Is breast really best?

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So whilst I was pregnant, I decided I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my little one from when she was born. Why? Well because that’s what’s best of course?! Everyone in healthcare and the media tell you if you want your child to have the best in life, breastfeed for 6 months minimum!

Now, to my surprise my daughter was born at a hefty 9lb 14oz! (I’m 5’1″ and a small build…. NO SHE DID NOT COME OUT NATURALLY!). So in order to keep her blood sugars stable they had me breastfeed her for 10 minutes and top up with formula, so she was getting everything she needed until my milk came in. We continued doing this for the first week, until our midwife said we could exclusively breastfeed. I.had.no.idea.how.hard.this.would.be! Exclusively breastfeeding takes a lot of time and patience. You can’t ask your partner to give baby a feed, you can’t really leave your baby for more than an hour tops, and if you can get them taking expressed milk from a bottle… well, that’s just another thing to add on to your list of things to do. EXPRESSING MILK!

I used a medela swing electric pump, which was a great investment. It was a little pricier than some of the other breastpumps on the market but definitely worth it. It takes half the time compared to manual pumps, suctions on easily and is pretty quiet for an electric.

So at 5.5 months my partner and I decided we would start to reintroduce formula milk. We gave ludoo a combination of 50% breast milk and 50% formula milk. To our horror she became lethargic, pale and started projectile vomiting all over the place 20 minutes after the feed. She got a rash all over her body, her lips and eyelids were swollen. So we rushed off to A&E where we were told it was most likely cow’s milk protein allergy. But we were shocked, she’d had no symptoms 5 months ago when we were topping her up on formula at every feed? So I decided to continue breastfeeding.

Now I’m no expert, but maybe we shouldn’t have introduced the formula top ups with little one so early? Especially if we were planning to take it out of her system altogether and take up exclusive breastfeeding. Is that something that could have contributed to this allergy? I found this article from La Leche League an interesting and thought provoking read.

As a mum, you always look back and try to think what could have been done better, and would I do the same next time round? I don’t know is the honest answer… but I felt I should at least share the pros and cons of breastfeeding. Everything out there paints a rosey image of a natural breastfeeding mother and fails to tell mums-to-be about what a commitment it actually is. So really, you go into it with half the information. I stopped breastfeeding 2 weeks ago and am proud to say I breastfed Ludoo for 11 months. But it wasn’t without sacrifice…

Cons
– You are solely responsible for feeding your baby for 6 months minimum
– You can’t ask your partner to feed the baby during the day/night… unless you chop off a boob or express some milk! (not all breastfed babies take to the bottle either)
– Forget about having an evening out/to yourself
– Discretion in public places is difficult. You can buy breastfeeding aprons, or find a quiet place when at weddings/parties… I used to go back to the car!
– It is exhausting

Pros
– You don’t need to worry about sterilizing bottles in the middle of the night (or at anytime!) and its always going to be the right temperature!
– Travelling whilst breastfeeding is easy, no need to worry about carrying bottles or formula.
– The bond between you and your baby is indescribable… I do miss it sometimes!
– It is actually quite a relaxing experience when feeding your baby in a comfortable environment, I used to enjoy having some quiet time out.
– Its all natural and FREE

At the end of the day, it’s a very personal choice whether to breastfeed… but I feel there should be more information available which gives a balanced argument for and against. Everything I read in the lead up to giving birth was BREAST IS BEST! And in a way, you feel guilted into doing it. Obviously we all want the best for our children, but if its not for you, you shouldn’t feel judged. I, and most of my generation, were brought up on formula milk… and we all turned out fine, didn’t we?? πŸ™‚

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Its off to work I go!

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After almost a year of being mummy I’m about to step into the working world again which means my baby girl will be going to nursery! Thanks to my dear husband I am able to go back part time and little ludoo will be at nursery just 2 full days a week… But that’s enough to make me nervey! I’ll be working every Sunday too unfortunately, but at least that means one less day of childcare and baby girl will have a day with daddy!

So the nursery we chose is around the corner from our home and en route to work for me. They can give her breakfast, lunch and an early dinner which means on working days I wouldn’t need to worry about her food… Provided she eats everything they give her! Nursery do dinner at 3.30pm?! Am I naive in thinking that’s extremely early? I’d guess she’ll need a snack when we get home before her bedtime milk.

Anyway, we’ve had numerous settling in sessions and every time I leave… She cries! Every time I return, she also cries! But only once she sees me back in the room, she’s a little rascal. I think she does it to make me feel bad for leaving her! Eeyore seems to be a favourite at the moment, he makes everything better! I tend to leave him in her nursery backpack and the teachers say whenever she’s upset they give her Eeyore and she calms down. He’s a pretty cute little cuddly, I think she enjoys tugging on his ears!

