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.