gap kids christmas 2017

I did a bit of a mammoth spend in GAP the other week, when I bought Angelica’s “Wizard Coat” (see here). I seem to be doing lots of kids’ clothes shopping at the moment because I never seem to have enough of anything – vests, pyjama bottoms, cardigans. It only takes two bad days of food and baby poo carnage to wipe out all of my clean clothes supplies and so I’m trying to get on top of my inventory.

gap kids christmas 2017

So new pyjamas for Angelica – she chose these from a whole section of tempting pyjamas, and I thought that they were very festive – and a brand new cardigan for Ted. It’s rather Norwegian. I like to think that he looks like a detective from a Scandinavian noir TV thriller. His name, when he wears this cardigan, is Anders.

gap kids christmas 2017

Look at the little pine trees along the shoulders! The shawl collar! He’s like a little old man – I can picture him in the corner of a pub smoking a pipe and reading a book about boat-building.

gap kids christmas 2017

Ted is also wearing some Mickey Mouse print trousers – comfy, soft, reasonably stretchy, definitely not Scandi Noir. (Imagine the detective rocking up to a murder scene in Disney pants!) The trousers are a size 6-12 months but I feel as though they come up on the small size, as do Angelica’s pyjamas. Perhaps I have tall babies, but I don’t think they’re that tall. And definitely not very chunky. Which reminds me, I must take them both to be weighed and measured – I haven’t done that in ages. When (if) we move into the new house, I’m going to start a wall chart – I saw a really snazzy giant ruler the other day (here*). It needs its own mortgage, but I love anything miniature or oversized, with that Alice in Wonderland kind of vibe. And you can personalise this ruler – it would make a great Christmas present.

You can find Angelica’s pyjamas at GAP here* – they are £14.95 but I had a discount code (there’s usually one on the home page); Ted’s Forest Fair Isle cardigan is £19.95 here* and the Disney pants are here*.

Follow:

stopping breastfeeding

Status update on the night-feeding/breastfeeding saga: Ted is now taking bottles. Of formula. Guzzles them right down, has a burp, looks very pleased with himself. In the end, it was simple necessity that did the job – I had to go away for work, and although I wasn’t staying away overnight, I was gone from 6am until 11pm on one day and the majority of the waking hours on two more. In a way, I was quite offended that it all went so smoothly – why wasn’t Ted pining for my big, cushiony bosoms?! – but relieved that we had finally conquered the bottle-feeding situation.

It would have been a great time, you’d have thought, to completely knock breastfeeding on the head, get some bloody sleep and repair my battle-worn, baby-bashed body. But no. Though we are doing (random) bottles of formula throughout the day, I seem to still be acting like a human milking parlour at night, with Ted latching on at any time he deems fit to grapple at my chest and noisily demand his satisfaction.

And do you know what? I’m so torn! Because I could just play hardball and stay away from him at feeding times for a few days – hide in my office with some wine, or sit in the garden shed drinking gin, or pop to the pub (ooh, theme developing here) – but I still appear to have a major emotional attachment to either the idea of breastfeeding, or the physical thing of breastfeeding, or something else. Or both. (Crikey – that was concise and non-confusing, wasn’t it?) And is that so wrong? Why is it that I feel an outside pressure to stop breastfeeding, even aside from my own reasons (sanity, physical health, the wellbeing of my bitten nipples, work)? The number of people who have said to me,

“You’re still breastfeeding? Why on earth?”

or

“You want to get him on that bottle pronto, fill him up with something proper!” (Words to that effect.)

I can hand on heart say that I’ve had more commentary – with both babies – about how I should be stopping breastfeeding than I ever had when I smoked (quite heavily!) and people helpfully told me how bad it was for my health. I find that so odd. And (please don’t think this is a “them and us” breastfeeding wars invite!) it makes me feel as though we still don’t have a great culture for supporting and encouraging breastfeeding. Maybe it’s because people do moan a lot about breastfeeding when they’re breastfeeding (guilty of that) or at least feel the need to discuss it quite frequently, but that’s a whole other post perhaps! I’m sure that most of the comments I’ve had from friends and family have been simply because they are worried about my tiredness, but sometimes when you’re moaning you don’t want a solution, you want someone to say

“Do you know, you’re doing a really good job there. You must be bloody knackered, poor you. Oh dear. God, yes, it must be so tiring. Poor you. Well done though, well done for doing that.”

