Courgette fritters – hidden veg

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My baby likes vegetables and when I roast veg or make a stir fry I usually add some courgette slices in and they go down a treat.

But some days she won’t eat the vegetables I’ve made and I start to worry that she’s turning into a fussy eater, but I remind myself that even my favourite food would get boring if I was given it everyday!  It must be quite hard for babies who can’t tell us what they want to eat and their stressed out parents are trying to coax them into eating whatever they’ve cooked.

This is one of those recipes that even if you or your child hate courgette you will probably still enjoy.  So its great for times when other veg isn’t getting eaten!

Ingredients
100g plain flour
1 egg
1 large courgette (about 150g)
70ml milk
Oil for frying

Put the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle, add the egg and mix well, then gradually whisk in the milk.  Grate the courgette and squeeze to remove excess water, stir into the mixture.  Fry spoonfuls of the batter a few minutes on each side.

These are delicious served with soft cheese or a savoury yoghurt dip.

When will I stop breastfeeding?

When will I stop breastfeeding?  Before I had my baby I knew I wanted to breastfeed but I didn’t really consider how long I would breastfeed for.  I knew that it is recommended for babies to be fed only breast/formula milk until they are 6months old, so I had an aim in mind of breastfeeding for at least 6months.  I had this aim mainly because I knew it was important to try and be relaxed about breastfeeding and aware that it might not be as easy as I hoped, but I was a keen breastfeeding supporter and really wanted to do it.

 

When a friends mum came to visit me and baby in the first few weeks she told me how her youngest child (now a teenager) breastfed for a really long time.  The really long time she was referring to was a year.  At that time, only days into breastfeeding, I agreed that a year was a very long time and thought; I won’t be doing that.  However, as I have got further into breastfeeding and now 10 months down the line, I don’t agree that one year is a really long time!  In fact I think one year is the perfect amount of time!  Children can’t have cow’s milk as a drink until they are one year old, so stopping breastfeeding before then means you have to give them formula milk.  Don’t get me wrong this had been my intention if I had stopped at 6 months, but why would I stop before my baby is old enough to have cow’s milk?

 

Someone also said to me the other day that I would have difficulty getting my baby to stop breastfeeding as she gets older.  This couldn’t be further from the truth; as my baby has got older, started eating solid food and drinking water SHE is cutting down naturally how many milk feeds she wants.  Now at 10 months for example she only has about 3 feeds a day.

 

Now there are times when part of me looks forward to stopping breastfeeding; For example, I am only wearing nursing bras (with no underwire) while breastfeeding as that is what’s recommended, so sometimes I long to wear a sexy bra that puts my boobs back where they used to be!  It would also be nice not having to plan my outfit based on accessibility for feeding.

 

But breastfeeding is also one of the best things I have ever done and I think one of the best gifts I could have given my baby.  It is sad that breastfeeding mums don’t get more support (You can read further information on my experience and thoughts on this HERE).  It is also sad that mothers that choose to continue breastfeeding their children past one year are considered strange and heavily judged.  Personally one year is my new aim to breastfeed until, as then I will start giving my baby cow’s milk to drink and she will, I’m sure, wean herself off breastfeeds.  My fiancé is also quite keen for me to stop breastfeeding at a year too.  However, I’m sure when the time comes I won’t be too strict at setting a stop date, but I will update you on that when my baby girl turns one.

My breastfeeding experience.

I had always wanted to breastfeed, it’s hard to explain but I had a really strong feeling about breastfeeding.  My mum breastfed me, my sister and my brother, but being the youngest I hadn’t had any experience with babies full stop.  When my brother’s little girl was born, his wife decided to express and bottle feed.  It was nice being able to feed my niece but it was so much work for my sister in law; she had to take time out to express, clean and sterilise the bottles, store the milk and warm it when needed!  I knew I didn’t want to have to go through all that when I had my children and it just seemed so unnecessary to me.  When I was pregnant with my little girl though, the thought that something might stop me from being able to breastfeed worried me so much.

 

My baby was born in theatre by forceps 37.5 hours after the contractions started and after an hour and half of pushing (she was back to back)!  Because we were in theatre and I had been given an emergency spinal I couldn’t have skin to skin contact with her straight away.  I was begging the staff to put her on my chest as although I was holding her next to me I couldn’t move due to the anaesthetic.  I was so desperate to have that contact and she looked as though she wanted to feed.  Eventually after asking many times they helped put her on my chest and latch on.  It was the best feeling in the world!  I was in such an awkward position on the bed, unable to move from the waist down and had a very poorly fitted cannula in my arm but I wasn’t going to let it stop me.  I had an extraordinary amount of colostrum, it was going all over the baby’s face!  The midwives joked that we could have filled a bottle with it.  But she was feeding well and I was so happy.

