9 October 2015

Little 3 has a go at painting

Tomorrow is Little 1's sixth birthday so today while she was at school Little's 2 and 3 helped me to make some birthday cards for her. Little 2 wanted to do some sticking and was busy with pom poms, confetti bits and glitter while I decided paint was probably a better choice than sticking bits for a 6 month old!

He got all excited sitting in his highchair and watching me get the paint out, I'm sure he was thinking it looked like a tasty new food to eat! I let him have the tray and he put his fingers in it and smushed it around then attempted to eat the paint tray so I swiftly replaced it with a piece of card.

He liked scratching the card making some finger prints in the process as well as covering the table and the highchair but I am amazed as he did not put his hands to his mouth once, he didn't paint for long though as I decided the card looked good and cleaned him up quite quickly! Next time I promise to let him explore the paint more.

I hope Little 1 likes the card he made for her, I think it looks quite good.

Seeing as he can't hold a crayon yet, Little 2 helped me chose a picture of him to print and use in the card, we decided a bit of pink glitter looked good too. I think the birthday girl will love her card as she is very close to her little brother and it will mean a lot to her.

While Little 3 was painting and having finished her own card Little 2 did a little picture too, she told me it was a rocket.

I wonder what Little 3 might like to be creative with next, do you think he is old enough for gloop?

2 October 2015

Little 2 goes to preschool

September saw Little 3 starting pre school, the same one that Little 1 started 2 years ago. Having gone to rising 3's at a different school last year Little 2 was used to being away from me for a few hours and was really looking forward to following in her sister's footsteps attending pre school in the grounds of the infant school that Little 1 now attends.

The preschool is literally across the path from Little 1's classroom this year and the girls can see each other when Little 2 is playing in the preschool fenced outside area and Little 1 is in the playground at the same time. They were looking forward to talking to each other over the fence and Little 1 was happy that her little sister was going to be in close proximity to her several days a week (I sometimes think that she gets a bit jealous that her younger sister gets to spend time with me at home when she has to go to school).  

Little 2 was really excited about going and jumped around all morning until her first afternoon settling in session, she had woken up at the crack of dawn and put on her uniform before anyone else was awake bless her. She skipped to school and went in with a little wave and came out smiling, my little girl is growing up.

She has now been at preschool a few weeks and is going for three full days, she loves her little owl lunch box and helping me to make her lunch each evening and still skips there every morning and comes out smiling. So far she has come home covered in dried playdough, paint, with soggy sleeves, grassy knees and sand in her hair, she has brought home playdough she made and told me she has learnt some new songs so needless to say she is having fun. 

Several of her friends from rising 3's have gone to the same preschool as well as a couple of friends children so she has lots of lovely little friends there and I hope she continues to have fun and enjoy it as much as little 1 did, it will not be long now before that school application letter hits the doormat!

obligatory first day back photograph

29 September 2015

Teething baby? Cheeky chompers review

Little 3 has had his bottom two teeth for a few weeks now, he didn't particularly enjoy them coming through and we resorted to a concoction of teething gel, teething powders and on occasions paracetamol as well to help ease his discomfort. One thing that did seem to help him were cold teething rings out of the fridge for him to chew on, in fact anything he could chew on was good in his book! 

This past week Little 3 has been a little unhappy and dribbling again, looking at his gums they are red either side of his two bottom teeth so I am thinking perhaps his teeth are moving again and he will get some more soon. 

Recently I came across a company called Cheeky Chompers (you may have seen them on Dragon's Den), they sell two innovative products the Neckerchew and the Comfortchew which can help dribbly teething babies, they kindly sent me one of their Twinkle Twinkle Chewpacks (RRP £27.99) containing one of each of the products for Little 3 to try.

The Chewpack

First up is the Neckerchew, a brilliant idea for babies who love to chew like mine, it is a bandana style bib with a teether attached. The neckerchew is lovely, made out of double layer soft cotton jersey with a different design on each side, it is smart and reversible, the Twinkle Twinkle design we received is just gorgeous. There are girl and boy designs as well as unisex ones on their website some of which are designed by Joules too.

