Archive for the ‘Cambridge Baby Blog’ Category

5 things I said I’d never do as a parent

Posted Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog
  1. Co-sleep - I’d read and heard a lot about how unsafe co-sleeping was and so I made the decision that it would be something that I wouldn’t even consider. Especially since I’ve been known to do some strange things in my sleep. I think I stuck to this decision for about 3 months, until we visited my mums house and Molly decided that she wasn’t too happy about sleeping in her travel cot. I probably stuck it out for about a night and a half, but sleep deprivation got the best of me and we invited Molly into our bed at about 4am. The first time I didn’t get much sleep because I was worrying so much but Molly did and so we continued to co-sleep for the rest of the trip. And we haven’t looked back since. Most mornings Molly comes into our bed at 5am so we can all get an extra hour or two of sleep. It’s a lovely thing to do. If we have another child I’ll probably co-sleep again, if needed, but I’d still probably wait until they’re a couple of months old again.

  2. Buy shop bought baby food - This was complete naivety on my part. I thought that baby food would work out really expensive and I thought that they were full of rubbish. This is not actually the case. The supermarkets always have good deals on jars of baby food and the ingredients are simple and minimal. They aren’t full of salt and sugar as long as you are sensible about what you are buying. When we started to wean Molly I tried to steam and blend my own baby food but it all just got too much. Since Molly doesn’t sleep for longer than 30 minutes I don’t get time in the day to do things so I was trying to do everything I needed to do in the evenings. I couldn’t stay on top of it all and I caved and bought baby food. It is one of the better decisions I’ve made though. She has a mixture of shop bought and homemade and now we’re all happy.

  3. Buy plastic tat - I hate plastic baby toys. They just seem so flimsy and cheap and tacky. I decided before Molly was born that she would only play with wooden educational toys. I’m not sure if this decision was based on image or what is best for baby. There’s also the fact that plastic isn’t a very sustainable material. And don’t get me started on what I’ve read on VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) and BPA (bisphenol A) coming from plastic toys. However, all of this went out the window when I realised that babies LOVE plastic toys. The lights, the tunes, the spinning and the buttons. So obviously we’re now the owners of many cheap plastic toys and Molly loves all of them. I still try and buy second hand etc where possible, and we still have a few wooden toys too so I don’t feel too bad.

  4. Let baby watch tv - ‘My baby was not going to watch TV! My toddler was not going to watch TV! I will be super mum and will play with my child for stimulation and she will never be sat with her eyes fixated on that rectangular screen.’ Yeah right. Sometimes a little distraction is needed. I don’t let her watch TV often, and she only watches baby sensory videos on youtube. It’s not like I’ve sat her down in front of 50 shades of grey every afternoon. Sometimes I need to get things done and I need her to be distracted for 5 minutes. This is when the TV can come in very handy. For example, when she’s all set up in her pram ready to leave the house and I realise I’ve not packed her changing bag. I can guarantee at this point Molly will start crying, and I don’t know what happens to me when she cries but I just cannot function, so I’ll put on a little baby sensory video. This keeps Molly happy and quiet and I can pack her bag without flustering and everybody is happy. I still feel guilty that I let my baby watch a screen but I don’t think 5 minutes here and there is going to cause any problems.

  5. Be overprotective and worry too much - I think this one covers all the previous points and much more. My husband kept telling me that he didn’t want me to be one of those parents who was so overprotective over their child that they were barely able to do anything. I think they call it helicopter parenting. I assured him that this wouldn’t happen and I was going to be so laid back I’d be horizontal. Ha! Now, I don’t think I’m that bad. I am a worrier. I used to watch her when she slept, I was completely over the top with loose things around her crib etc. I absolutely hated it when she moved into her own room and considered sleeping on her bedroom floor ‘just in case’. I have no idea what that ‘just in case’ was referring to but I just didn’t want anything to happen to her. So I am just a little bit overprotective. My husband thinks I’m very overprotective but I think it’s all just part of being a new mum. I do worry less as she gets older and gets a little less fragile, but then there’s always new worries coming along. I’m pretty sure I won’t become a full blown helicopter parent when she’s older and I’ll let her venture off into the world when she’s ready. I’m also pretty sure my husband will disagree with me on that one.

