Weaning

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So we recently went to an “Introducing Solids” workshop with our NCT class leader which quite honestly taught me a lot about weaning. For those of you that know me, Nigella Lawson I am not … well when it comes to cooking at least.

Zak always laughs at my cooking – my speciality being a spaghetti bolognaise or a chilli (essentially a spag bol with a bit of chili powder and replace the rice with pasta). I can however tell you the best of Tesco Finest Range compared to Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference meals. With my dad being not only French, a trained chef and his claim to fame being opening Liverpool’s first patisserie on Lark Lane, you would have thought I would have picked up a few tips on the way… Instead I developed a penchant for cakes, be indifferent that i’d get home from school and we’d be having pheasant for dinner and used to say that one of my favourite foods as a child was escargots (insert eek face emoji here).

And now here I am faced with having to feed my child and teach them good habits! Layla is nearing 6 months and is still exclusively breast fed (this is not by choice but more that she turns into the fucking Exorcist when you try to give her a bottle). Perseverance I hear you say? – we currently have 12 different types of bottles, have tried different formulas – Aptamil, Cow & Gate, Hipp Organic and SMA and have listened to her “why are you trying to torture me with this latex piece of shit” screams one too many times – it was harder in the beginning when my boobs used to fill each time she cried, the worst was when they just used to squirt her in the face as I was trying to put a bottle in her mouth. So I resigned myself to keep going until she was ready for solids and here we are…

How did I know she was ready for solids? – at around 5 months she started to show interest in what we were eating, licking her lips and making “mmm” sounds – emulating her mum as I tucked into a Magnum ice-cream. Her new talent is also putting everything into her mouth and favourite chewable toy is her fist. The NHS recommends from 6 months but as I say to EVERY mum I meet – trust your instincts, you know your baby better than anyone and will see when their food habits change.

So for the first 6-8 months they say you should start with:

  • Vegetables (avoiding potatoes, tomatoes, peppers)
  • Fruits (avoiding citrus fruits)
  • Pulse and grains (avoid if there are any signs of allergies)
  • Protein (small amounts of fish, poultry and meat)
  • Dairy (should be full fat yoghurts /cheeses

Foods to avoid when weaning? – full list here

So with that in mind, what did I try first? We’ve gone with purees which is different to Baby Led Weaning (BLW) meaning they feed themselves by picking and choosing what they want to try and based on what you eat. I think the best story I heard from one of the girls was how her baby loved sucking on a chicken leg aged just 6 months! ‘Kin’ell one step at a time love…

So here is my really adventurous recipe:

Baked carrot and parsnip puree -make sure you give the vegetables a good wash before peeling. I then cut them into strips, drizzled a bit of olive oil over them and placed into the oven to bake until they were soft (you can also steam the vegetables, but avoid boiling as this decreases the nutrients). Unfortunately given my cooking skills I mention above, I burned the shit out of some of the parsnips (which myself and Zak later hoovered up). From those that we salvaged, I added to the blender with a bit of Aptamil formula mix until it reached a puree form. Layla’s verdict? …

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This seemed to go down really well, that was until she started choking / gagging on a random bit of carrot. You’ve never felt panic until you think your kid is choking. Main thing to remember – STAY CALM. A top tip is to blow into their faces and the baby will automatically take a deep breath in which could help dislodge – try it. There was recently a feature on This Morning video circulating around the web on what to do if your baby does start to choke – worth a watch

Our next taste sensation was mashed avocado and banana (with breast milk) which unfortunately didn’t go down as well. The best thing abut weaning your child? Watching the faces they pull as they taste new things!

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frozenIn terms of amounts, they say you should start with an ice-cube sized portion which leads me into my next point about where to store the purees I took over one of our ice trays – it’s not like I need them for my vodka-lemos any more 😦 Simply pop one into your baby bowl when you need it and slowly heat it up by placing into hot water. Nuking it in the microwave runs the risk of it being too hot in the middle and burning baby’s tongue. Don’t forget breastfed babies are only really used to “room temperature” liquids so it could be a shock for them.

This green shit you see is not gone off breast milk – but the remainder of our avo / banana delight stored in Breast milk storage bags ready for the freezer!

Would love to hear of any ideas / tips …

Right on that note, i’m off to make Zak’s dinner… need to ease off on the Deliveroo seeing how he recently had a bit of road rage with the delivery driver who dropped our curry off last week and nobody likes Madras with a side of spit.

