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Adventures in Dairy-free Living…

I haven’t blogged in a while…a LONG while. I have a backlog of things to do and write about but I barely get any time to write because I usually find myself stuck under a baby (now 11 weeks old!!) who is eating or screaming or sleeping (putting him down for a nap inevitably leads back to sceeaming or eating).

A couple of days ago, after a lot of screaming, a particularly terrible nappy, and a bit of Googling, I realised that our little George might have an allergy to milk. He’s only drinking breastmilk at the moment, but the cow’s milk protein can pass through my milk to him…and I drink a LOT of milk (and eat a lot of cheese, butter, chocolate, cream…you name it).

He has (and I apologise for the TMI) very mucousy poo, and while this can be because of excess dribble – and he’s been really drooling the past couple of weeks – he’s always suffered with (again, apologies) sticky, stringy nappies. He’s also been very colicky, which, again, is a delayed symptom of a cow’s milk protien allergy.

Finally, George has been very very slow to put weight on, so much so that it took 6 weeks for him to get back to his birth weight when most babies manage it in a fortnight. He’s rarely put on more than 10g a day, when the charts would like him to be putting on around thtee times that. More about that another time (soon, I hope!)

Anyway…I could be wrong about it all, but I’ve cut all milk and soya products out of my diet (50% of babies with CMPA also react to soya protein) and I’m giving it three weeks to get all of the protein out of my system. It’s only been about 5 days so far, but he’s already seeming less colicky and far happier. His nappies are better and better each day too.

If I’m honest, this is very difficult for me. Very VERY difficult. It’s only been five days and all I can think about is milk chocolate and flapjacks and all-butter pastries. I have been feeling very sorry for myself as I’ve been wandering around the supermarket (milk and soya are in practically everything), and even more sorry for myself when Luke is tucking into a pack of chocolate coated malted milk biscuits…but at the same time I am so SO happy to see George smiling rather than screaming.

Christmas with George’s grin is a million times better than Christmas with cheese or chocolate.

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Posted by on December 2, 2015 in Baby, Food, Life, Parenting

 

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My Attempt At Porridge Bars…

I’m breastfeeding our boy (more about that soon) and one way to boost/maintain your milk supply is to eat oats. I’ve gotten a bit of a baking bug recently (I think I can blame Great British Bake Off for that) but I’ve also got to watch my weight so I’ve been looking for a way to bake things that, whilst being a tad “naughty”, aren’t just empty calories. Oat based things seem the best way to go.

Luke bought me some amazing oats bars (Stoats Porridge Bars) while I was in hospital, so I thought I’d have a go at making some myself. I found this recipe online but I don’t have a lot of the ingredients so I have decided to simplify it and adapt it for what I’ve got…

So! Basically, you will need:-

130g rolled oats
300ml milk
1 large egg
1tsp vanilla extract
60g dried fruit (approx) 
30g of seeds (approx)
(optional) 1tsp cinnamon
(optional) 20g chopped nuts 
(optional) 1-2tbsp runny honey (or maybe maple/golden syrup)

…and my amended recipe looks like this:-

130g oats
300ml milk
1tsp vanilla extract
60g sultanas
15g sunflower seeds
15g pumpkin seeds
10g chia seeds
2tbsp maple syrup

I made the cinnamon optional (and then omitted it from my ingredients) because I didn’t know if it’d work that well with the maple/golden syrup. I also decided to use a heavier weight of seeds than the original recipe called for as I wasn’t using the chopped nuts.

To make the bars:-

  • mix the dry ingredients (oats, seeds, fruit and nuts) in a large bowl
  • whisk the wet ingredients (milk, vanilla, egg and honey/syrup) in a jug
  • pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine well
  • leave for a while to absorb (use this time to heat oven and line your tin)
  • pour mixture into a lined tin (I used a tin that says it’s 15cm square but I think is actually 20cm)
  • bake at 180c for 45-60 minutes

The mixture is quite wet at first and although the oats do soak up the liquid, it’s still pretty wet when you pour it into the tray.

