I can hardly believe it has been almost a year since we welcomed our second Sprout into our family. From the moment we decided to have a second child the doubts were plenty. Not about the actual WANTING another child, but how it would affect the family dynamics, especially regarding Sprout 1.


Would I be able to love another child as much as I already loved Sprout 1? Would they get along? Would he be jealous? Could we dedicate enough time and resources to a second child? What would I do about breastfeeding (I was still breastfeeding Sprout 1 when I found out I was pregnant)? Is this fair to Sprout 1? And on, and on…

Of course, looking back now these questions seem almost silly. It’s amazing how these little ones fill our hearts so completely, yet there’s always room for more. My two sons are so very different, yet quite similar all at once. My sons’ relationship has grown. I think they both benefit from having each other, and they both love each other… most of the time.

Sprout 2 (10 months) is still at that stage of adoring his big brother, even when he gets knocked over! Sprout 1 (almost 4 years) has moments ranging from adoration to frustration and occasional spurts of jealousy when baby is getting “too much” attention (think milestones, like sitting, crawling, eating).

We’re into a good groove at the moment, but it hasn’t always been this way. I was surprised to find after Sprout 2’s birth that Sprout 1 wasn’t upset at the baby, but rather was upset at us. At me in particular, for a while. he was NOT happy with all the time I was spending with his baby brother.

We found ways to help him with his feelings and things got better as they got to know each other and as baby grew and became more responsive (smiles for big brother! giggles! chasing! yay!).

One thing I found helpful was giving him a doll to take care of. He would change diapers, burp, carry and even breastfeed (too cute!). We were also very open and explained why babies needed so much attention and how he was when he was a baby. We never denied him expressing feelings of wanting the baby to go back in mama’s belly, or insisted he loved his brother when he said he didn’t. Soon enough things fell into a new sort of normal.

I also found books to be a big help with the process, both for him and for me. Here are four books which really helped prepare the way and that he occasionally STILL asks to read.

Books for preparing the arrival of a new sibling

There's going to be a baby, by John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury

This book is brilliant. It’s a conversation throughout the seasons between mother and son where they both imagine what baby will be once he’s big. Sprout 1 loves the scenarios and really identified with the little boy. I loved that the little boy expressed his negative feelings toward the baby, yet ends with a “Grandpa, we’re going to love our baby, aren’t we?”;  brought tears to my hormonal eyes.

What's inside your tummy mummy?, by Abby Cocovini

What’s inside your tummy mummy?, by Abby Cocovini

This book was recommended by a friend and it’s perfect for little ones to get a month by month picture of what is going on inside Mom’s belly. It consists of month by month 2-page spreads with tidbits about the growing baby along with real sized pictures of baby inside the “mummy’s tummy”. Sprout 1 loved to have me hold it up to my belly. It’s great for preschoolers who want to know the why’s and how’s, without too much information. It ends with a push and some information about newborns (referencing both breastfeeding and bottle feeding).

My New Baby, Illustrated by Rachel Fuller

My New Baby, Illustrated by Rachel Fuller

This picture book depicts many scenarios of what happens when baby is here. Lots of discreet breastfeeding images and side by sides of what baby does and what big sister or brother can do. Also pictures of going for walks with baby in a carrier. It gives kids an idea of how they can be included in activities with baby (helping with the bath, etc) and how activities like story-time and singing can include baby as well. A great little book for toddlers and preschoolers.

What baby needs, by William Sears MD, Martha Sears RN and Christie Watts Kelly, Illustrated by Renée Andriani

What baby needs, by William Sears MD, Martha Sears RN and Christie Watts Kelly, Illustrated by Renée Andriani

This book is certainly geared towards attachment parenting families. It has images of baby sleeping in a co-sleeper attached to the parent’s bed, being carried in a sling, breastfeeding, etc. It has little tidbits for the older sibling, and includes more than one older sibling, so good for families with more kids. Sprout 1 loved seeing familiar scenes and could relate to the parts addressing the older sibling’s feelings like wishing the baby would go away.

