We've hit a massive milestone this week and have started Peyton on proper food food. We've waved goodbye to the purees and said a big hello to proper solid solids.

I've touched on weaning before, but will quickly recap now.

We started giving Peyton pureed vegetable(s) at tea time around 18/19 weeks. She was showing all the signs of being ready and, when we gave them to her, she didn't gag or spit it out - so I knew she was game. We introduced porridge at breakfast time a week or so ago. By this time, she was comfortably having two, sometimes three, full little plastic weaning pots of vegetables and/or fruit at tea time.

We'd also started giving her some finger foods as well, to get her used to feeding herself. Namely the Ella's Kitchen melty sticks and melty puffs and the Kiddylicious wafers. The Ella's Kitchen ones were great as they were like Wotsits and just melted in her mouth. She had more luck with the sticks than the puffs as they were longer and easier to hold/put in her mouth and suck. Similarly with the wafers, they looked like a little surf board-shaped prawn cracker. But, they too melted in her mouth. She was getting really good at her hand-eye coordination and everything was going straight in her mouth and being sucked/gummed and, sometimes, swallowed.

I had wanted to do baby-led weaning (BLW) with Peyton - which is basically where you feed your baby exactly what you eat (with the exception of honey as they can't have anything with honey in/on until they are 1 and no whole nuts as they're a choking hazard). I'll also limit the amount of salt and sugar she has - so she won't eat exactly what I do - but you catch my drift.

I joined a group on Facebook to get ideas/top tips etc. in preparation for starting and, while it was great for these, it was also one of the most judgemental, attacking places I have seen. I know these mum won't, on the whole, mean any malice, and probably just have everyone's best interests at heart. But if a mum thinks their baby is ready, and is being safe with it, nobody should have any opinion on that. I have touched on it before, how the perfect mum brigade on there would jump on anyone who so much as suggested weaning their babies before 6 months/26 weeks and were quick to shoot down anyone who said they were going to progress from purees to BLW. In fact, I myself was shot down about this.

"It's not BLW if you've started with purees, that's traditional weaning."

I'm no expert, but to me, it's still baby led as I don't feed her. She takes the lead. I just put the food in front of her and she feeds herself. We just dived straight in with solid stuff, we didn't gradually go to thicker, chunkier purees first.

I've seen people say introducing purees can increase the choking risk when you do start on solids, as they just get used to swallowing, but that's definitely not been the case with us. If anything, I think it's helped her because it's going so well so far. Tom is a bit worried that she's not 'eating' as much as when she was having purees. She used to scoff down three pots sometimes, but obviously won't eat that much yet of her solid food. But, as I said to him, if she's hungry she'll just take more milk from me. I've tried, where possible, to use the purees I made as a sauce or spread or filling, so that she is still consuming them somehow but just in/on something else. And, if we find BLW stops working for us, we'll revert right back to purees. I'm not precious about it like some mums are on this group.

Some absolutely lose their mind when they find out someone has spoon-fed their baby a pouch of fruit, or they've given them a jar of food. Heaven forbid. I mean, they've been fed - surely that's the main thing? Chill the chuff out.

Anyway, I digress...

We started our BLW journey on Friday. I know, she's not six months yet. Bad mummy. But she was showing all the signs and was absolutely desperate to feed herself. When we'd give her the purees she was grabbing the spoon and feeding herself it, and she was forever trying to pinch bits off our plates.

So, we took the decision to begin. We started off simple and she had steamed apple slices with cinnamon on for breakfast. It smelt amazing - next time she has them I'm putting some on my porridge for me!

She did really, really well to say it was her first proper go at eating anything solid. It went in her mouth and she managed to chew and swallow some bits.

We were out at lunchtime and hadn't gone prepared, so we just picked some peppers off what we were eating and she gummed down on them. Most ended up on the floor, though. She was a fan of the potato wedge we let her have, though! That was demolished rather quickly.

