Breastfeeding, Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, Mental health, Parent, Weaning

The end of our breastfeeding journey

Well that’s it, our breastfeeding journey has come to an end. Part of me feels a little bit sad writing this. Is has been such a positive experience for both of us and one I was reluctant to let go of. But the time was right to stop and if I’m honest Samuel was naturally wanting less and less anyway. It was more of a comfort than a nourishment for him and the new year seemed liked the perfect time to stop.

If you fancy reading about how we got on breastfeeding in the beginning then check out the post I wrote during National Breastfeeding Week.

So how did we stop? Well we went cold turkey. Samuel was having a feed before bed to settle him, feeds in the middle of the night if he woke and one in the morning. I was actually rather surprised at how easy it was to stop. He had an extra bottle of milk to settle him and one when he woke in the night but that was it. He seemed to sleep better and apart from the odd little tug on my top he has not seemed too fussed about not having it.

It has been just over a week now and thankfully apart from my breasts being slightly tender I haven’t suffered in terms of encouragement either. My hormones on the other hand have felt a bit out of sync and I have felt not quite myself but hopefully they will soon balance themselves back out.

I would love to hear how you stopped and at what age? Did you find it easy or was it a struggle? How did you feel afterwards?

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Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, Parent

Samuel Update

I have neglected this blog a bit lately and as it’s a new year my resolution is to get back on it.

I am going to start with a Samuel update. He turns 17 months old today and I seriously cannot believe that in just a months time I will have an 18 month old. I know I say this every time but he really does amaze us every day. It seems like he always has a new word or can do something different or make a new animal sound and I want to ensure I document as much of it as I can.

Gross Motor

Samuel is now a confidant Walker. He is able to walk backwards and change direction with ease. He has started trying to run and still loves to climb. His new thing is spinning round and round and he finds it hilarious when he makes himself dizzy and fulls over. Samuel can push himself along on his Scuttle Bug and turn the handles to change direction.

Fine Motor

Samuel shows more control all the time. He is able to hold a crayon using a digital probate grasp and make marks across the page. He is able to stack 4-5 blocks to create a tower and is beginning to use a fork.

Cognitive

Samuel understands more and more each day. He knows where lots of things are kept and is beginning to show an understanding of course and effect. For example he knows that if he places his flannel over the plug hole it will stop the water going down, which means he doesn’t have to get out of the bath. Samuel loves cars and trains and will push them around on the floor or track making appropriate noises for them.

Communication

Samuel has lots of words now and when at home he chats away constantly. His favourite words to say are ‘tractor’, ‘car’ and ‘duck’. He also likes to make ‘choo choo’ noises as well as quacking, roaring and barking. He likes to say ‘ugh oh’ and if he can’t get past something or move something he says ‘stuck’. Everyday he seems to say a new word and I love hearing his little voice.

Social

Samuel is still quite shy around unfamiliar people and is still very much a ‘Mummy’s boy’. He can give people such a look if he is not happy, he has such an emotive face. It has been nice to hear from the Childminder that Samuel has been interacting well with the other children.

Feeding

Samuel isn’t a bad eater and depending on what mood he is in, will eat pretty much anything. Although he is not a fan of carrots or broccoli and will pick out even the smallest, hidden pieces. His favourite meal is definitely breakfast, he loves cereal and like his Mummy and Daddy he definitely has a sweet tooth. Samuel has a bottle of half formula and half cows milk before bed (he still isn’t a fan of cows milk on its own) and some more milk in the night if he wakes for it. I think he has about 14 teeth maybe more. He won’t let me look anymore.

Sleeping

We have recently got Samuel down to 1 nap a day as we were struggling to get him to sleep in the evenings. We pretty much co-sleep the majority of the night although this is something we are going to work on. We have not yet perfected sleeping through the night.

Child development, diary, Early Years, First time Mum, Parent, Photography, Travel

Photos of the Week

Late again but here are my favourite photos/moments of the week. Actually as I am so late they are photos of the fortnight.

Give Samuel a wide open space and he will run around like crazy. He loves to be outside and is definitely at his happiest when he is.

When a trip to Pets at Home is as much fun as a day out. Samuel and Henry loved looking at the animals and fish.

You can’t tell from his face but Samuel loves his friend Evelyn and she adores him.

Autumn walk collecting leaves and feathers. Samuel loved picking things up and bringing them to me.

To Samuel you climb the wrong way up a slide then slide back down on your belly. If it makes him this happy who cares.

I will try and get more regular with my posts again.

Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, Parent, Photography

Photos of the Week

This week has been my first proper one back at work. Samuel has started with the childminder and we have begun to get into some sort of routine. I am also very excited as my Olympus Pen camera has finally been sent back to me after being away for repair for over a month.

Samuel was actually very good a pulling the blocks out on this giant Jenga game. I just had visions of the whole thing toppling down on him.

What I love about my job is being able to get creative. This was taken on one of our training days at the start of the week. We used natural materials to make a shelter for the dragons among other activities that the children might partake in during their Forest School sessions.

This sleeping pic was sent to me by the childminder on Samuels first day. I was so worried that he wouldn’t settle but I had nothing to worry about. Yes there were tears but they didn’t last and I know that it will get easier for both of us.

We went to our local nature reserve on Thursday with Samuels friend Seth and his Mummy. I love seeing Samuel interacting more with other children. The way they communicate with each other just melts my heart.