The fabric is soft and thick absorbing plenty of dribble with no problems and came up well in the wash, no fading or shrinkage either. It has two poppers on the back so it can be adjusted as your baby grows. The teether blends in nicely and is great for little hands and emerging teeth with soft textured sides, Little 3 has reflux so is pretty much always wearing a bib these days to save on clothes washing and tends to chew his bibs a lot, now he not only looks smart in his striking Neckerchew but he can chew to his hearts content as well.

The other product in the Chewpack is the Comfortchew, a comforter with attached teether. The Comfortchew has the same lovely soft jersey fabric as the Neckerchew on one side and luxurious snuggly fleece on the other, it also has a few tactile ribbon bits and a handy elasticated loop for attaching to the buggy, car seat or your little ones wrist. We have attached ours to the pushchair as little 3 likes something soft to hold when he falls asleep, he also likes to fiddle with the ribbons, chew the teether and suck the label too.

The teether on the comforter is shaped like a hippo with a face one side a textured side the other, it is a good size for little 3's mouth and will reach all the way to his back teeth when he gets them too. 

reverse side of teether

I think the Comfortchew is a fab idea and this little man agrees.

N.B We received a Chewpack in return for this review, all opinions are our own honest thoughts.

16 September 2015

Little 3 at six months old

Little 3 has just had his half year birthday, I can't quite believe my little boy is 6 months old already. He has changed all of a sudden and looks like a proper big baby, he now weighs 15lb 15oz and has his first two teeth, he has also had a huge development jump too.

Looking so grown up

Little 3 can now sit up unaided and will play for several minutes leaning and grabbing before comically toppling sideways in slow motion, it doesn't seem to bother him falling over he just looks completely surprised at how he got there! He is a very active little boy with his arms and legs always on the go, he often ends up on his tummy from reaching too far and will spin around on his arms but isn't yet making an attempt to crawl. This is good in my book, two older sisters with playmobil, lego and all manner of small things and a mobile baby equals a nightmare for me, we may well have to invest in some sort of room divider so that I know he is safe from all the choking hazards. I really do not want to send the girls upstairs to play we like us all being downstairs together. 

All of a sudden Little 3 has found his voice, it just happened one day last week, he awoke from a super long nap (he is a cat napper normally) and started saying mmm mum followed a day or two later by da daaa and now he chats away babbling and saying mmmmum whenever he is in the mood and it is lovely to listen to, if he thinks we are not paying enough attention to his conversation he shouts and gets quite cross if you do not reply. I suppose in a house with 3 women he has already learnt how to get his voice heard!

Little 3 has now been weaning a little over a month and he is really getting stuck into his food, we have been a little more adventurous in the last week trying a few finger foods as he seems to have no trouble at all with my thicker homemade purees. So far we have tried toast fingers, grated cheese, raspberries, strawberries, those carrot puff things and he has had a baby biscotti biscuit too all of which caused him no trouble chomping, chewing and swallowing. As he is now over 6 months we are beginning to introduce more textures and gluten into his diet as up until now it has just been fruit and vegetable purees and baby porridge, next up are things like pasta and noodles and meat and fish too.

We have been following a puree weaning approach as I did this with Little 1 and Little 2 rather than traditional baby led weaning as I am one who likes to see the food going in rather than on the floor. I have however this time around been a lot more relaxed about big bits and finger foods and seeing as Little 3 is so interested in food and really wanting to eat with the rest of us most meals have ended up with him having bits off our plates after he has demolished his bowl of goo so we now seem to be doing a bit of both methods which suits him just fine. 

toast anyone?

Little 3 is now on formula as I have stopped breastfeeding in the day (he still has a feed or two overnight but hopefully this will not be for long.) Breastfeeding in the summer holidays with the girls home was hard, he got distracted and they got bored, I was exhausted and run down from feeding marathons and lack of sleep so something had to give. I now feel much better and Little 3 is much more content too. He has had a return of his reflux symptoms since being on formula though thankfully without the screaming fits he had when he was tiny, so he is back on the anti reflux meds and this has helped him to stop being sick lots.

