At one


A little post from me whilst I feed the small person to sleep about what is like to feed a baby at one year old.

In past posts I’ve talked about attitudes towards breastfeeding and I’m going to take that a bit further by looking at attitudes towards “extended” breastfeeding (as it’s often called). What it refers to is a bit confusing-beyond 6 months?  Beyond 12 months? Longer than that?

Many people in Western society see breastfeeding as something disgusting-either because it clashes with the sexualised societal view of what breasts are our because they cannot see humans as mammals in the same way that pigs and cats and monkeys are. They see us as more important and more civilised than animals and therefore find the suggestion of breastfeeding inhuman.

My point is that we are mammals, named so because of our mammary glands. We are linked to other mammals by the way we carry, give birth and feed or babies.

I chose to breastfeed my baby because I simply couldn’t see any other options that I was happy with. I am a mammal and is what my body was made to do, therefore I’d try my hardest and persevere to ensure I could do it. What I didn’t then want to do was chose an arbitrary cut off point at six months or a year. How would I explain to my body and my baby that decision?

I have gone back to work three days a week. So for ten hours a day for three days a week I don’t breastfeed him at all. He has decided that he didn’t want any kind of milk (formula/expressed  breast/cows) from any receptacle except me (bottle/cup/sippy cup) and so goes without milk when he isn’t with me.  We had a small breakthrough this week when I was out late for work and he deigned to take a bottle of warmed cows milk though. A year later!

Anyway. Feeding a one year old is different to feeding a 3 week old baby. He is heavy and he wriggles. He makes his own decisions about when and how he latches on (including making the decision after swimming half way through getting changed! ). He can ask for milk (usually patting a boob) and pull at my top. He has six teeth. He can support himself when feeding so it’s not so uncomfortable. He feeds much less often so I can wear more normal clothes.  We have a giggle together whilst he feeds.

Most babies and toddlers I know that were breastfed on demand self weaned between 2-3 years old.  Technically children can breastfeed until they lose their milk teeth-adult teeth change the shape of the mouth so the child can’t latch on any more. I don’t think I plan to feed him that long and I hope he doesn’t have plans like that either! But I would like him to chose for himself whether he wants breast milk any more. 

So for the people that ask How long are you planning on feeding him the answer is I suppose that it’s up to him! I have no plans on stopping and don’t think that’s weird at all!


Your one year old might even have a spare hand to stroke the cat!

Review: Moms Own Milk


I can only imagine that it was a clever Facebook advert that hooked me onto this one!

When my little one was just a few weeks old, a company called MOM was brought to my attention- Moms Own Milk. This is a WAHM (an acronym I learnt recently- Work At Home Mum) who makes resin and silver jewellery made from your own breast milk. Now I am totally aware that some people will (and do) find the thought of this either pointless or disgusting- and if that’s you please feel free to move along and not read this review! Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and I certainly have a few of my own….

Some back ground for me:
My little boy didn’t have an easy start to breastfeeding- it took him three long weeks to get the hang of it. I say long weeks- it felt like years passed and I aged another decade eachtime we tried and failed to get him latched on. Eventually he got the hang of it, and that was that. He hasn’t looked back since and at about 8 weeks old started refusing to take a bottle. We have successfully got about 10 oz total into him via a bottle since that date over numerous occasions.

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I went back to work three weeks ago, part time. It wasn’t a “hard” decision- I’ve had a wonderful year at home with my little scamp (not to say it hasn’t been trying and stressful at times), but I enjoy my job, love my employers and it was time to regain a little “me time”. Even if this is a 20 minute walk to the station by myself, a quiet train journey or eating lunch without having to sweep and mop the floor afterwards- it’s still me time. This was however reasonably stressful as baby still refuses milk from anything except the breast. He doesn’t eat or porrige with milk (fussy little so and so), and he wont drink milk from a tippy cup, open cup, straw cup or any other kind of recepticle. So the 10 hours he is at the childminders 10 days a month means 10 hours a day without any milk. We’ve tried breast milk and cows milk- cold, warm, hot- nothing is good enough! So my first fear was that he’d starve. When I realised he was actually fine without milk for numerous hours, it actually made me a little sad. Although it’s frustrating being the ONLY person in the whole world (well ok, in our small world) who can give him the nutrition and comfort he needs, there’s a lot to be said for the breastfeeding (or in American “nursing”) relationship with your baby. Whilst I can’t describe what it’s like to have the bottle feeding relationship, I can say that breastfeeding despite everything is a wonderful heartwarming sensation every single time. It’s very emotional, and really has helped me bond with my lovely little person.

