Where did my good eater go?

When we first started weaning Layla-Rose just over a year ago she would eat anything. I mean anything! We did a mixture of pouches and baby led weaning and found it worked really well for us. Since turning 18 months however, Layla has become more fussy with her food. Breakfast and lunch tend to be fine as they are normally just slight variations of the same thing and she could snack for England! The trouble comes at tea times. It started with her refusing to sit in her highchair to the point where nothing but sheer force would get her in and by this point she was far to hysterical to eat. We decided that this was no way to carry on so resorted to letting her sit at a little chair and table to eat her meals. Even though she was much more relaxed at tea time she would still refuse to eat the majority of what was offered to her.

It was at this point we decided to all eat together (we had previously eaten after Layla had been put to bed) but having her sit at her little table and chair while we were at the main table proved difficult so up she went to the big table. It was also at this point we decided to give her exactly the same as us at meal times even things like curry and chilli. She picks and chooses what she wants off the plate and some nights this is nothing at all.

I have no magic solutions or reasons why she liked peas six months ago but now won't put them anywhere near her mouth. Its so infuriating but still I keep plodding on giving her everything on her plate even though she blows raspberries and shouts she doesn't like it. I'm hoping one day she will start eating all she used to again but all I can do now is keep putting it on her plate and hope that she will start eating it again...one day....preferably soon.

Any advice/help/support would be greatly appreciated.

What Layla loves - 12 - 18 months

Wow Layla has turned into a walking talking mini human over these past 6 months and along with this is a whole host of new things she is loving.

Ride a longs
Again Layla is one very lucky girl as was given two ride alongs. One for her birthday a beautiful pink horse and one for Christmas, a Minnie Mouse car. Although Layla hasn't quite got the hang of sitting on it and riding it (I'm not sure if her legs are quite long enough yet) but she loves using them just like her walker and pushing them around the house. She also loves it when you push her around the house on it and get her to crash into the furniture. The car has an added feature of a seat that you can open so as you can imagine as soon as things go missing this is where we now look!

This has been one of our recent purchases, with a little help from Grumpy. Layla hates being in her pushchair and will do anything to get out so the idea of taking her on a walk was the stuff of nightmares. I did lots of research one which ones were the best to buy and decided on a middle of the range one in a neutral colour. She loves it! So much so every sight of sun we are out on walks in her new trike. I can't wait to see how the trike adapts as she gets bigger.

I have been desperate from day one for Layla to be into books and for the first year things weren't working out. I would have story time and she just didn't want to know, preferring instead to roll around on the bed or try and rip the pages. I'm not sure when the change in her happened but all of a sudden she started looking at books! One day she just picked up a book and sat down on my lap ready to listen. We have books everywhere in the house but of course she has her favourites. We only have the cardboard books out though as she's still ripping the paper ones. She loves the 'That's not my' series and the movable picture books. She's even started to be able to 'read' the books herself!

Layla took her first steps at around 15 months (am I a bad Mum for not remembering exactly when?) but before then and indeed even now she loved pushing around her walkers. She has the standard one most babies have 'Welcome to our learning farm we have lots to show you'. Her favourite game with it is to chase you (or the cat) saying 'get ya, get ya!' She also has a trolley that she can push along and a pram. The pram is my personal favourite as it comes with its own dolly and allows for her to role play too. She loves giving her 'baba' kisses and takes her out to 'change your bum' then walks around the house and garden with her. I'm guessing in the next few months she will outgrow the walker but the pram will most probably be a firm favourite for years to come.

Picnic baskets
This was a Christmas present from one of my besties. This is by leap frog and is so cute! It comes with 2 plates, 2 cups, a blanket and food. Again Layla is learning how to role play and loves watching me and her Dad interact with the picnic basket. We pretend to eat the food and drink the drink (which she finds hilarious). She has now started copying us doing this and loves our reactions. The leapfrog picnic basket also has an interactive setting where it asks the child to find certain shapes or colours and place them in the basket. I'm looking forward to seeing how this toy grows along with her.

Stacking Cups
These only cost around £3 and boy were they a good purchase! Layla spends ages playing with these. Stacking them, pretending to drink from them, hiding things underneath them and stacking them to make towers. I honestly didn't think that something so simple would keep her occupied for such a long time.

Pens and paper
I'm not sure where she learnt it from but she can now say 'pen' and 'paper'. In fact every time she sees one or the other she demands it. She doesn't draw for very long but I love the fact she's interested and I hope this is a something she will always love as its one of my great passions too.

Peppa pig
This has only happened in the past month or so but Layla has finally found the TV! I know I shouldn't want it but those 5 minutes of her just sitting are bliss! She only has eyes for Peppa Pig though and can get quite grumpy if you try and persuade her to watch something else. I can already see the Peppa Pig merchandise creeping into out house. The pjs, cuddly toy, crayons, colouring, soon we will be over run! Well until the next craze kicks in.