Tea that night was a spinach and ricotta tortellini in a broccoli, pea and spinach sauce (aka a pot of puree left in the fridge!) with steamed tenderstem broccoli and asparagus. I'd seen that tenderstem was easier for them to hold as it was that bit longer than regular broccoli.

She did amazing to say it was her first go. The girl definitely loves her greens!

Day two, and Saturday morning's breakfast was Weetabix soaked in some expressed breast milk topped with chopped grapes and blueberries. Weetabix will definitely be a breakfast she has when Tom is home to help with the clean up because it was messy. She seemed to really enjoy it but, my God, it looked like she'd been covered in baby lotion and rolled around in sand! She was straight in the bath.

She ate quite a lot, though - despite how much it looked like she was wearing! We tried some pre-loaded spoons to see how she got on with those and she actually did really well. Some die-hard BLW-ers will slate you for starting on purees but I honestly thing it's prepared Peyton really, really well. She can move food around her mouth, she isn't gagging, and she's great with a pre-loaded spoon. Obviously every baby is different, but it's worked really well for her.

For lunch she had toast fingers with butter, a hard boiled egg and some beans - we had poached eggs on toast with beans and bacon, so it was our first time sitting down and, almost, eating the same thing. She wasn't so sure on the toast at first but she soon came round and couldn't shovel it in quick enough. The egg was a hit too and every time she smiled I could see beans tucked in her gums!

Teatime and she had fish fingers with cheesy mash, peas and steamed tenderstem broccoli. The broccoli is deffo one of her faves - but, then it was when she had her purees too! She always goes for that first and bites all the tree bits off. The mash and peas were a success, too, with us doing some more pre-loaded spoons for her. She was unsure about the fish fingers at first, but as with everything else once she started she couldn't get it in fast enough.

It was the first time we've given her anything other than fruit or veg, but I figured fish was a good place to start as it's flaky and not dry, so will be easy to chew/gum and swallow.

Today has been day three and we all started with pancakes for breakfast. Peyton had strawberry, apple and banana compote (aka a leftover pot of puree in the fridge, but compote sounds way fancier) in hers and some strawberries on the side. We had Nutella on ours, but she's too small for that amount of sugar first thing just yet!

The pancake went down an absolute treat! Next time, I'd maybe make hers a little thicker. Because it was quite thin it did break easily when she picked it up. Not that it seemed to bother her, and I guess it means it's easier to swallow that way. She didn't touch the side of strawberries, but I'm not too bothered about how much she eats - it's more about her learning what to do with it. Already I'm seeing her get better and better each day.

We ended up being out for lunch. We had Sunday dinner at a pub so just picked bits off our plate to give to P. She had a bit of carrot, cabbage, mash, pork and Yorkshire pudding. It was all received well but, of course, the Yorkshire pudding went down best.

And, finally, onto her tea for today. She had cheesy macaroni with peas and asparagus as well as some Ella's Kitchen carrot and sweet potato rice cakes topped with a carrot, apple and hummus spread from a company I found called Baby Led Spreads.

The asparagus was a huge hit and she ate A WHOLE PIECE in ONE GO! My heart was in my mouth, I won't lie. I was quickly racking my brains on how to do baby first aid, convinced she'd start choking, but she saw it off like a champ; she didn't even gag. She chewed the ends off all the other asparagus pieces, had a good suck on the rice cakes and spread, and had a go at some peas. Her pincer grip just isn't quite there yet for her to be able to pick up a pea and put it in her mouth. She didn't really entertain the pasta, only really touching it to move it to get to the asparagus!

I've been so impressed with how well she's taken to it. We're only on our third day but, as I said, she hasn't gagged or anything yet. I am not naive and know we have a long way to go, but I was fully prepared to have to deal with her gagging or, even worse, choking. I've been watching YouTube videos on how to do baby first aid.

I'm really glad that we started when we did. Yes, we could have waited another two weeks, but she was really ready. If she hadn't taken to it well we'd have stopped and tried again when she hit six months.

