Baby Awesomeness

It’s been so long since I posted! Nap times are getting shorter so there is less time for typing and I’ve been out galavanting and having too much fun! (As if you can have too much fun!) I’m aware that my blogs mostly include venting about the stresses of being a new mummy (Babies can be quite troublesome.) But for this post I’m going to tell you how I’m making my maternity leave awesome! I won’t tell you how bad the teething can get or how many times I’m still getting up at night, I’m just going to share why I’m as happy as a child with cake. (Because I still don’t feel adult, despite having my own child, and I’m eating my fair share of cake.)

Getting out is a must for sanity! And good baby friends are essential for over sharing on every baby and post birth body issue. I have ended some mummy dates in tears of laughter over who knows what, probably just sleep deprived hysteria!

I’ve won my first ever pub quiz! Mum & baby pub quiz… maybe because my brain is on better form at 11am or I’m not under the influence… Actually I hardly answered any, I’ve just picked the best mummy friends. Nothing like a good win to give you a buzz! And the prizes! Nail varnish…do I have the time? Chocolate… spot on!

The occasional walk to make you feel like you’re working off some cake is always good and even better if you get your baby to sleep. Make sure you walk with a trusted friend so you can leave your buggy with them while you take a quick ride on the zip wire in the local park. Funny all these parks that are deserted when it’s only 5 degrees.

My favourite monthly event I’m a regular at is the BYOB (bring your own baby) comedy. I love comedy and this is the most ingenious idea to have an event with adult comedy and baby amenities. (They sell cake here too). It’s even better when we sometimes end up getting a pub lunch afterwards, proper grown-up day.

Then there was our great trip out to the zoo! Baby El is too young for the zoo? It was more for me… she was an angel having a nice long nap in her buggy and I had great company nattering the whole way round.

Those are my top picks, I also go to some more mundane baby groups which are still great to entertain baby El with all the toys and have a good chat, they just don’t have the cake! So we go get cake afterwards.

I make sure my baby matches me covered in cake…

Festive Shopping

Tis the season to buy lots of shizzle! In my naivety I thought I would have so much time to browse the shops on maternity leave because obviously babies just sleep in prams while mums peruse at leisure…I didn’t really think it’d be that easy but I did think it’d be doable!

Firstly my idea of early Christmas shopping was the beginning of December which turns out is the same time everyone decides to hit the shops. As if manoeuvring a buggy wasn’t bad enough now you have to battle through crowds and all these ‘trendy’ stores don’t even have straight aisles anymore they want you to zigzag all over the place. Of course you shouldn’t be in trendy stores if you’re a mum.

The best thing that’s happened to me having a baby when shopping is the most annoying cosmetics store that tries to give you flyers and coax you in now ignore me completely! (And I’ve walked past this same shop many a time.) This is hilarious as I’ve even watched them trying to stop old men but woman with baby WOOAHHH! I think they’re missing a trick because sleep deprived mothers probably need more beauty products – if they get time to put them on.

The biggest problem when shopping is I’ve got an annoying habit of being considerate – I feel bad taking up so much space with a buggy that on a recent attempt at a shopping trip I ended up not going in half the shops I wanted to because they were too busy. I ended up going home with nothing! I’m also a very fussy shopper and spend hours deliberating over what gifts to buy so if I do get in a shop then El won’t be happy at me for standing still so long.

This week I revisited the same shops that I hadn’t gone in previously, with baby El in the sling. For all the effort of lugging around baby El (now coming in at over 18lbs) I only bought 2 tiny gifts! (Tiny as in insignificant stocking fillers, not tiny tiny objects.) When I did make it to the till El was grizzling and the lady asked if she was hungry. No! She’s not hungry I’ve timed this trip impeccably, we have just started and will be stopping midway when she’s peckish. She just doesn’t like standing still in your stupid long queue.

I think my husband will be happy with one of my shopping habits – online shopping at 3am while feeding El. This apparently makes me rather generous! It’s a dangerous game to play, at some point the next day it usually comes to me and I have to check my emails to see if I dreamt it or not. (I’ve never dreamt it, it always turns out to be true.) My best night was buying trainers in a toddler size rather than adults…try explaining that to customer services.

Apologies to my family if the gifts aren’t up to scratch this year – if I’ve bought it from a shop then it’s probably a rushed decision and if I’ve bought it online then I was probably half asleep. But I have a very adorable baby to distract you all with her winning smile.

