“This one mummy” says Aviana pulling at my purple top hanging in my closet.  I had asked her to pick out some clothes for me to wear.  Almost all the time I do this she will pick out a purple piece of clothing.  Why?  Because purple is Aviana’s favourite colour.  I don’t know why, but it just is.  If ever we need her to do something, if it is purple, that might just persuade her. For example:

Aviana – please eat your dinner…”NO!!!”…OK, how about you eat it from a purple Bowl? – “OK”.  

Aviana – please get dressed…”NO!!!”…OK, how about you put on this purple top and purple trousers? – “OK”.

According to Wikipedia, “The age when infants begin showing a preference for colour is about 12 weeks old.  Generally, children prefer the colours red/pink and bluee, and cool colors are preferred over warm colours.  Purple is a colour favoured more by girls than boys.  Colour perception of children 3-5 yrs of age is n indicator of their developmental stage.  Colour preferences tend to change as people age.”

From infancy, we develop learned paired associations with colour meanings and emotions.  These associations can elicit an automatic emotional response, thoughts and action without conscious awareness. One study explored colour preferences of young children and discovered that purple and pink showed significant gender difference, with girls rating purple and pink as a happy colour and boys rating it as an unhappy colour.  Red revealed a marginally significant gender difference, with girls rating red as unhappy and boys rating it happy.  Other colours -orange, yellow, black, white, blue and green revealed no significant gender differences. [1]

But what does a toddler’s favourite colour really mean? Here is an excellent post that explains it all.

You are welcome 🙂

[1] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/cdr/2012/975670/


Tips for Flying with a baby

So I discovered a few things about flying with a baby and thought I’d share them with you!

I flew from Norfolk International Airport, connected at Philadelphia to London Heathrow on American Airlines and returned connecting at JFK New York on British Airways; so my experiences are somewhat limited to these airports and airlines!  I also travelled on my own when I flew back from the UK, so I experienced solo travel with a 3 month old (Yikes).  Please do share any of your tips and experiences below too 🙂

Before Flying.

Reserve the right seat.  Not paying for a child seat and carrying an infant on your lap?  Try and book a bulk head seat or phone up the airline and ask for one because you have an infant on your lap and want to use the bassinet.  This only applies to larger aircraft, so if you are traveling on a smaller plane you will have to have baby on your lap. Ughh.

Generally infants flying on your lap are free if you are traveling within the US or if you are traveling internationally it depends on the airline, but it will cost about 10-20% of your ticket price.  And you don’t get any extra baggage allowance so you have to fit all your baby’s stuff in your bag!  Luckily they are tiny!

Packing Carry On Bags.  Pack a diaper bag as your personal item and pack a BACK PACK/RUCKSACK (or vice versa if your diaper bag is a back pack already).  I was going to take my small roll on and thought it would be easy to carry….but actually pushing a buggy and rolling a bag is not a good idea.  If you have paid for a seat then you can take a diaper bag and two carry ons – one for you and one for baby.

Pack diapers/nappies, wipes and change mat in a smaller bag within the diaper bag.  Why?  Because you will be going to the toilet lots when on the plane and it is easier to carry that down the aisle than the whole diaper bag and knocking people’s heads as you juggle baby and bag on a bumpy plane!

If you are traveling for more than a few hours, don’t think you will only need one change of clothes.  Believe you me it will typically be the only time you get TWO blow outs.  Yup, speaking from experience here! Just pack sleepwear to save space.

Pack a comfort toy and one other non noisy toy.  I didn’t want to be the person with an all singing dancing toy…baby is loud enough as she is!

If you are breastfeeding then you are lucky you don’t need to pack lots of formula and bottles! Sorry I don’t have tips for you formula feeding parents.  But I did pack an empty bottle and two portions of formula powder just in case for any reason something happened.  I think I was over thinking things and really didn’t need this.

Baby carrier/sling/wrap.  BEST THING EVER.  This gave me so much flexibility and I needed it when my buggy didn’t arrive at the gate and I had to walk about a mile from the gate to passport control/baggage claim in London Heathrow.  Hands free baby carrying for the win.  I use the baby hawk Mei Tai which rolls up nice and small into the diaper bag.

Checking in buggies and car seats.  I spent aaaages researching this. I bought gate check bags to put my buggy and car seat in when I get to the gate.  These little bags fold up nice and small, so I could put them under the buggy.  If there are two of you traveling, definitely buy these two items so the carseat/buggy don’t get scratched or wet.  Remove cup holders and any other items hanging off the buggy, they will get broken because honestly, the baggage handlers really do throw these things around.  But if you are on your own? Don’t bother…honestly just leave them at the gate without a bag, it is way too difficult to carrying baby and trying to put these into the big bags. Just make sure any infant inserts are secured tightly into the car seat. Yeh lesson learned there!


