De-cluttering: KonMari style part I

I know this blog was originally intended to be about baby-led weaning but there’s only so much “look how much sweet potato Max ate” that I can write about before it gets boring. So I’m going to digress, okay? Good.

Since Max was born, our lives have become even more busy, complicated and full than ever before. We now have a stroller in the hall, Max’s car seat, several slings and baby carriers and a whole host of toys that we’d packed away only a year before. I’m not saying the place was pristine when it was just the three of us, far from it, but with two boys and a lot less free time to tidy, I find myself struggling to keep on top of the mess.

I’ve also found myself at a bit of a crossroads in my life. I’m a stay-at-home mum and that’s great for now but I know that I do eventually want to go back to work but I don’t want to go back to what I was doing before (business analyst, yawn). What I do want to do remains to be discovered but I am keen to use this time in my life to explore it properly and make a proper, once-in-a-lifetime type of decision. Continue reading

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Our baby-led weaning essentials

A quick post on the items that I have found essential to baby-led weaning.

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Baby-led weaning with Max

I’m a terrible blogger, I haven’t even blogged about the fact I had another child…

Max was born on 21st April this year. A quick and simple labour that couldn’t have been more different from the long, protracted experience I had with Seth. Since then, we’ve embraced a little attachment theory and have been exclusively breastfeeding, mainly babywearing and often bedsharing. It’s been hard, juggling two under two but exhilarating all the same.

Max is now 30 weeks and we started baby-led weaning with him at around 24 weeks. I know officially the guidelines say 26 weeks but we started Seth at 25 and Max was a week late by his due date so we’re even stevens. Besides, it’s not like every baby has an internal biological clock that says “hey, I’m exactly 26 weeks old and my gut matured overnight” right?

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15 weeks

I felt flutters! Bang on the 15 week mark. It was last night after I got out of the bath. It gave me that weird, excited and nervous feeling that I used to get when I first started feeling Seth move.

Quite an exciting development dontchathink?

In other news, I am plagued by (TMI) an upset stomach which goes a little way to explaining why I’ve only put on 2lbs so far. It’s not been debilitating so if it keeps the baby weight off, I’ll happily live with it. I have a weird suspicion it’s the Pregnacare supplement I’ve been taking since finishing my folic acid (and forgetting to take any kind of pre-natal supplement at all in weeks 12-14. Ooops).

I’m not being as sick still which is great and overall, have more energy, during the day at least. At night, my routine is very much kiss Seth goodnight, bath, fall asleep on sofa then stay awake half the night.

So, update time:

Weeks pregnant: 15

Fruit size comparison: Orange

Baby: Can move all joints and limbs. Can sense light through closed eyelids.

How I’m feeling: a little self-conscious about being too far away from my own loo but otherwise well. Some days I’m still dog-tired but I’m now in that weird phase where I don’t feel particularly pregnant because I’ve no sickness or nausea but no bump either. My boobs on the other hand, well, helloooooooooooooo!

Weight gained: 2lbs. You may or may not see this particular update in the weeks and months to come 😉

Appointments: None this week but have got my 16 week appointment with the midwife next week then I think it’s 20 week scan and “oh, hello you’ve had your baby” second time round, isn’t it? 😉

How’s Seth?: Fine, actually. Still has some rosy-cheeked days but we’ve had a lot less crank this week and more smiles, which has been lovely. The biggest plus side of all has seen him start regularly refusing his morning nap which, in turn, has meant a THREE HOUR one in the afternoon on some occasions! And even then, I’ve had to wake him! Bliss. Also, he’s been sleeping through like a boss. No smug face here, no sir 😉

PS I may actually start sharing some bump pictures now. I don’t really have one to speak of but by this point with Seth, I’d already taken a million so I’m feeling like this baby is already a poor, neglected second child. Watch this space.

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Week in review

New feature alert! If I can remember to do it weekly, would you like to read about our week? It might be boring, but it might be terribly exciting and full of drama. You won’t know unless you read it!

This week, I’ve mainly been ill. Off to a great start, this feature, eh?

I’ve had the mother of all colds which well and truly sucks when you are pregnant because you can’t take ANYTHING! I’m not usually one to reach for medication, preferring the martyred wailing approach to being ill but I needed a Lemsip so badly this week. Woe is me.