So I really wanted something to commemorate that relationship and couldn’t really think what that one thing might be. I plan to feed my baby directly from the breast until he self weans- who knows when that might be but I guess he may feed until three or so, but I still wanted something for when I was at work to look at and remind me of that relationship.

So MOM seemed perfect. Althought the website is a little flashy, and I found it hard to navigate, Vickie’s comms were great, even when I sent her a long rambling email about what it was I wanted. Having said all this, today I’ve visited the website with it’s all NEW look, and found it much easier to navigate to find what I was looking for!


I have a Pandora bracelet which was a present from my sister for being her bridesmaid. Up until now it has only had the two charms she gave me on it (Birthday and Christmas are on their way!!) so I decided a Pandora style bead would be perfect. In all honesty, they are one of the only things from the website that is my style, but there’s something for everyone with a wide range of different things. You can add all kinds of things to the jewellery- from umbillical cord, to the first hair curl or placentra, but I was just after straight Milk.

Vickie responded quickly to my enquiry about what style and size bead I could have and I placed my order at once. Within 30 minutes I received the information about how to package and send my milk with a confirmation of my order. I happened to be popping out that afternoon so I posed a small freezer bag of milk (30ml) (double bagged to avoid leaks) that afternoon. Once Vickie had received the order, she emailed me to let me know, and the same once it had been shipped. I chose a quiet time of year (not just before christmas!) so the turn around was quick- less than a week from me posting the milk to the charm arriving, signed for post.

It arrived today, nicely presented in a frosted box, with a free MOM Breast Feeding Wristband (which you can turn inside out to show either a L or a R to show which side to feed from next), and came with a vial of resin and jewellery polish. Instructions are available on the website about how to care for it too.

And…. it’s lovely! Exactly how I pictured it (the website images are very clear and accurate) and it looks great with my two current charms. It’s a little bigger than would have been ideal for me, but I wanted the smooth finish and that only comes in the 17mm bead whereas you can get a multifaceted geometric shaped bead in a smaller 13mm. Having said that it looks really good with my current bracelet in the size it is so what do I know?!



So all in all- great service, lovely item and something really special that I can look at whilst at work or away to remind my of my beautiful baby boy!

South Hill Park


I thought I’d start with a review of local facilities and work from there.

My most visited place on maternity leave was South Hill Park, It’s a Grade II listed building, housing a cinema, theatre, art workshops, dance studios, a cafe/bar and much more.

Pre Baby, I used SHP for yoga classes on a Wednesday night (until I broke my shoulder (not doing yoga I hasten to add) and the bar was frequently visited on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The centre has lovely gardens (recently revamped with a Lottery Grant) where you can picnic in nicer weather and so we’ve enjoyed using the park for many years.

Post-baby I am sometimes surprised at how often I visit (I managed fiver visits one week recently)! Twice a week there are Buggy Fit classes held around the paths at the front and back of the arts centre. I’ve been almost every week since November last year. The classes are not affiliated with the centre but the council allow the classes to take place in the grounds. Post Buggy-Fit we usually pop into the cafe for a cup of tea/ cold drink. It’s just a mile from my house (walking) so it’s an easy place to meet up with friends, and especially friends with babies. They also run a Bring In Baby Cinema showing once a week and do much more for older children, including dance classes, art workshops and more.

The restaurant/ cafe serves excellent food, including Sunday Roasts with huge home made yorkshire puddings and bottomless dishes of roast potatoes and vegetables. Sandwiches and flatbreads (especially the goats cheese and caramelised onion) and superb and the chips are hot, crisps and fluffy. The food is quire reasonably priced- The roasts are under a tenner and Sandwiches with chips come in about £7. They serve a good range of hot and cold drinks, although in the past I know the Ale hasn’t been very well kept and the alcoholic drinks are pretty pricey.

I was quite frustrated to find out in the last of my 51 weeks maternity leave that they do a hot-drinks loyalty card. I am a regular there and most the staff know my face so I was surprised to find this out and a bit disappointed that I hadn’t been offered one!