Weaning decisions: in the beginning 

When I say weaning decisions I mean weaning onto solid foods! I bought a couple of books and followed many conversations about weaning solids with breastfed babies. Is it any different? No, not really. What does seem to be different in opinions is WHEN to start solids. Our pediatrician said at Aviana’s 4 month wellness visit that she could start solids from then. She should first try with oatmeal cereal, then puréed orange veggies, then green veggies. But then there is also guidance from various professional bodies that say to wait til 6 months. Plus they should have all the physical signs they are ready to start solids. Kellymom.com says this:

So we made an informed decision and decided to wait until after 5 months and see her development. We thought she definitely wasn’t ready before that. When I got back from my work trip she was just over 5 months and met all the key milestones, so we tried oatmeal baby cereal. And she really enjoyed it. 3 days later we tried carrot, then we flew to the UK so we did a bit more cereal mostly for convenience and to keep her in a routine, then she tried broccoli, which she wasn’t keen on, unsurprisingly, but when we mixed in with cereal she liked it. And that’s as far as we have got. 

We have had to change our routine a bit to make sure we eat with her. She wakes up, gets breast milk at 6am, we sit down for breakfast together after that and she gets the solids and a sippy cup of water (working on that still!) then I feed her breast milk again and pump because I always have a bit left over from the night. She then has regular breast milk at 4 hourly interval feeds til dinner. We are trying to sit down and eat at the same time – around 6pm. She then has bath and last feed of the day (usually just a top off), then she is away with the fairies for the night at 7pm. It’s a good routine That’s working well for all of us.

I spent a few hours making up purée cubes of various types…carrots, apples, squash, sweet potato, broccoli, spinach (home grown!!!) and blueberries. They all got frozen so are ready to whack on the microwave. Probably a couple of weeks worth of food.

Let me tell you – it’s messy and time consuming steaming and puréeing all of that! Having said that, it’s cheap and convenient. We anticipate trying baby led weaning when she hits 6 months so that’s probably a bit too much purée there (although we can add the purée to other foods such as the fruit we can mix in with yoghurt.)

I’m happy to listen to anyone’s views about when to start weaning. But the way we came to a decision about it was well informed. Having said that, it is tough to make that decision because of all the competing advice out there. All I know is that for now Aviana is enjoying the experience. ‘Food before one, just for fun’ is the mantra we are going to follow, then really we can’t go wrong!!! This is just the beginning…..

Daycare aka nursery aka school

Aviana started daycare 2 weeks ago today. We thought it best to get her settled in a few weeks before I go back to work and fly to Brussels for a week leaving Chris to pick up the pieces. Well, there haven’t been any pieces to pick up so far! 

We thought she would go off schedule. Nurse all night. Not go to sleep. Catch unknown diseases. Cry when we drop her off. Cry when we pick her up. 

But nope…none of that happened. (So far anyway!)

She smiles at the teachers when we drop her off and when we pick her up she reaches out for me and smiles! Oh my heart melted first time she did that! 

That is except for the day she got her vaccinations-but I think we can all be forgiven for being grumpy on the day we get our shots! Speaking of which I experienced mild panic when the school phoned me to say Aviana had a rash the day she got her vaccinations. I was in the middle of a shop when I got the call. I was only a 10 min drive away. I had two thoughts – 1- finish the shop…she’s fine the school didn’t sound so concerned…then…-2- what if she goes into anaphylactic shock? I should drop everything and run to my car!!! After what seemed forever in deliberations (prob actually 30 seconds) I put everything back on the shelves and dashed to my car. 

When I got there she was screaming blue murder. The poor teachers had about 5 other crying kids at the same time, it must be contagious, but Aviana’s was the loudest! When I went over to her she immediately stopped crying when she saw me! Then the teacher showed me her rash…

Earlier she had a bit of eczema on her tummy and the doctor saw it, but what the teacher was showing me was a whole lot worse. That however is another story…for another day.

It then got me thinking about how far away Chris and I are from her daycare when we are at work. It would take me 20 minutes on a clear run at 2am to drive. But then there is whatever I am doing. I’d have to drop it. Pack up, get to my car etc. I reckon it would be 30 minutes the quickest. And it would be the same for Chris too. That actually seems like a long time if she is actually ill or something happens! But we decided to have the daycare closer to home rather than one of ours work seeing as we both would be picking her up/dropping her off depending on our work schedules.  I guess this is just a taster of the future – because she will get ill whilst she is at daycare. It will happen. But it made us think how we will cope in the future and how we decide who has to drop everything and go pick her up. It’s going to be tricky!