We’re weaning!

Posted Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

We’ve been giving Molly food for over a month now. I can’t quite believe that. Can time slow down please?! We started weaning Molly onto food when she was just over 5 months old for a few different reasons. I really wanted to wait until she was 6 months as is recommended but my poor little baby wasn’t gaining weight very well. The health visitor told me to feed her more but that just ended up with a very sore and miserable mummy, and there was no changes to Molly either. I tried formula but for some reason during that time Molly decided she was on a bottle strike. So food was our last option. 

We started simple and just started mixing some formula with baby porridge. I did this for about a week while persevering with the bottle, which she eventually started to take after a couple of weeks. Once she’d started taking a bottle and she was swallowing more baby porridge than spitting out I started to give her ‘proper food’. We started Molly on pureed vegetables, following the guidelines of vegetables first. I think for the first week she ate courgette, broccoli, carrots, and beetroot. She took to it really well. I don’t think there was much that she rejected, even on the first try. After we’d introduced lots of vegetables we started to feed her fruit. The first thing we tried was banana which she absolutely hated. She even hates it now, but it seems to be the only thing she doesn’t like so I think we’re doing well.

As soon as she hit the 6 months mark I started to give Molly some finger foods alongside her purees. I’d planned to do baby led weaning from the start but, because we started early, I knew that this was something that I could no longer consider doing. If I’m honest, I’m quite disappointed by this. It seems as though most of the advice and recommendations is to do baby led weaning from the start (and wait until your baby is 6 months old) and since I didn’t do this I sometimes feel a little guilty. As usual, all I wanted was the best for my baby whilst also trying to stay in line with current guidelines and recommendations. (I can now see, after 6 months, that this isn’t always possible and that I can judge better what is best for my baby).

Overall, weaning Molly has been a really fun experience. Preparing all the food is a bit of a pain. It's an extra job that I don't really have time for, especially because of how much I have to make. I never knew something so small could eat so much. Molly is now eating 2 meals a day. She has porridge made with formula for her breakfast sometimes mixed with a fruit puree. For her lunch she’ll usually have some sort of protein (eggs, beans, meat or fish), a vegetable, and then a carbohydrate like toast or potato. She’s had fingers of avocado, fingers of banana and toast but she doesn’t have many finger foods yet. Until you’re experiencing your little one eating finger foods you have no idea how scary it is. So we’re taking it slow just to keep anxiety levels low. We haven’t introduced many high risk allergy foods yet either for the same reason. She’s had cow’s milk, wheat, gluten, egg and fish which have all been fine so far. I’ll continue to keep introducing these high risks food and then keeping them in her diet regularly to help reduce the risk of allergies. 

Looking back I’m glad we started weaning Molly when we did. It was obviously the best thing for her at the time and now she’s eating like a pro (almost). At some point we’ll move onto complete baby led weaning but for now I’ll continue to cover her face with puree (aiming for her mouth of course) and let her gum on a piece of toast or avocado afterwards.


6 Month Reflection

Posted Wednesday, July 24th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

I cannot believe my tiny newborn is 6 months old already. Where has the time gone? It only feels like yesterday that I was counting my contractions and wondering how long it would be until I met my daughter. And yet, it all seems to have gone by in such a blur that I can barely remember any of it. 

I was at a baby sensory session last week when a mum walked in with her 3 week old baby and I couldn’t help but stare. This baby was so fresh and tiny. It made me  look at Molly and got me thinking about when she was that age. It was hard. My god, it was so hard during those early days. But thinking about it and then looking down at my smiley happy 6 month old I was filled with a great feeling of accomplishment. I realised I had survived every one of those days. Those days where I spent the whole day in tears, or in my pyjamas, with a sink full of dishes and laundry all over the house. I was a mess, constantly wondering why on Earth I wanted this life for myself. I can see now that it really does get better. At 6 months old it really starts to feel worth it.

