Breastfeeding, Child development, Fertility, First time Mum, food, Parent, Weaning

National Breastfeeding Week

As it is national breastfeeding week I wanted to share my breastfeeding journey so here goes.
I always knew I wanted to try and breastfeed but I also knew that it might not work for me and I was happy to just see what happened. If my baby needed to have formula instead then that is what would happen. Fed is best after all. I even had bottles and a perfect prep machine just in case. 

Let me start at the beginning. When Samuel was born he was placed on my chest for that first skin to skin cuddle. Like all mums, I’m sure, who had just experienced labour I was in a bit of a daze and to be honest those first moments are still a bit of a blur. Samuel was then taken to be checked over and then placed back on me. The midwife suggested that I encourage him to latch on and feed. Before Samuel was born the midwife had asked if I wanted to breastfeed. At no point did I feel pressured to do so. You hear stories about how newborn babies move up their mothers chests and latch on by themselves and that’s exactly what Samuel did. He just knew what he was doing straight away. Within minutes we had established breastfeeding and it just felt so natural. 
Samuel was born at 12:01am and at 6:30am of that same morning we were sat at home on our sofa with Samuel still feeding like a pro. The next day a feeding consultant came to see how we were getting on and to be honest it seemed like the easiest thing in the world. Two days later Samuels weight was checked and he had actually gained. After 4 years of struggling to conceive I felt like my body was finally doing something right. 
When Samuel was about 3 weeks old I expressed my first bottle and Samuel happily took it. However expressing is not something I have done a lot of. From about 4 months old Samuel took a formula bottle and if I ever needed to leave him he would just have the formula. 
Thankfully I have never suffered with any of the pain associated with breastfeeding. Even at the beginning I didn’t get the engorgement people talk about and other than the odd leak through my top it has been pretty plain sailing (touch wood). 
Now Samuel is on solids and has extra formula bottles he breastfeeds less. We are down to morning and night feeds and the occasional afternoon one but it is still working for us. I go back to work in just over a week and it will just be those morning and night feeds that continue. Samuel also turns 1 in 6 weeks time and after that who knows. I don’t have a plan. We will continue to do what works for us and what we feel comfortable with. 

Baby products, Child development, First time Mum, food, Parent, Weaning

Weaning Wednesday – Embrace the mess!

A couple of weeks ago something just clicked. Samuel had started refusing food, especially anything taken off a spoon. Weatabix and yogurt that he had once loved he was now turning his nose up at. Then one day I just left the spoon on the table and Samuel grabbed it and put it to his mouth. I placed the bowl in front of him and he began to attempt to scoop out the food using the spoon and put it to his mouth. 

By the end of the meal there was food everywhere with Samuel using his hand to scoop and then licking it off. But he had eaten it and he enjoyed it. The next meal we did the same, gave a spoon to Samuel and placed the bowl in front of him. Again lots of mess but the food was being mostly eaten. 

Now we just give Samuel his food and let him get on with it. We don’t interfere and weatabix and yogurt are back on the menu. Yes it can get messy but let’s embrace the mess. Who said having children was a clean job anyway!

Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, food, Parent, Sleep, Weaning

Samuel at 9 months

I can’t believe we are at this point already! Samuel has nearly been here as long as he was growing inside me. He just amazes us everyday. He is so clever. I know all parents say that and it’s always true. 

Gross Motor

Samuel is able to crawl and pull himself up to standing on sturdy furniture. He is able to sit himself up from laying down or crawling by getting up on his hands and feet. He still loves to walk holding both hands. 

Fine Motor

Samuel is much more purposeful with his movements. He is able to grasp anything he needs and swap between his hands. Even at this early stage he seems to be favouring his right hand. Samuel is able to keep hold of an object for long periods of time such as his dummy or his cup. He loves filling and emptying and attempts to put lids back on things. 

Cognitive 

Samuel actively explores the world around him. Now he is on the move he is literally into everything. He lifts things to see what is underneath and is copying actions such as shaking his head, clapping and waving. 

Communication 

Samuel loves to talk and will babble phrases of 3/4 syllables. He babbles frequently even when alone and listens with more interest to familiar words such as Mummy, Daddy and water and to familiar songs such as Wind the Bobbin up. Samuel is able to say Mama and Dada. He also seems to say hello in context. 



Social

Samuel is such a flirt and will put on the smile for people who show him attention. He loves to play Peekaboo and likes to talk to the ‘Mirror Baby’. Samuel is now able to wave bye and likes to share his toys and food (although he doesn’t actually want you to keep them). He loves other children and had so much fun on holiday with his big cousin. 

Feeding

Samuel is still breastfeeding on demand and still needs a feed during the night to settle him quickly back to sleep. He also has 1-2 formula bottles a day. Samuel loves his food, especially finger foods that he can feed himself. He now has 4 teeth. 2 at the top and 2 at the bottom, and 2 more top teeth trying to come through. 