(Haha! This reminds me of a comment on one of my recent posts where a reader called me a “breastfeeding martyr”. It really struck a chord and gave me loads of material for a lengthy post about how you feel when you’re breastfeeding, so I must remember to edit that and polish it up and hit “publish”.)

stopping breastfeeding

So anyway, I can’t seem to quit breastfeeding, not just yet. Here’s why:

1 It’s easier to latch a baby on in the middle of the night than it is to go and get a bottle. Yes, even if it’s a ready-made bottle beside the bed. Because – marvellously – you can lie down and doze whilst you breastfeed a baby, but you’d be in all sorts of wet-patch trouble if you attempted that with a bottle. The downside of this is that you’re on your own – the night feed problem is all yours. But I can’t sleep through a baby crying anyway, and lie there semi-awake hearing little moans as the bottle is rejected/played with, so it’s swings and roundabouts with the night feed situation.

2 I still enjoy it. Mostly. See below for some current “cons” with the whole breast situation. But I love the closeness and the cuddles and the feeling that you’re doing something quite unique, quite special for your baby. In my mind, I’m giving a little health boost each time I do it, although I have no idea whether this is true – especially if I’m also feeding formula. I read some stuff about breastmilk being pointless once they’re weaned, but I need to do more research on that. The World Health Organisation seem to think differently – oh, the wonderful and confusing world of Google!

3 I can’t give up my Magnums. Regular readers and followers of my social media platforms (@modelrecommends and @uphillbaby on Instagram and @modelrecommends on Twitter) will know that I have a huge thing for Magnums. The chocolate-covered ice creams. Oh man, they are just sublime. My favourite? Mint choc! Anyway, I allow myself one a day as a treat for breastfeeding (I need all of those extra calories!) and I’m just not sure I’m ready to knock them on the head. World’s lamest excuse for carrying on with breastfeeding, but hey.

4 I would have to face up to actual real life in terms of health and fitness and my terrible diet. And am I ready to do that? I feel like breastfeeding keeps you in a sort of baby “bubble” that excuses you from normal worries, such as whether your gut overhang touches your thighs when you sit on a chair. Am I at the stage where I want to go and get fitted for a normal bra (IT DOESN’T HAVE DROP-DOWN CUPS?!) or give up Magnums, or…give up Magnums? (There’s another theme developing here. But can I just say that I very rarely drink. Anything. I have but one vice and that is my choc ice. I have but one vice and that is my choc ice. I feel this could be the start of a successful, chart-topping rap hit.)

5 I can’t stop until I’ve somehow evened out my breast sizes. I don’t know whether anyone else has had this, but one of my boobs is like the breast of a perky Californian cheerleader, the other is…sad sack. I’m addressing this issue and working out just how I might reset the balance. I don’t want to be flinging one tit over my shoulder for the rest of my life whilst the other sits nicely in an Agent Provocateur bra cup. (It’s not that drastic – I do like to exaggerate for effect, you may have realised that by now.)

Some reasons for completely stopping breastfeeding, now, just to represent the flip side:

1 Ted loves a little nibble on the old teat. I never know when he might go for a chomp, so I can spend quite a lot of the feed on tenterhooks, waiting for the little jab from his teeth. I feel as though I’m dating Edward Cullen – always waiting for that bite.

2 Mixing breastfeeding and formula has resulted in quite a bizarre, chaotic routine of never knowing when Ted’s due a feed or which type of feed he needs or what he had last. Sometimes I latch him on and realise he’s just had a full bottle, but he has a mini feed anyway which is a pointless waste of time, unless it’s somehow comforting him. In the evening, he has a full bottle but then wants to feed to sleep, so I end up doing both. In the morning I breastfeed him because I have lots of milk, but actually it would be better for him to have a bottle so that I can get up and about and do stuff… I need to devise a routine, but I can’t quite work out which feed of the day I want to keep to the boobs. If any. I’m sure that with Angelica I just kept the morning feed? Or was it the evening one? Time to re-read my own blog archives…

Goodness, that was a lengthy pouring-out of the contents of my mind, wasn’t it? Thoughts in the comments below. As always, this is not a post about breastfeeding vs bottle feeding and which is better for the baby – fed is best and (obviously, because I’m mixing formula and breastfeeding) I don’t judge anyone for feeding either way. We’re all just muddling through, aren’t we?

 

Follow:

GAP puffer down coat

Angelica picked this new coat herself. She liked the sparkly stars (we call it her wizard coat) and I liked the furry trim around the hood, which does seem to do quite a good job of shielding her little face when it’s cold and breezy outside. GAP had 30% off full-priced items (when don’t they have some sort of voucher code running?!) and so I took advantage of the discount and nipped in to stock up on some winter essentials.

