20 Weeks

Ok so this post is a bit delayed. It was supposed to be ready for when he turned 20 weeks (he is now 23 weeks). But anyhoo…here is our beautiful son 20 weeks inside and 20 weeks out!
20 week

He has definitely grown 🙂

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Present for our neighbours

Our lovely neighbours have 2 (maybe 3) chickens in their little garden. Every now and then they pop over the wall and scrummage through our garden which I don’t mind at all cause they are really cute.
But the best part about having these chooks as neighbours is they lay enough eggs for us too. It doesn’t happen too often but we have had a couple of boxes of eggs just rock up on our doorstep since we have moved in here. Which we are really grateful for.

So I thought I would do something in return to thank them. Since I had a big baking day yesterday so I was on a bit of a roll and Billy had a HUGE morning sleep today I thought I would quickly bake them some cupcakes as a thank you gift.

I started by finding some lovely scrap booking paper I had lying around and an old egg carton (which I thought was quite fitting for this gift). I measured the top and cut my paper to fit so it wasn’t just an ugly carton and I stamped Thank You on the top.

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I then baked some cupcakes, decorated them, and placed them inside the box and voila. A lovely little gift to say a small thank you 🙂

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I even had time for a quick cuppa since my son hadn’t woken up yet.

Monthly madness

In order to save some money and stress less I have started to do monthly plans for our shopping and thought I would share our little secret to knocking a few pennies of the budget.

I start the month by sitting down with a Calendar, pad of paper, pen and recipe books/iPad, usually on a Sunday cause that’s Daddy and Billy’s day. This month I started the week before the start of the month as next weekend is a rather busy one with a Babyshower and Fathers Day celebrations etc so there wouldn’t be time to do any of this stuff.

I then go through the calendar and my phone and make sure all our appointments, bill payments, events and birthdays are all marked down. If there is a birthday and I have to buy a gift I might spend a few minutes thinking about the gift and writing some ideas down. The I move onto or monthly meal planning.

MEAL PLANNING:
It sounds like hard work but meal planning saves us so much money it’s worth the hard work doing it. I plan absolutely everything so I don’t have to worry about loading Billy into the car and making a quick grocery run cause I have to admit quick is no longer something we can do since Billy arrived 🙂

I have a pretty basic spreadsheet that I use with each week divided into days and meals and then whether its for hubby or me. In a typical week I try and make sure we get a bit of everything so each day is something different

So a typical week is:
Mon-Fri BF for Sean is egg and porridge.
I alternate between toast, fruit and porridge depending on how much time I have before we have to go somewhere.
Sat and Sun I try make us something nice like pancakes, French toast, egg and bacon or we may even pop out for a nice breaky if the weather is good.
Mon-Fri morning snacks are fruit (I list 2 fruits each so I know how many to buy and we never have rotting fruit in the bowl)
Mon-fri lunch Sean is leftovers and if there is enough for I will have it too otherwise I try have a salad wrap or soup etc (sometimes frozen leftovers that would be to small for both of us to share in a meal)
Afternoon snack is something baked or a sandwich etc (more on that in a minute)
Dinner:
Mon is usually pasta,
Tues is vegetarian,
Wed is fish,
Thurs is chicken or beef (depending on Sun roast),
Friday is homemade junk food night (pizza, nachos, burgers etc),
Saturday is open (usually I use this night to finish off anything in the fridge)
Sunday is roast night.
And of course by noting any events etc we will be attending through the month I can plan our meal plan around them and because Sat is always a free day if I need to switch things around or don’t feel like what’s on the plan it doesn’t make any difference I still use it all up at some point.

I love going through my recipe books or looking up funky new stuff online so our meal plans are never boring and often we won’t have the same meal again for ages (unless its a favourite).

Now that I have this all sorted it’s onto my next big task this one takes quite a while so get comfy.