I am still breastfeeding alongside her having meals now. I'm still unsure about what I am going to do about breastfeeding going forward. She's still being really fussy with a bottle so I'm not sure how we'd go about her having formula from a sippy cup. I know with formula everything has to be sterilised to within an inch of its life - and I dunno how you'd do that with a sippy cup? I could just keep expressing breast milk and giving her it in the cup, but it's a lot of effort to express milk and can be quite time consuming sometimes. So that's something I'll have to work out over the next couple of weeks.

At the moment, though, she still feeds from me. Milk - either from the boob or formula - is still their main source of nutrition until they're 1. I try and feed her an hour before I know she'll have a meal and then either straight after or about an hour after, depending how she was acting. I can't really say I've noticed her cutting her feeds down as such, but then I never know how much milk she takes from me. They say they need to have at least 20oz of milk a day but it's impossible to know how much she gets from me. She still seems happy, though, so I am not worried. She is still feeding between 8 and 12 times in a 24-hour period, which is as before.

So, that's about it. Sorry if I have rambled a lot - I got on a bit of a roll!

If you are interested in following our weaning journey I set up a specific Instagram page for it. I didn't want to spam people on my own Instagram profile with Peyton anymore than I already do, so set up a specific place for it.

I followed quite a few baby food accounts to prepare me for feeding Peyton and got really addicted to seeing what babies were eating. Some of them are like Mrs Hinch - completely unachievable to the normal person but you just can't stop watching them and wishing you had time to do it too!

They've been good to get ideas from, though, and to see how babies cope with certain foods and learn new things. It's been so handy! It's also been good for my confidence and knowing it's ok to feed her certain things. It can be quite daunting giving them proper solid solids when they have no teeth, but they're so clever.

I do want to try, as much as possible, to just give her what we have. I'll have to get used to cooking without salt which will be tricky, but hopefully we'll get there. I'd like us all to sit down and eat tea together, but with Tom getting home so late that would be impossible most days. I might try have my tea with Peyton some nights, but I guess we'll just have to see how we go.

Tomorrow night's tea is going to be lasagne and chips. I usually make my own chips in the Actifry, but I like them really salty. So I'll have to have a think about what I'm going to do with those!

There we are - that's where we are at.

Hope I've not bored you to tears too much. I'll try keep my blog updated as much as possible with how we're getting on, but it's hard to find time to sit down and write it now. Peyton's on the move now and just rolls all over the place, I need eyes in the back of my head. As I am typing this she's just rolled into the Christmas tree and is, once again, trying to get into the presents underneath. She's a right monkey! She is getting much more independent, though, and can entertain herself with toys/the TV remote so I really should utilise that time better than I do now.

I'm going to stop now because I keep going off on tangents!

Lots of love


A little update

Fresh off the back of a nasty chest infection, we've had the best couple of weeks with Peyton. I'm starting to feel really Christmassy now and I'm so much more excited than normal. I love Christmas anyway, but this year feels even more magical and special.

She's been so happy, so smiley and so cheeky. She really seems like she's starting to understand things now - and her facial expressions are just brilliant.

We're hitting so many 'milestones'. When she wants something that's not nearby she now just rolls to get it, and rolls from one room into another. She's almost sitting up by herself - she can hold it for so long before flopping to the side. And her eating is coming on every day!

She is absolutely loving her fruit and veggies, she honestly can't get it down her quick enough most nights. We've started introducing a little bit of finger food, too. After my last post about weaning someone commented - unsure if it was being helpful or snide; I'll hope the first - to say that the way I was planning on weaning Peyton could not be classed as baby-led weaning when she hits six months because I'd done purees before. Apparently the way I am doing it is 'traditional weaning'. Tags aside, it's working for us so far.