 

My happiness fell apart when a few hours later, on the ward, my baby was sleeping and the hospital staff came in and said it was very important to wake her and feed straight away as she had been sleeping too long without a feed!  I was so angry that they hadn’t told us this before and now we were panicking.  She was too sleepy to feed and I struggled to get her latched on.  I had the most horrible nurse trying to help me and was getting very upset.  It had been visiting time too so my partner took his mum out and my dad went into the corridor.  I wanted my mum to stay but the nurse told her she had to leave as visiting hours were over.  I was then left on an empty ward with this awful nurse.  She told me I needed to express some milk by hand and tried to tell me how to, but then proceeded to hand express me herself before I had a chance to try!!  It was awful, so awkward and her nails were digging into my boob.  My partner had just got home and called my mobile to check I was okay, she told me to take the call while she carried on!  She was trying to express my milk into a syringe and flicked it to remove an air bubble at one point flicking milk in my face!  To which she said ‘ah you will get much worse on your face now you’re a mum’!  Eventually she realised that I had quite a lot of milk and it would be a lot easier to express into a cup rather than a syringe.  After she had expressed a decent amount she fed it to my baby from the cup.

 

The way she handled my baby and talked about how I would soon be breastfeeding with baby in one hand and doing the housework with the other, made me really uncomfortable, my baby had only just been born, she was not a thing for some nurse to show off with!   However, I was just happy that nobody had suggested my baby be given a bottle and after the cup of expressed milk she latched on brilliantly.

 

The nurses gave me a sheet to record all her feeds on and although my nipples were a little sore it was going well and I was discharged from the hospital.  Once at home I would literally just get my boob out to feed, as establishing feeding and good latch was the most important thing to me.  I did start to worry about how I would ever be able to feed in public, as trying to use a blanket to cover up was so difficult.  Obviously I needn’t have worried as the more I fed the easier it became.  However, I never have felt comfortable using a blanket to cover my baby when feeding and instead wear layers and pull one layer up, one layer down so nothing is on show.  Having a muslin to hand is always useful too, not only for leakages but if the baby does suddenly pull away you can quickly cover up.

 

Now my baby is 10 months, still breastfeeding and I have breastfed her all over the place, including on a packed train.  That’s one of the best things about breastfeeding; you can do it anywhere, anytime, with minimal fuss.  On that train for example, it was very full and my baby was unsettled, there wasn’t enough room for me to get things out my bag but I could discreetly cuddle her to me and soothe her with a feed.  On the topic of public feeding I think people underestimate how many people they ‘see’ breastfeeding when out and about as the majority will do it so discreetly that most people will not even notice.  You really can breastfeed your baby, without using a cover, and without anyone seeing your breasts!  I know because I’ve done it! :-)

 

The other major positive of breastfeeding that I’ve found is that although both my partner and I have been ill with colds etc the baby has never caught it!  This can only be because of the immunity she’s getting from breastmilk and it means I currently have a 10 month old baby who has never been ill or had to have any medicine! Brilliant!

 

Breastfeeding my baby has been one of the most enjoyable parts of becoming a mummy and I wouldn’t change anything it for the world.  I know many people struggle with breastfeeding and it’s not for everyone, but I think there is also a serious lack of support, advice and education for new mums in this area; you can read more on my thoughts and experience of this HERE.

 

Ten Reasons why I love breastfeeding:  1) Special cuddle time with baby.  2) No sterilisation needed.  3) Feed preparation very quick (consists of get boob out).  4) Immunity it gives baby.  5) Helps you get your figure back quicker after birth.  6) Milk is always the right temperature.  7) Milk is tailored for my baby – exactly what she needs.  8) It’s stopping my periods! :-)  9) No washing bottles etc required.  10) Feeding when out and about is very easy (don’t have to pack milk etc).

 

So now my baby is 10 months old the final question when it comes to breastfeeding is: When will I stop?  You can read my thoughts on this question HERE.

Breastfeeding Support??

My fiancés sister has just had her first baby and the issues she’s facing with breastfeeding have led to my decision to add some breastfeeding posts to my Blog.