ONLINE SHOPPING:
I start by doing a quick stock take of what I already have and what I am running low on.
I then start listing everything I need for the month starting with pantry stuff (I buy these in the first big shop as they don’t expire). Then the meat (cause it gets frozen), the first shop is always the most expensive. Then I divide the fresh food into weeks and write them down accordingly. Next I hop online and place my first big order, thanks to my super clever sister in law I now do click and collect with Coles which means we don’t pay for delivery and its a nice day out for me at the shopping centre, I also use this day to get any gifts, clothes, non grocery necessities so before you head to the shops have a think about your needs for the upcoming month. The other 3 weeks fresh food usually aren’t to big a shop so I just run into town once a week to quickly collect it. Because I have it all listed out I just grab the list and head out the door.
This way of shopping is great, I know what I want and can get in and out without to much worry and I never shop when I am hungry either as that just makes me buy crap that looks appealing… Dam u marketing!!! Because I have thought through everything already I never buy to much or to little and there isn’t much waste in our house 🙂
I find shopping with a baby quite hard cause he isn’t quite ready to it in the trolley and its impossible to push a pram and trolley when shopping so I usually strap on my trusty Moby baby carrier or ask my amazing Mother in law to come with. Both of these work a treat so if you are struggling try one if those options and see how u go 🙂

20130825-223354.jpg (in the pic you can see: Banana Muffins, Blueberry and choc Muffins, Ham mini quiche, Oat Cookies, Steamed carrot, sweet potato and Pumpkin for Billy, our dinner and the slow cooker prepped for a pork Roast)

PREPPING:
My darling husband can put away quite a bit of food during the day (he is by no means large, just hungry). Personally I think it’s cause his job (as a mechanic) is such hard manual labour so he needs to keep up his strength. But it means I have to think up clever lunch box ideas so he doesn’t get bored. So at the beginning of the month I do some baking prep work. I bake about 24 muffins, 12 savoury things and a batch of cookies and then freeze it for him to just pop out every day.
It takes pretty much all morning but its worth it in the long run, he was popping into McDonalds or the service station to grab a bite on the way home but now he has something a lot healthier and its saving us about $5-$10 a day (which if you average it out, that’s a saving of $140 a month).
In order for him not to get bored with it we alternate between sandwiches, the muffins, mini quiches, and ham and cheese crackers.
I also use my Sundays to do any prep work for the week. I will usually just cut up all the veggies i am using in my meals and put them in Tupperware in the fridge so I don’t have to chop again during the week.
Or I may take out the meat I am going to use and let it defrost in the fridge so it’s not a train-smash if I forget to defrost anything (we don’t have a microwave). Obviously if you choose to do this you can’t refreeze meat so be very careful. I also try prep some steamed finger foods for Billy to naw on as we are starting Baby Led Weaning and he is really enjoying the huge variety of food.
If I am doing well for time I will usually go online and pay any upcoming bills so we never have late fees.
Since having Billy I have not been as good with remembering things so I find this a great way of making sure I am in top of everything. When I get a bill I put its dues date in my phone’s calendar straight away and that’s it sorted till I do my monthly calendar 🙂

You may not notice a huge saving at first or at least till you get the hang of keeping an eye o the specials and making use if what you already have. But our weekly shop has gone down from about $150-$200 to about $100 (on average). This also frees up my time considerably as I don’t wander through the shops trying to think of what might be nice to eat and then not ending up using it and of course it saves on multiple trips to the store so we saving on fuel too. Environmentally, you are leaving less of a carbon footprint by only making a few trips and only doing it when necessary, you are creating less food waste and (hopefully) you are using less packaging and plastic bags too.

Adapt this plan as you see fit, I know this may not work for everyone. But good luck with whatever you try do, I know it can be hard at first but I promise you will reap the rewards 🙂

Breast is best, especially for us!

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So I have bee meaning to write ths blog in time for breast feeding awareness week, but thanks to my little monster angel of a son it didn’t quite make it out at the beginning of the week but rather the end… Oh well this is my life now, all my well laid out plans up in smoke. But the smiles I share with my darling boy make up for the frustration my type A personality feels by the end of a week. But I digress, I want to share our breast feeding story so others who go through the same thing can find encouragement.

My little boy was born with a tongue tie and heart shaped tongue, from the moment he was laid on my tummy the mid-wives, who so wonderfully helped bring him into the world, watched him like a hawk. Their biggest concern was if he would be able to feed cause tongue tied babies usually have a problem manuevering their tongue in order to suck at the nipple. But our little man latched like a champion although I don’t think its as strong as normal cause I can pull him off really easily and he dribbles out the side of his mouth, however it’s never been an issue!
But then my milk came in (for any preggie ladies reading, you start with colostrum for the first few days and only on about day 3/4 do you get your full milk…colostrum’s the good yellow stuff). That’s when our struggle started, it flowed into our poor child’s mouth like niagra falls!
He would pop of gasping for air and my milk would squirt in all directions (mostly on his little face). It really bothered him and me and would make feeding quite stressful for us both. Especially the evening feeds when he was tired, we would both just end up in tears. My nipples we starting to hurt and he couldn’t cope with the large amount of milk my breasts were making so they we becoming way to full and engoured, and I kept getting small lumps (which I think was mastitis).
In between feeds my breast would fill up and he wouldn’t be hungry so they would just start leaking everywhere and fill up a breastpad in seconds. Then at about 3 months it all started to change, my milk started to regulate itself and I started to panic that I wasn’t making enough for him and he was always hungry. I even. Started him on. Solids at 4 months thinking he was hungry, but we ended up stopping cause he wasn’t quite yet ready. Gratefully that was not the case, all that was going on was my body (and this always amazes me) had started to figure out how much he needed and had adapted to that.
So panic averted he was still getting plenty and was even adapting his drinking to the speed at which it came out meaning our feeds only take about 7mins on each side.