Little 3 is still waking every night several times and shows no signs of stopping this yet, sometimes he wants to feed and others he just seems to want a sneaky cuddle as he will cry until I pick him up then he will snuggle in while he sucks his thumb and nods off again, I'd love him to sleep a bit better as I am quite frankly knackered from 6 months of broken nights but I'm sure he will get there soon (please) and in the meantime I will make the most of the sleepy baby cuddles.

At 6 months old Little 3.....
  • Can sit unaided
  • Babbles, says mum, da
  • Has 2 teeth
  • Eats 3 meals a day
  • Rolls both ways
  • Enjoys nursery rhymes and books
  • Sucks his thumb
  • Is still up in the night
  • Loves cuddles especially with Mummy

....and is the most utterly gorgeous, cheeky, happy little boy ever (and no I am not at all bias, at all, really!) 

12 September 2015

Weaning with Cow and Gate 'friends' pouches

Cow and Gate have recently launched their new 'Friends' weaning pouches. The 'Friends' range puts veggies at the heart of the weaning process encouraging little ones to learn to love them for life. Cow and Gate say...

'Babies are more receptive to the sweet tastes of fruit rather than bitter tasting vegetables. But, the earlier and more frequently babies are exposed to a variety of vegetable flavours, during weaning, the more likely they will learn to accept them.'

'Friends' begins with a starter pack (RRP £2.79) of 4 individual flavour pouches, Carrot, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Pea to introduce your baby to single vegetable tastes, the idea being that they try these veggies on their own several times and get used to the flavours. Then the 'Friends' range expands to include these vegetables in new flavour combinations and textures but still keeping a distinguishable vegetable taste so your baby learns to love veggies as they go about their weaning journey.

The pouches are all made with no added salt, sugar or preservatives, they are steam cooked and ready to eat hot or cold, they're re-sealable and keep in the fridge for 24 hours once opened.

We were sent some of the starter pouches for Little 3 to try. I instantly liked the fun and friendly pouch design with veggie characters, Claire Carrot, Chris Cauliflower, Bella Broccoli and Peter Pea on the packaging which caught the attention of the girls too. The packaging uses 'Blippar' technology allowing you to use your smartphone to scan the packaging bringing the characters to life and access to photo functions and recipes too.

I liked the size of the pouches, being 50g each they were a good starter size, each pouch gave us about 3 servings in the early weaning days meaning I could use it for lunch, tea and lunch the following day and ensure that Little 3 who has a sensitive tummy was okay with each new food.

Mmmmm carrots!

Little 3 loved the carrot and broccoli pouches and ate the peas too but he wasn't so keen on the cauliflower on its own!! He made a face a bit like the one below after each mouthful, however he did eat it all, the funny thing!

I think these pouches are great for first tastes if you don't want to cook tiny amounts of something and super handy for on the go as you can serve cold just onto a spoon, Little 3 gave them the thumbs up.

 N.B We received 2 starter packs in return for this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own honest thoughts. 

6 September 2015

If you go down to the woods today...

Waking up last Saturday morning to a cloudless blue sky we immediately decided we had to go out for the day. Living near the Forest of Dean and having not been there to visit for a couple of months we quickly prepared a picnic and all jumped in the car.

We headed to Beechenhurst Lodge as it has toilets (A must with a three and five year old!), a play area and lots of walks and woodlands to explore as well as a cafe serving ice-creams. Once we arrived we set up our picnic blanket and had a picnic in the sun, even Little 3 had his dinner alfresco for the first time since we started weaning followed by a quick feed while the girls explored.

Then we decided to go for our stroll before the girls had used all their energy running around the picnic blanket! We started walking along the Sculpture Trail they have there but it is a little long for the girls at 4.5 miles however there are a couple of short cuts back to the lodge and plenty of other small paths to wander around too.