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I admit, I couldn’t wait until it was completely cool to turn it out and cut it (although I did give it about 30-45 minutes to cool) but it didn’t have any adverse effects. I only baked it for 45 minutes and it doesn’t seem to have cooked through properly. It IS cooked, but it’s still quite squidgy so I will probably give it the full hour next time I make these bars. It was quite golden on top though so I don’t know if the extra 15 minutes might cause it to burn…

EDIT: I’ve finally figured out what this “squidgy” texture reminds me of…cold bread and butter pudding (like the kind you can buy in slabs from Greggs)

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I cut the slab of porridge into eight, but you could get 10 decent-sized slices out of it if you weren’t greedy like me.

My recipe, what with the omitted cinnamon, is quite plain. If I was to do this again I might try adding it, or perhaps upping the amount of maple syrup. The best thing about them is that they’re essentially just oats, fruit, seeds and milk so they’re pretty virtuous…which is good seeing as I’ve eaten three slices in the last 5 minutes…

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2015 in Food, Life

 

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Four Weeks…To Get Out The Door…

George is four weeks old today and has celebrated by rolling over on the bed and giving me a beautiful smile. Ok, so the roll might have been a fluke but the smile was real (he’s been doing them all week!)

The registrar who did my surgery said that I’d be ok to drive after 4 weeks (and my insurance company were happy to go with his suggestion) so I’ve celebrated 4 weeks of George by getting back behind the wheel and driving us around. I’d forgotten how amazing it is to NOT have to rely on your mother for lifts…

Unfortunately, I’m still getting used to the whole ‘getting myself AND a baby ready’ and so it can take a lot longer than I expect. Gone are the days of being ready in half an hour (or an hour if I wanted to look like I’d made an effort). I’ve been late for everything recently. The other day we planned a short walk and we didn’t manage to get out of the house until late afternoon…can you imagine what it’s like when we’re going out further afield or for longer?!

Somehow, there’s SO much more to do (even though in reality the extra stuff is just feeding George, changing his nappy and getting him dressed) and the things I used to “just do” now have to be done as and when I can do them.

Time just flies by now too. Most mornings I get up and come downstairs for a cup of tea at about 9am…and then suddenly it’s midday and I’m still in my dressing gown with unbrushed hair (and teeth) and I could REALLY do with a shower and all I’ve done is feed George (and probably changed his nappy a few times).

This morning I managed to achieve the  (seemingly) impossible. I got out of bed (after George had his first daylight feed) and thrust him into Luke’s arms while I went to have a shower. I somehow managed to get dry and dressed before more feeding/nappy changing was required, and then I found time to make myself some tea and toast. Eating of the toast was done over George as he had yet another feed (fourth of the day) and I may or may not have got a few crumbs on him *ahem*…

I utilised his post-feeding nap to go brush my teeth and wash my face, and then all that was left to do was to feed him a couple more times, change his nappy once or twice and hand him to Luke for dressing while I brushed my hair. It’s amazing how quickly something as simple as doing my hair (even just putting it up into a haphazard pony tail) has become a frivolous use of my time…

I have SO much respect for single parents and for men/women who stay at home with the baby while their partners go to work. I have no idea what I’d do without Luke here in the morning…well, yes I do…I’d probably stay in the house, stinking and cultivating one massive dreadlock where my hair used to be. I’m sure that tears would be involved somewhere too.

Eventually we got out of the house just after twelve, an amazing two and a half hours after I stepped into the shower. It seemed almost miraculous.

Fifteen minutes later there was a poopy nappy that needed changing. Sigh.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2015 in Baby, Days Out, Life, Parenting

 

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Parent-to-be Breastfeeding…

In Redditch we have six sure start children’s centres that run all sorts of classes and get-togethers for parents and expectant parents. Yesterday I went to my local one (where I also see my Midwife every few weeks) for a breastfeeding class. Normally Luke would come along to my appointments and classes, but we both decided that this probably wouldn’t be one that he would be that into…

There were seven other pregnant women there (one a girl I know from school, another who I’d met on my tour of the local hospital), all at different stages of our pregnancies – with one woman actually due next week – but we were all first time mothers. Two of the girls had brought their mums along with them, which was lovely as we got to hear how different things are now compared to 30 or 40 years ago. They also gave us a good deal of great, practical advice. I wish I’d thought to take my Mom along as she’d have loved it.