South Hill Park

Out the back there’s a nice kids playpark- enclosed on all sides (which is handy as a lot of dog walkers use the grounds). It’s mostly covered in sand which even my one year old seem to enjoy digging in, and has a few play equipment items – a slide, some cute wooden pigs in the sand, a rocking horse and some squares you can jump on that make a funny sound. It could do with a swing but the park gets quite busy and there might be a perpetual queue!

It’s a really great asset to the local area. The grounds are well kept, there’s always parking and it’s quite central for those that want to walk or cycle, and well served with off road cycle routes.

I’ll be there tomorrow for buggyfit!



We won! We made it to one!
We didn’t leave him anywhere, break him or give up after a ridiculously difficult wonderful year.

I already went through the things we achieved over the last 51 weeks of maternity leave so I won’t do that again, but maybe a nice photo of the small one enjoying his big day!
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We took the day off work and spent it walking up to Coral Reef for a swim, then stopping off on the way home at South Hill Park for lunch. Then the afternoon included friends popping over with presents and cake & fizzy!

Then on Saturday my mum kindly hosted a family party. The weather turned out to be unexpectedly beautiful so we ate and played outside in the sun. More presents, more fizzy and more cake!

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He’s also got his first pair of shoes and is really enjoying running around in them!

Now the first year is out of the way, it’s made me think about what I’ll start to use this blog for. not to say that I don’t have the same need to rant about sleep and stress of parenthood, but I think I need some more direction. If you can think of a topic you’d like me to cover, please feel free to suggest. Otherwise I’m seeing more reviews, information about my volunteer work with the Let Toys Be Toys campaign , information about babywearing and general my general mix of “natural parenting” and “other” (unnatural parenting?!) as we traverse toddlerhood!

51 weeks


Having had my WordPress app lose three of my posts last week I’m quite nervous about writing another one!

Yesterday signified the last day of my maternity leave. Well, technically I returned to work at the end of July and have been on leave since then but I return to work in just 36 hours.

What have I done with the last 51 weeks? I’ve spent a lot of time pinned to the sofa breastfeeding it with a sleeping baby on me.

We’ve been to 4 doctors appointments, seen the midwife and health visitors about 15 times, been to five breastfeeding clinics and attended about 55 baby group sessions.

I’ve dragged Robin to about 35 buggy fit sessions, visited countless friends and hosted and attended coffee mornings. We’ve watched Robin grow and develop- gaining 13lb in weight and blazing through the clothes sizes up to 12-18 months now.

He’s learnt to smile, clap, burble, found his hands and then his feet. He’s learnt to sit, hold things, roll,pick things up, laugh, stick out his tongue. He can pull himself up, cruise, bumshuffle, wave, copy sounds, stroke the cat. And now he can stand unaided and walk by himself!

I’ve eaten a lot of cake and biscuits, trawled the Internet, cried,  missed out of hours and hours of sleep, doubted myself, Co slept, been bitten, had cuddles.

I’ve walked 978 miles (the majority of which pushing the buggy it carrying baby in a sling) , cycled 115 and run 49!

We’ve reached our 5 year wedding anniversary, and almost ten years together,  we’ve argued and cried and cuddled. I’ve taken photos and videos, made a scrap book, written him a song and a book, painted him a mural.

I’ve given him as much of myself as I can over the last almost-year and I’m going to miss his company terribly.

I am only going back part time to paid employment so I’m hoping to strike a great balance between being a mummy and being a person in my own right.  Might be wishful thinking and I’m sure to be busy and tired and confused. But these are the decisions we make.



So I’ve been asked to review a book!

I think the last time I wrote a book review was back at school, but I’m hoping a vague grasp of the English language and an interest in the subject of the book will help me with this one.

Publishers Pinter & Martin have sent me a copy of Evelin Kirkilionis’s book A Baby Wants to be Carried, translated by Kathryn O’Donoghue from the original German Ein Baby will getragen sein. Alles uber geeignete Tragehilfen und die Vorteile des Tragens in 2014.