Mothers Day - A tribute to all the Mamas in my life

On this Mothers day I want to look at and celebrate all of the Mums in my life. Since becoming a Mother myself I am in awe of the mothers before me. 

My Nanny Page had 6 kids and raised them alone after my Grandad died when my Dad was only a young teen. She is no longer with us but many of my family comment on how I have got her no nonsense approach to life and my want for family closeness also comes from her. 

My Mums mum who I have called Nannie Treasure my whole life (but that is another story) is the woman who puts on the big family gatherings so we can all get together and the main reason why my cousins on my mums side are all so close. We have shared holidays, a million celebrations together and whenever I come down she always has all the family over to see us. She is the most amazing cook and can never do enough for her family. When we get our forever home I would love to hold family get togethers just like my Nannie does so well. 

I don't know how I would have gotten through the early days of Motherhood without my soon to be mother in law helping out in any and every way she could do. She very often came round to hold Layla-Rose while I showered or took her on a walk to give me and my OH a chance to rest. Not having family of my own nearby I relied so heavily on her in the early days (and still do now) and I truly don't know what we would do without her. 

My Mum is truly the most amazing woman and since becoming a mother myself I have a new respect for her. My mum wasn't a young mum (35 when she had me) after desperately wanting a baby for so many years I finally came along before my brother almost 5 years later. She was a stay at home Mum until we were both at school and then went back to work to help my Dad make sure we had everything we could want. She wears her heart on her sleeve and I know it hurts her not being able to see me and Layla-Rose whenever she likes but she is always there on the other end of the phone and has, when I needed her, dropped everything to come up and help. If I am half the mother she was to me I know Layla-Rose will be lucky. 

As well as Mamas from our families since having Layla-Rose I have some new found Mum friends who have helped me navigate the first year of motherhood. While we were all on maternity leave we kept each other sane by trips out and constant whats app messages asking all sorts of questions from poop to sleep. These ladies are now truly friends for life and I find each and every one of them so inspiring and its a pleasure count them amongst my friendship group. 

Before I became a Mum I only ever had one friend who had already had a baby and thank god she is one of the most honest people I have come across as she didn't sugar coat anything! As soon as I found out I was pregnant she was there by my side sometimes literally holding my hand through everything. I must have asked her a million and one questions before Layla-Rose was born and probably a million more since she has been born. She is always able to make me feel like I am a good mother and puts any mum fail moment into perspective which instantly makes me feel better. 

Since being a Mum, two of my best friends have had or are about to have a baby of their own. They are both already amazing Mamas one running her own charity while raising a baby after her husband survived cancer and another who has the attitude that I wished I had while pregnant so relaxed. 

So to all Mamas and mothers to be this mothers day YOU are amazing, YOU are a bad ass and YOU can do this!

Happy Mothers Day! 

Top Teething Tips

'Just wait till she's teething.' They said. 'You won't know what hit you.'
By the time Layla was ready to start teething I had heard all of the horror stories of sleepless nights and inconsolable babies. However, as we already had a baby like that, I wasn't sure it could get that much worse for us! But like any new parent I wanted to be ultra prepared so I thought I would share some things we bought, some things we wish we had and others we needn't have bothered with.

Nurofen - After shoving calpol down Layla's neck for a few weeks to help with the pain of teething I was told by a fellow Mum that nurofen is better as it stops swelling and targets the pain better. We made the switch and I have to admit we noticed a big difference.

Bonjela - I would coat this on here mouth guard (see below) and she would happily suck it off while chewing. Not sure how much it helped but it kept her quiet for 10 minutes!

Anbesol - I think this had a more reliving effect than the bonjela when rubbed on her gums and we even put some on her dummy on occasion to help ease the pain.

Powders - Lots of Mums swear by these but I don't think we used them enough for me to be able to comment on them as I could never remember to keep with the dosage (every 2 hours) so we didn't get much use out of these.

Teething toys - Some of these are still in our freezer! She didn't like teething rings from the fridge or freezer as I think she found these to tough and cold on her teeth. She'd much prefer biting everything she shouldn't such as my phone!

Mouth guard and other chews - Yes she looked like a boxer and we got some funny stories but she loved these! Especially with a coating of bongela over them that she could suck off.

Foods - Another great teething soother we found was food. She seemed to love the cooling effect foods like cucumber had on her gums.

Do you have any more top teething tips?