Sleeping

Samuel is still not a great sleeper. He has still never slept through the night and we spend a lot of time co-sleeping. He is down to 2 naps a day and has to be really tired to fall asleep if we are somewhere new (nosey baby). When we are at home though he is sleeping in his own room for the first part of the night which means Lee and I have got our evenings back. He loves to nap in the car and will often fall asleep even if he has only just had a nap. We do not and will not use the car as a sleep aid though but often try and time our journeys around nap time where possible. 

Samuel has achieved so much already and being his Mummy really is the best job in the world! 

Baby products, Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, food, Parent, Weaning

Weaning Wednesday – Breakfast

Breakfast is never something I have been good at. Before getting pregnant it was very rare that I had breakfast and if I did, it would have to be an hour or so after I woke up. When I found out I was expecting I made the effort to always eat something but it is never anything exciting and I fear I am going down the same route with Samuel. I seem to be giving him the same things and have only, a couple of times, tried to mix it up a bit. By writing this post I hope to inspire myself to get more adventurous with both Samuels and my own breakfast choices. 

When we first introduced Samuel to breakfast we started off with rusk mixed with a bit of milk. This went down well and as he got used to it we made it thicker and thicker. We then moved on to baby porridge. We used the plain aptimal one and Samuel loved it. This was something we then stuck with for a long time as we knew he would eat it. It wasn’t until he was nearly 7 months that we tried other things. 

Toast is now a popular choice with Samuel. We just toast it lightly and cut into strips. Weatabix is also a favourite and I just mix it up with some warm formula milk. 

This week Samuel has tried scrambled egg, which he really liked and the new Ella’s Kitchen brekkie pouches which he has also found tasty. 

Samuels other breakfast tries have been beans on toast, crumpets and American pancakes. Over the next few weeks it is my aim to try some of the breakfast choices from the list I posted last week and hopefully make our mornings a little more interesting. 

Baby products, Child development, First time Mum, food, Parent, Weaning

Weaning Wednesday – 75 finger foods for babies

Whilst out with some of my lovely NCT Mummy friends we got on to the conversation of finger foods and what is suitable to give to our 7, 8 and 9 month olds. So I wanted to put together a list of ideas. One of the Mummys in particular has been amazing at the whole baby led weaning and her little one will literally eat anything. A few of the ideas I have magpied off her, some we have tried ourselves and some we are still yet to give ago. 

  1. c a r r o t s – cut into sticks and cooked until soft.
  2. b r o c c o l i  – cut into florets and cooked until soft.
  3. c a u l i f l o w e r – cut into florets and cooked until soft.
  4. b e l l  p e p p e r s – roasted with a bit of olive oil and then the skin removed.
  5. b e l l  p e p p e r s – raw cut into strips.
  6. a s p a r a g u s – cook until soft.
  7. b u t t e r n u t  s q u a s h – roasted.
  8. b a b y  c o r n – cook until soft. 
  9. p a r s n i p s – roasted, steamed or boiled.
  10. g r e e n  b e a n s – steamed or boiled. 
  11. m a s h  p o t a t o  b i t e s – click link for recipe.
  12. c h i p s – oven roasted.
  13. p o t a t o  w e d g e s – oven roasted.
  14. s w e e t  p o t a t o  f r i e s – oven roasted.
  15. c u c u m b e r – cut into strips.
  16. v e g g i e  b a k e s – click link for recipe.
  17. p e a r – cut into slices or poached with cinnamon.
  18. a p p l e – cut into slices. 
  19. m a n g o – cut into strips.
  20. p e a c h e s – fresh or tined in juice.
  21. m e l o n – cut into strips.
  22. f r u i t  t o a s t
  23. r a s p b e r r i e s – use with the Biubee baby food feeder
  24. s t r a w b e r r i e s – whole or using the baby food feeder.
  25. b l u e b e r r i e s – using the baby food feeder.
  26. b l a c k b e r r i e s – using the baby food feeder.
  27. g r a p e s – sliced length ways or using the baby food feeder. 
  28. b a n a n a – cut into strips.
  29. a v o c a d o – cut into strips.
  30. t o m a t o e s – sliced.
  31. a p r i c o t s – cut into slices.
  32. o r a n g e – split into small segments.
  33. p i n e a p p l e – sticks or slices.
  34. p l u m s – halves or wedges.
  35. w a t e r m e l o n – cut into strips.
  36. p o t a t o  s c o n e s – click link for recipe.
  37. s u g a r  f r e e  m u f f i n s – click link for recipe.
  38. b a n a n a  p a n c a k e s – click link for recipe.
  39. m u s h r o o m s – cooked and sliced.
  40. b r o c c o l i , c h i c k e n  &  p o t a t o  b i t e s – click link for recipe.
  41. b a n a n a  t o a s t – click link for recipe. 
  42. s h r e d d e d  l e t t u c e.
  43. c o u r g e t t e – cooked until soft and cut into strips.
  44. m a s h e d  a v o c a d o  s a n d w i c h e s. 
  45. p o t a t o  &  b u t t e r n u t  s q u a s h  t o t s – clink link for recipe.
  46. b r o c c o l i  &  c h e e s e  f r i t t a t a  f i n g e r s – click link for recipe.
  47. s w e e t  p o t a t o  p a n c a k e s – click link for recipe.
  48. v e g e t a r i a n  s a u s a g e s – click link for recipe.
  49. c h e e s y  s w e e t c o r n  f r i t t e r s – click link for recipe.
  50. 3  i n g r e d i e n t  m u f f i n s – click link for recipe.
  51. b r e a d  s t i c k s.
  52. p i t t a  b r e a d.
  53. t o a s t – cut into strips.
  54. c h i c k e n – shredded.
  55. n a n n  b r e a d.
  56. h a r d  c h e e s e – in sticks, cubes or grated.
  57. c r e a m  c h e e s e  s a n d w i c h e s.
  58. c r u m p e t s.
  59. f r e n c h  t o a s t – click link for recipe.
  60. f r o z e n  y o g u r t  d r o p s.
  61. m i n i  r i c e  c a k e s.
  62. c o o k e d  p a s t a.
  63. e g g s – hard boiled cut into wedges.
  64. e g g s – scrambled.
  65. o m e l e t.
  66. f i s h  f i n g e r s.
  67. e n g l i s h  m u f f i n.
  68. g n o c c h i.
  69. c h e e s e  o n  t o a s t.
  70. t u n a – flaked.
  71. g a r l i c  b r e a d.
  72. m i n i  e d a m  c h e e s e.
  73. c h e e s e  s t r a w s.
  74. t u n a  m a y o n n a i s e  s a n d w i c h e s.
  75. m i n i  p a n c a k e s.