For anyone struggling with the same problems, hang in there! Don’t give up feeding, breast really is best for your little one in fact we now aren’t rushing off to feed him solids at all cause the more research I have done the more I am convinced that feeding them anything to early other than breast milk can actually not be helpful to them at all.

What helped us through this time:
1. Speak to people about it, you aren’t alone!
I found this the most useful, we are lucky enough to have a breast feeding support group run by the midwives here in our area and they were fantastic. They gave me plenty of hints and tips and made me feel quite at ease about all the stuff I was worrying about. Also try and find a group of like minded mums groups or just a bunch of mums with babies and with the same issues so you can off load, have a cry and get some hugs from.

2. It is a big deal!
I felt awful for complaining or talking about it, I would often hear things like “oh how I wish I had that problem”, or “that’s nothing to complain about”. But you know what it was a big deal to me, having Billy crying and not eating stressed me out and concerned me. Just because it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen when breast feeding doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. I know we were lucky and I know other people have it worse than us but its all relative and if its bothering you don’t let people bring you down or make you feel like you shouldn’t talk about it… It is a problem!

3. It’s gonna be ok.
Right now it’s hard, you feel like you could tear out your hair but it will all come to an end and you will both be ok. It’s hard to look to the future when you are struggling with the now but there is a end in sight and once you both figure out what you are doing you will instantly notice the difference. Looking back I can now pat myself on he back and say “see, I told you we would get through this”. You will be able too as well, just hang in there.

4. Do what works for you.
We were given lots of advice, some worked some didn’t. We stopped doing what didn’t work and kept doing what did. Here are some of the things that we were told…
* Lie down or on your side when feeding as this helps slow the flow down. (This didn’t work for us but it might for you)

* Once you feel your let down pop the baby off and let the heavy flow run into a towel until its not as strong and then pop your bub back on. (This really worked for us and little Billy now does it himself)

* Express milk between feeds or just before a feed so that you don’t have the let down when your baby is drinking. (This worked well but we heard different views it. One being that your body will think your baby needs lots of milk cause you are expressing so much and will not regulate itself accordingly. That would be great if you need the extra milk for when you go back to work but since I am staying home for at least the first year we didn’t keep this one up. It did however help a lot when my breasts filled up between feeds and it was uncomfortable to lie down and sleep)

* Part of having such a strong flow was that Billy was getting extremely gassy from gulping it down so we we advised to burp him during the feed. So he would feed, I would feel the let down; pop him off (always remember to break the seal first or you will have raw nipples); let the flow out into a cloth and sit him up for a burp (don’t force it though, if they don’t burp it’s fine). Once it’s normalised pop him back on and let him drink again. Offer the other breast and do the same for that side then once you are finished feeding lay the baby down for a minute or so gently raise him into a sitting position or upright against your shoulder (the higher the better when we did it) until the trapped wind is out. This worked wonders for us and he now burps himself during or after a feed.

4. Breast feeding is truly best!
Now I know not everyone can breast feed and I understand that if you need to move onto formula or someone else’s breast milk (which I fully support) then please don’t feel like I am saying you have failed as a mum or as a parent. You as a child’s caregiver needs to make whatever decision is best for the health and well being of your child, family and you.
For us however I felt like breast was (and still is) best and reading up on it I can see why. The nutritional benefits of breast feeding far out way anything else you can do check out why here.

5. Connecting.
I have found breast feeding invaluable in creating a bond between Billy and I. Whenever he is on me he stares up at me, laughs, plays around and generally feels better for not only having something to eat but having the warm comfort of being on my lap and getting a cuddle from mom. This isn’t going to last forever so for now I will take it whenever I can.

