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.