So for Monday and Tuesday I went to bed. For most of the day. My heroic in-laws saved my a$$ by looking after Seth for me which was holy hell great fun for them because on Monday he started cutting his molars. (I was ill, honest. I was definitely not curling up smugly in bed whilst they dealt with a snotty, wheezy, whiny one year old).

Wednesday I needed AIR! I had been inside since Sunday evening and had serious cabin fever. So we met my auntie for a coffee, told her my news and dragged her off to Hartbeeps where I sat, Seth crawled and she knackered herself out by crawling after him. Everywhere. She’ll learn.

Thursday I thought would be nice to spend a day just me and the kid. A nice little co-sleeping nap in the morning, a spot of shopping and a long snooze for him in the afternoon whilst I blog. His teeth seemed to have calmed down so this will be great. Or so I thought. The gremlin returned and I ended up being totally fried by 11am.

The blissful co-sleep in the morning lasted for all of half an hour so by the time I was dropping off, he decided to wake up and climb the headboard. Then he grizzled his way round the shops until I went to put him in the car and realised his nappy had leaked and he was wet through. Cue a rather eventful nappy change on the back seat where he ended up naked, save for one sock, standing up holding on to the headrest waving his willy at most of Harlow.

He refused all lunch, treating his cheese on toast like a caber-toss and then cried for half an hour when I eventually decided to put him down for his nap early. Peace.

Friday I met a friend for a mooch round a local garden centre that has a petting farm and then some early lunch. Again, Seth threw most of his food (embarrassing when you’re out). When we got home, he managed to get hold of my door keys whilst I was taking my shoes off and I caught him moments before he inserted one of them in to our cat’s bottom.

To top it all off, refused to nap for longer than 20 minutes in the afternoon! I was not happy. Dinner was fish and chip take away for us with a little bit for Seth along with broccoli, peas and green beans.

The weird thing about being a stay-at-home mum? I don’t get that Friday feeling any more. Well, I do. but it’s less excitement and more defeat sometimes! 🙂

What about you? How has your week been?

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Baby-led weaning at 1 year

So we made it to a year! I thought it might be nice to reflect upon the last six months since Seth started solid food and let you all know how he is getting on.

In general, he’s great <insert proud mum icon here>, he will try most things we put in front of him (even if they are met with grim disapproval after tasting) and he’s throwing things a lot less.

He’s dropped all daytime milk feeds, the last one he dropped being the mid-morning one. It was actually trickier than I thought which threw me a little. He’d been having his milk in a straw cup for a month or so and sometimes he was completely unfussed by it but I carried on offering as he hadn’t reached a year and I was worried about him not having All The Calcium. In the end, about a week before his first birthday, I ran out of formula and decided I would just switch this feed to cow’s milk. “It’ll be eeeeeeasy” I thought. Ha.

He was having None Of It. He would drink the milk up through the straw, pull a face and then just let it fall out of his mouth without even attempting a swallow. This would happen a few more times before he would get so cross that the straw cup would be unceremoniously launched. Great.

So I became the mum who made her special little boy his own special little smoothie out of cow’s milk and some nice fresh fruit; usually banana or strawberry. Little prince. I ended up gradually reducing the amount of banana or strawberry in his milk until I realised I was dirtying up my blender for the sake of whizzing one single strawberry into some milk. Do you know what a b*tch those things are to clean? We don’t even have a dishwasher! I gave him cow’s milk on it’s own the next day and he was abso-bloody-lutely fine. Bah.

On to more positive things. Sort of.

The spoon throwing is less, thank goodness. My patience was wearing thin with that one. He will now pick up pre-loaded spoon, eat whatever’s on it, sometimes chew it a bit and then hand it back to me. Progress.

He will not tolerate plain fish of any kind. Which is really annoying because I don’t eat meat but D must have some kind of flesh with each meal so fish is normally a good compromise. However, at the moment, fish makes me barf (see here for why) so we’re not eating it a whole lot.

He’s developed a slightly more sensitive pallet and cried A Lot last night when I served him curry. To be fair, it made my eyes water so maybe it was a little spicy. I had to mix some plain yoghurt in it, poor lamb.

He’s also had his first taste of proper cake. Up until this point (despite massive pressure) we hadn’t given Seth any kind of cake, sweets, chocolate or normal biscuits (baby biscotti, yes, because, well, it’s biscotti). On his first birthday, we took him home after his party and offered him a small piece of his birthday cake. We sat in eager anticipation of his reaction. ‘Will he love it?’, ‘will he hate it?’, ‘will he spit it out and demand cheese?’. None of the above. He sat, he ate, he finished, he went off and tinkled on his new toy piano. I’m teaching him how to say ‘anti-climax’ for his third word.