Those tears have not gone just yet thought. (Will they ever?) Just yesterday I shed a few because I just could not get her to sleep. Eventually I had to call it a day and ask Sam to have a go, who managed it in about 10 minutes. I felt like such an utter failure. But these days are not the majority anymore. In fact, these ‘days’ are now just moments. Most of the time now I feel like I’m actually getting the hang of this parenting thing. The house is no longer a complete mess (just a normal mess), the laundry gets done, I have lunch at lunch time. Molly naps!! (For 30 minutes at a time but who cares?? She actually naps now!)

I do miss the newborn stage. Mostly just the way she used to fall asleep on me. She doesn’t do that anymore, which makes me a little sad. But she does so much more now. She smiles when she sees us which is the most heartwarming thing ever. She actually plays with things properly now. She’s into everything and it’s so cute! (I’m pretty sure I won’t be saying that when she can crawl.) She rolls around on the floor and lays on her front with her head and can play like that. She can sit! (Almost). I could make a list as long as my arm of the things she can now do and she’s only 6 months old. I had no idea that babies progressed so quickly. It’s incredible. I think if I blinked for a second I’d miss so much. I'm really enjoying this stage of her life but I’m also so excited for all that comes next.


Surviving Summer – My tips for summer with a baby

Posted Tuesday, July 16th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

I’m not really a fan of hot, sunny weather but I’m determined to not let that get in the way of making some great summer memories while she’s a baby. We’ll never get this time again. 

The hottest day we’ve experienced together so far was just over 30 degrees Celsius. We made it through though despite all my worrying. The night was the worst. I think it was 27 degrees in Molly's bedroom when we put her to bed so she went to bed in a nappy and a 1 tog sleeping bag. It probably would have been a 0.5 tog if we’d had one but we didn’t so we made do with what we had. She was absolutely fine, as she always is. I do think I worry too much but I always think it’s better to worry a little too much than not enough.

Here’s how we stayed cool in the heat. 

  • Water - this one is actually in 3 parts. I’ll start with the most boring. Molly is partly breastfed and partly formula-fed (due to very painful nipples) so I make sure to offer Molly water in her sippy cup to make sure she’s staying well hydrated. For babies who are exclusively breastfed, extra feedings from the breast is recommended.

Part 2 is a wet towel. My husband decided to purchase a magic towel which claims to be 0 degrees when wet. Spoiler alert: it does not even get close to 0 degrees when wet. However, it does stay cool for a long time in the heat though and feels lovely on the skin. I’m sure any old wet towel or even a muslin would do the same job. This helped to keep all 3 of us cool when the mercury rises. 

Part 3 is the most exciting and most definitely my favourite. PADDLING POOL. She loved it, once the water had warmed up a bit! A bit of advice, don’t try and put your baby in the water straight from the hosepipe. I’m speaking from experience here. Straight from the tap, the water is very cold and baby will probably hate it and cry (oops). Lots of splashing and plenty of toys, in the shade of course, and you’re probably set for at least a half an hour of fun with your little ones. 

  • Shade -   Recommendations say that babies less than 6 months old should not wear sun cream and should stay out of direct sunlight. Hmmm, easier said than done when it’s the height of summer, the sun is directly above and there are no clouds whatsoever. We put up a gazebo in the garden so we had a place to put the paddling pool that was out of direct sunlight. That means we have somewhere to sit at all times of the day and be out of the sun's rays! 

When out and about we use a muslin to shade her in her pram. You should never cover a baby’s pram with a blanket or a muslin as the temperature will rise putting your baby at risk. However, we use some buggy clips to clip one end of the muslin to the top of her buggy hood and the other to the handle so she’s shaded from the sun but still has good airflow inside her pram. Alternatively, you could just use a parasol. I like to make do with what I already have though to save a bit of money!

 

  • Clothes - I think for most of the day Molly just wore a nappy which was great. We use cloth nappies which are a little more sturdy and stay in place better than a disposable in my opinion so she was quite happy. I think a light cotton summer dress or romper is needed to cover up their bare skin from the sun's rays if you’re going to be out and about. 

And don’t forget your sun hats! Molly wears a fireman’s hat which is perfect for keeping the sun out of her eyes and off her face and neck. 