Christmas shopping with a baby definitely warrants cake! Let’s face it that’s the real reason shopping took so long, sitting down for cake was still top priority. Filthy cheesecake oooh yeah…

What my baby can’t do…

Anything your baby can do my baby probably can’t…

Baby classes – I’ve tried a couple of taster sessions for baby sensory and baby massage. Trying to be an awesome mum by ‘stimulating her development’ or however they want to sell it to you. My baby doesn’t want to be told what to do and when, for half an hour let alone an hour! Baby El is usually the first baby to kick off…and the last. I won’t be bothering with any more classes! Not for another couple months anyway… (I am still recovering from being told to dress up as a duck – thankfully El was crying too much for me to participate). It’s bad enough trying to enjoy singing and dancing with a bunch of strangers, but when your baby can’t even be bothered to look at you what is the point?! At least I tried! And those are the baby focussed classes…imagine if I tried to do an exercise class where she’s just supposed to sit and watch me. (As if I want to exercise! HA! Sleep deprived and bouncing a baby must equal a few squat sessions with weights – that’s what I tell myself anyway.)

Leisurely lunches – I saw a group of new babies in Carluccio’s once and thought I’d love to have an occasional treat lunch somewhere nice when on maternity leave with a big group of yummy mummies… yeah that probably isn’t going to happen. I should have taken that opportunity when she was sleeping through her first month of life! I will not be sitting down for a 3 course meal any time soon. I’m also not looking that yummy with my lack of hair-doing and make-uping. I’ll stick to noisy baby friendly cafes where I can stand up and jig to ease baby El’s grump while pausing for mouthfuls of cake without being glared at. Or if it’s all too much and El’s really had enough I can just walk out as I’ve usually paid first.

Falling asleep eating – All babies fall asleep after a nice feed or even during. A nice warm booby…a full belly…cuddles… Not mine! This is probably the hardest quirk to deal with, the day time naps have to be induced in other ways – dummy has been a life saver. I have yet to meet another baby who won’t fall asleep on the boob… this is definitely an odd one! (El has decided to start chewing my nipples today – teething fun to come.)

Falling asleep in a pram – she’ll sleep in the car but not a moving pram. Go figure. I’ve even been known to carry her all the way home asleep as she’d scream in the pram then drop off as soon as I picked her up. I’ve now upgraded her from the lie flat carrycot to the pushchair seat early and this has made her much happier – praise the lord!

I know El is not the easiest baby but I think some people lie about all the miraculous things their baby can do. Again – sleeping through the night?! I need to see this to believe it! I could go on with a list of how many ways she won’t sleep. The most talked about baby problem is definitely sleep or lack of! They say a problem shared is a problem halved, the amount sleep issues are shared they should be tiny tiny!

As always everything is better with a bit of cake. I’m not one to celebrate Christmas early but this Rudolph cake from Costa was too irresistible. Good size but I think I was missing some of the icing in the middle – still yummy though.

Getting Ready

Since about 4 months old baby El has been very kind and let me shower in peace – winning! (I did wash during her first 4 months of life but it often involved getting ready before the husband left for work or washing my hair at 9pm.) This is made possible by the ingenious invention of the bouncer.

In the darker days I needed 2 hours for El and I to be dressed enough to leave the house with minimal crying (darker days where my poor little bubba wasn’t very happy because of suspected colic and we had hours of crying each day – heartbreaking, let’s not dwell on it). Now I can almost get us both ready in an hour with an added bonus of me being showered. Sometimes I think El would prefer me not to shower because she always seems less than impressed with freshly cleaned boob…

Is it worth the effort? Not every outing is a complete success and some days I wonder why I bothered. El has some lovely dresses but it’s typical that I put her in a pair of new tights and a poonami hits so she ends up in her emergency pink trackies…again. If it’s a big day out then I might even put contact lenses in and eyeliner on. (Time and temperament allowing.) If I look half decent then it’s sod’s law that the day could end with an early departure because El is losing the plot from exhaustion (over 2 hours awake) as she won’t fall asleep in weird places (any place that isn’t home or doesn’t involve a good amount of jiggling). I really should up my game because baby El is always dressed much better than me! (But I imagine people are more interested in looking at her, I hope…they blooming should be – she’s adorable!) I’ll mostly be in my new uniform of jeans and a hoody…this is for maximum amount of pockets which is now vital when leaving the house holding a baby in one arm, changing bag on the other and trying to locate house keys/car keys/muslin.

