Woohoo! January is done for another year!

I for one am so glad that January is over and done with. It’s like month full of Mondays and it just keeps going and going and going…For me it was a dreary, post-Christmas slump of a month and I couldn’t wait for it to be over and to move on to Feb, a month closer to spring!

It was my first month without my measly statutory maternity pay (It’s not much, but you miss it when it’s gone!) I think it rained & stormed pretty much the whole month, I had to start thinking about work and nurseries and dreaded Aunt Flo came to visit me for the first time in 18 months!!! (TMI?!)

But we all made it through, and I celebrated at the end of it with one of my oldest, bestest friends 30th Birthday. (and reminded myself just why I do not do shots any more – ouch!!)

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February is already off to a great start with our little boy finally finding his way to put one hand in front of the other and crawling!! It is true what they say…now the fun really starts!! Trying to get ready with a very inquisitive little boy who finds mummy’s make up and hair styling wires far more interesting than the smorgasbord of bright coloured toys I lay out in front of him is proving to be very tricky indeed! He seems to have developed so much over the past week or so, making lots of conversation with new sounds and syllables, pulling himself up in his cot, spinning around happily in circles on his bottom and of course, crawling.

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This month I want to take Henry to a lot more group activities as he is now mobile and less likely to be squished by bigger babies. My NCT friends and I went out to the under 18 month session at Active Tots in Stratfield Saye last week  (http://www.activetots.org) and loved how clean it was and Henry got so much more enjoyment out of it than I thought he would. He loved freely sliding down the soft slides and playing with the babies in the ball pit. This week I want to take him to Bouncing Tots which is in Basepoint, off of Wade Road (http://www.bouncingtots.co.uk) . We’re also going to be independently taking him swimming again more, after having had to cancel his swimming lessons due to them falling bang in the middle of his morning nap time. As hard as it is with this weather it’s so nice to get him out every day to one thing or another.

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I love sites such as http://northhantsmum.wordpress.com and www.mumsintheknow.co.uk/basingstoke for finding out all the fun things to do with little ones week by week. I also vow to go to more Sure Start stay and plays which are government funded as I hardly ever go to them and Henry loves to play with the other babies and get filthy at the messy plays! 

I’d love to know what things you’re going to be doing with your baby this month and what ideas you have to keep them entertained!

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Baby Henry’s Room!

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For months I have been meaning to blog about little Henry’s nursery! I wanted to show how we decorated it and what ideas included. It is definitely a work in progress as I am always finding new ideas and styles I like and want to incorporate, but anyhow…here it is!
Whilst I was pregnant I decided that I didn’t want a cream/beige nursery which seems to be the inevitable option when you don’t know the sex of your unborn child. So, after thinking about it I realised that because little one wasn’t actually going to be in their own room for a good few months anyway I could actually wait until we knew the sex and then decorate it…However, I actually think that it’s pretty unisex after all!! But I am still really pleased I waited.
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I absolutely love green, it features in quite a few of our rooms at home, so I decided to instruct Mr J to paint the walls this colour as a base so we could mix it up with pink & peach florals for a little girl or boyish blues for a little boy. We went for white furniture and a dark laminate to contrast with the furniture. After shopping around for AGES I realised I wanted to get normal sized furniture rather than the children’s furniture as I found they came up really small. Because we have a built in wardrobe in the room all we actually needed for clothes storage was a chest of drawers which I bought from Homebase and matched the colour to the rest of the furniture. It had really old fashioned handles so I bought some crystal ones from Ebay and gave it a more modern feel.
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We decided to go with a free-standing change table instead of an over the cot one, and I am really pleased we did as it provides heaps of storage, we got ours from Mamas & Papas. I found these green and white baskets in Tiger which allowed me to organise everything into easy to grab, mid nappy change, sections! It is a life saver for bad backs as you can stand up rather than having to bend over to change the many nappies Henry goes through! A friend of mine bought us the changing mat, also from Mamas & Papas.
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I fell in love with this “Mia” sleigh cot bed from Mamas & Papas, but completely underestimated how huge it was! I think I could quite comfortably sleep in it! It meant we needed to change the layout from what we had planned but now I love it being tucked away in the corner of his room to leave plenty of room for him to play in the rest of the nursery.
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Daddy mid-build.
I knew I wanted to use wall stickers to bring some animation and excitement to the walls for little Henry, and this means we can change them when he grows out of them without having to re do the whole room if we don’t feel it necessary. I really love the look these bring to his sleeping area, I figured who couldn’t fall asleep amongst the clouds?! – Turns out Henry! But that’s for another blog!
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I remember the Owl and the Pussycat from my childhood and I wanted to include this traditional feature in Henry’s room. I managed to find this brilliant wall sticker from notonthehighstreet.com and it is by the Brighton based Koko Kids – which I looooove!!!! It’s a fabric sticker which was so easy to apply and Henry gets so excited when we look at the whales and talk about the rain falling and waves splashing. Take a look at all the other beautiful things they do! http://kokokids.com
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After our 7 months of no sleep we decided on trying a black out blind to help Henry along with his naps during the day, and having already got a blind and curtains I found the Gro Company did a “Gro Anywhere” blind, which we suckered onto the window which is so effective at blocking out all of the daylight. It is absolutely huge and of course, mobile so perfect if you need to take it on holiday or away for the weekend.
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Personally I knew I didn’t want all matchy matchy in terms of the accessories and so I searched loads of different websites for unique things to include in the nursery. I came across this great company who make these prints and they were kind enough to make me one up to document Henry’s birth details. You can decide on your own colours and themes and they are sent on high quality paper and I bought a chunky white frame from Ikea for it. You can get your own – for any occasion from http://www.elliebeanprints.co.uk
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My friend Lucy also had this lovely, 3D birth picture made for us which ties in with the bunting and owls we have in his room.
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This is a horrendous photo but it kind of lets you see most of the room altogether!
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Some homemade bits…
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Bunting!!
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The next thing I want to make are 3D hot air balloons similar to these stickers to hang at the end of the cot amongst the clouds!
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Well, there we have it! I love his room and love adding to it when I find new things and there’s lots more I can’t wait to get. I am making the most of actually being able to choose what he has before he wants the whole thing football themed!!! What did you go for in your little one’s room?