My inital thought was “Who is this book for?”. I am what is called a “Babywearer”- not a term I particularly relate to or like but it rolls off the tongue better than “I am a person that sometimes carries my baby in a sling or wrap”, so this book does hold a certain interest for me personally. I didn’t know very much about “Babywearing” when I was pregnant, other than that there were a range of slings available, and a friend kindly lent me one to try. When my baby arrived, I tried out the sling and then realised I wanted to know more about it. I am the kind of person who likes to have good information about what I am doing and why. I like to get things correct, so I went straight to the internet to find a local group to ask “Am I doing this right”?

In the developed western world where access to the internet is simple and fast, it was easy to find a wealth of information about slings and wraps- from companies that manufacture slings, to facebook groups set up purely for advice to community sites about local “sling meet” groups that you can join and convene in real life with other sling mums and dads, or “sling libraries” where you can borrow different kinds of slings to see how you get on. Of course there are drawbacks to having so much information out there- much of it being personal opinions masquarading as fact and some very strong opinions on both sides of the debate. And this is what surprised me: there is some debate about whether slings are good for babies and even discussion about whether some slings on the market are not actually fit for purpose or safe. So this lead me to thinking that this book probably does have a good strong audience- those who are interested in using slings and wraps but are maybe blinded by the huge number of sites and different kinds of information out there. A quick google of the phrase “slings and wraps” brought up 2.5 million results so where to start?


The subtitle of A Baby Wants to be Carried is “Everything you meed to know about baby carriers and the benefits of babywearing”, which was a promising start. I opened the book really looking forwards to seeing a condensed and concise version of the information I’d personally been trawling through for the past 11 months or so.

One of the first things I noticed about the book was the beautiful photographs. As a photographer myself, I was pleased to see really lovely, well composed and varied photos- not just skinny modelesque women, but normal people (both men and women) with a range of different kinds of carriers. However, I was surprised throughout the book at the positioning of the photographs. For example: on page eleven there is a useful table outlining the main different kinds of slings and wraps, however there were no pictures or photographs to illustrate what was meant for those who maybe hadn’t seen a Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) and couldn’t visualise it from the description. This was a theme that reoccured throughout the book- in places where I expected a picture or a diagram to clarify a description of a carry, position or sling there was rarely one there. I think I’m a visual learner in many ways so for me, this made some of the text quite inpenetrable, though I’m lucky that I’ve seen and experienced many of the slings and wraps discussed so at least had a good starting point to be able to understand the written definitions. Those who were maybe more new to the concept of babywearing might find this a little intimidating.

The book was well structured to cover all aspects of babywearing from the myths and facts surrounding babywearing to some different techniques for tying woven wraps. The contents page was very thorough so if the book were being used more as a reference guide than something to sit down and read all the way through, it’s easy to find exactly what it is you want. I read it in two sittings- which fit in well with the main sections. The first section is The Theory of Babywearing: why carry your child? and the second is The racticalities of babywearing: how to carry your child.

The first section did seem slightly overwhelming to me, and I was surprised at some of the information that is most commonly shared around babywearing groups not being present. There is a lot of discussion and some very good scientific information in this section about culture, evolution, child development, physiology and interestingly for me how babywearing benefits your babies proprio-vestibular sensory system. Some of this was research I’d already read elsewhere, and some of it was new to me and very interesting. However this half of the book is quite heavy, and very scientific. I’ll admit that I did skim read a few of these bits, but it does contain useful knowledge if I were ever to have anyone question my choice to use wraps and slings, and it’s well referenced to a number of studies. I did expect the information to be clearer about HOW to carry a baby in this section. Yes there are a huge number of benefits to both child and parent, but many of these benefits can only be seen when the child is carried correctly. Although parts of this are carried, there wasn’t as much emphasis on the safety aspect of babywearing correctly, and the potential risks of using a non-ergonomic highstreet carrier.

The second half of the book concentrates on expanding on that initial table I mentioned from page 11 (with the different kinds of slings and wraps available)- with a double page spread plus on each of the kinds of carriers mentioned with a photograph this time and bullet points to showcase “special features” and “points to consider”. This was useful to compare and contrast the different kinds of slings, but it wasn’t maybe as clear as it could be to compare the slings against each other.