I've given Peyton some of the Kiddilicious wafers. They basically look like prawn cracker texture/consistency that are shaped like tiny surf boards. They melt in the mouth so Peyton doesn't need to chew them, as such, so there's less risk of choking. I thought these would be good practice for her to get used to putting stuff in her mouth/biting etc. She's loved them so far and is really, really good at her hand-eye coordination. We've also tried her with some Ella's Kitchen melty sticks. These are kind of like big Wotsits. When I say 'big', they're not like a bread stick size. Again, these melt in the mouth and are great for hand-eye coordination and getting her used to finger foods.

She's really starting to get the hang of it now - she bites down, chews, moves the food around her mouth etc. It makes me more excited for when she turns six months and I can just get her onto everything we are eating - within reason, obviously.

Flavours wise, she absolutely loves broccoli. I mentioned that last time, I think. We've since added in peas, and she's been a fan of that. We've tried avocado which went down brilliantly! We then did broccoli, peas and green pepper which she practically inhaled.

We've started adding in some fruit now, too. She's had banana on its own, banana and apple, then banana, apple and pear. I've also added some pear to avocado for a sort of 'pudding' after her veggie 'main course'. Greens seem to be a hit so I may go back to carrot/sweet potato etc. and try some new variations with those.

So far, though, there's not been anything that she's not liked, which is good. And nothing that she's struggled with, either. I try make sure everything is a slightly different consistency, so she doesn't just get used to swallowing straight away and learns to move it around her mouth etc.

Honestly, I have no idea what I am doing - or if what I am doing is 'right' - but Peyton is loving life and is happy so I will continue.

We don't really have much of a strict, set routine as such. Predominantly because we are out and about practically every single day, so it's hard to be stringent. Peyton basically runs the show, too, and everything is on her terms. But, I try most days to always give her her tea. I offer milk usually around 4pm - depending where we are/if she's asleep. If not at 4pm, then as close as possible. Around an hour later she has her tea - usually one pot of veg followed by something fruity. Some days she will eat both pots entirely, other days she'll only have half. I never force her to eat, as she gets all her nutrition from me at the moment. It's all about textures and tastes, so I don't work myself up about how much she's had.

Some days we'll do breakfast, but that very much depends on our itinerary for the day ahead. If we do breakfast, though, she has baby porridge (when she's six months and can have gluten I am just going to give her the same porridge as we have, but with the oats ground up more) with some fruit puree mixed in, or just fruit puree on its own.

We haven't started with dinner yet, purely because we're usually out and about. It's also a messy time - I tend to strip her off to just a nappy for meal times as it's easier and less of a worry about clothes getting covered in food. I can't be bothered to do that three times a day just yet - and to deal with the clean-up operation after!

I'm very much ready for being able to give her solid solids at six months. She tries to eat everything she gets her hands on. Her favourite thing at the moment is paper. At her christening she ate three order of services. When we've been out she's eaten menus and, last week, she ate the corner of an envelope. Tom said to me the following morning her poo had bits in. It was only later that day I realised it was probably paper!

It's wonderful watching her grow and change everyday. Tom and I sit most nights looking back at pictures and videos from when she was a newborn and it's crazy how much she has changed. Even looking back at photos and videos from just a month ago. It really is true, they grow up so fast!

I'm so unbelievably excited for her first Christmas! She won't have a clue what's going on, next year will be so much better for her, but the memories we can all make to share with her when she's older will be priceless. I remember when I was little I used to love watching home videos from my first Christmas/birthday/other occasions.

There was one video, from when I was a toddler as my brother was born, and dad was videoing me opening the presents from my stocking. I was so excited about every single one, it was so cute. But, what excited me the most, was the fruit in the bottom. Every year, Father Christmas used to leave me a satsuma/clementine in the bottom. I don't know why, but I loved it. I can't wait to have traditions like that with Peyton.


We shouldn't be afraid to say when we are struggling

I've always been guilty of bottling up my feelings, preferring to just slap on a smile and keep going until things improved/blew over; rather than tackling the problem head-on and talking about what's bothering me.

It's something that, since becoming a mum, I have only become worse at.