Due to the tears (from the babe AND me!) I’ve had her start nursery a few weeks before I return to work, that way she’s fully settled and I’m not pulling my hair out at work fretting about whether she’s doing ok. (I’ll probably do that anyhow!) So far I’ve tried not to call more than once a day to check on her. The nursery have a communication book between home and nursery so we can read what she’s been up to on her days there and how she’s eaten etc. It does put my mind at ease reading it after picking her up, especially when it describes the cute things she been up to! This one after her first day made me smile πŸ™‚

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I know I’m not to first or last working mummy, and let’s face it, in today’s day and age very few families would be lucky enough to survive on just one salary… Those bills won’t pay themselves! At least that’s the case in our household. On the flip side, childcare is like taking out a second mortgage in itself! I knew the first year of childcare would be a lot, but wow! It really makes you realise the advantage of living close to family who can help.

I don’t know how the role of working mummy is going to be for me… So far it feels like juggling a whole load of balls! But I think the art of keeping all those balls in the air is being super organised!

I used to hate my husband for wanting to plan out all our meals for the week… But I’ve finally seen the error of my ways! Planning in advance means less trips to the supermarket, and knowing what I’m doing when I get home from work, rather than rummaging through the fridge to see what I can find. Allocating a day of the week to do the laundry and shopping online wherever possible are a couple of other changes! And cooking in bulk! If I’m cooking a chilli or curry I try and make double what I need and freeze a portion for the following week.

If there are any mummies out there with helpful hints on how to manage work and home life successfully please share!!! I’m sure I’ve got a steep learning curve ahead of me and many mistakes will be made… GULP!!!

Our Weekend

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Hey hey! We’ve had another enjoyable weekend attending one more Indian wedding! (Did I mention I love an Indian wedding??) This one was a Sikh wedding so my little Ludoo attended the Gurdwara for the first time. Even though she was attending for a wedding rather than prayers it was a touching moment for me as I attended the gurdwara regularly with my parents as a child, and found it to be a place of peace which gave me time for reflection. I am not a Sikh, but Sindhis do have a great deal of similarities with the Sikhs as we come from North India and also believe in Guru Nanak.
see here

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Anyway, she was super duper cute during the ceremony and watched intently… I think she was a little confused as to why daddy was sitting on the other side of the room but she remained happy nonetheless!

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The wedding reception was my main worry… she had a really good nap in the afternoon so I was hoping she’d last til 9pm at least so we could enjoy the speeches, food and have a little boogie too! And my darling daughter partied with us until 10pm god bless her! She loved it, watching everyone dancing and creating a little racket of her own! She took hold of two dessert spoons and enjoyed banging them together for most of the night πŸ™‚
We put her in a dress from Next which the bride had bought her as a gift – I thought it’d be nice for her to see her in it, and she looked a beaut!

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Sunday was a day with the family and she was in her element with her big cousin! I love that she loves to socialise and enjoy the company of others… shes less like this at nursery unfortunately… read my next post to hear more!!

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Hope you’re all having a great week so far!
xxx

Our Weekend…

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Sorry this is a slightly later weekend post than usual, but our weekend was fab! πŸ™‚
Me and the hubster will be married 5 years this week and so he surprised me with an afternoon in London and a meal at Sushi Samba, where I have been wanting to go since I was pregnant… But we held out so I could fully enjoy the experience… And I certainly did!!!
He was a clever cookie and got Granny and Granddad to babysit. They drove down from Worcester the night before… And I was 100% relaxed on our day out as I know the little munchkin is always happy spending time with her grandparents!
We started off visiting the Tower of London to see the ceramic poppies which looked amazing in pictures, but just breath taking in real life! It’s so hard to believe that many people lost their lives in the war… And how delicate each life is… It’s obviously touched a lot of people as we could see from the crowds that day. Amazed that there are still more poppies to be added.

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The next stop was Sushi Samba (yayyy!) which is on the 38th floor of Heron Tower. They have a glass elevator to the top… Not to be attempted if you’re afraid of heights!! (But a friend of mine who is was able to use the service lift instead!!) The view of London is usually pretty spectacular… Unfortunately this was one of the foggiest days we’ve had all year!

Right, the important bit FOOD! It was sooo delicious! The pork belly had been recommended to me so that was the first thing we tucked into and it was heavenly! We could have ordered a second round but refrained! Next was the sea bass tempura… YUMMY! Teriyaki chicken Robos and then the Samba London sushi selection, again delic! And for dessert With Love from Rio… OMG only the best dessert ever!!! A coffee flavoured mousse with chocolate ganache and caramelised macadamian nuts, my idea of heaven!

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The drinks were just as lush, I started off with a Kaffirinhia cocktail (fragrant Kaffir lime leaves infused in cachaΓ§a, churned with lime and sugar, served short over crushed ice) and we then shared a bottle of sparkling sake which was recommended by our sommelier. We were sceptical at the recommendation as it was more expensive than the wine we were planning to order… plus it was named “moon rabbit”! Not a drink I would immediately hop,skip or jump at having! But WOW it was worth it! The perfect compliment to our meal, I like my wine a little sweet so this was lovely!
And our babe was an angel for Granny and Granddad, they even took a little walk with the pram around our hometown and got her to have a full afternoon nap! I couldn’t have asked for more!!!
Love my family!!! Hope you’re all having a happy week so far!
xxxxx

Sweet Potato and Spinach Paratha

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So I’ve been struggling to think of some fresh, tasty non-dairy finger foods for my bubba. I had done the usual toast, rice crackers, etc and then thought what about some Indian finger foods… And the sweet potato and spinach paratha was born!