  • Fans- These are an absolute godsend. Obviously, I’d never want molly directly in front of a fan, especially all night.  We placed a fan outside of her bedroom door just before we put her to bed and it worked brilliantly at creating an airflow around her room without putting her in a draft, she loved the constant white noise too!

 

I’ll never be a fan of the really hot weather that comes in the summer but having a baby to spend it with definitely makes it more fun (and more stressful. Maybe that’s just me.). These are the ways we tried to stay cool during the hot weather we’ve been having recently. I am in no way qualified to be giving out advice, I just wanted to share my tricks for keeping cool and enjoying the sunshine.


Struggling does not equal failing

Posted Friday, June 21st, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

I haven’t written a blog recently because In all honesty I just haven’t felt like writing. It’s not that I have nothing to write about. Plenty has happened, believe me. But I just haven’t had the motivation or the enthusiasm to put it into words. I haven’t had the motivation or enthusiasm to do much actually.

I feel like over the past couple of weeks I’ve been surviving instead of living. I’ve been doing what needs to be done and not much beyond that. It’s been tough. Everything has gotten on top of me. The housework, the laundry, this blog, even Molly. I thought I was doing okay at this parenting thing but the last 2 weeks have had me feeling like a complete failure.

It seems as though the dreaded 4 month sleep regression finally hit. We made it to 4 months and Molly was still sleeping really well so I thought we’d avoided it but boy was I wrong. It hit when she was 4 and a half months and we haven’t slept properly since. That’s probably the reason I’ve been feeling so rubbish. Sleep deprivation isn’t good for anyone. We’ve also had some feeding problems which have been causing major stress for me. I won’t go into details but luckily that seems to have started to resolve itself now so that’s one less thing to stress about. For now at least.

 

She looks like butter wouldn't melt, doesn't she?

I realise my ability to parent is not based on how often I manage to wash my hair or how clean the floors are, but it doesn’t stop me feeling like I’m failing. I feel like I should be able to do it all. Like I should have a baby who sleeps through the night and has 3 good naps a day. I should have a spotless house and the tea on the table when my husband gets home. (I just want to clarify that he’s never expected this, nor would he ever. He actually does most of the cooking.) I'm lucky. My baby is incredibly happy and meeting her milestones. She’s rolling around non-stop and is forever laughing at her mummy and daddy. I should be grateful and yet I find myself too immersed in the negatives that it's hard to enjoy the positives sometimes.

I came across a quote on the internet recently. It said ‘just because you are struggling doesn’t mean you are failing’ and I think this is something that we should all remember. Being a parent is hard. Not everyone is experiencing it the same and so it’s unfair to compare yourself to others. Those people who look like they have it all together are bound to have their own worries and struggles. You’re not a failure if you’re finding it hard. I for one definitely need to keep reminding myself of that.


Baby’s first trip -part 2

Posted Tuesday, June 4th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

So… it turns out that baby’s first trip was great. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And yes, things were stressful at times, but, the whole thing was worth it. And now we’ve done it once, we know we can do it again easy. Maybe. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 5 months it’s that babies are constantly changing, which means changing their minds and their reactions to things all the time. Like, last night was the first bath she’s ever had a bath and not cried at the end of it. We did nothing different, so that great experience was all Molly. Anyway, I’m off topic. I’m supposed to be writing about our trip.

The car ride there was fine. I don’t know if you’ve ever travelled from Cambridge to Chesterfield but the majority of it is on the A1. Molly slept for the first 45 minutes and then woke up and played for a little while. About 15 minutes until we were to leave the A1 she started whingeing and so we were planning to stop just after our exit. We decided it didn’t make sense to stop a few junctions up from our exit. Little Molly decided she was going to fall back to sleep in that time though meaning we made it to our destination relatively stress free. Win!

The week was brilliant. Having my side of the family around and spending time with Molly was amazing and I really enjoyed myself. We went everywhere. I love horses so we went to Chatsworth horse trials and had a picnic which she loved! And while we were in the Peak District we bought her a new wool mattress (half price!). I don’t know if her wool crib mattress is a contributing factor in her great sleeping but I’m not prepared to take chances so wool was the only option for her cotbed mattress. I digress again, I’ll save that for another time.

