Thursday, 1 December 2016
Monday, 21 November 2016
In the beginning Oskar was drawn to light and dark, black and white, so we spent time looking at black and white toys, we made him a light box and bought him a star projector that he would happily watch for a while. We read him books that had big white pages and black writing with simple illustrations and we made shadow puppets on the wall for him which fascinated and enthralled him.
As he got bigger and stronger he started to understand that he could participate in our games and began to hit and touch and grasp his toys. And then began to want to taste them too, so began the everything in to his mouth phase.
Like most curious five month old babies, Oskar has suddenly started to take an interest in the world around him. He wants to grasp everything in sight, he wants to feel it, sense it, and put it in his mouth to taste it. He is starting to understand the concept of distance, of things going under, over and behind other things. He is beginning to make connections between the action and the consequence, like the shaking of a rattle or banging of a spoon on a table.
With this in mind I have spent the past week or so developing a treasure basket for Oskar, for him to explore while we play. The idea behind a treasure basket is that at their own pace, babies can explore a variety of textures, shapes and colours, as well as the noise and taste of various objects. It stems from the Montessori style of play, something we are both very interested in.
The great thing about a treasure basket is that the things it contains are not expensive or difficult to find. Most people use everyday objects from around the home, we chose to add in some other objects that we knew Oskar would enjoy exploring, sourced from simple high street shops and online.
Our treasure basket currently looks like this...
Within it are some bells which Oskar loves to play with and often reaches for first, a baby hairbrush with a solid plastic handle and soft bristles, a jelly ball filled with amazing pink glitter which sparkles as you roll it, great for showing him perception of distance - he likes to watch it roll away and then gets very excited when it rolls back again! There are a few wooden grasping toys of various shapes and colours, good for tactile exploration and understanding the idea of passing an object between two hands. There are some measuring spoons which he loves to bang on surfaces and a pine cone which is a completely different texture all of its own. And finally some fabric rose petals, which we throw up in the air and watch as they come floating down over our heads.
The great thing about treasure baskets is that the items can be easily swapped out for another as your child grows and learns and understands more about the world around him. With Christmas approaching we plan to swap out some of the items for more Christmas themed ones such as tinsel and a shiny bauble!
But for now, Oskar certainly seems to be enjoying his basket of treasure!
Monday, 14 November 2016
If you would've asked me four weeks ago if I was looking forward to weaning Oskar I would've said no, absolutely not. But now, I guess I am. Oskar is 23 weeks old, so according to NHS guidelines, we can begin to wean him on to food in approximately 3 weeks time. Three weeks!
A month or so ago Oskar still seemed so tiny, so much more newborn like than he does now. In a really short space of time he has gained strength, he has started trying really hard to sit up, he has really perfected reaching for something, grasping it and putting it to his mouth, rarely missing or dropping it. His eyes examine us as we ourselves eat our dinner, his mouth copies ours in a chewing motion. You can see his little brain working hard to understand; what is this they have on their plates? How do they make it disappear like that? Maybe I could try this too? So now, I guess, I'm feeling ready, but I guess he is too.
We always knew we would wean Oskar the baby led route, but we didn't entirely know why. Just that it seems to follow common sense principles, avoid purees and spoon feeding and allows the baby more control. But the first thing we did in preparation for weaning was to buy Gill Rapley's baby led weaning book, which talks about how to go about this approach. For us it makes so much sense - babies are naturally designed to reach a point where their gross motor skills such as sitting and grasping are refined enough for them to feed themselves. In addition their jaw shape changes to allow them to be able to swallow food, as milk-fed infants have a protective mechanism whereby their tongue pushes out anything solid, to protect from choking, if their bodies aren't ready for food. The book resonated with us, in our beliefs, and our approach to baby led, natural, instinctive parenting, and we agreed that we are both wanting to take this approach. Babies weren't designed to sit and be fed spoon after spoon of pureed vegetables in our opinion!
The basic idea is to offer your child food off your plate as you eat, and allow them to choose what to eat and how much right from the off. Food should be easy for them to grasp to begin with, such as a stick of carrot or a sliced bit of cheese, but not puréed or mushed. Milk continues to be the main form of nutrition until they are one, in the beginning, it is more about discovering the taste, texture and feel of foods, and learning how to eat.
So having armed ourself with the basic knowledge we need regarding baby led weaning, in the past couple of weeks we have also started to gather a few items which we hope will assist us in our weaning journey.
Firstly, we bought a high chair. A basic, foldable, easy to clean highchair. We assembled it and put Oskar in - only to find he is too small and can't reach the tray!
After seeking some advice from the baby led weaning Facebook group, we have taken it back and have bought the Ikea antilop! He was so happy to be able to sit in their while we cooked though, playing and chatting and giggling away, I think he will like sitting in his new chair for meals.
Next we bought a new set of cheeky wipes. We already have a full set that we use for nappy changing time, but wanted a new set to keep downstairs specifically for cleaning him up after meal times. We have been advised baby led weaning can be rather messy! We opted for the gorgeously soft rainbow coloured microfibre wipes.
Finally, we have bought a couple of cover all bibs from Close Parent, an ethically sourced, small UK run brand who specialise in gorgeous baby carriers, slings, reusable nappies and more. We think Oskar looks quite pleased with his camper van bib!
So there we have it, we feel as prepared as we are ever going to, and despite wanting him to be our tiny boy forever, we are excited to begin a new chapter. Weaning, here we come!
Sunday, 13 November 2016
We have seen some beautiful shop windows, with John Lewis being the winner for us this year. It has a woodland theme complete with snow topped tree, which we adore, and lots of festive sparkle!
This beautifully shot advert shows the importance of togetherness at Christmas, with a robin showing no interest in a mince pie, then going on an epic adventure until he (or she!) finds another robin to share it with. Beautiful message, beautiful advert!
Sunday, 6 November 2016
Simplicity, comfort, togetherness and cosiness are things we always try and fill our lives with - happy hygge-ing!