Over the past month or so, Maddison's interest in our food has become un-be-lievable! We cannot sit down at the dinner table without her glaring at our every mouthful with big inquisitive puppy dog eyes, and sticking her tongue out at us - as if she's trying to join in! (It's actually pretty darn cute!) Maddison is now 21 weeks old (5 months on Friday). I had always planned that I would breastfeed till 6 months and would then start weaning her. However as we all know, planning and babies don't exactly go hand-in-hand!! For a start the breastfeeding for me unfortunately didn't work, (read my breastfeeding journey here.) so Maddison has been a 100% formula fed baby for roughly the past 6 weeks now. Secondly, I know that all the standard weaning courses and NHS say it's best to wait till 6 months till you wean baby due to gut development. But now I know my little girl, and for various reasons have had it suggested to me we start, I've been deliberating the idea more and more...
I've discovered that Maddison is doing every milestone ahead of her time, she's seems to be developing unbelievably fast and doing things wayyyy before the "average" age that babies would normally do. For a start she's pretty much had amazing neck control from the day she was born, looking up and around. She first rolled over at 10 weeks old and then nailed it by 13 weeks. Was reaching, hitting and grabbing things since 8 weeks old. Has now been sitting up on her own for the past 4 weeks. The list goes on! Every time she's achieved a new milestone, rather than jumping for joy I was like, "nooo this can't be right?! How the bloody hell did you do that already?!" so any reading of the baby books I did do, has basically gone out the window and I've given up on haha!!
She is already giving me all the "signs" I've read or heard about, that apparently mean she's ready to start weaning (and has been doing so for the past 3 weeks at least!). She can sit up in her highchair on her own (so fine to swallow). Is ALWAYS interested in and watches us eat our food. While we eat she sits there licking her lips, sticking her tongue out and doing what looks like chewing air! It is hilarious! Anything and everything she grabs goes straight into her mouth, so she has mastered that hand-eye coordination that babies need to start weaning. We have never had a problem with her bowel movement, which I guess is a good indicator her digestive system and gut is working well? (not that I'm a pro!) And I'm not thinking I need to wean because she seems extremely hungry! Just more a case of her curiosity. So due to all these signs she's been giving me... it has been making me more and more tempted to start weaning Maddison fairly soon.
I guess when it comes to it, my plan is to literally start with the basics initially, I'm not going to go all Jamie Oliver on my baby and creating loads of extravagant and overly complicated meals! I'm talking trying a tiny bit of Baby Rice, which I'll make with her formula to see how she copes with the chewing and swallowing. Then if that seems okay, move on to the good stuff like a bit of blended/mashed up veggies or fruit. I'm certain as well she would LOVE to get her hands (and gums) on some cooling cumber sticks to help her teething - hehe! So really basic to start, then take it from there! I was very lucky to go to an event a few months ago to celebrate the launch of a new baby food brand My Little Piccolo, where we had a weaning workshop lead by one of their wonderful nutritionists and recipe creators Alice. So I feel totally swatted up in what to give Maddison from all her tips and knowledge and what to do when she's learning to chew/swallow and overcome chocking etc.!
One of the best things I think I learnt on the weaning workshop, was not to be scared of flavour! When it comes to seasoning.. go for it! Add in pepper, paprika, chilli, garlic, cinnamon etc! Apparently if you give your baby bland foods, then they're more likely to become a fussy eater! So that'll be fun to try! Also I never realised the importance of (healthy) fat for babies! Apparently they need higher fat diets to give them more reserve, Josh will be pleased to hear that! He'll be giving Maddison lots of avocados for the healthy fats they contain I'm sure! (We love avocados in our house hehe!) Also, how important it is to watch out for too much sugar in babies food and diet. A lot of branded supermarket foods, put wayyyy too much sugar for kids in their products! So finding good brands, that are aware of sugar, or just simply making things from scratch at home are best to avoid any nasties!!
I personally, don't see it as the end of the world starting to wean little one slightly early. I know from speaking to other mums that formula feed their babies, they started before the general 6 month mark. And I know there are some circumstances/situations where little one needs to start earlier, which would be consulted with a doctor! I think it all goes back to remembering every baby is different, develops differently and so you can't really compare! I know one mum who weaned both her babies at 4 months and they've never had a problem - they loved it! On the other side, I know someone's baby who refused anything but breast till 7 months! It completely varies! Back in the day, my grandma gave my mum solids in her first week of being born!! Obviously, times change and we have MUCH more knowledge and research now, but she's never had stomach problems, allergies or IBS etc! Of course, if it doesn't agree with Maddison (and we maybe get a few poo-narmis!), it's not like we can't just go back to the bottle for a few more weeks and then try again later!