Now for a slightly sentimental part.

I would not change the way that I have weaned Seth for the world. It’s been hard at times, even wasteful, to see some lovingly prepared food smeared over the walls, on the floor and in the cat. But it’s been a huge pleasure too. His fine motor skills are pretty good now and every one of them he’s developed in his high chair before he’s taken them in to play time (banging food together, passing food from one hand to the other) and he’s patient (mostly) when it comes to eating. He has his moments, sure, but he’s generally happy to watch others eat and ‘participate’ in a meal time instead of demanding our full attention.

It’s been a real eye-opener for me in other ways too. One of the reasons I gave up breastfeeding was that I just couldn’t cope with not knowing how much he’d drank. It drove me to distraction. I thought that I might be the same about weaning, because if I’d been pureeing and spoon-feeding I’d have a much better idea about consumption. But it’s actually made me relax and not worry about it so much, I trust that he takes what he needs.

Sometimes, I know he’s probably eaten a lot less than normal and that might mean a shorter nap or that he actually might want some extra milk afterwards or as a snack later but who cares? If I have to serve lunch a little early or get some extra milk out of the fridge, what’s the big deal? None at all.

I will definitely do the same next time round. Poor cat.

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14 weeks

Well, I’ve been a little AWOL recently. But I have a good excuse, I promise. I’ve been hanging over the toilet a lot and there’s been a little person sat at my knee who’s not much good when it comes to holding my hair back.

Yes, dear readers, I’m upduffed.

Seth is a year old so we thought “why not?”. Ahem. There will be an 18 month age gap which I am not at all terrified about and I spend my days walking around the house repeating the mantra “they will be best friends, they will be best friends” over and over again.

So, this may become a pregnancy blog now. In fact, I’ve decided, it will definitely become a pregnancy blog. Because what else will I write about now that Seth is a year old, fully weaned and using a spoon and everyfink. Let’s face it, I never got round to writing that much about weaning anyway.

On to the update:

Number of weeks pregnant: 14

Fruit size comparison: Lemon

Baby: Vocal chords are ready (pleeease let them be quieter than Seth’s), is becoming a lot more active and body is covered in fine, downy hair.

How I’m feeling: less tired, with random spurts of energy. Less sickness although still hungry as a horse so I’ll probably start to chunk up now 😉

Appointments: booking in (“didn’t you listen to us when we told you how fertile you’d be?”) and nuchal scan (“how old is your little boy? Ohhh, you’ll have your hands full *annoying smug smile”). Both were fine although I could have done without the enormous complement of Bounty bin-liners given to me at my booking in. I had to walk through town carrying them – I may as well have been ringing a bell and wearing a sandwich board that says “look at me, I’m up the duff”. Great. Samples were better this time round though, so overall a win.

How’s Seth?: Cranky. Teething. Whining and full of dizzying mood swings. Ah the toddler years.

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Plans for this week

Thought I’d share our plans for this week.

For Seth and I, we have Rhyme Time at our local library on Tuesday and a definite plan to go swimming either Wednesday or Thursday. He loves the water and I took him last week for the first time in a few weeks and he was a bit unsure at first. He’s had a lot of developmental leaps recently and I think he was a bit confused at what he was supposed to do at first. He soon got the hang of it again though! It really tires him out so it’s a winner for me 😉

IMAG0737

Other than that, I’m hoping to meet up with a few of my NCT friends for walks or picnics in the park if the weather holds out.

Me-wise, I’ve got friends coming round Monday night for a little pole fitness session. I haven’t regularly done pole since the beginning of 2013 due to pregnancy and post-natal laziness so I’m desperate to get back in to it again. I’ve got my mojo and my own pole so I’m ready to go!

Seated release

I also plan to go for a run Tuesday or Wednesday, then yoga Thursday evening and a killer session at the gym is also on the cards for Friday or one day earlier in the week depending on how it pans out.

In between all of that, I’ve got a massive to-do list to follow up on:

  • phone the passport office again to find out what the frig has happened to Seth’s birth certificate. They’ve lost it. I’m apoplectic. Enough said. Otherwise I’ll rant all day.
  • actually do something about booking somewhere for Seth to have his birthday party in seven weeks. It’s starting to look a little impossible.
  • do some kind of magic job on my wedding petticoat that I’ve been threatening to sell for two years. It desperately needs a clean but I’ve no idea how? I’m starting off with a bath tub full of net curtain whitener. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
  • continue to sort out my wardrobe. I’m feeling more than a little inspired by this blog on capsule wardrobes although I’m not sure how it would work practically when you usually start your day by changing your outfit three times due to weetabix explosions.