Her sleeping changed while we were away, which I kind of expected. She’s never slept in anything but her crib at home so I knew it would be some sort of miracle if she slept just as good in her travel cot in a new place. She wasn’t bad, she just didn’t want to go back to sleep after waking at around 2am. And that resulted in my first experience of co sleeping. I swore I’d never do it, but, it’s amazing how all of that seems to go out of the window after baby arrives. Maybe I’ll save that for another blog.

Overall, the whole trip was great and I wonder now why I was so worried about it. She was great. And even if she wasn’t we would have dealt with it and we still would have enjoyed ourselves. I think I’ve learned a lesson here. Even if things don’t work out as we planned, they still work out.


Baby’s first trip – Part 1

Posted Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

We’re going on holiday!!!

Okay, so it’s not really a proper holiday. We’re going to visit my mum in Chesterfield for a week, but, that’s about as close to a holiday as we’re going to get right now. I’m excited. It’s going to be good to get away for a little bit, have Sam around (I almost wrote Daddy there. I feel like I’ve got to a point where I may never call my husband by his name again! Anyone else? Anyway, I digress) and spend some time with my side of the family.

I’ve now realised how stressful it is going away with a small baby. I have no idea what to pack so naturally, as a new first time mum, I’m going to take everything. The same as when I packed my hospital bag. Better to have too much than not enough, isn’t that right? I just hope it all fits in the car.

It takes just over 2 hours to get there in the car. I have no idea how that’s going to go, if we’re planning stops or if we can drive straight there. It’s all very new and we’re just going to have to go with the flow which is something I hate to do. I love a plan. Unfortunately, as much as one tries to plan with a baby, that plan never tends to be what happens. I think I'm getting used to that. Slowly.

After speaking to another mum at our baby group, who is going on holiday the same week, I think I’m going to sit in the back of the car with Molly while Sam drives. I think this makes a lot of sense but it didn’t even cross my mind before speaking to somebody else about it. Hopefully that will make the journey a lot less stressful. I'll be armed with toys, her dummy and Ewan the dream sheep. 

Will it even be stressful? I have no idea, but I’m stressed just thinking about it. I just can’t wait to get there and relax and have a nice week together as a family.


They grow so fast

Posted Friday, May 3rd, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

My, oh, my, don’t babies grow fast?

She’s such a person now. I know she’s always been a person, obviously, but she has a little personality now. She has proper facial expressions and she interacts. I’m astounded by how much she can do at such a young age. I thought babies just ate, slept and pooped until they could crawl. How wrong I was. (Do I say that a lot? Clearly all my preconceptions about babies and motherhood were amazingly accurate.)

It all seemed to happen in a week, the week she turned 3 months old actually. She suddenly just became able to do things. She actually plays with toys now and it’s so lovely to just sit and watch her while she’s ‘busy’. She’s fascinated by her hands and her feet. Her hands must be the tastiest things because they’re never out of her mouth. As I write this she’s sat holding my finger and just staring at it. She’s so cute.

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not all lovely. She’s also crying more than she used to, harder to settle and incredibly clingy towards me (and only me), but, her cute little smiles and noises, and getting to watch her sleep on the monitor while I eat my dinner (with two hands!) makes it all worth it.

I honestly can’t believe how quickly it’s gone. She’s 15 weeks old now. I’ll be honest, I lost count. Does that make me a bad mum? I don’t know, but, when somebody asked me how old she was yesterday I really had to work it out and was genuinely surprised by the answer. 15 weeks since she was the tiny baby in the hospital. That’s insane. I can’t even remember her as a tiny newborn which is so sad. Maybe because it all passes by in such a blur, and I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep, the memories just don’t seem as vivid as the pictures we have. Thank god for cameras.

We haven’t fully decided if we would like to have another child yet, but, if we did I will definitely be savouring every moment because it’s not until you experience it that you realise they’re really not small for very long. The phrase ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ has never been more fitting.