Little 3 was happy in the baby carrier looking out and reaching to touch lots of greenery as we passed as well as gazing in wonder at all the green leaves overhead as we walked along. It was lovely to see him interested and looking about turning his hands over and over in the sunlight while feeling the leaves between his fingers. All his discovering soon wore him out as he nodded off for a snooze while we walked along.

In the forest of Dean in recent years there has been a rise in the number of wild boar who have been venturing more and more towards busier areas of the forest, there have been signs to watch out for them in parts of the forest as they can be defensive. The Little ones must have remembered this from our last trip to the forest as they began talking about pigs and whether they might see any.

They ran ahead looking into the trees and bushes listening to what they could hear and creeping towards the undergrowth whenever they could hear any rustling. We saw a couple of birds and maybe a mouse or something similar but no pigs however the girls thought it was hilarious to creep quietly and then run screaming 'pigs, we can see the big pigs' as they hid and jumped out at each other from behind the trees. They might have made a couple of other walkers look twice as they ran screaming from the bushes as we trundled slowly along!!

All too soon despite being forced to go before we set off on our walk and having probably only walked about a mile, someone mentioned the toilet! So back we headed down one of the shortcuts to the lodge which had appeared at just the right time.

It was then we headed to the play area and found the pigs!

After our play we were all rather warm so we headed to the cafe for lollies and battled with the wasps to eat them all up in the sunshine before heading back to the car for a drink and to demolish a packet of chocolate fingers between us. It was a lovely summers day out and somewhere that we visit at least once or twice a year.

30 August 2015

We've entered the world of weaning

In the last couple of weeks there has been lots of peeling, chopping, mashing, freezing, bib washing and tasting going on in our house as Little 3 has begun weaning. 

At around 4 and a half months he began to show signs of readiness, munching when we were eating, swiping at our food (we had to be quick at times and he did end up with his fingers in my dinner once or twice!), showing a huge interest when we were eating and happily having the odd (very occasional) suck on my apple or a piece of cucumber as he got quite cross when the rest of us were eating and he wasn't. He was also able to sit fairly well in his highchair too.

4 and a half months old was a bit early (as the current guidelines suggest around 6 months old) so I didn't start weaning him then but it was the time when I began to switch him from breast feeding to formula feeding. Little 3 had not been putting on sufficient weight at each weigh in and was slipping down the charts, he seemed to be getting enough milk from me as he was content between feeds and gaining weight (albeit not enough to maintain his centiles) but he wanted feeding every 2 hours and would feed for increasing lengths of time sometimes getting frustrated and biting me during a feed (ouch!) as well as still wanting quite a few feeds in the night.

It all got a bit too much for me at the start of the summer holidays being on constant demand feeding Little 3 as well as having Little 1 home from school and trying to entertain the girls during mammoth feeding sessions, we couldn't go out much and the girls got bored and bickered and Little 3 got distracted, messing and pulling which wasn't fun for me!

When Little 3 was 19 weeks old I dropped a breast feed for a formula feed at bedtime hoping it would help him sleep at little better (it made no difference) and each week since then we have introduced another bottle of formula at the same time as dropping another breast feed so that I could begin to feel a little more myself and not be in such constant demand. We are 5 weeks in and Little 3 is now on 4 bottles of formula and a feed or two from me each day (which we are going to continue with at the moment), it has made me feel much better in myself and although I am still up feeding in the night and very tired I don't feel as physically drained as I did before. There is more time for the girls too and we are better able to get out and about now that I am not tied to the sofa so much!

Little 3 had continued to gain weight slowly despite the introduction of formula and still wanted to be fed overnight (not that night feeding is a problem at this age but he still wanted feeding every 2-3 hours day and night and after 5 months of this feeding and sleep deprivation on my part something had to give as I was shattered) we made the decision to begin weaning at just over 5 months (the same age as we started weaning with the girls too). 