Paratha literally translates to “layers of dough”. Its an Indian flat bread which North Indians traditionally have with a bit of butter on top and a pickle/yoghurt on the side. They can be stuffed with pretty much anything! But usually it’s potatoes, leaves, or maybe paneer (Indian cottage cheese). As bubs has CMPA I omitted the usual ghee and butter from the recipe and decided to go with a stuffing of sweet potato, spinach and onion. But really you could try any of babies favourite veggies!

The ingredients were as follows…

1/2 a sweet potato diced
1/4 small onion finely chopped
A handful of spinach leaves finely chopped
1/4 tsp of grated ginger
1/4 tsp cumin powder
2tbsp vegetable/rapeseed oil
1 cup of flour*

*I used a multigrain flour as I thought this would be the most nutritious. You can pick this one up from most Indian stores or large Tesco stores in the Asian food aisle.

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1. Boil the diced potato until soft and fork through.

2. Mix this with the chopped onion and spinach, then add the ginger and cumin powder.

3. Add the flour and oil and begin kneading the dough until it all comes together. It should be quite solid but still soft. (So you should be able to leave a thumb print in the dough). Add a little more oil if the dough doesn’t come together.

4. Divide the dough into 5/6 small balls and roll them all out evenly into a circular shape as below (or you could be adventurous and do a teddy or dinosaur paratha?! Anything to get the kiddies eating them right?!)

They don’t need to be very thick… Around half the thickness of a pound coin.

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5. Then cook one at a time on a hot frying pan around 1min either side. I put a touch of oil onto the first cooked side and flipped it over doing the same on the second side.

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And then they’re done! I think my little ludoo enjoyed hers…

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Let me know what your little babes think of this recipe!

xxx

Baby weaning

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I had always vowed not to be an uptight mum when it came to weaning my baby. I had visions of giving her bites of my food from my plate, a lick of my ice cream on hot sunny days in the park, but weaning my little ludoo was a bit of a stressful task. It wasn’t the usual messy tables and throwing food around…unfortunately when trying to wean her off the breast to formula milk we discovered she had a cows milk protein allergy (CMPA). She was projectile vomiting, wheezing and her eczema rash got crazily worse and came up all over her body. We’ve ended up continuing to breastfeed, as the formula milk our paediatrician recommended was quite bitter in comparison to breast milk… So little ludoo was not prepared to give up the good stuff! (She also became extremely resistant to the bottle after having a couple of horrid vomiting episodes… So I couldn’t even get her to have expressed breast milk like she used to!)

Luckily we were doing all this when she was 5 months old, so we found out about it before she was weaned on to solid foods. She at least has the prescribed milk in her cereals/porridge, as she’s never really tasted any different! She is generally more of a foodie baby than milky so from about 9 months I’ve only had to breast feed her once at night and she gets everything else from her food. CMPA means she can’t tolerate butter, cheese, milk and basically any dairy! But it’s fairly mild so we were pretty lucky.

As I’ve discovered a lot of weaning recipes and ready made pouches/jars contain cheese/butter/milk to make them more flavoursome. So I’ve been trying to conjure up some yummy non-dairy foods whilst weaning and thought I would share! I do have to say the Phillips Avent steamer/blender has made my life with weaning SO much easier! In the early days I’d just throw everything in, steam and whizz! And even now I tend to steam fish, meat and veggies with it to keep in those vital vitamins and nutrients.

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I’ve been trying to do a mixture of traditional Indian foods alongside classics like baby bolognese and a not so “chilli” con carne! So I hope you all enjoy some of the recipes I’ll be adding to the blog and if you do try them please give me feedback so I can improve the way I make things/write the recipes! πŸ™‚

Hooray another Royal baby!!!

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Congrats to Will and Kate on their fantastic news!!! Little George is going to have a play friend to run around with, who will be behind him as 4th in line to the throne. I would love to have my kids not too far apart in age… But is the duchess making a great decision or is it crazy?! I dunno!! Two kids under two??? Any of you had children this close together or expecting a second with LO just toddling? I’d love to hear experiences or advice on this topic! I guess if you have a supportive partner, parents or just generally people around to support you it’s a pretty doable task… Or am I kidding myself?!

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Kate was rocking the maternity looks with her beautifully chic dresses, and she’s managed to ping her body back into shape pretty quickly! And now she’s doing it again?! How easy is it to get your body back second time round? I’ve heard it’s generally a lot harder than the first time round… But why?! Surely you’re body’s more elastic now and it’ll be easier to spring back?? What did you do to keep off the baby weight and get back in shape? I have to say I’m pretty pleased that I haven’t put on too much since having my baby girl, but my tummy is no where near what it used to look like… It feels and looks like a wrinkly little stretched out mess! I’m hoping the sit-ups and soon to cease breastfeeding will make a difference but we’ll see! Any tips and hints are more than welcome!

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Any ideas on names for the next little prince or princess?? I’d love to hear them! This modern Royal couple and their growing family have certainly got us all talking and I for one am looking forward to following them on this next exciting journey.

xxx