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Weaning; A brand new world of taste adventures!

Baby Henry has always had an insatiable appetite and we were beginning to think that milk might not be enough for him any more (he still feeds every 2 hours, day and night!), so we have decided to wean earlier than the 6 month UK guidelines. I have to say, I find these guidelines a little misguided as they are based on World Health Organisation recommendations, which are misplaced in a developed country like Britain where people know the importance of sterilisation. So, if your baby is older than 17 weeks then remember, Mother knows best!
The NHS recommends your baby is ready for solids if;
  1. They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.
  2. They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so that they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.
  3. They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.
Because he is not quite 5 months and his motor skills are not ready for baby led weaning, we are going to start off with purees, and slowly move on to sticks of cooked broccoli, pasta, cheese etc when he is older and more able to pick up and chew on them himself.
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Henry waiting patiently for his swede purée.
And so it begins! With my veggies and fruits at the ready the week before we’re set to start Henry off, I block out a Saturday afternoon and get started on prepping his new tastes for the first couple of weeks. My first try wasn’t as successful as I might have hoped, to say the least! I went in first with sweet potato. Having trained as a chef many many years ago, I’ve always been one for just putting things together and more often than not they don’t turn out so badly. Not really suitable when things for the first stages of weaning need to be pretty controlled. My first round of sweet potato was drizzled with olive oil, before roasting…Not something a little baby should really be eating, so that was turned into a delicious chilli spiced sweet potato & red lentil soup for myself. Round 2 was set off in the oven successfully while I ate my own supper and later on discovered still in the oven by Mr J, resembling more of a sweet potato vegetable crisp than a soft blend-able version…Round 3…this time I got as far as the blending, and with my trusty hand blender at the ready I began whizzing it up, a few seconds in a peculiar burning smell wafted up to my nose, followed by the sad noise of the blender dying a very slow, very noisy death and the contents of the motor being burnt out and deposited into the mixture of sweet potato!! This was a disaster.
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Wide mouthed and ready for each spoonful!
Luckily for me, I was recounting this fiasco to a friend who just so happened to have the most perfect tool for the job, which I love so much it’s made the whole process soooooo much easier and I would recommend to anyone who is looking at pureeing. Simply wash, peel and chop up your fruit or veg and put into the Phillips Avent steamer and blender and load up your ice cube trays to freeze, label and you’re done!
As we are so new to weaning we are only preparing “tastes” so basic flavours and not full on meals, so I can defrost a couple of cubes at a time for mid morning, although as he feeds every 2 hours finding the time when he’s not too full, too hungry or too tired is harder than one might imagine! Today’s “brunch” was at 4:45pm!
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It’s really important to say that at this early stage all nutrients should still be coming from breast or formula milk and these first stages of weaning are more to get your baby used to tastes and textures and the new action required to eat solid food which is completely different to how he or she has ever fed before. If your baby isn’t keen on a particular food, or maybe none at all, then leave it a couple of days and then revisit. They may not be ready just yet. Try giving your baby a spoon to hold in the other hand so that they feel they have some control over what you are doing with them.
With parsnip being a relative disaster compared to the absolute hit that sweet potato was on the first round of veg, tomorrow’s new taste adventure is going to be carrot, wish us luck!
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Welcome to the world, Henry James Jarvis.