Next to me cot review

Layla hated her Moses basket. She also hated sleeping at night. We spent the first 8 weeks trying everything and anything to get her to sleep (see blog post here). In a sleep deprived haze, I went to mothercare in desperation to look at the next to me cot in the hopes it would solve all of our problems. The woman was so helpful but before I bought it I practically begged her to reassure me it would get my baby to sleep. I took it home and I was skeptical. We were surprised by its easy set up and hoped this was the answer we had been waiting for.
It wasn’t an overnight success. It took Layla time to get used to her next to me cot but I can honestly say I don’t think I have better spent £150. The cot is huge plenty of room for Layla to grow (she is 8 months old and still sleeps in it) and spread out if she needs to while sleeping. The cot fits next to our bed and we have been able to put it on a slope to help with Layla’s reflux.
The best things about the next to me cot is the fact that it joins onto your bed and you can pull down a side to easily access your child. This was amazing as I spent the first few days hanging in the cot so Layla would have an easier transition from our bed into her own.
It’s also great for travelling. It founds into a bag and we have taken it to numerous visits to family and friends houses with no great difficulty.

The only problem we have to the next to me cot is that Layla loves it so much we are finding it hard to get her out of it!

What Layla loves - 0-6 months

Now that Layla is 8 months (where did the time go?) I thought I would share our must haves and Layla's favourites for the first 6 months:

·         Play gym - Santa brought Layla a playgym for Christmas and she has been playing with it everyday ever since. We got a basic one with dangly animals but we found that the toys were too high up for Layla to use so we attached her some pram toys that also jingle which were much easier for her to grab and therefore the play gym kept her attention for a longer period of time. However, the mother in law bought a play gym for her house that had a keyboard at the end so when she kicks her feet it activates the keyboard. needless to say we wish we had that one at our house as she loves it and it seems to hold her attention for longer than the one we have here. 

·         Toy bar for the car seatThis was bought for me by a friend and I feel that this was probably the best present we were given. Initially this went on her car seat and all she would do was stare at it but now she adores playing with it! She has learnt that if she pushes the heart the tune plays, that the other objects spin and if she angles it right she can see herself in the mirror. 

·         Next to me cotI have written a separate blog post here about sleep but I cannot speak highly enough of the next to me cot it literally saved our sanity. I have also written a blog post about the next to me cot as we love it so much! 

·         Sleepsuits with mittens - a godsend! When Layla was a newborn we could never keep mittens on her for more than 5 minutes and as soon as she had managed to wriggle out of them a scratch would appear on her face so the sleepsuits with the integrated mittens were amazing. Not everywhere does them though and you will need to double check the packs for them. I think however that you can only get built in mittens up to the 0-3 stage in sleepsuits. 

  Toothbrush - After a conversation with a fellow Mummy we introduced a toothbush into our morning routine so while I  get ready in the bathroom Layla has the toothbrush to play with and chew. This has stood us in good sted as now she has teeth she will happily let us brush them with the toothbrush.

·         Sling - It took us a long time and a few wasted buys before we found a sling that worked for us. We attended our local sling library and were able to rent out a sling to road test it before we bought one of our own. This is a fantastic service where I was able to talk to some very knowledgeable ladies about sling recommendations specifically for our reflux baby.  

·         Dribble bibs - To begin with I wondered what the need for these triangle bibs were for us but soon after her reflux diagnosis I found that the dribble bibs were a life saver not only as sick catchers but also they look alot cuter than the circle food bibs when paired with an outfit. We now have at least 20 of them in an array of colours so I can coordinate outfits. Who said reflux couldn't be cute. 

·         Aldi – nappies and wipes - Before we had Layla my other half and I had a massive argument about what nappies to use he said we should use pampers because they are the best brand and we should only use the best on our baby. My argument was that aldi are not only the cheapest brand out there but they are also the nappy that has won the most awards. Who won the argument? I'll leave your common sense to decide. 

·         Dummy - Thank god for dummies! (You can read my post about dummies here) these have really helped soothe our unsettled little one. God help us when we have to wean her off them. 

·         Bumbo - Having a small baby has meant that when the time for weaning came she was still too small for any of the highchairs we had seen on the market so instead we used a bumbo. We now use it everyday and as it is so lightweight it is easily transportable to grandparents and friends houses when Layla will be eating elsewhere. 

Any other must haves that you would include for 0-6 months?

pouches - do you use them?

Does anyone else feel guilty about giving their baby pouches instead of making their own stuff? When we began weaning I swore that I would make all of my own stuff excited about blending and making my own purees and eventually meals but between life running away with me and having limited space in the freezer I begun toying with the idea of using pouches but with so many different brands out there and with the warnings of sugar and salt I felt lost as to what to try and felt I was not doing the best for my baby. I bit the bullet though and tried a pouch and do you know what so LOVED it! She had the entire pouch in one sitting!

I am still a little wary about feeding Layla pouches, not that I judge anyone who uses them. To me for some reason it makes me feel as if I’m failing as a mum because I don’t home cook all of her meals but I know I’m being silly. The main focus is that they are quick, easy, able to carry around and most importantly Layla really enjoys them.

How do you feed your baby? Homemade or store bought?  

Guest blogs/features

The butterfly mother guest post- Why breast isn't always best