6. Relax.
Sit in a quite room, no distractions for you or your baby. Get comfy, make sure your arms feel supported. Don’t be in a rush or make your baby feel like they need to rush. Always drink water before or during and if you need it have a nice healthy snack on hand like almonds or an apple. Get your darling baby settled and ready, take a deep breath… Now another one. Look down at your precious bundle of joy and smile. Then try and feed. This was my routine on a good and bad day and boy did it make a difference to baby and my frame of mind. Don’t forget your baby can sense your emotions so if you are stressed they will be stressed. This doesn’t help anyone 🙂

Some resources :
http://theleakyboob.com/
https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/
http://hm4hb.net/
http://www.babyledweaning.com/

Obviously there are many more resources out there so do some research if you need it especially when pressured to stop beast feeding by family etc cause its nice to be able to lovingly and calmly explain the facts and health benefits and these links only skim the top, but hopefully it helps.

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Billy is now 5 months old and going strong. We still have days when breast feeding takes a lot more work and he is now getting easily distracted so a quiet rooms is very helpful. His latch still isn’t super strong but he feeds great, sometimes when he is really tired we still have issues with feeding him and when he is done there is milk all over his gorgeous little face and it dribbles down his cute squishy cheeks. But we a getting there and so will you and we aren’t planning on stopping till he wants to.
Stay strong, stick to your guns and chat to a professional, try not to listen to too many old wives tales or the pressure to give up. Most of all GOOD LUCK, you and bub are both learning something very new so have patience and don’t forget to smile 🙂

5 Months!

Its monthly update time, still can’t get over how time flies and how quickly he is growing up!
5 Months
I love this little man more and more each day and we are loving watching him grow and learn SO much.
There are a few things we are still waiting for him to learn, for example he hasn’t yet figured out how to roll over or sit up on his own. But there are so many things he is doing that it really doesn’t bother me and I am starting to notice signs that the others aren’t to far off anyway, plus each baby grows and learns at a different pace so we really aren’t worried about the things he isn’t doing.
5 months 2
What we are doing well though is copying facial expressions. If I smile at him he will happily do it back and Sean and Grandpa have been teaching him to blow raspberries and he spends ages afterwards sticking out his tongue trying to do it too. Its so cute to see, when he is busy playing his little face is practicing all the new expressions and moving his lips!

He has an almighty grip on him, if he grabs your finger or hand it’s pretty hard to get it back and everything is still going in his mouth including my finger… and it hurts so much, such a strong jaw too. It also means his pincer grip is getting better, he can hold small and large things pretty easily, but he also manages to pinch my skin when feeding and that really hurts too. he has even managed to put his dummy back in his mouth once or twice which would be great for him to manage at night so I don’t have to get up and do it for him 🙂
He is SUCH a chatter box, he never wakes up screaming or crying (unless he has had a bad dream), instead all we ever wake up to is cooing and sighing which is so much more pleasant. Pretty much every time he is awake he is chatting to someone or something – even if it is just one of his toys. On the odd occasion he has even hummed/chatted himself to sleep.

5 months 3
Tummy time is still fantastic and he adores it. In fact we noticed he was starting to get his back legs up under his bum (which you can kind of see in the photo) so I don’t think he is to far off either moving or rolling 🙂

But oh dear we have also had some crocodile tears when he is really upset and they just break my heart to see. Lately I have felt like I have a newborn all over again, he has gotten so clingy and just won’t sleep past 45min at a time during the day making for one really sad, upset, needy little boy, it doesn’t matter how tried he is, he will fight it with every ounce of his being. It’s a bit disappointing cause he was doing so well, we used to have a early morning nap at around 8:30/9am, then 1:30min at around 11am and another 1:30min at 3:30/4pm. It was great and he was SO happy and it made going out easier cause I knew when he wanted to sleep but not anymore. He is definitely putting me through my mummy paces and I end up ending each day pretty exhausted!

We started him on solids this last month but he wasn’t quite ready so we stopped it pretty much straight away and will try again in the next month or when he is starting to show more “readiness” signs. A friend told me about a feeding method called Baby-Led Weaning, I bought the book and wow what a difference it has made to how I think about Billy learning and appreciating food and how early I should be trying to start him. So now we are going to try this way of feeding him rather than spoon feeding him, which I am actually quite excited about!
But every hard moment is so worth it when he looks at me and smiles, when he recognises my voice and gets really excited and of course when he giggles and laughs when we are playing it warms every inch of my heart! He is such a joy to us and we adore having him as part of our little family.