Archives for April 2012

From Breast to Bottle in 5 steps

A few Mums have asked me how I weaned Mushroom from breastfeeding, and this post is simply what I did, in response to these lovely readers’ requests. So I would like to start by saying thanks for reading, and getting in touch!

Just to be clear – I am not saying this is the best way to wean! In fact, I weaned him at nine months and current advice suggests that its best to wean older babies straight to a cup. That didn’t work for us, so we weaned from breast to bottle. Here’s how we did it in 5 easy (Ha!) steps, should you wish to use the same method yourself. We used Tommee Tippee bottles with no.1 anti-colic teat (for newborns! But it’s all he would take to begin with), gradually progressing to a no.3 teat (fast flow) when he got used to the bottle.

Step 1:
Offered 2oz formula at his 8am feed. He cried. A lot. Finally he took the formula and then I let him nurse as long as he pleased.

Step 2:
Offered 4oz formula at his 8am feed the next day, which he took without fuss. Let him nurse til he was full (I had to take him off but he didn’t really complain. Much).

Step 3:
Offered 6oz formula at his 8am feed on the third day. He took it happily. He decided he didn’t need to nurse as he was full. Result!

Step 4:
Repeated steps 1 – 3 for every feed until I was only nursing him to sleep.

Waited a week

Step 5:
Repeated steps 1-3 until he took a bottle at bedtime.

Mushroom now drinks his milk from a sippy cup during the day, but for the time being, he still has a bottle in the evening before his bath and bedtime. I still nurse him once or twice during the night.

Just to remind you that I’m no expert, this is just what worked for us. If you try this ‘method,’ and it works for you too, great! Do let me know. Any comments/ questions welcome.

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Be careful what you wish for

At the start of this year, Mushroom cut his first tooth. It was a slow and painful process for both of us. The sleepless nights, the reduced appetite, the runny nappies (I don’t care if it’s supposedly an old wives’ tale, it happened. And stopped abruptly as soon as the tooth broke through his gum), the tantrums because he doesn’t understand that I can’t just make it better… At the time I made a passing comment to my sister-in-law ‘Poor thing, and this goes on for two years on & off! Why can’t they just get all the teeth at once & be done with it?’ She looked at me like I was mad. ‘What? Oh no, you don’t want them to come all at once!’

Since that conversation Mushroom has cut just one more tooth, which again took forever to break through (he also had a very nasty bout of tonsillitis. But that’s another story). I think a third is now on its way. He’s exhausted, I’m exhausted and we all just need a break from all the teething trouble.

I think the moral of this story is ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ That is all.

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A week in tweets – #I’mabigboy

This week I thought I’d take part in Slummy Single Mummy’s ‘A week in tweets.’ This week I am doing a retrospective, tweeting as Mushroom. I enjoyed this both as a great writing exercise and a reminder of the highs and lows of the past week. The fact it made me laugh at the ‘lows’ reminds me that all the not so great stuff is only temporary, unless we hold onto it. Not a bad lesson to be reminded of! So here’s my effort (below. It’s meant to be funny. But might need work) – hope you enjoy it!

Nursery today. Mummy waited ages 4 me to wave bye. Like 2 whole minutes. I was BUSY. Separation anxiety much? Go 2 work already #I’mabigboy

Nursery again. Love it. I get attention ALL THE TIME. No ‘Mummy needs a shower now’ rubbish. And I can touch EVERYTHING. #I’mabigboynow

Me and Mummy practised walking today. A lot. Think she’s trying to get me to let go of her hand. I don’t think so. #notsuchabigboyafterall

Met up with baby friend. We ate out. Yum. Not nearly enough playtime though. Our Mums just wanted 2 chat. BORING  #itsnotallaboutthemummies

Let Mummy have a 3 hour stretch of sleep last night. Very generous I thought. My thanks? A trip to bloody Asda. No swings. #ungratefulmummy

Got up at 5am and did big poo. Took Mummy ages 2 realise I was complaining not singing & come sort me out. Honestly. So I got up for the day

Got up at 1am to play but Mummy didn’t want to. She stayed in my room  though. Result. Got late birthday present too. #itsbeenagreatweek

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Mushroom’s got moves

Mushroom has always loved music. From before he was born, when he used to wriggle around in my belly every time someone put the radio on at work, to his first time at a musical minis baby group when he was just four months old. He’s always swayed along with the music, but now that he’s standing and trying to walk, he is actually starting to dance properly. And the boy’s got moves.