First of all to outline my personal position; I always wanted to breastfeed, I was really looking forward to it and worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it because that would have really upset me.  You can read more about my experience with breastfeeding HERE as this post is more about how mums in general are supported (or not) with feeding.

Going back to my sister (almost) in law; she is currently finding breastfeeding quite hard.  Like many mums breastfeeding for the first time, she’s worrying about having enough milk, the baby latching on correctly, the frequency and duration of the feeds and nipple discomfort to name just a few.  After giving birth, a woman’s hormones are all over the place anyway without the pressure to learn a new skill that your baby depends on!  That word there is the key issue with breastfeeding – pressure!  Now even as someone who is a keen breastfeeding advocate determined to breastfeed no matter what, I have felt an extraordinary amount of pressure throughout my breastfeeding experience from a number of sources and each with a different agenda.

My mum – Made many comments in the first few weeks about the noise my baby made when feeding.  She was quite a noisy eater in the early days and it probably was in hindsight something you would comment on.  But she was feeding fine and these comments made me feel very self conscious about feeding her and paranoid I was doing something wrong.

My partner – Like many dads, my partner felt a bit excluded when it came to breastfeeding and at one point pushed for me to express so that the baby could be fed by other people (mainly him).  This destroyed me at the time, I understood how he felt and wanted to help him but didn’t want to express for a number of reasons.  As it worked out I didn’t have to but the arguments over it broke my heart.

My mother in law – Oh where do I start!  She used to sit very close to me while I was feeding and even touched my boob once while asking if the baby could breathe!  She used to comment a lot about the duration of my baby’s feeds and how she got distracted by things in the room; my baby has always been a short feeder, which is perfectly normal, every baby feeds for different duration.  At one point she also started saying that my baby was not getting enough from just breast milk and I needed to start giving her formula top ups as well!  Now that couldn’t have been further from the truth.  There were also comments about giving her water in a bottle, breastfed babies don’t need water until they start solids, when we started weaning our baby started having water from a sippy cup, she has never had a bottle because she hasn’t needed one.

The public – breastfeeding in public for the first time and during those first few weeks is daunting for even the most adamant breastfeeding supporters like me.  It took me a long time to feel confident enough to feed in public.  That didn’t last long however and now I will feed wherever, whenever my baby needs it! :-)  But public opinion is a big issue for many breastfeeding mothers and it’s shocking how many stories there are of mothers being told to stop feeding their babies when in public or even being verbally abused while feeding.

Other mums – there seems to be a lot of conflict over feeding between mums themselves, probably fuelled by both sides having their own advantages and disadvantages and mums feeling the need to defend their choice, whether it’s breast or bottle.  I think this is such a shame, why can’t all mums support one another and respect that the decision is a personal one with many factors to consider?

I don’t know what it is about feeding a baby that makes everyone think they need to put their opinion across, or why people get so involved when it’s not their baby, but it needs to stop.  A new mum, especially a first time mum, needs support.  She is tired, anxious, trying to do her best and probably paranoid about whether she is doing things right as it is.  Breastfeeding is an incredible natural thing, but it is a skill and it does take time to master.  New mums need the space and time to work on it and someone to help them out so they can get a chance to eat, sleep and wash; these things become luxuries when you have a baby!

Furthermore, if a mum decides she wants to express and either combine breast and bottle or do bottle only then that’s fine.  BUT telling a new mum to start expressing just because she’s finding it hard or for some other reason, is not helpful.  Even those that want to combine are advised to wait until the baby is happy with its latch, otherwise baby can get confused and breastfeeding will be even harder to establish.  Breastfeeding is also a very personal thing and mums can often feel useless or a failure if they are finding it hard so someone suggesting they switch to bottle can be a real knock to their confidence.  I know breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and I support any decision a mum makes, but I think it’s such a shame that I know so many mums who tried to breastfeed but weren’t given the correct support and therefore stopped.

Our menu today

We’re slowly getting back into our normal routine after our holiday, although daddy is still off work so we’re not quite back on track yet. So to help me focus again I thought I would share our menu from today :-)

Breakfast – Weetabix and banana.

Lunch – Carrot pancakes & baked beans with a nectarine for afters.

Snacks – Rice cakes and grapes.

Dinner – Blackbean & garlic chicken stir fry with spicy noodles for adults / Stir fried chicken and veg for baby.  Yoghurt for dessert.

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First holiday with a weaning baby!

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So we did it! Our first holiday with our baby :-) and we got a lesson and a half in being prepared for baby meals on the move in the process too! 