I enjoy getting ready at the weekend when my husband can entertain baby El and also be the keeper of pockets when we go out… I can spend a bit more time getting ready and then strut round going yeah I have a baby and look like this! Boom!

As it gets colder it’s getting even more complicated, how many layers needed? I’m not even a very good judge of temperature nowadays anyway as I’m pretty much constantly perspiring from all the wiggling and jiggling of car seat into the car then pram out of the car, dress the baby undress the baby! (Babies often don’t like having coats and hats on so that’s fun too!) Even when I’m sitting down relaxing I’ve probably got a hot water bottle of a baby sleeping on me. Hot cafes, hot play groups, I’m still drinking iced lattes in November. Babies can’t wear coats in car seats but how quickly can you run to the car before baby gets cold and how long does it take the car heating to get going?

I don’t know how we make it out on time…mostly, but if you’re meeting other mums they’ll probably be late anyway.

This sticky toffee cheesecake was worth getting ready for… (Senzo in Epsom)

Public Breastfeeding

Before baby El came along I was all for breastfeeding everywhere and anywhere. Babies get hungry so feed away – it doesn’t bother me! I was rather looking forward to breastfeeding, I loved the thought of bonding and cuddling my baby as my own body produced everything she needs. (Amazing!) Plus the added bonus of it being free and on tap (literally like a dripping tap sometimes!) I was even getting a bit nervous hoping it would all go well as I know it’s not always easy.

How do people make it look so easy!? I didn’t realise there was so much technique to breastfeeding. You want the baby to get a good latch… with a wide mouth, a tilted head, a straight body but a slight angle, space for them to breath but close body contact – the list goes on. (And I thought you just shoved them on the boob! It does eventually get to that level of ease…after some months…)

First stage of public breastfeeding – hide!

Feeding was so fiddly at first that I would run for cover because I didn’t want people thinking I didn’t know how to feed my own child! The big shops with dedicated feeding rooms were good but my favourite was the back of the car (and I thought the window shades were just to shade the baby!)

Second stage – cover up

To have a life I needed to feed in public, so when entering a cafe I’d pick the seat that looked most hidden away. Then I’d start my military operation of muslin under the boob to catch leaks, a cover up apron to hide baby El feeding and an extra muslin over the shoulder just in case.

Third stage – whip it out

Baby El knows what she wants. You don’t want to see her when she’s hangry! So I simply whip out a boob as fast as possible and shove it in her mouth. Gone are the thoughts of what people may think, it’s all about my ravenous baby now. (OK not gone completely…I’m still having a sneaky look to see if anyone’s watching me). But I’ve got my technique down now! I don’t get my whole boob out for show (lots of mums do – I’ve seen a whole lot of boobage! Not good for my nipple inferiority complex) but I still feel a little riskay…

I’m what some mothers call ‘a one up one down’ I pull one top up and wear a vest to pull down so ultimate coverage is achieved without the faff of an additional covering tool.

Luckily for me El is a guzzler and her meals don’t last more than 5 minutes nowadays so there’s no hanging around. She’s probably just really greedy but I like to think of myself as a lactating machine,

the speed of milk coming out is often enough to make her cough and splutter.

Are you a seasoned streaker or mountain of muslins? Whatever makes you happy and keeps your baby fed!

Ease the public feeding worries with a slice of cake! Not a great cut from the server but this cake was filth! Chocolate & hazelnut shimmer cake at costa. So good… I did make the mistake of asking for chocolate and hazelnut cake only to be looked at like a crazy person because I left out the SHIMMER!!!

Sleep Baby Sleep!

Every new mum is obsessed with sleep! There’s the ‘My baby won’t sleep through the night!’ – Surprise! It’s a baby, they want cuddles and milk. Or the smug mum ‘my baby sleeps through 7pm-7am’ – just shut up why are you even talking about sleep? (I don’t believe you, let me come and stay the night so I can witness this miracle).

I’d say the first few weeks of sleep deprivation are the worst, you may have had sleepless nights before but you probably haven’t been woken up by crying at all hours of the night. Sleepless nights used to involve rolling around to get comfy and glaring at my snoring husband in the dark. There’s no snooze on this new human alarm! How great would a baby snooze button be to give yourself a chance to wake up before heaving yourself out of bed? A woman can dream… (actually she literally can’t when she’s woken up so often). I can now fly out of bed so fast that I sometimes need to steady myself with the wall while my head catches up.