We started off by introducing ourselves and sharing our due dates, and then we played a “moving around” game where one side of the room was designated as “Yeah, that’s true”, the other side as “Nah, that’s false” and the middle of the room being a maybe. The instructor and trainee instructor gave us statements about breastfeeding and then we had to choose where to stand. It was a good game in theory, but in reality it wasn’t so great for people who a) have puffy feet and ankles, and b) just want to sit the eff down.

It was useful for dispelling myths though, and I learned that only 2% of women physically can’t breastfeed their babies. That’ll be good to know when I’m struggling during the first few days…

Eventually we were each given a weighted baby doll and asked to hold it the way we would when feeding. Everyone else chose a cradle hold or a rugby ball hold so I sort of lay back in my chair and laid the doll on my stomach in a natural/laid back feeding position as I’ve read that it’s less tiring for mum and easier for baby. I had a go at a cradle hold while the instructors gave us advice on getting a good latch in the different positions, and I found it really difficult to hold the doll. I had imagined that it’d be easier but I just didn’t know where to put my arms to best support its little body.

I’m not surprised that women struggle with breastfeeding if they go for this kind of hold first…the laid back approach is much less faffing!…you can read about it here

I must admit, it felt VERY odd to be holding a plastic face to my breast, but holding the doll itself was rather comforting. I sat it on my lap while we chatted about the different techniques and the importance of skin-to-skin and got quite used to it being there. I honestly didn’t want to give it back.

Through the rest of the session we learnt about good nutrition (and ideas for quick meals when we’ve only got ten minutes to make food), getting the proper latch (and how to get them off again!), and more. I think the most important thing that they kept saying was:

“It’s called BREASTfeeding, not NIPPLEfeeding…your aim is to get them latched onto breast tissue and NOT onto your nipple…”

I’ve done an awful lot of reading about pretty much everything to do with pregnancy, birth and parenting, so I can’t say that I really learnt much that I didn’t already know, but I did pick up on a few things that’ll be useful when the baby is here. It was also was nice to get the chance to chat with other pregnant women (and their mums!), although I was surprised at how little the other women seemed to know. I think I must spend half my life panicking that I don’t know something and then frantically searching out articles, blogs and forum threads that answer my questions.

…with any luck I might even be ready by the time the baby gets here…

 
 

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Breastfeeding Plans…

I’m one of those people who likes to be prepared. In reality I’m very rarely prepared for anything as I start planning too soon, trick myself into thinking that I have sooooo much time ahead of me, and then suddenly realise that I’ve got loads of stuff left to get/make/do. I’m desperately trying not to do this with all of our baby things…

I’m very keen to breastfeed once our son is here and – if I can – that requires very little preparation other than getting nursing bras, nipple cream and breast pads (which I’m sure I’ll need even if I don’t manage to BF). The trouble is that I’m faced with the quandary of if I should get bottles, formula and a steriliser for my hospital bag, just in case.

I’m worried that if I can’t breastfeed I will be failing my baby by not having a back-up…but then again I am against buying things I don’t need and worried that by getting them I am actually setting myself up to fail.

Just like with everything else I’ve fretted about so far, I’ve had a good look online at what others are saying and I’m finding the same thing that I always find…

  1. ladies saying “why bother with the expense of bottles and formula that you might never use…you can always get someone to pop out and buy you them if you really need them…”
  2. ladies saying “it’s always best to be prepared! GET THE BOTTLES AND FORMULA!”

…so basically, once again I can’t rely on the internet to make my decision for me and I have to make it myself.

It’s quite empowering really.

So! I’ve decided NOT to bother buying anything that I don’t need. My plan is to breastfeed and my will is strong, so I’m going to persevere with it no matter how difficult I might find it. I’m aware that it will be hard at first, that it might hurt, that I might struggle to get to grips with it, that it doesn’t come easily to every woman.

I’m also aware that being positive about it is half of the battle and that if I think I can do it and don’t let myself give up on that belief in my capability, then I am going to be more likely to keep at it and be successful.

…and at the end of the day, should my plan (or my will) fail, I can always buy the necessaries for bottle feeding as and when I might need them.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Plans, Pregnancy

 

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