Taking a 9month old baby on a holiday where we eat in restaurants every day, I knew I would have to plan ahead.  The planning started with the 5 hour train journey to Cornwall; I bought a lunchbag and some coolers (icepacks) and packed fruit, biscuits, ricecakes, fruit pouches, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, water, plates, spoons and bibs.  Prepared with all this packed neatly into various pots and accompanied by steriliser wipes I felt confident.

My preparation paid off and after I wiped the train table down with a steriliser wipe and put her suction plate down the baby happily munched away on her snacks.  Result! :-)

But eating out every day tested my preparation to the max.  Now my baby is a brilliant eater and as we do Baby Led Weaning she could have many things from the plates of the adults. However, there were obviously some meals which had nothing suitable for her or times when I just wanted something more for her; So we looked at the children’s menus, big mistake!  To be honest I was not really surprised that there was nothing suitable for her on any child menu we saw but it is still a sad sight that every restaurant thinks that children should be eating burger, sausage or chicken nuggets with chips!  The only thing that was worth ordering her from any children’s menu we saw was a side order of baked beans as she loves them!

If I owned a restaurant the children’s menu would be written to cater for weaning babies right up to children who want a smaller portion of the exact same adult menu.  It would be a pick and mix menu with lots of options for fussy eaters and it would include lots of fruit and veg.  Why do so many children’s menus have only icecream as a dessert?  Why no fruit salad etc?  I would have LOVED to see sweet potato on the menu somewhere too instead of fried chips being the only option.  Seriously, a plain chicken breast, sweet potato and some veg is not unreasonable is it?  Why do so many restaurants get it so wrong?

Anyway, I am now a finely tuned machine when it comes to preparing and packing food for the baby when we are out and about.  I’ve got to say that the most useful products were the suction plate and roll up bibs and would recommend them to anyone eating out with a baby.  The winner in the food category though has to be the fruit pouch!  My baby happily sits and polishes off a whole pouch sucking straight from the top, creating little to no mess!  Perfect!

Eating out every day with our baby was great and she learnt so many social skills too, its truly amazing.  But I would love to advise restaurants on how to be more child friendly with their menu design!

Our first holiday with our baby

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I’ve been too busy to write any posts recently as I’ve been getting ready for our first ever holiday with our baby!

Going on our first holiday with our baby is so exciting, but it’s also taking a lot of organisation, gone are the days where we can just book something, throw few bits in a case and go!

We’re going to Cornwall with my parents and staying at the (static) caravan site we have been visiting for years.  We booked the holiday while we were there last year, while I was heavily pregnant!  :-)  We viewed the different caravan types for the first time ever (it pays to be nice to the staff!) and worked out which one will fit a travel cot next to bed and have enough space for me, my fiancé, baby, my mum, my dad and their dog!

A travel cot and highchair have been booked too and for the first time ever we have ordered a tesco delivery to the caravan!  We normally only buy few basic bits from shop on the camp as we eat out anyway.  But with baby I’ve ordered cleaning products, nappies and lots of fruit, veg and snacks for baby so we can be prepared for restaurants not having anything suitable for her.  I’ll update you on how we get on with eating out for a whole week when we get back.

We are going by train from London so it’s a long journey and I’m planning a strategy of snacks, toys, naps and grandparents to help it go smoothly! ;)

Because we’re going by train we’ve also decided that the pushchair will make things 100% more difficult, so baby will be in the carrier instead.  There is also little point in renting a car when we’re there as most things are within walking distance or a bus journey away.  But we do get a taxi from the train station to caravan park and to a special restaurant one night while we’re there.  Cue phone call to the taxi company to ask if they have car seat suitable for 9month old baby and being told no!  More organisation needed!

This is all just the booking stage and we haven’t even got to packing yet!  Now I never travel light, but as a new mum it’s amazing how quickly you learn (have no choice or time) to need very little for yourself.  I don’t have time for elaborate (or any) makeup and hairstyles and with my ever changing post baby body I don’t have many clothes that actually fit properly.  So at least packing for me will be simple :-)  I wish the same could be said for the baby though!  How can such a little person need so much stuff!  Her nan has bought her a little peppa pig suitcase and I’ve been ordered by the other half to only take as much as will fit in it!  Suppose it makes sense but I’m sure I will be sneaking extra stuff in our case.

Honestly, planning and getting ready for this holiday has taken twice as long as the holiday itself will be!  But I can’t wait to see my baby on the beach for the first time in her life!  So excited!

I’ll update you on what I’m packing food wise for baby and how we get on soon.