#cmpa

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?? 🙂

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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! 🙂