What are your plans for the week?

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Baby-led weanifying!

Not even sure that’s a word? Actually, I know it’s not. Anyway…

So far I’ve pretty much made recipes from the Baby-led Weaning recipe book or some cobbled together combination of protein + carb + veg for dinner but I’m getting a bit bored of cooking tarragon chicken. It’s easy to assume that you need to either follow special, baby recipes for little ones or do something really simple but I don’t think that’s the case.

I came across an old cook book that D’s Grandma gave me ages ago – Antony Worrall Thompson’s Weekend Cookbook. Bit random but I had a flick through with the criteria for my recipes being healthy, easy to find ingredients and can be thrown together quickly or prepared in advance.

I came across quite a few that I’d like to make and they only need a few adjustments to make them suitable for giving to Seth.

  • Smoked haddock and potato cakes (the major plus point here being that the fishcakes can be made in advance and refrigerated before cooking so I can make them during one of Seth’s naps).
  • Roast carrot and beetroot salad – Seth LOVES beetroot and I was after a new way to cook it for him (I lack imagination) and this one roasts the beetroot and carrot with garlic and serves with thyme
  • Vegetarian Wellington – this looks so amazing. It’s essentially risotto, roasted peppers and aubergines all layered in a puff pastry case. The recipe recommends jarred roasted peppers and aubergines but they’re so easy to roast yourself and when jarred there’s usually some extra salt to give flavour which is a no-no.
  • Potato and spinach pasta with steamed salmon – we often have steamed salmon with a baked potato and some greens so this is a nice variation. It’s all done in one steamer with the potatoes boiling in the water in the bottom and the salmon steaming above. I like the sound of the minimal washing up here!
  • Marjoram and mozzarella fritters – fritters, patties, meatballs…all ideal things for BLWers. You can make them all different sizes so I do a daddy-sized, mummy-sized and a few baby-sized (aw, how cute am I?). They’re easy for your little one to hold that way and usually easy to chomp on (can you tell I’m the mum of an impatient eater?!)

The only changes I’m making to these recipes are to use low-salt stock for the risotto in the wellington and no salt in any of the recipes. D and I just usually salt our food after cooking if we want but usually, just go without – a healthy bonus!

I’m really looking forward to making these over the coming week or so, it’s nice to have something different for dinner!

Does anyone else have any tips for recipe books that have easily adaptable recipes for children? Please share 🙂

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Recipe: Spinach and banana pancakes

Scotch pancakes are great for little ones, especially when they are just starting out. They’re easy to hold and even easier to chew so I’ve often made them for Seth. Plus D loves them as well.

Recently, Seth went through a phase of avoiding his greens which was annoying me. It’s fine really, he can eat what he wants and I’m kind of pleased to see that he recognises food enough to make a choice but I didn’t want to just stop giving them to him. I came across a recipe on a fab American website called Weelicious for green pancakes, that contains banana (a perennial favourite of Seth’s) and spinach (a win for the green-loving mama). The site is a mine of amazing recipes for children and families so I frequent it a lot. When these were posted on her Instagram feed, I thought they’d be ideal.

I make a batch of 16-20 out of this and freeze in portions of 3 or 4 in freezer bags. They are ideal for whipping out quickly if you can’t work out what to do for lunch or taking out and about in case there’s an impromptu picnic (yes, it has happened even though that sounds dreadfully middle-classed!). Seth absolutely loves them – not that you’d know that from this picture :-/

Spinach and banana pancakes2  Seth S&B pancakes

I made some changes to the recipe slightly, to make it suitable for a baby under 1.

  • 1.5 cups of plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups of almond milk
  • 1/2 tbsps maple syrup
  • 1tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 cup packed spinach
  1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine.
  4. Heat a large pan and add oil.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of the mixture and cook for around 2 minutes, or until the edges firm up and the top begins to bubble. Flip and repeat.

Serve when cool enough for your baby to eat or leave to cool completely and heat for 10 minutes in an oven at 300f or GM2.

Any suggestions for other flavours? I was thinking that maybe mango and beetroot might be good? They are favourite flavours of Seth’s…

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