I don't like asking for help, I would rather struggle through on my own. The bad days are few and far between now, so I know that once Peyton's asleep and in bed (usually with me not far behind!) a new day will soon be upon us, and everything will be harmonious and happy again.

A couple of weeks ago, Peyton had a horrible chest infection. She started with a little cough, that I thought nothing of, but each day it was getting worse and worse. It was sounding really chesty and her breathing wasn't right, either. I took her to the doctors on the Monday and she was given antibiotics (which were a nightmare to give her!). On the whole, while she was poorly, she was still her usual happy, smiley, cheeky self.

That is, until the Thursday of that week, when it was like she had been swapped overnight. She was such hard work that day.

I was already starting to feel a bit frazzled. We hadn't been out all week as I didn't want her chest infection/cold getting even worse. Barely a day goes by where we don't go outside, even if it's just for a walk around the block, so it was a shock to the system being housebound. Neither of us liked it.

All day, on the Thursday, she was unsettled. She just didn't know what she wanted, bless her. She cried when I held her, she cried when I put her down. She cried when she was sat up, she cried when she was lying down. She cried when she had a toy, she cried when I took it away. She also refused sleep all day. She was shattered - rubbing her eyes, big yawns and the lot - but she point blank refused to sleep. She would seem fine, happy and content until she realised she couldn't fit both her feet in her mouth at the same time and then the biggest meltdown you've seen would commence.

It was horrible. I'd been on my own with her all day and I was a woman on the edge. Normally that doesn't bother me, I love our days just me and her. But days like this one I could really do with Tom there to tag team with. When it came to giving her her tea, she was beyond any bringing back. She just screamed, put her hands all in it, rubbed her eyes because she was tired, then cried more. I mean, I would too hun - I can't imagine pureed broccoli and peas being smeared in your eyes was all too nice!

I was at the end of my tether and, when I trapped my finger in the high chair clip, I lost it. I burst into tears and picked up a cushion from the lounge and screamed into it. I think it's the first time I've ever done that. It made me feel a bit better, but I felt completely and utterly overwhelmed. When Tom text to say he was on his way home I felt marginally better, I knew it would be over soon and I could go have a bath and some peace and quiet.
So, when he rang me just over an hour later to say he was stuck in traffic and would still be about 45 minutes I lost it. I couldn't cope any longer, so bedtime it was. For us both.

As soon as Peyton starts getting ready for her bath she calms down and whatever was wrong with her is cured. We had a nice, peaceful bath time followed by a cuddle, a book, her feed and, surprise surprise, she was straight to sleep. As I put her in her bed, I burst into tears. She looked so angelic, peaceful and happy.

I could hear her raspy, rattly breathing and her lips were in a pout. And suddenly I felt so guilty.

So guilty for wishing her to go to sleep, guilty for getting so upset, and guilty for feeling like, at times that day, that I couldn't cope. I sat on the bed sobbing (silently, I didn't want to risk waking her!) and posted on my Instagram story the above image. I mentioned how I'd had an absolutely dreadful day and, literally within minutes, was inundated with messages.

I did feel a little bit like that person on Facebook who posts the really emotional, cryptic status and everyone comments "ohhh, you ok hun?" I didn't post them for the attention - in fact, I'd rather not have admitted to anyone that I was having an absolutely shite day - but to show people that not everything is rosy all the time. Social media can be so deceptive, only showing the positives, but I want to be realistic.

As it turned out, everyone who messaged me said their child had been exactly the same that day. So, I came to the conclusion that babies/children are like pets and their moods are affected by the moon.

I still locked myself in the bathroom and cried. Tom was home by this point and if he saw me as upset as I was he would have started the "do you need to talk to someone?" chat again, and that just winds me up even more. At that moment in time, I probably should have talked to him about it. But, honestly, I was so beside myself that I don't think I'd have made much sense. I knew I was just exhausted - mentally, physically and emotionally. I went straight to bed and knew, the next morning, everything would be fine.

