Thursday, 27 January 2011

Happy 1st Birthday LLC!

It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, after so much waiting, I was finally had a baby. Fast forward one year, and that baby is not so much a baby anymore.

Time does go by quickly. Sometimes I still look at LLC and can’t quite believe that she’s Chris and mine – that we made her – that’s still very amazing to me. What I do know without a doubt is that she has filled our lives with more happiness, challenge and love over this last year then we could ever have imagined.

She’s so cute at the moment, I want to freeze frame my memories of the now so that I never forget what my one year-old LLC is like. I asked my parents today if they could remember me at this stage and they said yes. I responded that now I understand how they love me.

So who is the one year-old LLC?

She’s feisty, determined and not easily deterred. She loves to bounce on her knees to music and wave her hands. She babbles a lot, often in crescendo style, so I don’t forget to listen. She has a good attention span and will spend half an hour moving wooden blocks in and out of a tub, or the seat of her toy car. She’s not walking yet but has been cruising around our furniture on her feet for awhile now – she recently stood once on her own for about 4 seconds. She loves Morris the Monkey and Bumper the Bunny and sleeps with them every night. She also loves books, animals (particularly our cat Rico) and eating food, even when it does not belong to her! (Last week she stole a rice cake off a little friend and devoured it). Today she ate pancakes with a fork for breakfast. She’s fairly adept with utensils, but I need to remind her that she can do herself damage with a fork if she’s not careful. She doesn’t like morning cuddles, having her face wiped, the baby whose eyes open and shut that she received for Christmas or being restrained by the straps of a highchair. She’s often independent but at the same time more noticeably attached to me than she used to be. She’s just learned how to kiss me back, and if in the right mood, will point out my nose, eyes and ears as requested. She’s my little ray of sunshine.

Happy 1st Birthday LLC!

Happy 1st Birthday LLC!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


This week I’m doing something that I haven’t done for almost a year. I’m reading a book.

How sad and lame is that?! I love reading. I always have. A good book is an escape, a journey, a learning curve.... How did a serial reader like me give it up?

LLC was born. But that’s no reason for me not to read. I just forgot to indulge. I got swept up in reading baby literature and shameless day-time television while I breastfed. I got caught up in a cycle of baby play, food preparation and house cleaning. Even on the days I went to work, I never brought a book and resigned myself to the Metro.

I just didn’t make time for books so they fell off my radar. It wasn’t until I finally opened a book this week and felt the dusty but familiar exciting sensation of getting hooked by the story that I remembered the joy that is reading.

So books are back on my radar, and here to stay. I’m working them into my day and I feel all the better for the escape they provide. So my advice to all new mothers out there is that if you like reading, even in the rush of a first year with baby, make some dates between you and a good book. I’m sure you’ll feel all the better for it.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Do young children really regulate how much they eat?

Somewhere amongst the mass of baby-related lit I’ve digested, I’m sure I read that young children, up until ??? age are capable of regulating how much they eat.

Can anyone tell me if this is fact or fiction? And if it is fact, for how long it applies?

I always saw truth in the theory, in that when LLC is feeding herself she will start to play with her food when she is full. When offered food on a spoon, she’ll take it and then spit it out on her tongue (charming) to signify that meal-time is over.

Lately, however, LLC is eating A LOT. She’s still a little lady, only weighing in at 17lbs on my folks’ scales in NY over Christmas. (We don’t own scales and I hadn’t had her weighed since that last fateful trip to the health visitor). But she seriously packs in the food and I don’t know where it goes.

Here’s a snapshot of what she ate today:

Breakfast: 1 Weetabix, 1 tangerine, 1 banana (half on its own, half in the Weetabix)
Lunch: Entire 10 month Plum pot plus a handful of roasted carrots, green beans & a few scoops of mashed potato
Snack: Piece of wheat bread and pack of Plum spelt biscuits
Dinner: Several fish fingers, handful of peas, spear of asparagus, yogurt

Does this sound like a lot or just the fuel of a growing girl?

