The Happy Baby Project

A happy baby needs a happy mum


9 months – and a baby changes into a boy


Almost 10 months old, with a return to work on the horizon, and it’s a time to take stock, and look forward to the future for possibly the first time since the wee man was born. It’s a month for lists and top 10s, so here’s what I’ve discovered lately:

1. By this age, he is ready to explore. He doesn’t need me so much, he wants to socialise with other adults and babies, and he needs SPACE to crawl, climb and discover the world. Our house suddenly feels far too small, too restrictive for him. And nappy changing – which now has to be done while he is standing or sitting or doing ANYTHING except lying down – has become a battle of wills. Play groups – especially soft play – is the place he loves to be most and is my saviour, especially if they make a decent coffee.

2. It is incredibly easy to lose touch with friends in the first 9 months of parenthood as any sort of travel in London with a small baby is a nightmare, and in the evenings often you’re too knackered to do anything. And trying to catch up with a baby in tow is impossible – I’m halfway home before I realise I didn’t get to ask how my friend is. But now I’m missing my friends so much – the laughter and the gossip and the mutual ranting – and really want to restart my social life. Emails to arrange nights out and play dates have been flying out of my inbox, although some of them are in the newborn baby bubble now too, and January is maybe not the best time to start socialising again…

3. Going back to work in lots of ways will be easier than staying at home. I won’t again have that 4pm-dark-outside “what on earth should I do with you wee man” sense of dread and lack of imagination. For 4 days a week, meal plans and food shopping and coming up with fun things to do will be someone else’s concern, and I feel confident that I’ve found someone who’s absolutely brilliant at it. And for the 3 days a week I see him, I will not take a single second for granted.

4.  I wish I were more imaginative and creative with activities, but when he’s fascinated by remote controls, it’s easy to get lazy.

5. Not sure where my son has developed a “mwah ha ha ha” fake Dr Evil laugh.

6. After 9 months, we finally had our turn of early morning high temperature and rash A&E trip, and all-night scream fest due to an ear infection. I have never been so upset and so scared. But it ended as quickly as it began, and I feel like we’ve passed some parental right of passage. The Chef and I worked as a team and dropped everything – including New Year plans – until the wee man was alright. You just do don’t you?

7. I am delighted by the demise of the baby puree and the onset of sandwich lunches – so much easier. Just can’t wait for the fish fingers. And while I’m at it, does anyone actually make their own fish fingers?

8. Gina Ford has seen me right when it comes to sleep routines throughout baby’s first 9 months. He’s now down to one daily nap from around 1-3pm and sleeps through from 7pm until almost 9am. Some of this is probably because of me and the routine I started when he was just days old. But the more I see the more I believe babies are all about nature rather than nurture. He’s just a great sleeper. And probably because he just won’t stay still for a second when he’s awake!

9. Which brings me onto lack of cuddles. Is it only girls who like to cuddle their mums? The only cuddles I get is when he’s half asleep mid- or post- nap. I now wish I’d cuddled him more as a newborn.

10. He seems bored of all his toys all the time. But if I kept buying new toys each time I’d be skint and our entire house would be overrun. So play groups and play dates are brilliant, as is making something like a treasure chest of normal everyday items to play with (see below).



6 months old! Gadgets to make mummy’s life easier…

So Schmoo is 6 months, with 2 little teeth, eating 3 meals a day including chicken, lamb, beef, cheese and fish (hake and cod no less). He’s still sleeping through the night pretty well although we’ve reintroduced the late dream feed to make sure he gets enough milk as it was hard to get 500-600mls in him a day, when all he wanted was banana and mature cheddar! I’m still breastfeeding first thing in the morning and last thing at night which I love and don’t want to give up yet, but he’s on Aptamil 3 for his mid-morning and mid-afternoon feeds, as well as for top-ups before bedtime and the dream feed. He’s a whole lot of fun now – laughing and shrieking and grabbing and generally making me laugh, especially before and after bathtime where he goes MENTAL.

But anyway I wanted to tell you about 3 things that have made my life easier – as you know I’m all about the gadgets*:

1. The neckerchew

Invented by 2 mummys from my home town Edinburgh, this mops up the copious amounts of dribble that pours out of Mr S’s mouth permanently, and also gives him something to chew on given he’s teething constantly. It’s great because it’s round his neck so he can’t drop it and it’s something less to worry about taking out the house.


2. The Moby Wrap

I didn’t have a great time with wraps previously (I had, and got rid of, the Close wrap because it was just too complicated to work and Schmoo was always a little lop-sided in it; and the Babasling didn’t really fit him either), but I’ve always found the Baby Bjorn easy to put on, but terrible on your back, so I just took the pram out all the time. But the problem with prams is 1. sometimes you go places (health clinics, baby classes, etc) you can’t take a pram 2. baby wakes up the second you get in the door.

So, I found a second hand Moby Wrap for £25 in Fara and tried it the last time I went to the baby clinic. It’s made of soft cotton and, while it’s a little complicated to figure out how to wrap it, it’s not too hard and after a few attempts I got it right. There is something lovely about having Schmoo so close to me, and I think he loves it too. (Although we both keep each other very warm in it, so Summer might be a bit sweaty!).

But the BEST thing about it, is that, on the way home, rocked by the movement of my walk and calmed by the beating of my heart, he laid his head just gently on my chest and fell asleep. And he slept. And slept. And slept and slept. And even when we got home (which is when he’d wake up if he was asleep in his pram), he kept sleeping on me for another 40 minutes, allowing me to catch up on Breaking Bad,

He likes it so much that I can take it to parties, and wrap him up in it on me to have his afternoon nap (alternative = push him in pram until asleep which is always a pain). I worry sometimes he likes it so much that the doesn’t like napping in his cot so much but I make sure I take him out in the pram too to mix it up.

And for me, it’s so much better than the Baby Bjorn as its ergonomic and doesn’t hurt my back. I can’t explain why but he’s just at a good position on me that doesn’t hurt, and I can walk long distances, hands-free, without any discomfort. I’ve also heard the Ergo baby carrier is good for this too.

Here’s me and Schmoo having a nap / watching Breaking Bad.


3. The Phillips Avent steamer / blender

I am now the Queen of Purees. Were I to die tomorrow, my tombstone should read “She Came. She Saw. She Pureed.”

Now he’s on 3 meals a day, that’s a lorra lorra purees, especially given for 2 of those meals he has a savoury puree followed by fruit puree. So, I’m ordering veggie and fruit boxes from Abel & Cole, plus some meat and fish, and cooking up Annabel Karmel recipes a few times a month and batch freezing them. But still, I find myself whipping up fruits and veggies constantly.

So the Avent steamer and blender in one is brilliant. I basically take whatever fruit and veg are handy, peel and dice, then steam for a few minutes, flip the carton over and blend it all together. And you can then shove it all in the dishwasher. Definitely saves time and washing up and is strangely satisfying in a strange way.


* None of this is sponsored by the way, I don’t really believe in stuff like that, unless it’s something I was going to buy anyway (so if anyone wants to give me a Tidy Books bookcase that would be lovely. Ahem).