The way he looks at his Daddy! Daddy was number 1 on Friday as he went to collect Samuel from the childminders. Daddy also always does bath time. They listen to music and have the best time together. Although Samuel is a Mummy’s boy I can see that one day I’m not going to get a look in and it will be all about spending time with Daddy.

Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, Parent

A letter to my one year old

Dear Samuel

You have been one for nearly a week now and it's as if you have turned into a toddler overnight. You are walking everywhere and everyday you let go of our fingers for a little bit longer and a little more often.

You are such a character and seem to find rough and tumble play hilarious, especially with Daddy, your Grandads and your cousins Max and Henry.

Your smile is infectious and you know what to do to make Mummy smile too. Although you are shy with people you don't know or don't know very well you are such a social little boy. You love to follow older children and try and copy what they are doing. You always wave to cars as they pass even if you don't know who they are.

I think you are going to be a bit of a class clown. You like to stick your tongue out and will keep doing something if it has made someone laugh such as dribbling water down your chin. Your newest thing is to roar like a dinosaur. I think that you have got that from Peppa Pig, which you love to watch especially on Mummy's phone. Another favourite is Pingu.

You like to sing (hum) and always starts to bob up and down if you hear music you like. Your favourite songs are 'Wind the Bobbin up' and 'I had a little turtle'. You have definitely got Mummy's love of books and you will quite happily sit there and look at one or bring one to us to read to you.

You are such a chatterbox too and have some long conversations with us. I wish I knew what you were saying. I love to hear you say Mama and Dada, it just melts my heart.

You have achieved so much already in such a short time and Mummy and Daddy are so proud of you. I look forward to seeing what the next year will bring for you but please stay my baby for just a little bit longer.

Lots of love always

Mummy xxxxx

Baby products, Breastfeeding, Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, food, Sleep, Weaning

Samuel at 12 months

I can't believe I am writing this post. It seems crazy that I have a one year old. I'm sure it was only yesterday that I held him for the first time. Samuel has changed so much since he was that 8lb 4oz newborn and even since my last update. He really is turning into a little boy.

Gross Motor
Samuel is able to walk a short distance independently but would still rather hold your finger although he seems to be getting more confident everyday. He loves to climb and will pull himself up on anything, climbing on and off his scuttle bug and bike with ease.

Fine Motor
Samuel is able to use his hands with purpose. He can use a spoon to feed himself and is able to pick up small objects and food using a pincer grip. He is still obsessed with putting lids back on things.

Cognitive
Samuel remembers where things were or where they should be. He likes to push cars around on the floor and tries really hard to put the correct shape in the correct hole in his shape house.

Communication
Samuel is beginning to build up a repertoire of words such as mama, dada, ball, bubble, Peppa, no and Nanna. He is able to follow simple instructions such as 'sit down', 'find daddy' and 'come here' and understands lots of individual words. Samuel likes to sing and he loves books, bringing them to you to read.

Social
Samuel can be quite shy around unfamiliar people and can be quite clingy especially towards me. However with people he knows well he will happily go with them and talk to them. Samuel particularly likes older children who he can follow around and copy. He loves spending time with his older cousins and friends. It has been really good for Samuel to spend with Daddy and Grandad without me around.

Feeding
Samuel wakes and is breastfeed about half and hour before his breakfast. He then usually goes all day without milk until bedtime when he will have a formula bottle and a top up of breast milk if needed. If he does want milk during the day he will either have a small bottle of formula or some breast milk depending on where we are and what we are doing. Samuel will have breast milk during the night if he wakes to settle him quickly back to sleep.
Samuel is now eating pretty much anything and his favourite food is peas and sweetcorn. He now has 8 teeth; 4 at the top and 4 at the bottom.

Sleeping
Samuel still likes 2 naps a day and the car and pushchair are still the places he falls to sleep easiest. In the evenings he falls to sleep on our bed and we transfer him into his own room. He has now slept through the night (between 6 and 9 hours) a few times and it's very reassuring to know he can do it. We still occasionally co sleep and we do it because it works for us.

Although I am a little sad that I no longer have a baby (he will always be my baby though) I am excited to see the little boy he is growing in to.

Baby products, Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, Parent

Samuels First Shoes

Now Samuel is standing independently and trying to walk we thought it was time he had something sturdier on his feet, so we went and got Samuel measured for his first ‘proper’ pair of shoes. We took him to our local Clarks store. A definite right of passage in the UK. 

The Sales Assistant alongside a trainee asked us to sit Samuel on the edge of the seat so his feet hung down. She then used a handheld foot measure (no idea what they are called) to measure the length and width of Samuels feet. I remember as a child they had a machine that you put your foot in and it closed in around it to work out the size you needed. Surprisingly in this day and age there was nothing that technical. 

Samuels feet measured at a 3.5 F and the shoes that we liked also happened to be in the sale at 50% off. 

Samuel was such a good boy trying on his new shoes and the Sales Assistant even commented on how good he was. His cousin Henry was with us and he helped to feel Samuels feet to make sure they fitted in the shoes. My Dad was also there, he always said he would buy Samuel his first pair of shoes. 

I took my camera with me so made sure I got some pictures of Samuel trying his new shoes on and standing in them. 

When we got home I went on to Clarks Kids Facebook page and via their link I uploaded a picture of Samuel alongside his name and date of birth. They then created for us a lovely animation to celebrate Samuel getting his first pair of shoes. Such a lovely touch that can be shared (see my Instagram page) and such a lovely experience overall. ​