At the end of the day, no one knows a baby like their mama does. I don't think it's fair for anyone to judge and start jumping on another mother when they don't know that individual baby or their history... I feel much more confident about the thought of starting weaning soon as when I met a nutritionist the other day, she just saw Maddison's behaviour as I was trying to munch on a protein bar and she just said, "omg that baby is SO ready to wean! Go for it!". And I have also had it recommended for my baby by our doctor due to other reasons. It's so reassuring that a professional agrees with all the signs or suggests giving it a go, it makes me feel I'm making the right decision for MY baby. (Of course, it's always good to check with a health professional either GP, Health Visitor, Nutritionist etc!)
Now I've pretty much made up my mind to give it a go soon, I'm getting myself all prepared trying to find baby spoons, bowls and more durable bibs, ready for her when that first feed comes! Any brand recommendations of good baby bowls/spoons etc. please do let me know mamas! Also if you have an great baby food tips/recipes also let me know! With Maddison's ridiculous amount curiosity I'm sure she'll love exploring new tastes! And I can't wait to see her facial expressions as she's trying everything hehe! I've also stocked up on the antibacterial wipes, as I'm pretty certain things are going to be getting messy in our kitchen haha!! I guess sterilising bottles will seem like a breeze compared to having to clean up after preparing, cooking, blending and feeding Maddie our mushy baby creations!!
Mama's.. give me a heads up.. which foods stain clothes the worst and I should definitely watch out for haha?!
My mum also gave me a tip... she said she used to make up a load of baby food and then store it in the freezer in ice-cube trays! She said they were the perfect size for a baby portion to start off with! And it saved having to make a mess everytime we needed feeding! She just used to take out a cube of blended spinach or something and warm it up! Always get the best tips/hacks from my mummy hehe!
When did you start to wean your little one? How did it go? Any tastes they particularly loved or hated?!
Lots of Love, Bethany x
Safe to say we have had a VERY difficult couple of weeks. Maddison has not only been going through the 4th leap, which I have to say has been a bloody long and draining one! (Sorry to any mums reading that have it yet to come!) we've experienced a few weeks of sleep regression.. which thankfully seems to have passed now (fingers crossed)! BUT on top of that, she has been really struggling with her teething!!
I feel like this teething process has been going on, and on, forever now!! Maddison first starting showing signs of teething at 10 weeks... I know right?! I didn't quite believe it myself at first, till I told my GP and she confirmed my suspicions! The endless dribbling, the need to bite her fists and fingers and everything else for that matter! Rosy flushed cheeks coming and going. She had also started rubbing her face like mad, I thought she just had a really itchy face at first and maybe this was the start of eczema or something? But no, it was teething. The average baby starts teething around the 6 month mark, but it can start anywhere normally between 3 months - 12 months old! And DID YOU KNOW: 1 in 2000 babies are actually born with a tooth already! These are called Natal Teeth!
Anyway, fast forward to today.. still teething, but no sign of any teeth yet?! I feel like every morning, I'm always checking her gums to see if any pearly whites have decided to break through those little pink gums. Only to be disappointed once again! I do feel like we could be getting close to a break through now though. Maddison is becoming more grizzly and irritable everyday, despite the Wonder Weeks app telling me she should be a happy sunshine at the minute! I feel like we are on a teething rollercoaster going up and down constantly, one minute she seems happy and chirpy, then two seconds later she is screaming the house down! Somedays her cheeks are so flushed it looks like she's raided my makeup draw and taken inspiration from a pantomime dame haha! Plus her bite is becoming painfully strong! If she decided to grab your hand and bite your finger, you'd be in for a shock! A toothy must be appearing soon.. right?
I don't think I also quit realised just how long the teething process would take. Obviously I knew it takes a while for a tooth to come through, but living and going through it all with Maddison.. wow it does feel never ending! The discomfort of their little teeth moving around and slowly making their way up through the gums can go on for months without having any teeth actually appear! It will be amazing when that first tooth does finally make an appearance!
I can completely sympathise with my little Maddie at the moment, because I have a Wisdom tooth breaking through and that is most uncomfortable! But at least I guess we are going through the pain together! Although I do wish I could just take all the pain away for her and suffer alone!
We have tried various methods and products to help with her teething. For example.. we tried gels like Bonjela, but that just was messy and didn't seem like it helped, either that or I missed her gums completely haha. We've tried the infant teething powder, which did seem to help her grisliness but that went EVERYWHERE and seemed to give her a little reflux, so abandoned that also. Personally I've found the good old classic teething rings (the ones you can put in the fridge to cool) the best, as Maddison loves to grab and bite everything so it works! Plus I'm lucky that she will actually take her formula cold from the fridge! Which obviously makes life easier for me not having to heat it up, but I think the cold milk also helps soothe her gums!
So for now I guess it's just a waiting game for these little toothies, and finding as many ways as possible to keep her happy and the dull the pain the best I can!!