Bon appetit babeses x

DISCLAIMER : Please note I am not a food expert / nutritionist and only write about my own experiences

My beautiful former self…

I remember the days of a good Blow… getting yourself all geared up. Being told to sit back, relax and maybe even a little head massage thrown in for good measure…

Now if you all get your minds out of the gutter, i’m talking about a blow dry. Being from Liverpool, there’s nothing more we love than a bit of pampering. Sitting for hours in your hairdresser’s chair spending hours on your phone catching up with the “real world” on social media.

I feel like I am the bearer of bad news to new mums but let’s face it – those days are gone. Just last week, I was throwing on a bottle dye at half 10 at night, praying the baby wouldn’t wake up until at least 10% of the 2000 grey hairs I developed were covered and wondering if I should dab a bit on my bald patches and the new found fuzz that has sprouted 5 months after giving birth. That night I went to bed with damp hair – the baby inevitably woke up, and the next morning catching sight of myself in a mirror terrified me – I looked like Diana Ross caught in a hurricane.

Forget spending close to an hour straightening the shit out of every last strand and whilst you’re at it – you might as well sell those curl pods you got last Christmas, sorry girls i’m going to introduce you to your favourite hairstyle (and brow shape) as a new mum…

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The affair I had with make-up has also changed, gone are the days of spending 20 minutes applying one set of fake lashes, right now its all about getting a bit of concealer on, a quick brush of bronzer so not to be asked “are you sick” when you see one of the neighbours.

I try to make an effort with my mum’s age old comment of “put a bit of lipstick on and everything will be alright” constantly ringing in my head but some days I just cannot be arsed. I look at some teenage girls today with their (mostly badly) contoured faces, smoky eyes and  drawn on lips having just paid for someone to do their make up for an hour just in case they see anyone whilst out shopping and think… just you fucking wait. It also scares the shit out of me reflecting back on how I looked when I was a teenager, wondering if the lad I was snogging the face off in the Howl at The Moon liked my silver glitter gel liner and hoping the body glitter I had ALL over me wouldn’t rub off on his blag Tommy Hilfinger shirt?! Such innocence!

Beauty tips or hacks for new mums? In the early days, I would however recommend some waterproof eyeliner and mascara – when you’ve been up all night feeding your baby every god damn hour but stupidly made plans to meet people the next day – the Pierot clown look don’t suit anyone.

Just remember happy mums are always the most beautiful x

 

 

Mama Shiz (what they don’t tell you)

So you’ve had your baby and you are absolutely, head over heels in love with this little person although there are some things you were just not prepared for. Here’s what they don’t tell you / what I wish i’d known…
1. BABY SHOWER – No-one buys you newborn stuff and goes for the safer option of 0-3 month clothes, cue the dash to Asda for some newborn onesies and outfits. The mums out there that do attend will buy you the essentials (sanitary pads, big knickers, Lanisoh nipple cream, nappies, wipes, nasal drops, infant calpol, more nappies…)
2. BLEEDING – I had a C-section and despite the no damage to my perfectly formed foof, you will bleed afterwards (hence the mamas in the know providing you with sanny pads!) and this usually lasts around 6 weeks. However, if you are breastfeeding, don’t expect a period until you stop.
3. C-SECTION NUMBNESS – you will probably lose all sensation in the area above your C-section scar… forever.
4. The PREGNANCY MASK (Chloasma) – During your pregnancy you may notice what you think are a few cute freckles appearing, they then start to get bigger and turn in to patches. This is the pregnancy mask and can last well after you’ve had the baby. Women have it in different places, unfortunately for me it’s on my cheeks and muzzy area … FIT. Apparently eating leafy greens can help it fade – just call me Popeye.
5. CHECKING BABY IS BREATHING – Putting your baby down for naps is terrifying. You keep checking on them to check they’re still alive and have a near heart attack when baby discovers it’s new trick of holding their breath which then lead you to poking them to see if they react and then ultimately waking them up… oh well who needs sleep anyway?! Following on from this a few months in when your baby decides they don’t like sleeping on their back and prefers burying their faces into you/their mattress – equally traumatic.
6. You develop NINJA SKILLS once you’re a mum which usually include getting into mad positions (that your husband would have appreciated in the earlier days) to get into bed without making a sound. You learn to do everything with one hand and anything you can’t do gets left.
7. Around 4 months in you will experience HAIR LOSS – apparently you lose approx 100 hairs a day which stops when with child! The estrogen you were producing when pregnant (and had hair to make Cheryl Cole jealous) decreases and causes your hair to come out, sometimes in clumps. You prob wont notice as much as washing and styling your hair becomes a thing of the past anyway! Do not, like I did, get a fringe cut in and expect it to compliment your bald patches.
8. PLOTTING YOUR HUSBAND’S DEATH – usually this comes just after you’ve gushed over him being the most loving; caring father that your baby could wish for, just before you all get into bed for the night. He then falls into a coma-like state and you are left breastfeeding in the dark, wondering how hard you can actually punch him in the ribs before he wakes up.
9. PSYCHOTIC THOUGHTS – I was a bit embarrassed to admit to this one until recently when driving back from Liverpool. Lovely husband was driving, baby was sleeping all was going well until we hit traffic – my head flushed with thoughts that we were going to be stuck there for weeks, miles away from any service station, the HGVs at the side of us were going to take a dramatic turn and crush us all to death. I burst into tears and the following came out of my mouth “If we have a crash and Layla dies and i’m on a life support machine, I just want you to switch it off” … luckily my gay husband was also in the car and told me to calm my tits and stop being so dramatic. I can laugh about this now but at the time I couldn’t explain it. Since talking to other mums it seems to be a thing, i’ve heard stories of “what if this stranger throws acid in my baby’s face in Tesco” or “what if my pram rolls off in front of the tube”. Having looked into it further, apparently this is all to do with your maternal instincts and your mind preparing itself for worse case scenarios to protect your baby.
10. You have not experienced pain until you have experience NIP-LASH – baby is mid-feed, baby is now more alert and likes to look around, something catches their attention, they jerk their head and take your nip with them. I can only imagine that this is what it feels like when men get kicked in the balls… worse than coming down too hard on a see-saw
Above everything, through the pain, tears and joy – you will feel a sense of the most OVERWHELMING LOVE that you can’t describe. There are days when I sit and stare at this little person wondering what path her life is going to take… I can’t wait!

Mama Shiz (Breastfeeding)

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This deserves a note in itself as quite possibly it’s the hardest thing about having a baby. After our escape from the hospital we got our beautiful baba home and then the reality set in – the kid needs feeding and it was up to me. Layla weighed 7lbs 8 when she was born and within a week had dropped down to 6lb 7 which apparently is completely normal – something else they don’t tell you.
Cue the daily visits from the midwives where they would weigh her and then look at me with an eye-roll highly disappointed that she had only put 100g on in 24 hours whilst I stared back at them looking like Worzel Gummage on a downer having just dabbed myself down with a wet wipe in an attempt to look lively… I have a bit of a love hate relationship with midwives – what gets me most is that the majority I met didn’t have children and yet tell you what is “best for baby”. They tend to come in when baby has JUST gone to sleep, wake her up, wonder why she’s crying and shoot you a smile/snarl that suggests – “don’t worry we’re here” – yes but you weren’t at 1am, 3am, 4am and 6.30am and just half an hour before you arrived when baby was screaming but yet refusing the boob BITCH
The pressure to breastfeed was massive – I received lots of conflicting advice “wake her up every two hours to feed her” / “don’t wake a sleeping baby”. I joined a group on Facebook called Liverpool Community BAMBIS which at times was a god send and at others (when you’ve spent 45 minutes trying to pump your boobs, proud that you got a table spoon’s worth and then some fucking Earth Mother posts 8 milk bottles full of freshly pumped goodness that she plans to feed her 3 year old- piss off!!!) sends you into a state of depression.
When I think back to the beginning, setting my alarm for every 2 hours, I just wished i’d listened to my own instincts. I used to sit up in bed, bracing myself for what was about to come – the baby sounded like a little pug dog who couldn’t get enough. My toes would actually curl at the pain (or was it the sight of my nips which were starting to resemble those African women’s off Comic Relief?!). It wasn’t until I had a visit from one extremely lovely midwife who was actually on her KIT day of her own maternity leave who told me about Multi Mams (http://www.boots.com/en/Multi-Mam-C…) – a miracle compress for your stinging, blood red nips and introduced me to nipple shields – there you go expectant mums you can thank me later. She also corrected the baby’s latch position (making me take her off the boob at least 10 times until it didn’t feel like my newborn had teeth) and hey presto – breast feeding became a different experience, dare I say enjoyable? The feeling you have when baby is staring up at you cupping your over inflated breasts with their tiny little hands, reminds you why you do it.
Layla is now in a phase of rejecting bottles – we’ve tried all sorts and one of my girlfriends actually had me off last week when she went to use google and the last search that was on my phone was “Boob shaped bottles” – yes that is what I was rejected to. Again something I wish I knew before was to introduce a bottle from day 1 – same time every night (whether that be your own milk or formula) – it will help with a “routine” – I hate that word. I’m going to try and keep at it for another couple of months at least when we will try and introduce solids – I already have my theme tune for the day I can give up completely and it’s all based on this Vodafone advert (where I plan to re-enact this replacing the letters with my breast pads) – you will later see me pissed as a fart in Soho after a 48 hour sesh.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still days when all I want to do is sit braless, in my big massive maternity knickers, eating a whole packet of Jaffa Cakes and crying my way through adverts (DIY SOS and One Born will no longer be on my watch list) but i’ve since learned that is ok, you need days like that. Give yourself a break new mums – I was sick and tired of hearing it… but it will get easier.
4 months on and I have added a new skill to my C.V. – BREASTFEEDING LYING DOWN – revolutionary! Nap and feed…. BINGO 🙂 Over and out x

Mama Shiz (the birth)

This post has been coming a while – I should have written about being pregnant but part of me was still trying to get my head around the whole thing plus all I really remember was that I couldn’t drink on my honeymoon, the smell of the michelin starred Thai restaurant we’d booked made me balk and that I was massively constipated for most of it – never mind Teddy’s Leg, I was passing Teddy’s torsos. Don’t get me wrong, this was something we always wanted, and doing the job that I do I thought I could plan and prepare to make the whole process easier, that was my first lesson learned – no matter how much you think you are organised, your world is about to be turned upside down.
At 38 weeks pregnant I was told that Layla was breech – she was basically using my cervix as a hammock. We went to visit a consultant who told us they could try and manually turn her. After mulling it over in Carluccios whilst stuffing in a quick Penne Giadiniera and a Sav blanc, we said yes… A decision that proved a lot more traumatic than I thought, the feeling I can only describe as someone trying to wring your insides out. She became distressed, I burst into tears and we put a stop to it realising that we were dealing with one stubborn little diva (she takes after her dad obvs!). Getting my head round not being able to have a natural birth was really difficult, visions of me singing along to a bit of Adele, digging my nails into Zak just to make him feel a bit of pain, whilst floating round a birthing pool like the Little Mermaid (in reality more like Keiko the Whale) were dashed.
On the plus side a date for the C-Section had been confirmed, I hot footed it to the hairdressers for a curly blow and put on a bit of Leopard Print (courtesy of nana Rose – my “lucky” top) and I was ready to go – GET THAT NEEDLE IN MY BACK AND CUT ME OPEN – I WANT TO MEET MY BABY!!
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All was going well – I remember us laughing away (I think it was the drugs that made me think Zak was funnier than he actually is) and then next minute a nurse whispered “Your baby has been born”… and then SILENCE. All we’d asked was that the baby was lifted above the curtain as soon as she was out but that didnt happen, little did we know she wasn’t breathing when born and was rushed to that little side table that you see on One Born Every Minute and think to yourself “oh nooo” and the Emergency Care button was pressed. What was probably 5 minutes felt like a lifetime, if Zak could he would have turned white, every man and his dog came running in… luckily once she had an audience, she let out a massive scream… whilst we let out a massive breath…
I was sent to a high dependency unit having lost a lot of fluids which was bliss- just a room full of new parents cooing over their babies. They encouraged me to get up and walk the same day and with the help of this amazing dressing (battery operated called the Pico!) I felt ok. Close family (and Peebs) came in to visit and before we knew it it was 1am. That first night on my own in the hospital with her was petrifying – I kept waking up asking where my baby was (she was right next to me… gotta love Morphine) and putting my finger under her nose to check she was still breathing – nearly 4 months on and we still do that.
Unfortunately this safe haven wasn’t to remain as I was later transferred to an antenatal ward due to a bed block situation, basically meaning I was surrounded by mums in labour. I was woken around 9am with what I can only describe as a BIG SCALLY BASTARD asking the nurse if there was any credit left on the TV before turning it on to watch Jeremy Kyle at full blast – I thought I was still high. BSB then turned on his partner asking her when she thought she would be finished because the hospital was and I quote… “fucking boring fam”. If that wasn’t bad enough I then had the Queen of Arabia opposite me, phoning everyone in her phone book for approximately 40 minutes a go and obviously reliving her contraction experience… in Arabic. Needless to say by lunchtime when my cavalry (mum and Zak) had arrived I just wanted to go home. The crux of it came when I had to try and wee in order to be discharged. Bearing in mind, I had just been cut open and told I was severely dehydrated, going the toilet took me slightly longer than usual…to which BSB had picked up on “She’s been in there ages blud, it’s probably going to stink of shit when she comes out”… delightful
I’ll leave you all with that thought before venturing into Mama Shiz (the aftermath) coming soon 🙂 x