My experience with cloth nappies

Posted Friday, April 26th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

I’ve been using cloth nappies almost full time now for at least a month. I say almost...I haven’t had the courage to use them while we’re out yet. I’m sure I will when I get a little more confident with them.

For the first month of Molly’s life, I used disposable nappies exclusively. This was always the plan. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself too much after just giving birth to my first baby. I feel like this was the right thing to do at the time, however, looking back I think it made my transition to cloth nappies that little bit harder. I got used to the ease of taking a nappy out of a packet, putting it on, taking it off a few hours later and throwing it straight in the bin. Can’t get easier than that, can you?

Now I’ve gotten used to it, cloth nappies really don’t require much extra effort than disposables. I dry pail my nappies, which means that as soon as I take them off Molly, I dispose of the liner (compost) and put the whole nappy into a bucket lined with a mesh bag. Then, when the bucket is full I just place the mesh bag into the washing machine. No soaking, or prewashing, and I don’t have to touch any dirty nappies! They always come out clean and after a hang on the washing line, any stains or smells that were left behind completely disappear. The bucket has a lid so all smells are contained, however, a cloth with some lavender oil on it will keep the nappy bucket smelling fresh when opened until I’m ready to wash.

Cloth nappies and reusable wipes are amazing, I have no idea why everybody isn’t using them. It took a few tries to get it right, I’m not gonna lie. I’ve even shed tears over them. I had so many leaks and for a while, I completely regretted my decision to even buy them in the first place. I’m glad I stuck with them though. They contain poo wonderfully and we rarely have any leaks now, unless I forget to change her! Because I also use reusable wipes the majority of my nappy changes are waste free!

Since being young I’ve been aware of the impact that humans have on the earth and so cloth nappies was a no brainer for me. I have to admit, when we first switched over, I honestly thought ‘what the hell was I thinking?’ But that’s because I started with the quick and easy world of disposables. Yes, cloth nappies may take longer but the difference really isn’t that much. I’d say maybe an extra minute or two at changes. I came across the disturbing fact this week that disposable nappies can take up to 500 years to break down. That means that the first ever disposable nappy worn is still on this earth. 8 million disposable nappies are used in the UK every single day so, according to my maths, that is A LOT of nappies that we need to find a place for. Reducing this is totally worth the extra couple of minutes of my time to use a cloth nappy instead of a disposable.

I encourage you all to start using cloth nappies with me. They’re wonderful and the benefits are great. If I ever do this all again, I will be using them straight from birth and if you’re expecting a little one soon and are thinking of using cloth, I’d recommend the same. Give it a go, I’m confident you won’t regret it.


Developmental leaps

Posted Saturday, April 20th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

Have you heard of developmental leaps? No? Well neither had I until I read about it in a leaflet given to me by the hospital. Leaps are sudden changes in a baby’s mental development. They occur around the same time for every baby and, thanks to this wonderful app I downloaded, I can track them all.

Molly is quite a relaxed baby. She has been for as much as I can remember. Even in labour, the midwives kept checking her heartbeat and saying she was a very happy baby. That was until this week. I feel like she’s making up for 3 months of peace. I can’t complain too much, she sleeps through every night so at least I’m getting sleep. She will not, however, sleep during the day at the moment. I try everything. I’m now that parent that walks around with their baby in the pram just so she can get some sleep.

I’ve also spent a lot of this weekend walking around the living room bouncing a screaming baby. My baby that, at one time, rarely cried. Especially during the day. I’ve not had a moment to myself. I’ve not even been able to put her down so I can go to the toilet without her screaming. And it’s proper crying, with real tears. It’s heartbreaking.

I’m mentally exhausted. More than once this week I’ve wondered why I wanted a child. And then I spend the rest of the day hating myself for even thinking it. She’s worth it though. One flash of that cheeky little smile and I’m reminded why I do it all. I wouldn’t change her for the world. But I cannot wait for this leap to end and have my chilled out baby back please!

It’s not all been bad. Look at her first time in her chair! I can’t believe my tiny baby is sitting in a chair all by herself!