I’d also like to say a thank you to Plum, who I met last year at Cybermummy and who sent LLC a very generous selection of Stage 3 food to try over the Christmas period at my request. This is not a sponsored post, but I was really surprised by their generosity and LLC particularly loved the Chickpea & Chicken Tagine meal.  I mainly prepare food for LLC but when we need some quick meals to go, we can always count on Plum!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Long-haul Lifesavers: My Top 10 Tips for Flying with a Baby

Happy New Year all. I will be back to writing this blog, I promise. I’ve enjoyed an online hiatus over the holiday period.

We had a fantastic time in NY and beat the most recent snow dump to successfully touchdown in London on Saturday morning. Now that I’ve regained some semblance of order in our lives, I’m here to share some of my top tips for surviving our long-haul flights with a baby.

The 7-8 hour flight to NY is no epic journey to Australia, but it’s no walk in the park either. Before our trip I regarded our transatlantic crossing with a mix of mild trepidation (stories of screaming babies loomed) alongside resignation (plane journeys are a feature of our transatlantic life so we’d just better get on with it) alongside excitement (even with the added stressors travelling with children brings, I’d travel any day).

And in the end, we had our hairy moments, but it wasn’t so bad. So I have you, my top ten tips for surviving a moderate long-haul flight with an 11 month soon-to-be-no-longer baby. Thanks also to the lovely RE who shared some of these tips with me – her little lady was born the day after LLC and they recently braved the even longer trip to Brazil.

  1. Request bulkhead seats with access to an air cot for baby – Virgin Atlantic who we originally booked with took down this request but would not confirm it prior to our arrival at the airport. British Airways, who we ended up flying with post cancelled flight, confirmed bulkheads at the time of our booking.
  2. Take a night flight if you can and make use of the air cot – our red eye back from NY proved much more relaxed than our outward journey because LLC slept most of the time in the bouncy-chair-like seat provided to her. Get your little one in the cot/chair before they become over-tired, ideally after you have given them milk. We waited too long on our flight to NY to transfer LLC and she was having none of it, where on the way back, we strapped her in right after take-off. LLC enjoyed her elevated status and “observed” before assuming the seven mile stare and conking out. I was amazed she slept on her back strapped to the chair but she did. Be-warned that you’ll have to take them out if there is turbulence though. 
  3. Offer milk during take-off and/or landing - If you are breastfeeding you’ll enjoy avoiding lugging bottles and formula on-board. I found it easy to breastfeed while LLC was strapped on my lap in the baby seatbelt (though the effectiveness of that seatbelt is another story). If you bottle-feed, they may make you taste your bottle of sterilized water at security but it is fine to bring this and powdered formula on-board.
  4. Bring some fruit and vegetable sticks along - If you aren’t offering milk for take-off and landing, these can be sucked on and really work well for relieving air pressure from delicate ears.
  5. Bring a cozy blanket for baby to snuggle up and snooze in – the ones provided on the plane are way too big, and probably dirty.
  6. Bring lightweight distractions/toys – soft & bendy books, hand puppets, small stuffed animals and toy keys, etc are good options. You don’t want to weigh yourself down with heavy awkward toys and baby is likely to be stimulated by all the new sights around her.  Apply the same rule to yourself.
  7. Bring disposable bibs – avoid messy, dirty bibs in your diaper bag. You don’t need the hassle. I found some cheap, disposable and effective bibs in Boots.
  8. Avoid bringing along messy food if your little one is able to self-feed – things like Cheerios worked a treat, kept LLC fed & entertained and were not messy (why does the UK not sell plain old American Cheerios??! Does anyone know why they are all so sweet here?).
  9. Wear comfortable clothes – I used to enjoy looking nice while travelling but if you face a large portion of a flight with a lap full of baby, comfort and breathable clothing are of the essence.
  10. Don’t stress – ha! I’m all smug now, huh? On the flight out my stress levels spiked whenever LLC would fuss but on the flight home I sat next to a mother with three children under 5, one of whom was younger than LLC. All parents of young children are in the same boat and it’s likely to be a little tricky and hairy at times. So breath :)
Do you have any top tips to share about travelling with a baby? I’ll have to create a toddler version of this in due course.....