Aviana’s first full week was ‘Teacher’s week’ and they gave us a guide to the events ongoing that week – which included theme gift days. We decided we should participate so not to be rude and bought the teachers some spa stuff on the ‘SPA-T-ON’ day. It was hard because we didn’t yet know all the teachers properly or even what was the done thing! 

The great thing about this daycare is that they use an App to update us on her activities including diaper changes, feeds, naps and when she needs more diapers, wet wipes etc. and they also send pictures!!! I got instant relief to see that she was napping and eating well ☺️

So far I am really pleased with our choice in daycare. The teachers are lovely. I just couldn’t have asked for it to have gone any better than it has so far. I’m feeling confident for going back to work. Of course I’m feeling sad about that, but I know she is in good hands.

Back to work day 2

Ughhhhh further to my ‘milk bar’ post, Aviana did not take my milk in a bottle today, so Chris ended up giving her formula which apparently she happily chugged down. She’s also quite happy to still take my boob because this evening I fed her before she went to bed. So it’s a bit frustrating to say the least.

Today was my first full day back at work and it was tough. I was only able to take a 25min break at 1030AM, of which half of it I spent finding the ‘privacy room’. Then later I pumped at 1300, for only 10 mins at 1500 and 1730 before I went home. This privacy room doesn’t have a chair in it. It has a huge fridge, a sink, dishwasher and some cupboards. The plug socket to plug my pump into was unhelpfully right next to the sink. Also people are using the fridge for their lunch (they shouldn’t be) so I got a knock at the door despite me putting the ‘privacy room-do not disturb’ sign on the door. 

Glad I wore a shirt today so I could easily pump hands free!

I managed to pump 4oz, 3oz, 0.5oz and 3oz in each pump session. The 0.5oz was when I only had a 15minute break-I felt stressed and rushed so didn’t get much out. But overall, it was not too bad and seems to be a sufficient amount to cover the next day-assuming Aviana decides to drink it!

When I got home and Chris told me she wouldn’t take my milk – even the freshly pumped stuff – I was a bit upset. I felt like a failure even though I know that’s ridiculous because it’s out of my control. All my milk still tasted soapy even the stuff I had pumped after 2hrs. Ughhhh. But the puzzle is she took my fresh milk on Sunday, albeit with some fuss…so what gives Miss Aviana? I then tasted all my milk pumped freshly from today and yes they all had some degree of soapiness, but maybe she is used to a little soapiness? Nevertheless, I went through the process of scalding today’s fresh milk to inactivate the lipase and prevent my milk from getting any more sour in preparation for tomorrow’s feeds. Hopefully that will work.

It was hard enough fitting in all the pumping today around a schedule that is set out and not in my control. When I go back to work properly I will have more time to choose when I pump, so this is doubly hard this week! I haven’t been eased in gently to all this!!!!! 

Despite all this, I did manage to actually nail my presentation on behalf of my project team today. I also stayed awake for most of the day. Phew! I survived! But it’s only Monday……ask me again on Wednesday how going back to work has been!!!!!!

The two month checkup

Aviana was 2 months old on 21 Feb 2017! This girl is growing fast. Everyday she is learning something new and I am learning something new. She had her 2 month check up on Monday and I went to the appointment without Chris because he had to work after his week off work from the flu. 😟 This was a shame because he didn’t get to share the PAIN of  watching our baby girl scream her head off when she got her vaccine shots!!! But I’ll come back to that part!

Aviana was measured and weighed – Clocking in at 9lbs 5oz (5th percentile) and 22.2″ tall (28th percentile). Her head was still 37cm (15th percentile). Her weight is still a little lower than hoped for, so the doc checked her weight v height. She wasn’t on the charts 😟. Which surprised me because she has been growing such beautiful chubby cheeks. It may just be that she grew long before padding out, the doc didn’t seem overly concerned. We talked about breastfeeding, pees and poops and everything sounded all good. She has 8-10 wet nappies a day with 3-4 poops. When I pump I get 2-2.5oz from each boob. She definitely prefers boob to bottle, but will take a bottle when she has to, although often fusses when she does. So all in all no worries. 

I was a little disappointed she hadn’t put on more weight. But all in all she is a happy baby, so does it matter that she isn’t on the charts? Well, I left the office not thinking much more about it, but later that day I got a call saying that the Dr wanted to see Aviana sooner for a weight recheck in one months time. So I was a little frustrated we didn’t talk about that at the appointment. But obviously if she doesn’t want to see Aviana for another month then it’s still no worries and the Dr is just being cautious. Still, I can’t help but be nervous that Aviana isn’t getting the right nutrition.