GAP puffer down coat

I bought a brilliant cardigan and trousers for Ted, but I haven’t photographed them yet so I’ll be back with another post. For the moment, here’s Angelica having a babbled, nonsensical conversation with a fibreglass model of a Gruffalo. (We went to Westonbirt Arboretum, which is a huge collection of lovely trees. In fact I think that it’s the UK’s largest collection of lovely trees. You’d think that a collection of trees would be called a wood, or a forest, but I have a feeling that an arboretum is something a bit more special and different – rare or particularly beautiful trees. And shrubs. Anyway, I’m no expert on arboretums – or trees – but the whole place was gorgeous, with the rich autumn colours and the smell of fallen leaves.)

GAP puffer down coat

Back to the point of this post: Angelica’s Wizard Puffer. I have it on good authority (hers) that it’s toasty warm, but it also happens to be incredibly lightweight, which is important when you’re trying to get a toddler to wear anything remotely practical. She has a heavier woollen coat, but I think finds it a little restrictive. (Possibly because it’s size 18 months, I’ve just realised! Oops.)

The Wizard Coat* is water repellent (good enough for a bit of a drizzly day, at least) and the fur on the hood is detachable. I like the length of the coat, which means that her bottom and tummy are covered even if she has her arms stretched up into the air. A shorter coat style is no good for the park, where she likes to hang from things and generally cause a rumpus.

The down puffers at GAP are £54.95, but I paid £38 with the discount. Still quite pricey, but it’s robust and well-finished, so it’s probably the only coat I’ll need for her this winter. I can see that there’s currently another discount event going on with a 30% code, so a good time to grab any more expensive clothing bits and pieces if you need to!

Down Puffer Parka Coat*

Follow:

toddler and 9 month baby blog

I genuinely thought that I would be able to kick this post off with some amazing news; the day after I wrote about Ted’s persistent night-wakings, I implemented some changes and he had the most restful night he’s had for months. I think that he perhaps only woke once between 11pm and 5am, which is very good going for us. Yes! I thought. My reverse-jinxing has worked! 

Not so, unfortunately because then last night we had one of the worst times we’ve had in months. Every ninety minutes and completely awake from 1.30am-4.30am, batting me in the face with his arms and generally being the most wide-awake person the world has ever seen.

Who knows what tonight will bring? I’m trying to get this written up in good time for me to go to bed straight after his 11pm feed and so let’s get on with it – the 9 month baby and body update. With, of course, news from Angelica, who is now two years and four months old.

toddler and 9 month baby blog

Toddler

Angelica is just funnier and funnier by the week. I look forward to everything that she does and says, and the first few moments when I see her in the morning are one of the best parts of the day. She’s nearly always cheery, but even when she’s not I can’t resist that warm, clammy little face and the half-finished sentences she babbles on with.

I shouldn’t really say “babbles” because she’s quite eloquent. I don’t know where she’s picked up her posh voice from, but she pronounces things in such a precise way. It’s so brilliant being able to have little conversations – I can’t imagine, now, what it was like having to just sit and say things at her, with very little back in the way of recognition or sensible response. Or actually, I can imagine, because I’m going through the same thing with Ted!

I love the way she’s so strong-minded about things that she wants to do and wear and eat. It can be a bit of a battle, but it’s a fun battle for the most part. A constant process of negotiation. There’s a massive element of her having to do what we want to do, or eat what we want her to eat, obviously – who’s the adult here?! – but I like watching what she does when I ask her to pick out her clothes for the day, and I like listening to her coming out with all the activities she wants to do.

toddler and 9 month baby blog

Potty training is no more advanced than last month really – perhaps we’ve managed to get her on it a little more during the day, but the main times that she uses it are in the morning after waking, before and after her nap and then before bedtime. Which is entirely our fault, because I think we need to take the plunge and go the full monty with taking the nappies away, but we haven’t been brave enough yet. We keep making the excuse that we have a load of other stuff going on, and I suppose we have (another imminent house move, more on that later when we exchange contracts!, frequent night-wakings, no nanny, a complete change of scenery) but still. Until we go to the next step and make her want to use the potty each time, I think we’ll be stuck in limbo a bit.

Angelica’s favourite foods: pizza, fishfingers, peas, carrots, chips, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, “bear claws” (those pressed fruit shapes in little packets that cost about £7,000,000 per box), houmous, cucumber, mature cheddar, ham, crumpets, yoghurt, Mini Milk ice lollies.