On page 119 there is mention about the correct leg postition for a soft structured carrier, with a rare illustration rather than photograph. However, the illustration isn’t very detailed and doesn’t show the entire carrier, the incorrect position isn’t particularly emphasised and the issue is confused slightly by also mentioning extra straps for stabilising small babies. The leg position is one of the most important parts of getting a SCC, Mei Tai or similar kind of carrier correct, and it’s a shame that this section wasn’t clearer. The terminology used also wasn’t common parlance- maybe a consequence of it being translated from the authors native German.

The common terms used in the UK/US are “knee to knee” or “M shape” to describe how the legs should be positioned in a carrier- with the following picture being one of the most shared:

Knee to Knee position

In addition to this, on page 135 it says:

“[…}This is one of the T.I.C.K.S rules for safe babywearing you can find on the internet”

I was quite shocked by this as the TICKS rules are one of the first things one learns about babywearing and are the guidelines developed by The Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers and recommended by The British Association of Babywearing Instructors for any babywearer to follow. It seems like a strange omission and for me would be the first thing that the second section focussed on.

TICKS babywearing safely

A large part of the second half of the book was allocated to showing the techniques for different kinds of carry with a woven wrap. I had a go at some of them and found the instructions to be very good. In the past I’ve had to visit YouTube but will now be able to use the book for some of the different carries. The photographs here were very useful to really show where to pass the fabric and the text highlighted the important points to remember for each different carry. The double page spread (or more) showed the minimum length of fabric required for the specific carry (though didn’t equate this to a wrap size but ().

There are so many different wrap carries and variations of the various carries that there was no way that they could all be covered in this book. However it did feel like some of the other babywearing options were slightly glossed over to favour the woven wrap- in particular stretchy wraps, ring slings and mei tais. I have three slings- a calin bleu light summer linen wrap in a size L (equivalent of about a 6), a mei tai and a ring sling, so I do feel like the parts I may have found more interesting were not covered in much detail. I recently bought a mei tai with wrap straps, and I’ve been looking for new ways to do back carries with it, but there was nothing in the book to cover this.

The book concluded with some very important issues- one being FFO (Forward Facing Out) carries which are NOT recommended at all due to the hip postitioning for the baby, inability to turn away from external stimuli and the reduction in physical contact, let alone the immense strain on the parent wearing the sling as it can be very uncomfortable for them too. It also touches on inappropriate and badly designed carriers though can clearly not mention specific brands in the same way that internet discussion can. In particular “narrow based carriers” which do not produce the “knee to knee” position I mentioned above, FFO carriers and bag slings which have very sadly been linked to a couple of baby deaths due to them not being fit for purpose. This is obviously a very serious matter, and whilst I was pleased that it was included, it could have been made more prominent for those new to babywearing.

FFO not ideal

It’s always easier to pick holes in something than to find positives, so I’ll say now that this is a good and useful book. This review represents my personal opinion in particular of some of the areas that I feel could have been improved to make the book flow better and to make it more accessible for the kind of person that I assume the audience to be.

As someone who has spent almost a year of nightfeeds trawling the internet for information about safe and comfortable babywearing, I feel I’m reasonably well informed about the issues surrounding babywearing, and was surprised by some ommissions in this book. However, I’d imagine that anyone with any real interest in carrying their baby will find local facebook groups and similar where their knowledge of the subject can grow beyond what can reasonably be expected to fit into a book.

The book is beautifully produced, colourful, well laid out and very well referenced and backed up with scientific studies. I think it would be an asset to any Sling Library, and there are many parents out there who will find the abundance of science, sense and step-by-step instructions a good gateway into the wonderful world of babywearing, although I hope that some of the key material missed out may be included in a future edition.

Happy Babywearing!


Hand foot and mouth


Two weeks left of maternity and I’m poorly! Not fair!

Last week the boy had a few spots on his feet and a bit of a cold but was ok in himself. On Friday I woke up feeling awful with a throat made of razor blades and that horrible heavy aching flu feeling. Then slowly the spots started. I’d Googled hand foot and mouth when the baby seemed to have it but the Internet reliably told me that adults only got a mild version and it wouldn’t itch.

I suppose they were partially right- it doesn’t really itch. It does sting like hell though. I’ve been lucky so far as further research suggests that a mouth full of painful ulcers is reasonably common for adults who get hf&m. I’ve got a red raw nose, a rash on my chin and chest then the red polkadots all over my hands and feet.  My mouth is dotty but no ulcers yet.


