So, the ‘fourth trimester’ was over. What a rollercoaster of emotions! We did it! What next? Well, our baby had changed and developed a lot in those first few months. We began to do more travel, hiking, day trips, eating, baby classes and baby play dates. But what products and activities were useful during these months? Some items became redundant and other items took their place. Here are a few of the things that we used and loved!
Eating. We’re still in the throws of this adventure! Our baby started to show a lot of interest in what we were eating from about 3-4 months old, but he was still very much enjoying breast milk and he gets everything he needs from this.
In Switzerland the advice is to start solid food at 4 months (Perhaps due to the short maternity leave of 16 weeks!). In the UK the advice is to start at 6 months. In the end, we decided at 5 months old that it was time to introduce small amounts of food, more for ‘fun’. (As an aside note, once he started on solid food, he began to sleep 11 hours straight at night, every night. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’ll take it!)
Our midwife advised us that we could start with pureed vegetables at lunch time. She recommended introducing a different vegetable every 4 days. So, days 1-4 consisted of carrot, days 4-8: potato, days 8-12: courgette, and so on. After he had tried a few different vegetables and showed no signs of allergies, we were able to mix it up a bit. His favourite has been sweet potato!
Sometimes we spoon feed him if we don’t want to make a big mess, but other times he feeds himself. He loves putting anything in his mouth, so as soon as I put a spoonful of vegetables in his hand, he knows what to do! We really loved using these munchkin spoons. They are a good length and the spoon part is not too deep. (I have tried others and he couldn’t get all the food out of them).
Our friends who had a son 18 months before us bought us some great waterproof silicon bibs which we have used a lot during this eating stage! They also bought us an amazing ‘munchkin miracle 360 cup’ – which is a cup that doesn’t spill (when the baby inevitably drops it) and is a good way to introduce them to water. As I am still breastfeeding, Jack does not need any water yet, but he sometimes tries a little.
All of this eating takes place on this high chair from IKEA. This is a no frills item and it does the job perfectly. I had been recommended this high chair from a number of Mum friends and it has been great. It gets covered in food, but it is easy to wipe clean. It’s comfortable (you can also buy an insert cushion to support your baby if they have a small build) and practical. I have seen expensive wooden high chairs, but actually they are not as hygienic or practical. Don’t waste your money! We also find that most restaurants and cafes have this high chair, so it is familiar for the baby wherever you go!
Once our son started to learn to roll (at about 3 months old) – it was time for him to move out of his bassinet and into his cot. We bought this cot from IKEA because it has three different settings: you can have the matress high up or low down (once they can pull themselves up to stand, it must be on the low setting) and you can remove the side once they are a toddler or bigger. Jack has done some of his best snoozing in this cot! We bought this mattress and these sheets to go alongside it. He still sleeps in a sleepsuit, but we have ordered the cot sized duvet, pillow and sheets for when he is bigger.
After 3 months the baby really starts to engage more with you and their environment, which is great!
Here is a list of things that we have been doing with Jack between 3 – 6 months:
Nature walks – when the weather is nice, I take Jack out to explore the woodlands, or the farmers fields or the flowers. I let him touch and feel different textures. We watch the plants move in the breeze. We listen to the birds in the trees. We hold sticks and crunch leaves. It honestly keeps him occupied for a long time! The main task though for me is trying to stop him putting everything in his mouth!!
Baby swimming – swimming in heated water until 6 months old.
Peek-a-Boo – we play this for hours on end! It never grows old with a baby! Jack just laughs and laughs when I appear from behind something and say Boo! It does drive you a little bit crazy though!!
Songs and music – We listen to music a lot and I sing to him all the time. I have even learnt some nursery rhymes in French! I am lucky that in my job I have to sing nursery rhymes all the time so I know a lot! These are some of Jack’s favourites: Animal boogie, Wind the Bobbin Up, Miss Polly Had a Dolly, Spring Chicken, Hello Everybody, Don Alfredo and SnackTime – Bare Naked Ladies.
Playing in the Park – Now that he can sit, he can go on small baby swings and he also enjoys going down a slide while we hold him.
Bubbles – Babies love watching bubbles and trying to catch them. It amazes them when they pop in front of them!
Play Mat – Jack still loves to play on his ikea baby gym. It is nice and soft for him to sit on and he spends a lot of time playing with his toys here. We also got a folding play mat for Jack to play on as he got older.
Inflatable Ball – We got a great inflatable ball from Gymboree. When Jack was 3 months old we used it for tummy time and eye tracking. Then when he reached 5-6 months he liked trying to catch the ball as we rolled it to him.
Household Objects – For babies, everything is a toy. It seems like anything they can find goes straight in their mouth. So you have to be careful that anything they can reach is safe for them. Currently Jack loves to grab a coaster and put it in his mouth! Since he has been so interested in objects in the house, I filled a box with household items, such as wooden spoons, coasters, plastic potato masher, plastic measuring cups, etc. Basically anything you can find that is safe. He loves looking through all these things and feeling them, chewing them, hitting them, etc. We also made little shakers from small tupperware boxes. We filled them with dry pasta or cereal and he shakes them around and listens to the sounds.
Toys – Some of Jack’s favourite toys include:
Stacking toys (maybe because his Dad’s company is called Stacker!) – he likes me to build a tower from the stacking toys and then laughs when he pushes it over. Repeat this about one thousand times. Still fun for him!
Sophie le Giraffe – This teething toy entertains the 5 senses – soft parts to chew and soothe gums, completely natural material which is a comforting material to touch, squeaks to stimulate hearing, unique smell and dark/light contrasting spots to provide visual stimulation.
Colin the Activity Crab – This toy has lots of different parts to it that keep a baby entertained for ages! it has a vareity of textures and parts to chew or shake.
Soft Baby Books – These fabric books can be hung off the bar of the pushchair and looked at, sucked, chewed and crinkled for hours.
Light up electronic toys – VTech have some great interactive and light up toys, with parts to pull, twist, watch and listen to develop motor and listening skills.
Shape Sorter – OK, so he can’t sort the shapes yet! But, he does love handling the small shapes and putting them in and out of the box.
Grofriends Comforter Blanket – Jack loves to suck and chew these little blankets, there are lots of different types available, but he loves his owl!
Knitted Toys – It must be something about the texture, but Jack loves a knitted toy. So get out your knitting needles or ask your Grandma to make some knitted toys!
We stopped using our hana wrap by 3 months old, but the Ergobaby is still used daily at this age. Jack can face inwards and outwards. I still put it in the bottom of the pram wherever we go; it is super useful.
Just before Jack turned 6 months old, he learnt how to sit by himself unsupported. It was time to get out our new baby carriers and prepare Jack for a summer of hiking around Switzerland!
One of our friends bought us a Minimeis for Christmas and we were waiting for the moment Jack could sit up unaided to use it! This carrier can be used from 6 months to 5 years old – so you can get a lot of use out of it! Essentially the baby sits on your shoulders, but they are strapped in securely so that you can have your hands free. Just watch out for low door frames and tree branches! Jack loved sitting in this, he felt like a little king as we went out for our walk! He loves looking around, and he got a great view from this position!
I love hiking. Even throughout my pregnancy we were going on long hikes (even a 2 week long hike at one point!) in the mountains, and I knew that when Jack arrived, I would still want to hike as much as possible. We were kindly gifted a Deuter Kid Comfort hiking backpack, which again can be used from when the baby can sit up unaided. It is very comfortable for you and the baby. We like the ‘sun roof’ as well and there is a storage area that fits your picnic blanket, changing bag and picnic food! I am sure that we are going to get a lot of use out of this!