Little 3 was obviously ready to wean as he took to it like a duck to water devouring anything that passed his lips with a huge grin on his face. It is like feeding a little bird with his wide open mouth and little squeals if you don't keep the spoon coming fast enough! We have opted to wean with purees as that is how we weaned the girls but he is already, just 3 weeks in, taking thicker purees without any trouble and even chomping on chunks of very soft veg (potato, sweet potato, broccoli) without much gagging so I think it will be a mixed approach this time with purees and soon mashed food with a few finger food tasters for him to have a go at while we are eating our dinner too rather than full on Baby Led Weaning (I can't stand the mess and with carpets under the dinner table need I say more?!).

He is now 3 weeks into weaning and having 3 small meals a day and pudding at lunch and dinner time (just a couple of tablespoons of each course at the moment so that he doesn't reduce the all important milk intake just yet).

So far as he is still under 6 months (24 weeks now) we have stuck to fruit and vegetable combinations as well as gluten free baby porridge for breakfast since last week and in the last couple of days I have introduced yoghurt to increase his dairy intake too. Next we will be introducing meat and fish then foods containing gluten like bread, pasta etc after 6 months.

We have yet to find anything he doesn't like however a few foods are obviously not as tasty as others!

 I have no doubt that he will have shot up the weight charts this month seeing him devouring his food and he has been noticeably filling out too, we are going to have a foodie on our hands!

27 August 2015

A day at the beach with Grandad

Last weekend the weather perked up and we headed to Devon for a few days to visit family and friends, many of whom were still to meet Little 3. We had planned a day out with my dad, the Little Ones Grandad, and as the weather was so lovely we decided to visit the beach in the town where he lives. 

Growing up I visited this beach often, sometimes we went after school to burn a bit of energy and then with friends in my teens, I remember rockpooling as a child and bbq's with extended family. We used to walk along the long promenade in the evenings and my husband and I spent many a moonlit evening watching the sea when he used to visit me when we lived apart in the early days of our relationship. 

It is great now to take the Little ones to places that I enjoyed growing up and seeing them having fun, sharing it with Grandad this time was lovely too.

The girls changed into their swimming things within seconds of arriving at the beach and Little 1 was straight down to the water, she waded in squealing at the chill of the water and was having great fun briefly sitting in the water and jumping up as the waves hit her back, she got quite brave and had daddy lay her on her front and dip her chest in the water.

She loved spending time in the sea and was really quite adventurous for her as normally she shies away from cold water!

Little 2 was not fussed by the sea itself and got straight into digging sandcastles and filling buckets of sea water with sand watching the sand change colour and displace the water, she did this for such a long time and was totally engrossed and happy doing her own little thing.

Soon the tide had begun to turn and the rock pools came out from beneath the waves. Grandad, Daddy and the girls set out to see what they could find with Mummy following behind hoping not to slip and fall in thus ruining the camera. The girls were armed with nets and excited at the thought of catching something, Little 2 needed a wide berth as we walked down waving her net wildly in excitement.

As we explored the recently uncovered pools we spotted and caught lots of shrimpy type fish and had to be quick to net them. Grandad was pretty nifty with the net and we soon had a bucket full of them.

Little 3 meanwhile was having a snooze in the pushchair, once he woke he enjoyed watching the comings and goings of the beach but was suffering with cutting his teeth (which are nearly through now) so mainly wanted to sit and chew things. The sun got quite strong so he stayed out of the heat under his pushchair canopy when he wasn't having cuddles.

The girls, Daddy and Grandad soon returned to show us what they had caught since I had left them knee deep in seaweed, there were more shrimps, lots of cockles and two crabs, a big one and a smaller one (which the big one was holding in this picture, I'm not sure if he was trying to mate with it or kill it!!). Little 1 was pretty pleased with her catch and we soon returned them all to the pools ready for the next net to find.

Letting go...
Lunchtime was upon us, it had been a busy morning and the beach was filling up fast. The girls enjoyed their picnic on the wall to avoid sandy sandwiches.

After our lunch we decided to go for a walk along the promenade and all enjoyed a tasty ice cream, all too soon it was time to bath two sandy Little Ones and head back for tea. We really enjoyed our day at the beach and will have to do it again soon.