My hands sting like crazy especially when I have to use them. Any kind of pressure, rough texture or heat really hurts like a burn. So looking after a baby is frustratingly hard. I don’t feel as ill and fluey now but still feeling rubbish. And I suppose we shouldn’t be going to baby groups etc for fear of passing this on. No good.



So is an amazing American website with lots of useful info about breastfeeding- from information about medicines you can trave whilst breastfeeding to advice and discussion. I follow them on Facebook and recently they asked “what products helped you keep breastfeeding”. Reading through th he answers was really interesting and although some of then clearly weren’t products per se, it was good to see what helped others keep going.

I stated thinking about what and who helped me keep breastfeeding when times were tough.
1. My own utter determination that there was only one option and we would get the hang of breastfeeding. If anything ever in my life, I am proud that I did this and that I persevered.
2. My husband for his unwavering support and understanding that this wasn’t up for discussion.
3. The midwives, health visitors and breastfeeding clinics who helped with the technical and emotional side of things
4. The interwebs- for its wealth and breadth of information and the ability to link up with women in similar situations all over the world.
5. The breast pump for helping me at least try to offer a bottle and for relieving pressure when required.
6. TV, online TV, love film and Facebook. Where would I be without you? My enough hands or braincells to read fit the first six months I needed easy entertainment
7. Nipple shells (no, not shields but shells). Someone told me about these and they saved my nipples! I’m allergic to lanolin so hadn’t bought any Nipple cream. The shells collect any excess leaking milk whilst airing your Nipple. … Very clever. I did eventually find, buy, use and lose Earth Mama Angel Nipple Butter which was great too (good lip balm also)
8. Malt loaf. How many kilos I got through I dread to think but it was great. Yum yum.
9. Decent maternity leave from work. Dear America, 8  unpaid weeks does not constitute maternity leave! 52 weeks, 33 of them paid to a degree. …. that is maternity leave.




I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned but being ill when you are a mummy is rubbish. Especially if you are a breastfeeding mummy and your baby doesn’t take a bottle-you become very relied on.

Luckily this time is just a stinky had cold (so far) with a throat like razor blades and drooping eye lids, headache, earache,  gland ache and body ache!

Luckily small stuff has been pretty laid back today and he’s decided for the first time this week to have a decent afternoon nap. Hurrah! Sadly the foot stool is too far away! Send help!

We do have medicinal wine and peanut butter cup Ben and Jerry’s!

Crying walking sleeping talking


Okay, not yet talking. …

So we have steps. At first, encouraged by pushy mother (sore back from leaning over to hold his hands) and a week later taken by choice, and very pleased with himself! 

This new mobility had come at a price-the constant fear of what he’s going to fall over next. He likes things that moves-doors, the buggy, the clothes airer, the car seat, my office chair and so on. In one week he managed to collapse the clothes airer onto himself, knock over an ironing board, fall over closing a door with me on the other side and fall out of a friends patio doors, not to mention falling over his own feet and banging his head on every table in the RG postcode….. I sound hideously negligent but at least we are yet to experience the rite of passage that is falling off the sofa/bed.

It’s hard to find a balance between wrapping them in cotton wool and letting them learn their own lessons. Already he is starting to learn how to fall gently onto his bottom rather than an uncontrolled backwards head-banger and his balance has improved markedly from letting him hold onto things that move.

And whilst I never get too optimistic about these matters, there seems to be some improvement with sleep. To many parents it’s still awful sleep but in comparison to what we are used to, it feels like an uninterrupted 8hrs!

We’ve had a few nights of 8-12, 12:15-3, 3:15-6, 6:15-8 ish. Tonight is buggered up because he coughed himself awake (think he’s got and has given me hand foot and mouth) at half ten.

I’ve spent the last 11 months being told that xy or X Well help him sleep (turning three months, being in his own room, starting solids etc). As a consequence I’ve started to ignore everything everyone says ever, but maybe he really is wearing himself out. He is trying to walk and cruise at every waking hour!

We still have no words. I am trying to ensure we converse with him and read to him more. He makes the most wonderful hilarious sounds, his favourite being “do ooh! ” and “lerglerglergle” but can make quite complex sounds too like th, ck, St etc so we have no worries about him that way. Just being impatient waiting for a mama or dada