I think it’s all too easy to take for granted those people in your life upon which you can rely.  Particularly on this baby making and raising journey, a support network becomes absolutely crucial.

I had heard so many friends talk about their NCT groups.  I sometimes wondered how on earth they could become so close to such a random group of people.  Did they really have anything in common other than their babies?  The truth is now, I see and speak to my NCT group and Hypnobirthing group (yep, I was a hypno mom – kinda…another story) more than I do most of my closest friends.

At first it started as convenience.  When the dads trudged back to work begrudgingly, we all needed company and plans.  We went for pub lunches, joined baby classes and WhatsApped frantically.  Then gradually, it became more real.  We didn’t so much need to make plans as to just see each other, catch up, let the babies interact and relax.  It feels honest and kind.  These are a group of people who are always at the end of the phone and, most of the time, a few minutes walk away.  How lucky we are to have that kind of support.

Then there’s the support of the familiar.  Your oldest friends, nearest and dearest family – the ones you trust because you’ve trusted them forever and because they’ve done it first and probably know better.  I, for one, need those people a great deal.  Especially now Mabel is in the picture.

Yesterday, Mabel had her first of a few foods – banana, red pepper and courgette.  The banana was mashed with her rice for breakfast in the morning.  Needless to say, that went down a treat.  The veggies were served alongside her already familiar broccoli and cauliflower.  I worried what red pepper would make her face do, but a slight stick out of the tongue and she was back in for more.  Lunchtime and dinner plates demolished.

However, a couple of hours after eating her lunch, she developed a little rash on her face and stomach and came over all sniffly.  This was followed by a pretty terrible night sleep (which is completely out of the ordinary for Mabel) and more sniffles the next day.

As I’m sure most new parents would, I went to those aforementioned friends and family to ask their advice and thoughts.  Without that, I would have probably panicked.  How nice it is just to know people are there, people have already lived it or are living it now.  Other babies in the world have eaten red pepper.  Other parents in the world know that it’s a nightshade vegetable (I hadn’t even heard of this before yesterday) and could be tricky for newly formed eaters.  Or it could be teething.  Or it could just be one of the many thousand rashes that babies apparently get (shout out to my most pragmatic of friends for that nugget of calming wisdom).

The moral of the story: we will avoid red pepper for a few days and let Mabel get back to her unspotty self.  We will also, on the better judgement of friends, keep introducing new foods without fear.  And finally, we will appreciate the support network we have, in all its different forms and locations.

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