When did your little one get their first tooth? Anything amazing you discovered to help baba while their going through the gummy aches and pains?! I'd love to know! Either comment below or feel free to message me! Thanks for reading!
Love Bethany x
So I have been on such a rollercoaster of a hair journey throughout my whole pregnancy and into motherhood! I am still going through one now! And I'm not talking just about hairstyles, I'm talking about horrific hormones and now the dreaded postpartum hair loss has kicked in! It's not something I've really spoken about till now. I've just been keeping my feelings and worries cooped up to myself, which I know is not healthy! So here it is...
I have always felt really protective over my hair. When I was younger, I always dreaded going to the salon as I had such bad trust issues with hairdressers! They honestly used to scare me! I think also, having good hair is so important for me personally because, if you have a spot on your face, all you need is a bit of makeup and its covered up no problem! Bad hair day though.. and there is NO hiding! Plus, if you're dealing with a spot on your face, you want good hair to balance/counteract the spot.. You know what I mean ladies??!
Throughout my pregnancy I struggled so badly with dandruff, as soon as I hit the second trimester I was cursed with looking like I'd just been outside and it was snowing! (URGH!) I never had a flakey or sore scalp, just out of nowhere was this constant supply of dandruff! I felt so so miserable.. not only did my hair look crap, but I also had awful pregnancy acne (talk about bad luck!) Just give me one or the other?! Not both?! I just wanted to walk around with a paper bag on my head and cry!
After many many product trials, I finally found a combination that kept the dandruff at bay! I would first wash my hair with Neutrogena's T-Gel shampoo for sensitive scalp and then I would wash my hair again with The Little Goat Soap Company shampoo bar. This shampoo bar is actually designed to help with eczema of the scalp, but it totally did the job with my dandruff! I couldn't use ANY other products on my hair other than these two, and conditioners definitely didn't agree with me!
As soon as I gave birth, I had this incredible mane of glossy and dandruff free hair!! (OMG IT WAS AMAZING!) Okay, somedays my hair was slightly greasy due to Maddie being a newborn and me not having a lot of time.. but at least it was flake free! Or so I thought... At 12 weeks postpartum, I started to notice the dreaded dandruff coming back! I was so unbelievably frustrated! I had NEVER had a problem with dandruff my whole life, so now I'd given birth.. why the hell was I having problems again?! I thought those hormones had gone once I'd given birth?
Little did I realise.. This was the start/lead up to the dreaded postpartum hair loss..
I used to joke and say, "I know why women get postpartum hair loss, because the babies pull it out!" (at that point Maddie was 10 weeks old and started to pull and grab everything in her sight including my hair!) Inside however, I could feel my stomach tightening at the thought of loosing my hair. That protectiveness over my hair started creeping back inside of me. From 15 weeks postpartum to now, I have noticed more and more of my hair falling out. When I brush, wash, blow-dry, curl, or even run my fingers through my hair! Plus there's a little cheeky madam that also likes to pull my hair out - thanks Maddison! I have this constant stream of hair falling out all over the place! It really is deflating to see, because there's not a lot I can do other than condition and protect my hair with masks etc! I am lucky however that I have seriously thick hair (and a lot of it), so it's not noticeable. But mentally it's horrible to go through! I recently did treat myself to a colour change of my hair and had a full head Balayage done at Micheal John salon in Knightsbridge by the amazing Despina! It has made me feel more confident and better about the whole hair loss situation, and it was a change I felt happy with because no dye was applied to my actual scalp in the technique.
I believe hair is such an important part of your identity, for men and women! There are so many styles and colours you can have that these days to make you feel like you. So the thought of loosing part of your identity, something that makes you you, is just heartbreaking! I can't even imagine what it's like loosing ALL your hair through something traumatic like chemotherapy..
As hard and as deflating as it is to go through, stay strong mama's! I know seeing clumps of your hair fall onto the fall makes you want to cry (I've been there), but the good thing about hair is it WILL GROW BACK! Normally between 85%-95% of the hair on your head is actively growing! (Click here to read more about Postpartum Hair Loss from BabyCentre.com) And it's not like we are going through this for a negative reason.. What's a bit of hair loss when we have a beautiful baby in front of us?! Hell, I'd definitely take hair loss any day for my Maddie!! (Despite being an overly protective hair freak!)
I'm currently still going through the loss, so no idea when it'll calm down and stop! I'm hoping it'll be soon! I've read that women can experience it between 3-6 months, but that it should all go back to normal by 1 year postpartum! Anyone further ahead of me that has come out the other side of postpartum hair loss? I'd love to know!!
But like I said, remember ladies, it's worth it for our babies!! I have to tell myself that every whenever I'm feeling low about it!! Feel free to share your experiences below or contact me via the social page! Lots of Love x
This section will all be focused on being pregnant, discovering motherhood and baby bits!