Sorry I have been MIA for a little while…I have been busy having a baby!! Finally, 9 long days after my due date we got to meet our beautiful baby BOY! It was a huge surprise and utterly magical as I was adamant we were having a girl most of the way through my pregnancy. The surprise on the day was amazing and I loved the excitement of not finding out, not just for us, but for everyone else who were all kept guessing until the day!

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A very tired Mummy, more than 48 hours with no sleep.

Eventually, after a very long latent stage, the day of the birth was fantastic and I will write up my birth story soon to share my experience with those who are interested. (I tried to read as many as possible when I was going through the early stages so I knew I wasn’t alone with what I was going through!) But I wanted to update you on the news and share a few of the first moments we have had with our darling little boy.

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Skin to Skin with Daddy a few minutes old.

Weighing 8lb 3oz (with super long limbs!) Henry was born on Wednesday 15th May at 18:42.

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First family snap.

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After a tour of the house, Daddy settles Henry in to life at home.

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Walk in the sun on the first day at home.

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Here’s us at a close friend’s wedding, day 10.

Now, 2 weeks in our little man is growing and gaining weight well after a slow start and we are learning on the job how to be parents. He has been such a good little boy so far and we are so proud of him.

Slept like a baby??

As I am sure any parent or Mummy to be would agree, sleep is precious – and sometimes rare! For me, I haven’t slept properly since about 20 weeks and over the past 10 or so weeks getting more than a couple of hours is a complete treat. Yes, I know it’s preparation for when the baby arrives and yes, I am “making the most of it” But it still doesn’t make going to work like a zombie every day any easier!

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In fact I seem to sleep best in the morning stint between 5am and when the alarm goes off at 7am which is typical as when I have to get up for work I feel like I’d be able to sleep for hours – roll on maternity leave!

It’s said around 8/10 pregnant ladies have insomnia and sleeping difficulties and it is down to a plethora of reasons;

  •          Physical Discomfort – your body has changed shape and you have to find a new way to get comfortable (is there such a position?!) in between the leg cramps, heartburn & restless leg syndrome.
  •          The constant need to empty your bladder – every couple of hours! I try to drink most of my few litres during the day so I don’t have too much in the evening which helps combat this. (Or reduces it to just 2 or 3 times per night – this will get worse as the time goes on regardless of how much you drink!)
  •          Too hot or too cold – That internal hot water bottle doesn’t help when it comes to regulating your temperature. Wear loose fitting clothes and have an extra blanket to hand in case you wake up freezing cold.
  •          Anxiety – thinking about all the changes coming your way and the many to do lists can often keep you awake. Try to make a list during the day to save doing it in your head at night. Clear your mind and concentrate on your breathing to help calm & relax yourself.
  •          Kicking and shoving from the little cherub inside of you doesn’t make it easy to drift off, and unfortunately there is little you can do to stop this – your baby is in tune with your own heart rate and stress levels, so enjoy those movements and relax knowing they are perfectly happy in there practicing their dancing/football skills.
  •          Vivid dreams – and boy are they insane these days! Strange, disturbing, erotic, scary…You will probably encounter them all, they are down to the increased Progesterone and REM your body is experiencing and the all of the extra worrying bringing a new life into the world brings.
  •          Hunger or queasiness – try to have a little snack before bed to stop yourself from waking up hungry – or not nodding off because you feel sick. Make sure it’s not a high sugar snack though, so stick to a rice cake or piece of wholemeal toast.

 

Try to have a warm bath or shower before bed, listen to some music and turn off electrical devices an hour before you get your head down; swap your phone, TV, iPad etc. for a magazine or book. If you haven’t drifted off after around 20 minutes of trying take a little wonder to another room and then go back to bed, sometimes this really helps. Some of my friends swear by a white noise app on their phone such as Relax Melodies or Sleep Pillow Sounds so maybe give one of those a go if you’re really struggling?

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My main piece of advice when it comes to comfort at night would be to invest in a good quality pregnancy pillow. My ultimate recommendation would be for the multi award winning Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillow.

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It costs around £45, although some stores such as Mothercare often have £5 off; whatever you pay for it, it is worth every penny! It supports your back, knees, hips, pelvis and bump and encourages you to sleep on your left side which is recommended by professionals. It also promotes the best position for your baby to adopt which gives a better chance of a shorter and less painful labour. I have not heard a bad word said about these pillows, so invest early, I am sure you wont regret it!

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Sweet dreams 🙂