A few weeks in, as if by magic, baby El seemed to know when it was night time. Not because she started sleeping through! (Don’t be ridiculous.) But because she would fall straight back to sleep after feeding.

A few months in I thought I was winning at life with only one wake up a night…got my hopes up too much didn’t I? After a few weeks feeling like I was bossing it then bam back to 3 night feeds!

El’s latest fun game is no matter how long I hold her while she falls asleep as soon as I put her back to bed her eyes open wide and she starts waving her arms and legs all excited to see me (as if I haven’t been there the whole time) shaking the whole Moses basket! This game gets a tad exhausting at 4am so I end up with her sleeping on me…

And that’s just the night time sleep.

Trying to get baby El to nap during the day is hard! Why don’t babies just sleep when they’re tired? They don’t know what’s good for them. If you miss the ‘sleepy cues’ you’re screwed. I apparently miss them a lot and end up pacing around rocking her to sleep because she can’t put herself to sleep once she’s started screaming.

One mum who had their baby 2 months after me had the audacity to tell me that my baby would sleep if I just fed her then swaddled her and put her down… funny! Yes she slept anywhere anyhow when she first popped out (there was no popping out it took quite a bit of effort!). But that didn’t last! After a month of being lulled into a false sense of security El started being more troublesome, kicking up a fuss. No longer going to sleep with a simple cuddle or feed… most babies would fall asleep on the boob but oh no! Not mine! (Dad’s appetite for sure.)

One tool is the magic dummy which I didn’t buy until week 15. I wish I hadn’t waited so long because it has really helped her chillax! I was worried about what people would think and all the bad things I’d heard about not being able to break the habit and possible damage to teeth but when you’ve tried everything else and there’s a chance it could make your baby happy then you go for it. I even had multiple health professionals suggest trying a dummy (just saying).

If I end up sleeping on the sofa or she wants cuddles for hours to nap then so be it. I’ll get comfy and cuddle it out. She won’t be a baby for long after all. (Yes she is sleeping on me right now! How else do I have time to type?)

What lengths do other people go to to give their baby a good sleep?

Feeling rather sleep deprived I had a hot chocolate with all the trimmings to go with this strawberry & raspberry victoria sponge! Always good cake at All Things Nice (Ewell Village).

Poonami Central (not for the faint hearted)

I think I’ve got myself a public pooer! Why can’t my baby poo when we’re at home? I never knew I would become so obsessed with poo but you would be too (maybe).

I never understood why people would rush to change their baby when they had pooed… I used to leisurely change baby El after most feeds as she would just do little bits of mustardy poop all day long. The smell was quite sweet and doughy, I grew to quite like it… oh how I miss that now!

One day El stopped pooping… she went a whole day without! A day is a long time in newborn baby land… The next day El exploded! Big time! I heard it from the next room and thought it was my husband because my little cherub couldn’t possibly make such ghastly noises (she can and continues to do so daily).

This one big daily poo has also coincided with lots of drooling and teething which tends to make it even runnier with a strong hint of vinegar…so no matter what nappy you try, when that much liquid is shot out with such force… it’s going to escape probably 50% of the time and usually up their back.

If we’re home then I’ve got the changing down to a fine art. (Involving kitchen roll up the vest before leakage begins). But we are often not home because babies are anything but convenient!

I know when she’s about to blow… she pauses mid feed (breastfeeding) and goes tense, strains a little, lets rip and then continues feeding as though nothing has happened. Now I don’t want to interrupt her happily feeding but we are about to both get covered if we don’t start the military operation ASAP. She couldn’t care less and has clearly made more room so continues gulping down milk.

Yesterday’s public poo was in M&S cafe…at least it was nice and busy so no one heard the explosion (I wouldn’t want to put people off their food) and El was kind enough to let me eat my cake first. So we made a hasty exit to the changing facilities (after she’d finished feeding). Obviously we were too late…up the back seepage had begun. Luckily my mummy date was on hand, she joined us with her baby in the changing facilities for moral support. Also very handy to have an extra pair of hands to hold the waving arms (sleeve straight in the poo) while I held the legs and got through a ton of wipes. Poo everywhere, a change of clothing required.

On a positive note El loves getting her bum out and often finds my panicked changing methods quite amusing – at least someone’s smiling!

I now live life on the edge… in wait for the next poopsplosion. Trying to carry on as normal… but when it’s been over 24 hours you can’t help fearing the next splat attack.

I deserved every bite of cake yesterday… thank you M&S for the yummy coffee cake and good changing facilities.