So there we go. I hope some of these ideas inspire you to try something new with your little ones. 

I would love to hear about any ideas you have for finger foods. 

    Baby products, Child development, First time Mum, Parent, Weaning

    Weaning Wednesday – shop bought baby foodΒ 

    Ok let’s be honest making up batches of baby food can be a bit of a faff. You have to remember to take it out the freezer to defrost and it turns out they don’t even like what you have made and you still have 20 portions in deep freeze. Honestly I have only gone out a couple of times and bought specific veg to make batches for Samuel. Other times I have just used left overs from our food (see previous Weaning Wednesday post) and the rest of the time he has a pouch of shop bought baby food. The convenience when out for the day also means pouches are often on our shopping list. 

    We started Samuel off, when he began weaning, with the individual veg pouches from Ella’s Kitchen. These were fab as I didn’t waste time making loads of batches of food he didn’t like. It was especially good when introducing fruit as it meant a lot less waste. 

    We have also used pouches further down the line when introducing meat and new flavours like mint and vanilla. We have found the Piccolo pouches especially good for this and Samuel seems to really enjoy them. 

    I know some people are really against shop bought baby food but I know the products we are using are organic and with no added salt or sugar. In fact most days Samuel eats better than I do. 

    What are your thoughts on using shop bought baby food?

    Are there any brands you would recommend? 

    Baby products, Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, Parent, Weaning

    Weaning Wednesday – using up the leftoversΒ 

    This week I thought I would share a couple of really simple recipes that we have tried.

    The first is super easy and great for using up any leftover mash potato.

    Mashed Potato Lego Bites

    1. Blend the leftover mash to make it even smoother.
    2. Spoon into ice-cube trays (we used Lego shaped ones hence ‘Lego Bites’) and freeze.
    3. To cook pop the frozen shapes onto a non-stick baking tray, spray with oil and lightly sprinkle on some mixed herbs.

    Pop in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 18 minutes or until golden brown on top.
    The next recipe is great for using up any leftover vegetables. These would be lovely with sweetcorn or sweet potato. 

    Veggie Bites

    1. First cook all the vegetables you want to include. We used potato, carrots, frozen peas, parsnip and cauliflower. It’s important that you include either potato or sweet potato though. 
    2. Blend or mash all the vegetables together. I mashed as I wanted a slightly thicker consistency as we are trying to get Samuel to eat more textured food.
    3. Add mild grated cheese whilst the mixture is still warm so it melts in.
    4. Add 1 egg and mix well.
    5. Roll a small handful into a ball, coat in breadcrumbs and flatten slightly onto a baking sheet. Make sure you grease the tray or use grease proof paper as they tend to stick. 
    6. Place in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for around 25-30 minutes turning halfway through. 

    The Bites can be placed in the freezer before cooking. Just defrost before popping in the oven. 

    Samuel seemed to like them especially the Veggie Bites. Lots of messy fun! 

    He liked them even more the next day when they were cold.