We were going to see my best friend and her little girl the next day - going on a nice long walk; our favourite activity! I was so looking forward to it because, not only were we finally getting out of the house, I knew I'd be able to talk to her about my dreadful day.

I can tell Tom when I've had a bad day and, while he listens and makes a real conscious effort to help out more when he knows I feel overwhelmed, he doesn't understand the same. We've always been able to be open with each other, and we've never been ones to really argue. However, since Peyton has been born, we have bickered and argued more than we ever, ever have before! It's mental. Nothing ever lasts, though, and we soon laugh about whatever was bugging us. We are bound by our love for Peyton which sometimes is so strong we bump heads on the most insignificant, unimportant, tiny details. 

Back to my point... I know when I talk to Soph about stuff that I am 'struggling' with that she gets exactly what I mean. She doesn't think I'm crazy, or losing the plot, or a bad mum. She understands when you wish for the day to be over and it be bedtime, only to then want to wake them up and cuddle them and apologise for being exasperated.

After a good seven mile walk, and a pit-stop for a McDonald's en route, I felt like nothing had ever happened. I moaned to Soph, I told her how I'd had the day from hell and Peyton just seemed to cry non-stop all day, and explained how I felt like, for a snap second, I couldn't cope. She knew, straight away, that it was just a one-off and told me I could cope absolutely fine and was doing a great job. As did I, when we got to McDonald's and Peyton was back to being her playful, happy self sitting on the table, trying to drink my drink and trying to play with everything within reach.

My point is, talking about how I felt made me feel so much better. Coupled with the fact, of course, that she was back to her normal self straight away. I think if it had lasted beyond that one day I would have lost the plot. We're so lucky that those days are few and far between. I definitely don't think I would cope if she was fussy like that everyday. 

But, if she was, I would have to swallow my pride and ask for help. My mum is amazing, whenever she has a day off she always sees what we're doing and, if we're free, she comes round or we go out somewhere. Whenever she knows Tom is working late, or if Peyton's not been well or I don't feel great, she offers to come round and help. She always lends a hand without me even needing to ask. Sometimes, though, I should ask.

I'm so lucky to have Soph - I've always said this, but it's particularly true now. Having someone so close to you who has a baby almost the exact same age is invaluable; not just for all the good times, but the bad days, too. No matter how stupid you may think something you are thinking is, you can almost always guarantee the other has thought it, too. We swap mum guilt stories, we reassure each other and we know the other is always there. We talk about the good, the bad and the ugly. I honestly wouldn't be without her.

Having an amazing support network is vital. As much as I love my own space (and when I say my own space, I mean completely taken over by Peyton), and I don't like to talk about how I feel or ask for help, I do crave social interaction some days. It's strange how some days I can be happy to just be me and Peyton, going out of my way to avoid social interaction because I've not showered for a couple of days, brushed my hair for a few more, and have a spot the size of Wales erupting on my chin. Yet, other days, I get so tired of talking to myself and just want to go out somewhere for lunch, shopping or just a walk.

There's no rhyme or reason to it. 

I really, really feel for people who have post-natal depression. It was one of my greatest worries before Peyton was born, that I would be hit with it. On the bad days I do question whether I have aspects of it. I always tell myself that, if I still feel that way the following morning I will ring the doctors or my health visitor. I'm a firm believer in not doing rash things on bad days. If things still seem bad the next day, then act on it. And, of course, after a good(ish, because, let's be realistic, I have a five month old baby) sleep everything that seemed overwhelming the day before seems so insignificant.

Before I get chance to dwell on the trauma of the day before, Peyton's usually done something funny, learnt something new or just flashed me her incredibly cheeky smile and I just feel so full of love and pride I feel I could burst.

I didn't think my hormones could be much more wild than when I was pregnant but, jee-wiz, post-natal hormone are something else entirely!

No matter how bad it may seem some days, it'll all soon pass. Talking is the best medicine; along with a good cry, a nice hot bath and a decent sized bar of chocolate and/or glass of wine.