Angelica’s favourite toys: her wooden foods, her pink Ikea table and chair, her dolly (was my dolly when I was little, has survived very well!), her wooden tool kit from the charity shop, Ted’s Jumperoo. (She likes to turn the music on and dance to it.)

Angelica’s favourite activities: dancing to the Jumperoo, going to the Old Park (Victoria Park in Bath, with loads of playgrounds in one park), going to Sainsbury’s, watching Dora the Explorer, playing catch with the stuffed reindeer.

toddler and 9 month baby blog

Baby

Ted’s month has been overshadowed by the night wakings, I’m afraid. Most days I’ve just been so preoccupied with how tired I am that I probably haven’t noticed a lot in terms of developments, though I think that he must have just had a huge growth spurt as he’s suddenly out of his old sleepsuits. But he’s interacting a lot more and responding to sounds and words that are specifically directed at him – he absolutely loves Angelica and breaks into a smile whenever she’s near to him.

He’s now chomping on things that he holds in his fists as I try to shovel in spoonfuls of Ella’s Kitchen – clumps of broccoli, slices of carrot, chunks of strawberry and cheese and toast and crumpet. He loves natural yoghurt with a bit of fruit puree and he’s partial to a pizza crust to gnaw on as well as bits of breadstick, though a lot of stuff just ends up dribbled down his front and pooled in the bottom of his bib.

I’m still breastfeeding, but we try and do a bottle of formula every day just to top things up. In all honesty, I’m not sure that this has been a great idea, because I’m sure it has messed with my supply and we are so haphazard about when he gets the bottle. Next week I’m going to write down a proper routine (I say this every Friday) and try to stick to it. Although I’m away for work a few times next week, so he will have to have a bottle then anyway. No overnights, still, and I can’t see those happening for a while yet either.

toddler and 9 month baby blog

Ted isn’t a great breastfeeder – he’s very distracted and tends to latch on and be quite violent until the milk comes in, at which point he pulls off and lets it shoot around the room. This is almost every time. I don’t know whether I feed him too much (it’s still a bit on demand, though I think I misread lots of cues) or if the let-down is too strong, but it’s a lot of wasted milk. Bloody hell. Doesn’t he know how precious it is?! There are whole bars of chocolate that go into making the stuff!

toddler and 9 month baby blog

He’s sitting very well and rarely wobbles or topples, and he’s crawling backwards. I don’t know whether that’s because we have a shiny parquet floor here in our temporary abode, or he’s just decided that’s the way things will be. But he’s very strong on his feet and likes to stand and be walked forward. I do wonder whether he will walk early, or be a late walker like Angelica. Only time will tell! He’s such a dote – so cute – and on the mornings when I’m not absolutely done in, I love just chatting nonsense to him for ages lying in bed. If truth be known, I’ve quite enjoyed our bits of co-sleeping, where I curl around him and rest his little feet on the tops of my thighs and have his little warm head right next to my face. Sometimes he cracks me one right in the nose with his fist, which is always exciting when I’m dozing comfortably, but mostly it’s a lovely, close experience. I just don’t sleep properly if he’s there! Slight problem, when the whole point of being in bed during the night is to – er – sleep.

Body

Goodness only knows how I’ve lost weight, but it seems I have. Breastfeeding must burn more calories than my one can of full fat coke a day that I treat myself to (terrible, I know, I’m stopping next week!) and my Magnum ice lolly in the evening. I’m slimmer, but I’m definitely not healthier, and as soon as we get this house move done, I’m cracking out the cookbooks and totally revamping the whole family’s diet. Enough is enough! I’m going to print out ten recipes and have some sort of loose meal plan so that if we are all tired I don’t resort to easy, bad choices.

Nothing else of note, body-wise, unless you count the fact that my ears have just pricked up because Ted’s monitor has come on! He’s crying, so I had better go on up and see to him. Did I mention this is his first night in his own room? I’ve cleared out my office at the back of the house (office/dumping ground) and we have put the cot in there. It has no neighbours behind walls, so I’m hoping that I will feel less inclined to jump to attention for the smallest cry. Perhaps he’ll get himself back to sleep for some of the smaller times he wakes up. Wish me luck!

You can read Angelica’s 9 month baby update in the archives here, if you’re interested in comparing.

The outfits in these photos were very kindly sent from gorgeous kids’ clothing brand Tobias & The Bear. It’s the Peanuts collection, which you can find online here.

 

Follow: