Wednesday, 10 August 2011

New chair

Wow, it's ages since my last blog.  Though what I can say about blw hasn't already been said.

It's still going really strong and Anya is just loving her grub!  She has such a love of food that she would like to pass across to everyone else, including the dog, Bobby.  She keeps going in his cupboard, grabbing his biscuits and chasing him around the room until he eats them.  Today she emptied his whole bag of food over the kitchen floor just so she could put some in his bowl!

I've put her highchair away today.  It was getting in the way a bit so she's progressed to a 'booster' seat, or big girl's seat as Mia says.  The only trouble is that there is no tray so she sat with us at the kitchen table.

It was lovely to sit together, all 3 of us girls in a row, but she was tired and her veggie cottage pie ended up all over the place.  None on the floor now though as Bobby ate it.  I had some on my arm, face, shoulder, pants (trousers for the posh people, not knickers) and she had it all over her face.  Though when you look at the amount she actually ate she did quite well.  I would've taken a photo but my camera on my phone died ages ago and I daren't touch Archie's cameras, especially at tea-time with the kids. He'd kill me!

We'll see how the booster chair goes but if she carries on making such a mess I may have to bring the highchair back.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Mucky Mucky stuff

Letting your baby feed themselves is very very mucky.

Though I think I may have made it muckier today.

I'd made vegetable stew and dumplings.  This is one of my favourite meals and when I like something I make sure the bowl is totally emptied I've finished.  I think this is a very northern working class thing but at the end of my meal I licked my plate!

If you haven't done it before you really should try it, especially if you've had chips and gravy!

Anyway, as I finished licking the plate I turned around to see Anya doing exactly the same thing.  She was covered in stew but she had a huge smile on her face.  Oh well, food is fun.

P.S. I must add, after looking at my previous posts, that Anya is still breastfed and we managed to overcome the little blip that she went through a while ago.  She had a morning and evening feed and two daytime feeds just before she has a nap if she wants.  If we're out she sometimes skips the daytime feeds but she doesn't seem fazed by it.  And since she's been in her own room she sleeps through (mainly, touch wood!) which is GREAT.  I still don't want to stop feeding her yet so I'm very happy with how things are going.  Let's hope the weaning process can be a joint decision.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Does blw work?

Sometimes I wonder if babyled weaning works.

I didn't do it with my eldest daughter and she eats well, though she is going through a fussy stage.

As for my youngest daughter who was babyled weaned - she eats anything and everything!  She knows her dislikes and likes but if she sees anyone else eating she wants it.

Perhaps it's just a phase where she wants to copy everyone but boy does she have an appetite.

I'll see what she's like when she gets to 3 so I can compare her to her older sister, but for now...


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Fast Food Baby

Did anyone see the fast food baby programme on BBC 3 last night?

It was very interesting although quite unbelievable in parts.  Like the 19 year old who only ever gave her son junk food as that's all she ate.  She smoked, ate junk food and drank and had recently suffered a heart attack.  Er, do people think they're invincible?

But it was good to see her attempting to cook healthy meals at home.

It's interesting to see that we sometimes still hold old fashioned values when it comes to feeding.  Don't play with your food, be quiet and eat up, use a knife and fork.

Tonight we had veggie stew and dumplings with new potatoes.  Anya loves it and so does Mia but I think she was tired by 5pm and a bit bored with it, so I bet her that she couldn't eat all her tea using only her hands!  Very messy but a challenge.  The dumplings were great to eat with hands, as were the new potatoes, but the veg stew was definitely trickier.  She did a really good job and in the end her plate had a lot less food on it than if I'd have made her eat it with a knife and fork.

Food really should be enjoyable.  It should be healthy (not all of the times, don't forget the treats!) and excite all our senses.

I love halloumi cheese, especially as you can grill and fry it, but mainly for the texture.  I love the fact that you can have a good old chew.  My mum doesn't like the squeak but it doesn't bother me.  I once had veggie fish and chips in a restaurant and the 'veggie fish' was deep fried halloumi - it was absolutely gorgeous. So much so that it we go back to that restaurant, I know exactly what I'm having.

There's no denying I love my grub but food to me is a pleasure.  Yes there are times when I get fed up of cooking and we may resort to a chippy tea but healthy food doesn't have to be boring.  As a veggie I'm often getting asked if I only eat salad (still can't believe people as me this in 2011) but the thing is I really don't like salad.  Unless it's got loads of olives, cheese, dressing etc otherwise I think salad's really boring.  But I can still eat healthily without eating salad all the time!

Let's just relax at meal times, remember that fresh, home cooked food tastes so much better than convenient food and is a dam sight cheaper, and let's lead by example to our kids.

But also let's lead by example to other adults.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Hurray - my book has arrived

I got a text off the library today to say my book has arrived.  You know, the one I reserved months ago, over 6 months in fact.

The one by Gill Ripley - baby led weaning.

Thank goodness it has arrived otherwise I wouldn't have a clue what I'm doing!!!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Oh wait a minute - she might be back on the breast feeding

Perhaps my hard work is paying off.

Anya is feeding during the night and waking up to a morning feed and she even fed during the day twice this week.

And for the first time in about a week she had a feed before bedtime.

I'm loving it so I'll make the most of it while I can.  Let's hope she continues.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Breast no more (I think)

Boo hoo.

Anya is definitely giving up breast feeding.  I had a bad bug last week and was very dehydrated but I continued to feed as much as I could.  Luckily Anya didn't get it but Mia did.

However, at the end of the week I noticed that Anya would bite me while feeding. Now I'm not talking a little gummy bite, or even a playful bite, it was a massive full-on bite. And it bloody hurt.

I also noticed that my let down was taking longer to happen and she would get very frustrated.  We had a lot of screaming on her part.  She wanted the milk but it wasn't happening quick enough and when it did happen she would often bite.  So she spent a lot of time playing and doing her best not to feed.  A couple of times I just let it go, but when she started to miss her bedtime feeds, that's when I started to get concerned.

Mia had a nursing strike at 9 months and it was awful.  The worst thing was that I really didn't want to give her formula but at 9 months either I expressed or I gave her formula, she couldn't have cows milk.  In the end I expressed for two months until I had made the decision to go easy on myself and give her formula.  But I still wasn't really happy with it.  After being used to breastmilk for so long Mia hated formula (and it stunk) so luckily she wasn't on it too long before we put her on cows milk.

Luckily Anya is already used to cows milk on her cereal so if I need to she can have that.

She has still been waking up for a night feed and she had a night feed last night.  I remember thinking to cherish every moment as that might have been our last feed together.

I've done everything I can to get her back onto breast feeding, expressed frequently to increase milk supply, tried distraction attempts so she wouldn't bite, put up with the biting (sometimes nearly crying with pain), tried nipple shields (she just wants to play with them and bite them and tried different positions.  She's been to the doctors just to make sure she didn't have an ear infection.  The doctor said she did have a slight ear infection but nothing that wouldn't clear up on it's on and to use calpol 3 times a day.  She's also having something to soothe her throat as I suspected she had a bit of a sore throat.

I really don't think there is anything else I can do apart from accepting my breast feeding days are coming to an end.

I should focus on the joys that I've had as a breastfeeding mother and how lucky I am that things always go smoothly (apart from now).

But I still wish she was feeding, a lovely snuggle at the end of the day for the bedtime feed is wonderful, in fact a snuggle at anytime of the day for a feed is wonderful.

When I started to feed Anya I used to say as long as she feeds past age 1 I'll be happy.  She's 1 on Monday so I suppose I'll let her off the hook.

She didn't feed tonight but we still had a little snuggle.

The only trouble with stopping breastfeeding is your hormones returning to a non-feeding mother.  I know I'll be craving a third baby!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Choking vs Gagging

I posted on twitter a couple of weeks ago that I certainly saw the difference between choking and gagging.

How this came about was totally by mishap and by my oldest daughter being a bit careless.

Normally we make sure that all the small toys aren't on the floor or within grabbing reach of Anya and Mia knows certain toys aren't suitable for a toddler.

However, she had a tube of bubble mixture and in her excitement to play with them she dropped (or probably threw!) the lid on the floor.

We were totally oblivious to this, however Anya wasn't.

I saw Anya sit on the floor and start to gag.  But she was silent and started to go red in the face.  She wasn't eating anything at the time so I wondered what was happening.  I suddenly became aware that she was struggling with something but we had no idea what.  Just as I realised she was actually choking she started to vomit.  This often happens during a particularly bad case of gagging but is often accompanied by noise.

This time we could see her being sick and a few seconds later out popped the lid of the bubble mixture.  To our amazement.

I'm glad I was experienced at watching her gagging otherwise I think I would've rushed and grabbed her without seeing what her body does.  That may have made things worse and perhaps she would've swallowed the cap down further, but thankfully it came up itself.

We didn't even see her eating it so I wasn't sure how far down it had gone, but for her to choke like that it was definitely further down than her gag reflex.  Luckily out it popped.

Mia couldn't be blamed too much but we had to strongly warn her about the dangers of throwing her toys on the floor.  I think seeing Anya choking made her realise how serious it can be.

And how was Anya after the little incident.

Her normal self and looking for something else to eat!

What did I learn from this? To watch first before acting otherwise things could get worse.  And when you feel you need to then step in.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Back to basics

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted on here.  At least having kids keeps you busy!

I'm finding at the moment we're starting at the beginning with baby led weaning i.e. it's all about learning about food, texture, smell, sight, then perhaps taste.

Everytime I put anything in front of Anya she wants to squash it all in her hands.  Only once it's been squashed to a pulp will she start to taste it.  Very tidy - NOT.

However, if I spoon feed her she'll eat it fine. Typical, give a spoon fed baby the chance to feed themselves and they love it but give a blw baby the chance to be spoon fed and she loves it!

Oh well, bath night every night in our household.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Table Manners Please

Having kids changes everything. Your WHOLE LIFE.

It's hard work and you never have a day off but it's so much fun and I've never laughed and smiled as much in my life (and I used to laugh and smile a lot before kids!).

I don't mind the noise (actually I make just as much as the kids), I don't mind the mess (again, I make just as much as the kids) but  I really really miss a nice quiet sit down meal.

And blw is easy too.  At least I can eat along with the kids even if it isn't quiet or relaxed or particularly civilized.

Basically this is how a meal goes in our house.

Mia sit's down to eat. 
Anya starts to shout as she knows food is coming and wants to go in her chair.
I bring the food to the table.

I put Anya's bib on.
And shout at the dog to get off the mat under Anya's chair.
Then I bring the food in.

"Mummy, please can you tuck me in?"
I leave my seat to tuck Mia in. Then sit back down.
"Get off the mat Bobby."

"Mummy, you've tucked me in too much, please can you move me back?"
Once more I leave my seat to readjust Mia's chair and sit back down to my meal.
"Bobby, shift!"
"Anya, don't bounce too much in your chair, you're banging your head on the back."

"Mummy, you forgot to get me a drink."
Slight harumph "Ok, I'll get it now."
Once again I leave my seat, get Mia a drink and sit back down to my meal, which is getting colder by the minute.
I kick the dog.

"Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr."  Then Anya proceeds to drop food on the floor.

"Mummy, I need a wee."
"Arrrrrrrrrrr", and this time it's me and not Anya!  So quick potty trip whilst trying to see that Anya is ok and not banging her chair so much that it will topple over, then back to my meal.  Up again as I've forgot to wash my hands.
"Bobby get off the bloody mat. Sorry Mia, Mummy said a naughty word."
Anya drops more food and tries to take her bib off.  Then tries to fling herself across the room in her highchair.

"woof woof"
Oh for goodness sake!  The dog needs to go out.  Once again I leave my meal and let the dog out.  No point in sitting down as he'll be in in a minute so I'll just be back up again.
Right, the dog has had a wee, the daughter has had a wee, I don't have time to have a wee so I sit down again.
This time I'm going to shove my tea down my throat in 5 seconds otherwise it will be stone cold.

"Mummy, I've finished.  Can you get me down please?"
"Mia, please can you wait until I've finished my tea?"
"But Mummy, I want to get down."
"Mia, please give me 2 minutes to finish my tea.  Anya, stop banging your head."
Anya has eaten all that she wants and is now rubbing her face with her hands which are covered in food.  

("Oh Mummy, I need a wee."  I can't even type this blog without being interrupted.  Where was I? Oh, Mia wants to get down, Anya is covered in food and I still haven't finished my tea.)

Meanwhile Mia has tried to get down and is stuck.  "Argh, Mummy help me, I'm stuck."
I give up!
The dog's eaten Anya's food, except the banana which he's left as he doesn't like it, so that's all over the carpet, Anya is covered in food, Mia is bottomless as she doesn't want her pants back on, and I wolfed down my tea that quickly that I didn't enjoy it.

Oh I miss my adult meal times!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

New media hype about breast feeding exclusively for 6 months.

As a baby led weaner and one that exclusively breastfed both my daughters for 6 months I feel that I must comment on this new information in the media.

Firstly it must be pointed out that this study is not about breast feeding and it states almost immediately in the study that the evidence about breast feeding basically speaks for itself, but it is about weaning and when to wean.
Nor does it actively promote bottle feeding or jar feeding in babies.  It simply discusses certain issues, albeit in a slightly biased way!
When you read the study bear in mind that 3 of the 4 authors are associated with baby food companies.
And also bear in mind that researchers can argue their points by using previous research to back up what they believe and not using research that doesn’t back it up.  My many years at university certainly taught me that!
Plus this study is a review of previous data and not based on new data.  So - same data, different views.
I’ll break down my findings on the study and then bullet point what I believe is important (again, my results will obviously be biased!)
I’ll tackle this first seeing as the media seems to be going mad over it.
There are certain studies that suggest if food is introduced before 3 to 4 months then there is an increased risk of allergy.  But our guidelines advise against introducing any foods before 3 to 4 months unless in exceptional circumstances or under medical guidance.
Another study suggests coeliac disease is increased if gluten is introduced after 6 months but fell if gluten is introduced after 4 months - BUT ALONGSIDE BREAST FEEDING.  No-where in the study does it say to stop breast feeding.
An American study suggests that wheat allergy (not coeliac) may be caused by introducing wheat after 6 months.  This study involved 1612 children and their findings were related to 4 children with wheat allergies who were introduced to wheat after 6 months.  What about the remaining children with no wheat allergies who were introduced to wheat after 6 months?
This study suggests delaying the introduction of solids may reduce the window of opportunity for new tastes.  I have serious doubts with this.  Breastfed babies get to taste the foods that their mothers eat in the breast milk and this is much more varied than formula fed babies (but the milk source isn’t the issue).  The study is concerned with delaying the start of weaning.
If you are doing baby led weaning then basically forget this.  The traditional method of weaning means food is pureed, given in single tastes at first i.e. pureed carrot or pureed apple, until the child is old enough to chew solids.  If you’re a blw then they are introduced to a vast array of tastes very early on, so much more than a traditionally weaned baby or jar weaned baby.
What this study also suggests is that weaning early may be important for accepting certain foods such as ‘green leafy veg’ and if a child doesn’t accept ‘green leafy veg’ then this can lead to obesity.
WHAT?  Is an educated parent really going to stop giving their child ‘green leafy veg’ or healthy foods just because it doesn’t like it?  My parents don't like curries and we never had them as children but they're my favourite meals - how does that work then???

Breastfeeding and baby led weaning helps to reduce obesity.  Breastfed babies stop when they’ve had enough and we have no way of knowing how much they’ve had.  They listen to their bodies (as we should too as adults).  Baby led weaned babies stop when they’re full (and generally show they’re full by throwing the food all over you!).
The study reports two different views of weaning ages and weight issues.  It reports one study suggested later introduction of complimentary feeding (I like this term) protects against overweight in adulthood.  Another study showed babies exclusively breastfed for 6 months had a higher bmi than babies exclusively breastfed for 3 months but these were only measured when the babies were aged 1 and not in adulthood.
This has been the bane of my life!  As a vegetarian I am constantly telling people where I can get my iron sources from and how I compensate for not getting easily absorbed iron levels in meat.
And now I have to battle it with having vegetarian breastfed children.
I found the following information on the NHS library and it makes very interesting reading.
Basically breastmilk has a relatively low iron content but the iron is bound inside the lactoferrin molecule, which makes it easier for the infant to absorb.  Infant formula contains 5-6 times as much iron as breastmilk.  This is present as “free iron” (i.e. not bound with another compound) and is therefore harder to absorb and it also supports growth of iron-seeking bacteria, thus increasing the risk of gut infection in the infant.
Therefore, in spite of the apparently low levels of iron in breastmilk, exclusively breastfed babies do get enough iron, and they are protected against iron-deficiency anaemia until at least six months of age, and often longer.
I had a constant battle with a doctor over my first daughter’s iron levels. In the end she sent her for blood tests and her iron levels came back absolutely normal.  That shut her up!
So basically this is what the study says
  • Introducing a child to certain foods before 4 months and after 6 months MAY increase certain allergies but it does not at any point recommend a mother to stop breast feeding. (Phew Anya was 5 months and approx 25 days when I started weaning her. Just got in there.)
  • Breastfed babies may not like ‘green leafy veg’ and may in turn get fat.  Er...that does not warrant a response!
  • Breastfed babies might not get enough iron.  Breastmilk contains all the iron a baby needs and if hospitals practised delayed cord cutting at birth a baby would have increased iron supplies too.

My main worries with this new study and the way it is being reported in the media is that people will falsely assume breast feeding causes allergies.  That’s not the case. They are saying delayed weaning may cause allergies.  But if you don’t delay weaning and feed from 4 months then you’ll have to puree the food which goes against baby led weaning.  And unless you’re pureeing all your own food you’ll probably buy jars - and don’t forget, 3 out of the 4 authors are associated with baby food companies.
Sounds like someone needs funding for their university!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Weaning friendly yoghurts?

I bought some Muller Little Star fromage frais as Mia and Anya love them.  But recently I noticed they are advertised as being ideal for weaning.

Ideal for weaning?!  The third ingredient is sugar.

That my friend is not ideal for weaning.  I'd rather have natural sugars occurring from fruit within the yoghurt.  Not loads of sugar then fruit.

So from now on I'm using natural yoghurts and pureeing my own fruit so I at least know where the sugar comes from.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

BLW ideas for meals

My New Year's Resolution is to ask more.

So in keeping with my resolution I would like to ask everyone for ideas for blw meals.

I'm trying to compile a file of the best ideas for breakfasts, lunches and teas, oh and snacks, so if all of you expert baby led weaners could let me have your ideas I would greatly appreciate it.

I'll keep posting them on here as they come in so we can all help each other.

Many thanks in advance.