her own formula.

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In my last update I think I mentioned how erratic nighttimes were. Sometimes Elsie would feed twice a night, sometimes once and sometimes 3 or more times. We have now introduced a solid routine and Elsie seems to be loving it, and so are we! Elsie feeds once a night now, at around 4am, and then goes back to sleep until around 6:30am. During day Elsie has a loose routine but come 6:30pm we are in her bedtime routine. We give her a bath, sometimes on her own and sometimes with her sister, she is then dressed ready for bed, given a bottle and asleep by around 7pm. This has worked every night without fail since we started two weeks ago. Last night I put her down wide awake and she was asleep by the time we’d finished reading Florence’s bedtime story. She then slept soundly until 4am.  We couldn’t ask for more! I’m not sure if it’s the routine, the food or a combination of both thats sorted her out but I’m feeling much more human these days. Time for another baby?! HA HA HA!

Finally, this month Elsie has learnt to roll.  Like properly roll, not just a one off, overtime I put her down on her back she rolls on to her front. I didn’t know about this little trick and put her down on the carpet and walked out the room to see what Florence wanted.  Came back to muffled sounds and she was face down.  I almost had a heart attack so, suffice to say, I won’t be leaving her again! I need to take the cot top changer off now as it’s just not safe for her to be on there. I think we will also be moving the cot mattress down soon as she has started grabbing the bars and it won’t be long before she can pull herself up.

How time has flown and my how she’s changing. Our little rainbow baby is flourishing!

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If you missed Elsie’s four month update you can read it here.

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