Raising Happy Brothers and Sisters: Helping Our Children Enjoy Life Together, from Birth Onwards , by Jan Parker and Jan Stimpson

Raising Happy Brothers and Sisters: Helping Our Children Enjoy Life Together, from Birth Onwards , by Jan Parker and Jan Stimpson

Finally, a book for the parents. I must admit I’m still reading through this as it covers before birth to adolescence, so I dip in as I feel the need. I researched many books on sibling relationships and from the reviews, this one seemed to be what I was looking for. It addresses the many stages of sibling relationships and family dynamics. The book is peppered with anecdotes from real parents, children and health visitors. It’s easy to read in short spurts (is it too much information if I tell you this book sits in our bathroom?) and is packed with sound advice and reminders of simple things we sometimes forget or overlook.

Do you have more than one child? Are you thinking about it? How have you handled it and do you have any tips or stories you’d like to share?

Weekend links


Don’t forget to vote for your favourite book for the read-along! We’re at a tie at the moment and I’m looking forward to announcing the winner on Friday!

This past week Sprout 1 (almost 4yo) went on his first school trip. To a castle themed indoor playground. All kids got fed chocolate sandwiches (oh, yes! This IS Belgium) with juice and waffles for dessert (because, you know, you really need dessert after a CHOCOLATE sandwich). And no naps. Needless to say I brought home an overtired, sugar high child. This was Thursday, and we’re still recovering, believe it or not. Anyway, that was probably the highlight of our week (lame, I know). How was yours?

Here are some links from around the web. Enjoy!

Self care makes child care easier, by Simple homeschool

Multilingual children in Geneva, by Geneva Family Diaries (lots of tips for raising multilingual children)

How breast feeding saves lives… And how you can help, by PhD in parenting

Baby-led weaning…

or as we like to call it, baby led whining!!!! Ha, just kidding!

Well, anyway that’s what we’ve been doing. For those not familiar with blw, basically it’s following baby’s cues and rhythm for introducing solids and eventually weaning off breast (or bottle). It also means bypassing purées and mashes etc. (which we didn’t do entirely because the original plan  was for Sprout to go to daycare and since he wasn’t up for taking a bottle, we wanted him to get SOME food into him so he wouldn’t starve – didn’t work because he lost weight despite eating lunch….). So sprout joins us for meals (usually lunch and afternoon snack – dinner for him) and gets some of what we’re having, or something else if it’s not appropriate, and feeds himself. It’s really cool! And no, he has not choked. The cool thing with babies is that their tongue thrust reflex (what makes us gag) is closer to the front of the mouth than adults’ so they won’t usually choke on food as long as they’re sitting in an upright position and food isn’t put into their mouth. It’s interesting to see that anything he can’t handle will just fall back out of his mouth. It was a bit hard to watch without interfering at first, but he truth be told he rarely gags anymore. This ability in babies usually disappears if they are spoon fed, which is why some older babies have a much harder time handling solids.

I must admit though, he’s never been too keen on food. Likes to taste it but has hardly enough to call a proper meal, although he has been getting better. His favourites at the moment seem to be greek yoghurt, avocado and bread. And more bread. And then yoghurt… you get the drift! He’ll generally try anything though (which wasn’t the case with mash) except for sweet potato for some reason… I thought that was supposed to be a baby favourite… go figure!

He’s very proficient with a loaded spoon already… never misses his mouth, and is quite good at gumming his food, even the meat. It’s too bad I can’t seem to put video up on this blog because the pics alone do not do justice. I sometimes don’t really realise how much he’s eaten until it’s diaper changing time! I’ll spare you the details… let’s just say I’ve become an expert poop detective (oh! he DID have banana…wow… 😉 ).

If you’re interested here are a few links:

We have this book by Gill Rapely – a must read!!

They have a great forum:

It does create a mess, but there are a few things you can do to minimise it:

Other useful items (not for the mess):

8 and 9 months

Hello again… I thought I would have more blogging time, but I was wrong!!! I’ve been sooo busy and was away on holiday in Portugal for 3 weeks over Christmas.

8 months

9 months

Alex is now 9 months old and he’s wearing us out ;). All he wants to do is practice walking now and he always wants to hitch a ride with us. It’s so good to be at home full-time with him. I’m so certain this was the right decision. He’s such a happy boy! I’ve been busy out and about, with him and I’ve gotten around to sewing again! I’ll try to do another post later on with my projects.

Sprout is still happily being breastfed and BLWed. He cracks up laughing with peekaboo and hide and go seek. And he still HATES naps (there’s just too much going on to waste time sleeping).