Mushroom comes from a musical family – Daddy was part of a successful UK rap group in the early 80s and his uncles and one of his aunties on Daddy’s side ran sound systems at the same time. My sister is a singer/ songwriter/dancer and all of Daddy’s family are good dancers. Even Mushroom’s Grandma can still bust a funky move. Just last month she was showing us some of the dances they used to do at the house parties she went to in the 60s when she first came to England. With this background I’m not surprised at his love of music  but the dancing still gets me every time.

He likes all sorts of music. From standard nursery rhymes, to pop, rock and hip hop via afrobeat. He’s not keen on trance but then neither am I. Basically, if its got a beat, he’ll move. I know all babies move to music and I risk sounding boastful, but I swear he’s different. He’ll hear music blasting from a car a mile away, his face breaks into a big grin and he starts nodding his head like a miniature b-boy. If he really likes the tune he puts a hand in the air like he’s saluting some unseen DJ. If he’s not strapped in (to the pushchair/highchair etc.) he’ll find something to pull up on so he can stand up and dance. He starts with a little bounce, then that head nod, then he might lift up his left foot… He’s a bit limited at the moment as he can’t stand alone, but I can see he’s dying to move around the room and throw some shapes. I’m telling you, Mushroom’s got moves.

What does your baby do that makes you proud? Pick one thing (I know its hard to choose), and tell me about it below.

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Sleep is for wimps

This is not Mushroom

Let’s be clear from the outset. I am a wimp. I love my sleep. The last time I managed several consecutive late nights* I was about 21 (I am 30 something now) and I still needed to make up for it with mammoth lie-ins. By the time I was 25, I needed to nap the afternoon before a big night out. So you can imagine how the sleep deprivation of a newborn hit me. Hard. Like a smack in the face.

You do get used to it, though. I never really believed that before, but hey – you have to. And of course the rewards are worth it. To put it in perspective, I would rather be without sleep than without Mushroom.

When he was little, I breastfed Mushroom to sleep whenever he needed it. It worked, and that magic hormone, prolactin, also helped me get back to sleep. As he got older, the health visitors (among others), told me that I should start waking him up before I put him down, to teach him to put himself to sleep. I nodded and smiled. And ignored them. Wake a sleeping baby? Madness. I would sooner return to a lit firework. Besides, he only woke three times a night (apart from during growth spurts) which, with me going to bed early, was quite manageable.

Then the ten month growth spurt kicked in (he was weaned onto bottles by this time, nursing only at night) and all bets were off. After a crazy month I decided to give sleep training a go. I started with cry-it-out (CIO) with disastrous consequences. He cried for an hour, became increasingly distressed and vomited everywhere. The Health Visitor had said not to comfort him if this happened. Yeah right, ok. Of course I comforted him! He finally went to sleep after a few hours. The next night he cried as we headed up for bathtime and I worried I had created a fear of bedtime so I overcompensated for a few nights with extra cuddles, and vowed never to do CIO again. It helped that shortly afterwards I heard from other mums who had been evangelical about how CIO had worked for them, that it had only worked temporarily for most.

A week or so after the CIO disaster, I tried a variation on one of the no-cry sleep training techniques (I can’t remember whose, its possible I made something up based on Dr Sears’ advice) with some success. I had to wait until Mushroom was almost asleep before putting him down and then hold his hand for a while, but it’s still progress. Some days this still works but throw a cold, a new developmental milestone, or teething into the mix and we’re back to sitting in the rocking chair for 20 minutes til he’s in a deep sleep.

Anyway, as I said. You get used to it. Mushroom is now a year old and I am thinking it might soon be time to change things, starting with weaning him from night nursing. This may or may not reduce the number of times he wakes. We shall see. I hear that a lot of babies start sleeping better when they start walking so I am holding on to that. In the meantime, I still refuse to let him CIO again so we will find our own way, as whatever the health visitors say, all babies are NOT the same.

I will let you know if/when we get any breakthroughs in the sleep department. Please do share your stories/frustrations below!

*Late night pre Mushroom = After 11.30pm.
Late night post Mushroom = After 9.30pm

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