So, the other part of the checkup was the vaccinations. After I saw the doctor, I was told the nurse had one more baby to vaccinate before Aviana and they would be with me soon. Well 30 minutes later the nurse came in. Whilst waiting I breastfed Aviana. I had read in my breastfeeding support group forum that breastfeeding before, during and after helps Baby deal with the vaccine better. I don’t know how or what way, but I imagine wits a reassurance thing. So the nurse came in with another nurse, I held Aviana’s arms, the two nurses jabbed her either side in her thighs together so it was over quickly.  But oh my, that scream, Aviana cried something rotten so much so I almost cried! I picked her up right away and continued to breastfeed. Oh the little sobs that came out of my girl as she fed were heart wrenching!!! She really felt sorry for herself! But after 5 more minutes on the boob, I got her dressed and we left. All was fine with the world except for the occasional sniff and tear on the way home. We made it home and I comforted her again by offering my boob. It seemed to work. 

Unfortunately I had an appointment with the oral surgeon in the afternoon (an appointment I had been waiting a while for) and so had to take Aviana to a friend’s house to watch her whilst I was away. I felt bad leaving a freshly jabbed baby with my friend! Fortunately she is a very experienced mommy so was prepared for Aviana’s fussiness! In the end she slept in the wrap and my fri be carried her to calm her. And she slept some more. She had a slightly raised temp of 99.4F so I gave her a small dose of infants Tylenol (AKA Calpol) and we crossed our fingers for a good nights sleep. The past two nights Aviana slept well and she seems to have survived the vaccinations without too much fussiness. The funny thing was that the doctor said to me I should probably give her the Tylenol anyway when I got home because Aviana is an ‘expressive’ baby. Hahaha. I think that’s a polite way of saying she’s a fuss pot! 

Incidentally Aviana is currently going through her second leap (more to come about that!) so a double whammy of comforting required for my poor little Miss! 

My girl feeling sorry for herself – her little sobs were heartbreaking!!!!

Next checkup with more vaccinations is at 4 months (except for her weight recheck in 1 month). I told Chris he better be there to share the suffering of the psychological torture that is Aviana’s crying from her injections!!

Leaving my baby behind

“How were your holidays?” My dentist asked me.

“Well I have a 5 week old baby, so they were pretty busy!! And this is my first time leaving her since she was born..” I said trying to sound excited. Actually, my emotions at that moment were mixed. 

Firstly, I really hate the dentist. It took a couple of visits with Chris before I really trusted this practice. My dislike of dentists is a long standing one. 

Secondly, I was feeling actually well rested because Aviana allowed me my first good 3 hour straight stretch of sleep for I can’t remember how long (even in pregnancy that was a challenge because of my necessity to pee every hour!).

Thirdly, I had left Aviana with Chris, for the first time in 5 weeks I was babyless. I felt both freedom and yet at the same time as if I had forgotten something. The feeling was like Aviana was my essential handbag with my wallet in it that I had left behind at home. I felt naked! 

“Wow you look good for having a newborn baby” the dentist said. Awwww shucks…well I’ll take that compliment even though I’m not good with them. I needed that confidence boost! I actually had time to put my make up on and blow dry my hair that morning because Chris took her first thing. I was feeling vaguely human!

I was only out of the house for 2.5hrs, but it was long enough to reset my mind. It had been a tough day the previous day. Aviana would not let me put her down from 6am to 1pm and she had been in and out of sleep since 3am. Although I had her in the wrap and could do bits in between her crying like eat a bite of breakfast, I was at my wits end. I had called Chris for help but couldn’t get through to him…and then all of a sudden she fell asleep in my arms and the world was right again. But I couldn’t help but feel like it was something I was doing to her to make her cry or not sleep. It was mentally (and a bit physically) exhausting. She must have exhausted herself out the poor thing. I was really looking forward to the pediatrician appointment the next day for a diagnosis of her silent reflux….TO BE CONTINUED!

How to wake a newborn baby up

As a new mummy these are the 6 things that I have discovered, without fail, will wake up my newborn baby. 

  1. Sipping a freshly made cup of tea
  2. Sitting down to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner
  3. Getting in to the shower
  4. Driving slower than 30 mph
  5. Getting to the best bit of a tv show
  6. Daddy beard kisses (occasionally – ok so I might be projecting here 😜)

You’d never guess I studied Art for my A-levels

Things that Don’t wake my newborn baby up….

1. anything loud. 

I know that won’t last forever,  but I just find it typical!!!!