Traveling with him (airplane and train) was fairly easy and he made friends wherever he went. He would just chat with everyone around him… too cute. It was great going to Portugal for the holidays. So many people I hadn’t seen in ages. he finally met my dad, his cousins and the extened family. My sister flew over with the kids for  few days between Christmas and New Year and it was great. Everyone was so generous with gifts to the little guy, I was touched. It was also nice to see him playing with (read: alongside) Claudia’s (not so) little girl. We had a wonderful time!

And… we’re back!!

Life has been so busy, I haven’t had time to post a thing, not even for when he turned 5, 6 or 7 months old! How negligent. But, now we’re back and I hope to be able to post more often. At least now I’ll have the time (I hope).

5 months

6 months

7 months

There have been some big developments. First, I returned to work part-time in July, which has made it very hard to have any computer time for posting. Then I went back to work full-time at the office in the beginning of November. And then… I quit my job and decided to be a stay-at-home-mom for the time being :). Yay!! I’m so happy with my decision, although I’m still working from home until the end of the month.This was NOT an easy decision, and it’s definitely not one I’d ever imagine making until little sprout came along, but it so feels like the right thing. I was feeling iffy about leaving him at daycare the last few days before I went back, but I really did want to go back to the office as well… so Alex decided to help me with my decision by not eating anything while at daycare! He wouldn’t take a bottle, or a sippy cup and would mostly reject his solids. So, I decided that was a clear enough sign that I should be with my precious little one while he’s still so little and in need of mommy 🙂 Of course I’m lucky this is a decision we could make. R always said it was entirely up to me and he would stand behind me whatever I decided to do. Plus he’s happy he gets to sleep later now… We won’t be living large, but the most important thing is we’ll be living happy. Unfortunately, the week he did go to crèche he lost some weight which he is now recovering. He’s a very (very) active/agitated slight boy of 7kg330 and 68cm tall.He’s also been reaching some incredible milestones! It’s amazing watching him grow. His colic came to a total stop at 41/2 months (i’m still not sure if it was partly due to lack of sleep – he had a hard time napping in the day – maybe I’ll write about that at a later point) and he now sits up unassisted, combat crawls, babbles, smiles and laughs and can even walk when holding on to my hands. He has also started solids – puréed veggies at first because he was going to daycare and I wanted him to eat SOMETHING since he wasn’t taking a bottle (haha – ended up not eating anyway), but now we’re doing baby-led weaning (more on that later – it’s great!!!). We have also been meeting up with buddies from the BCT pre-natal class, mostly to go to the pool on Fridays. That has been lots of fun. We’ve been going to the Etterbeek pool – Espadon – but we’ve also tried the Evere one since it’s so close. I don’t recommend Evere for little babies though. Too much chlorine, too cool and not really a baby pool. The one in Etterbeek is fabulous! Really warm, low chlorine: I want to try Poseidon in Woluwe St Lambert as well, since it’s closer and I recall their baby pool being really nice when I went to aquanatal there.

So, that’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll post on a more regular basis again, at least from December since that’s when I’ll be free!

3 months today


Our little man woke up in a good mood today 🙂 I’m amazed at how time flies… 3mos! he is oficially not considered a newborn any more!

So much has happened in these 3 months and our lives have greatly changed. It’s amazing to see Alex grow day by day and all the new things he can do. And how much the three of us learn!


I’m still breastfeeding exclusively and Alex still eats just about every 2hours, except the 4 hour stint at night. He hates napping during the day and gets himself really tired before he goes down, but at least we’ve managed to establish his bedtime at around 8:30pm!!! Goes out like a light and although he (sort of) wakes for his night feeds, they’re really easy because he’s so fast now and he easily resettles either in his crib or our bed (if I let myself fall asleep while breastfeeding mostly). He still has issues with his digestive system, so still colicky, but so much better. he graces us with smiles more often, seems like he wants to giggle, coos and is a pro at balancing his head on his neck 🙂

Adventures in breastfeeding


Breastfeeding is best and it’s definitely natural but it’s not entirely instinctive and it’s not always easy! I didn’t count on that… I’d like to share my story in hopes of encouraging others with problems and to help those who intend to breastfeed avoid the problem I had! Just so you know, the story has a happy ending !

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